THE WWE HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 2013 REVIEW
Saturday April 6th 2013 has come and gone and the latest group on inductees joined the hallowed (and invisible) Halls of WWE’s Hall of Fame. New York City’s Madison Square Garden was mostly packed with fans young and old for an event which actually was almost four whole hours long.
I attended the event with my brother (NYC born, raised and lived). Unfortunately, due to lack of WiFI and my own semi-ineptitude, I was unable to do some live blogging. I was able to take this mighty fine photo of the stage.
And due to lighting, its the only one that came out.
But enough about me, to the event. The Class of 2013 has been called “the best class in history” due to its lack of a weakest link. Donald Trump could be considered the obvious weakest link, but again in comparison to other choices for celebrity honoree, Trump is one of the best they had to choose from.
Let’s take a look at the inductions
The night opened with the co-headliner of the night Mick Foley. While his position was surprising he gave the best speech of the night right out of the gate. In the previous Hall of Fame Ceremonies I’ve been to in the past, the inductees have been given a strict limit on how long they get (mostly 10 min max).
It was pleasent and welcomed that Foley went on for 45 minutes. Apart from his stature as hardcore legend, he is a well written author and stand up comedian (although his style of comedy is more Drew Carey than Louie CK)
Foley went through his five important people. Triple H, Dominic Denucci (trained him), Undertaker, Jim Ross and Paul Heyman in great detail and showed a real humbleness that Foley hasn’t been known for in the last few years.
In what was probably one of the top three highlights of the night, Foley made a joke about never beating Chris Jericho, Jericho hoped on stage, took a stiff elbow on the stage and was counted down by CM Punk. This complete breaking of kayfabe was received super well by the crowd and was the an amazing tribute. Foley goes out still fighting.
At a few minutes before 9, (started at 8:05), Foley finished and we moved on to
Both my brother and I used Stephanie McMahon’s entrance as a bathroom break. Stephanie is not and never has she ever been a dynamic personality. Its bad when the head of creative cannot give an interesting speech. She will never have anyone hanging on her words and frankly, she was the wrong choice for this induction.
All that aside, Stratus is brought out as the youngest WWE Hall of Famer in history (narrowly beating Edge by one year). I will get into this alot more in my full review of the Class of 2013, (Coming Next Week!)
Once Stratus came out, I was mostly bored. I forget just how terrible almost all female wrestlers have been at talking. Stratus included. (Did love heel Trish tho) Stratus is sweet and nice and that’s about it. She is a rest for the fans after the magnitude of Mick Foley and it is a welcome respite.
She thanks all the divas she works with by name (nice touch) and then mentions her husband, who gets some of the loudest boos of the night. Now, I am a born and raised NYer and yet it still surprises me what some of the NY/NJ crowds do at live events. Tons of people there were drunk and this was a sign of things to come later.
Stratus announced she be preggers and insinuated she may come back (at a Wrestlemania or something) to end her speech.
Stevie Ray came out to induct the Bookman and is was great to see him. Stevie hasn’t been on television since 2001. I always thought it strange that WWE didn’t bring him in during 2003 or 2004 when Booker was mostly purposeless.
Booker’s speech was actually very good. He spoke clearly, with some history, some storytelling and a whole lot of humbleness. Booker thanked everyone he could and interesting focused mostly on his WCW career. WCW saw something in Booker which WWE chose to ignore more often than not. It is a crime that Booker never held the WWE Championship.
One real moment of poignancy came when Booker mentioned that he hoped he had lived up to the importance and legacy of Ron Simmons. One might forget that in the history of all of professional wrestling, there have only been a handful of world champions.
And they ARE:
WCW: Ron Simmons, Booker T, The Rock
World Heavyweight: Booker T, Mark Henry
WWE: The Rock
And that’s it. The Rock although technically half black, looks more Samoan than anything else and isn’t thought of by the population at large as black.
