WWE Hall of Fame 2018: Recapping Inductee Speeches, Top Highlights and More

The Doctor Chris Mueller@@BR_DoctorFeatured ColumnistApril 7, 2018

WWE Hall of Fame 2018: Recapping Inductee Speeches, Top Highlights and More

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    Bill Goldberg leads the 2018 WWE Hall of Fame class.
    Bill Goldberg leads the 2018 WWE Hall of Fame class.Credit: WWE.com

    WrestleMania weekend is always the busiest time of the year for everyone in WWE, and it all starts with the Hall of Fame ceremony.

    This event is always a special occasion for many reasons, and the most important of those are the inductions of wrestling legends into the Hall of Fame.

    But it's also enjoyable because we get to see everyone shed their characters for the night so they can laugh, cry and remember the old days with the people being honored.

    Before we recap Friday's speeches and highlights, here is a list of this year's inductees:

    • Bill Goldberg
    • Ivory
    • Jeff Jarrett
    • The Dudley Boyz
    • Hillbilly Jim
    • Mark Henry
    • Kid Rock in the celebrity wing
    • Jarrius "JJ" Robertson will receive the Warrior Award

Red Carpet Highlights

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    Before Friday's ceremony took place, WWE held its usual red carpet event. WWE Superstars and legends were interviewed before filing into their seats for the event.

    Maria Menounos returned to host once again alongside Byron Saxton, Renee Young, Charly Caruso and a number of other WWE personalities.

    Dozens of stars from the past and present were interviewed. Most shared their thoughts on which legend they were looking forward to seeing speak the most, but a few also told some humorous stories.

                     

    Notes and Highlights

    • Menounos should do more with WWE. Her love for the business is evident whenever she works with the company, and she brings mainstream attention.
    • The New Day looked slick in matching powder-blue suits.
    • Bayley has a fiance named Aaron. He models his hairdo on those of Jeff Hardy and Rufio from Hook.
    • Naomi's dress looked like a beautiful disco ball.
    • Matt Hardy told a hilarious story about Michael Hayes and Gangrel having a headbutting contest on the side of a cliff until one of them fell off. 
    • Rusev Day chants would start and stop randomly throughout the hour. 
    • Samoa Joe couldn't resist mocking Dean Ambrose's injury when Young was interviewing him.
    • Jeff Hardy looked well-rested and in great spirits. Let's hope he makes his return at WrestleMania.
    • When asked whose induction they were looking forward to, most people said Mark Henry's and The Dudley Boyz's. It's a testament to how much they have done in the business.
    • The Miz's parents want their granddaughter to call them Granny Barbie and Papa Georgio.
    • Ronda Rousey looked starstruck during her interview. It was nice to see a different side of her.
    • The ceremony opened with a title card that paid tribute to the late Johnny Valiant.

The Dudley Boyz

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    WWE wasted no time getting to one of the most anticipated speeches of the night by having Edge and Christian kick things off with Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley's induction.

    Edge and Christian took this honor seriously by showing up with all of their major talking points on pieces of paper. They weren't about to wing it.

    They blended jokes with genuine appreciation for Bubba Ray and D-Von perfectly, and they didn't overstay their welcome before bringing out The Dudley Boyz.

    The brotherhood the two have developed over the course of 25 years was on full display as the most decorated tag team champions in pro wrestling history ribbed each other throughout their speech.

    These two were the perfect choice to get the show going. They were eloquent, funny, entertaining and appreciative of all the people who helped them get to where they are today.

    They ended their speech by bringing Edge, Christian and The Hardy Boyz on to the stage to thank them for helping create their history together. Edge and Christian ran off the stage when the Hardys suggested another TLC match.

    However, the ending came when their music cut them off and a production assistant came out to tell them to wrap things up. They put him through a table and earned a standing ovation.

