WWE Hall of Fame 2014: Grading Inductee Speeches, Top Highlights and More

Erik BeastonFeatured ColumnistApril 6, 2014

WWE Hall of Fame 2014: Grading Inductee Speeches, Top Highlights and More

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Just 24 hours before WrestleMania 30, seven of WWE's greatest legends took their places among the immortals as they were inducted into the company's Hall of Fame 2014 class.

    Former WWE champion The Ultimate Warrior headlined the class, some 24 years after defeating Hulk Hogan in the main event of WrestleMania VI. What would he have to say in what many considered the most anticipated Hall of Fame speech in years? Fans found out as he took to the stage to accept his honor.

    Two of the smartest yet troubled performers in WWE history completed triumphant returns to glory as Jake "the Snake" Roberts and Razor Ramon were inducted. Lita, the most innovative and inspirational female performer in WWE history, joined longtime rival Trish Stratus in the Hall.

    Legendary Puerto Rican wrestler and promoter Carlos Colon was inducted by his sons and nephew, and the late, great Paul Bearer took his place among the greatest managers in the industry.

    The celebration of these legacies was an excellent way to cap off the pre-WrestleMania Sunday festivities.

    Here is a look back at the greatest moments, quotes and highlights from the 2014 ceremony.

Lita

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Recap

    Lita got the night's festivities started as the first inductee of the 2014 class.

    Her longtime rival and real-life best friend Trish Stratus did a stellar job of introducing her before the extreme Diva addressed the audience. She spoke about traveling to Mexico to become a professional wrestler, detailed some of the trials and tribulations she endured south of the border and recalled meeting Arn Anderson and Rey Mysterio after a WCW show.

    This led to a cool moment when she had two Miller Lites delivered to Anderson and Mysterio, repaying a debt to them that she had promised nearly 20 years ago.

    Lita capped off her speech by thanking the likes of Luna Vachon, Tom Prichard, Jim Ross and Japanese legend Manami Toyota for inspiring, teaching and guiding her throughout her career.

    The speech, the first of the night, was a bit long, but it was from the heart. Considering what would come afterward, it was a nice appetizer for the main course.

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    • "She was an inspiration to girls."— AJ Lee, during the pre-induction video package
    • "There was just that chemistry." — Trish Stratus on her friend and rival Lita
    • "Amy was an equal one-third of that group." — Stratus on Team Extreme
    • "She single-handedly revolutionized the way one wears a thong." — Stratus
    • "Your entire career in WWE is like one big roast." — Lita
    • "Thank you, Lita!" — Fans
    • "An elephant comes out of the curtain and I'm at the circus." — Lita on an embarrassing arena mix-up during her journey to Mexico to become a professional wrestler
    • Lita presents both Arn Anderson and Rey Mysterio with Miller Lites, repaying a debt for helping her during her journey to become a wrestler.
    • "I'd like to go on record and lay claim to the most slutastic wedding dress to ever appear on WWE television."
    • "Glenn is one of my favorite people I've worked with throughout my WWE career." — Lita on Kane
    • "I want to talk to "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. That's who I want advice from." — Lita on who she turned to upon learning of her broken neck in 2002
    • "We had an amazing group of girls when I was there." — Lita on the Divas locker room
    • "We were the perfect yin and yang together." — Lita on her relationship with Stratus

     

    Grade: B

Jake "The Snake" Roberts

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Recap

    There were many memorable moments about Saturday night's induction ceremony, but few equal the pure emotion that poured out of Jake Roberts as he accepted the honor bestowed upon him by WWE.

    He spoke of the personal problems with his family and his addictions that haunted him for decades and still do today. He spoke about his love for wrestling and how it is the only woman he never cheated on. It was an incredibly candid, incredibly open speech in which Roberts took responsibility for his shortcomings as a father and man.

    His story, unlike some, had a happy ending. He's healthy and clean, and he thanked the fans for their support over the years. He thanked Diamond Dallas Page, who inducted him, for being the man that reached out to him when no one else would. And, with his grandson in his arms, he thanked WWE for giving him a second chance.

