Top 20 Wrestlers deserving of HOF induction
by, 01-11-2012 at 01:08 PM (11297 Views)
The WWE likes to make the Hall of Fame and it's induction night a large part of the Wrestlemania festivities. While I don't begrudge them this, in actuality I like the whole concept, the fact remains that the WWE Hall of Fame has a long way to go to be considered legitimate - which is something I'd like to see them strive to be. With this in mind I present here the 20 biggest names the WWE must admit into their Hall of Fame...
*I am including this paragraph here almost 24 hrs. since originally posting this entry due only to the number of comments asking about The Undertaker. I did not include 'Taker on the list because I do not view him as officially retired just yet. I still feel he will have more matches before it's said and done. Once I view him as a retired wrestler than naturally he would be in the top 2*
20. The British Bulldog
His list of accomplishments with the company speaks for itself. Put him in.
19. Medusa Micelli
Arguably the top female wrestler of the 80s and 90s, she really screwed herself with the WWE by listening to Bischoff and trashing the WWF Woman's Title on live TV. The WWE should let bygones be bygones (they did win the Monday night wars after all) and forgive Madusa/Alundra's transgression and recognize her work. Put her in.
18. Rick Martel
Probably the greatest French Canadian talent to ever wrestle for the WWF. Put him in.
17. King Kong Bundy
Main Evented Wrestlemania 2 against Hulk Hogan and a top draw in the 1980s. Put him in.
16. Ivan Koloff
The man who dethroned the great Bruno Sammartino to become only the 3rd ever WWF champion. Put him in.
15. Stan Stasiak
The man who dethroned the great Pedro Morales to become only the 5th ever WWF champion. Put him in.
14. Ravishing Rick Rude
Similar to Medusa Micelli, Ravishing Rick has a Monday Night Wars incident that hinders his chances. That aside everything about Ravishing Rick is Hall of Fame worthy. Put him in.
He was big and he was fat and he wasn't even a Japanese sumo wrestler - all irrelevant. Yokozuna accomplished something very few wrestlers have ever done: have a legitimate run with the WWF title as a heel. He was even afforded the rare and dubious honor of being crowned at Wrestlemania (even if he lost it a few minutes later). Put him in.
12. Mankind/Mick Foley/Dude Love/Cactus Jack
King of the Ring 1998. That's all I really need to say. But he's also a 3-time former WWF champion as well. Put him in.
11. "Demolition" Ax Bill Eadie & Smash Barry Darsow
The WWF's answer to the Road Warriors, Demolition was a huge success for the company. Though Smash (Barry Darsow) would continue his run with the WWF after Demolition as The Repo Man, Ax Bill Eadie arguably deserves induction on his own when you include his work as The Masked Superstar. From what I understand there is some animosity shared by both men today which is a shame - as it may prevent them from being inducted, as both should go in together. Nevertheless, put them in.
10. Owen Hart
We all pretty much remember Owen Hart and what he meant to the business. I don't need to wax poetic about Owen again - it depresses me to do so. It always makes me think about what the industry lost the night he died doing the industry's dirty work (by this I mean he was marring and ridiculing his own character/person in the WWF because he was getting ready to go to WCW - a part of the industry as old as time). Owen had the ability to be the best anyone had ever seen. As it was he still had an amazing list of accomplishments worthy of Hall of Fame induction
9. Sky Lo Lo
Professional wrestling has always been relegated as a carnie side-show part of society. Which is why I'm not bothered as much by the inductions of people like Bob Uecker, Drew Carey and Pete Rose (assuming they eventually induct Mr. T, Muhammad Ali and Vanna White as well). I don't mean to call it a carnie side-show as an insult either, quite the opposite. Side-shows are a necessary aspect of a functioning society. And a large part of the sideshow to the sideshow that is pro-wrestling was the midget wrestling. The Michael Jordan/Babe Ruth/Jim Brown/Wayne Gretzky/Hulk Hogn of midget wrestling was Sky Lo Lo. He was a big part of the company in its infancy during the early 60s and was as world-renowned a wrestler as there was in the 60s. He was even mentioned in an episode of "Married...with Children." He should be in the Hall of Fame.
