The WWE Hall of Fame: If Vince McMahon Likes You, You're In
With WrestleMania XXVI taking place on Sunday, the night before the big event will belong to a new class of WWE Legends who will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
For the last two decades the WWE Hall of Fame has seen some of the greatest and most legendary superstars of the past get inducted—from Gorilla Monsoon, Classy Freddie Blassie, Hulk Hogan, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Ric Flair, Bret Hart, to Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Over the last few years it seems that the HOF has become a joke. Every year with the exception of at least two superstars in each class, the rest of the inductees have been a waste. I will explain why.
Each year the WWE selects at least seven new legends to induct into its hallowed halls. Of those seven, only about two of them are deserving of the honor. In 2008 Ric Flair was inducted with an all-out farewell (which now was obviously short-lived) and last year Stone Cold Steve Austin and Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat got their moment in the spotlight.
The rest of the inductees have been made up of superstars who ultimately should not be inducted at that certain point in time.
Does anybody else notice that every year when the Hall of Famers are introduced at WrestleMania, most of them get little reaction from the crowd? That's because nobody really wants to see certain guys in the HOF.
One question remains year after year: When are we going to see guys get inducted who actually deserve it? I mean Koko B. Ware is in the HOF, for God's sake.
Answer: never. You see, at this point you basically only get into the HOF if you are on good terms with WWE's chairman of the board, the one and only Vincent K. McMahon.
This year I feel that the HOF is a joke. With the exception of Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase and Stu Hart, the rest of this year's class is just boring.
You have Wendi Richter, who I can honestly say deserves to go in, mainly because she was a part of the whole "Rock 'N Wrestling" angle back in the mid '80s with Hogan and Piper that helped set the stage for the first WrestleMania.
Next is Antonio Inoki. Now yes, this guy is a big deal in Japan, but he was only in the WWE for a cup of coffee, and last I heard, this was the WWE HOF. What has he really done for the WWE?
Next we have Mad Dog Vachon. This guy spent most of his career in other territories besides the WWE. The only thing I can remember about this guy is him getting involved in a match between Shawn Michaels and Diesel back in April of '96, where they pulled off his prosthetic leg (yes, it's horrible to say). Other than that, his brother Paul is famous for having a hilarious WWE wedding back in 1984.
Moving right along we have Gorgeous George. This guy paved the way for some future superstars, but he competed in the '50s and honestly, while he may be deserving of the HOF, they should have put him in a long time ago and not now.
His 97-year old wife will be accepting his induction. WOW!
Last is the newest celebrity to be inducted to the HOF, Bob Uecker. Even though Uecker played a major role at WrestleManias III and IV, he is mostly remembered for his baseball career with the Milwaukee Brewers, starring in the '80s sitcom Mr. Belvedere , and appearing in the Major League movies as announcer Harry Doyle.
Now honestly I loved Uecker at both WrestleManias; this guy was funny and he did a good job. Who can forget when he got choked out by Andre the Giant at WrestleMania IV? And I think the Major League movies are hilarious, but this guy has not done anything huge for the wrestling business. Another HOF induction wasted.
There are a ton of superstars who are deserving of the HOF, and many who are long overdue. But as I stated earlier, Vince has the final say, and if he wants nothing to do with you, or if you're someone who wants nothing to do with him, then we will never see you in the HOF.
When thinking of who is deserving of an induction many names come to mind. Owen Hart, The British Bulldog, The Road Warriors (LOD), Jake The Snake Roberts, Yokozuna, Ravishing Rick Rude, Miss Elizabeth—the list goes on and on.
After all of the candidates are named, there are always three top guys who fans believe will never go into the HOF because of Vince. Those guys are Bruno Sammartino, The Ultimate Warrior, and Macho Man Randy Savage.
Now let's see why they will never get inducted.
