WWE Hall of Fame 2021: Recapping Inductee Speeches, Top Highlights and More
One of the best parts of WrestleMania week is always the Hall of Fame ceremony. The pandemic forced the company to cancel it in 2020, but this year will offer a super-sized class of inductees to make up for it.
The list of honorees includes a lot of recognizable names from the ‘90s and early 2000s, with a few who began their careers in the '70s and ‘80s. This might even be the youngest HOF class in WWE history if you average out the ages.
Here is a full list of everyone who was honored at the ceremony on Tuesday:
- Molly Holly
- The New World Order
- The Bella Twins
- The Great Khali
- The British Bulldog
- Eric Bischoff
- Jushin “Thunder” Liger
- William Shatner (Celebrity wing)
- Ozzy Osbourne
- Titus O’Neil (Warrior Award)
- Rich Hering (Warrior Award)
Let’s take a look at what the inductees had to say and some of the highlights from Tuesday’s ceremony.
The first inductee of the night was John Bradshaw Layfield. His video package focused mostly on his time with the APA and his WWE title reign.
He spoke about how he knew he wanted to be a pro wrestler when he was a kid and finally got to pursue his dream after his football career ended.
Credit was given to guys like Dick Murdoch, the Von Erichs and Bob Orton for teaching him how to generate heat. He told a story about Fit Finley scaring off a knife-wielding attacker one time just by looking at him.
JBL took a moment to say his career wouldn’t have been possible without Eddie Guerrero. He called Ron Simmons his best friend and talked about some of his greatest rivals.
He did a good job keeping it short but hitting all of the big points in his career. JBL is always good on camera. He kept his promise to not shed any tears and ended his speech by refusing to apologize to anybody for being himself.
The British Bulldog
The U.K.’s favorite son was up next with the induction of The British Bulldog. His video package featured stars like Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart and Drew McIntyre talking about his epic career.
Diana Hart-Smith, Harry Smith and Georgia Smith all showed up to accept the award with a pup that looked suspiciously like Matilda, the old mascot for The British Bulldogs tag team.
Harry did the speaking on his family’s behalf. He talked about the Bulldog’s athleticism and his wonderful personality. He said he is proud to carry on his father's name. If this was live, there would have been chants to sign him to a WWE contract again.
He gave a great speech to honor his dad's career but he didn’t have enough time to truly encapsulate how special The British Bulldog was as a performer. Five minutes goes by quickly if you are trying to talk about somebody as legendary as Davey Boy Smith.
Jushin "Thunder" Liger
The third inductee of the night was none other than the Japanese legend and WCW light-heavyweight regular, Jushin “Thunder” Liger.
Liger appeared remotely from Tokyo to accept his induction. He said he had goosebumps and this was the first time he has been this nervous in front of a mic.
The masked Superstar closed out his speech in English to thank all of his fans from WWE and around the world. He looked truly honored to be recognized for his career achievements.
Shatner also appeared on a pre-recorded video to give his induction speech. He said he first became a wrestling fan in Canada and became friends with a lot of WWE Superstars over the years.
Captain Kirk kept it short and sweet. There’s nothing else to report.
The Bella Twins
Brie and Nikki Bella were inducted together as part of the class of 2020. Their video package included a lot of their biggest highlights and a few people talking about how important they were to the Women’s Revolution.
They spoke about being twins in the business together and how they got their first chance to pursue pro wrestling as a career.
They sounded like they rehearsed but their speech was cohesive and hit all of the right notes. Sometimes it pays to plan ahead. They made sure to name several other women who helped them along the way like Beth Phoenix and Paige.
Like everyone else at the ceremony, they seemed elated to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
The 2020 Warrior Award was presented to O’Neil by Jerry Lawler. The former NFL player came out and danced with The King for a moment before talking about his life growing up in poverty.
He said the first time somebody showed him that they loved and believed in him was when he turned his life around and started working hard. He ended up being a successful college athlete and graduated with honors from The University of Florida before going to the NFL.
O’Neil spoke passionately about how he believes there is no such thing as a bad kid and how it’s his mission to help as many families as possible. He thanked WWE for giving him the platform to help.
This was one of the most inspirational speeches we have seen at a WWE HOF ceremony. If you didn’t watch the show, take the time to look this one up. This would have gotten a standing ovation and several chants.
New World Order
The New World Order was inducted next, but only Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, Sean Waltman and Hulk Hogan were recognized as receiving the honor.
Waltman spoke first and talked about how Syxx had a bigger impact than any of his other characters in pro wrestling.
