WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2014: Southern Wrestlers

We are potentially 30-45 days before the first WWE Hall of Fame 2014 announcement and I for one am super psyched. We have the chance for another really good following the very strong 2013 class.

We have already taken a look as some possible headliners and the Mid South connection. Apart from the Mid South wrestlers, there are some other candidates with a southern connection or a southern background. Although many of these are outside of the box, WWE is known to induct some oddball choices from time to time. No one could have predicted Abdullah the Butcher in 2011.

Special thanks for loyal reader, MR. J for the idea of  many of these potential inductees.

Let’s take a look at some now:

SOUTHERN CONNECTION: 

Kamala

Kamala

The Ugandan Giant, Kamala is  a name which was rumored for the 2013 class. At this time last year, PWInsider reported Kamala was likely to be included in the 2013 class. http://allwrestling.com/newswireitem/14397/wwe-reportedly-set-add-kamala/. Now, despite the fact that rumors are almost always incorrect ,Kamala was and still is another strong possibility for induction this year.

Kamala is one of those gimmicks which never really changed. He was a Ugandun headhunter in 1986 against Andre, the same character against Undertaker in 1992 and yet again the same in the Dungeon of Doom. That is not to say he is not memorable, but gimmicked characters like him do not really exist today. He went from territory to territory doing the same thing over and over again. And due to his size and the simpler times of the 80s wrestling landscape, he got over wherever he went. (Excluding probably WWF in 1993 where he turned face and learned who to bowl or something with Slick…..

Kamala could be inducted this year. He has a few things going for him. First he is from the South (Mississippi to be precise) and we’ve already established that WWE loves to embrace the Wrestlemania area when concerning who is inducted. Kamala also meets an important criteria in diversity. Being an African American star (I know its shocking he isn’t actually an Ugandun headhunter), he fits that mold as well.  Another reason for his induction could be what I call the Tony Atlas rule. Tony Atlas was inducted in 2006, and then subsequently given a job because he needed it. WWE is nothing but friendly and helpful to wrestlers they like who are in need. Unfortuantely, Kamala has recently lost both legs to amputation, ending his career, and is reportedly in need of cash. WWE would pay the 5,000 for the induction, plus maybe throw the guy a bone for interviews and commentary.

Chances of Induction:

5 out of 10


dannyhodge

Danny Hodge

Many readers have probably never heard of Danny Hodge. Hodge (who is still alive) is a relic of 1960s professional wrestling. Although his career spanned many decades, he was mostly a regional star who greatest runs were with the NWA Junior Heavyweight championship as promoted by Leroy McGuirk (who we will deal with shortly).

Hodge is one of those old timer wrestlers who I believe would have had a greater chance of joining the Hall had it not taken a break between 1995-2004. He is good friends with Jim Ross and was rumored to be pushed by Ross several times for induction.

Plus he can do this.

And that’s pretty awesome. His reputation as a tough man is without question, especially when you hear the story of a car crash he was in once. Take a look below.

http://www.squaredcircleofwrestling.com/2013/09/10/the-greatness-of-danny-hodge/

 Hodge, like Bullet Bob Armstrong in 2011, would be an unknown to almost all of the fans today. With Jim Ross retired, Hodge’s induction is super unlikely.

Chances of Induction

2 out of 10


leroymcguirk

Leroy McGuirk

WWE loves to induct their former competition. For no other reason then it shows how WWE today IS Wrestling today. Verne Gagne, Eddie Graham & Bill Watts have all joined the Hall. It is likely that Eric Bischoff and even possibly Ted Turner may join at a future date. It shows the welcoming nature of Vince & Co. “We won, but you are still welcome”

That’s not the say that all of the former promoters are in the Hall of Fame. There are many glaring omissions. Toots Mondt, Vince Sr’s partner is not in the Hall. Neither are the Crocketts (famous as the originators of wrestling on cable nation wide). Leroy McGuirk, while not as important as those mentioned above, could be considered to be the precursor of Bill Watts.

Watts territory, Mid South, was the successor to McGuirk’s  NWA Tri-State…

tristate

Not that Tri State….

 His involvement makes sense, but it will not occur. First, McGuirk is deceased. There will be at least one deceased entry this year. McGuirk will be overshadowed by that. Secondly and most importantly, Leroy McGuirk is an 2014 inductee into the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame. There is no way WWE inducts someone who is getting inducted in another hall of fame in the same year. Not going to happen

Chances of Induction

0 out of 10


bearer

Paul Bearer

Speaking of deceased inductees, our next possibility is well documented. Since his death in 2013, (immediately before the 2013 WWE Hall of Fame ceremony) there has been a push to induct Paul Bearer. There have been rumors out the wazzoo about Bearer is first confirmed 2014 inductee, his family has already been told, that Undertaker is doing the induction, etc etc etc.

I for one tend not to believe rumors when it comes to anything wrestling realted. Generally, they are always wrong. Does anyone remember DX’s induction last year? No? That’s because that rumor was just that; a rumor.

