WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2013: Donald Trump

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Donald Trump

Class of 2013: Celebrity Inductee

 Business Magnate, The Donald, Says “You’re Fired” On TV

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Hall of Fame Rating

5 out of 10

Memorable

Celebrity inductees always bring down a class. There is never a comparison between a Icon like Mick Foley and this years “celebrity honoree” (Michael Cole used the NEW terminology on Raw), Donald Trump. Trump is not professional wrestler. He is a business man….kinda. Sure, he has tons of money, but lots of it was inherited. Trump has built himself into a brand, but a strange one. He is brash, offensive and frankly unlikable. Perfect for Vince McMahon. And unfortunately, perfect for the Celebrity Wing.

Trump has been involved in WWE since 1988. He hosted both Wrestlemania 4 and 5 at his Trump Plaza in Atlantic City. It was the first time Wrestlemania had come from a casino. We can indirectly blame The Donald for the WWE trying Wrestlemania 9 at Caesar’s Palace.

In true WWE Fashion, they followed the casino aspect a little too far and we had this

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And this.

Trumpy, as no one call him, didn’t stop there. He returned to participate in a hair vs hair match angle 14 years later at Wrestlemania 23. This is the famous match where two competitors who would be gone within a year and half (Bobby Lashley & Umaga) wagered Trump’s hair vs that of Vincent Kennedy McMahon. McMahon lost of course, but Trump poorly ate a Stone Cold Stunner and everyone was happy. Especially the WWE. Wrestlemania 23 was the best financial success for the company in history until Wrestlemania 28. Good job Trump.

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Grumpy pants Lashley: Trump’s champion

The entire match below

I have to give the man credit. Donald Trump fits into WWE. As celebrities go, Trump had a sense of humor about the whole thing. He picked up his hairline to show it was real and even had a backstage segment where he told the Boogeyman to get him food.

Trump even returned to “buy” Monday Night Raw before the whole Guest Host debacle of 09-10. Part of his longevity (in celebrity terms) was his willingness to come back. In reality, Vince and Donald are friends. As much friends as two really rich republican businessmen can be.

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Pleasantries. Yes Yes. Money Money Money*

*Actual Conversation

 If we accept that Celebrity inductees are going to happen, there are a lot of worse choices than Donald Trump. His “like of the business” (like only) and “buddyness” with Vince have given him a place in WWE history.

Hooray!

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Why 2013?

Donald Trump is from NY/NJ which is the location for Wrestlemania 29. WWE had a couple of possible inductees for the MSG induction including Trump, Cyndi Lauper and Mr. T

T had repeated said he was “offended” that Pete Rose went in first and will probably take coercing and money to get involved in the Hall. Lauper was an easy choice due to her involvement at Wrestlemania 1 (at MSG) but she was raucously given the silent treatment during her appearance during the leadup to Raw 1000. Seriously, it was the most awkward segment in like 5 years.

Plus he is Vince’s friend. If anyone was getting in the celebrity wing eventually, it was Donald Trump. He is as good of a choice as the other two I mentioned.

Opens Door For?

 Celebrity Inductees. This pattern is obviously going to continue despite Triple H taking over the selection process. On behalf of everyone:

sigh

Reasons this shouldn’t have happened.

 He is bat-shit crazy. Of a hardcore republican kind. Trumpy and the birther movement got along splendidly, and Trump is whacko on twitter.

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Yes, Basketball caused the depression.

Luckily this means that The Donald can join other bat-shit crazy Hall of Famers as Bob Backlund and Billy Graham. You got company guys!

BACKLUND

“Wipe your feet at the door. The kazoo is on the patio”

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WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2012: Mike Tyson

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Mike Tyson

Class of 2012: Celebrity Inductee

Baddest Man on the Planet

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Hall of Fame Rating

6 out of 10

Influential

Out of all the celebrity inductees in the Hall, Mike Tyson deserves this honor the most. His participation was similar to Mr. T’s in Wrestlemania 1. It mattered. It actually legitametly affected the product in a positive way.

