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.

giphy (2)

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.

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.