                    

    Notes and Highlights

    • The production team did a good job mixing footage from Bubba and D-Von's ECW and WWE runs.
    • Christian jokingly tried to induct himself into the Hall of Fame and got a pop from the crowd. His day will come.
    • He also joked about how they were chosen to induct the Dudleys because they are the only guys who like Bubba Ray.
    • As someone who watched the feud with the Hardys, Dudleys, Edge and Christian unfold as it happened, this might be my favorite speech of all time.
    • Someone gave Ron Simmons a mic just so he could say "Damn" after Edge made a joke about The APA.
    • Bubba's joking around about D-Von as a backstage producer was hilarious. 
    • D-Von name-dropped Hulk Hogan several times and jested about how they ended up with the same hairline.
    • It was cool seeing Velvet Sky on WWE television. 
    • He also talked emotionally about how he did all of this so his kids and mother could be proud of him as the camera focused on his sons in the crowd.
    • Bubba Ray bringing out the memorial cards for his parents so they could see him be inducted likely brought a tear to many fans' eyes.
    • It was nice of them to give credit to Mae Young, Tommy Dreamer and Spike Dudley specifically.

Hillbilly Jim

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    The second inductee of the night was possibly the most underrated character in pro wrestling history, Hillbilly Jim. It was only fitting Jimmy Hart inducted him.

    Most young fans may only know these two from their stint on WWE Legends' House, but anyone who was alive in the '80s knows they are important to WWE history.

    Hart is nicknamed The Mouth of the South for a reason. He did an outstanding job of recapping Jim's career as quickly as possible without skipping over any important details.

    Hillbilly Jim came out and danced with Hart to his entrance music, and that got most of the crowd to get up and dance too.

    Normally a loud and charismatic individual, Jim was humble as he talked about the people who helped him break into the business.

    Despite not providing many laughs like The Dudley Boyz, the crowd was hanging on every word coming out of Hillbilly Jim's mouth because he was telling a great story.

    He promised to keep his speech short, but he ended up talking for roughly 30 minutes. He ended by thanking the fans for making him feel at home no matter where he was.

                   

    Notes and Highlights

    • Seeing a man the size of Hillbilly Jim do a cartwheel will always be impressive.
    • Hart basically credited Jim for his entire career when he recalled how he helped bring him in for the first WrestleMania.
    • Jim referenced a lot of names in his speech. It was an even mix of people every fan knows and people few have heard of. 
    • He also brought up Hogan. WWE must not have told people to avoid mentioning his name.
    • Jim still knows exactly how much money he made from his first merchandise check: $86,710.10.
    • It seems like everyone from Jim's era has a story about Andre the Giant's legendary ability to drink copious amounts of alcohol. 
    • Jim talked about being proud to represent the state of Kentucky and the loss of his friends Roddy Piper and Jimmy Snuka with a lot of emotion.

Legacy Inductees

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    For the past few years, WWE has included a list of what it calls legacy inductees into the WWE Hall of Fame.

    These are Superstars who typically passed away a long time ago and might not necessarily have worked for WWE but had an impact on the wrestling business.

    Here is a full list of this year's legacy inductees:

    • Lord Alfred Hayes
    • Stan Stasiak
    • Boris Malenko
    • Dara Singh
    • El Santo
    • Cora Combs
    • Jim Londos
    • Rufus R. Jones
    • Sputnik Monroe

Ivory

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    Ivory was the only woman included in this year's Hall of Fame class, and she was inducted by her traveling partner and fellow legend, Molly Holly.

    Mighty Molly kept her speech short, but she managed to fit a lot of information into the time she did use. You could see the love on her face as she talked about her friend's career with great pride.

    Lilian Garcia was brought out to give Ivory a proper introduction, and Ivory paid her back by immediately telling an embarrassing story about her. 

    The former country singer belted out a few notes in appreciation of New Orleans before talking about how she got involved with Glow.

    Ivory enjoyed every minute she spent on the stage, remembering the time she spent working with everyone who helped teach her the business.