Now, this is not to say that Paul Bearer is not deserving. The Hall has almost all the great managers. It has Heenan, Dillon, Hart, Fuji, Wizard, Blassie, Albano and Ellering. Only ones missing are Miss Elizabeth, Jim Cornette and Paul Bearer. (Paul Heyman too, but he’s not retired)

Bearer, both in his Percy Pringle III persona and in WWF is an extremely memorable and diverse personality. Most importantly, he is the Undertaker’s  manager. The Undertaker is such an important part of WWE history and Bearer was intertwined with him for at least six years. He is important to the organization and belongs there.

That being said, will it happen this year? William Moody (real name) has no real connection to the area. I also feel it would be more special to do this either A. The same year as Undertaker (imagine Bearer inducted by Kane, Taker by Michaels) or B. Save it for a year when it is not obvious that the only reason its happening is that he died the previous year.

Reports aside, I expect this one to wait. Still WWE has a history of inducting recently deceased in some cases (Eddie Guerrero-2006)

Chances of induction

7  out of 10


Rock N Roll Express

rocknrollexpress

Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson are one of the quintessential 80s territory tag teams. Apart from the Road Warriors, they were one of the longest running tag team units in history. Morton and Gibson originally were put together in the Memphis territory, but continued their wares throughout Mid South, WCW, Smokey Mountain, AWA, NWA and even a brief stint in WWF in 1998.

There is an issue though. Unlike the Road Warriors, The Rock N Roll Express never had mainstream success. They had no long amazing run in either WCW or WWF. By the Attitude Era, these men were considered washed up or over the hill. Part of this was due to age, yes, but also due to gimmic. An 80s hairband wrestling gimmick should have a shelf life. Morton and Gibson have tried since 1990 to show it doesn’t.

rocknrollexpressold

Old Man Rock Band, BABY!

I do not want to debase the Rock N Roll Express. Their feuds with the Midnight Express were so good that they transcended promotion, something which is very rarely done. These men while talented (or should I say Morton was talented) were held back by the same thing that made them popular. The territories died around them and they were unable to adapt. This is why in many local shows all around the US, these men still perform. They have to…they never let go.

WWE has another Southern Tag Team on its radar this time. The Freebirds are the team this year and WWE has never in the history inducted two tag teams (Did induct a Family and a Tag Team in Von Erichs and Funks) With so many other possibilities, this one seems unlikely.

Chances of Induction

3 out of 10


What about you? Do you think any of these Southern Based candidates have a chance of taking one of the coveted spots in the 2014 class?

Coming up next we are going to look at Possible Celebrity Candidates, Really Out of the Box Candidates and I will be offering my predictions for the Class of 2014!

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One thought on “WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2014: Southern Wrestlers

  1. Thanks for the nod. Good point about Bearer and rumors. He always said he wanted to go in when the Undertaker went in and he won’t be going in until Dallas is 2016. But he did used to live in Mobile, Alabama and has family down there despite his business being in the northeast. So I guess we’ll see.

    I still picked Kamala though on the poll. The minority factor is still in play and unless they get Muhammad Ali or randomly go with Butch Reed or Slick, I figure it’ll be Kamal. Plus he’s going to be in New Orleans that weekend with that convention. They might have held back on him because it’s easier for his family to travel to New Orleans rather than New York. Though we could be wrong and they look to Dos Caras to appease ADR or head to Japan for Baba, Fujinami, or Tiger Mask I.

    Danny Hodge’s best hope right now is HHH. He’s an old school student of Killer Kowalski who made a special effort to induct Bruno Sammartino last year. The year before that he went with Mil Mascaras. The year before that he suggested Abdullah the Butcher. etc Though this year, if they go with Ivan Koloff or Lou Thesz, they might consider their old school spot filled. He used to attend RAW’s when they were in Oklahoma though and Jack Swagger went to school with his grandson and is good friends with him.

    The Rock N’ Roll Express should go in eventually, but I think they’re in good health. The Freebirds are down to one (unless they induct Jimmy with Hayes). It’s Freebirds or the New Age Outlaws. Hopefully they don’t jump the gun with DX.

    You’re exactly right with Leroy McGuirk. There’s just too many dead guys ahead of him at the moment. They inducted Watts while in Texas so there’s still a chance down the line. Though I suppose that year they’d go with Paul Boesch.

    As for others… Mr Wrestling II is going to be in New Orleans for that big Wrestling convention that follows WrestleMania. But he trails Danny Hodge, Koloff and so on. The Midnight Express comes with the baggage of Cornette and I’m not sure WWE is jumping at the chance to induct him so soon. Though Bobby Eaton is back in the hospital. The One Man Gang lives just outside New Orleans and they need to induct another super heavyweight soon. Former UWF Champion. But would they put him in before Boss Man or when they could induct Vader or Bundy? hmm

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