    It was a redemption story that cannot be written. It was a tremendous speech and one of the greatest and most memorable moments from the entire weekend.

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    • "I see Jake on the floor with a 12-foot black cobra."— DDP on his roommate and mentor Jake Roberts and his pet
    • "He's not scared of the snake, but he's scared to death of Kimberly." — DDP on Roberts losing his pet cobra
    • "He taught me how to get over in and out of the ring." — DDP on what Roberts gave him
    • "It is a debt that I am still working to pay back." — an emotional DDP on Roberts
    • "Never underestimate the power you give someone by believing in them." — DDP
    • An emotional Roberts takes the stage amid a big ovation from the fans in attendance
    • "I've always loved professional wrestling." — Roberts
    • "I myself hated wrestling. I did, because my father wrestled and I never saw him." — Roberts on an early misunderstanding
    • "When you can make a child smile, when you can make an old woman try to pull a knife and cut your stupid ass." — Roberts on controlling the emotions of the audience
    • "I don't regret loving wrestling because there's nothing like it"
    • "You don't know what the high is like. It's addictive." — Roberts continues to discuss working the crowd
    • "I was a rotten son of a b****. No, it's not funny."
    • "I'm so happy because I've got some special people here. They're called family."
    • "Vince, get your story writers busy because in 20 years at WrestleMania 50, this kid will be there." — Roberts on the youngest member of his family

     

    Grade: A+

Mr. T

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Recap

    Mr. T's speech was very genuine. Let's get that out of the way first. He spoke from the heart as he detailed all that his mother did for him growing up and how much he loved her for it. He spoke about his brothers and the pride he has in his son, who recently attained a Master's degree.

    Unfortunately, T's speech is a harsh reminder of what can happen when WWE invites celebrities to partake in an event that they do not understand. His speech had absolutely nothing to do with wrestling and was far too long. The crowd grew restless quickly, sarcastically chanting and interrupting the former television star.

    The difficult decision was made to send Kane to the stage to inform T that his time was up, to which he repeatedly apologized for. It was an uncomfortable and sad conclusion to the speech, but unfortunately, he did not know his audience and rambled on for far too long.

    The message was admirable. T clearly has respect for women, especially the one who raised him, and if everyone else took a page out of his book, the world would be a better place.

    It just did not fit the occasion and surroundings, and as a result, it was one of the biggest Hall of Fame blunders in WWE history. 

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    • "It is with great humility that I join the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2014."— Mr. T
    • "It's not how you star, it's how you finish."
    • "Your mother, my mother, all mother...thank God for mothers."
    • The crowd's responses to Mr. T's speech
    • Kane appearing and telling Mr. T that his time was up was both hilarious and somewhat uncomfortable

     

    Grade: C-

Paul Bearer

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Recap

    While William Moody's real sons Daniel and Michael may have accepted the honor on behalf of their father, it was his fictional son Kane who did most of the talking. And he did it phenomenally.

    Where others carried on too long, Kane hit all of his marks as he discussed Moody's upbringing, his entry into the sport and his arrival in WWE as Paul Bearer. He mixed in humor where appropriate and was somber when speaking of the unfortunate passing of his friend.

    The real highlight came after Moody's sons finished speaking and the familiar gong sounded throughout the arena. The lights went out, and a purple haze fell over the building. Undertaker made his way to the stage, urn in hand, and paid one last tribute to the man who led him to the squared circle for nearly a decade. 

    It was the moment fans were waiting for, and WWE delivered.

    A classy gesture on the part of the Phenom.

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    • "I hated to cut Mr. T off, but all that talk about his momma was taking away from my time to talk about my daddy." — Kane on his on-screen father Paul Bearer
    • Kane's story about arriving to an arena, driving a Cadillac and wearing a ski mask, while Bearer screamed, "It's a miracle! Kane can drive! Kane can drive!"
    • "The Kane-Paul Bearer saga was the best epic storytelling WWE has ever done."— Kane
    • Undertaker appearing and delivering one last tribute to his friend and manager

     

    Grade: A

Razor Ramon

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Recap

    The Hall of Fame was oozing machismo as Razor Ramon returned to the company that catapulted him to stardom in the wrestling business. Inducted by best friend Kevin Nash, the Bad Guy was emotional as he discussed the power that he felt from being able to walk through the curtain and perform for fans on a nightly basis.

