Happy New Year to you all! Around the lead up to the Royal Rumble, many of us think about who is left to induct in to the WWE Hall of Fame. There are many choices, with some being more likely than others. With that said, I will give a probability rating for the 50 entries, ranging from Very Likely to Impossible. There won’t be too much detail for each, otherwise this would take too long to read. I could have included more, so feel free to share anyone you think should get a mention.
#1. Andy Kaufman
Achievements: Improv Performance Artist
Jerry Lawler and others often cite the comedy genius of Andy Kaufman as one of the greatest celebrity crossovers in wrestling history. In the early 80s, Kaufman was well ahead of the game as the “Intergender Wrestling Champion” in the Continental Wrestling Association. He would generate heat by offering a $1000 reward to any woman who could beat him in a match, along with marrying her. In an era when kayfabe was very much adhered to, Kaufman would often state that his matches were “real”, while other matches weren’t. This was blasphemy, especially to the wrestlers who did everything they could to protect the business.
Jerry Lawler came to defend the sport of wrestling against the evil Hollywood actor, which lead to a match between them. Lawler dropped Kaufman on his head twice with a “banned” Piledriver, and the actor had to be carried out on a stretcher. The feud gained mainstream attention because Kaufman wore a neck brace and talked it up on Saturday Night Live and Late Night with David Letterman. Lawler appeared on Letterman and pushed Kaufman off his chair, who retaliated by throwing coffee on him before storming out.
The heat between the two was so fierce that NBC Network executives felt uneasy about it. Many assumed they had actual heat, yet it was revealed well over a decade after Kaufman’s passing that it was a work. They were actually good friends, but they played their parts so well that even outside regular programming, their work was protected. Actor Jim Carrey revealed the truth behind their rivalry, before portraying Kaufman in the 1999 movie Man on the Moon. Promoter Jerry Jarrett said that he sent Kaufman huge cheques for two years, but he did not deposit them, showing that he wasn’t doing this for the money.
Jerry Lawler has called for Andy Kaufman’s induction in to the WWE Hall of Fame for years, but WWE has shown no interest. Why? Well, it’s likely that Vince McMahon does not see good business in honoring an actor who passed away at 35 back in 1984. What Kaufman did for the CWA did little for WWE, and his time in the business was short-lived.
That Kaufman vs. Lawler is still talked about is proof their work stands the test of time. It remains one of the top examples of how to use celebrities in wrestling. Kaufman had a love for the business, and as a character actor he reveled in playing the villain. It gave him a unique outlet to express his creativity. I’m sure he had a lot of fun working the fans in a way which was well ahead of its time.
#2. Bam Bam Bigelow
Achievements: ECW World Heavyweight Champion, ECW World Television Champion, IWGP Tag Team Champion, WCW World Tag Team Champion.
One of the biggest omissions from the WWE Hall of Fame is Bam Bam Bigelow. While he won nothing in WWE, he was in the main event of WrestleMania XI wrestling with Football star Lawrence Taylor. Outside of this, Bigelow was a household name, earning his recognition as one of wrestling’s most athletic super heavyweights. He was one of the first heavyweights to be seen performing the Moonsault in the United States. Bigelow achieved more success in WCW & ECW and was famous for his time in Japan teaming up with Big Van Vader.
Why is he not in the Hall of Fame? It’s a bit of a mystery. He passed away young, at 45, and spent much of his career addicted to OxyContin. The mixture of cocaine and tranquillizers, likely to dull the pain from his health issues, led to his accidental death. Still, there have been other wrestlers inducted with similar problems, so I believe it’s a matter of time. If WWE doesn’t want to talk about his career, they will eventually make him a legacy inductee. I like to think his career broke the mold by showing that even big guys can be athletic enough to fly.
Achievements: WWE Champion, World Heavyweight Champion, World Tag Team Champion, Royal Rumble 2005 & 2014.
I believe Batista is the only inductee to cancel his appearance for rescheduling purposes. With the outbreak of COVID-19, the class of 2020 had to be postponed til the following year. By then, Batista had other commitments, but is likely to be inducted when the time is right. I don’t think we need to go in to his career, because we’ll hear enough about that on the lead up to his induction.
Probability: Very Likely
#4. Big Show
Achievements: WWE Champion, WCW World Heavyweight Champion, ECW World Champion, WWE United States Champion, WWE Intercontinental Champion, WWE World Tag Team Champion, André the Giant Memorial Trophy (2015).
There is no doubting Paul Wight’s place in the WWE Hall of Fame. After jumping from WCW in the Monday Night Wars, the man formerly known as The Giant became the Big Show. He never looked back and became one of the most successful names in WWE history. Near the end of his career, WWE was hoping he would work backstage, but he felt it wasn’t time to be put out to pasture.
Instead, he jumped to AEW and returned to the TNT network where he first became famous. Working as an announcer for Dark: Elevation, along with rarely competing, Paul Wight found a new lease on life. There’s no heat though, he loved working for WWE, but it was time to try something different. When the time comes, I’m positive WWE will welcome him back and induct the Big Show in to a well-deserved spot in the Hall of Fame.
Probability: Very Likely
#5. Brian Pillman
Achievements: NWA World Tag Team Champion, WCW World Tag Team Champion, WCW Light Heavyweight Champion, NWA United States Tag Team Champion.
