WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2015: Rikishi

Rikishi

Rikishi

Class of 2015

Attitude Era Samoan, Dancing Man

rikishi

Hall of Fame Rating

4 out of 10

Disappointing

 2015 started with a bang as The Macho Man Randy Savage was announced for the WWE Hall of Fame. It was a moment where those who celebrate wrestling and its history (this blog included) finally could let out a collective sigh of relief. Macho Man, like Warrior and Bruno before him, was getting his just recognition.

The last few years, the WWE has upped the quality of induction candidates. In the 2013 Class, the weak link was the celebrity (as it almost always is) and in 2014,  Carlos Colon and Lita were passable as they are still beloved by many for what they accomplished.

2015 has proven to be a  different story. The weak link has already been taken up by Celebrity Inductee, Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose inclusion is absurd. (See my rant on that subject here). Unfortunately, we now have a situation which hasn’t existed since 2011, two lackluster inductees.

Enter Rikishi. Rikishi is fine. He was entertaining…. for what he was. And what he was can be best summarized by this:

rikishidancing

LARGE MAN DANCING! Its comedy. And Rikishi did it first and best. Unfortunately, the dancing man character has become a main staple of WWE’s gimmick catalog and has been done again….

If you view this as success...

……

and again…..

tensaidancing

 

Now, there is nothing wrong with dancing in a wrestling ring. There is nothing wrong in being a comedy character. Santino Marella, had a long and fun career for almost 10 years in that role. However, dancing and comedy does not make a Hall of Fame Career. Gimmicks, matches, feuds and storytelling must be part of the person’s body of work. In most of those categories, Rikishi is very lacking.

Rikishi’s is in the Hall of Fame because he is Samoan and his kids work for the WWE. Plain and simple. WWE loves to harp on legacies, likely due to the owner’s obsession with his own.

What a Happy Family!

What a Happy Family!

Rikishi is a member of  the Anoa’i Family, which includes some very worthy Hall of Famers including Peter Maivia, The Wild Samoans and Yokozuna. Vince cannot create more Samoans, so that means that it is Rikishi’s turn. Agree or disagree about the actual importance of the Anoa’i Family (without the Rock, they would be a much less important wrestling family), this is what WWE likes to do.

WWE also likes to induct fathers and family members of current superstars. It is why Bob Orton joined in 2005 and even why Mil Mascaras became a Hall of Famer in 2012 (Alberto Del Rio’s Uncle). This is why WWE’s Hall of fame is  different than any other Hall.  Inclusion is not based on a voting system; inductees are rewarded for longevity or for gimmicked popularity.

Cut to Rikishi. Apart from dancing, he is also known for this:

rikishi-stinkface-rodney-mack-o

His entire induction video is basically a celebration of dancing and stinkfaces. You know, SPORTS ENTERTAINMENT. The entertainment is what’s important to Vince & co. Sports Entertainment. Not Wrestling.

I ask myself sometimes if I really need to accept this. Do I have to accept that WWE shits upon its own legacy by celebrating base wrestlers, gimmicks instead of actual men, or uninspired performers? Why do they do this?

vincefuckyou

 

Fine. If I am going to continue to write a blog about the WWE Hall of Fame, I must accept that Vince McMahon and his corporate team don’t understand what a Hall of Fame is supposed to be. Fine. Fine.

meh

 

For shits and giggles, let’s take a look at the career of Rikishi. He had a long stay with the WWF/WWE. Half of his career there was spent jumping gimmicks. In fact, he may be one of the very few to have 4 completely different characters in one organization.  In 1992, Rikishi, then known as Fatu debuted as part of the Headshrinkers, a totally not racist update to the Wild Samoans. He was pared with his Samoan Swat Team partner and real life cousin Samu.

headshrinkersfs

They did have some success in 1993-1994, swapping titles back and forth with an out-of-place Steiner Brothers (Seriously, Rikishi is in the Hall of Fame before the Steiners) before Samu left, Fatu was stuck with Sionne (a reformed and returning Barbarian) and slowly faded into obscurity.

As all his relatives and partners left, the WWF decided it would be a great idea to turn Fatu face and have him make a difference for low-income kids by wearing bright colors. 1995 gave us the birth of Making A Difference Fatu.

9610619

 

Without any shock from anyone, the gimmick failed and Fatu, instead of leaving the organization, allowed himself to get repackaged again as another race. Thus gave us 1996 and The Sultan!

 

One of these aren't middle eastern

One of these aren’t middle eastern

Fatu had limited success as this character (even with both Bob Backlund and Iron Sheik as managers) ,and  although he did have a Wrestlemania match against the struggling Rocky Maivia for the IC Title in 1997., he faded out within a year.

