Predicition! The WWE Hall of Fame class of 2014 will have at least one Mid South wrestler. WWE loves inducting wrestlers important to the Wrestlemania city.
In 2013 MSG headliners Bruno Sammartino and Bob Backlund were welcomed along “Harlem Heat’s” Booker T, New York real estate Mogul,Donald Trump and Long Island’s own Mick Foley. It was a class more New York than the Brooklyn Brawler.
Many of Mid South’s greatest stars have already been inducted. Promoter Cowboy Bill Watts (2009), Ted Dibiase (2010) Junkyard Dog (2004) and Hacksaw Jim Duggan (2011) are already in due to their associations to other cities and organizations. Or in Duggan’s case, nepotism (Duggan before Randy Savage?!)
Don’t fret! All the Mid South superstars are not yet inducted. Let’s put our future caps on and see who might be one of the Mid South inductees in 2014!
The best element of the territory system was that talent could move around and get better. In the 1960s-1990s a wrestler would go from territory to territory and hone their act and their character. Today, many superstars are trained, groomed and only perform for the WWE.
Hall of Fame wise, it means that superstars can be associated with many areas. This fact should finally lead to our first group’s induction.
Terry Gordy. Michael PS Hayes, Buddy Roberts (And Jimmy Garvin)
The Freebirds are one of the best examples of the “territory hopping” wrestlers of yesteryear/ Hayes, in particular, spent countless years in all the major and minor promotions honing his cocky mix of 70s porn star and 80s hair bands.
And it worked. The Freebirds cocky& brash style got over in almost every major promotion (except WWF of course) They are also (incorrectly) credited with the advent of the entrance song (actually Sgt. Slaughter or Gorgeous George, depending on who you ask) and (correctly) credited for the adopted rule: The Freebird Rule when it comes to 3 Man Tag Teams.
When the Von Erich’s got in the 2009 class, it seemed logical that this induction would be next. It hasn’t. Since then Buddy Roberts has died of pneumonia after a long bout with throat cancer and Michael Hayes got himself in trouble for being a racist drunk. Still, their time is due and WWE really likes the faction idea currently, so its time for one of the classics to go in.
Expect Michael Hayes and Jimmy Garvin (yes he will be included, because, well he is alive)
Should they make the 2014 Hall of Fame?
Yes. WWE has held this one off long enough. And if nothing else, the Freebirds inclusion will be a nod to Mid South and Southern Wrestling. Plus Hayes will behave as he still wants to keep his job. Expect more Dox Hendrix than PS Hayes during the acceptance speech.
Chances of Induction
8 out of 10
Jake The Snake Roberts
Jake The Snake Roberts is one of the few non-Hall of Famers who many people assume is in the Hall of Fame already. There is a absurd hole in the Hall. Existing here are Roberts, Rick Rude, Randy Savage and the Ultimate Warrior (all for different reasons) Roberts, like all those others listed, were part of the backbone that was the WWF in the 80s and early 90s. Others backbones already inducted include: Hogan, Piper, Heenan, Hart, & Andre are already in.
Jake, out of those missing is strikingly glaring because he is not dead…or crazy.
His drug problems aside, Roberts was the best type of performer. He was the guy who was so over, he didn’t need any belt.
World title? Oh no he has a snake. IC title. Did I mention snake?
Name 10 more in WWF who were like that. (Bruno, Undertaker, And Rey Mysterio maybe) Even Hulk Hogan felt strange and somewhat naked during his absences with the title in 1988 and 1991.
Its simple. Roberts could do all the things necessary. He could talk. He was THE talker. Wrestlers today are watching Roberts promos. (Maybe the writers should be)
He knew how to tell a story psychologically in ring. Jake was no Bret Hart and it didn’t matter. Even his finishing maneuver, the DDT (correct!) was crisp and part of his total package.
And the best part is, the Mid South alumnus, has just gotten his life back together. He is sober, skinnier and training to hopefully get a shot in the 2014 Royal Rumble. Only time will tell if the WWE pulls this long awaited trigger.
Yes. Its seemed that WWE held off because of his extra-curricular activities. Roberts, if drunk, could say or do anything. Better to keep that man off TV. With his life on the upswing, Roberts would be a case of triumph over the well documented adversities of pro wrestling.
Plus DDP been filming Roberts’ recovery for a year. That make a great end for the doc too! (C’mon WWE, good press!)
Chances of Induction
7 out of 10
Diversity has been a large problem in wrestling. Today, WWE has historically had only one African American WWE Champion, named the Rock. (Half-Black).
