As 2017 ramps up the wrestling world turns thoughts to April’s big event Wrestlemainia. An entire week of WWE events in one place capped off by a weekend jam packed with wrestling. NXT:Takeover Orlando, WWE Hall of Fame, Axxess the WWE fan convention and of course Wrestlemainia itself. Then there are the ancillary events where any one with any name value in wresting is doing a show, meet and greet or match. For all the pomp and circumstance of that week it is the Hall of Fame inductions that I love the most, WWE honours the past legends of the industry.
HAKU: Listen to any interview with a professional wrestler and you will hear “Who is the toughest wrestler of all time?” I listen to a lot of podcasts and have searched out many on YouTube and every time I hear that question the same name pops up; Haku/Meng/Prince Tonga. He never won the big titles in WCW or WWE but whether it is a “pick one” or “name a few” type answer Haku is the name that comes up every time. I believe it was Arn Anderson that called him ” The Human Garbage Disposal” (I could be wrong)Haku in his prime might have been a massive draw for MMA. He gets credit from his peers as the toughest of them so he should get a ring too.
DEMOLITION: The New Day barely beat the single reign title run length recently but Demolition rolled through the late 1980’s like a ten ton ball. Sure they get maligned as Road Warrior rip offs but they worked because underneath the arguably unoriginal gimmic (stolen like he Hawk and Animal’s from the Mel Gibson film The Road Warrior ) Demolition produced, period. They got in the ring and made the crowd believe they were for real no matter what the perception of their industry was. Ax and Smash have earned a pair of rings, not only as a team but Barry ‘Smash’ Darsow and Bill ‘Ax’ Eadie had stellar singles career both before and after Demolition. Before I close this out I will say that Crush does deserve his ring as well but his role in Demolition was a start point in a career that spanned a decade longer so leave him out of this and down the road give him his due.
VICTORIA : The ladies usually get their one entrant per year and while it is not a hard and fast rule is has held true so far, that being said many of you are asking “Why not Chyna?” simply put “Too soon.” I agree, Chyna deserves her spot but her legacy is still tainted with her tragic post WWE life so I think Lisa Marie ‘Victoria’ Varon should be next. Victoria debuted as a girl in the shower with Eddie Guerrero and parlayed that into a career of several years where she was the polished hand in the ring in an era of bikini matches, pillow fights and fitness models. Victoria was one of a select few female wrestlers that was in the ring with the pageant queens of the time to make them look good and she did it. When Trish Stratus was still figuring out which set of ropes to crawl through Victoria was making her look good. The years between 1996 – 2015 were not the all around greatest years for WWE female competition, sure we had our highlights but it was rare that two seriously accomplished competitors hit the ring and gave us a classic, much like Jackie Moore and Molly Holly, Victoria anchored the division, she made the less skilled look like gold medalists, if you want a more modern comparison look to Natalia Neidhart. She may not have the mainstream name value of a Chyna, Trish or Lita but without Victoria the Attitude Era would not have had a female division worth talking about.
JIM JOHNSTON: Who? What titles did he win? None. Jim Johnston made very few appearances on any WWE produced video. I think most might remember him from Beyond The Mat, a documentary on wrestling from the late 1990s, where he is explaining his process of composing Vader’s theme. He wrote and produced the theme songs of WWE performers for years and if one were to go back and look up the song writing credits of the WWE albums you would find J. Johnston all over the place. If I say a name and you remember their theme it is probably the result of Jim Johnston’s effort so he deserves his ring as much as any celebrity that has gotten one, why not acknowledge the support workers in the WWE machine as much as the stunt casting.
DAVEY BOY SMITH: Just Davey. I’m not saying The Dynamite Kid isn’t worthy, I am saying that Davey is a) more likely to agree, well his next of kin are b) made such an impact aside from The British Bulldogs that he should be recognized for it. He was part of 3 notable tag teams, The British Bulldogs (w/ Dynamite Kid), The Allied Powers (w/ Lex Luger) and with Owen Hart. He was a multiple time Tag Team Champion, Intercontinental Champion, European Champion and a consistent creditble opponent for any title in any company he was in be it WWE, WCW, Stampede Wrestling or Japan and European promotions. While his last few years in the business were marred in the ramifications of siding with Bret Hart over the Montreal Screw Job and the compounding of injuries and lifestyle, Davey had a career most wrestlers would gladly duplicate and fans fondly remember.
‘X-PAC’ SEAN WALTMAN: The last member of the Kliq I can see going in the the HoF for a long time. I do not believe ANY member of the McMahon family will accept induction to the HoF unless they are terminally ill and that includes Triple H. X-Pac may have had his run on the dark side of life but his in ring accumine and mind for the game are up there with the true greats. In his cleaner and more aware state X-Pac owns all of his demons, or claims to but if he is holding anything back I am frightened to know what. I have heard several wrestlers proclaim “If you can’t have a good match with ‘The Kid’ you can’t have a good match.” Chris Jericho acknowledges that he was told to “Go over all your matches with X-Pac” when he was adjusting to the WWE style. Bottom line: Sean ‘1-2-3 Kid/Syxx/X-Pac’ Waltman is one of the under rated performers in WWE history and deserves a ring.
VADER: The Mastodon, is not in good health and his credentials are undisputable. One of the biggest stars in WCW, the man that dropped the WCW World Heavyweight to Ron ‘Farooq’ Simmons making Ron the first black man to hold a company’s top belt in the US. Vader is a gaijin legend in Japan and one of the most feared competitors in a professional wrestling ring no matter what country or company it is in. Big Van Vader had an eye knocked out in the ring, I do mean out of the socket ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzFR9T29PoQ ) , by Stan Hansen in Japan and this bad mother fucker (yep, that’s how i feel about him) stuffed it back in and finished the match. Let that sink in. He stuffed his eye back in his skull THEN finished the match. Before you blow that off imagine you were at work and had to push your eye back into place, are you going to push it in and finish your day or are you done for the day. While Vader’s WWE run is not the title clad run of a legend he contributed in his time and his run under Vince McMahon was marred by injury. Big Van Vader deserves the chance to address the wrestling fandom before he passes and if it is truly a 2 year count down this is the year to do it while he remains a recognizable
THE ROCK: Here is the marquee star. Orlando is hosting Wrestlemania this year and The Rock being a Florida native is the local draw on top of being People Magazine’s Sexiest Man of the Alive, a massive box office draw and the biggest star ever produced by professional wrestling. Hulk Hogan, Andre The Giant and Stone Cold Steve Austin made tremendous head way into mainstream pop culture but none of them made the impact Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson did. Given the location of the event and the success he has had, ESPECIALLY the SMA designation, The Rock is the perfect choice, oh let’s not forget that he has made appearances at Wrestlemania every year since 2011 any way and the 17 times he carried the various championship belts that WWE sanctions.
There are my choices for this years Hall of Fame, whether or not they are accurate remains to the thoughts of those in charge remains to be seen. I have no contacts or sources to gather information this is just me and my reasons. As of the typing of this piece I have seen two rumours surface and while they are both very worthy in their own rights I would not have chosen either this year. Should rumour prove true both ‘Diamond’ Dallas Page and ‘Ravishing’ Rick Rude hit every criteria anyone could imagine for this honour.