Which will bring us to Rikishi. Rikishi or as he debuted, Rikishi Phatu (see its Fatu but cool!)….

7926936

…..which was a fine midcard performer who wasn’t going to have any great success. His path changed suddenly when Too Cool (NEVER GOING INTO THE HALL OF FAME), coerced him to dance. The rest they say is history….

But I think that’s the point. Rikishi would never have gotten over without the dancing and the stinkface. He had really nothing to contribute other than being Samoan and kinda big. That’s it. The dancing made him. The stinkface made him. And he NEVER got bigger or better than those two things.

The few attempts at legitimizing Rikishi fell flat on their faces.

He was a one time IC Title holder (when that belt changed hands every week) and a one time tag holder with Scotty 2 Hotty (when Brian Christopher left)

 

AND THAT”S IT. Rikishi has no other accomplishments.

I change my mind, I do not accept that Vince McMahon just adds nonsense people to the Hall of Fame. So on behalf of myself and those reading this blog…..

cheers

 

 

Why 2015?

Macho Man Randy Savage is dead. He may be the headliner of this class and it appears to offset that sadness, that WWE is sticking with happy go lucky inductees. Rikishi, Arnold and likely the Bushwhackers will follow with that pattern.

Its bad booking. Its bad news. And once again…..

cheers

Oh and his kids can induct him. Prepare yourself for this moment on the Hall of Fame Stage:

rikishidancing

Opens Door For?

More Samoans. We may see Samu or Rosey or Tonga Kid eventually. Also opens the door for more character or gimmick induction. (Santino Marella Hall of Famer) Will be interesting to see if Val Venis eventually gets in. He is about the same level.

Reasons this shouldn’t have happened.

It’s a joke. Rikishi is not a Hall of Famer. He will never been in any other Hall of Fame (Pro Wrestling, Wrestling Observer etc). Doesn’t deserve it. Doesn’t belong.

Bushwhackers Confirmed for WWE Hall of Fame 2015

bushwhackersNO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!

bryanno

 

I’ve been running this blog for 3 years of Hall of Fame, and this announcement is officially the worst inductee in years. The Bushwhackers do not belong in the Hall of Fame. Similar to Ko Ko B. Ware, WWE shits on their own Hall of Fame by inducting a joke act with no actual credentials.

angerI am looking forward to writing a complete scathing review for this induction. It will come out in the next few days……

All I can say is that so far one of the greatest Hall of Fame moments (Macho Man finally getting in) has been officially tarnished by a weak, lackluster and downright terrible class. Three of the four inductees are unnecessary or just plain offensive.

In the meantime, let’s look at the Hall of Fame Tag Team the Bushwhackers “wrestling”.

 

WWE Hall of Fame 2015: Latest Rumored Names: Kevin Nash, Bushwhackers & More

WWE-Hall-of-Fame-logo-645x370

 

It is hard to believe that Wrestlemania is only about 40 days away. This means  that the rest of the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2015 will be announced in the next few weeks. Rumors have been rampant recently,  with everyone from big names like Kevin Nash and outside the box candidate like Genichiro Tenryu…..

In case a picture helps.....

You know…..this guy…

The biggest rumor is that the Class of 2015 is finalized.  While this is good news, it is also very late in the game. Triple H had started a precedent of solidifying the classes early (at least in 2013 & 2014). The late stage confirmation reminds me of lackluster classes like 2010. With a fairly disjointed class so far, is 2015 on its way to becoming one of the best or one of the worst in history?

Let’s take a look at some of the latest rumored names.

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Kevin Nash

kevin-nash_crop_340x234Almost all sources agree on our first rumored name’s inclusion this year. Kevin Nash has seemed to be a lock (as has been assumed since Scott Hall joined last year). He is now being rumored to be confirmed and to be inducted by Shawn Michaels.

Nash will help this severely lacking class, (excluding Macho Man), bringing World Champion credits. One of the major criterion that should be used to judge worthiness is titles. We’ve all heard the expression that titles don’t mean anything, but that is only partially correct. In Nash’s case, he was given the ball with the WWF Title for almost a year. This itself is an accomplishment, deserving inclusion. And yes, this is  despite reigning over one of the largest down periods in 1995 (that is until 1996 with his best friend Shawn Michaels at the helm)

All former world champions belong in the Hall. Yes, this will mean that The Miz will eventually join, but his inclusion was likely even without that World Title. (Sadly….)

Welcome Kevin Nash to the Hall of Fame. Only time will tell if Nash is correctly put in as himself, showcasing both his time in WWF and WCW, or is put in as Diesel. (See Razor Ramon)

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A Tag Team to Be Announced

bushwackers

WWE.com has posted another cryptic Hall of Fame preview for Monday’s upcoming announcement.

