The WWE Hall of Fame ceremony is a strange convergence, one that leaves the rules of etiquette unclear.
The night before every WrestleMania, the rowdiness of a WWE crowd juxtaposes the expected reverence of a formal ceremony. There are tuxes and pageantry involved, but it's during an event that celebrates athletes who are screamed at by adoring fans night in and night out.
WWE fans certainly shouldn't be castrated of their enthusiasm, but the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony requires one to tone it down.
When Maria Menounos gave her induction speech for former WWE champ Bob Backlund, the crowd booed her. It did the same to Donald Trump. Chris Jericho tweeted his thoughts on those who booed.
Wanna say I think my friend @mariamenounos did a great job w her speech inducting Bob Backlund into the HOF and all boo birds be damned!!— Chris Jericho (@IAmJericho) April 8, 2013
Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Newsletter (subscribers-only) wrote about WWE's internal reaction to the incident.
Several in the company were upset, particularly since they love any association with somewhat well known celebrities and the idea that it would get out that their fan base is uncouth made it an embarrassment.
The WWE fanbase has evolved and expanded over the years, but there's plenty of uncouthness to go around. That is a part of the package deal. Along with the dedication, energy and volume a WWE crowd gives, one must expect a certain lack of sophistication.
WWE fans share far more in common with NFL fans than opera goers.
Menounos was an odd choice to induct Backlund from a fan's point of view. She’s not a wrestler or a manager; she's an outsider. Still, booing her speech stained Backlund's induction and Backlund is no outsider.
The ceremony should be the grand culmination of a career, not an episode of WWE Raw. Fans should be loud and passionate at the appropriate times of the event but should rein it in when necessary.
When WWE inducted Edge in 2012, the fans delivered the ideal response.
They clapped, they hollered and they showed the Rated R Superstar how much they cared about him. That's what the ceremony should be about.
There should never be someone getting the Stone Cold "What?" treatment. This isn't the time to take over the moment the way the fans at the most recent ceremony did.
As hard as these wrestlers have worked for the sake of fans' entertainment, they deserve respect regardless of how one feels about them. When John Cena gets his Hall of Fame nod, even his biggest detractors shouldn't chant, "Cena sucks!"
A true fan, a fan of the industry itself, sees past personal tastes. They see being part of the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony as a privilege. There were certainly valid reasons for booing Menounos that night, but they shouldn't have taken precedent over respect for Backlund.
A WWE Hall of Fame ceremony shouldn't be sterile, but a bit of refinement goes a long way.