We're still two weeks away from WrestleMania XXX, but WWE is reportedly already looking toward the next two years' Hall of Fame ceremonies. According to Dave Meltzer on Wrestling Observer Radio (h/t Cageside Seats' Keith Harris), the WWE is looking at The Rock headlining the next Hall of Fame class, while WWE will probably save New World Order's induction for another year.
First, we'll take a look at The Rock.
This induction is a slam dunk. However, it's more a question of timing. I understand why the WWE wants to put him in the hall right now: He's arguably the hottest action star in Hollywood and would garner massive mainstream media coverage. With WWE heading to California for WrestleMania XXXI, proximity also makes sense.
The Rock is absolutely a Hall of Fame talent. He's accomplished everything there is to achieve in the WWE and is one of the biggest draws in the history of the company. He's the only WWE star to ever successfully transition from professional wrestling to mainstream movie stardom.
That said, I just don't feel right with him going in already. The Rock has plenty left in the tank. I do not believe he has wrestled his last match, and I believe he will compete at WrestleMania (or SummerSlam) again. He's 41 years old, three years younger than Triple H and just five years John Cena's senior.
With the lack of star power created since 2004 (The Cena Era), there aren't many true legends to put over the next generation. Sure, Bray Wyatt, the members of The Shield, Cody Rhodes, Antonio Cesaro and such can make themselves stars, but there is something special about having that moment with a legend in the ring.
While CM Punk was a draw at house shows and among adult fans, it wasn't until his run against The Rock and The Undertaker that he was elevated to true megastar status. This is the type of rub that The Rock can provide.
Of course, The Rock being in the Hall of Fame doesn't preclude him from having a match against, say, his cousin Roman Reigns in a few years, were the latter able to reach that level of success. However, I do believe a Hall of Fame induction feels like the conclusion of a career and not the next step.
Regarding the nWo, you won't hear any complaints from me. I thought this was coming when Scott Hall's induction video was exclusively Razor Ramon footage. In fact, he's going in under the gimmick name Razor Ramon.
For the record, he does deserve to be inducted on the grounds of his pre-nWo work alone, both in the WWE and in the territories.
With Hulk Hogan now on good working terms with the company, it was only a matter of time before the nWo went in. They were the most important wrestling stable since the Four Horsemen. Their style revolutionized the business and lengthened Hogan's career by a decade.
Before the comments come rushing in, I'll say this plainly: If or when Randy Savage and Owen Hart go into the Hall of Fame, they will not be headliners. While Savage deserves to headline, he will not do so simply because he is not alive to receive the recognition. WWE is not going to sell the show on someone else talking about Savage. They want the headliners to be able to give a capstone speech at the end of the night.
I wouldn't be surprised if Sting were in next year's class as a No. 2 inductee next to The Rock. Sting would be able to headline, but the fact that he never worked in the WWE makes it unlikely Vince McMahon would give him such a spotlight.