WWE is weary about getting backlash over inductions, and Brian Pillman is one of these. Despite his popularity, he achieved little in WWE aside from a memorable (& controversial) feud with Stone Cold Steve Austin. Not only that, but WWE wants you to forget its Raw interview with his widow Melanie Pillman, which took place literally the day after his passing. Everything about that was in poor taste, and WWE does not want to remind people of this, or the controversial gun angle which played out on Raw.
Brian Pillman passed away in his hotel room bed in 1997, in what was originally reported to be a heart attack. Steve Austin later revealed it to be undetected atherosclerotic heart disease. With Pillman’s son currently wrestling for AEW, if the company was ever to introduce its own Hall of Fame, it seems more likely they would induct his Father. The chance of Pillman being added to the WWE Hall of Fame is unlikely, even as a legacy inductee, but it is possible if WWE and his family want it.
#6. Bruce Prichard
Achievements: Creative Writing
We also know Bruce Prichard as Brother Love, who served as a manager for several talents. This includes being the first manager of The Undertaker, before Paul Bearer took over. Otherwise, Prichard is better known for his creative writing. It is assumed he has the most power in WWE than anyone not part of the McMahon family. He remained with WWE in this capacity from 1992 to 2008. After that, he spent time in TNA doing something similar, before being let go in 2013, and again after a short stint in 2017.
Prichard returned to WWE in 2018 and carried on with his former job. He remains in this role today and rarely appears on TV as either himself or Brother Love. When he is inevitably inducted, it will be more so for his backstage work than anything he did on television. The Brother Love character was controversial in the early 90s because it was portrayed too much like a televangelist. The only thing Brother Love will get credit for is introducing The Undertaker, but they will skim over everything else.
Probability: Very Likely
#7. Chris Jericho
Achievements: WWE Champion, WWE Intercontinental Champion, WWE United States Champion, WWE European Champion, WWE Hardcore Champion, WWE World Tag Team Champion, WCW World Television Champion, WCW Cruiserweight Champion, IWGP Intercontinental Champion, ECW World Television Champion, AEW World Champion.
Now, the thing about Y2J is that WWE still appreciates him. After all, they would not allow Chris Jericho to appear on the Stone Cold Podcast if they felt he wouldn’t respect their property. As a contracted AEW wrestler, it came as a surprise to many that WWE would allow him this time. Jericho was very respectful, and although there was some mention of AEW, he kept it mostly on topic because he was there to discuss his WWE career.
I feel like WWE would love to induct Chris Jericho in to the Hall of Fame, but only after he retires. AEW may still employ him, but they could figure something out with him and Tony Khan. Much like Big Show, Chris Jericho did so much in WWE that it would be an injustice to put him on the (black) list because of where he works. Along with winning many titles in WWE and being the inventor of Money in the Bank, he’s a prime example of how to develop one’s character.
Probability: Very Likely
#8. Chyna (solo)
Achievements: WWF Intercontinental Champion, WWF Women’s Champion.
It’s unfortunate that WWE got around Chyna’s individual induction by throwing her in with D-Generation X. I can see why they did it that way, largely because of how she left the company and everything which followed… but she was a trailblazer.
Chyna did so much for women’s wrestling in WWE, as the first to enter a Royal Rumble and winning the Intercontinental title. She made things possible, and while her story is tragic, her career deserved to be honored in its own right. WWE will probably never do this now, because to them, they got around it in a way which inconveniences them the least.
#9. Dean Malenko
Achievements: WCW Cruiserweight Champion, WCW United States Heavyweight Champion, WCW World Tag Team Champion, ECW World Television Champion, ECW World Tag Team Champion, WWF Light Heavyweight Champion.
His wrestling career in WWE was not as lucrative as I’m sure he was hoping. However, his time in WCW as the Cruiserweight Champion, along with his backstage work following retirement, is more than deserving. The Iceman did so much to help the talent of today as a trainer and producer. He’s one of the best of all time. You can’t get a better teacher than Dean Malenko.
It was shocking to hear him be let go by WWE, because he had worked backstage for years. AEW picked him up, and he continues to help the current generation. One day, WWE is likely to show their respect for his work. Malenko should get a proper induction… but at the very least, he will go in to the legacy wing.
Achievements: WWF World Tag Team Champions
It’s so strange, Demolition was the longest reigning tag team champions in history. There’s no logical reason not to include them in the Hall of Fame. When The New Day approached their record, WWE didn’t mind mentioning them. However, there’s something off about this relationship. Basically, WWE has buried the memory of Demolition for so long, it would come as a surprise if they were ever inducted.
In 2016, Ax & Smash were included in a list as part of a class action lawsuit against WWE. Like several others, they were looking to blame WWE for its part in their wrestlers incurring traumatic brain injuries. Fast forward to 2018, and the US District Judge dropped the case. WWE would see this as Demolition crossing the line and would have no interest in doing business with them. The New Day surpassing their title reign record means WWE needn’t mention them again.
#11. Dynamite Kid
Achievements: WWF World Tag Team Champion, WWF Junior Heavyweight Champion, Stampede World Mid-Heavyweight Champion, Stampede North American Heavyweight Champion, Stampede British Commonwealth Mid-Heavyweight Champion, Stampede International Tag Team Champion, British Welterweight Champion, British Lightweight Champion.