First off, we'll start with Bruno Sammartino. Before John Cena, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and Hulk Hogan, Bruno was the face for the WWE in the 1960s and '70s. Then known as the WWWF (World Wide Wrestling Federation), Bruno held the WWE Championship on two occasions and to this day has the longest reign of any WWE Champion in history, spanning 7.5 years.
It's record that will never be broken. That alone gets him in the HOF.
Hailing from Abruzzi, Italy, Bruno was huge in the New York area, selling out Madison Square Garden on a number of different occasions and having a legion of Italian fans (my father included). Bruno has been offered a spot in the HOF but he always turns it down simply because he wants nothing to do with Vince and the WWE. He believes Vince has turned the business that he loved upside down and wants no part of it.
Honestly, I think this would be the perfect time for Bruno to make amends and accept. Simply because of WWE's current PG-rated, family-friendly product. WWE is not what it was 10 years ago; everything has been toned down and the company is now pretty much geared toward kids. (I wish they would stop this.)
Even though Bruno is not officially in the HOF, I consider him a Hall of Famer.
Next we have The Ultimate Warrior. Now, lots of people will argue about this guy and here's why: Back in the late '80s/early '90s, the Warrior was a big deal. With his colored face paint, tassels, and explosive energy, fans always loved to see the Warrior, but that was the fans.
Many WWE superstars always hated to work with the guy simply because he really knew nothing about the wrestling business. While he did not have the best matches and he was not all that great in the ring, he held the WWE Intercontinental title on two occasions and he was WWE Champion for a year.
Every time his music hit and he made his entrance to the ring, the crowd popped big time. Now I don't care who you are, but if you can get over with the crowd every time you come out, then you certainly have something special. That's why I feel the Warrior deserves the HOF.
Now his relationship with Vince has gone back and forth over the years. Last I heard the original plan for this year was to put the Warrior in the HOF and center the show around his induction, but when offered the spot the Warrior turned it down. Just recently the WWE included the Warrior in their opening video that they play at the top of all their shows.
Could this be a sign that the Warrior is on good terms with the company that made him a star? Only time will tell.
Finally we have one of my all-time favorites: Macho Man Randy Savage. There are many stories surrounding this guy and Vince.
Randy Savage debuted in the WWE in 1985. From the start he was one of the most charismatic superstars to ever step foot in the ring. From his outlandish attire to his in-ring skills, his promos on the mic, and his manager (and actual wife at the time) Elizabeth, are all things to be seen.
Savage would become one of the top heels in the WWE in the mid '80s as he and Ricky Steamboat would steal the show in front of 93,000 fans at WrestleMania III, and one year later Savage would compete four times in one night to become the WWE Champion at WrestleMania IV.
Savage's popularity would rise only second to Hulk Hogan at the time. By the '90s, Savage would claim his second WWE Title after he defeated Ric Flair at WrestleMania VIII and would later move to the broadcast booth and commentate on Monday Night Raw.
This is where things got complicated.
Now many stories have been floating around as to why Vince wants nothing to do with Savage. The main story is one that involves an encounter that Savage had with Vince's daughter Stephanie. I am not going to go into any more details about this one; you can use your imagination.
I feel this story is not true at all, as it has been blown up many times over the years. I feel it has to do with the fact that Savage left WWE in late 1994 without notice to jump to WWE's competition at the time (WCW), and that aggravated Vince.
Over the years Savage has not really been mentioned a whole lot on WWE programming, but last year the WWE released a long-awaited and highly anticipated DVD on Savage's career, plus he has been popping up on WWE's website over the past year.
Could Vince be ready to put all differences behind him, whatever they may be, and finally give the Macho Man a HOF induction? I certainly hope so.
In conclusion, the WWE Hall of Fame is enshrined with some of the greatest superstars to ever step foot in a ring. In years past it has been a must-see show; lately it as lost its touch.
I can speak for many other fans when I say that hopefully in the coming years the WWE—and most importantly Vince McMahon—can put all differences aside and recognize the superstars that are most deserving of an induction to the WWE Hall of Fame.
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