Each year when the Hall of Fame Class is finalized, there are always a few head scratchers. Even the amazing Class of 2013, gave us Donald Trump: a “celebrity honoree”, whose induction was booed out of the building in Madison Square Garden. The reality is the WWE Hall of Fame is not like any other Hall. It is not based on stats (predetermined stats), or on any real voting system. It is solely based on the recommendations of the writing team and the story the WWE wants to tell that year.
2013 was the story of NYC. Sammartino, Backlund and Foley were the main focus and their relevance to MSG was icing on the cake of the 2013 ceremony. Even Trump himself has close ties to the city where he joined the Hall. 2014 is telling a different story. Its main theme is one of redemption and welcoming the lost long back into the fold.In fact, this is the entire theme of Wrestlemania 30. (Welcome back Hulk Hogan!) In the Hall this year, the WWE is welcoming back both those who have had great issue with the organization (Ultimate Warrior and Mr. T) as well as those who have brought themselves back from death’s door and won the battle against their demons (Jake Roberts & Scott Hall). And Paul Bearer is being inducted because he died last year.
On top of those two are Lita, who is massively overrated and Carlos Colon, who is receiving his induction as part of a video library business deal. Both of these inductions, while in line with WWE’s induction patterns of the past, could easily have been replaced by some of the obvious missing inductees still waiting for their call the to Hall. Let’s take a look at some of the missed opportunities of 2014.
Until the year he is inducted, every year Randy Savage is not included in the Hall of Fame is a missed opportunity. His credentials speak for themselves; anyone who is unaware of them is not reading this website. And his lack of inclusion is this year, what it is every year, an example of how bad blood runs through the wrestling industry. The bad blood between Vince McMahon and Randy Savage is extremely personal (and it’s NOT because of Stephanie McMahon) Randy held a grudge, because he was THAT type of man, against Vince for not allowing his father to participate in a Legends Battle Royal in 1987 and for taking away wrestling from him (mostly commentating) near the end of his WWF run. Vince hated Randy for leaving for WCW. This is why Randy Savage never appeared on WWE programming from the sale of WCW in 2001 until his death in 2011.
But he’s dead. Randy Savage is no longer with us, which means that he’s yearly snub is now only hurting the fans. The fans still today regularly and obnoxiously chant Randy Savage during matches that no one wants to see. Like This One.
It would be homage to a man and a character who is the second most important superstar of the 1980s, behind only Hulk Hogan. We want it and we deserve this induction. And this year would have been perfect. Randy Savage, joining the Ultimate Warrior in finally coming home to WWE fold (figuratively of course…being dead and all)
I have no confidence any year that this induction will happen and every year my fears are proven correct. Here’s hoping that 2015 is the year of the Macho Man. In the meantime, all we have is this very sad (and very well produced) WWE memorial video… RIP Macho Man….
Rumors surfaced in early January that WWE was breaking with their own tradition, and ignoring the location of Wrestlemania when it came to the inductee class. For many years, Texas gave us Texans (Watts, Funks, Von Erichs), Florida gave us Floridians (Eddie Graham & Gordon Solie) and so on. Even years where the city played very little to do with the inductions, like Atlanta in 2011, the class still welcomed Georgia’s own Bullet Bob Armstrong… and Drew Carey…
So in 2014, one of the early predictions was the long overdue Fabulous Freebirds. In 2009, when Michael Hayes inducted the Von Erichs, it has been a wide assumption that Kevin Von Erich would return the favor in short order. The Freebirds, do to their sheer mastery of the territory system, wrestled everywhere. Go to Florida, Freebirds were there, Go to Atlanta, Freebirds were there. Go to New York, Freebirds were there.
But New Orleans was different, it was Mid South. Mid South was a territory that Michael PS Hayes particularly helped to define. He was a big deal in that organization where he was basically a main event heel feuding with JYD, Ted Dibiase, Jim Duggan and all the other main talents in the territory.
Now, its easy to say that they’ll go in the next time WWE does Texas and that may be true, but yet again here we have an example of the WWE waiting to long to induct someone and missing their death. Buddy Roberts died a few years back from pneumonia and will not get the opportunity to accept the recognition and the adulation. In fact, Hayes may be standing on the stage by himself unless the WWE “decides” that Jimmy Garvin was actually a Freebird (something he was off and on mostly in WCW)
WWE should probably go back to Texas for Wrestlemania 32 (My prediction for the year the Undertaker retires) and the Freebirds could very well go in then, however it would have been better served to acknowledge Mid South at least a little, with the Fabulous Freebirds.
Rumors have gone on for years that former WWE employee Jim Ross has pushed for Danny Hodge’s induction. Hodge is one of the last living wrestlers of the mostly forgotten era of thee 1950s, where in he was not only successful (8 time NWA Junior Heavyeight Champion, when that mattered). He is also extremely well-respected. Hodge, a homegrown Oklahoman had a special kinship with JR and his amazing career while outside of WWE’s machine entirely is one to surely be recognized.
But there is a problem! WWE doesn’t have footage of Danny Hodge wrestling! An easy Youtube search yields no results for Danny Hodge in the ring. It does give us this though!
Hodge’s career is either lost to the ages or owned by an outsider entity. This makes his induction extremely unlikely. WWE is the leader in sports video packages, and generally does a good job with their induction videos, both to reintroduce the former star and show his importance. For Danny Hodge, neither is possible. Sadly unless WWE goes to Oklahoma (very unlikely) with Wrestlemania, this is was likely Hodge’s last shot before he dies. And once he dies, his chances go from 3 out of 10, to 0 out of 10. He simply would be lost in the shuffle of the long and ever growing list of deceased stars.
Finally, there are the Outsiders. Now normally, I wouldn’t be calling not inducting Scott Hall and Kevin Nash as a missed opportunity, as both are still young and there is plenty of time for them to go in. However, this year WWE has decided to do the head scratching induction of the character Razor Ramon, who is actually Scott Hall…but they don’t acknowledge that because they are holding off for another year?
Its simple. Induct the man Scott Hall, induct the Outsiders or induct the whole NWO. Don’t induct a character, who while important for a few years in the WWF, is not the highlight of his career. Scott Hall’s biggest moment was with the NWO. It was light years more important than Razor Ramon.
This one is a bit of a nitpick, but still no one would complain with the Outsiders inclusion. Keep the fans happy and do inductions that make sense. That’s my motto!
Tune in at the end of the week for my full WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2014 breakdown inpreview for the ceremony. I am not in New Orleans this year (Bummer!) but am thrilled to watch on the WWE Network.