Mick Foley Paves the Way for Hardcore in the Hall of Fame

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Mick Foley Paves the Way for Hardcore in the Hall of Fame
photo from cagesideseats.com

Mick Foley will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame this April and other hardcore legends will soon follow.

Abdullah the Butcher, The Original Sheik and Terry Funk are already members, but Foley's selection, because of his higher profile and mainstream appeal, should signal a shift in the Hall of Fame committee's thinking.

It won't just be the brawny and the mat-savvy that receive invites now. The bloodthirsty, sadistic members of the WWE brotherhood will be asked to come as well.

Like Hoyt Wilhelm did for both relief pitchers and knuckleballers in baseball's Hall of Fame, Foley opens the door for wrestlers who spent a good chunk of their career in bloodbaths and rings surrounded by barbed wire.

The gorier side of wrestling—bloodshed and metal piercing skin—had been around long before Foley lost a chunk of flesh out of his ear. He did make wrestling's more hardcore elements famous though. He took his brutal bumps under the large spotlight of WWE pay-per-views. 

Now that he will be known forever as a Hall of Famer, there is bound to be a trickle-down effect.

The first to be affected could be the men from ECW.

Sandman vs. Cactus Jack (Mick Foley)

 

E-C-Dub!

The Philadelphia-based wrestling promotion eventually became WWE's property and was a castrated version of its original, brash and irreverent self.

Before that, ECW was the home for some of wrestling's most violent matches. It was the home of fire, broken glass, splintered wood and elated fans.

Among the many men who built their legacy in the Hammerstein Ballroom, there are a number of potential future Hall of Fame inductees, some borderline candidates and some who are more than long shots.

Of ECW's alum, Tommy Dreamer, Sabu and Shane Douglas may be the first men that WWE mulls over come next year and beyond. All three were, in a way, the faces of the ECW franchise.

Terry Funk vs. Sabu

Sabu's tendency to botch moves may dissuade Vince McMahon and company from taking him on though.

The pro-Sabu argument points out how exciting and beloved his high-risk style was and how innovative he was in the ring.

Dreamer has a slight edge over Douglas because of his brief time with WWE and WWE's version of ECW. Inclusion to the Hall of Fame for Dreamer would not be based on talent but rather his connection with fans and how important he was to the ECW brand.

The Sandman and Raven may be discussed as possibilities as well, but they probably don't have strong enough cases unless WWE wants to construct an ECW-only wing. There is one legend of brutality that should go in before any of those men, a man who can be considered one of hardcore wrestling's godfathers.

 

Bruiser Brody 

Mick Foley's Hall of Fame nod makes Bruiser Brody's absence more apparent.

Would there have even been a Cactus Jack or Mankind without Brody's influence?

The unpredictable and unstable Brody perfected the art of brawling. He exuded a similar unpredictable, volatile nature like Foley.

The fact that he spent so much of his career in Japan and various territories rather than WWE shouldn't get in the way of his entry into WWE's Hall of Fame.

When he did work for WWE, he did it against the biggest name of the time in Bruno Sammartino.

Bruiser Brody vs. Bruno Sammartino

Brody, like Abdullah and Foley, was one of the best in the business in terms of sadism and compelling cruelty. He deserves to stand next to them in spirit.

WWE's 2014 Hall of Fame ceremony could honor Brody or some of ECW's alumni.

Foley's induction puts a fresh spotlight on the bleeders and barbarians of wrestling's history.

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