Most Deserving Potential WWE Hall Of Fame Inductees
From The Mind Of: “The Prodigal One” JayB
We are rapidly approaching WrestleMania season and one of the highlights during this time is the WWE Hall of Fame. In any sport, the Hall of Fame is the highest honor one can achieve and it’s the most prestigious title in the world of wrestling.
There have been many men and women inducted and each have made an impact, whether big or small, in the industry. There have been many snubs, head scratching and WTF selections but even with that said the Hall of Fame houses many great legends, pioneers and journeymen. The watercooler chatter surrounding the Hall of Fame usually goes back to one question. Who is going in next?
The following list is who I believe to be the most deserving individuals that belong in the Hall of Fame. I am not taking into consideration personal issues between these members (or their families) and the WWE. It’s a list based on pure performance, talent and importance.
There will be no order, however, to make it more interesting I did give myself guidelines to follow which are:
- 1 Celebrity
- 1 Woman
- 1 Tag Team
- 3 Men
Without further ado, here is my list:
Celebrity Wing – Cyndi Lauper
In 1998 we had “Iron” Mike Tyson which really put wrestling mainstream but long before that in the 1980s we had Rock N Roll Wrestling, the first major publicity stunt in the industry. WWF’s partnership with the music industry blew the top off the media and really catapulted WWF into unforeseen heights.
When you look at important figures during this era one of the most important, whether it be wrestler or not, was Cyndi Lauper.
Cyndi Lauper was the glue that kept WWF and the music industry together. She met up with Captain Lou Albano in Puerto Rico and even went on to cast Captain Lou in a music video in one of her most memorable songs “Girls Just Want To Have Fun.” This relationship would serve as seeds to what would forever be known as Rock N Roll Wrestling.
Lauper had an extremely heated feuded with the late great ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper and was in one of the most infamous segments in the 1980s when she was kicked by Piper after he smashed Captain Lou Albano’s head with a framed gold record. This was a significant moment that jumpstarted “The War To Settle The Score” show in February 1985. The events that culminated at that show birthed WrestleMania I just one month later.
For her monumental contributions that lead to the wrestling boom of the 80s…Cyndi Lauper deserves to be inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame.
Women – Miss Elizabeth
When you utter the words “Diva” and you start talking about the long-standing history of that word you’ll go back to one name. Miss Elizabeth, the ‘Original Diva’ known as the ‘First Lady of Wrestling’. She had careers in both top brands, WWF and in WCW as a member of the infamous NWO.
The late Miss Elizabeth spent a large portion of her wrestling career as the manager of the ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage. She was the ying to Savage’s yang. You had one crazy mad man and on the other side of the spectrum you had a captivating, elegant classy woman. Miss Elizabeth was one of the first successful female managers to ever grace the sport of wrestling and is encompassed in a slew of memories.
Who can forget the Mega Powers exploding in the lead up to WrestleMania V in 1989? Both ‘Macho Man’ and Hulk Hogan vying for her attention? Then there was the time her and ‘Macho Man’ got married at SummerSlam, a match made in heaven as it was dubbed, the first and only wedding on WWF Pay Per View television. But there was no moment more sentimental then the reuniting of Miss Elizabeth and the ‘Macho Man’ at WrestleMania VII, the two embraced and Miss Elizabeth was hoisted, as per usual, onto the shoulders of the ‘Macho Man’ as fans cried throughout the LA Memorial Sports Arena. I must admit even the 8-year-old me shed a tear (please don’t take my man card away).
For being a pioneer of women in wrestling and unbelievable grace and beauty…Miss Elizabeth deserves to be inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame.
Tag Team – Demolition
Here comes the Ax and here comes the Smasher and here comes the Hall of Fame?? No…that moment albeit deserving, is yet to come.
In the 1980s and 1990s Tag Team wrestling was a staple of the WWF. There was a myriad of great teams, the likes of the British Bulldogs and Hart Foundation to name a few. However, in 1987 one team entered WWF and ran roughshod throughout the entire company. Demolition.
Bill Eadie (Ax) and Barry Darsow (Smash), who replaced Randy Colley (Moondog Rex), made up the team. From the get go they were an impressive looking tandem. They resembled guys from the Mad Max movie of the early 1980s and had an aggressive in-ring style. This duo was led by the ‘Devious One’ Mr. Fuji who sadly passed away this August. With Mr. Fuji, Demolition became one of the top heel tag teams in the late 1980s through the early 1990s.
