Live from the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida and hosted by Jerry “The King” Lawler, eight superstars became legends and were inducted during the 2017 WWE Hall of Fame ceremonies that was broadcast via the WWE Network. Below is a recap of the event.
Diamond Dallas Page
Inducted by Eric Bischoff, Diamond Dallas Page (DDP) was the first legend inducted in to the 2017 WWE Hall of Fame. Eric spoke about DDP’s professionalism during a WCW audition, despite an awkward bar fight they had three weeks prior. Bischoff would relay a passionate and committed talent, dedicated to this business and succeeding in pro wrestling; whether that be training for in-ring competition or on commentary. Bischoff would also talk about DDP’s heart and need to help others, not only in the business, but also through his yoga program. Escorted by his four daughters, DDP entered the platform to accept his 2017 WWE Hall of Fame induction. DDP got emotionally and stated that this moment was bittersweet, as Dusty Rhodes was not there to share this with him. He added that without Rhodes, there would be no DDP. He also relayed a story about how at the age of 35 years old, Michael PS Hayes laughed his butt off when DDP told him he wanted to wrestle. DDP would also thank his ‘other’ mentor, Jake “The Snake” Roberts. He would also acknowledge Eric Bischoff, Sting, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Hulk Hogan, Dusty Rhodes’ wife, his ex-wife, Kimberly, and current wife, Brenda; who also happens to be a breast cancer survivor.
Rock ‘N’ Roll Express
Inducted by Jim Cornette, the Rock ‘n’ Roll express would be the next two superstars inducted into the 2017 WWE Hall of Fame. Cornette would describe Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson’s road to success, stating that they were like Justin Bieber before Justin Bieber was born. He also made reference to their rivalry with the Midnight Express. In addition, Cornette gave a nod to Ric Flair and Dusty Rhodes during his Rock ‘n’ Roll Express intro. He spoke of their passion and dedication to making it to the top of this business. Once at the podium, Gibson announced he has two grandkids on the way, while Morton informed the crowd he has seven kids and seven grandkids; where Gibson retorted that they all looked like him. They would go on to acknowledge Jim Ross, Dusty Rhodes, Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, Michael PS Hayes, as well as their families. A truly heartfelt and emotional speech made by both members of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express.
Ravishing Rick Rude
With Rick “The Dragon” Steamboat as his inductor, the Ravishing One was the next inducted into the 2017 WWE Hall of Fame. Steamboat spoke of Rude’s natural ability to be an incredible heel. He talked about his dedication to training and what an amazing lifter he was and his strength. Rick Rude’s family accepted the WWE Hall of Fame induction, on their husband/father’s behalf; his wife, his daughter, and his son. His son jokingly mimicked his dad’s infamous promo, by asking all the ‘central Florida sweat hogs’ to quiet down to allow the ladies to see what they came for. Rude’s son spoke of Rick’s humble beginnings and hard struggle and work to become the WWE legend he is known for today. He also stated that his father taught him to ‘love’ what you do; and added that Rude loved what he did and had a passion for the business, even when he was outside the ring. He spoke of a dedicated father and husband who worked hard to provide for his family, to offer them a better live.
With BFF Nattie as an inductor, it was time for Beth Phoenix to take her spot in the 2017 WWE Hall of Fame. It turns out that Mark Henry was the one who connected the two female wrestlers, who stated to Natalya that she reminded him of Beth Phoenix. Beth reached out to Nattie via social media (MySpace), where she told her she was inspired to be a WWE superstar by Natalya’s uncles, Brett and Owen. Nattie would relay that the two dubbed themselves as the Fabulous Moolah and Mae Young. She talked about their life on the road, and their trailblazing women’s table match that occurred in 2010. The speech turned highly emotional when Nattie said she believed Beth was sent her by her Uncle Owen. Beth relayed the first person to introduce her to wrestling was her grandmother, but she knew that she wanted to be a wrestler after Wrestlemania 10 and watching Brett and Owen Hart’s epic match. Her friend Janet encouraged her ‘crazy’ idea to become a pro wrestler and supported her the entire journey. She relayed a beautiful story of how Molly Holly paid her tuition, to help Beth pursue her dreams. She went on to thank Danny Davis, Al Snow, Lance Storm, Robert Gibson, Paul Heyman, as well as others. She would also acknowledge how Tommy’s Dreamer’s help, support, and friendship during the start of her career. She would go on to acknowledge Candice Michelle, Mickie James, Eve Torres, Trish Stratus as well as Santino Marello and strong competitors. Of course, Phoenix would honour her inductor, Nattie – and her support. Phoenix would also acknowledge Chyna in her speech as an inspiration and trailblazer; and she also thanked her immediate family. Additionally, she thanked her husband Edge; Tony Chimel would come out to the podium and announce Edge in a hilarious interlude (where Edge’s theme music came on the speakers). Beth would close her speech with some funny antidotes about being married to a wrestler, and some heartfelt comments to her daughters.
