WWE News: Former Champion Bob Backlund May Be Next Hall of Fame Inductee

Travis TaylorFeatured ColumnistJanuary 17, 2013

Photo by WWE.com
Photo by WWE.com

On the heels of the announcement that DX will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, another name has popped up as a possible inductee.

PWInsider is reporting former WWF Champion Bob Backlund has been approached about joining the Class of 2013, though he has not yet accepted. 

The site says:

Former WWF champion Bob Backlund was at WWE HQ in Stamford, CT last Friday as the company wants to induct him into their Hall of Fame. Backlund was actually scheduled to be inducted in 2004 but pulled out. We are told that Backlund has not yet accepted the honor for 2013.

Backlund became the seventh man to hold the WWF championship when he defeated Superstar Billy Graham on Feb. 20, 1978. During his reign he was a dominant champion and defeated many wrestling legends, including Sgt. Slaughter, Antonio Inoki and Jimmy Snuka.

In a move that even today would be considered taboo, he defended the belt against wrestlers from other promotions. These wrestlers included Ric Flair and Harley Race in the NWA and Nick Bockwinkle in the AWA.

He held the belt for nearly six years before dropping it to The Iron Sheik.

Most modern wrestling fans only remember Backlund for his early '90s return to the WWE. After nearly a decade away, he came back in 1992 and faced Bret Hart in what WWE.com called “a highly anticipated [WWF] Championship opportunity.”

He lost the bout and after which he transformed into Mr. Backlund. As a bowtie-wearing heel, he turned his back on the WWE Universe and became a reviled heel.

In ’94 he wrestled for the title again. In a “Throw in the Towel” match against Hart, Backlund kept The Hitman in his Crossface Chickenwing for eight minutes, before Hart’s mother threw the towel to stop the bout.

He lost the belt three days later to Diesel at a house show in New York.

Backlund managed Kurt Angle for a short time in the WWE in 2000, before leaving the company again. He then briefly appeared in TNA in 2007 and was one of the legends who beat Heath Slater in the weeks leading up to WWE Raw 1000.

If Backlund were to accept, he would be an incredible addition to a group that already includes Mick Foley, the aforementioned DX and possibly Kamala.

He is a shining example of how wrestling used to be, when skill took precedence over show. In his heyday he was the All-American good guy, blessed with good looks and leaking talent from every pore.

Backlund gave the WWF championship a huge boost in credibility; a much needed move for the young company. But his second run in the company ruined his reputation.

A Hall of Fame induction would give the WWE an opportunity to honor Backlund as he should be remembered: wrestling legend and second-longest reigning champion of all time.