“The next inductees into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2015 are expected to be announced this coming Monday, WWE.com has learned. It is also rumored that it will be a tag team taking their place in the hallowed hall.

The mystery pair of legends will join “Macho Man” Randy Savage, celebrity inductee Arnold Schwarzenegger and Rikishi in the elite class. Who will enter the WWE Hall of Fame the night before WrestleMania 31? Could it be a team famous for their camouflage gear? Could it be an ultra-popular pair of brothers or family members? How many tag team championships have they held? Is it possible that we will see a current Hall of Famer earn a second nod and join Ric Flair as a two-time inductee?”

A tag team is going to be going into the Hall this year and PWinsider is reporting that the team to be announced is none other than the Bushwackers. If this ends up being true, all I can say is….

bryanno

 

Until this rumor is solidified, I have no words. Let me only say that Luke and Butch do NOT deserve to be in the Hall of Fame before The British Bulldogs, Hart Foundation, and Demolition. Wrong.Wrong. Wrong. Stay Tuned….

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Larry is out…Tenryu is a maybe, perhaps Koloff… and what about Ray Stevens?

genichiro-tenryu

In the last few years, each class has had 6-7 inductees. With the addition of Nash and a tag team, that leaves with one to two inductees left. Normally, one of those has been a DIVA or female competitor, although recently none have been actively discussed nor rumored.

Recently, Larry Zybszko had been rumored to be included. New reports say that Larry will be held off until a following year. As long as he doesn’t die anytime soon, holding Zybszko is alright in my book. Still want to see that smug face give a smug speech on a Hall of Fame stage. It appears we will have to wait on that one.

SMUG Smile

SMUG Smile

Last week, with the news of Genichiro Tenryu  retirement (at the tender age of 65 years), his name came up as a possible inductee in 2015’s class. Tenryu would be a very strange choice. His inclusion would be more along the line of a Antonio Inoki or Mil Mascaras; international star caliber without much WWE experience. For those who are saying, “Who is Genichiro Tenryu?”, you may remember him as one of the Japanese stars hired by Mr. Fuji to take out Lex Luger in the 1994 Royal Rumble. Fun fact, he didn’t succeed.

If Tenryu is included, he is likely to take the last spot in the class (assuming Nash, a Tag Team and a woman). This would unfortunately leave out this next man.

Ray Stevens has been bandied about as a likely inductee yet he is seeming less and less likely by the day. The rumors circulating around him have been that he is being pushed for by Pat Patterson, was a lock and was supposed to be announced two weeks ago (when the aforementioned Rikishi was announced). Nothing so far has come of Stevens’s status and it is now possible that he won’t be included at all. If that occurs, it will be a missed opportunity to bring the San Fran hometown hero into the Hall.

sad

You made Batman sad….

 

To round up the 2015 rumors, Ivan Koloff has been mentioned as a potential contender. I for one, do not believe he will be included, only because he has been rumored for the 2013 class, the 2014 class and the 2015 class. He is an obvious omission (former WWWF champion and the man who ended the original Bruno Sammartino reign) but WWE will likely drop the ball of this one and well….

What else is new...

What else is new…

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2016 Rumors and Here’s Chyna!!!

TheFabulousFreebirds_crop_340x234

 This week it has been reported that the first name for the 2016 class of the WWE Hall of Fame in Dallas, TX will be none other than The Fabulous Freebirds. This induction is so severely past due (Von Erichs went in 6 years ago) and would be an example of WWE finding the right inductees for the right location. Dallas (or any area in Texas really) fit the Freebirds, as their best run has to be with the Von Erichs in WCCW. These two teams feuded for basically 2 full years to sold out crowds all around Texas. It is undeniable that The Freebirds belong in the WWE Hall of Fame. Here’s hoping this rumor turns out to be true.

Finally, Chyna has been in the news lately. For those living under a rock, this is why:

Triple H was asked point blank on whether Chyna would ever be in the Hall of Fame and Triple H creatively said  a resounding “NO”. H blamed Chyna’s porn career and while that is valid on appearance; other inductees have had just as bad stuff in their closets (I’m looking at you Sunny)

Basically it was corporate speak for Chyna was my ex fiance, and my family doesn’t like her. In response, Chyna told her side of the story…

….which was refuted by Xpac…and then other bullshit happened. Needless to say, I was asked by an avid reader to comment on this. I think this story is very simple.

1. Chyna has had a Hall of Fame career.

2. Triple H does not want Chyna in the Hall of Fame.

3. Chyna is bitter about everything in her life from 2000-on

4. Chyna likely stretches the truth slightly and will never be in the WWE Hall of Fame.

 

Well that’s it for news this Sunday morning. We will see if 24 hours our next set of inductees!!!