WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2016: The Godfather

the-godfather-wwe

The Godfather

Class of 2016

Attitude Era “Star”, Offensive Stereotype

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Hall of Fame Rating

0 out of 10

Travesty

Holy Moly Hell. What. Is. This…??????

shrug

Picture this. The year is 2016, and a company known for its charitable image, caring for children, and its strong public image, give a lifetime achievement award…to a pimp. Not possible you might think! Well you’d be wrong, Welcome to the WWE Hall of fame.

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I hate it when WWE does this. Instead of inducting a man, or a wrestler for his career and contributions, they induct a character. The Godfather was a character Charles Wright played from 1999-2001. That’s it. One could argue that by including the Godfather, WWE is recognizing the other elements of Wright’s career. But, that like many of the ridiculous things the WWE does, is an opinion and a stretch. Plus, take a look at WWE’s own induction video. Nothing about Wright’s very long career outside of the one character is even mentioned.

Charles Wright as a performer had a very long and very inconcequential run with the WWE. He, like many “good hands”, had many many incarnations of characters. He was lower mid-card at best, functioning almost completely as an enforcer role, a comedy character or a waste of time.

Don’t believe me, let’s look at Charles Wright’s contributions to the history of wrestling.

Papa Shango

papa shango

Charles Wright began his WWE career as an offensive stereotype (something he very much embraced in his “best known” character as well) Shango, while memorable through the lense of a child’s mind, was nothing if not a complete generalization of Voodoo and African American culture. Papa Shango will never be mentioned on WWE television again for this reason. Can you imagine WWE showcasing this?

Shango had one big feud vs the Ultimate Warrior, which culminated in absolutely nothing. He then played the role of immediate elimination in 1993 Royal Rumble as disappeared into his smoke shortly after. A failed character with a supernatural tilt, who was destined to fail.

Wright reappeared in the WWE as part of the tail end of the less than successful Million Dollar Corporation. He was rebranded as Kama, The Supreme Fighting Machine. Kama, positioned as an ultimate fighter, was neither ultimate nor a good fighter

What's with that hair?

What’s with that hair?

Wright’s greatest moment was stealing the Undertaker’s urn and melting it into a chain. (Does that make it a spooky chain?)

Like all WWE in 1995, it was terrible and he like the Million Dollar Corporation faded into obsurity.

Wright reappeared as a member of the revitalized (see made fully black) Nation of Domination as Kama Mustafa. He played the role of enforcer for the group, but never had any memorable moments or feuds. He was a background character, something Wright was great at.

We will skip over the Godfather for a second, to address Wright’s last character in WWE. He gave up his Godfather character in 2001, mostly due to the fact that it was A. a one trick pony character and B. offensive. But we will address that below. Wright joined the destined to fail group the Right to Censor, as the Goodfather. See what they did there? SEEEEE?

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Does this career for Mr. Charles Wright appear to be a Hall of Fame career by itself?

bryanno

So, that leaves us with the Godfather. This character Wright played, which is being inducted into the Hall of Fame.

The Godfather came about at the heart of the Attitude era. Let’s not mince words here. The Godfather was a pimp. Who had prostitutes. And apparently sold them or gave away sex from them so that people wouldn’t wrestle him. That is who this character was and all parts of this are horribly offensive.

How is this character Hall of Fame worthy? It is not just a matter of a bad wrestler who lost all the time. Godfather did have feuds (kinda) and did win the IC championship for some reason at one point. That is not the point.

WWE in today’s environment cannot possibly look at this character and say, yes let’s feature this guy and not only that, showcase him as one of our best. He is not one of their best, he is an example of the worst kind of storytelling, which was rampant during the Attitude Era.

This opens a pandora’s box for the WWE. Are we going to celebrate Val Venis, porn star, or Kai En Tai, Asisan Stereotypes next?

Neither of those is as offensive as the Godfather. For those who say, its fun or its just wrestling relax, I show you something very serious.