As a Brit, I understand the legacy of Dynamite Kid. He was a popular name, especially in the UK, but sadly, his story is tragic. Whether he brought it upon himself is up for debate, but he’s just too controversial for WWE. As a wrestler? Exceptional. Bret Hart says he’s one of the best of all time. He laid the groundwork for much of the style we see today. Chris Benoit and Bryan Danielson modeled much of their ring work around Dynamite Kid, as have several others.
However, there are stories of Tom Billington being abrasive and sometimes violent with other wrestlers. Not as much early in his career, but later after bulking up with steroids, he became short-tempered, and it affected his relationships. Then there are serious injuries which eventually lead to him losing movement in his left leg. Harley Race regrets introducing the diving headbutt because of what it did to Dynamite Kid, who spent the rest of his life in a wheelchair.
As a former tag team champion with British Bulldog, along with his other achievements, Dynamite Kid’s career deserves an induction. It was very unlikely though, even before passing away on his 60th birthday in 2018. He wanted nothing to do with WWE, as evidenced by him being part of the same lawsuit as Demolition. His legacy is one of redefining the quality of a wrestling match, albeit doing so at the cost of his own health.
Probability: Very Unlikely
#12. Earl Hebner
Achievements: Screwjobs, TNA Hall Of Fame, GXW Hall Of Fame.
If WWE ever inducts a referee, it’s going to be Earl Hebner. You know, I’m pretty surprised this didn’t already happen. He was inducted in to the TNA Hall of Fame before WWE’s, which makes little sense. Hebner was part of so many memories in WWE, good and bad, that he needs to be in there. You can’t think of the Montreal Screwjob without him. Earl Hebner was very loyal to WWE for so long. I think it’s just a matter of time.
Achievements: WWF Tag Team Champion, SWS Tag Team Champion, PWI Most Hated Wrestler Of The Year (1990).
Another who passed away too young. This time it was to bladder cancer. John Tenta became a household name as one of Hulk Hogan’s biggest rivals during his peak. While he achieved little else, there are less deserving names already inducted.
We can’t forget about his partnership with Typhoon, The Natural Disasters, who will be remembered as one of WWE’s biggest ever tag team champions. I only place this as unlikely because it’s surprising it hasn’t happened already. For some reason, WWE does not want to remember Earthquake.
#14. Fit Finlay
Achievements: WWE United States Champion, WCW World Television Champion, British Heavy Middleweight Champion, British Light Heavyweight Champion, CWA World Middleweight Champion, ASW British Heavyweight Champion.
Without a doubt, Finlay is going in there. He had a substantial career long before WWE, and the double act with Hornswoggle cemented him as a superstar. After retiring, he continued to serve as a trainer and producer. WWE will get around to inducting him eventually, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they throw Hornswoggle in there too.
Probability: Very Likely
#15. Giant Baba
Achievements: NWA World Heavyweight Champion, PWF World Heavyweight Champion, All Asia Heavyweight Champion, NWA International Tag Team Champion, All Asia Tag Team Champion, NWA International Heavyweight Champion, NWA International Tag Team Champion.
Giant Baba’s popularity in Japan was such that many say it rivalled Hulk Hogan’s in America. Not only as a wrestler, but as a promoter, Giant Baba brought an incredible amount of success to Japanese wrestling. He got people watching, and if WWE ever wants to look outside its universe for big names, Giant Baba is one of those.
Yet, knowing WWE, it’s more about business than respecting the history of professional wrestling. On that basis, and the fact Baba passed away in 1999, makes it seem unlikely. At best, it would be as a legacy inductee.
Achievements: WWF Intercontinental Champion, WWF Hardcore Champion, WWE Tag Team Champion, WCW United States Heavyweight Champion, WCW World Tag Team Champion, NWA World Tag Team Champion.
No one was anymore bizarre in WWE than Goldust. Dustin Rhodes broke down barriers by having a character so outlandish, it rivalled that of British wrestling legend Adrian Street. There’s so much we could say about the Goldust character, but Dustin Rhodes himself has been through a rollercoaster. His life has not been smooth sailing, and he has made mistakes. But through it all, Goldust will forever be ingrained in people’s memories.
The attire, the entrance, the way he moved. Goldust is a character you can’t overlook. With him going to AEW, unlike Big Show & Chris Jericho, I don’t think WWE will try too hard to induct him. Yet, one day, perhaps during retirement, WWE will throw him an invitation, and Goldust will put on the wig and suck in the air one last time.
Achievements: WWF Tag Team Champion, WCW Hardcore Champion, WWC Puerto Rico Heavyweight Champion.
Another name who I’m surprised isn’t already in there. Haku (AKA Meng) is known for being one of the legit toughest guys in the business. Even André the Giant wouldn’t mess with him, and we know how much Andre screwed with people.
Speaking of which, Andre respected him so much that they became tag team champions together. On that basis, The Colossal Connection is enough of a reason to induct Haku, before we even think about his singles career. He continues playing a part in the business as a member of the Bullet Club, mostly as a manager for his son Hikuleo.
Achievements: FMW Brass Knuckles Heavyweight Champion, FMW Independent Heavyweight Champion, WEW Heavyweight Champion, FMW Brass Knuckles Tag Team Champion, WEW Tag Team Champion, All Asia Tag Team Champion.
There is an exceptional career retrospective out there on Hayabusa, which I attempted to recreate once, but there’s no way anyone can beat that. It’s a highly recommended read if you have the time: Hayabusa
Eiji Ezaki had the respect of so many in the business, including the McMahon Family. He didn’t work for them, but they met and knew what the other had done. After being confined to a wheelchair in 2001, it didn’t look like he would ever walk again. In 2015, he could finally walk again, although still needed a cane. Tragically, he passed away the following year of a cerebral hemorrhage.
