When it was announced that Mick Foley would be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame this year, it was presumed he would be the headliner or at least one of the featured inductees of the 2013 class. It was recently announced that Foley, one of the biggest stars of the Attitude Era and dedicated wrestling spokesperson, will not have his Hall of Fame speech broadcast as part of the event.
Foley took to Twitter to demonstrate his frustration.
"I'm in a much better frame of mind after watching my new DVD with my kids. I have SO much to be proud of. No way I'll give fans anything less than the best possible speech I can. And if the powers-that-be decide not to air my speech on television, I'll accept that it was a simply a decision that was beyond my control, and do everything I can - through the passion for my profession - to make that decision look as glaringly stupid as possible."
I've taken to this site on a number of occasions to heap praise on Triple H for his work to improve the developmental system and tear up scripts to give wrestlers more freedom in their characters, but this is without a doubt one of the most offensive decisions that Paul Levesque has made since he chose to bury CM Punk at Night of Champion in the infancy of his most recent main event push.
The blame for this decision rests at the feet of Triple H. It's been well publicized that it was him that brokered the agreement with Bruno Sammartino to finally get one of the greatest performers in the industry's history into the WWE Hall of Fame. It was Triple H who has been credited with arranging for the Hall of Fame Ceremony to take place in Madison Square Garden, despite the financial loss they will take on the event compared to other possible venues closer to MetLife Stadium.
His wife, Stephanie McMahon, was tabbed to induct Trish Stratus despite there being other more obvious and probably more deserving inductors. The Hall of Fame Ceremony has very clearly been Triple H's baby this year and the decision to omit Mick Foley, one of the hometown boys, from even having his speech broadcast is a travesty.
Mick Foley's place in WWE history is irreplaceable. It was as Mankind that Foley's rivalry with the Undertaker elevated the level of brutality and gore in matches, most notably the King of the Ring Hell in a Cell match that is embedded in the memory of all fans of the era. The Rock 'N Sock Connection was an instant classic, and the "This is your life" segment with the Rock remains the highest rated segment of the entire Attitude Era.
It was Mick Foley who defeated The Rock for the WWE Championship that turned the Monday Night Wars ratings battle with WCW to supplant Eric Bischoff and his cast for former WWE stars as the No. 1 wrestling program on television.
Mick Foley was critical in the rise of last year's Hall of Fame headliner Edge. Their hardcore match at WrestleMania is still considered Edge's "WrestleMania Moment" as a singles performer.
It was Mick Foley's feud with Randy Orton that elevated the young kid and made fans of all demographics step back and take him seriously as a main event player.
Since leaving wrestling, Foley has written children's books, including a Christmas book for the WWE featuring current wrestlers as the lead characters. He plays perfectly into the company's products as a kid-friendly, family-friendly program. Yet for some reason, Triple H refuses to acknowledge Foley's importance to the company and the industry as a whole.
When it was initially announced that Foley would be inducted into the Hall of Fame, he didn't even get to thank the crowd. Instead, he was attacked by The Shield. This was fine at the time, because most inductees don't address the fans until the ceremony itself. But in this case, he won't even get to do that.
This year's Hall of Fame is indeed stacked. Bruno is understandably the headliner. All inductees, Bob Backlund, Trish Stratus and Booker T, are all deserving. Even Donald Trump, who is this year's celebrity inductee, makes sense as a former two-time host of WrestleMania and for his role in the Battle of the Billionaires.
But I can't help but wonder why it makes sense to push all of these guys in this year when legends like Booker T and, more egregiously, Mick Foley, will not get their due.