With the help of a press release and TMZ, WWE has announced its celebrity inductee this year. The 2014 Class welcomes Mr. T.
If you have read this blog at any length, it is obvious that I despise the Celebrity Wing of the Hall of Fame. Not only does it “take a spot” that could go to a missing legend (of which there are many), this category is filled with sub par inductees. Why is William Perry in the WWE Hall of Fame? For a battle royal? ONE BATTLE ROYAL….. And don’t get my started on Drew Carey….
All this being said, there are four celebrities which have A. Had a powerful affect on wrestling and B. weren’t doing it for money/humor/promoting a product. Those are Mike Tyson (Class of 2012), Andy Kaufman, Cyndi Lauper and Mr. T. We can now take Mr. T off of the list of celebrity must haves.
There is no way to quantify the importance of the Mr. T to the very liveilhood of the WWF/WWE. Wrestlemania 1 was a gamble. (Not for the reasons WWE revisionist history says so, this was not the first super show) Vince McMahon put all of his money on the celebrities appearing. It was T, and Muhammad ALi and Liberace and so on and so on. And getting these guys cost bank. Mr. T himself was expensive for sure, but he did something that most other celebrities (even on Wrestlemania 1) didn’t do. He embraced the product, he befriended Hulk Hogan and became part of the story line. Look at my list of deserving inductees: all of those celebrities are those who were willing to participate in wrestling, for what wrestling is and use their celebrity to bring it to a higher level.
Mr. T did this and more, and I will go into him further this upcoming week in a full post. In the meantime, look Mr. T is a cartoon!