Ax and Smash would go on to gain success winning their first WWF Tag Team Championship at WrestleMania IV, a little over a year after debuting. They also won the title on 2 other occasions. To this day, Demolition hold the record for combined length of all title reigns, a number a touch under, 700 days. They were only the third team ever to three-peat the Tag Team Championship.
In mid-1990 Crush joined Demolition as its third member. During their last Championship reign in 1990 Demolition became the first WWF Tag Team to invoke the ‘Freebird Rule’ which allowed any two members of a three-man team to defend the titles.
Although Demolition were always compared to the Road Warriors they were very much in a league of their own. They had success against all the top teams during their run including The Fabulous Rougeaus, Killer Bees, British Bulldogs and many others.
One of my personal favorite Royal Rumble moments came at the beginning of the 1989 Rumble match when Ax drew #1 and Smash drew #2 making for some interesting two minutes, all this while holding the Tag Team Championships.
Lastly, and this must be mentioned, who could forget their incredible entrance music? Once the music hit you just knew some bad asses were about to walk through the curtains.
For all their successes, historic reigns and memorable moments…Demolition deserves to be inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame.
The late Owen Hart had a great but short career. He won several titles, but his career was defined by more than titles. He was a great in-ring performer, one of the best in the 90s and one hell of a guy outside the ring. Stories are often told of what a big prankster he was, how he could light up a room and what an absolute joy he was to be around.
I understand things outside the squared circle don’t always check the boxes for a Hall of Fame career. However, on the flipside, his in-ring career was arguably one of the best. Owen Hart was part of some great matches in his career. I refer to WrestleMania X in 1994 at the historic Madison Square Garden in New York City where his older brother Bret, and he put on an instant classic. Many fans till this day refer to that as one of the best WrestleMania matches of all-time.
Throughout his years, Hart managed to capture the Intercontinental Championship multiple times, the European Championship, the Tag Team Championships on several occasions with various partners and was crowned the 1994 King Of The Ring.
For his great performances, his ability to intrigue and capture the attention of the crowd…Owen Hart deserves to be inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame.
As mentioned previously, there have been many pioneers inducted into the Hall. Many former World Champions have already had their moment to shine, but when looking at all World Champions before 1996 there are only two names not inducted yet and one of those names is the ‘Russian Bear’ Ivan Koloff.
Ivan Koloff was one of the top heels for many years. He was only the third World Champion for the WWWF. In addition to his terrific heel work, Koloff had many memorable feuds with Bob Backlund and Pedro Morales. Koloff also experienced similar success in other territories such as Georgia Championship Wrestling & Championship Wrestling from Florida.
Fans may most remember him when he famously ended the 7-plus year World Title reign of Bruno Sammartino in 1971 at Madison Square Garden.
For his unforgettable character, many accolades in multiple territories and historic Championship win…Ivan Koloff deserves to be inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame.
“The Ravishing One” was one of WWF’s top heels in the 1980s and went on to also compete in WCW and ECW. Although Rude never won the WWF Championship, he won the Intercontinental Championship and United States Championship. He, also, had great feuds with the likes of Ultimate Warrior & Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts in the WWF and Ric Flair & Sting in WCW.
Rude would also be remembered wearing artistically airbrushed tights, always varying in design or in the case of his feud with Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts, an airbrush portrait of Jake’s wife. Rude’s ultra-heel promos included calling the fans out of shape, fat and sweat hogs. Rick Rude is the only person to have appeared both on WCW Nitro and Monday Night RAW on the same night. He also had stints in both DX and NWO, arguably two of the most entertaining stables of all-time.
For his great mic skills, in-ring abilities and accomplishments in multiple organizations…Rick Rude deserves to be inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame.
2017 will bring us a brand-new class of Hall Of Famers, hopefully most of these men and women listed in this article finally get their just due. Until then we patiently sit and wait until the first announcement…
Honorable Mentions: Regis Philbin, Sable, Dudley Boyz, Honky Tonk Man, Stan Stasiak
“The Prodigal One” JayB is the host of the Throwback Show & The BlueZone Podcast – part of the Wrestling World Podcast Network. Twitter: @WWPNJB