I bring this up because this is an inherent problem in wrestling. Booker T in 2000 was the 2nd African American World Champion. The third was Mark Henry in 2011. Why wrestlers like Shelton Benjamin, MVP, D’Lo Brown, R-Truth, Bobby Lashley and Kofi Kingston aren’t on the list is beyond me.
Rant aside, Booker T ended with a spinaroonie and left the stage.
By this point, there was a sense of fatigue in the audience. Listening to speeches all night can get taxing. There was also some drunky drunks around and it got a little rough during our next inductee.
Cranky is a word which encapsulates what the crowd felt during Bob Backlund’s intro. Extra host Maria Menounos did the honors. WWE tends to forget that if any fan actually cares about the B or C level celebrities they get for Wrestlemania, well that fan is not at the WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony. Most people had no idea who she even was.
And she got the brunt of the cranky from the audience. As Maria tirelessly and tonelessly drudged through a speech which if delivered better, would have been amazing. Menounos was out of her element (no improv skills) and couldn’t handle the NY/NJ hate.
As she ended the crowd was so loud it was booing itself for the noise. Maria later posted the speech and after reading it, I wish I had been able to see that speech given by someone else.
Backlund came onto the stage. Thing to keep in mind about Bob Backlund is he is crazy. Not dangerous crazy, but he does things which generally would be considered to be unacceptable and he is all over the place. Unlike Booker, Backlund jumped “extemporaneously” as he put it. He jumped in an out of character, gave background on being weak, insulted Vince McMahon, invited Triple H on stage, gave his nephew a headlock, screamed a bunch and eventually had to be “signaled to end” by a creeping Vince coming onto stage.
Oh and he referred to Triple H as Mr. H. Ridiculous.
His speech was one of my favorites and one I will love to watch again once the DVD comes out.
By the end of Bob, the crowd wanted Bruno, but unfortunately we got the inductee no one ever wants, the celebrity.
Vince McMahon is always good on screen. He’s got them improv skills. But even Vince aside, the crowd did not want to see Donald Trump. WWE Fans do not care about Donald Trump.
This is the inherent problem with WWE programming in the last 5 years of so. WWE doesn’t listen to the fans. They joke about strange responses and move on because “its a loud minority”. When John Cena is booed and “same old shit” or “boring” is chanted that is not the WWE Universe playing along with the WWE. It is them voicing their discontent. Donald received John Cena level hate.
Donald was booed before the video, after the video, every time Vince mentioned his name, when he came out, when he finished a sentence, his son was booed. Only his hot daughter with the big tits, Ivanka, was cheered. Because wrestling fans at the Hall of Fame like breasts.
Luckily, Trump knows when he’s not wanted and was quick. And a complete waste of time, like all of the other celebrity inductees have been.
But up next was the grandfather of professional wrestling,
Bruno Sammartino was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. This fact alone is one of the highlights of the night. Bruno was never going to be inducted. He hates Vince. We’ve all heard the reports.
Yet Triple H was able to convince Bruno. This fact undoes alot of the Triple H burial zone time of 2003-2006 in my mind. Triple H showed Bruno respect, progress and dollar signs. During some of Bruno’s shoots, he’s talked about the respect of money.
And watching his speech, it was mostly fluff. He didn’t have an epic speech or a passionate epitaph of his greatness. He talked a little about MSG, his back story during World War 2 and training. This speech could have been given at any Hall of Fame or award ceremony which Bruno might have intended. He could have cut the MSG stuff and done the same speech at the International Sports Hall of Fame.
Because Bruno did this because he was paid to do this. At this point, he is never going to be part of the WWE Family again. He knows it, they know it. But, they can have a working business agreement. Similar to Bret Hart or even Hulk Hogan when he’s not with TNA.
His speech was also only about 20 minutes or so and the night ended somberly and soberly.
Check back later this week for My FULL WWE Hall of Fame Review, including its ranking plus coming up
Sons of Hall of Famers
and much more!