Tossing Salt – Worldwide News
WWE Hall of Fame 2018
Thoughts & Analysis
April 1, 2018
We are just little more than a week away from the time that legends become immortal and eight wrestling personalities, as well as one brave and inspiring soul, become the newest members of the WWE Hall of Fame. What I want to do here is take a look at each person, or team as the nominee may be, and just give my thoughts and opinion on each person and their importance and relevance in the world of sports-entertainment. I also have a few thoughts as to who should be inducted next into the Hall of Fame as well as one thing that WWE should do to make this Induction and Hall of Fame class even that much better and more special. Let’s start off by looking at the men and woman who are scheduled to be Inducted and be part of the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2018.
The WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2018…
Goldberg: To be inducted by Paul Heyman, former WCW, World and Universal Champion and the man who went 173-0 in WCW, the main event and headliner of the night is Bill Goldberg. And I’m okay with that. Goldberg was never one of my favorite performers, neither back in WCW when he was the “big new thing” or in WWF / WWE, either during the first run or the last run, so many years later. But the man definitely had “the It factor”. He was in the right place at the right time and this former NFL star, who was definitely a limited worker in that ring, became one of the biggest stars of his era. The man’s career was actually a short one in terms of years, but for the time he was there, he made the most of it and after the in-ring career ended, he’s kept the character alive in movies, TV, commercials and now a brief run again in the WWE last year. He’s not a legend so far as being a wrestler goes, but when it comes to “sports-entertainment”, he hits all the marks. A good pick by the WWE.
The Dudley Boyz: This pairing is one combination that no one can deny have earned a prominent spot in the WWE Hall of Fame. ECW Originals Bubba Ray & Devon Dudley have literally done it all including eight runs as the WWE World Tag Team Champions, One run as the WWE Tag Team Champions, eight times holding the ECW Tag Team Championship and one run with the WCW World Tag Team straps. Also, Bubba is a former TNA World Champion. They’ve performed and been successful all over the world and if you look in the book on tag team wrestling of the last thirty years, it’s Bubba and Devon’s pictures that you’ll see looking back at you. Bubba is currently counting down towards his “retirement” while Devon works with the WWE as an Agent / Producer so both are still very actively involved in the current business and they also run a wrestling school, the 3D Wrestling Academy, down in Florida. The duo will be inducted by another great tag team and two of their biggest rivals during the 90’s in WWE, the team of Edge and Christian. It should be a great speech and it’s an honor well deserved.
Ivory: Lisa Moretti is an amazing woman who can truly say that she’s done it all in the business and craziness that is professional wrestling. Trained originally by Mando Guerrero, Lisa was one of the original women cast for the series / 80’s extravaganza that was G.L.O.W. – the Georgeous Ladies of Wrestling. As Tina Ferarri and then Tina Moretti, Lisa won the GLOW Championship and then went on to wrestle briefly for POWW, the second coming of GLOW. Then after a break from the business, destiny called. Coming to WWF to act as a “Ho” for the Godfather, the company quickly realized that they had a gem of a performer on their hand and the rest, as they say, was history. Three WWE Women’s Championship titles, including a victory over Fabulous Moolah and win over Chyna, plus a match against Chyna at Wrestlemania. She also did a run with the group, Right To Censor, worked as a trainer for the series “Tough Enough” and was the co-host and a broadcaster for the show, WWE Experience. A full and solid career by one of the best talents, female or otherwise, to ever step inside that squared circle. She’ll be inducted by her close friend, Molly Holly, and I expect serveral stories about her time traveling and rooming with Ivory. And Ivory, as we know, is never short for words either so the rebuttal should be excellent. This is the induction I’m most looking forward to seeing, along with that of Mark Henry. Lisa Moretti is a true icon, legend and incredible person, both in and out of that ring. A more deserving person for this honor, I do not know.
Jeff Jarrett: A four time WCW World Champion and six-time Intercontinental Champion, not to mention founder of TNA and multi-time TNA Champion, Jarrett is a second generation promoter and superstar and was born, bred and made for the world of professional wrestling. From his early days in the Memphis territory to the USWA and then to New York and the WWE, Jarrett has been a top guy for most of his career and few have worked harder or deserve this honor more. There was some bad blood between Jarrett and the WWE for so long due to the way that Jarrett ended his WWF career, but time has passed, bridges have been mended and time heals all wounds. Jeff has given so much to the wrestling business, both as a performer and a promoter, with TNA helping to build so many stars and top performers, it’s great to see him finally get a little recognition and something back. I was surprised when they announced Jarrett’s name for this class, but I was also very excited and happy for the man as well. Maybe this will lead to Jeff working with the WWE in future projects and helping to create even more new stars for the future. It’s what he does and few do it better. Now choke on that, slapnuts. Congrats to Double-J on an honor well deserved.