Eric LeGrand – 2017 Recipient Warrior Award
Dana Warrior would present Eric LeGrand with this year’s Warrior Award. She would start her speech by talking about the larger-than-life characters in the WWE and talk about her husband’s legacy. Dana acknowledged Eric LeGrand’s courage, as well as his mother’s. Eric would start his speech off by thanking God, for all his blessing. He also acknowledged Triple H and thanked him for his support and friendship. Eric also talked about the incident around his injury and how it changed his life, forever. He spoke about doctors who said he would never breath on his own, eat solid foods, or walk again. LeGrand talked about being taken off the feeding tube, being able to breath on his own, and day-by-day, he is able to move more and more. He also stated about how it is his responsibility to stay positive, inspire others, and make a difference when it comes to spinal cord injuries. He listed The Rock, Kane, and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin as WWE superstars he found inspiring as a child.
Ron Simmons and JBL were Teddy Long’s inductors. They joked about Long’s cheapness, his age, and yet highlighted his contributions to this business. They also acknowledged the struggles he went through, simply due to the color of his skin; and how he persevered. Teddy would come out and joke about his own cheapness. He also went into his career: starting off in the stage set up crew, acting as a referee, and then manager. When he came to the WWE, he started off as a ref, until someone told Vince he could talk; he then came to TV, was aligned with D’Lo Brown, cut a promo, and the rest was history. Long thanked God first and foremost, the WWE, fans, and the McMahons. He also thanked his son, telling the audience that when he was six years old, he helped him set up a ring; despite the hardship of it. He ended his speech thanking his wife of 20 years. He closed the speech by saying he’s a ‘Holla, Holla, Hall of Famer’!
2017 Legacy WWE Hall Of Fame Award Inductees
The 2017 Legacy WWE Hall Of Fame Award inductees were announced as: Rikidozan, Haystacks Calhoun, Dr. Jerry Graham, Judy Grable, Farmer Burns, Luther Lindsay, Toots Mondt, and June Byers.
Kurt Angle’s inductor, John Cena came out to audience boos, where a chant of “Miz’ coming from the crowd. Cena acknowledged that there was already energy for Wrestlemania and would carry on into his speech that highlighted the incredible career of Angle. His speech acknowledged Angle’s entertainment value, his humor, hard work to make it to the top, and how quickly he picked the business up and became a measuring stick for WWE superstars on the roster. Still, Cena’s speech was short and sweet. An emotional Kurt Angle entered the podium to crowd chants of “you suck” in such an endearing way. As an emotional Angle thanked John Cena for the speech, audiences started chanting “one more match”. Angle started off about a story after he won his Olympic gold (with a freaking broken neck), and how Vince offered him a contract; in which he rejected at the time. He came back a few years later, tried out, and the rest was history. He thanked Jim Ross, Tom and Bruce Prichard, Gerry Brisco, Pat Patterson, among others. He took a part of his speech to offer advice to the younger talent; telling them to follow the rules, as you don’t want to be known as someone who ‘could’ve’ been the greatest, if you had stayed out of trouble. He also advised to take chances and invest in “moments”. Kurt would bring out his infamous cowboy hat, sing the tune of ‘Jimmy cracked corn’ and then wear his black wig and head gear. He even broke out into his ‘Sexy Kurt’ song, along with the audience chanting in the background. Angle athanked God and the WWE fans. He thanked his brothers, sister, and parents. He also thanked his five children and his wife. He ended his speech by chugging two big bottles of milk.