Every year, the WWE holds a Hall of Fame (HOF) induction ceremony around Wrestlemania weekend where wrestlers from the past, who still have a good relationship with the company, are recognized for their body of work.
The first Hall of Fame “ceremony” was back in 1993 when the WWE (WWF at the time) posthumously inducted André the Giant on an episode of Monday Night Raw, shortly after the legend passed away. There was no big foofaraw like we see today; just a video montage on TV. Times have changed significantly and now the induction ceremony is a more prestigious event.
With the WWE having bought up a lot of the competition, like WCW and ECW, there has been some expansion in who can be honored. But for the most part, the Hall is reserved for the men and women who made a big dent in sports entertainment without being a total train wreck outside of the ring.
A lot of the greats from the 1980s have seen the HOF spotlight shine their way, but there are still a few who, for whatever reason, haven’t been given their due. The popular tag team Demolition made a huge impact in the late 80s, but Ax and Smash had a falling out with Vince McMahon and didn’t exactly leave the organization on the best of terms. That’s not to say there isn’t hope for Demolition. Over the years, we have seen the WWE forgive and forget with the likes of Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Macho Man Randy Savage, The Ultimate Warrior, and of course, Bruno Sammartino. If amends can’t be made while they’re still alive, the WWE has also honored deceased greats on a number of occasions. But that’s probably of little comfort to Ax and Smash.
Somewhat ironically, the WWE has kept some superstars out of the HOF because of out-of-ring troubles, be it drug abuse, criminal doings, or suicide. Why is that ironic? Because, for years, the WWE turned a blind eye to things like steroid abuse and concussions, which were the foundations of many wrestler’s woes. Although the WWE has instituted a Wellness Program which does a better job of keeping tabs on performers, it’s a sad reality that some performers from the 80s, 90s and early 00s ruined their lives trying to become the best wrestlers they could. It should be a cross for the promotion to bear, not a barrier to HOF entry. The Hall of Fame is for great performers, not necessarily great people.
Chyna is one example of a wrestler who did great things in the squared circle, but is being kept out due to ulterior motives: not only did she leave the WWE on bad terms, but she went onto dabble in porn and then died from an accidental overdose of prescription pills.
Some people see Owen Hart as a clear snub, as well. But the situation is more complicated than that. Hart died as the Blue Blazer, plunging to his death after a harness gave way while he was being lowered from a cable 80 feet above the ring. It was a tragic and unfortunate death, especially since he fell performing a stunt he was uncomfortable with and untrained for. Hart’s widow, Martha, has stated many times she does not want her late husband to enter the WWE Hall of Fame because she does not want the company responsible for his death to benefit or profit from Owen’s name or likeness in any way. So, although fans call for Owen Hart to be recognized each and every year, the WWE has respected Martha Hart’s wishes.
Looking to the more recent past, there are many recent retirees that would make for worthy candidates.
You have to believe at some point in the not too distant future that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson will get his big day. Although Johnson still likes to jump in the ring from time-to-time, it’s becoming less and less common. It might be time for the most electrifying man in sports entertainment to take a stroll down Know Your Role Boulevard, which is on the corner of Jabroni Drive, and check into the Smackdown Hotel and get his HOF love.
As this year’s HOF ceremony approaches, let’s take a look at the odds for who will be honored, either next year or down the road.