I’m sorry for going so serious, but this induction bothers me a great deal. It is worse than Ko Ko B. Ware or Johnny Rodz, both of which were undeserving jobber guys. The Godfather is an affront the WWE Hall of Fame. How is this man in before Vader. Before Bruiser Brody, Lex Luger, Demolition, Rick Rude. I’d rather have the Gobbly Gooker than the Godfather.

Worse than these two combined.

Worse than these two combined.

Godfather is the first wrestler I have rated 0 out of 10. That is lower than Ko Ko B. Ware; lower than the Bushwhackers, lower than Baron Michel Scicluna. Charles Wright, by himself would be a lower tier inductee, not worthy of induction. The Godfather is a shame. His character is something to be buried and forgotten. It is 2016. Shame on you WWE. Boo, I say, boo.

 

Why 2016?

I don’t know. I can’t think of any year that a character like the Godfather should be celebrated.

WWE isn’t thinking about that factor whatsoever. They are concentrating on the man. He fits in as the Attitude Era induction this year. Think Rikishi, but much much worse.

 Charles Wright as a performer would be a bad induction. The Godfather is much much worse.

Opens Door For?

Anyone. Literally anyone. If Godfather gets in, anyone gets in. Expect Val Venis, Al Snow, Hardcore Holly and many other Attitude Era lower stars. Why?

vincefuckyou

Reasons this shouldn’t have happened.

It’s a joke. An offensive joke. Godfather (who is actually being inducted- not the man) is one of the worst of the WWE ideas in the history of the organization. Not happy about this. Not happy.

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Jacqueline to the WWE Hall of Fame

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WWE has announced its prerequisite female inductee (and African American inductee) in Jackie Moore aka Jacqueline.

Since 2010, WWE has made to include a female inductee as part of the WWE Hall of Fame. Some years, this gives us important deserving Hall of Famers (Alundra Blayze and Trish Stratus) and some years Mae Young.

Jackie fits in between as a seemingly historically important female star who despite all of her firsts (first female African American Women’s champion, first female Cruiserweight champion) somehow feels lesser than Stratus or even Lita.

This is likely to do with how WWE treated Jackie. She never fit into the “main event” of the WWE Women’s division, more living in an auxiliary area (despite her accomplishments).

I am going to think on Jackie’s inclusion more and do a full break down upcoming!

WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2016: Big Boss Man

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Big Boss Man

Class of 2016

80s/90s WWF Mid Card Star

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Hall of Fame Rating

5 out of 10

Memorable

Surprises are fun. The WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2016 was “spoiled” early giving us a list which included the worthy (Sting & Freebirds) and the unworthy( The Godfather). Luckily, the published list was not complete. 2016 now includes a deceased man, popular and well liked by fans and business insiders alike-The Big Boss Man

And that’s all well and good, but surprise aside, is this a good choice?

The Big Boss Man is a mid-card act, plain and simple. He fits into the “late 80s face character who has feuds” category, but never competes for a championship. Like Jim Duggan but a cop.

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I serve and protect! HOOOOOOOOOO

There is and always was a huge difference between the upper mid card (Jake Roberts as a face in 1980s, Dean Ambrose today) and the actual mid-card. We’ve heard of languishing in the mid card. The Big Boss Man peaked at the midcard. He never actually attained any large accomplishments, such a championships, in his first WWE run.

That’s not to disparage Traylor. He was a decent wrestler who ran with what he was given. Michael Hayes summed up Boss Man completely in the induction video

“A big guy who lived a dream and made the most of it.”  The WWE Hall of Fame ladies and gentlemen!!!

I generally set the bar on Hall of Fame inclusion with two simple rules.

  1. Was the performer memorable in good way? Bossman was popular with fans, had a solid gimmick and was beloved to a degree in the 1980s.
  2. Did the performer have good feuds? Boss Man is a yes here too. His feud with the Mountie served its purpose and in the end was very fun. A welcome mid card feud.

