On March 21, WWE.com announced that hardcore wrestling legend Abdullah the Butcher would be inducted into the 2011 class of the World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Fame.
Since then, fans have had mixed opinions about the decisions, with tons loving the decision and feeling that he's deserving of a spot because of his contributions to wrestling as a whole. Others say he doesn't belong, as he was never an employee of the WWE/WWF/WWWF.
Personally, I have no issues whatsoever with this wrestling icon being inducted because even as a recent wrestling fan (I've only been watching for five years or so), I can tell the impact that he's had on the sport, his worldwide notoriety and that there are very few characters in sports entertainment with such a commitment to their trade and fans.
According to ProWrestling.net (Original Article ), the legendary announcer Jim Ross said, "Abdullah the Butcher is a superb selection for the WWE Hall of Fame as he has stood the test of time and made the term 'Hardcore' fashionable. Who was more 'Hardcore' for more years than Abby? Seems to me that the Butcher was the true innovator of the hardcore style of wrestling featuring blood and weapons."
However, this induction has exposed some major issues with the Hall of Fame that make it truly illegitimate—some of these being unintentionally exposed on WWE.com itself!
Earlier today I read the profile that WWE.com had on Abdullah the Butcher's induction (Meet Abdullah the Butcher) as well as news articles reporting on the article and interviews by the Madman of the Sudan. At the bottom of the page, in the last paragraph it states:
"Despite his decades in the ring, Abdullah never brawled with Hulk Hogan for the WWE Championship or went the distance with Bret "Hit Man" Hart in Madison Square Garden. These are dream matches that will never happen, but these icons will all be together when The Butcher takes his rightful place alongside them in the WWE Hall of Fame."
I have no problem with this statement except for one reason, which is why I highlighted the names Hulk Hogan and Bret Hart. Wrestleheat.com (WWE Fixes Butcher's HOF Bio) reported that WWE had changed the article, and having read the original article, I contend that this is accurate.
It originally stated that (not an exact quote from the WWE's article, but from the exposing article):
"...he hadn’t brawled with Bruno Sammartino or Bob Backlund, but the three icons would be together when Abdullah enters the WWE Hall of Fame."
Originally the names Bob Backlund and Bruno Sammartino were used in conjunction with Abdullah's, which were apropos because they are truly the legends from the Butcher's era. However, the WWE made a critical error, as most of you can tell already, because NEITHER are in the Hall of Fame.
Sammartino is arguably the greatest champion of all-time, holding the title for longer than any other wrestler by far (two reigns totaling over 11 years).
Backlund is a legend in his own right, having held the championship two times, the first of which lasted for over five years (February 1978 to December 1983).
However, because of personality conflicts with Bruno and Bob convincing himself that he's not yet retired, neither is in the Hall of Fame.
Here is a partial list of people who are in the WWE Hall of Fame (including some of this year's inductees):
Okay, I'll admit that this is a VERY partial list, but one that should be mentioned. None of the above were wrestlers or commentators or announcers or backstage workers or script writers. They are all celebrities who barely even showed up on WWE programming but are a part of the Hall of Fame.
Here's my question: How can the WWE call the Hall of Fame legitimate having these people and not Backlund and Sammartino?
Don't get me wrong, I know the business is scripted and all based on personalities. I also think it's great that legends of the sport are finally getting the recognition that they deserve for their years of providing us fans with great entertainment.
However, I think that if the WWE ever wants their Hall of Fame taken seriously they need to seriously review their process of induction and find a way to truly honor all of the wrestling greats, not just those that they're still on good relations with.
If you'd like to read more details on the Madman from the Sudan's induction, this is a link to an article where Abdullah goes into some interesting depths (Abdullah the Butcher on WWE picking him for the HOF)
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