Most celebrities at Wrestlemania are window dressing. Vince brings them in to get media attention and to make himself feel good.

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Pam is ditzy and fun AND accompanying Diesel! OMG!

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Jake and Alice Cooper cuz they are both dark or something

This is the most obvious example of the entertainment factor of sports entertainment. Hard core wrestling fans generally glance over this element, which has grown into a spectacular waste of time on events especially Wrestlemania. (Remember Snoop Dog’s Rap Battle bumping Sheamus vs Daniel Bryan for US Title at Wrestlemania 27) Its real bad.

What does all this have to do with Mike Tyson? Well, Tyson is the anomoloy not the rule. Celebrities normally suck. They feel extra and never really affect anything. Mike Tyson did. His precense did exactly what Vince always wants (got media attention) and what real fans want (good story and actually helped change things).

Steve Austin was on a roll since 1997 and during his injury in the later half of the year (Owen Hart’s great contribution to Austin lore), Austin bloomed. He became the hero against the classic ways of doing things in the WWE. Austin lit a spark with his stunners of Ross and McMahon, and Mike Tyson became fuel to that fire.

In 1998, McMahon knew he had something with Steve Austin. The fans loved him. Austin 3:16, his catch phrases and bucking authority were all new in wrestling. This was hard. This felt real. So McMahon took a gamble. A huge gamble. If this gamble was unsuccessful, he was on the path towards the destruction of the WWF. Mike Tyson was that gamble.

Tyson cost over one million dollars to appear at Wrestlemania 14 and preceding Raw shows. At this point, McMahon was losing an uphill battle against WCW. Things were not hunky dory at the time. McMahon changed his product rather quickly in 1997 to adapt to the changing times (and in response to the now) But they still weren’t in the lead and were losing money fast. If Tyson hadn’t brought the attention and more importantly the fans back to WWF, it could have folded.

Mike Tyson joins DX by BigFaker

But Tyson did. He was the cherry on top to the Austin/DX Feud, which brought in the casual fan and the WCW fan. Many came for this and never left as it was obvious WWF was the better product. Tyson helped legitimize the change going on. Why?

The Baddest Man on the Planet. That was Mike Tyson’s nickname and how WWF labled him. Tyson, in all reality, was not a nice man. His job was to beat and destroy people. He had actually been in jail for a few years. Mike Tyson of 1998 would not be brought in WWE today. He was too controversial. And that’s why he mattered.

Vince took his gamble, and it worked. On top of that, Tyson (who was a fan) actually partcipated in a angle where he almost fought Austin, joined DX until he finally saw the truth at Wrestlemania and counted the beginning of the Attitude Era with Austin’s victory. It was a good story and it helped to change the importance of the outcome.

McMahon was always going to go Austin victory. Tyson’s involvement helped more people to see this victory and realize a change was in the air. Tyson is in the handful of celebrities who are musts in the Celebrity Hall. Well done.

Why 2012?

Drew Carey’s 2011 induction was a debacle (he got booed at his speech, at Wrestlemania and even all the press was more “Huh” that “YAY”. )

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Drew Carey=Sad

Did they learn from it? Yes, it seems. Mike Tyson is one of probably five celebrities who have to be in the celebrity wing at some point. His inclusion here says that perhaps the WWE has decided to actually question the validity of a celebrity inductee and not just pick one.

Tyson mattered and with his main involvement being over ten years prior, his induction was good, at least as far as it goes with celebrities.

Realistically, celebrities don’t belong, but if they have to be there, Mike Tyson is up there with Mr. T in needing to be in the Hall.

Opens Door For?

Hopefully a pattern of good celebrity inductions. Mr.T, Cyndi Lauper and Andy Kaufman should be the next three

Reasons this shouldn’t have happened.

Worried about PG rating. But Tyson’s speech was far from TV MA, so none really.

