WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2004: Pete Rose

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Pete Rose

Class of 2004: Celebrity Inductee

The Gambling Baseball Player, Kane’s “Enemy”

rose

Hall of Fame Rating

3 out of 10

Unimportant

And it all began with this. 2004. The reemeragance of the WWE Hall of Fame and the birth of the Celebrity Wing.  This class was the largest in history and brought back the Hall of Fame with a bang. It was a who’s who of early 1980s wrestling superstars. Between legends like Sgt. Slaughter and Greg Valentine and Icons like Bobby Heenan and Jesse Ventura, this was a great class, expect for one man. Pete Rose.

In 2004, there was no public ceremony, in fact this was done at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square. This small setting set the stage was the last of its type. From here ceremonies went to theatres and eventually arenas. This is old school.

And 2004 is important. It brought back the Hall of Fame and that idea didn’t have to work. It could have fallen flat on its face. After surviving the Monday Night Wars, destroying WCW and gelling into comfort, the Hall came back. But sadly, someone had the idea to include a celebrity for some reason. My guess?

Vince McMahon & John Laurinaitis

Vince McMahon & John Laurinaitis

These two created a mess and a half when they controlled the Hall of Fame. Whether or not the idea came from Vince or from Johnny, it has been a stain on the Hall and the reason why many fans, wrestlers and critics alike do not respect the WWE Hall of Fame.

An easy way to start a “Celebrity Wing” would have been to go big. Real big. There are two men who fit the bill. Muhammed Ali or Mr. T. Either one would have made a statement. Ali would have been to show that only superstar people who had real involvement where getting into this wing.  Ali, of cource, had his famous (and universally panned) boxer vs wrestler match against Antonio Inoki.

He also participated in Wrestlemania 1 (where he tried to knock out Roddy Piper) with our other great choice, Mr. T. T would have said that only those who have real involvement and were totally necessary get in. Cyndi Lauper, Andy Kaufman, Mike Tyson and Donald Trump could have followed in his footsteps.

Instead we got a joke. This old ball out inductee stands out in 2004 as the worst choice. Pete Rose even knew it himself. His own speech was short, awkward and generally silly. Just like his participation in the WWE in general.

For those not aware, Pete Rose served as “the foil” to Kane in three Wrestlemanias. His sctick was he would make fun of someone or dress like a chicken or be annoying and then Kane would tombstone him. Done deal. Here is all of his Wrestlemania appearances.

I give him credit for playing the heel, but the truth is no one would accept Pete Rose as a babyface. Almost all celebrities who come in are good guys. They are too well known and frankly no celebrity wants to lose. Expect for the great Andy Kaufman and Pete Rose. Rose is a good sport. He liked doing it and everyone had fun. Huzzah!

rollingeyes

But this is not enough for a Hall of Fame career. IF the Hall needs to contain celebrities, the celebrity has to be held to standards against other celebrities. Hugh Jackman does not belong in the Hall of Fame for insulting and then teaming up with Zack Ryder. Pete Rose doesn’t belong in the Hall for getting tombstoned. Its plain and simple. This is a big no for the Hall.

ryderjacksman

Hall of Fame. WOOO WOO…forget it. I hate them both.

Why 2004?

My thought is Vince and Johnny Ace had a conversation and it went like this.

mcmahon4

I want to make the Hall of Fame special. Its coming back after all.

Like have a big banner?

Like have a big banner?

mcmahon2

…….

Or....induct the President?

Or….induct the President?

President...hmmmm...a celebrity....YES!

President…hmmmm…a celebrity….YES!

That's a great idea

That’s a great idea

johnny2

He likes me.

Opens Door For?

The travesty that is the celebrity wing. 2004 was followed by no inductee in 2005 (rumored Mr. T said no because of Rose’s induction) William Perry in 2006 and eventually Drew Carey

Drew Carey = Sad

Drew Carey = Sad

Reasons this shouldn’t have happened.

Comedic celebrity who set a bad precedent. Tons of other celebrities much more worthy. Bad luck. Gambling stuff. I don’t know…pick one.

WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2013: Who’s Left to Announce, and More!!

The WWE Hall of Fame Class is shaping up to be one of the best in the history. The upper class of the Hall has been bedazzled with Bruno Sammartino and Mick Foley. The mid-card of the class is standing strong with Bob Backlund and Trish Stratus. Even the celebrity inductee is a good choice (in comparison to other potential celebrities only. Donald Trump is the quintessential Celebrity inductee. Things are looking great. We hope.

fingerscrossed

Generally speaking, the Hall of Fame Classes are  7 individual inductees (which sometimes include families, stables and tag teams). Last year, 2012’s class was only six inductees but included the 5 inductee group of the Four Horsemen. 2013’s class could have anywhere from one to three more inductees, depending on what the WWE wants. The “new” induction process (herein called Triple H’s way) seems to only favor the actually worthy inductees. So far, there has been no one who was questionable ( Tony Atlas), dumb (Pete Rose) or offensive (Drew Carey). Let’s take a look at some recently rumored names and follow up on some old rumored names.

booker t

Booker T

This is a new one. Last week, many of the dirt sheets were reporting that a “Hall of Fame video package” was done for the bookman, Booker T. This report seems to signify the likelihood of Books’ induction. Considering similar reports came out about Donald Trump, I would take this report at face value. If the WWE is serious with keeping with worthy inductees only, Booker T makes sense. Plus he’s was regularly booked as from  Harlem, NY (Houston, TX is his hometown)

No one would disagree that Booker T is a worthy inductee, but personally, I always prefer the inductees to be at least retired to be eligible for induction. Booker, although technically not a full time wrestler, is still on television. He’s there every week, in a position which doesn’t suit him whatsoever.

Still there is no denying that Booker should be in the Hall of Fame. But this year? I hate to say it, but 2013 is a waste for Booker T. He isn’t necessary  He could easily be in any class as the 2nd of 3rd most important inductee (like Bob Backlund this year) A problem WWE is always running into is not enough big names. Booker T is well known and on television now. Which means like Edge, he is a bigger deal than he might be if not recently on TV. (I’ll deal with Edge when I do his induction) But Booker has the same issue Edge did. Its too soon. Booker needs to be held off until he first actually retires, and second until he leaves the company for a short while.

The Hall of Fame has always been a way to “catch up” with former stars. When a recent or current superstar is inducted, it feels unnecessary  So Booker goes in the Hall and now will be called Smackdown General Manager and WWE Hall of Famer every time he appears on the program, which is every week. I felt similar about 2007’s inductions of Jerry Lawler and Jim Ross. Both were on TV every week and that makes it feel less special. The Hall of Fame should always feel special for all inductees.

This gripe aside, Booker T was always going to get in. He would have ended up in there eventually and is a welcome choice. He would also be further proof that WWE is finally taking the Hall seriously.

One last point, WWE has a tendency to induct people who fit a certain mold. Almost every year, the class has one woman and one Africian-American. I blame this more than anything for the paltry inductions of Tony Atlas and Koko B. Ware. There just aren’t a load of super well known and successful African-American wrestlers. And most of them are already in the Hall. Eventually, if WWE keeps it up, Iceman Parson will end up in the Hall. This will also most likely put to rest the Kamala rumors, but I’ll deal with that below.

Can I go in?

Can I go in?

Chances of induction 8 out of 10

koloff

Ivan Koloff

I’ve been reporting rumors of Ivan Koloff for many weeks, but this week it was almost confirmed that he hasn’t been asked. Koloff posted on his facebook account, that he was “Not going to be inducting Bruno and would love the honor of induction himself” He also asked fans to “vote with the WWE” to tell them to induct him this year.

These words don’t seem like a man who is actually on the block for induction nor who has been contacted whatsoever. That is not unusual for the WWE. Many times they wait until the absolute last minute to solidify at least one inductee. Still with the new Triple H way, it is very possible that the class is set as of now.