 

Boss Man’s downside is that for many years, his career languished in WCW. From 1993-1998, Traylor existed in one character or another outside even the mid-card. Traylor’s strength is he would go out and work with what he was given. WCW wasn’t known for giving complex characters, memorable low card feuds or even generally knowing what to do with many of their bloated roster members.

Lanny Poffo...Paid by WCW to sit at home for 4 years

Lanny Poffo…Paid by WCW to sit at home for 4 years

During his tenure in WCW, Traylor was:

The Boss

A Literal copy of the Big Boss Man..dropped due to copywright

A Literal copy of the Big Boss Man..dropped due to copyright

The Guardian Angel

A terrible idea

A terrible idea

Big Bubba Rogers

A return to his original gimmick from UCF, but lamer...

A return to his original gimmick from UCF, but lamer…

Evil Big Bubba

An evil...guy...in the Dungeon of Doom

An evil…guy…in the Dungeon of Doom

NWO Big Bubba

A guy from the NWO to lose...and stand there

A guy from the NWO to lose…and stand there

Boss Man had the second most gimmick changes in WCW in the 90s. The only guy to beat Traylor’s record was the best buddy of Hulk Hogan, Ed Leslie, aka the Barber, the Butcher and the Candlestickmaker.

Bad Joke...

Bad Joke…

Bossman made a good career move and likely helped solidify this induction with his return in 1998. Right off the bat, he became the enforcer for the Corporation, an organization at the heart of the biggest feud in WWF (Austin/McMahon) which was surprisingly filled with random mid-card acts for Austin to beat up. And the Boss Man fit in spectacularly.

It would be in the corporation that Traylor achieved his first WWE gold. He won the tag team championship with fellow random corporation member, Ken Shamrock. Granted, this was during WWE’s title hot potato phase and didn’t last for long; yet it is in the history books, tag team champion the Big Boss Man.

Boss Man had three final memorable moments with the organization. He fed Al Snow his dog:

He ruined Big Show’s father’s funeral in a hilarious moment….

And he got hung by the Undertaker

Oh....GOD

Oh….GOD

One last mention, the WWE induction video above mentions the Boss Man’s hardcore reigns as if they are something to be lauded. They and that championship are nothing to mentioned nor praised. WWE Hardcore equals…

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Big Boss Man was a fine character and a memorable act. He succeeded due to good booking and a gimmick which while basic, was still fun. Kids loved seeing Boss Man handcuff his defeated opponents (much like Jake did with his snake and Beefcake did with cutting hair) A perfectly pass-able induction for a perfectly pass-able star.

Still, his inclusion does call out other deceased wrestlers who were left off yet again and are much more deserving. Where is Rick Rude or Bruiser Brody?  Both fit the Texas theme a lot more.

Still we accept this induction as something which was going to come at some point. I am welcoming of his inclusion and happy for the surprise. Yay surprises.

Why 2016?

WWE likes to include one deceased inductee. This year they chose Big Boss Man. Also, WWE likes to have different eras represented in their inductions. Boss Man hits both on 80s cartoon era and Attitude Era.

His family is also on good terms, signed to a legends deal, he was just included in the latest video game and as a general rule, a memorable part of WWE’s history.

One last idea, it is possible that Boss Man was a second choice. WWE has inducted other deceased wrestlers when alive ones declined (see Gorgeous George in 2010 instead of declining Ultimate Warrior and Stu Hart in 2010 instead of declining Honky Tonk Man) We may learn at a later point of a decline in 2016. Just a thought.

Opens Door For?

Other deceased wrestlers from the WWF era. Bam Bam Bigelow is one of the most likely next inductees. Here’s hoping Rick Rude is also included shortly.

Reasons this shouldn’t have happened.

Boss Man going in means no Bruiser Brody and no Rick Rude. Both would be more deserving deceased inclusions.