Each year when WWE begins to announce its Hall of Fame inductees – and, oftentimes, way before then – fans speculate frantically about who’s set to join. Alive, dead, vaunted, forgotten, cherished, exiled – everyone is fair game.
The “exiled” list seems to have been the stickiest wicket for fans. Typical among the drama backstage in professional wrestling, it’s the superstars who have rubbed Vince McMahon the wrong way, or vice versa, who took the longest to be inducted. Names like Bruno Sammartino, Randy Savage, the Ultimate Warrior and others took forever to appear on the yellow legal pad due to ruptured relationships with WWE management. For years, fans have made statements similar to these: “Well, if James Dudley can get in, so can Bruno.” Or, “If they can induct Koko B. Ware, they have to induct Macho Man.”
But now that almost all of those folks have been enshrined, who’s left for our nostalgic conjecture?
Worse yet, who’s left to headline this thing?
If we spent some time brainstorming, I bet we could all think of one wrestler who falls into each of these categories:
- Recently retired (like what WWE did for Edge or Shawn Michaels)
- Retired a while back (no threshold here, just hasn’t wrestled full time in a while)
- Posthumous induction (that’s “dead” for you humanoids out there)
- A female wrestler (everyone except Chyna is eligible)
- A tag team (“Ugh, if the Bushwhackers can get in, certainly Rhythm & Blues should, too!”)
- A non-wrestler wrestling personality (a Gene Okerlund or a Bobby Heenan)
- An international wrestler (WCW-ese for “foreign”)
- A celebrity (face it, we’re getting one every year)
I, personally, think better when my ideas are compartmentalized, categorized and organized. If I know that I have eight specific buckets to fill, I can fill those eight buckets pretty easily.
So let’s fill those buckets.
- Recently retired: Undertaker (wait, he’s not retired?), Kurt Angle (…no, really?)
- Retired a while back: Diesel (former WWF Champion, the reason I grew a goatee at age 16), Sid (former WWF Champion, Dusty Giebink could induct him)
- Posthumous induction: Rick Rude, Brian Pillman, Owen Hart, Louie Spicolli, Big Boss Man, Bam Bam Bigelow, Chris Candido, Umaga, Lance Cade, Test, the Wall, Crash Holly…
- A female wrestler: Sable (while you’re still on Brock’s good side), Molly Holly (the fourth women people mention in the series of “Trish, Lita, Victoria, and, ummmmm, Molly”)
- A tag team: The Fabulous Freebirds (long overdue), Demolition (even Animal likes them now)
- A non-wrestler wrestling personality: Slick (his deserving peers are in, but Gen. Adnan and Harvey Wippleman aren’t), Sean Mooney (“Who?”)
- An international wrestler: The Great Muta, Ultimo Dragon (we may not want to consider Mexican wrestlers until things get smoothed over between Alberto el Patron and WWE’s social media staff)
- A celebrity: Floyd Mayweather (timely for the next few years), Clare Peller (“Where’s the beef?” It’s about six feet underground now)
With a list like this, we have the opportunity to dream big, guess wildly, cherry-pick our headliner, pay tribute to the deceased, and give our old favorites their just desserts.
Who did I miss? Are you sleeping on my two Hollys? Let me know!