2015 has been a real up and down year for wrestling. NXT is blossoming while WWE pretends its biggest star in history doesn’t exist. We’ve lost Hall of Famers like Roddy Piper, Verne Gagne and Dusty Rhodes meanwhile Icons like Undertaker, Sting and The Dudley Boyz are back.
The WWE Hall of Fame in 2015 was no different. Macho Man Randy Savage finally joined the Halls!….after he died. Larry Zbyzsko wrote an amazing speech…which he forgot. Kevin Nash headlined….wait their is no positive there.
2016 will be in Dallas, Texas. If one thing came out of 2015’s class it is that we are guaranteed a smaller class of likely no more than 6 and the Warrior Award, 6 total or 6 without the Warrior Award (aka the award which can only now go to dead children)
With all that in mind. I have broken down my predictions for the WWE Class of 2016. We start with an ICON!
Many might be expecting the Undertaker here in this slot. Last year, I predicted that Undertaker would headline the Class of 2015. I was dead wrong, pun intended. Taker did not retire as expected, he appeared at Wrestlemania 31 and as of this writing also wrestled Summerslam. Now, by no means is the actually 50 year old “dead man” returning full time. He’s not. He did Vince a favor. A favor to come in and main event Summerslam to give it the big time feel and extra WWE Network buys.
Well what does all this have to do with Sting? Well, the WWE simply doesn’t need Sting as much. And although he is now in WWE World Heavyweight Championship program, even if he beats Rollins, it will be short (and cashed in upon from Sheamus) Sting is the pinnacle of part time. Most of his time is spent doing marketing and being an ambassador for the company. He can do that as a WWE Hall of Famer.
I expect Sting to retire at Wrestlemania 32 (he is 56 years old as of this writing). He will not face Taker, instead he will fight and likely lose to an up and coming talent who can carry him (Looking at you Cesaro). End career. Welcome to the Hall of Fame.
Chances of Induction: 7 out of 10
Reason it Won’t Happen: Summerslam forces Taker to retire. Or WWE does induct him while still active. (NOT A GOOD IDEA)
This omission has been one of the biggest head scratchers since 2009 (with the induction of the Von Erichs). Why are the Fabulous Freebirds not in the WWE Hall of Fame? They were one of the most important tag teams in the history of wrestling. Their feud with the Von Erichs was one of the hottest feuds in the country from 1982-1985. These men were territory specialists. They succeeded almost everywhere they went (excluding the WWF where they were made faces for no reason and left after a month). They could have easier fit in classes in Atlanta (2011), New Orleans (2014) and California (2015). The Freebirds are that prolific.
Michael PS Hayes has worked with the WWE for 15-20 years. He’s bought in to the WWE way of doing things, important to the company and an obvious choice. Terry Gordy and Buddy Roberts are both deceased, so expect Jimmy Garvin (Freedbird circa WCW) to join as a member as well.
Most importantly, this years Hall of Fame is happening in Dallas. Dallas was one of the major cities in WCCW, where arguably the Freebirds had their greatest success.
Chances of Induction: 9 out of 10
Reasons not to induct: Confederate Flag was their costumes. Racism of Hayes. I mean he is most defiantly a racist.
Stan Hansen is one of those talents who someday will make the WWE Hall of Fame. He is an obvious inductee. He was a huge talent, who fought for every major promotion (including WWWF, breaking Bruno’s neck)
In 2010, WWE brought Hansen in to induct Antonio Inoki. This was the last piece of the puzzle, opening the door for his inclusion. He, like Future Hall of Famer, Vader were the epitome of American wrestler success in Japan. WWE has been continuing to globalize their brand, and with the hiring of KENTA, and Fujinami joining last year, Hansen is a perfect choice. He’s also Texan, wears a cowboy hat and is again…TEXAN.
Chances of induction 6 out of 10
Reasons Not to Induct: WWE goes with JBL instead. WWE really likes inducting their own. And with the inclusion of our next prediction, Hansen’s Japanese ties are perhaps, less important.
Jushin Thunder Liger
For the first time in history, Jushin Liger appeared on WWE television in a WWE ring. At NXT Takeover August 22nd, Liger, aged 50, did a very good job convincing us that he still “Got It”. 50, while old for a WWE wrestler (not named Sting or Undertaker) is old hat in Japan. Wrestlers, especially large talents like Liger, are known to wrestle well into their 60s in limited role. (Like Ric Flair with less hard living and chops)
Liger is the perfect candidate for a international induction. He wrestled for quite a bit of time for WCW, is a great contact to have to be an ambassador (like Tatsumi Fujinami is currently) and will help build WWE’s brand in Japan. Win win on all sides.
Liger’s appearance (and just recently announced future appearances) are too random without the Hall of Fame attached. While its possibly Hansen or Liger, it could still be both.
Chances of induction: 7 out of 10
Reasons Not Too induct: Doesn’t speak English. Perhaps WWE wants to a bigger foreign name.
When doing these lists, I always have to remember two things. There will always be a woman and likely always be a minority. WWE does not like to have 6-9 white guys standing on stage.
They’d much rather have 6-9 white guys, AND one woman AND one minority
Jackie Moore or Jacquiline fits the mold of the next women’s inductee. They’ve done the biggest names in Women’s wrestling in the last 20 years (Western audiences only). 2015 gave us Alundra Blayze in a welcomed surprise move.. The next women’s champion after Blayze (and the deactivation in 95, reactivation in 98) was Jackie Moore.
Many forget that she beat Sable to claim the newly rechristened WWE Women’s Championship. Technically, she is the first women’s champion of modern Women/DIVA wrestling.
Plus she is from Dallas Texas. Fits the bill, makes all the sense.
Chances of Induction: 6 out of 10
Reasons Not to Do Induction: Skip ahead of her and go right to Sable. Seriously, Sable should be in the WWE Hall of Fame. She is legit married to Brock Lesnar as well. Why hasn’t that happened already?
Anyone who has visited here at all knows I hate the celebrity inductee. Why? Because it is unnecessary. It is rewarding a celebrity for making a paid special appearance in a product which most of them do not care about.
Champions of the sport and the entertainment in wrestling are welcome.
Bullshit like Jeremy Piven said above (SUMMERFEST!) is more the norm that the exception. And even when a fan of the product comes along, they are given heinous dialogue and look strange and out of place. Jon Stewart was so weird at Summerslam…awkward and scripted.
Regardless of what I say, a celebrity inductee will join the Hallowed Halls currently holding the greats, like Drew Carey and William Perry, both of whom were obviously NOT getting a paycheck/promoting some stupid comedy show which lasted three months.
Who Would I Accept?
Lauper had a great impact on WWE. Like MR. T, her presense helped to legitimize the WWF in 1985. The rockin wrestling stuff was great,
Her return in 2011 was to say the least absurdly awkward. It be a short speech and a deserving nod.
Who is Likely to Get it?
William Shatner, Shaq, Pamela Anderson ANYONE!!!!
Chances of Lauper, Muhammed Ali or Andy Kaufman: 0 out of 10
Chances of Bullshit: 10 out of 10
As a PS, there are two other names I would not be surprised to see in 2016. The first is Raw’s third announcer JBL, mentioned above. The second would be more of a surprise. I am talking about Owen Hart. You see, a DVD is coming out about Owen’s career, without Owen’s wife permission. Because the lawsuit is settled….and WWE can legally do that….and Bret Hart wanted it and wants an induction….and they just inducted Macho Man without the involvement or support of his widow…and Owen Hart might be in the video game.
I don’t feel confident quite yet that Owen will go in, but IF we see him in WWE 2k16, I will amend my list and add “The King of Harts” Owen Hart.