In just a few months, during WrestleMania XXX weekend in April, WWE will induct another class into their Hall Of Fame. Year after year this topic evokes a lot of conversation among fans of the wrestling business. Fans will argue and debate, “how is this guy (or girl) not in?” or “why did they induct this guy (or girl)?”
When reviewing those who are currently members of the WWE Hall Of Fame, you will find that there really isn’t a lot of rhyme or reason to who they pick. There are members of the WWE Hall Of Fame that actually never worked in WWE. There are some who passed through WWE “for a cup of coffee” but didn’t really leave a lasting impression on the WWE audience specifically. Yet, they’re included. On the other hand, there’s a plethora of talented performers and executives who are not in the WWE Hall Of Fame, and one wonders, how is that possible?
Below is my own fantasy booking of the 2014 class of WWE Hall Of Fame inductees. It should be noted that in putting together this editorial, I sought out those who have some name recognition or achieved a lot of impressive feats throughout their careers. I made a list of people that aren’t in that I feel should be, narrowed it down to ten, and that became my list. For those curious, there were still 20-plus names that I didn’t include on the following list, as I felt ten was a nice, round number. Basically, if I were one that voted on who goes into the WWE Hall Of Fame, and were allowed ten slots, this would be my list. There’s plenty of other guys deserving, but these are the ten guys that I feel should be inducted this year.
We’ll start off with numbers ten-through-six, and later we will reveal the top five. Starting off at number ten is a guy we’ll be seeing this coming Monday night on “Old School RAW.”
#10. Mike Rotunda
Mike Rotunda is a former five-time WWE Tag-Team Champion. He accomplished this feat twice with his first WWE tag-team partner, Barry Windham, as part of the U.S. Express tag-team. He would go on to achieve WWE Tag-Team Championship status three more times as one-half of a tag-team modern fans may remember better, Money Inc. This time, Rotunda, in his “Irwin R. Schyster (I.R.S.)” character, teamed with WWE Hall Of Famer “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase. The I.R.S. character was a great heel, and had a pretty significant run in WWE during the early-1990s.
In addition to being a superb tag-team competitor in WWE, Rotunda was also a great singles wrestler. He had an impressive amateur wrestling career, which led to his inclusion in one of my favorite forgotten-stables, The Varsity Club. This faction included Rotunda, Kevin Sullivan and Rick Steiner, all of which wore their college wrestling jackets and reigned supreme for a little run in the NWA.
A little known fact, current WWE Superstar Bray Wyatt is actually the son of Rotunda, who himself is actually the son-in-law of wrestling legend Blackjack Mulligan. Rotunda works regularly with WWE doing agent work on the road, and in my opinion, is certainly due his moment in the spotlight as a WWE Hall Of Famer.
#9. Kevin Sullivan
Kevin Sullivan falls under the category I mentioned in the intro of legendary wrestlers who didn’t actually accomplish much, if anything, in WWE specifically. Regardless, if talented performers and executives in the wrestling business such as Verne Gagne and countless others can be inducted, I don’t see why Sullivan shouldn’t be as well.
Sullivan had a great run as a wrestler. He accomplished and was involved both in front of the camera, and behind-the-scenes, in a lot of major happenings in the old Championship Wrestling from Florida promotion. He had a solid run in Georgia Championship Wrestling, and even in the original ECW, where he gained tag-team championship success alongside The Tazmaniac (the original character played by Taz).
Sullivan’s most notable moments, however, came during his run in the NWA/WCW. He worked behind-the-scenes as a major force creatively, and again, had a pretty decent run in front of the camera as a performer. Sullivan is arguably one of the best bookers when it comes to building heat, and knowing how to establish a true heel in the wrestling business.
#8. British Bulldogs
The British Bulldogs are a tag-team that I’m actually surprised aren’t in the WWE Hall Of Fame already. Individually speaking, both “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith and The Dynamite Kid have had Hall Of Fame-caliber careers as singles competitors. If WWE doesn’t want to induct one or the other, I see no reason why as a tag-team, The British Bulldogs should not be included.
