Class of 2004: Celebrity Inductee
The Gambling Baseball Player, Kane’s “Enemy”
Hall of Fame Rating
3 out of 10
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?
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!
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.
My thought is Vince and Johnny Ace had a conversation and it went like this.
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
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.