Friday, December 10, 2010

Hall of Fame Hopefuls

2008 Hall of Fame Ceremony in Orlando
I know it's early to be talking about the Hall of Fame Class of 2011, but some other bloggers are doing it, so I wanted to get my thoughts out there too.  I guess this list is a combination of guys and gals I hope get in and who I think should be in the Hall of Fame.

There are of course lots of worthy candidates, especially since we've seen in recent years non-WWE guys getting inducted like Verne Gagne and Gordon Solie.

There's also a lot of criticism over the mid card guys being in.  Stars like Koko B. Ware and "Cowboy" Bob Orton.  But I think you have to put things into perspective.  Afterall, this is a Hall of Fame for sports entertainment.  And those guys did entertain us, right?  So who's really worthy and who's not?  I think it all comes down to personal preference.

But I can see where some would be irritated that Koko is in, but Bruno Sammartino isn't.  So here's my short list of some guys who should be inducted in the next couple of years.  Because many of them are big names, and the WWE tends to spread them out.  I get it.  

By the way, I've google image search most of these photos, and I don't know who they should originally be attributed to, so if it's your's I apologize.

Bruno Sammartino
1.  Bruno Sammartino:  By the time I started watching wrestling, Bruno was pretty much done with his in ring tenure.  He was a part of the announce team on Superstars with Vince McMahon and Jessie Venture.  And I don't remember them really talking much about Bruno's past as a wrestler.

I know he did wrestle sporadically over, including a program with Randy Savage and was a part of that big 20 man battle royal at Wrestlemania 2.  He also had an LJN figure made in his likeness, as a wrestler and not an announcer.

But that's just the tip of the iceberg.  Bruno is the longest reigning champion in the history of the WWE.  With only two title reigns, he held the belt for 4,040 combined days. (Thank you Wikipedia).  That alone should get him in, right?

And to be fair to the WWE, the invitation has been extended, Bruno has not accepted it.  From the stories I've read, he sounds pretty bitter and at least in his lifetime won't be going into the hall.

Bob Backlund
2. Bob Backlund: I must admit when I first discovered Backlund wasn't already in the Hall of Fame a few years back, I was pretty surprised.  Actually shocked.  I had always thought Backlund and the E were on good terms.

He was a part of a special Raw episode a few years back.  And even after he stopped wrestling, he briefly managed The Sultan and Kurt Angle (not at at the same time)

Backlund is 3rd on the list of the longest WWE world title reigns.  He wore it for 2,138 days.  That's unbelievable in this day and age.  Backlund was also a co holder of the tag team titles with Pedro Morales (a WWE Hall of Famer).

From his early days, one of his most memorable matches for me was the one against "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka inside the steel cage.  Snuka had perched himself atop the "25 foot" tall structure for his pattened Superfly leap, but the champ rolled out of the way.  Snuka crashed to the mat and Backlund escaped the cage and retained the title.

Macho Man and Liz
3.  Randy Savage:  Randy Savage no doubt belongs in the Hall of Fame.  I think it may be bitterness on both sides that he's not.

When Savage first arrived in the WWF he took the company by storm.  He won the Intercontential title and was a legitimate threat to Hulk Hogan's world title.

Then in 1987 when he turned face, his world really turned around.  He started getting an even better push then when he was IC champion.  He'd teamed up with Hogan and was getting that rub.  By Wrestlemania 4, he was the world champion.  He'd go on to win the title again, holding it for more than 500 days, and making him the 8th longest reigning champion.

Savage's time in WCW was also successful with four runs as that company's world champ.  While we're on Savage, I think his valet/manager Elizabeth is worthy of the Hall of Fame too.  She really laid the ground work for other women (non wrestlers) to get involved in the business.  Now it seems like all the ladies involved are required to wrestle whether they should be in the ring or not.

So Vince and Randy, but your differences aside and induct the Macho Man into the Hall of Fame, dig it.

The King of Harts
4.  Owen Hart: If Owen Hart were alive today, I think he'd still have some sort of involvement in the world of wrestling.  Either he'd be a trainer in the back or I could have seen him as a heel manager for the Hart Dynasty.

Even though Owen was never the world champion, he accomplished a lot during his short career.  In the WWE alone, he was a multiple time tag team champion (with Yokozuna, Davey Boy Smith,  and Jeff Jarrett).  Owen was also the European champion, held the Intercontinental title twice, and won the 1994 King of the Ring Tournament.