The last report on Ivan also listed Kamala as a possibility. This potentially makes the report old and probably invalid. Although I think this would be a perfect choice, Koloff’s chances are looking slim.

Chances of induction: 4 out of 10

bearer

Paul Bearer

RIP Paul Bearer. He is a well deserving inductee  but after his death on Wednesday, reports are circulating that “some” are pushing for Bearer’s induction this year. This isn’t going to happen.

Considering the close proximity to Wrestlemania, 4 1/2 weeks away, the general grieving process of a family is much longer for a loved one. If this had happened in December or January I would expect that WWE would pull an Eddie Guerrero (induct someone at the next possible moment) but in this case it is too soon.

Expect Bearer to either be done next year or due to his deceased nature, held off until after the Undertaker, so that he can do the induction (my guess on WWE’s original plan)

Chances of induction 3 out of 10

If these names hold, it is possible we are looking at a 6-7 person class. As of late, updates have been done every other week. With four weeks remaining, two more inductees should be in the works.

Best Guesses:

Booker T alone

Booker T and Ivan Koloff

Booker T and suprise guy, like the Honky Tonk Man.

honky

An Inductee which I would mark out for

Names which aren’t going to happen this year

Kamala

Kamala

As I mentioned above, WWE has a tendency to do only one African American a year. Reportedly, Kamala was asked in January and there has been no real follow up on this. Since, Kamala has been advertised and booked on WrestleCon’s signings during Wrestlemania weekend. No one who will appear on WWE programming during the weekend is allowed to attend and participate in this event. Pretty much puts death to the Kamala rumors.

http://www.legendsofthering.com/LOTR-WRESTLECON.html

There may be many reasons for this. Perhaps reports of Kamala came from an unreliable source or perhaps Kamala turned down the honor. Kamala and the WWE have had a contentious relationship to say the least. Kamala has iterated many times his displeasure with the E”s payments to him in his three runs. Supposedly, Kamala was paid like a low-midcarder during his main event runs with Andre in 84, Hogan in 87 and Undertaker in 92. This factor alone, would make any man angry and resentful to the company which wants to honor him (for only 5,000 dollars as reported by Bruno)

Chances of induction 2 out of 10

Check back soon for more info on inductees and rumors circulating as well as a full review of the induction ceremony (I’m going!) coming on April 6th.

WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2006: William “The Refrigerator” Perry

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William “The Refrigerator” Perry

Class of 2006: Celebrity Inductee

Football Player. Heel Eliminated Big John Studd at Wrestlemania 2

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Hall of Fame Rating

1 out of 10

Buffoonery

The Celebrity Wing is a joke. I have mentioned this fact over and over again while covering these inductees. Ninety-five percent of people (made up stastic), agree that celebrities are at least extranious and at most offensive to the most presitgious (for its WWE pedistal alone) professional wrestling Hall of Fame. Maurice D. Proffitt on Rant Sports recently wrote an article which summarizes why this concept should just end.

http://www.rantsports.com/pro-wrestling/2013/02/27/wwe-should-get-rid-of-the-celebrity-wing-from-the-hall-of-fame/

William “The Refriegerator” Perry is the second worst inductee is history. Drew Carey is the worst. He is also a grand example of why celebrities shouldn’t be included and is also the inherent problem with the WWE Hall of Fame in general.

Up until recently, anyone could be inducted in the Hall. The bar was set extremely low. Many of the hardcore fans followed up by dismissing the Hall as a joke and something to be ignored. Too many classes had amazing uppercards and catospheres of undercard inductees. I blame 2006 with Tony Atlas and William Perry for the pattern which emerged. Drew Carey? Oh that’s Perry’s fault.

eugene

But James, How is that Perry’s fault?

Easy. William Perry competed once for the WWE. He participated in the Wrestlemania 2 Chicago semi-main event (remember the three venue Wrestlemania 2? Passionate Overkill) He and five other football players competed in the battle royal with such legends as Sammartino, Morales and Andre. William Perry was the most well known of all the football players. The others were just you know, random football players. These men were brought in to allow Perry to participate (and perhaps coax him) Does anyone really remember who Bill Frolic or Harvey Martin are?

