While this year’s class of WWE Hall of Famers have yet to officially be inducted (or even all of them confirmed, for that matter), it doesn’t hurt to start thinking about who should be honored in 2017. Without knowing who will retire, where WrestleMania 33’s location will be, or any other kind of direction WWE may go, it’s tough to make any legitimate predictions, but at the very least, there are plenty of names to speculate about.
When it comes to the normal wrestlers, the list is so long that it’s almost impossible to narrow it down and we could go on for page after page talking about everyone from Hillbilly Jim to William Regal, Owen Hart and The British Bulldog, Bruiser Brody, Jushin “Thunder” Liger and far, far too many others. As such, instead of breaking those down, I figured it would be interesting to talk about the three other types of candidates available: women, celebrities, and “miscellaneous” inductees, so to speak.
This will be a three part series of articles discussing potential choices for those sections, starting off first with the women of WWE’s past. Keep in mind that just because someone isn’t listed here doesn’t mean they shouldn’t ever be inducted, but that they might just be on the waiting list. A general rule of thumb I’ve applied is that nobody on the currently active roster would apply, as all of those women should theoretically have a few more years left in their careers.
That being said, which women should WWE think about inducting into the 2017 Hall of Fame?
During the mid-90s, WWE put a marginal emphasis on women’s wrestling in comparison to today, but still tried to incorporate it into the show in some fashion. For the most part, this division was built entirely around Alundra Blayze, who needed challengers to be built up from time to time. One of the most memorable of the bunch was Bull Nakano, who actually defeated Blayze to win the WWF Women’s Championship in November of 1994. She held the title for several months before dropping it back to Blayze in April of 1995.
Nakano was eventually released after being found in possession of cocaine, which would undoubtedly put a damper on her chances of being inducted, but others have been brought back into the fold despite similar circumstances. Over the years, Nakano’s name doesn’t come up too often, but when it does, she’s often spoken of fondly as a beast of yesteryear. When you factor in Nakano’s experience outside of WWE (as well as her 1994 “Most Devastating” Slammy Award), she has the history behind her to justify her inclusion in the hall at some point down the line.
I know, I know…the likelihood of Chyna going into the WWE Hall of Fame seems slimmer and slimmer as time goes on. It seems as though every couple of months, another story comes out about Chyna causing a scene or saying something that will get her in trouble in some fashion. It’s been said before that this isn’t the only thing hindering her, but her history with the adult film industry also factors into her not being a candidate for the Hall of Fame.
However, WWE is flexible when it comes to this. Despite all her issues with drug use and arrests and now pornography as well, Sunny is still a member of the Hall of Fame. This alone shows that it’s somewhat hypocritical, and it seems suspicious that these things are weighed so heavily against Chyna more than some others. My guess is Joanie Laurer herself just has a bad relationship with the powers that be and this is more of a personal distrust rather than a professional disassociation.
We can all pitch our ideas about whether Stephanie McMahon is the one holding back the induction or maybe Triple H himself, but whatever the case may be, if you look at Chyna’s history in WWE and ignore the outside factors, she definitely deserves to be honored in the future. This woman broke so many barriers that it’s hard to remember them all. Some of those include being the first woman to ever wrestle in the Royal Rumble, the only woman to ever win the Intercontinental Championship (twice, at that) and she also has a Women’s Championship to her name. Chyna was an insanely popular character for several years to the point where she transcended into pop culture itself beyond WWE. Her choices since exiting the company are obviously not much to be proud of, but if she can clean up her act for a considerable enough time, WWE should take advantage and put her in the Hall of Fame similar to what they did with Jake Roberts and Scott Hall.
In a time where the women of WWE focused more on sex appeal than anything else, Ivory was one of the few who tried to legitimize it more (although she was more than capable of appealing to the audience in that regard as well). Ivory was one of the better in-ring performers for a long stretch of time, which helped justify her 3 title reigns as women’s champion.
One of the most interesting aspects of her career was her character change when she became a member of Right to Censor. Oddly enough, despite this being a gimmick about restrictions, this allowed her to show off possibly the most amount of character, as she could be something different than just another face amongst the crowd of other women in the company.
On top of this, Ivory would become a trainer on Tough Enough, helping impart her knowledge on the next batch of superstars. Most recently, she was seen on an episode of Table for 3 where she spoke with Alundra Blayze and Molly Holly about their times in the business, and it was clear that she still has a lot of passion for the industry.
There’s heavy speculation that Jacqueline will be announced for this year’s Hall of Fame, and it makes sense. For the most part, all that is necessary in explaining why Jacqueline should be included on this list is one sentence: she was a 2x women’s champion as well as a Cruiserweight champion—the latter of which only two other women have been able to accomplish (Daffney and Madusa in WCW).
One of her WWE title reigns was actually the first Women’s Championship reign in several years as well as the first time an African American woman ever held the title. After a quick Wikipedia search, apparently Jacqueline also held the USWA Women’s Championship a whopping 14 times, which may be the most championships of anyone on this list, overall.