The Bulldogs had a great run as a tag-team in WWE, capturing the WWE Tag-Team Championship. Both were considered to be part of a changing-of-the-guard in the way the business in the ring evolved from Hulk Hogan’s era to the era that showcased smaller guys, who worked a more fast-pace style. Their matches against The Hart Foundation really captured the imagination of the public, and in my opinion really made wrestling a focal point of the overall presentation after years of over-the-top characters served as the showcased talent.
Individually, The British Bulldog achieved the WWE European Championship twice, a title that was basically created for him. He won the WWE Intercontinental Championship and had two runs as the WWE Hardcore Champion. Additionally, Smith had another run as a WWE Tag-Team Champion with Owen Hart.
The Dynamite Kid was considered one of the best in-ring workers of his generation. He had tremendous runs in Japan, where in both All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW) and New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) he was considered a top act.
Basically put, if WWE doesn’t want to honor Dynamite because of his history, The British Bulldog is more than deserving on his own to be a WWE Hall Of Famer.
If Kevin Nash and Scott Hall did not accomplish enough to be considered WWE Hall Of Fame candidates on their own, certainly as a unit as part of the New World Order (nWo) faction in WCW, they accomplished more than enough to deserve the nod.
The significance of the nWo faction can never be downplayed. That one faction alone can claim responsibility of igniting the flame that began the Monday Night War between WWE and WCW. The style of the nWo as performers can also be pointed to as one of the key reasons that WWE decided to get “attitude,” a formula that would translate into WWE having the biggest boom period of success in company history.
As individual performers, both guys have accomplished a lot in their careers. Nash is a former WWE Champion, WWE Intercontinental Champion and two-time WWE Tag-Team Champion. In WCW, Nash held the WCW Championship five times and the WCW Tag-Team Championships nine times, six of those with Hall.
Scott Hall had a decent run in the original AWA, where he won the AWA Tag-Team Championships alongside Curt Hennig. His run in WWE included four Intercontinental Championship reigns, while in WCW, Hall is a former WCW Champion, two-time WCW United States Champion, WCW Television Champion and seven-time WCW Tag-Team Champion (the aforementioned six with Nash and a separate reign with The Giant, aka The Big Show).
In addition to Nash and Hall, with Hulk Hogan rumored to be returning at WrestleMania XXX in April, what better way to get the most mileage out of Hogan then by having him return to the Hall Of Fame to be, other than Ric Flair, the only other man to be inducted twice. Ric Flair got his induction, and the Four Horsemen got theirs. If anyone else deserves the same treatment, it’s probably Hulk Hogan and the nWo.
#6. Ultimate Warrior
The Ultimate Warrior is an interesting case. According to reports on the newsboard, WWE is planning on inducting Warrior into their Hall Of Fame this year. Whether or not that’s being done to pop a rating for the Hall Of Fame special, or gain some added interest and publicity on the road to WrestleMania, I’m not sure. Basically, I don’t know if WWE is inducting Warrior for business-related reasons, or on merit alone.
If we’re looking at Warrior’s accomplishments during his WWE run, while many like to joke about Warrior’s abilities, or lack thereof, as a performer, you can’t deny his accomplishments. Being the guy that the company felt was a big enough star that Hulk Hogan should end his legendary run and officially pass to the torch to anoint Warrior as the new face of the company.
Ultimate Warrior is a former WWE Champion, a title which he won by getting the torch passed to him from Hogan, as well as a former two-time WWE Intercontinental Champion.
Make sure to stop back by the eWrestlingNews.com editorials section on Monday for the unveiling of the top five inductees in my 2014 class of the WWE Hall Of Fame. Until then, leave your feedback in the “Comments” section below, or hit me up on Facebook at Facebook.com/MattBooneWZR.