Hall and Nash both spoke about how it took all of the right ingredients at the right time for the whole New World Order idea to work.
Hogan talked about the transition from babyface to heel and how the group made it possible. He joked about having one more run before ending by saying they are too sweet.
Considering four guys had to speak, they did an excellent job making it brief but enjoyable. It was kind of funny seeing Hogan dance around with what was clearly a plastic world title.
Kayla Braxton and Corey Graves took over hosting duties when the show switched to the class of 2021. The first inductee of the year was RVD.
The master of the Five-Star Frog Splash came out in a sharp black suit and pink tie combo to accept his induction into the Hall of Fame.
He talked about how the only reason he was there is the love the fans have for him. He remembered the day his father died and how he had an autograph signing that same day.
He chose not to tell anyone about his personal situation and used the love he felt from the fans to get through it. It was a heartfelt story that would have produced some tears from the a live crowd.
He took his time and made sure he thanked all of the people who had a big impact on his career. RVD made sure to single out Sabu.
Mighty Molly immediately mentioned shaving her head at WrestleMania and made a joke about being more legendary than Vince McMahon.
She listed off several people who had a direct hand in training her before she thanked the WWE Universe for embracing her at a time when women were not as popular in pro wrestling.
Her speech was short but the smile never left her face. This is one of the few times when nobody would have complained if the inductee talked for an hour because she is that beloved.
She took some time to thank the WWE crew and listed off several names of people who would never be mentioned on television under normal circumstances. That is how great this woman is. She took the time to acknowledge all of the unsung heroes who impacted her life in a positive way.
If you are not familiar with Holly's career, please take the time to look her up. She did some incredible work for WWE and helped a lot of people along the way.
The Great Khali
One of the biggest men to ever step foot in a WWE ring was up next with the induction of The Great Khali.
The Punjabi Playboy’s video package highlighted his world title win and his efforts to train the next generation of wrestlers from India.
He appeared virtually and spoke about being the first Indian-born world champion and Hall of Fame inductee. He gave most of his speech in his own language but thanked the fans in English at the end.
Ranjin Singh gave a backstage interview and spoke about how special it was to work with such a giant.
Osbourne appeared via video to thank WWE, the fan and Triple H for his induction into the Hall of Fame. The video package covered all of the major highlights from his WWE appearances over the years.
This was the shortest speech of the night but with the time constraints WWE had in place, that was probably for the best.
It was odd that WWE did not announce his induction sooner but it's possible the company was waiting until it had a recorded speech from him confirmed.
Bischoff’s video package leaned heavily into the New World Order phase of his life in WCW while still covering his entire career in just a few minutes.
He started off by making a reference to 3-Minute Warning as a tribute to the late Matt Anoa’I and Eddie Fatu. It was a nice gesture that probably meant a lot to his family.
The former president of WCW talked about getting into the business and how many lessons he learned along the way. He said every amazing thing he has gotten to do was because he had the privilege of standing on the shoulders of giants. It was a rare moment of humility from the man who once challenged Vince McMahon to a shoot fight on WCW Nitro.
The 2021 Warrior Award was given to longtime WWE employee, Rich Hering. He began his career under Vincent J. McMahon over 50 years ago and has continued to work for the company on the corporate level.
His video package highlighted his time as a judge, a member of the New York Athletic Commission and as part of WWE’s national expansion.
A lot of people shared their love for him in the video package before he came out onto the stage. He made a quick speech and looked touched to receive this honor.
The video for Kane’s Hall of Fame induction somehow managed to cover most of the big moments in his career, of which there were many.
Glenn Jacobs came out with his Kane mask in a glass case on the podium. He joked about how his mom once brought a sign to a show that said “I raised Kane.”
He said his one regret is the time he missed with his wife and kids but said his wife has always been his best tag team partner.
The Big Red Monster thanked everybody on the crew and in the production team for always making him look better than he was and all of the wrestlers he ever worked with.
This was eloquent and real. Kane had an amazing career and seeing him get his own induction was satisfying. He apologized for setting Jim Ross on fire and spoke fondly about Paul Bearer and The Undertaker. He set off his pyro one more time to end the show.
The following is a list of the Superstars who were inducted as part of the Legacy classes of 2020 and 2021:
- Baron Michele Leone
- Brickhouse Brown
- "Dr. Death" Steve Williams
- Gary Hart
- Ray Stevens
- Dick the Bruiser
- Ethel Johnson
- Paul Boesch
- Fez Whatley
- Buzz Sawyer