Like Jushin Liger, Hayabusa is credited for pioneering the junior heavyweight style of wrestling in Japan. His high-flying style inspired many of today’s wrestlers, including Chris Jericho, AJ Styles, Pac, Kalisto, and so many more. He should get a real induction one day. His contributions to wrestling deserve it, and I think it would be a little disrespectful to add him quietly as a legacy inductee.
#19. Irwin R. Schyster
Achievements: WWF Tag Team Champion, NWA World Television Champion, NWA Florida Heavyweight Champion, NWA World Tag Team Champion.
Perhaps not as popular as he could have been, IRS served as Ted DiBiase’s tag team partner in Money Inc. He’s also the Father of former WWE Champion Bray Wyatt and brother Bo Dallas. Much like Malenko and Finlay, IRS spent a great deal of time working backstage for WWE after his retirement. I’m sure Ted DiBiase would love to induct his former partner one day… for a price, of course.
#20. Ivan Koloff
Achievements: WWWF World Heavyweight Champion, NWA Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion, NWA Mid-Atlantic Television Champion, NWA Television Champion, NWA World Tag Team Champion, NWA Florida Tag Team Champion.
While serving as a transitional champion, I think it’s important to remember Ivan Koloff as the man who ended Bruno Sammartino 7+ year title reign. Someone had to move the title from Sammartino to Pedro Morales, and Ivan Koloff played the part to perfection.
Yet, his career wasn’t just about that, he had many title reigns in the Mid-Atlantic and Jim Crockett Promotions. He often worked in a stable with Nikita Koloff and Krusher Khruschev as one of America’s most hated heel teams. Like Demolition and Dynamite Kid, it’s unlikely WWE will remember him because he was part of the brain injury lawsuit.
#21. Jim Cornette
Achievements: PWI Manager of the Year (1985, 1993, 1995), NWA Hall Of Fame (2005)
I had to go there. Jim Cornette has always been a controversial character, which made him an exceptional manager for so many of wrestling’s greatest. You can find his amazing list of clients on this pro wrestling profile: Jim Cornette
While Cornette is one of wrestling’s most successful managers, he has also done a lot of creative writing and backstage work. Yet, despite everything he has achieved, it seems unlikely WWE will induct him during his lifetime. You likely know why, but just in case you don’t… they cannot trust Cornette with a live microphone for too long. If it’s something small, like inducting The Rock n’ Roll Express? Then sure, that’s fine.
A Jim Cornette induction would have to be handled with care. I’m not saying it’s impossible. I think if they gave Jim set guidelines on what he can and cannot say, he’d be professional enough to do it. Also, WWE could easily edit his speech if it went off the rails. It feels like WWE would rather avoid this though? I don’t know. We all know WWE steers well clear of anything controversial. Cornette deserves an induction, but it hinges on WWE having the balls to do it. Personally, I’d be all for it and wouldn’t mind his colourful language, but I’m not the one running a multi-million dollar business.
#22. Jim Johnston
Achievements: Wrestling Entrance Themes
He really should be. Jim Johnston composed some of the best wrestling themes ever. The Attitude & Ruthless Aggression Era wouldn’t sound the same without him. There appears to be some frustration on Johnston’s part, as he recently commented on the poor quality of WWE’s current entrance themes. He’d love to get back to composing, but for whatever reason, he has been lost in time. WWE does not traditionally induct people who weren’t on TV, so I feel it’s unlikely, but it could happen if they were to get the one-man band back together.
#23. John Cena
Achievements: WWE Champion, World Heavyweight Champion, United States Champion, Tag Team Champion, Money in the Bank, Royal Rumble 2008 & 2013.
The Invisible Man who everyone can see is here! I mean, does this need any explanation? It’s John Cena. If you’re needing me to explain why John Cena is on the list, I think you need to leave and do some research. He’s going in to the Hall of Fame whether you love, hate or don’t care for him. When? It depends on if Cena is done wrestling. When WWE knows he’s retired for good, they will get on the phone. Let’s hope his speech is as endearingly polarizing as his career.
Probability: Very Likely
#24. Ken Shamrock
Achievements: NWA World Heavyweight Champion, WWF Intercontinental Champion, WWF Tag Team Champion, King of the Ring (1998), Impact Hall of Fame (2020), MMA Record of 28 wins, 17 losses, UFC Superfight Champion, UFC Hall of Fame.
WWE has buried Ken Shamrock. You know, the actual term “buried”… as in not mentioning him in any form since leaving the company. Shamrock has talked about this several times, and he’s befuddled by WWE forgetting he exists. The Rock didn’t forget though, as he showed up via recording to induct him in to the Impact Wrestling Hall of Fame at their Bound For Glory PPV in 2020. Neither did Bret Hart or Mick Foley, who also appeared by recording.
Ken Shamrock did pretty well in WWE. Sure, he never became WWF Champion, but he was IC & Tag Team Champion, along with winning King of the Ring in 1998. Critics often praise him for his feud with The Rock, which helped to get The People’s Champion over. Dwayne Johnson respects him so much, because he and everyone else know what he did for his career. Why WWE skips this remains a mystery.
