WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2015: Alundra Blayze

Alundra-Blayze

Alundra Blayze

Class of 2015

Early 1990s Women’s Champion, Bridge Burner

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Hall of Fame Rating

5 out of 10

Memorable

 Once again, hell has frozen over. WWE has welcomed one of their many former “persona non gratis” into the WWE Hall of Fame. Ladies and Gentlemen, here is Madusa….

…..Or Alundra Blayze. For our purposes, I shall refer Debra Micelli by her more well-known ring name, Madusa. In her career, spanning from 1984-2001, she was known as Madusa Micelli (or Made in the USA Micelli) for the entire time except for 1993-1995 while in WWE. Alundra Blayze going into the WWE Hall of Fame is another example of WWEizing a wrestler’s career (see Hacksaw Jim Duggan or  Razor Ramon); Annoying, but too be expected.

michaelcole

Like Michael Cole

Madusa’s inclusion is a welcome sight. For the last few years, WWE seemed to follow a pattern in its inductions. We’d have a headliner, another from that Wrestlemania’s location, a minority wrestler, a celebrity and a woman. Recent female inductions included Trish Stratus (who was well deserved if not a little early) and Lita (who sucks). Earlier in the year, rumors suggested that either Mickie James or Victoria would be the Diva (HATE THAT WORD) inductee. While neither would be a terrible choice, both would be frustrating. Mickie James isn’t even technically retired and Victoria has only been for less than two years.

My issue with Lita and Stratus going in the last two classes is that their inclusion  overlooked an entire period of female wrestling. Excluding Sunny, who never wrestled, there were no major 90s female wrestlers in the Hall of Fame. Former champions like Sable, Jacqueline, Chyna, Bull Nakano and Alundra Blayze had passed up for  Lita & Stratus. While it will be argued that Stratus especially was more deserving than some on the above list, it felt a slight to all of those women who had been retired for many years. Simply put, Stratus & Lita went in first because they were on good terms with the WWE. It’s why Rikishi is going in and why the Bushwhackers are in before Demolition and Rick Rude. WWE prefers to induct those who still like WWE and just say “YES” for the 5,000 dollars and once last chance at the spotlight.

ware

Looking at you Koko!

Madusa was not one of those types of talents. She was not ever welcome back after the close of WCW and it all stemmed from this:

Madusa trashing the WWF Women’s Title in 1995 is one of the most played moments of the Monday Night Wars. It has come to represent the battle between WCW and WWF as powerfully as DX on the tank at the WCW event in 1998. The idea was Eric Bischoff’s brain child. His statement here was “We are better than you, we take your champions…” ; a sentiment which benefited WCW alot and Madusa very little.

In fact, this one moment in 1995  effectively ended Madusa’s career. As WCW was being purchased in 2001, Madusa quit the company and promptly retired. She knew full well that she would never be welcomed into the WWE again. That bridge had been burned. And up until this induction, there has been no appearance or mention of Madusa or Alundra Blayze.

Apart from her being infamous, Madusa is known as being a wrestler. Most women today would barely meet that criterion. From Alicia Fox, to Naomi and  The Bellas, most “Diva” performers are either former models and generally just not very good. AJ Lee is one major exception (and a lot of girls on NXT). That’s why when asked about Madusa’s induction, AJ said:

AJ makes a great point. Madusa knew how to wrestle. She was a female wrestler, a thing which the WWE generally doesn’t know what to do with. Don’t believe me? Here is one of the roughly fifty videos on botches done by WWE’s Divas division.

Enough Diva bashing, let’s get back to the inductee at hand. Madusa has some legit credits. Madusa began her career in 1984 after being trained by Eddie Sharkey. This is no small point. Sharkey is considered to be the Trainer of Champions. He trained many well-known amazing talents including Rick Rude, Smash, The Road Warriors, Tom Zenk and many more.

Look into my cold dead eyes.

Look into my cold dead eyes.

This is proof positive of Madusa’s skill set. Her first fore into wrestling was in the AWA from 1986-1989, during its death knell period. Regardless of how terrible business was, Verne Gagne knew talent and generally only associated himself with those who could go. Madusa had feuds with not only great Japanese wrestlers but with Sherri Martel and Wendi Richter in the AWA. These were real feuds and legitimate matches, something which didn’t exist in the WWE at the time. Madusa was a real women’s woman, tough and talented.

After a brief period in WCW in the early 1990s, where she was mostly used as a valet, Madusa joined the WWF in 1993. She was brought in under the moniker of Alundra Blayze. The story behind the name change is that Vince McMahon didn’t want Micelli to go by Madusa, a name copyrighted by Micelli. For those who complain about Kevin Steen becoming Kevin Owens or Kenta becoming Hideo Itami, this has been going on for a looooong time. Vince wants to own all the names of his talent.

