The WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2014 is shaping up to be a solid one, yet one question still stands, will it be as good as the 2013 class. 2013 was flat out the best class in history. Top to bottom it was world champions, plus to added bonus of Sammartino, Backlund and Foley all FINALLY getting in. 2014 has a lot to live up to. It was the best example of a complete class. Each inductee stood out as a strong edition with no weak links or “Huh” moments. Most important was that it felt complete. It didn’t leave you wanting for anything. A good example of a so-so class was 2010 where the headliner, Ted Dibiase, just didn’t feel big enough. So what about 2014?
Our first three inductees are a great start. The Ultimate Warrior is the best living example of someone no one would ever expect to appear on WWE programming. Outside of him, only Goldberg currently seems like an impossibility. The other major omission, Randy Savage, is deceased and although its obvious he won’t go in this year, his inclusion will come. WWE seems to like to work on one big deal difficult inductee each year. Bruno was 2013, so Warrior is 2014. As a big plus, Warrior has fit into the professional role very quickly. Plus he TWEETS!
Roberts is another long due induction. His hold up was less WWE politics and more because of Jake Roberts slow quest towards destruction. With DDP’s help Roberts has cleaned himself up and looked great on Old School Raw, though I wish they had let him DDT Ambrose. It really was the best move….
Lita’s addition was expected but is very welcome. While women’s wrestling is both historically and normally relegated to the sidelines, the 2000s shine as one of the best time periods….until Trish and Lita retired in 2006. Lita was incredible for her willingness to do maneuver (What a maneuver!)
Still with her addition, there are now three slots taken in the class. For the last two years, 6 has been the class size. We have also had a headliner, a secondary headliner, one woman, and one celebrity leaving two slots to taken by deceased (or Bob Backlund) and African American inductees. Are the WWE going to keep the same format this year? Well, let’s take a look at the current rumored names for the rest of the Class of 2014.
Celebrity (s) Mr. T and Cyndi Lauper
For those who have read through my blog at all, I am annoyed by the Celebrity Wing. Many of the inductees tarnish the name of the Hall of Fame due to their limited participation in Wrestling. Does William Perry deserve to be in the WWE Hall of Fame? No. Does Drew Carey?
The least offensive celebrity inductees (or honoree as Donald Trump was called) were those who actually participated and meant something. Bob Uecker was fun. Mike Tyson was actually important to the Attitude Era’s success. Donald Trump was involved in multiple angles…so I guess, sure, Welcome to the Hall of Fame.
I have this stance on most celebrities. Do I want Lawrence Taylor or Floyd Mayweather in the Hall of Fame? No. However, there are three exceptions: Mr. T, Cyndi Lauper and Andy Kaufman.
The recent rumor mill has said that Mr. T has reached an agreement for induction. This would be great, as Mr. T has said on many occasions that he would never accept (due to Pete Rose going in first). Still with the right dollar amount, T will finally join the Celebrity Wing as the most influential Celebrity in the history of professional wrestling….unless of course he is inducted with a match.
Rumors have been rampant that Mr. T will go in with the entire Wrestlemania 1 Main Event, which would not only make Mr. T’s induction less special but would make Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper & Paul Orndorff 2 time inductees.
(And open the Pandora’s box of having 10-12 time inductees in Ric Flair, Bret Hart or Shawn Michaels)
Here’s hoping that if T does go in, he goes in by himself, inducted by Roddy Piper or Hulk Hogan….
Apart from T, rumors have surfaced that WWE might be interested in inducting another celebrity, Cyndi Lauper.
Cyndi Lauper’s impact is almost as great as Mr. T. While T headlined and legitimized Wrestlemania 1, Lauper made wrestling cool and hip. During MTV’s Brawl to End it All, Wendi Richter achieved the WWF Women’s title while she was accompanied by Lauper. Lauper is a rarity in wrestling history, she is a celebrity who appeared on and participated in many shows. Most celebrities appear two to three times, perhaps, and do their match and then disappear. Cyndi was heavily involved and he got physical.
With the focus on Wrestlemania, WWE is considering doing two celebrities, and in this case, I am okay with that. Both Lauper and Mr. T actually had an impact, and a forceful one. Without them, it is possible to say that WWE would not have been as great of a suceess in 1985. Will both go in? If T gets inducted as part of the Wrestlemania 1 main event (STUPID), then it would be very possible for Lauper to go in. Still it is okay because they brought the mainstream, baby!
Mr. T Chances of Induction: 8 out 10
Cyndi Lauper Chances of Induction: 5 out of 10
Both: 3 out of 10
Scott Hall and Jake Roberts are the two former professional wrestlers that are shockingly alive. And 2o14 looks to be the year of redemption for both. Hall, would be a surprising inclusion into the Class of 2014, and it almost feels too soon.
Hall, like Roberts, has been living with a mess of a life. His drinking habits, drug usage and dependence on prescription drugs were all sadly documented byESPN’s E60.
Yet the Hall of that video is not the Scott Hall of today. With the help of Jake Roberts, Diamond Dallas Page has gotten through to Scott Hall as he did The Snake. Hall is sober and now training his son, Cody to be a professional wrestler.
All of this is spectacular and proof that redemption is possible in pro wrestling. However inclusion in the WWE Hall of Fame is based on what you did in your career, not on redemption. Scott Hall was at best a mid-card player as Razor Ramon in WWE or in the NWO. He was great, but never without help. Hall and Nash were the Outsiders. They will forever be associated together and should be inducted together. With Hall going in before Nash, it seems weird and forced. Then again, perhaps Triple H wants to get all his friends involved in his product and figured out where to fit in Hall (Nash was at Royal Rumble)
Big reason this is likely? Hall has already tweeted about it.
Who knows if this is true, but I have a feeling that it is. Welcome Scott Hall to the 2014 Hall of Fame.
Chances of Induction: 8 out of 10
Rumors of Paul Bearer’s induction have existed since his death prior to Wrestlemania 29. The word was that Bearer was not included last year as it would be obviously related to his death (and the fact that it should have happened years ago) then his worth.
With a year’s distance, Bearer looks to be the post-humous induction of 2014. These inductions are always sad because the man and the character aren’t there. It is a remembrance of that past person, but not the same if they are actually on stage. It is also sad, considering how many great talents have been lost in the last 10 years or so.
Bearer is an obvious induction even before his death. He managed the Undertaker for approx 6 years, plus managed Kane, Mankind, the entire Ministry and Vader. His longevity is once which rivals Jimmy Hart and Mr. Fuji and he is the most well known and involved manager of the 90s. And managers who have effect tend to go in. Heenan, Hart, Sherri, Fuji, Blassie, Albano, Ellering, Dillon and now Bearer (Percy Pringle). Seems logical.
Sad part about Bearer not being alive for his induction, is he was waiting for Undertaker to retire. I am sure that the WWE was waiting for that too. I will be interested to see whether or not Bearer is inducted by the Undertaker, breaking kayfabe, in a personal and heartfelt way.
That should be a highlight of the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony.
Chances of Induction:
9 out 10
With these rumors, it looks like the WWE Hall of Fame Class will be Ultimate Warrior, Jake Roberts, Lita, Mr. T, Scott Hall and Paul Bearer. While not as strong as 2013, this Class is super. Another good year for WWE.