Why didn't they keep The Barbershop going until he was ready to come back? Or if they wanted to end it, why not find a way to keep him on tv? He could have easily have been a commentator on one of the many weekend shows they had at the time. This could have kept him viable to the fans until he was ready to return instead of the lame angle with Hogan.
Maybe he just didn’t want to be in that role? Hulk was probably paying him a good stipend to shine his boots backstage anyway. Gotta keep them looking their yellowest, guv!