As WrestleMania season moves along, the potential WWE Hall of Fame class becomes a hot topic of conversation. So far this year, the Ultimate Warrior was announced as the main eventer before tickets went on sale, with Jake Roberts being the only other name announced so far.
There are a bunch of unwritten rules that seem to be in place when it comes to guessing the Hall of Famers and how they're picked. If someone is being inducted posthumously, sometimes it's less likely for additional deceased wrestlers to be inducted, but not impossible. WWE having a decent amount of footage of the wrestler in their library is a plus, as is a connection to the market WrestleMania is being held in. Unless last year's all-star class changed the game permanently, the class and ceremony is usually constructed like a wrestling card with preliminary, middle of the pack and main event inductees.
Paul Bearer (real name William Moody) is pretty much a lock to go in. This isn't surprising at all and seemed like an inevitability after his death last year; it was just a matter of whether he was going in then or now. A widely beloved person within the wrestling business and an iconic character to fans, it would be really nice to see him inducted, even if it has to be done posthumously.
Apparently, WWE has "a third star of the caliber of Warrior and Jake Roberts" lined up. Rick Rude would make a lot of sense as one of the greatest opponents of both guys, but he's another guy that died young so that could decrease the likelihood of him going in. Another common opponent and similar-level star, Ted DiBiase, was already inducted. If you drop the concept of having ties to Warrior and Jake, Brutus Beefcake makes some sense, especially with best friend Hulk Hogan presumably on his way back to WWE.
WWE is trying hard to get Mr. T as the celebrity inductee, but he's turned them down every time they've asked in the past. With the WrestleMania 30 tie-in, it would be a great time for him to go in. It can not be overstated just how much he meant to the success of the first WrestleMania, as he was a major mainstream star and his aura as a "tough guy" was huge, with his roles in Rocky III and The A-Team coming off a televised contest that saw him declared "America's Toughest Bouncer."
Lita is being considered, I guess to follow up on Trish Stratus' induction last year; she was her most famous rival during the peak of the women's division. I'd wait on inducting her: They used up so much star power last year, and she's a big enough star to put near the top of the bill in a year where they're scrambling. They don't need her this year.
There are no real updates on Danny Hodge going in other than the idea that everyone's aware he's never going in if he's not inducted this year. A legendary amateur who is one of only two pro wrestlers (the other is Hulk Hogan) ever to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated, he was the top babyface in New Orleans in the '60s and early '70s as the NWA World Junior Heavyweight Champion. He should be in any pro wrestling hall of fame, but it's unlikely he'd go into WWE's in another WrestleMania market, especially while he's still alive.
The biggest hold-up is likely a lack of footage: WWE only has one or two matches of his in Florida, and unless there's more in the Mid-South Wrestling library yet to be digitized, that's all there is.
Whom do you want to see go in this year? With guys like Junkyard Dog and Jim Duggan already in the Hall of Fame, are there any other New Orleans stars besides him and Hodge that should go in? Who should be the celebrity inductee if they can't get Mr. T? Let us know in the comments.
David Bixenspan has been Bleacher Report's WWE Team Leader and a contracted columnist since 2011 and is now part of the team putting together Figure 4 Weekly, available to F4WOnline.com subscribers along with other content including the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and variety of audio shows. His article about WWE's 1984 expansion from regional powerhouse to national juggernaut is featured in the newly released issue #102 of Fighting Spirit Magazine, available worldwide online and in print in the UK. You can follow him on Twitter @davidbix and check out his wrestling podcasts at LLTPod.com.