Odds to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame
The Rock: 1/49
The Undertaker: 1/49
Triple H (Current Part Time Performer): 1/19
John Cena (Current Part Time Performer): 1/19
Vince McMahon: 1/19
Chris Jericho (Current Part Time Performer): 1/9
Brock Lesnar (Current Part Time Performer): 3/17
Bill Goldberg (Current Part Time Performer): 3/17
Daniel Bryan: 1/4
Kane (Current Part Time Performer): 1/4
Miss Elizabeth: 1/3
Jim Cornette: 1/3
The Big Show (Current Part Time Performer):3/7
Dave Batista: 3/7
Rey Mysterio Jr.: 2/3
Bruiser Brody: 2/3
Haystacks Calhoun: 2/3
Danny Hodge: 1/1
John Bradshaw Layfield: 1/1
Lou Thesz: 11/9
“Ravishing” Rick Rude: 11/9
Bam Bam Bigelow: 3/2
King Kong Bundy: 3/2
Giant Baba: 2/1
Ivan Koloff: 2/1
“Toots” Mondt: 7/3
Goldust ( Current Part Time Performer): 3/1
The Destroyer: 3/1
Dino Bravo: 3/1
Eric Bischoff: 4/1
The Honky Tonk Man: 4/1
Gene Kiniski: 17/3
Dean Malenko: 9/1
Brutus Beefcake: 9/1
William Regal: 10/1
Davey Boy Smith: 25/1
Rob Van Dam: 25/1
Ken Shamrock: 30/1
“Psycho” Sid: 35/1
John Tenta “Earthquake”: 50/1
Lex Luger: 50/1
Owen Hart: 100/1
Jeff Jarrett: 100/1
There have been some great tag teams and stables in the WWE over the years and although many have already been inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, some are still noticeably absent. With most of the members of DX (D-Generation X) now retired, is it time to honor the stable that ushered in the Attitude Era of the mid to late 1990s? You can also throw in The NWO (The New World Order), a WCW stable that took the Monday Night Wars to a whole new level.
The Dudley Boyz are considered the greatest tag team of all time and were able to win countless titles in many promotions. But they will be forever remembered for their WWE days and the feuds they had with The Hardy Boyz and The Edge & Christian in some of the craziest Table, Ladder, Chairs matches you will ever see. All those tag teams just mentioned deserve HOF recognition.
There is also an argument made to see the Hart Foundation inducted, along with Harlem Heat and The Steiner Bros. for their runs in the WCW.
Below, I tag myself in to set the odds!
D-Generation X: 1/49
The NWO: 1/9
The Dudley Boyz: 3/17
The Natural Disasters: 1/3
The New Age Outlaws: 1/3
The Hardy Boyz: (Currently Performing) 1/1
Edge and Christian: 1/1
The Rockers: 10/1
The Hart Foundation: 25/1
The British Bulldogs: 50/1
Harlem Heat: 50/1
The Steiner Brothers: 100/1
Over the years, numerous celebrities have crossed over to professional wrestling. US President Donald Trump was inducted into the WWE HOF back in 2013. Arnold Schwarzenegger was recognized in 2015. But what about Cyndi Lauper and all of the work she did with the promotion at the peak of her popularity in the 80s?
Back in 1982, comedian Andy Kaufman (The Intergender Champion) had a great feud with Jerry “The King” Lawler that made national news. It may not have taken place in the WWE, but it was a memorable pro-wrestling moment that actually inspired Vince McMahon to start using celebrities (like Lauper) in his matches.
Shaquille O’Neal has shown up on WWE TV a few times and is rumored to be in a match with the Big Show at Wrestlemania 33. Former NFL star Lawrence Taylor participated in a match at Wrestlemania XI against Bam Bam Bigelow, bringing national attention to the event. Both men deserve to be in the celebrity wing of the WWE HOF.
Guys like Jay Leno and former NBA star Dennis Rodman did some work during WCW’s heyday but it was more embarrassing than memorable. We won’t even discuss David Arquette’s run as WCW Champion, which will go down as one of the lowest moments in professional wrestling history.
Cyndi Lauper: 2/1
Andy Kaufman: 3/1
Muhammad Ali: 3/1
Floyd Mayweather: 4/1
Lawrence Taylor: 4/1
Regis Philbin: 5/1
William Shatner: 10/1
Jay Leno (WCW): 50/1
Dennis Rodman (WCW): 100/1
Leslie Nielsen and George Kennedy: 150/1
Robocop (NWA): 200/1
David Arquette (WCW): 250/1