Like years past, the WWE will be holding their Hall of Fame (HOF) ceremony the night before WrestleMania. Each year the lists of names that enter are of legends, icons and immortals.
While each class is often highlighted with one name that stands out amongst the rest, the five names that are set to enter this year could each be billed as the marquee attraction.
Just when it seems that there aren’t many wrestlers left to be labeled as a hall of famer, the WWE puts together the best class to date.
As a three-time WWE champion, there aren’t too many wrestlers who have given their body to the business like Mick Foley. Known for his brawling styling, Foley showed that appearance doesn’t always play a factor in deciding who holds the greatest prize in the WWE.
“Hardcore” is one word that describes this jack-of-all-trades. From barbered wire matches to being thrown off the “Hell in the Cell” structure and refusing to have the match stopped, Foley’s durability is unheard of.
If one is to look past his torn ear and body riddled with scars, there’s an individual who doesn’t fit that mold associated with being a champion. He ignored that philosophy, along with the pain, and became a fan favorite for always going out there and putting on a show.
Outside of the ring, he represents a life where wrestlers can still make a living. From writing is own biography to penning children’s books, Foley didn’t allow stardom to get into his head. He didn’t squander his money and probably still drives the same beat-up 20-year-old car that he talks about in his book as he looks to provide for his family.
Call him Dude Love, Mandkind or Cactus Jack, as it doesn’t matter. Under all those gimmicks is Foley, a man who gave his body for this business.
Somehow in the course of WWE history, fans seem to have forgotten Bob Backlund. It’s tough to understand, since he holds the second-longest WWE championship reign in its 50-year history.
He didn’t have the glitz and glamour like others, but that was never an issue. He went out there and performed as good as any other top wrestler. Before anyone praised the likes of Kurt Angle for his gifted wrestling skills, there was Backlund.
After his first title run ended, Backlund slowly disappeared, only to return eight years later and win the prestigious title once again. He had morphed from the poster child to a loose cannon who demanded respect. It was a complete 360 from his previous run, and introduced a new generation of wrestling fans to what he had to offer.
Love him or hate him, he did his job. Some say he was boring in that first run, but he proved those doubters wrong upon his return.
Closing in on senior citizen status, Backlund hasn’t let age slow him down. He looked great when he returned for the buildup for Raw 1,000, and looks remarkably the same. Age is just a number and Backlund’s ability to still deliver a show is proof.
For the longest time Mae Young was the top female wrestler. Then a blonde model named Trish Stratus came along and changed all that.
She started out as a manager and was simple eye candy. But outside of her appearance was someone who would revolutionize the wrestling business.
No longer would females in the wrestling world be considered only suitable as mangers or to show off the latest t-shirt. They were to stand next to the male wrestlers, and show that this form of entertainment belonged to two different sexes.
Stratus was a pioneer who wasn’t afraid to break some bones to improve the status of women in the WWE. With a record seven women’s title reigns to her name, including the final one that she retired with, there is no diva out there that belongs in HOF more than Stratus.
She shattered barriers as she ushered in a new dynamic of wrestling. Stratus went from manager to champion to trend setter for the current divas. As she enters the HOF as the youngest inductee ever, she does so on her terms and is a role model who deserves all the credit for turning heads in a once male-dominated sport.
Now that Bruno Sammartino is going into the HOF, all seems right in the world. Before he was announced as going in, the HOF was packed with names that changed the business, but there was always a gap. Sammartino fills that void and now the HOF is legit.
With the longest WWE championship run ever, Sammartino is a piece of history. Few momentous accomplishments will ever be duplicated, and his 2,803-day reign is a candidate for the top of that list.
For someone who sold out Madison Square Garden more than any other wrestler, this is long overdue, as Sammartino carried the WWE for two decades. He might not be as well-known as everyone else on the list, but he’s a living legend. He carried the WWE title with pride and took this business to heart after giving it his all.
Sammartino was present before wrestling became a global phenomenon. He’s that missing link who propelled others to attempt to follow in his footsteps.
It might have taken more time than it should have, but Sammartino is finally a WWE hall of famer and it’s worth the wait, as many thought this day would never come to fruition.
The WWE has taken heat ever since they started to induct celebrities into the HOF. There are valid points on both sides if it’s right for non-wrestlers to become part of an elite group, but if the WWE is going to induct celebrities, Donald Trump fits.
He is responsible for hosting several WrestleManias in the early days of the pay-per-view, and has been a supporter of the WWE for what seems like forever. He wasn’t a one-trick pony. He’s also not a regular on WWE programs, although he has made for some memorable moments.
Trump “purchased” Raw at one point and hosted the only edition of the show to never feature commercials.
Then there’s his most memorable moment from WrestleMania 23 when he put up that comb over of his against Vince McMahon in a hair vs. hair match. It gave the WWE tons of publicity, and McMahon has never donned the same hairstyle since he was shaved bald in the middle of the ring.
Of all the celebrities that have entered the HOF, Trump could be the biggest name as he brings more exospore to the product.
If the WWE decides to add more names to the current HOF class, it’ll be difficult to top the five that have been announced. When looking back at the past years of wrestlers and celebrities who have gone into the hallowed HOF, the class of 2013 will be remembered as the most star-studded.