Thanks to the coronavirus, WrestleMania did not take place in Tampa this weekend as planned. And on Monday, the wrestler most identified with the city, Hulk Hogan, had a few things to say about COVID-19.
In a religious-themed Instagram post to kick off Easter week, Hogan suggested this new era of social distancing was a form of punishment or discipline from God.
“In three short months, just like He did with the plagues of Egypt, God has taken away everything we worship,” Hogan wrote. “God said, 'you want to worship athletes, I will shut down the stadiums. You want to worship musicians, I will shut down Civic Centers. You want to worship actors, I will shut down theaters. You want to worship money, I will shut down the economy and collapse the stock market. You don’t want to go to church and worship Me, I will make it where you can’t go to church."
Hogan suggested God needed people to “humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways” in order to “forgive their sin and ... heal their land.”
“Maybe we don’t need a vaccine,” Hogan wrote. “Maybe we need to take this time of isolation from the distractions of the world and have a personal revival where we focus on the ONLY thing in the world that really matters. Jesus.”
Scientists are currently racing to produce a coronavirus vaccine, as more than a million cases and tens of thousands of deaths have been attributed to COVID-19 worldwide. That push is already being watched and addressed in the anti-vaccine movement, with politicians skeptical of vaccines forced into an uncomfortable spotlight. In 2019, the World Health Organization labeled “vaccine hesitancy” one of the top 10 threats to global health.
It was the second time in a week Hogan had gotten religious about the coronavirus on social media. A few days prior, he Instagrammed a highlighted bible passage, II Chronicles 7, verses 13 and 14, which reads: “Whenever I hold back the rain or send locusts to eat up the crops or send an epidemic on my people, if they pray to me and repent and turn away from the evil they have been doing, then I will hear them in heaven, forgive their sins, and make their land prosperous again.”
Hogan isn’t the only celebrity to post that passage in recent weeks. Singer-rapper Young Thug did the same two weeks ago.
Hogan would have been front and center at the WrestleMania spectacle in Tampa. Alongside the rest of the NWO, he was scheduled to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in a ceremony at Amalie Arena. He was slated to host a pool party with Lil Jon today at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. And he likely would have had some role at WrestleMania itself.
Hogan recently reached a confidential settlement with Cox Radio Inc., talk host Mike Calta and others over an alleged conspiracy to leak a damaging sex tape. Calta later called the suit “ridiculous nonsense," adding, “I did not pay one cent.”
Keep up with Tampa Bay’s top headlines
Subscribe to our free DayStarter newsletter
You’re all signed up!
Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.Explore all your options
• • •
Tampa Bay Times coronavirus coverage
GET THE DAYSTARTER MORNING UPDATE: Sign up to receive the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 and Tampa Bay, six days a week
UNEMPLOYMENT Q&A: We answer your questions about Florida unemployment benefits
CONTRIBUTE TO THE SCRAPBOOK: Help us tell the story of life under coronavirus
MEET THE HELPERS: Highlighting Tampa Bay’s everyday heroes in this crisis
FOLLOW OUR COVERAGE ON SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook. Instagram. Twitter. Reddit.
LISTEN TO THE CORONAVIRUS PODCAST: New episodes every week, including interviews with experts and reporters
HAVE A TIP?: Send us confidential news tips
We’re working hard to bring you the latest news on the coronavirus in Florida. This effort takes a lot of resources to gather and update. If you haven’t already subscribed, please consider buying a print or digital subscription.