The WWE Hall of Fame has been much maligned over the years for not necessarily honoring the very best professional wrestling has to offer. No such criticism has been made regarding the 2013 class, but with so many strong candidates being inducted at the same time, there is some concern that future classes will be hindered.
It seems like there are usually one or two guys who go into the Hall of Fame on a yearly basis, only for the fans to scoff at their inclusion.
That isn't the case this time around, though, as the 2013 class is arguably the most star-studded class of all time. Bruno Sammartino, Mick Foley, Bob Backlund, Trish Stratus, Booker T and Donald Trump are all deserving of their spots in one way or another.
Sammartino is arguably the greatest grappler of all time and still holds the record for the longest WWE Championship reign.
Backlund happens to be No. 2 on that list.
Foley is a hardcore legend who helped push WWE over the top during the Attitude Era. Stratus may be the greatest Diva ever.
Booker is a former WCW and World Heavyweight champion.
Trump was never a wrestler, but his impact on the business as a celebrity supporter is undeniable.
Such a solid class should go a long way toward convincing fans that the Hall of Fame is the real deal, but it obviously creates some issues moving forward. Pretty much all of the people who are being inducted this year could have headlined a class themselves any other year. They'll have to share the spotlight, though, and other deserving inductees will have to be found.
Based on how many all-time greats have graced the WWE over the years, I can't imagine that the company will have any trouble finding deserving inductees moving forward.
The WWE as we know it has been in existence since 1963, so countless wrestlers, managers, announcers, referees and others have graced a WWE ring over the past 50 years. The precursor to the WWE was the Capitol Wrestling Corporation which began in 1952, so the WWE has a long and storied tradition.
Professional wrestling's popularity really kicked into another gear in the 1940s, thanks to Gorgeous George and others.
There are a number of wrestlers whom the WWE can put in the Hall of Fame from that time period as well. Also, consider the fact that the WWE owns the licensing rights for WCW and ECW, so any wrestler who did great things for those promotions is eligible regardless of their WWE impact.
When you take all of that into account, it is essentially impossible for the WWE to run out of Hall of Fame-caliber performers.
Among the top-level stars who have yet to be inducted are Randy "Macho Man" Savage, The Ultimate Warrior, Goldberg, "Ravishing" Rick Rude, Jake "The Snake" Roberts, The Honky Tonk Man, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash and even Lou Thesz. There are plenty of mid-level guys who deserve consideration in addition to them as well.
Even the current roster is stacked with future Hall of Famers, so the WWE will have a large pool of guys to draw from for many years to come. John Cena, CM Punk, The Rock, Brock Lesnar, Chris Jericho, Triple H, Big Show, Kane, Undertaker, Randy Orton and Rey Mysterio are all lead-pipe locks to be inducted some day.
Will the strength of the 2013 WWE Hall of Fame class hurt future classes?
Also, while I realize that some fans hate the notion of celebrities being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, there is no doubt that they have played a big role in the product over the years.
With that in mind, there are plenty of potential celebrity inductees for the WWE to call upon down the line. Mr. T, Cyndi Lauper, Lawrence Taylor, Floyd Mayweather and a handful of others wouldn't seem out of place in the Hall of Fame at all.
I understand why some fans are concerned about the 2013 Hall of Fame class taking away from future ones, but it's better to have star-studded classes than ones that contain questionable choices. At least most would agree that all six of the people who are being inducted this year are worthy of the honor, and that is really all that should matter.
If nothing else, it seems as though the WWE has finally decided to start taking its Hall of Fame seriously. Perhaps, this will lead to a physical building at some point, which would really go a long way toward making the Hall of Fame seem credible.
If and when the building comes to fruition, it had better be quite large because there is no shortage of men and women waiting in the wings who have earned the right to be called WWE Hall of Famers.