                   

    Notes and Highlights

    • Ivory had a cat named Frankie she would apparently take everywhere when she traveled. 
    • It was hard not to get a little choked up when Holly talked about the first show after September 11 and how Ivory chose to work twice that night instead of choosing not to wrestle at all.
    • You have to admire Ivory for the work she has done with animals over the years.
    • Hearing Gail Kim's name in Ivory's speech was a nice surprise.
    • You can tell Ivory is new to Twitter.
    • Ivory's roasting of Ric Flair for no reason was the best part of her speech.
    • She mentioned how she finally got engaged after finding out she was being inducted into the Hall of Fame. As she talked about how her wedding might include some dirty dancing, the Right to Censor alarm played.
    • Ivory has stayed in great shape. It wouldn't be surprising to see her show up for the Women's Battle Royal at WrestleMania on Sunday.

Kid Rock

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    This year's inductee into the celebrity wing has been involved with WWE for the better part of 20 years and is responsible for one of The Undertaker's entrance songs.

    Kid Rock is a polarizing personality for many reasons, but he has always been a proud supporter of pro wrestling.

    Triple H was chosen to induct him since having The Undertaker appear before WrestleMania would ruin the angle that has seen John Cena try to get him to show up for a match.

    Kid Rock showed up in his best denim shirt and jeans to accept the honor, and he seemed sincere when he said this was a greater honor than any Grammy. 

    He thanked a lot of people in his speech, but he made sure to take a special moment to thank late bandmate and fellow wrestling fan Joe C. 

                     

    Notes and Highlights

    • Triple H's speech might have convinced a few people to give Kid Rock's music a second chance.
    • Trips also used his time on the stage to plug NXT TakeOver and WrestleMania. It's surprising he didn't remind us how much WWE Network costs.
    • Things almost turned hostile when Kid Rock talked about wanting to body slam some Democrats, but then he talked about everyone needing to find common ground and get along. 
    • It was nice of him to acknowledge wrestlers' hard lifestyles and the sacrifices they have to make.

Jeff Jarrett

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    Jeff Jarrett has had a lot of ups and downs in both his wrestling career and personal life, but there is no denying how deserving he is of a Hall of Fame induction.

    Double J was a great hand in the ring, an incredible heel personality and is responsible for helping a lot of wrestlers get exposure in TNA.

    The night was already running long at this point, so Road Dogg launched right into his speech after Jerry Lawler brought him on to the stage.

    He only spoke for a minute or two before bringing Jarrett out, which was likely something he was told to do by the powers that be.

    Jarrett didn't even make it two minutes into his speech before the crowd made him cry by chanting "you deserve it." Then he got right back to business.

    Double J got choked up when he talked about his special relationships with Road Dogg and Owen Hart, and it was hard not to shed a tear along with him as he recalled some of Hart's better practical jokes.

    After a speech filled with laughs and more than a few tears, Jarrett closed by thanking his wife, kids, father and his grandmother, who took a second job selling wrestling tickets to support two kids.

                        

    Notes and Highlights

    • Road Dogg joked about not remembering the '90s, but he also made a serious statement about not doing drugs.
    • The former New Age Outlaw also took Jarrett's mic and hat away to make the crowd laugh.
    • Calling Shawn Michaels the Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky and Tom Brady of pro wrestling is a huge compliment.
    • The Miz looked surprised and honored when Jarrett told him he was doing a great job with the Intercontinental Championship.
    • Edge and Christian's appearance to give Double J a red clown nose in honor of Owen was a nice moment.
    • Watching Jarrett and Road Dogg sing "With My Baby Tonight" again was surreal. Neither one of them performed it perfectly, but it was still fun.

Jarrius 'JJ' Robertson

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    Dana Warrior was in attendance once again to present The Warrior Award. This year's recipient was Jarrius "JJ" Robertson.

    JJ has become a well-known advocate for organ donation after two liver transplants helped save his life. And he is a huge WWE fan.

    Dana talked about how this was a bittersweet event for her because New Orleans was the city where The Ultimate Warrior was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

    From the moment he stepped out on to the stage, JJ controlled the room. He was dancing and made a joke about not being tall enough to reach the microphone.