8. Stan Hansen
He wrestled for the WWF only a year in 1976, but unlike some other men who are in the WWF Hall of Fame, he did actually wrestle for the WWF and he main evented for the WWF. The fact he gained international stardom outside of the WWF is irrelevant. While he was with the company he was a draw. Stan Hansen is in good standing the company and therefore I see no reason why he shouldn't already be in. Someone get a clue and induct Stan "The Lariat" Hansen.
7. Bruiser Brody
Though Bruiser also wrestled with the WWF for only a year-and-a-half or so as well, it was one of the most memorable year+ runs any wrestler has ever had with the company. When you also consider the WWE's predilection for inducting men who really had nothing to do with the WWF (Nick Bockwinkel, Verne Gagne, Abdullah the Butcher, Bullet Bob Armstrong, etc.) there is no reason why Brody shouldn't be in. He was the biggest heel of the 1980s west of the Appalachians and he actually wrestled for the company. Why U No Put Bruiser in Hall? I remember seeing somewhere that the WWE was considering Carlos Colon for induction. While I have no issues with Colon being inducted, when you consider what happened to Brody - as well as where it happened - it makes me scratch my head. Put Bruiser in already. It's ridiculous that I have to even demand it at this point.
6. The Ultimate Warrior
He doesn't have a lot of friends in the business and yes, he's completely off the wall nuts (his ongoing twitter war with Hogan aside, I tend to believe at least half of what he has to say about Hogan - at least half). But who was a bigger star in the industry than Warrior? Hulk Hogan, and well maybe the Macho Man - but that's about it. His matches weren't exhibitions of scientific mastery and a lot of people in the industry like to mock that today, but when did scientific mastery ever matter? It vexed me a great deal to see how the WWF even produced a DVD basically mocking The Warrior a few years back - don't they remember how much money he helped make them? Though his career with the WWF was not long relative to others on this list the time he did spend with the company was pretty much always at the top of the card. I understand that he held the company up for money just before going out to perform at Madison Square Garden during SummerSlam '91, but he's not the first performer to do this. Clearly it didn't bother McMahon all that much since he brought him back two separate times after that event. Due to all of the personal animosity Jim "The Warrior" Hellwig has with other wrestlers today I don't see him going in anytime soon, but it is unfortunate as very few others are as deserving.
5. Chris Benoit
As controversial as Benoit's induction would be, he deserves to go in. This is not the Hall of Saints or Hall of Humanism, it is the Hall of Fame - so we shouldn't look at its inductees as the end all be all of humanity. The Hall of Fame is meant to be a place where the very best performers in the business of pro-wrestling are remembered, and as much as that may pain a lot of people's sensitive sensibilities, it means an inclusion of Benoit. Bad people who do bad things are still remembered for what they did between the lines, or in this case the ropes. Ty Cobb is in the baseball Hall of Fame. Lawrence Taylor is in the football Hall of Fame. While they didn't murder anybody O.J. Simpson did - and he's in the football Hall of Fame as well. Okay, so you might say that those are real sports and professional wrestling isn't - so what? How you perform is what matters in both, not wins and losses (Ty Cobb never won a World Series and O.J. never won a Super Bowl). If we want to keep things related to wrestling we can look at someone who is already inducted, Jimmy Superfly Snuka. Though it happened almost 30 years ago now there was a big controversy involving Snuka and the death of his girlfriend at the time to which a lot of people believe there is more to the story than is officially acknowledged. The fact remains that Chris Benoit was one of the greatest wrestlers I ever had the pleasure to watch in the ring. We should also keep in mind that there was never a trial - so we don't know the whole story. If he were still alive today he'd likely be in jail or perhaps even death row. If there is such a fairyland place called Hell he might in fact even be there. But all of this is irrelevant when you consider how the man performed as a wrestler. Chris Benoit, like it or not, is a Hall of Famer if there ever was one.