Owen had some of the best matches of the mid-90's in the WWE against Bret and Davey Boy.  He has a rich family history in wrestling.  His dad and brother are both in the Hall of Fame.  And given that he literally gave his life up for the sport, I think it's only fitting that he go in in 2011.

The Road Warriors
5. The Road Warriors: One of, if not the most dominate tag team in the history of wrestling.  I think I'm correct in stating they're the only duo to hold the world tag team titles in the AWA, NWA, and WWF.  That's pretty impressive.

The Road Warriors were just rough and tough guys who took care of business in the ring.  I always liked them better as heels, but the fans really bought into them and supported them through most of their career, which made it tough to boo them.

Although I'll say when they arrived in the WWF in 1990, they weren't as dominate as I thought they'd be.  I think this goes back to my theory that Vince likes to create his own stars and pushing guys from other promotions is some sign of weakness.  He quit calling them the Road Warriors and simply named them The Legion of Doom.

Remember how long it took them to actually win the WWF tag team titles.  It was about a year to be exact.  Then they only held the belts briefly before being saddled with that stupid dummy gimmick Rocco.  It wasn't long before they'd go their separate ways, but they reunited and wrestled in WCW and WWE off and on after that.

But their success can't be ignored and without a doubt they're one of the best loved teams in the history of wrestling.  It only makes sense that they're immortalized in the hall.

"Ravishing" Rick Rude

6. "Ravishing" Rick Rude: My first memories of Rude were of him invading World Class Championship Wrestling.  He was pretty dominate back then, winning the company's "world" title.  I remember he played the heel part excellent with his plump manage Percy Pringle helping him to win by any means necessary.

I was such a Von Erich mark back then and remember when Rude was defending the title against Kerry.  I knew my hero would win, but when Rude cheated and pinned Kerry, I was outraged.  That's exactly what a good heel wrestler is supposed to do.

Rude jumped from WCCW to the NWA were he held the tag team titles with Manny Fenandez.  He wasn't there long before heading to the WWF and winning the Intercontinental title from the Ultimate Warrior.  Rude engaged in some memorable feuds too with the likes of Jake "the Snake" Roberts and the Ultimate Warrior.

He never won the world title there, but jumped back to WCW and beat Ric Flair for the NWA title.  He also had a successful run as U.S. champion and beat guys like Sting and Dustin Rhodes along the way.  I'd say his run in WCW was probably his most successful.

He jumped back to the E before pulling the old doublecross where he was on a taped version of Raw and a live edition of Nitro.  Sadly, Rude died in 1999.  I think he still had something to give to wrestling, be it as a manager or a trainer.

"Adorable" Adrian Adonis
7.  Adrian Adonis: This one may surprise a lot of people.  But I really feel like Adonis had a big impact on wrestling, especially in the late 80's.  He was a part of the biggest Wrestlemania in the history of the business.

But don't just look to the stereotypical gay character they turned Adonis into.  Look back into the late 70's and early 80's when he was a tough guy street thug.  I probably should have used a better picture to illustrate my point.

Adonis was a tag team champion in the AWA with Jessie Ventura.  They were like a Hollywood pretty boy meets New York tough guy, hence their name the East-West Coast Connection.  Adrian would later move to the WWF and team with Dick Murdoch to win the tag team titles from hall of famers, Rocky Johnson and Tony Atlas.

Shortly after they lost the belts, Adonis changed his look by bleaching his hair.  He also packed on the pounds and started wearing dresses.  This was of course part of the show, as Adrian was married with children.  Adrian lost a hair match to Roddy Piper at Wrestlemania 3 and shortly departed the WWF for the AWA once again.  He got injured there and didn't do a whole lot more in the ring.

Sadly, Adonis also passed away much too young.  He was involved in a car accident in Canada in 1988.  But his impact was felt years after his death.  From his adorable days, he carried around perfume, just like The Model Rick Martel would do years later.

So there you have it.  I know several of these guys (Hawk, Rude, Hart, and Adonis) have all passed away.  It would make for a pretty dreary ceremony.  But I think all these guys deserve to be in the Hall of Fame at some point.  Of course there are many others that I thought of as I wrote this post.  Many of them are mentioned as partners or opponents of the men listed here.

I'd like to hear your list of who should be going in this next time around.

1 comment:

  1. By the way, I realize Wrestlemania is in Atlanta next year and the class will likely be more "WCW" driven, but these are some guys who should be in already IMO.