Blayze was brought in to revitalize the Women’s Division in WWF. Their title had become vacant and unused since 1990, when the organization realized that no one cared. Rockin Robin was the last champion, whose great Wrestlemania moment was singing the National Anthem.,..poorly.

Madusa…err…Blayze won the tournament in 1993 to claim the title she later threw in the trash. And although she could wrestle and had great potential, she was hurt by the lack of a women’s division. Every opponent brought in to the WWF for Blayze was there for a short period of time and eventually left. The greatest feuds Blayze had were with Bull Nakano (hopefully Future Hall of Famer) and Bertha Faye.

Blayze even had one Wrestlemania match against former champion and winner of today’s “Who the hell is that Award”, Lelani Kai.

Unfortunately for her, Blayze came up upon the same problem which has plagued most generations of female performers in WWE; The organization doesn’t care about them. Women’s wrestling has been and still is even today treated as a side-show, a bathroom break and generally uninspired and uninteresting. Blayze’s time with the WWF/WWE was no different, and so when offered a hefty sum to go to WCW, she left and took the title with her.

After the famous title incident, Madusa stayed with WCW for many years, floating from valet to wrestler, even winning the WCW Cruiserweight Championship for a short time. Her career is a good example of someone who almost reached superstar status. She was almost there often. She likely could have been a bigger star, if the bookers cared about Women’s wrestling. Still, comparatively to other women wrestlers, a deserving Hall of Fame inductee.

Plus she now races cars and drives monster trucks. She could kick all our asses!

 

Why 2015?

WWE likes their Hall of Fame pattern, which calls for a female wrestler. Likely, they approached Madusa last year, and she was amenable. Like Wendi Richter in 2010, it will be a time for Madusa to say goodbye and thank you to her fans.

Opens Door For?

Other contemporaries like Luna Vachon. Also for other persona non gratis like Demolotion. Demolition next please!!

Reasons this shouldn’t have happened.

Tough women make people nervous…

no!

She’s Gonna Hit ME!!!

WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2015: Rikishi

Rikishi

Rikishi

Class of 2015

Attitude Era Samoan, Dancing Man

rikishi

Hall of Fame Rating

4 out of 10

Disappointing

 2015 started with a bang as The Macho Man Randy Savage was announced for the WWE Hall of Fame. It was a moment where those who celebrate wrestling and its history (this blog included) finally could let out a collective sigh of relief. Macho Man, like Warrior and Bruno before him, was getting his just recognition.

The last few years, the WWE has upped the quality of induction candidates. In the 2013 Class, the weak link was the celebrity (as it almost always is) and in 2014,  Carlos Colon and Lita were passable as they are still beloved by many for what they accomplished.

2015 has proven to be a  different story. The weak link has already been taken up by Celebrity Inductee, Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose inclusion is absurd. (See my rant on that subject here). Unfortunately, we now have a situation which hasn’t existed since 2011, two lackluster inductees.

Enter Rikishi. Rikishi is fine. He was entertaining…. for what he was. And what he was can be best summarized by this:

rikishidancing

LARGE MAN DANCING! Its comedy. And Rikishi did it first and best. Unfortunately, the dancing man character has become a main staple of WWE’s gimmick catalog and has been done again….

If you view this as success...

……

and again…..

tensaidancing

 

Now, there is nothing wrong with dancing in a wrestling ring. There is nothing wrong in being a comedy character. Santino Marella, had a long and fun career for almost 10 years in that role. However, dancing and comedy does not make a Hall of Fame Career. Gimmicks, matches, feuds and storytelling must be part of the person’s body of work. In most of those categories, Rikishi is very lacking.

Rikishi’s is in the Hall of Fame because he is Samoan and his kids work for the WWE. Plain and simple. WWE loves to harp on legacies, likely due to the owner’s obsession with his own.

What a Happy Family!

What a Happy Family!

Rikishi is a member of  the Anoa’i Family, which includes some very worthy Hall of Famers including Peter Maivia, The Wild Samoans and Yokozuna. Vince cannot create more Samoans, so that means that it is Rikishi’s turn. Agree or disagree about the actual importance of the Anoa’i Family (without the Rock, they would be a much less important wrestling family), this is what WWE likes to do.

WWE also likes to induct fathers and family members of current superstars. It is why Bob Orton joined in 2005 and even why Mil Mascaras became a Hall of Famer in 2012 (Alberto Del Rio’s Uncle). This is why WWE’s Hall of fame is  different than any other Hall.  Inclusion is not based on a voting system; inductees are rewarded for longevity or for gimmicked popularity.