Jarrius “JJ” Robertson: This young man is a double-liver transplant recipient and will be getting the Warrior Award. I don’t know anything about this kid so I can’t really comment except to say congratulations to him. It’s been a few years now since the WWE started presenting the “Warrior Award” at the Hall of Fame ceremonies and I’m still not sure about it. I was very much into it when Coner “The Crusher” was the recipient of the first one, but since then, it just seems out of place and odd. If I recall correctly, the whole original idea behind this award was Warrior was wanting something to honor the people behind the scenes in the WWE and wrestling, the people who keep the wheels turning and are the heart and soul of the company. The whole concept and idea was changed for some reason and now we get these people, who are remarkable no doubt, but not really WWE related or involved in the business. It’s great P.R. and I get that so I understand the change, but I would rather see this reserved for people who are a part of the wrestling world. But still, congrats to this young man.
Hillbilly Jim: Pretty much the last holdover from the “Rock & Wrestling” days, except for Cyndi Lauper (more about that later), and it’s always been a matter of not if he’s going into the Hall of Fame, but just when. He had a relatively short run as a wrestler, but also worked as a manager and a goodwill Ambassador for the WWE. Jim currently hosts a radio show and has been a strong role model and supporter of the WWE and even appeared as part of the first Legends House on the WWE Network. There is no single moment that makes Hillbilly Jim a “superstar”, but instead it’s just a lot of little things, but it’s all worked out. I don’t think he ever even held a Championship while performing as an active wrestler, but he had that over-the-top character and personality and was the ideal example of what a WWE Superstar could and should be. Pretty much, he’s just a nice guy and that’s what puts him over the top and into the Hall of Fame. And he deserves every moment of it.
Kid Rock: Kid Rock is the Celebrity wing inductee and has a long history with the WWE, performing live at several events including RAW in 2000, Wrestlemania 25 and the 2012 Tribute To The Troops. He also provided the theme songs for the American Bad Ass version of the Undertaker and Stacy Keibler with a hard rocking version of “Legs”. Kid Rock is a great performer and musical artist and this means great mainstream publicity for the WWE and Wrestlemania as well as a great moment for Rock too. I have nothing against him being inducted as the “Celebrity Induction” and he’s a great pick.
But I do have one slight bone to pick here. No one else should be inducted into the so-called “Celebrity Wing” until Cyndi Lauper gets her kudos and spot. If it wasn’t for Cyndi and the whole “Rock & Wrestling Connection”, there would never have been a Kid Rock doing theme songs or Snoop Dogg appearing at Wrestlemania or even a Wrestlemania to begin with. WWE owes Mr. T and Cyndi big props for being the first mainstream big names to throw their names in with the WWF and help to make wrestling cool and mainsteam. Mr. T got his just dues a few years ago, so why not Cyndi. I’m sure there is a reason and it’s probably something small and simple, but Cyndi is pretty much the Bruno Sammartino of the Celebrity bunch. Until she’s inducted and part of the Celebrity Wing of the Hall of Fame, it’s not a valid or legit Hall of Fame. Cyndi Lauper – WWE Hall of Fame 2019. Do it, Vince.
Mark Henry: A former Olympian and role model employee for the WWE for nearly twenty years, Mark Henry is a true icon and legend in the world of the WWE. Known as the “World’s Stongest Man”, this former World Champion has been through so many changes in character and different eras of the WWE and has never lost his smile or lost faith. He comes in with a smile, is known as one of the nicest people in that locker-room and gives everything he has to the show and the company better and entertain the fans. Some of the gimmicks he’s been given (Sexual Chocolate, Mae Young) would kill most careers, but Mark just toughed it out, stayed professional and ended up with the incredible “Hall of Pain!”. And he had that great retirement tease and promo when he tried to take out Cena. And who didn’t love that jacket. A true profesional and awesome person, this honor is long overdue and very well deserved. Congrats as the “Hall of Pain” merges with the “Hall of Fame” and the world will never, ever be the same again.
WWE Hall of Fame Legacy Inductions…
And now, let’s move on to talk about something that isn’t being done this year, but has been a part of the Hall of Fame Inductions for the past couple of years. I’m speaking of the “Legacy Inductions”. This is something that the WWE has been doing as a way to induct wrestlers and promoters from the distant past who the fans today might not be aware of, but contributed a great deal in so many ways to making this business we all know and love so special. Well, there is one group of wrestlers that deserve to be added to the WWE Hall of Fame, yet are not “national stars” and probably, if we wait for individual inductions, will probably never be included. And that group is the membership of the WCW Hall of Fame.
