If I Decided the WWE HOF Class of 2010...
So the stage is set for WrestleMania weekend. A public workout that will obviously compete with the extravaganza thrown by TNA's Booker T in his hometown less than a few blocks away.
And of course, there is the WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.
On April 4, 2009, the WWE will honor two historic families in The Von Erichs and The Funks. They will honor three huge impactors both on screen and behind the scenes in Bill Watts, Koko B. Ware, and The Fink.
And they will honor two legendary performers that showed us that anything is truly possible in Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. All in all, this lineup is perfect for the 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania.
But then I got to thinking to myself. I said, "Self, what if you decided next year's HOF Class?" Unfortunately, myself didn't answer back so I actually had to do some research on the subject. So after invading MySpace, Google, Facebook and several other wrestling circles, I think I have a few names that could end up taking center stage next year.
Here are just a few names that could be announced this time around when WrestleMania invades the Desert.
1. Owen Hart
During the WWF Attitude Era, there were several supporting actors that provided the fire to give the big guys the spotlight that they so badly wanted.
But in the middle of DX, The Nation and Austin 3:16, there was one man that provided both the physical and comedic side of these rivalries. He also provided us with a rivalry for the ages involving several individuals in the WWE.
That man was Owen Hart.
During his time in the WWE, Owen was a part of High Energy with 2009 Inductee Koko B. Ware. He was a member of The Nation with The Rock as well as the man responsible for Austin's busted neck during their match at Summerslam.
Hart's most infamous moments came at the expense of D-Generation X, mainly Triple H and Chyna. Before Triple H took complete control of DX, he was involved in an intense rivalry with Owen Hart surrounding the European Championship. Following the DX Takeover, Hart joined The Nation in physical fashion when he shattered Ken Shamrock's ankle.
One of Hart's most shocking moments was when he took a storyline right off the front page when he started biting the ears of his opponents, ala Mike Tyson's fight with Evander Holyfield. But it was his time as the Blue Blazer that left us truly laughing like there was no tomorrow.
Tragically, that was the last image that anyone would have of him as well.
At WWF Over The Edge in May of 1999, Owen, donning the Blue Blazer outfit, was being lowered from the rafters to the ring below for his match that night against The Godfather. But the equipment malfunctioned, and Owen's chest slammed on one of the turnbuckles.
The next night on RAW, every WWF superstar felt the loss of their comrade. He was considered a funny guy behind the scenes who believed in the business that he was raised in and the family that God blessed him with. From The Rock to Austin, even Triple H and Chyna couldn't muster enough strength to hold back tears as the entire night became a sort of Wrestling Funeral for The King of Harts.
In my opinion, when the WWE started doing this Hall of Fame, Owen's name should have been first on the ballot. But instead they chose to wait. Now they can do it for 2K10 without any true obstacles.
2. The Original Four Horsemen
Before D-Generation X, La Familia, The Nation or the nWo, there was one faction that led to all of those factions. Before most of our times, there was one entity that ruled the wrestling world with an iron fist.
That entity was simply known as The Four Horsemen.
Last year, we saw the leader take his place among the immortals. Ric Flair brought his stylin' and profilin' attitude to the WWE Hall of Fame the night before his retirement match against Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 24. Now it's time to honor the remaining members of that original group.
The Original Four Horsemen consisted of Flair, Arn and Ole Anderson, Tully Blanchard and JJ Dillon. In the summer of 1985, "The Enforcer" Arn Anderson brought rise to the name of this faction. In his words, "You would have to go all the way back to the days of The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to see this much havoc."
Following that interview, the Four Horsemen were practically unstoppable. Their wars with Dusty Rhodes, The Road Warriors, The Rock N Roll Express, Magnum TA and Barry Windham are epic and still talked about to this day.
But if it wasn't for the start of The Four Horsemen, the factions we have seen in the WWE yesterday and today would have not existed. In all honesty, when the WWE decided to unite Triple H and Ric Flair to form Evolution, it was one of the smartest decisions they made.
There have been many forms as well as members of The Horsemen since the original.