Oh BTW, after that speech Mike Tyson joins the Bat-Shit Insane Wing of the Hall of Fame, which includes Billy Graham, Bob Backlund, Iron Sheik and many others

WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2013: Bob Backlund

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Bob Backlund

Class of 2013

2x WWF Champion, 2nd Longest Reign in WWE History, Crazy Old Coot

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Hall of Fame Rating

8 out of 10

Legend

Bob Backlund was Vince McMahon Senior’s last chosen champion. Wrestling was different in the 1970s during the World Wide Wrestling Federation, and the biggest goal for the Northeast territory was to maintain a popular champion who drew every month at MSG and a couple of times a year in Philly, Baltimore or Washington DC. Backlund followed in the lineage of Bruno Sammartino and Pedro Morales. In fact that is it. Three faces held the WWWF championship from 1961 til 1983. Interspersed between was normally a one month (or one week) reign by a heel champion who acted like a transition (thereby starting and defining the term traditional champion, sorry Stan Stasiak)

But Backlund is slightly different than Bruno or Pedro, he defeated a long running heel champion in Superstar Billy Graham. When Graham became champion in 1977, wrestling had started to transition. Characters were becoming more common and the idea of a fighting champion who fights and fights and fights and wins all the time was getting old. Graham was a heel who cheated and cheated and cheated while claiming his dominance. Enter Bob Backlund.

Backlund was trained by Verne Gagne and debuted in 1972. He moved about throughout the mid-western and southern territories until finally coming to the WWWF in 1977. Backlund was different from the all the previous champions. He was technical and an actual wrestler. Sammartino and Morales were amazing heroes and men to admire. Backlund was a hard worker individual, not common for the champion of the Northeast.

In fact Backlund himself was a representation of a common wrestling tradition, when business starts to go down and your “superhero” wrestler isn’t there anymore, go with a technically sound wrestler. This man will wow the audiences with his performance, even if his character leaves something to be desired. WWF did this later in 1992 with Bret Hart and we could soon find ourselves in another one of these once Super Cena retires.

 

Backlund also was WWWF version of the Jack Brisco like champion. He worked extremely hard and proved to be good enough of a draw to hold the championship for almost six years. During his reign two important life changing things happened in the WWWF. In 1979, Vince SR rejoined the NWA (basically making Backlund’s championship secondary to the NWA World Heavweight championship) due to business not being great and finally sold to Vince JR in 1982.

Backlund was quickly replaced with another superhero in Hulk Hogan and faded away for many years.

His return in 1992 was part of the resurgence of actual wrestlers in the main event and McMahon may have brought him in to be in the main event. Unfortunately for all involved, wrestling as sports entertainment was not a strong suit for face Bob Backlund.

This brings us to my favorite time for Bob Backlund. He turned heel and went crazy on screen. We as fans always talk about when a wrestler embraces who he is, he suceeds more. Well Bob Backlund is legitimately insane. Take a look at this website below. Crazy Pants McGee got nothing on Bob Backlund.

http://deadspin.com/5946696/bob-backlund-is-an-insane-person-more-wrestler-run+ins

Mr. Backlund made no real sense but his promo when he won the WWF title in 1994 is so underrated and should be looked at as an example of why Backlund is so great. Perhaps if he had been let actually perform (even as a heel) his career with the organization may have been longer.

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Where are all my rings?- Bob Backlund

Why 2013?

Backlund turned down the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004. (Sadly replaced by Don Muraco) Backlund, at the time, believed he still had another run in him. I am personally glad the WWE didn’t allow him to try. Imagine 60 year old Backlund versus 60 year old Flair in retirement matches. My head just exploded.

Still, the Hall of Fame looks to be hitting its stride in the last few years. 2012 was one of the most solid classes in a long time and 2013 is starting strong with Mick Foley and now Bob Backlund. Here’s hoping at least. Tune in more as more nominees become available.

Opens Door For?

Those who have turned down in the past including Bruno, Honky Tonk Man and Ultimate Warrior. Looks the E always forgives.

Reasons this shouldn’t have happened.

Crazy Bob Backlund may have a CRAZY BOB BACKLUND speech. It will be fun.