When WWE bought out WCW and took over, it’s generally assumed that they took over WCW Hall of Fame as well and when and if a legitimate, physical Hall of Fame building is ever built, the WCW crowd will get their spot and just due as well right next to the WWE Hall of Fame crowd. That’s the perception, but why not just make it official and give the men who are WCW, but not also members of the WWE group an official nod of recognition and induct them via the “Legacy Induction” method. I’m talking about Dick the Bruiser, The Crusher, The Assassin (Jody Hamilton), Mr. Wrestling II (Johnny Walker), Angelo Poffo, Ole Anderson, Wahoo McDaniel and legendary announcer Gordon Solie. Look at that list. Can anyone deny that every single one of these men have contributed to the history and great business that is professional wrestling?
I know that there is legit heat between Ole Anderson and the McMahons. I also know that some feel that Angelo Poffo isn’t worthy of any kind of Hall of Fame spot and only got included as a favor to his, Randy Savage, but so what? Poffo was a good wrestler and a good promoter. Ole may not be the most friendly person in the world, but his legacy as the booker for the Carolina’s and Georgia, as well as his work in the ring with “brother” Gene as well as his place as a founding member of the Four Horsemen should entitle him to a first ballot spot in any true wrestling Hall of Fame. And Wrestling II, Crusher, Bruiser, Wahoo? These men were and are legends in this business and deserve to be part of the WWE Hall of Fame. Like Bruno before them, it can’t really be a true Hall of Fame until these names are part of it as well. Forget the politics and personal feelings. WWE needs to step up and make it right that the remainder of the WCW Hall of Fame alumni get their just dues. And if that means a “Legacy Induction”, so be it.
Future Hall of Famers?
And finally, let’s now talk about the people remaining who are not yet part of the WWE Hall of Fame for whatever reason, but need to be added to make things right with the world and give them their just due. Three names immediately come to mind.
Ivan Koloff: Why the Russian Bear has not be inducted yet is anyone’s guess, but I’m suspecting that it was something to do with that concussion lawsuit that Ivan was a part of. Well, as of this past week, that lawsuit is over and was thrown out of court and it’s time to let bygones be bygones. Ivan Koloff is a former WWWF Champion and the man who ended Bruno’s reign. He’s a true legend in this business and one of most respected names ever to step into a wrestling ring. Sadly, Ivan passed away last year so he’ll never be able to enjoy the tribute and honor of being part of the WWE Hall of Fame, but his legacy and fans would love to see it. I’d love to see it and it is way past time. WWE needs to step up and give this man and his career the respect and love it deserves.
Cyndi Lauper: This is an easy one. Without Cyndi, there would never have been the whole “Rock & Wrestling Connection”. It was the addition of Lauper that really brought in the MTV crowd, the mainstream media and tool the WWF from the high school gyms and tents to national television and events like Wrestlemania. The “Celebrity Wing” of the WWE Hall of Fame is suspect at best with people like Snoop Dogg and Drew Carey counted as members, but Lauper, unlike some of these others, deserves to be there. She needs to be there. WWE needs to get her there. ‘Nuff said!
Demolition: Ax (Bill Eadie) and Smash (Barry Darsow) are two guys who belong in that WWE Hall of Fame, first ballot. No team dominated the WWF like the team of Demolition did in the nineties and made the kind of impact that they did. Eadie is worthy of any Hall of Fame with either his run as the Masked Superstar or his role as the leader of Demolition and the same can be said for Darsow, who had a great run as Krusher Kruschev before putting on the face paint and spikes and coming to the WWF. Like Koloff, they were part of the “concussion lawsuit” against the WWE and that’s a big reason why they’ve been ignored thus far. That suit is over now and it’s time tim move on. WWE needs to reach out and welcome these men, who had such a great run and left such a great legacy in the WWE, back into the fold. And they should have done it yesterday.
I’d also like to see people like Jim Cornette and the Midnight Express, Bob Caudle, Baron Von Raschke, Magnum TA and the Disco Inferno all get their just dues and get inducted into the Hall of Fame one day as well, but those folks can wait (for a little while anyhow). But Ivan, Cyndi and Demolition? It needs to happen and happen soon.
And with that, I’m ending this. Questions and comments are welcome and appreciated. I can be contacted at Doug28352@yahoo.com or on Twitter at @doug28352. Find me on Facebook at facebook.com/saltpalace. And for all things Dougie, go to http://www.DougMaynard.com. Have a great one and take care. Enjoy the WWE Hall of Fame show, coming up on the WWE Network this coming Friday night, April 6th. And don’t forget NXT Takeover: New Orleans and Wrestlemania on Saturday and Sunday night. This coming weekend is all wrestling, all the time. Gotta love it.
And now, dat’ is all de’ people need to know. I’m Doug and I’m out of here.