Bet you can't tell me which one this is without using google!

Bet you can’t tell me which one this is without using google!

Perry would need to be coaxed because his and all the players invovlement was a stunt. Stunts are WWE’s specilaity. Almost all the celebrity involvment in WWE is done by non fans who are advertising something (Drew Carey’s Improv Extravanganza!) or showing off (Floyd Mayweather). Perry falls into the second category as well. He did this cause some advisor said to and he was paid a lot. He had just won the SuperBowl with the Chicago Bears and was as famous as a football player was going to get. Milk that fame time!

So he participates in the battle royal. The WWE advertised the hell outta it. And Perry doesn’t even win. He doesn’t even get close. He wasn’t even the last football player (Russ Francis was) He particpated. Plain and simple. BTW, my favorite moment of the battle royal is when Perry jumps off the top rope and Gene Okerlund jumps up and down as if Perry created a wave of energy. None of the wrestlers do this, making Gene look stupid. WWE defintately got better at this stuff as they went on. By the way all of Perry’s involvement fits on this one video below. All of it.

John Cena – 2006 WWE Hall of Fame – William “The Refrigerator” Perry Induction – Video Dailymotion.

The fight starts and eventually, Perry fights Big John Studd. Studd pushes Perry and eliminates him. What an exciting end.

sarcasm-sign

But Perry isn’t finished. He must avenge himself. So he turns heel and holds out his hand. At this point, Studd greated by the Heel power of Perry, immediately turns baby-face and falls for it. Studd is pulled out by Perry. Wrestlemania moment or something.

bryanno

Apart from being the only celebrity in history to do a double turn in a battle royal, that is the only accomplishment for William Perry. He never returns to WWE programming until the Hall of Fame. He never talked about wrestling and probably never thought about it again until the Hall of Fame. This is like CM Punk being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, for throwing out the first pitch at a Cubs game.

Can I be in the Cubs Hall of Fame?

Can I be in the Cubs Hall of Fame?

The induction itself was mostly not about Perry. Cena and HHH used it to continue their kayfabe feud at a non kayfabe event (Something WWE did for a little bit, annoyingly). The induction speech was ridiculous, and Perry obviously was uncomfortable (as by the way all celebrity inductees seem, gee I wonder if they are out of place?)

And so ends Perry’s involvement. He did the thing WWE wanted. He got attention. Congrats William Perry, you ruined everything.

93603539_1869be0702

That’s Not Cool!

Why 2006?

2006 was in Chicago. This was the first year that WWE began using the area they were in to define the class. Sometimes this works (Gordon Solie in Flordia) and in other cases such as Perry’s it doesn’t.

WWE began the Celebrity Wing in 2004 and ignored it in 2005. Supposedly this was due to Mr. T declineing in 2005. So when 2006 hit, the WWE wanted to bring back. HOW TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM?

shrug

I imagine the discussion between Vince McMahon and Johnny Ace went like this.

mcmahon4

I want a celebrity this year!

johnny3

GREAT Idea! Who?

mcmahon3

I don’t know. Who is from Chicago that has done something with us?

johnny1

I don’t know. Lets ask this random temp.

temp

Uh…didn’t the Fridge do that battle royal with Andre

johnny4

Uh…Fridge…That’s an appliance…..

I meant William Perry...at Wrestlemania 2....

I meant William Perry…at Wrestlemania 2….

mcmahonsmiling

Yes! YES! That happened! Get him! Get him! Good work John.

johnny2

He likes me!

Opens Door For?

Drew Carey. The worst inductee ever. Carey was Perry but in the Royal Rumble and not at Wrestlemania. If the WWE were to continue this pattern, Snooki would be in by 2020.

Reasons this shouldn’t have happened.

He doesn’t belong. Oh and he doesn’t even know or care about the product and just probably did the induction for the payday. All these reasons. Yup.