    Even though he was a little nervous, Robertson had no problem telling everyone to stop booing Roman Reigns because they are friends.

    If more people were like this young man, the world would be a much better place.

                   

    Notes and Highlights

    • Dana did a good job keeping it together when you could tell she was fighting to hold back a lot of tears.
    • The video package for Robertson was inspiring.
    • JJ's tuxedo was awesome.
    • This kid is going to end up doing something in entertainment. He is too charismatic not to.
    • On a serious note, organ donation is important. My best friend saved his niece's life by donating part of his liver to her, and now she is a perfectly healthy little girl after spending most of the first few years of her life in and out of the hospital.

Mark Henry

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    One of the more surprising announcements regarding this year's Hall of Fame class was Mark Henry's inclusion. Not because he isn't deserving but because it was unclear whether he was retired from in-ring competition.

    To induct the World's Strongest Man, WWE enlisted his former tag team partner and the World's Largest Athlete, Big Show.

    He talked about Henry being a great recruiter for WWE and told a funny story about how Henry broke a man's camera with one hand before bringing out the former Olympian.

    His speech was all about giving credit to the people who helped him along the way. For a guy whose nickname is The World's Strongest Man, Henry showed a lot of humility.

    Henry started crying when he talked about how Owen Hart deserves to be in the Hall of Fame and how he regrets not keeping up with his family like he should have.

    He was able to get himself together before launching into his Sexual Chocolate persona, complete with a shiny cape and his classic entrance music.

    Henry ended his speech by talking about the importance of diversity of all kinds. He said he might not be done taking titles from people yet and threatened a few Superstars before laughing it off as a joke.

                     

    Notes and Highlights

    • Henry's son was wearing a salmon-colored jacket as a funny tribute to his father.
    • The former world heavyweight champion wasn't wearing his salmon jacket at first, but he had someone bring it out to him at the end of his speech. He has lost some weight, so the jacket was big on him. 
    • The chants of "Sexual Chocolate" kept him from crying because they made him laugh.
    • He ended up crying a minute or two later anyway when he recalled how his mother took him to see Andre the Giant and the legend helped him up when he had been knocked down by some other fans.
    • A technical glitch caused a loud noise to play through the speakers during Henry's speech. He jokingly looked up and asked if it was God or Ernie Ladd.
    • He made sure to thank The Nation of Domination, Mae Young and Chyna for helping him get over.
    • The biggest takeaway from this speech was that Henry is one of the nicest guys in pro wrestling. 

Bill Goldberg

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    Paul Heyman was chosen to induct Goldberg into the Hall of Fame, and he made sure to point out the irony right away.

    Heyman was the man behind ECW, and Goldberg was a homegrown WCW talent, and yet one was inducting the other in the WWE Hall of Fame. 

    After hyping WrestleMania like the showman he is, Heyman brought out Goldberg to a standing ovation. Just like when he wrestles a match, the former world champion was shown being escorted from his dressing room to the stage by security.

    Goldberg promised a brief speech and immediately started thanking his family for the various ways they helped and supported him growing up.

    The WCW legend thanked a laundry list of people from his time in both promotions. He didn't tell a lot of stories, and the ones he did recall were short and sweet.

    The only subject he spent a significant amount of time on was his family. The love for his wife and son was written all over his face as he talked about how they were his entire life. Goldberg finished up his speech by yelling his signature "who's next?!" catchphrase.

    The event ended up being over four hours long, but it flew by thanks to the fact everyone was so entertaining. 

                    

    Notes and Highlights

    • Goldberg bragged about being the first Jewish WCW and WWE champion to have a Bar Mitzvah.  
    • His suit looked like it was waterproof. 
    • Diamond Dallas Page is the man to thank for Goldberg's wrestling career. 
    • Kevin Nash broke the undefeated streak on Goldberg's birthday. How's that for a gift?
    • If you haven't seen it yet, you should check out Goldberg's appearances on TV show The Goldbergs. He is hilarious. 
    • Goldberg's son looked a little uncomfortable being on camera, but you could tell he was happy to be there for his dad.