WWE is aware of their shortcomings in this regard. Since the return of the Hall in 2004, diversity has been a focus (sometimes to a fault). Each year, WWE strives to induct at least one woman and at least one African American star. And I agree. This is a good idea….Most of the time.
In 2006, Tony Atlas was inexplicably inducted. In 2009, Koko B. Ware joined the Hall as the “Internet’s Reason WWE Hall of Fame Sucks”.
These were not good ideas. And both can be chocked up to diversity. This is not how WWE should handle the hall of fame. It is ridiculous to put a woman, a celebrity or any other generalized group, just to have diversity.
That being said, Mid South gives little chance at (with Junkyard Dog already in). That’s because after him…
Hacksaw Butch Reed. Reed is probably best known as one half of DOOM in WCW or the original charge of the Doctor of Style, Slick. Neither of these runs were super memorable. Reed was overshawdowed by Ron Simmons in WCW and in WWF, he left when he was supposed to get the IC Title (In 1987). Becuase…he likes not succeeding….?
All his later misses aside, Butch Reed was one of the premier stars of the Mid South Territory. His feud with Jim Duggan over the moniker Hacksaw was rugged, rough and some of the best matches from Jim Duggan. During 1983-1986, Reed was one of the top 6 performers in Mid South, behind Dibiase, JYD, Duggan, Magnum, & Hayes.
This position alone may open the Hall to Reed as WWE looks to continue its diversity during the ceremonies.
No. Reed, although a good performer, does not have the resume to validate his addition. Neither did Atlas or Ware, so it may happen anyway. Hopefully, with Triple H incharge of inductees, someone like Reed will be left off
Chances of Induction
5 out of 10
In an alternate reality, we would be talking about multi-time NWA/WCW/WWF World Champion Magnum TA. He would have been a first ballot main event talent, inducted many years ago. However, fate has something different in store and Magnum TA got into a nearly fatal car accident which ended his career before it truly started.
And historically, this is one of the biggest what if’s? What if Magnum TA had become NWA World Champion in the mid 80s? Would Ric Flair have had the same shelf life? Would Sting even be a thing? Could the NWA actually competed against WWF with a star of great Hogan magnitude? Magnum had the charisma of a Southern Hulk Hogan combined with the mustachio masterpiece that was Tom Sellek. In the 80s, he was likely to work and had the potential to bring the NWA along earlier in the sports entertainment field.
Out of that alternate reality, none of this above actually occurred. Magnum was a mid-card talent in a bunch of different NWA territories. He never competed for Vince….And it still may be enough. WWE loves taking wrestlers who rarely or never competed for them and enshrine them…Proof positive that the WWE Hall of Fame is all that matters…
Maybe. WWE has been limiting to themselves to 6 inductees including a celebrity. Old fashioned wrestlers like Magnum may be left off for a little while longer. He would make a great 7th inductee non WWE inductee (Bockwinkel in 07 or Abdullah the Butcher in 11)
Chances of Induction
5 out of 10
Dr. Death Steve Williams also had great potential and did succeed…mostly outside of the United States.
Trained by Bill Watts, Williams was a Mid South/UWF original and had great success there. He was Watts’ answer to Hulk Hogan in the mid 1980s. He had a great deal of charisma and could out wrestle almost anyone the WWF had. (at the time)
But, Dr. Death truly succeeded in All Japan Pro Wrestling. He had a 10 year (supposed) undefeated streak. (which was later “ruined” by Paul Heyman’s ECW) once he returned to the USA in late nineties.
Williams then proved to be unimpressive during his late 90s US roles. Who can forget the ridiculous face palm that was getting knocked out by Bart Gunn.
Like other formerly big fish-small pond wrestlers like Bad New Brown or Kerry Von Erich, in WWF, Williams didn’t resonate and quickly faded. (Oklahoma’s Bodyguard was a great fall.)
Still, Dr. Death did do enough. His multiple year success in Japan gives him a Vader like level of credibility, even if he didn’t get it in the United States.
One point does potential hurt Williams, as he is deceased. Now generally the Hall does induct at least one deceased wrestler (expect 2013) so it is not impossible.
Bonus points towards induction: Non drug related death. This could happen.
Is 2014 the year for him?
No. There are too many other possible Mid South and non Mid South candidates. Plus, his tragic death of cancer in 2009 hurts his chances. There is a long list of deceased greats including Rick Rude, British Bulldog, Owen Hart, Randy Savage, Lou Thesz and many many others who should go in before Dr. Death.
Still this one is likely at some point.
Chances of Induction
6 out of 10
There are a few other less likely possibilities which I will deal with in another post. Suffice to say, Mid South will be represented in the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2014. My prediction is Jake the Snake and the Fabulous Freebirds join the hallowed halls this upcoming year.