Cut to Rikishi. Apart from dancing, he is also known for this:

rikishi-stinkface-rodney-mack-o

His entire induction video is basically a celebration of dancing and stinkfaces. You know, SPORTS ENTERTAINMENT. The entertainment is what’s important to Vince & co. Sports Entertainment. Not Wrestling.

I ask myself sometimes if I really need to accept this. Do I have to accept that WWE shits upon its own legacy by celebrating base wrestlers, gimmicks instead of actual men, or uninspired performers? Why do they do this?

vincefuckyou

 

Fine. If I am going to continue to write a blog about the WWE Hall of Fame, I must accept that Vince McMahon and his corporate team don’t understand what a Hall of Fame is supposed to be. Fine. Fine.

meh

 

For shits and giggles, let’s take a look at the career of Rikishi. He had a long stay with the WWF/WWE. Half of his career there was spent jumping gimmicks. In fact, he may be one of the very few to have 4 completely different characters in one organization.  In 1992, Rikishi, then known as Fatu debuted as part of the Headshrinkers, a totally not racist update to the Wild Samoans. He was pared with his Samoan Swat Team partner and real life cousin Samu.

headshrinkersfs

They did have some success in 1993-1994, swapping titles back and forth with an out-of-place Steiner Brothers (Seriously, Rikishi is in the Hall of Fame before the Steiners) before Samu left, Fatu was stuck with Sionne (a reformed and returning Barbarian) and slowly faded into obscurity.

As all his relatives and partners left, the WWF decided it would be a great idea to turn Fatu face and have him make a difference for low-income kids by wearing bright colors. 1995 gave us the birth of Making A Difference Fatu.

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Without any shock from anyone, the gimmick failed and Fatu, instead of leaving the organization, allowed himself to get repackaged again as another race. Thus gave us 1996 and The Sultan!

 

One of these aren't middle eastern

One of these aren’t middle eastern

Fatu had limited success as this character (even with both Bob Backlund and Iron Sheik as managers) ,and  although he did have a Wrestlemania match against the struggling Rocky Maivia for the IC Title in 1997., he faded out within a year.

Which will bring us to Rikishi. Rikishi or as he debuted, Rikishi Phatu (see its Fatu but cool!)….

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…..which was a fine midcard performer who wasn’t going to have any great success. His path changed suddenly when Too Cool (NEVER GOING INTO THE HALL OF FAME), coerced him to dance. The rest they say is history….

But I think that’s the point. Rikishi would never have gotten over without the dancing and the stinkface. He had really nothing to contribute other than being Samoan and kinda big. That’s it. The dancing made him. The stinkface made him. And he NEVER got bigger or better than those two things.

The few attempts at legitimizing Rikishi fell flat on their faces.

He was a one time IC Title holder (when that belt changed hands every week) and a one time tag holder with Scotty 2 Hotty (when Brian Christopher left)

 

AND THAT”S IT. Rikishi has no other accomplishments.

I change my mind, I do not accept that Vince McMahon just adds nonsense people to the Hall of Fame. So on behalf of myself and those reading this blog…..

cheers

 

 

Why 2015?

Macho Man Randy Savage is dead. He may be the headliner of this class and it appears to offset that sadness, that WWE is sticking with happy go lucky inductees. Rikishi, Arnold and likely the Bushwhackers will follow with that pattern.

Its bad booking. Its bad news. And once again…..

cheers

Oh and his kids can induct him. Prepare yourself for this moment on the Hall of Fame Stage:

rikishidancing

Opens Door For?

More Samoans. We may see Samu or Rosey or Tonga Kid eventually. Also opens the door for more character or gimmick induction. (Santino Marella Hall of Famer) Will be interesting to see if Val Venis eventually gets in. He is about the same level.

Reasons this shouldn’t have happened.

It’s a joke. Rikishi is not a Hall of Famer. He will never been in any other Hall of Fame (Pro Wrestling, Wrestling Observer etc). Doesn’t deserve it. Doesn’t belong.

WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2015: Arnold Schwarzenegger: A Travesty

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Arnold Schwarzenegger

Class of 2015: Celebrity Inductee

 The Governator, The Terminator

10492 - Arnold_Schwarzenegger WWE_Hall_Of_Fame_Induction_Ceremony celebrity microphone suit wwe

Hall of Fame Ranking

2 out of 10

Undeserving

For any avid reader of this blog, my hatred of the Celebrity Wing of the WWE Hall of Fame is both well documented and volitile. I hate it. I think its stupid and represents all that’s wrong with the WWE. It puts celebrity, a loose term which means very little nowadays, over content and its own wrestlers. It happens all the time. Want an example? At Wrestlemania 25, Chris Jericho defeated three Hall of Famers (Jimmy Snuka, Roddy Piper and Ricky Steamboat) in a 3 on 1 elimination match. Jericho then destroyed Ric Flair (4th Hall of Famer) after the match. And who was the knight in shining armor to defeat the evil Jericho? Why Mickey Rourke.

anger

With one punch, Rourke vanquished Jericho and everyone was happy….Except me. Mickey Rourke’s participation made 16 time World Champion Ric Flair look like a chump. The powers that be in WWE (IE Vince McMahon) don’t care and love the celebrity participation.  I have to believe at this point that McMahon is convinced that a celebrity (regardless of who) legitimizes his life’s work. Why else would he do it?