#25. Lex Luger
Achievements: WCW World Heavyweight Champion, WCW World Television Champion, NWA/WCW United States Heavyweight Champion, NWA/WCW World Tag Team Champion, Royal Rumble 1994 (with Bret Hart).
At one point, Lex Luger was a top name in the business. WWE wanted him to be the next Hulk Hogan. However, his career and life will forever be linked to his drug taking, playing a role in the death of Miss Elizabeth.
He clearly regrets it, and while some of his friends can forgive him, WWE knows there would be many fans who won’t appreciate an induction for this reason. It wouldn’t be about Luger’s career at that point, it would just be a storm of hate for being so irresponsible it cost Elizabeth her life. WWE wants no part of that.
Probability: Very Unlikely
#26. Lilian Garcia
Achievements: Years Of Lead Announcing
Following in the footsteps of Howard Finkel would be tough for anyone, but Lilian Garcia made it work. She was amazing; she had such great energy, and I’ve heard no one sing the US National Anthem better. I’d have her over any over-singing pop artist any day. I’m not even American, but it makes me feel patriotic for the United States when Lilian gets going.
Seriously though, Garcia is one of the best announcers of all time. Probably second, only behind Finkel, which I hope she would see as the biggest compliment. She’s by far the best female announcer ever… there’s no competition! It has to happen someday, and perhaps Lillian will give us one last rendition.
Probability: Very Likely
#27. Michelle McCool
Achievements: WWE Women’s Champion, WWE Divas Champion
Michelle McCool had it tough in the years following the retirements of Trish Stratus and Lita. How do you carry a division after that? Anyone would struggle. What made it worse was WWE not treating the Divas Division with care. If they were lucky, they would get 3-5 minutes a show, and usually it would be Michelle McCool and Layla defending the title against someone. She recently returned for a Royal Rumble and did very well. WWE now sees her as a legend of the women’s division, so I’m sure they will get around to an induction at some point.
#28. Miss Elizabeth
Achievements: The love of her fans
This one hurts because Miss Elizabeth was the first big female name in WWE other than Fabulous Moolah. She was so loved, I mean… it hurts just to talk about her. As emotional support for Randy Savage, it was a match made in heaven. Elizabeth played her role perfectly, but her life ended far too soon.
I can’t see WWE inducting her, because it means reminding people of what happened. They could get around it by adding her as a legacy inductee, but she deserves more than that. We’re better off remembering the good times. RIP Elizabeth Hulette.
#29. The Nation Of Domination
Achievements: WWF European Champion (D’Lo Brown), WWF Intercontinental Champion (The Rock)
It may surprise younger fans, but the Nation of Domination was massively successful. Before the group you see below, the stable was bigger, popular and controversial for being pro-black. When The Rock was added to the group, Faarooq fired a lot of its members. It was the beginning of the end, as The Rock slowly undermined Faarooq’s leadership and took over by March 1998. The stable disbanded by the end of the year.
The legacy of the stable is one of being brave enough to push African-American stars forward with a powerful message. They would not be oppressed, and together would fend off any adversity. Living in more progressive times, I think it would be a friendly message for newer fans to realize how much the stable changed things. However, you need The Rock there in some capacity. You’d preferably want the whole Nation there, as it doesn’t work otherwise. Standing together as the Nation one more time is not something I believe WWE would actively aim for, although I’m sure many would appreciate it.
#30. Owen Hart
Achievements: WWF Intercontinental Champion, WWF European Champion, WWF Tag Team Champion, King of the Ring (1994), USWA Unified World Heavyweight Champion, IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, Stampede North American Heavyweight Champion.
Martha Hart owns all the rights to Owen Hart’s likeness, and other than releasing video footage, there is no way WWE can induct Owen Hart without her approval. AEW is introducing the Owen Hart Cup, because she has given Tony Khan permission to do so.
As long as Martha owns the rights, this is an impossibility. However, Owen Hart’s children could inherit his likeness and decide otherwise… but I don’t think they’d go against their Mother’s wishes. We should all recognize this will never happen, and can you really blame Martha for that? Why would she want WWE to make any money off his name? If I was her, I would do the same. It’s good enough we can remember him somewhere, even if he never worked for AEW.
Achievements: ECW World Heavyweight Champion, ECW World Tag Team Champion, NWA World Heavyweight Champion, WCW United States Heavyweight Champion, WCW Light Heavyweight Champion, WCW World Tag Team Champion, WWF/E Hardcore Champion.
If WWE ever wants to get a little “extreme” with its inductions, start with someone like Raven. While his WWE career left much to be desired, he did a lot for ECW and WCW, so he’s achieved everywhere he has worked. The best thing about Raven is he’s one of those guys who has a lot of stories, and is smart enough to articulate entertainingly. He wouldn’t be risky like others. We know his speech would be done with class and grace, like Rob Van Dam’s.
Raven helped lead the way in an era when wrestling morphed from a colourful kid’s TV show, in to something dark, violent, and less insulting. I’d say he was the best heel in ECW by a mile, and his feud with Tommy Dreamer helped make the promotion must-see. I think it would be awhile yet, till WWE considered this a possibility, but I’m sure Raven would jump at the opportunity.
#32. Rick Martel
Achievements: AWA World Heavyweight Champion, WWF Tag Team Champion, WCW World Television Champion.