    Always one of the master thinkers in the industry, he also realized that the show was running long and that the boys and girls in the audience had a major event to prepare for the following day so he kept his speech short and to the point.

    His closing line was outstanding, and the reunion with the Kliq afterward was a great moment.

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    • "He made being the bad guy cool." — Hulk Hogan in the pre-induction video package
    • "On a nightly basis, I got to sit ringside and watch, in my estimation, two of the greatest of all time..." — Kevin Nash on watching Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon on a nightly basis
    • "He took me on the path that, basically, made me a lot of money."
    • "I'm putting in another one of my brothers tonight." 
    • Trademark toothpick toss from Ramon
    • "Hey, yo..." — Ramon
    • "No matter how my life was going in the real world or the locker room, when I stepped through that curtain, I had a certain kind of power."
    • "Thank you to all of the wrestling fans here and all of the fans watching around the world."
    • "Bad times don't last but bad guys do."
    • The Kliq reunion

     

    Grade: B+

Carlos Colon

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Recap

    Carlos Colon, the architect of a great wrestling empire in Puerto Rico, was in the unenviable position of being sandwiched between Razor Ramon and The Ultimate Warrior's speeches on Saturday night, and as a result, he saw his allotted time cut down significantly, something son Carlito joked about to the delight of the fans.

    One of the greatest stars in Caribbean wrestling history, Colon delivered a humble speech, speaking more about the men who worked for him than himself. Not a strong English speaker, some of what he said was a bit difficult to make out, and at times, he spoke in his native tongue.

    With that said, it was a straightforward, no-frills speech that served as the perfect buffer for the night's headliner.

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    •  Big Carlito chants from the fans
    • "And we got our time cut...it's like I never left, ladies and gentlemen."— Carlito

     

    Grade: C

The Ultimate Warrior

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Recap

    The Ultimate Warrior took his place among the great former WWE champions who were already enshrined in the Hall of Fame Saturday night with a lengthy speech that was equal parts motivational and rambling.

    He spoke on the much talked-about The Self Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior DVD and how hurt he was by it but also spoke on respecting the industry and how that respect allowed him to stick around as long as he did.

    Warrior injected humor into his speech, getting off a great line about WWE attorney Jerry McDevitt and the court case with the World Wildlife Foundation while also appearing humble at points.

    His defense of "blowing up" on a nightly basis was hilarious, while his opening lines about his wife, mother and two daughters were touching.

    The speech overstayed its welcome, but Warrior was always able to recapture the fans' attention. It was the most anticipated speech of the evening, and in that respect, he did not disappoint. His passion for the industry shined through, and his appreciation for what wrestling has given him was evident.

    It was disjointed yet always entertaining speech from one of the most captivating performers of all time.

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    • "That one more match thing isn't going to happen."— Warrior
    • "I really can't believe Jerry McDevitt got his ass kicked by those Wildlife people." — Warrior on WWE getting the F out
    • "I'm finally going to get some DDP Yoga."
    • "I wish they could put the f'n F back in."
    • "I was a good guy. I am a good guy."
    • Warrior thanks the crew members who do all of the work behind the scenes to ensure that the show goes on
    • "I think it would be appropriate to have a category in the Hall of Fame where we honor these people."
    • "Vince says he's going to live forever."
    • "I wouldn't be here this evening if it wasn't for all of you Ultimate Warrior fans."
    • "Thank you, Warrior!" — Fans
    • "Thank you for the life I have." — Warrior
    • "It's an incredible thing when you can determine your success by how much you're willing to put into it."
    • "They tried to reprogram your minds and rewrite history."
    • "There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about the business."
    • "It gave me everything I need to make my life work."
    • "In this business there are few legitimate tough guys. The rest of us get to play that character."
    • "A lot of different characters make this business work."

     

    Grade: A