TNA World Champion Sting, Sid Vicious, WWE Hall of Famer Curt Hennig, Steve "Mongo" McMichael, Dean Malenko and the late Chris Benoit were all members of the Legendary group. But the WWE couldn't have a great 2010 Hall of Fame ceremony without inducting the men who started it alongside Ric Flair.
3. Paul Heyman
During the infamous Monday Night Wars, there was a small company that was formed and operated out of bingo halls and small amphitheaters. This company took the phrase Backyard Wrestling and gave it a mainstage. And one man was at the center of this violent anti-PG establishment.
The company was known as ECW...and the man was Paul Heyman.
But before Dangerous Alliance, Heyman managed a man known as "Mean" Mark Callous...but you may know him as The Undertaker. Heyman started his climb to the top of the mountain with his group Dangerous Alliance. In this group, we saw Madusa (Alundra Blayze), Bobby Eaton, Arn Anderson, Larry Zbysko and 2009 Inductee Steve Austin.
Following the departure of DA, Heyman followed suit and left WCW. But Heyman had an idea for something bigger and better for the wrestling industry. With the help of Shane Douglas and Tod Gordon, Heyman turned the wrestling world upside down.
Thanks to Shane's victory speech after winning the vacant NWA title is still talked about as the start of the Extreme Era of professional wrestling. The three men began the organization known as Extreme Championship Wrestling.
From this organization, we were given Joey Styles, The Dudley Boyz, Rob Van Dam, The Sandman, Tommy Dreamer, Tazz, and the Homicidal, Suicidal, Genocidal, Death-Defying Sabu. But in the process, Heyman brought a piece of his WCW days with him...in the form of Steve Austin.
Following the fall of the Original ECW, Heyman returned as the handler of soon-to-be UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar and General Manager of SmackDown. He feuded with Eric Bischoff, John Cena and Eddie Guerrero.
When he departed the WWE for the last time, he started his own syndicated program, The Heyman Hustle via the UK Sun. On the program he gives his thoughts on the world of professional wrestling as well as has interviews with some of Hollywood's Elite A-Listers.
For all his accomplishments, the WWE should honor the man who gave Philadelphia a company of anarchy and gave WWE a reason to go....
Finally...The Rock has come back...to the Hall of Fame.
Five years ago, The Rock had his final match in WWE at WrestleMania XX. The Rock has had an illustrious career in the WWE. His bloodline is undeniable, and last year, he inducted his grandfather, High Chief Peter Maivia, and his father, "Soulman" Rocky Johnson.
Next year, it should be his time to shine.
From the start, there was something about Dwayne Johnson that made him a huge part in the next stage of evolution for the WWE. Johnson was dubbed the "WWE's first third-generation superstar," and the trend helped propel him to superstardom. Johnson went on to become an Intercontinental Champion with the Nation of Domination and had some high octane rivalries with Ken Shamrock and Stone Cold Steve Austin.
He went on to become the WWE Champion while in The Corporation, and his rivalry with Austin went up another level. The Rock took advantage of Austin's departure from the WWE and engaged in another rivalry with The McMahons and Triple H.
Johnson continued his success into Hollywood with roles in Star Trek: Voyager, The Rundown and Walking Tall. From there, The Rock became more Hollywood and less WWE. But despite all that, The Rock had a hand in the creation of the WWE's second longest running program SmackDown, the creation of several video games with the WWE and several catch phrases like:
"Layeth the Smacketh Down!"
"I'll Bring the Whuppin'...You Bring The Ass!"
"Shine it up real nice, turn that sombitch sideways and stick it straight up your candy ass!"
"Know Your Role...And Shut Your Mouth!"
And of course: "If you smelllllllllllll....What The Rock is Cookin'!"
The Rock no longer uses this moniker, but there is no denying the accomplishments he made during his time as The Rock. A former Intercontinental, Tag Team, WCW and WWE Champion, DJ has earned his spot as a member of The Attitude Era. And he has earned his spot among those immortals that he grew up watching, learning from and idolizing.
If Austin is 2009, then The Rock is 2010....if ya smell what I'm cookin'!