From 1980 to 1982, and again from 1986 to 1995, Rick Martel served as a reliable hand in WWE’s mid-card. For many years, Martel held the record for the longest time served in the Royal Rumble. He’s mostly known for “The Model” character, along with his tag team victories with different partners: Tony Garea, Tom Zenk (Can-Am Connection), and more famously with Tito Santana as Strikeforce. He is also a former AWA World Champion and WCW TV Champion.
Since retiring in 1999, Martel has had a good relationship with WWE. They included him as a playable character in the WWE2k18 and 19 video games, which shows they are on talking terms. An induction could happen any year, but it would be at WWE’s discretion.
Achievements: WWF Women’s Champion
The story of Sable isn’t straightforward. Yes, she was crazy popular at her peak, to the point it helped WWE claw back some business from WCW in the Attitude Era. But she didn’t want to wrestle, while WWE desperately wanted her too, so they agreed she wouldn’t take bumps. This got her considerable backstage heat, because it told the roster she would reap the rewards while not putting others over. After a while, Sable didn’t like the environment and looked elsewhere to pursue a movie career. On the way out, she issued a $110 million lawsuit against WWE for sexual harassment and unsafe working conditions.
They settled out of court, and Sable disappeared for a while. She returned to WWE in 2003 and worked for about a year before leaving again, this time on good terms. Now in a relationship with Brock Lesnar, they were married in 2006 and have children together. However, she hasn’t appeared on TV since Lesnar was in the UFC, so the chance of returning is slim. Sable had an enormous impact on business in the Attitude Era, to the point we could say she’s deserving of recognition. But a Hall of Fame induction? It’s a tough one. I don’t think Sable would care for it. WWE would see some money in that, but Sable doesn’t need money… she’s married to Brock Lesnar.
#34. Shane McMahon
Achievements: WWF European Champion, WWF Hardcore Champion, WWE SmackDown Tag Team Champion
I think it’s painfully obvious that anyone called McMahon would eventually get in to the WWE Hall of Fame. Shane McMahon has so many career highlights, he’s done more than any McMahon in the ring. This gives him more of a right to an induction in the fan’s eyes.
Unlike his dad, I don’t think he would mind an induction while he’s alive. It’s a matter of timing, though. When do you put Shane in? Do you slot him in to a class which is lacking? Or do you have him as part of a bigger class, so his induction doesn’t stand out as much? Knowing Shane McMahon, he would probably want to stand out as much as possible.
Probability: Very Likely
Achievements: IHW Entertainment Hall of Fame
Slick is the first African-American manager in WWE. When Freddie Blassie was struggling with his health, Slick helped by picking up many of his clients. Once Blassie left, Slick took over all of his duties and inherited a valuable team of superstars. Here are some names Slick supported:
- Akeem (a.k.a. The One Man Gang)
- Art Crews
- Big Boss Man
- Big Man Steel
- Bobby Jaggers
- Boris Zukhov
- Bulldog Bob Brown
- Butch Reed
- King Kong Bundy
- Earthquake Evans
- Hacksaw Higgins
- Hercules Hernandez
- Iron Sheik
- J.R Hogg
- Lord Humongous
- Madd Maxx
- Moondog Moretti
- Nick Maniwa
- Nikolai Volkoff
- Paul Roma
- Rick Martel
- Shotgun Yan
- Timothy Flowers
- The Warlord
WWE has always liked Slick enough to bring him back with other legends. To me, it feels like an induction is inevitable.
Probability: Very Likely
#36. Stacy Keibler
Achievements: WCW Nitro Girl Search (1999), WWE Babe of the Year (2004)
Well, if Torrie Wilson is in… then Stacy Keibler has to follow at some point, right? We all know what girls like Torrie & Stacy were for. They were the eye candy playing to WWE’s older male demographic, and Stacy Keibler had a lot of fun doing that.
She wasn’t shy, as she wrestled, managed, and showed off her long legs at every opportunity. She never needed to win titles, because it was all about the sex appeal. Whatever she could do to bring more eyes to the product. Fully expecting her to be inducted by her friend Torrie Wilson, when WWE feels the time is right.
Probability: Very Likely
#37. Sycho Sid (Justice/Vicious)
Achievements: WWF Champion, WCW World Heavyweight Champion, WCW United States Heavyweight Champion, USWA Unified World Heavyweight Champion, USWA Texas Heavyweight Champion.
Sid is another big man who WWE has not mentioned since leaving. After going to WCW, the backstage producers encouraged him to use more aerial moves. He was reluctant, but he tried adding their request to his game. In a Four Corners match with the WCW World title, he suffered a career-ending injury while performing a dropkick from the top. His leg fractured so badly it was too graphic to be re-aired. Doctors said he would never run again. Sid tried to sue WCW for encouraging him to go to the top rope, but WWE bought the company.
It took 3 1/2 years, but Sid finally rehabbed his leg enough to wrestle again. WWE did not ask him to return until 2012, when he defeated Heath Slater in what was his last match on global television. Sid is a playable character in recent WWE video games, so there is an agreement there. He’s a multi-time World Champion for a reason, so one day I believe he will get his chance.
Achievements: ECW World Heavyweight Champion, FTW Heavyweight Champion, ECW World Television Champion, ECW World Tag Team Champion, WWF Hardcore Champion, WWF Tag Team Champion.
Unlike Raven, I don’t think Taz will be inducted in to the WWE Hall of Fame soon. Why? Because Taz was ingrained in the system for a long time, and he left because he was sick of the micromanaging and “vibe”. He wanted nothing to do with anyone called McMahon.