4. Bob Backlund
Bob Backlund never emoted a lot of personality during his long six-year run as WWF Champion. Backlund wrestled in an era where you didn't necessarily need to. In the early TV era pro-wrestling promoters felt that to legitimize your company while protecting the industry you needed to have your very best wrestler be champion. In the WWF's case that was Bob Backlund. Very few were on Backlund's level in his day, and for six years the company banked on him. Six years is a long time. Hulk Hogan's first and longest run was only four. Amazingly, after Hulkamania, Macho Madness, The Ultimate Warrior hysteria, Flair coming and going and even Yokozuna - Bob Backlund came back and re-won the WWF World Title again. How is this man not in the Hall of Fame?
3. Larry Zybyszko
Outside of the man I have ranked as #1 on this list, Larry Zybyszko was arguably the biggest star the WWF had throughout the decade of the 1970s (all due respect to Superstar Billy Graham & Pedro Morales). Though never crowned as WWF champion there wasn't an arena Larry couldn't sell out when he really hit his peak by the decades end and early on in the 80s. Before the Wrestlemanias Vince McMahon, Jr. would put on Vince McMahon, Sr. would occasionally hold super cards at Shea Stadium in Queens, New York. The most famous and greatest of all these Shea Stadium bouts was a steel cage match between Larry and Bruno Sammartino, the climax in the company's most memorable feud up to that point in time. The WWE is in desperate need of a personality like Larry - a funny, heel commentator who actually has experience in the ring. Who better to bring back into the fold as a regular on-air contributor than Zybyszko? What better way to do it than inducting him into a place he should have been inducted in a long time ago: The Hall of Fame.
2. Randy "Macho Man" Savage
At the time I write this entry Savage is still not in. I am holding out hope that the WWE will do the right thing and induct him as part of the 2012 class. But as of now, I have not seen or hear anything (not that I look). The Macho Man's matches were wars and works of art all at the same time. I can name countless big name wrestlers in Savage's era who had their best matches and their best feuds with the Macho Man. Hulk Hogan, Jerry Lawler, Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, The Ultimate Warrior and dare I say Ric Flair all had their very best matches with Savage. The Honkey Tonk Man, Jake The Snake and Diamond Dallas Page are wrestlers who had their careers defined by feuding with Mach. Until Shawn Michaels established himself the WWF had never see a ring performer such as Randy Savage. When you consider that Hulkamania was such a huge money making monster from 1984-1988 it was almost mind blowing when Hogan lost the belt. Of course Hogan needed a lighter schedule at that time to catch his breath and make a movie, so who would the WWF bestow the belt on in his place? There was only one man who was worthy: Macho Man. There's been a lot of speculation why Savage and the McMahons never really patched things up in the last 15 yrs of Randy's life, but we all know there was a problem. A problem which has kept Savage out of the Hall. Sadly, it seemed like there was a little bit of thawing taking place between both sides before Savage's tragic and untimely death last May. Hopefully the powers that be smarten up and finally induct my favorite wrestler ever Randy "Macho Man" Savage.
1. Bruno Sammartino
If Bruno is not in the WWE Hall of Fame, then there is no Hall of Fame. Case closed. While the company inducts the likes of Ko Ko B. Ware and Hacksaw Jim Duggan - solid workers who never sold a ticket for the old WWF and men like Abdullah the Butcher and Nick Bockwinkel - legends in the industry who also never sold a ticket for the WWE (since they never wrestled for the WWF), it is a crying shame that arguably the greatest professional wrestler/champion to ever lace up boots for the company is not in. Understandably there is a lot of animosity between the McMahons and Sammartino. Bruno tries to come off as a pious hero when he explains why he dislikes the McMahons these days, while the WWE has little to say. The fact is there is the animosity exists because of the money. If the McMahons ponied up a large sum of cash to Bruno I guarantee all would be forgiven - and if anyone deserves it, it is Bruno. Any wrestling fan over the age of 25 (and yes, there's still lot's of those) would love to see Bruno back on WWE TV. Instead of producing another bad straight-to-DVD movie, the WWE should cut a check and make it out to Bruno and wait to receive him with open arms and finally once and for all legitimize the Hall of Fame by inducting the living legend Bruno Sammartino.