The third and final part of our series on potential WWE Hall of Famers for the class of 2017 takes things into a wider range than before. While part 1 focused solely on the women of WWE’s past and part 2 narrowed things down to the “celebrity wing”, this section opens it up to all of the non-wrestlers out there who made significant contributions to the sports entertainment field.
Whether they were managers, broadcasters, or something else, these people have had a solid enough impact on the business to warrant being honored despite not making a career as an in-ring competitor. Who are some of these people? Let’s take a look…
Before we get started, let’s just get this one out of the way. Stephanie McMahon, Shane McMahon and others have a while left before they need to be considered for the inevitable induction, but Vince is getting up there in years. It would be a horrible shame if the man who is responsible for all of this wasn’t able to participate in his own induction ceremony.
He may want to put this off for as long as possible to avoid the embarrassment that comes along with it or to not seem like he’s self-serving, but everyone in the WWE Universe wants it to happen at some point and there’s no argument against his induction.
Speaking of people who were in control of WWE, for many fans like myself, Jack Tunney was the primary figurehead of the company (outside of Vince McMahon) for years. WWF President Jack Tunney would make rare appearances, but every time he came out, you knew something important was about to go down, whether he was issuing a suspension, reversing the decision of a match, determining the new challenger to the title or anything of the sort, he was a big presence to be felt.
The relationship between he and WWE did not end on a positive note, but time heals all wounds and it would be nice to see such an important character from the company’s past get the recognition he deserves.
Considering all the controversy he creates, it’s tough to imagine Jim Cornette will ever find his way into the WWE Hall of Fame, but if things cool down, his name has to be brought up as a viable candidate.
WWE doesn’t induct people just for their work within World Wrestling Entertainment, but other organizations as well, and Cornette has been all over the place with Smoky Mountain Wrestling, TNA, WCW and more. Speaking just about his time under Vince McMahon’s paycheck, though, Cornette was one of the absolute best characters as far as managers go, heading up the Camp Cornette stable with the likes of Yokozuna, Vader, Owen Hart and more. He was a color commentator at times, oversaw Ohio Valley Wrestling for a while, and even wrestled in the gimmick battle royal at WrestleMania X-Seven.
Love him or hate him, Cornette is one of the most colorful entities in the history of the business, and his insane antics are perpetually interesting to follow, so his induction speech by itself would be reason enough to put him in the WWE Hall of Fame.
Perhaps the biggest unsung hero of WWE for several decades is Jim Johnston—a man who some fans probably don’t even know exists. For those who are unaware, Johnston has been the primary composer for WWE since 1985 and is responsible for the entrance themes of The Undertaker, The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and far too many others to list here.
There was a time where nobody had entrance music, but once that became a regular thing, having good themes was very instrumental (no pun intended) to the success of many superstars. Would The Undertaker’s character be anywhere near as good as it is if he didn’t have that entrance to set the mood? Think about how important to the crowd the glass shattering for Austin’s theme was, since it signified his arrival in one quick moment.
Clearly, he’s not the most sensational person to induct, but he’s had a career that absolutely deserves to be honored.
As far as valets go, it can be argued that there is no one greater in the history of professional wrestling than Miss Elizabeth. As the manager for Macho Man Randy Savage, she was responsible for some of the biggest moments in WWE such as the implosion of The Mega Powers and all of the events leading up to her wedding with Savage.
Tons of women attribute watching her on their TV screens as one of their biggest inspirations for why they got into the business to begin with. She is perhaps the most iconic woman to ever play a part in sports entertainment despite not being an active competitor in the ring. Miss Elizabeth was awarded the Slammy for Woman of the Year in 1987 and was voted the most beautiful performer of all time in a 2015 WWE.com list.
Very few people have the gift of gab like Paul Heyman, and his contributions to WWE purely as a mouthpiece for Brock Lesnar and other wrestlers is enough to warrant his name being added into the discussion, but there’s also so much more to talk about.
Heyman started in the industry as a photographer before making a name for himself as Paul E. Dangerously, eventually running Extreme Championship Wrestling and then taking on all sorts of positions in WWE as a commentator, writer, General Manager and more.
He is widely regarded as one of the best minds in the business while also simultaneously being somewhat of a lunatic in that regard, which has all coalesced into the apropos nickname of “The Mad Scientist.” Heyman is one of the most explosive characters to ever show up on WWE television and after decades, he still maintains that level of credibility. Every time he comes out, fans go wild, and the time will eventually come where he is officially immortalized as one of the best in his craft.
You know it’s the MacMilitant, coming to get it oooooooon!
If you watched WWE in the 2000s, you’re more than familiar with Teddy Long as the SmackDown General Manager who seemed to have that position for what felt like 50 years, handing out tag team matches like candy on Halloween and being quick to punish heels by putting them one on one with The Undertaker, playa!
His babyface authority figure character was a good chance of pace compared to how WWE almost always puts a heel in positions of power, and his gimmick was corny as all hell, but you kind of had to love it. We all got tired of all the “holla holla”s at some point, yet I’m sure we all look back on that time with fond memories as well.