The elitist, pompous attitude, along with the insulting micro management, made it so he didn’t want to work. Taz wanted out of there, despite the years of making substantial money and learning so much. He’d had enough, and it’s difficult to imagine WWE and Taz wanting to do business with each other. If they were to do an ECW-style Hall of Fame induction, then perhaps? They might entice Taz with that. Otherwise, I feel like he’d prefer to focus on AEW and his son Hook’s career.
#39. The Glamour Girls
Achievements: WWF Women’s Tag Team Champions, NWA World Women’s Tag Team Champions, LPWA Tag Team Champions, LMLW Tag Team Champions.
Judy Martin & Leilani Kai were the original Women’s Tag Team Champions. They were dominant, and should have paved the way for a generation of women’s tag teams. This didn’t happen, because Fabulous Moolah screwed them and the Jumping Bomb Angels over. Moolah sabotaged them by telling a Japanese promoter that the Glamour Girls would claim the titles. Kai & Martin tried contacting Pat Patterson, but they couldn’t get hold of him, so they went through with it. When they got back to America, Patterson was irate over them going in to business for themselves and screwing up their plans.
He refused to listen to their explanation, because Moolah had got there first, and he trusted her word over theirs. They were set for a big payday at WrestleMania, but Moolah screwed it up for them. WWE deactivated the tag team titles in mid-1989. WWE did not bring back the tag titles til 2019. When it did, there was no mention of the previous title, The Glamour Girls, or the Jumping Bomb Angels. This is a part of history WWE likely wants to avoid, and again, it’s all because of The Fabulous Moolah.
Probability: Very Unlikely
#40. The Great Muta
Achievements: IWGP Heavyweight Champion, IWGP Tag Team Champion, NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion, NWA World Television Champion, WCW World Tag Team Champion, AJPW Triple Crown Heavyweight Champion, AJPW World Tag Team Champion, GHC Heavyweight Champion, Wrestle-1 Champion.
The Great Muta is undoubtedly the most famous Japanese wrestler to crossover to the United States. Even now, I can’t think of anyone who was more popular than The Great Muta during his run in the late 80s/early 90s. WCW and New Japan had a close working relationship, so The Great Muta fought hard against his main rival Sting, Ric Flair, Lex Luger, and more.
He was really mysterious, yet the fans loved him, and his name still carries weight. Muta popularized “The Mist”, which would later be used by Tajiri, Malakai Black, and many others. He’s also known for making the Muta Lock (inverted Indian Deathlock) and the Shining Wizard famous. I think an induction is unlikely though, because 1) he never did business with WWE, and 2) Muta has never expressed an interest in sports-entertainment. While Muta is most definitely deserving, it just wouldn’t feel natural for all involved.
#41. The Midnight Express
Achievements: NWA World Tag Team Champions, NWA United States Tag Team Champions.
I think even if Jim Cornette never gets inducted in to the WWE Hall of Fame, he could die a happy man knowing he inducted The Midnight Express. He often cites them as the greatest tag team of all time, and there’s definitely an argument to be had. You can’t argue with them being one of the most popular teams in wrestling history. WWE tried their own version with Bob Holly and Bart Gunn (with Cornette as manager), but it wasn’t the same.
There would have to be an admittance of their greatness by WWE, after never doing so before. It’s a tough one, because just like Great Muta, this was a team all about professional wrestling. You had to be there to understand their popularity and chemistry, which I feel would be lost on many. While there were different versions of the team, Stan Lane & Bobby Eaton are considered the greatest. Sadly, Bobby Eaton (right) passed away last year.
#42. The Rock
Achievements: WWE Champion, WCW Champion, WWF Intercontinental Champion, WWF Tag Team Champion, Royal Rumble 2000, USWA World Tag Team Champion.
The People’s Champion would be a massive induction. More so for WWE than himself, because think of the money! We all know it has to happen eventually, but it’s on his terms, and it’s a funny one. Usually when someone’s inducted, they are super happy to be involved. Here, it would be WWE expressing its gratitude to Dwayne Johnson for taking time out of his extremely busy schedule.
Remember the last Survivor Series? The Rock wasn’t there in any capacity, yet WWE milked the fact it had been twenty-five years since his debut. Anything to sell The Rock, WWE will do it. So you can bet that Vince McMahon will get super excited for the day when he can finally induct him. It will be fun though… definitely the most electrifying speech in Hall of Fame history.
Probability: Very Likely
#43. The Steiner Brothers
Achievements: WCW World Heavyweight Champion (Scott), NWA/WCW World Television Champions, NWA (Mid-Atlantic)/WCW World Tag Team Champions, NWA/WCW United States Tag Team Champions, IWGP Tag Team Champions, WWF Tag Team Champions.
This would have been far less likely a few years ago, because The Steiner Brothers had been nowhere near WWE in forever. However, with Rick Steiner’s son (Bron Breakker) going far in NXT 2.0, it opens the door for a Steiner Brothers induction. Can you imagine the speech? Even more so from Scott. It would be epic! But he’d need to dial it back slightly. We haven’t seen Rick for a long time, so I’d be more interested in hearing his stories. It’s a very deserving induction, as arguably the most successful brother tag team of all time.
#44. The Undertaker
Achievements: WWE Champion, World Heavyweight Champion, WWF Hardcore Champion, WWF World Tag Team Champion, WCW Tag Team Champion, Royal Rumble 2007, WrestleMania record 25-2.