Celebrities are a part of WWE, especially around Wrestlemania season. I just have to accept it and I do….kinda. Some are fine because like every other inductee, there are different levels of Celebrity inductee. Last year, we were finally given Mr. T….

And his Momma Speech

And his Momma Speech

Celebrity or not, Mr. T is an important part of WWE’s history.  He is the best example of the celebrity (in this case Mr T at his height of popularity) legitimizing wrestling. Without T, would Hulk Hogan and Wrestlemania 1 have been as big? I don’t think so. Mr. T belongs in the WWE Hall of Fame. So does Mike Tyson (ushering in Attitude Era), Cyndi Lauper (Rock’n Wrestling) and Andy Kaufman (only celebrity to really play a heel).

NOT WILLIAM PERRY!!!!

NOT WILLIAM PERRY!!!!

 

THATS IT!!!!! No one else. No other celebrity has ever had enough effect to become a Hall of Famer. What is a Hall of Famer? The cream of the crop, the best of the best. Is Arnold Schwarzenegger the best of the celebrities who have appeared in WWE?

bryanno

Let’s take a look at Arnold Schwarzenegger’s appearances with the WWE. He has appeared three times.

In 1999, during the height of the Attitude Era, Arnold Schwarzenegger appeared on WWF Smackdown to accept a replica WWE Title. Schwarzenegger  was named  the “World Box Office Champion.”, a championship which was never defended nor ever mentioned again.  Later that evening, he helped The Rock and others defeat D-Generation X when he slid a steel chair to special enforcer Steve Austin, who then hit Triple H.  Following the bout, Triple H took a swing at Schwarzenegger, who ducked and terminated The Game with a series of vicious fists. What a Hall of fame moment!!!!

And that is it. That’s what Arnold Schwarzenegger did with the WWE. He accepted a fake championship and was never seen again until 2013, when he inducted Bruno Sammartino into the Hall of Fame.

As my blood pressure grows over this induction, take a quick look at Arnold’s last appearance with the WWE, where he, Hulk Hogan and someone named Joe Manganiello beat up the Miz, once again proving that Celebrities are better than WWE superstars. Now, the best part of this appearance is it was a “guest host” spot to shill an upcoming movie. The movie, Sabotage, was seen by no one and cared about by only those in the ring and McMahon himself.

Can someone please explain to me how this above is a “Hall of Fame Career”. I spend my time on this site destroying guys who will never get in the Hall of Fame. Names like Ahmed Johnson or Dan Severn will never grace the Halls. But yet in comparison to Arnold Schwarzenegger, both deserve to headline multiple classes.

Even WWE.com, with their revisionist bullshit writing, struggles to defend why Arnold Schwarzenegger is in the Hall of Fame.

http://www.wwe.com/superstars/arnold-schwarzenegger

To summarize the above for those who hate reading, Arnold is friends with Bruno Sammartino and he and Jesse Ventura did movies together. Its good to know that all you have to do to get into the WWE Hall of Fame is be friends with people in the organization.

Since this was announced, I have been trying to figure out if this is the worst induction ever or not. By leaps and bounds, Drew Carey was the most embarrassing induction in history. His involvement was one match (the Royal Rumble no less) where he basically made fun of it, knowing nothing of the product, and was really there to shill some shitty show which didn’t last.

anger

Drew Carey doesn’t belong in the Hall, but at least he participated in a goddamn match!. Arnold received a belt for  just showing up. (Talk about participation awards). This induction has infuriated me so much, that I am defending Drew Carey. What has the world come to.

WWE can do and has done so much better.

Why 2015?

Its in California! And Arnold lives there! And he’s a super big name! Fuck the Celebrity Wing. Seriously.

To WWE, Vince McMahon, Triple H and anyone else involved:

howdareyou

Opens Door For?

Jeremy Piven, Snooki, Maria Menounus, William Shatner, Alex Trebek and any number of other undeserving candidates.

Now presenting Future Hall of Famer: Kevin Hart!

Now presenting Future Hall of Famer: Kevin Hart!

Reasons this shouldn’t have happened.

All of them. Pick any reason. Personally, I say the movie Sabotage. Have you seen this garbage? It makes the turds that WWE normally puts out look like diamonds.

sabotage

Old Arnold: Action Star!