Well, it’s time, don’t you think? The Undertaker headlines a Hall of Fame class as early as this year. If not in 2022, then in 2023. I’m struggling for words here, because the man himself summed up his WWE career in The Last Ride documentary. Wait, what? You didn’t see it? Go do that right now, or you shall Rest… In… Peace. And yes, Paul Bearer would be so proud of everything he achieved.
Probability: Very Likely
#45. Tommy Dreamer
Achievements: ECW World Heavyweight Champion, ECW World Tag Team Champion, WWE Hardcore Champion.
I was originally planning on posting this list a few months ago, but the size put me off. With the new year here, I figured I should stop procrastinating. Then I remembered Tommy Dreamer was here, and I’d have to talk about the elephant in the room. I was totally dumbfounded by Tommy’s comments in the “Plane Ride from Hell” Dark Side of the Ring episode. It was insensitive, and I’m not surprised he got backlash. Impact Wrestling did the right thing by pulling him from programming.
Dreamer apologized for his comments, so I’m going to move on. When you look at Tommy’s career, there’s a case for inducting him. If you wanted to induct Raven, it would make sense to put Tommy Dreamer in too. While Rob Van Dam was the most popular face of ECW, Dreamer was considered the heart & soul. Tommy has represented the extreme style ever since, with the House of Hardcore promotion, along with his matches for Impact. He has also served as a creative writer and mentor. Vince McMahon gave him permission to book ECW One Night Stand 2005, which was highly successful and probably my favourite PPV of all time.
If this was before the Dark Side of the Ring episode, I would have said an induction is likely. Now… I’m not so sure. Does WWE want to draw attention to Ric Flair’s past antics by inducting Dreamer? It could take a long time till WWE thinks fans wouldn’t put those together.
#46. Triple H (solo)
Achievements: WWE Champion, World Heavyweight Champion, WWE Intercontinental Champion, WWF European Champion, WWF/E Tag Team Champion, King of the Ring (1997), Royal Rumble 2002 & 2016.
With his recent cardiac arrest, with which Dave Meltzer was told is “very, very, very serious”, I don’t want to assume too much. However, if Triple H gets back to a normal routine, we all know that some day he will be inducted for everything he has done in and out of the ring. He won’t need to play the game, because he already won. He might not be for everyone, but there’s no denying his accolades. Also, NXT has proved he has a mind for producing, which is great for the future of WWE.
Probability: Very Likely
Achievements: WCW World Heavyweight Champion, WCW United States Heavyweight Champion, IWGP Heavyweight Champion, IWGP Tag Team Champion, AJPW Triple Crown Heavyweight Champion, AJPW World Tag Team Champion, GHC Tag Team Champion.
Fans have been calling for his induction for a very long time. He is a multi-time World Champion and achieved most of his success in Japan and WCW. His time in WWE is questionable. Vader is a monster, but you couldn’t book him like that over The Undertaker, Bret Hart or Shawn Michaels. He needs to be dominant, but in an environment like this, there’s little point to him. Vince McMahon likely didn’t see the appeal, because he already had characters they had worked on for a while.
Still, Big Van Vader is worthy of recognition. Sadly, he passed away in 2018, and Sting supported him in his last days. WWE is likely to make him a legacy inductee someday, which is a shame, because he was worthy of so much more.
Achievements: WWE Women’s Champion, TNA Knockouts Champion, TNA Knockouts Tag Team Champion, PWI Woman of the Year (2004).
In one of WWE’s best times for women’s wrestling, Victoria stood out from the crowd. With Trish Stratus and Lita around, she won the Women’s Championship and made a name for herself. Since then, she became a 7-time Women’s Champion between WWE and TNA. Also, she was named one of WWE’s greatest female performers on a WWE Network exclusive.
After almost 12 years away, Victoria returned to WWE at last years Royal Rumble, and I would not be surprised if she did again this year. With the line of communication open again, an induction for Victoria feels more likely than ever.
#49. Vince McMahon
Achievements: WWF Champion, ECW World Champion, Royal Rumble 1999, Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (2008).
Vince McMahon would never book himself to get any credit, so he’d have to pass away for this to happen. With that, he wouldn’t have to listen to other people talk about how great he is. That may sound like a typical Vince thing to do, but really, it’s more of a Mr. McMahon character thing to do. The real-life Vince doesn’t enjoy taking credit for the work, he just gets on with it.
To Vince, sitting around listening to others praising his career would be like a waste of time. He could be doing something productive, like inducting someone else. He may have an ego, but not enough of one to book his own celebration party. We know he’s never going to retire… the captain steers the ship till he can’t no more.
Probability: Very Likely
#50. William Regal
Achievements: WWE Intercontinental Champion, WWE European Champion, World Tag Team Champion, WWF Hardcore Champion, King of the Ring (2008), WCW World Television Champion.
William Regal is such a good sport. Before reaching WWE, he was a serious competitor, but sports entertainment changed him. He would do anything, even if it meant complete humiliation. I started watching in late 2000, so William Regal’s time as commissioner is pretty memorable to me.
Since retiring from the ring, he has helped considerably with NXT, serving as its General Manager, trainer and scout. Despite never winning a world title, Regal is well respected and considered one of the most underrated wrestlers of all time. His induction will be full of funny stories.
This concludes the list of 50 wrestlers, teams, managers and factions not in the WWE Hall of Fame. Thanks for reading!
Probability: Very Likely