Hall Of Fame 2016.

My second favorite night of the year is the Hall of Fame ceremony that takes place the night before Wrestlemania. I always enjoy seeing the wrestlers outside of the ring, dressed in their best, paying respect to those who paved the way. This year, the ceremony is special for a few reasons. Let’s jump into the inductees for the class of 2016…

Photo Courtesy of WWE.

Photo Courtesy of WWE. Inducted by Ric Flair.

In addition to being in a WWE ring, I never thought that I’d see Sting being inducted into the Hall of Fame. Many have speculated that his entrance into the Hall of Fame is being accompanied with a retirement speech, due to cervical spinal stenosis. With a career starting in the mid-1980’s, he has wrestled with several companies over three decades. To most people, he is probably best known for his fierce loyalty to World Championship Wrestling and resistance to join the WWE when WCW was purchased by Vince.

Many people (myself included), always say that he was to WCW what the Undertaker is to the WWE. He was the most recognizable figure of WCW and always remained relevant because he was able to adapt with the times. There’s a lot of phrases thrown around the sports world like ‘legend’, ‘best of all time’, ‘true star’, and I could probably list a dozen more. Sting embodies every single one of those. If he didn’t, we wouldn’t have watched him and cheered for him for three decades.

I did a post a while ago about how grateful I am that my dad and I got to experience him finally stepping into a WWE ring together and my thoughts on his alleged retirement announcement. It makes me really sad that his time in the ring may come to an end, but I’m just grateful that I got to watch such a legend.


 

Photo Courtesy of WWE. Inducted by the APA (Ron Simmons and John Layfield.

Photo Courtesy of WWE.
Inducted by the APA (Ron Simmons and John Layfield.

I found it very odd that the Godfather was being inducted, he sure does look funny next to Sting. Like, I can’t even think of anything to say to even try to justify his induction. I didn’t like the Godfather character, I didn’t think it was funny or that entertaining.

Sure, he could be considered a semi-important player during the Attitude Era but that’s pretty much it. I don’t remember Charles Wright as the Godfather, I remember him as Kama, in the Nation of Domination, and as Papa Shango. Papa Shango used to scare the living daylights out of me as a kid, I remember that more than a guy with his hoes. Most of all, I’m curious as to why Godfather is being inducted in the ‘PG-13 Era’? Is he going to come out to give his speech with a bunch of scantily clad women surrounding him? This is going to be one of those inductions where  people sit, holding their breaths, and hoping to god that the censors aren’t kicked into overdrive.


 

Photo Courtesy of WWE. Inducted by the New Day.

Photo Courtesy of WWE.
Inducted by the New Day.

When the Fabulous Freebirds were announced as inductees this year, I thought I was being tricked. Wrestling fans have been waiting longer than I’ve been alive for the Freebirds to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. I can’t think of a faction that’s more deserving than Michael Hayes, Jimmy Garvin, Buddy Roberts, and Terry Gordy. Call them whatever term of endearment you want, these guys took wrestling and lit that bitch on fire. The Freebirds had everything going for them. It was their style, their ring gear, their attitudes, and that special little rule that made their faction more unique than any other. Michael Hayes even sang their theme music for god sakes!

They had one of the most prolific feuds in professional wrestling history when they collided (on multiple occasions) with the Von Erich Family. I can only relive their rivalry through YouTube and stories from my dad but dear god, does it ever make me wish I could have experienced it first hand. These four individuals paved the way for COUNTLESS factions in the present and future. I challenge any tag team to say that the Freebirds didn’t influence them in one way or another.

I think what I’m most looking forward to, even more than Hayes speech, is to see what suit he will be wearing.


 

Photo Courtesy of WWE. Inducted by Slick.

Photo Courtesy of WWE.
Inducted by Slick.

Brought into the WWE by Slick, Boss Man’s personality matched his large stature. Initially, he teamed up with Akeem to form the Twin Towers. While they did not capture a title during their time as a group, their immense stature was more than enough to make them a definite force in the tag team division at that time. He broke away from Akeem and Slick to go on to feud with the likes of Al Snow, Steve Austin, Degeneration X, and the Mountie.

I thought that the work that he did with Al Snow was pretty entertaining (and some of his best), even if it was a little disturbing at times. However, the most vibrant memory that I have of the Big Boss Man was when he was hung from Hell in a Cell while battling the Undertaker at Wrestlemania 15.

He stuck to the letter of the law, even if that letter was a bit twisted.


 

Photo Courtesy of WWE. Inducted by the Dudley Boyz.

Photo Courtesy of WWE.
Inducted by the Dudley Boyz.

Jacqueline was a woman who you did not want to mess with.

I really liked her in the WWE, she wasn’t your typical model type. She was a tough girl who could stand in the ring with her male counterparts. That was evidenced when she was able to capture the Cruiserweight belt by defeating Chavo Guerrero. I love female wrestlers that can fight, that can stand toe to toe with the guys and show them how it’s done. Maybe that’s why I admire women like Natalya and Sasha Banks so much…

She wore a lot of hats besides ‘wrestler’ during her six years with the organization. She was also a referee and a trainer, sharing her grasp of the wrestling business with younger talent.


Photo Courtesy PWI via WWE.com. Inducted by Vader.

Photo Courtesy PWI via WWE.com.
Inducted by Vader.

Much like the Fabulous Freebirds, I wasn’t around to see Stan Hansen in his prime. I had heard a lot about him from my dad and some reading that I had done.

My dad told me about his time teaming with Bruiser Brody and that Hansen has a clothesline that will knock your block off. I mean, it broke Bruno Sammartino’s neck for god sakes!  As I mentioned before, I did a bit of research on Mr. Hansen in preparation for this post and he wasn’t an individual that could be described with the word ‘typical’. Even when he was stripped of the AWA title, he didn’t simply give it back. He ran that thing over with his truck to let them know that it was from him.

He was big, burly, and would do what wanted, when he wanted. Stan Hansen wasn’t just a superstar in the United States, he also had tremendous success in Japan. I don’t think that my words could serve his career justice.

It’s said each and every year, but this Hall of Fame class is filled with some true greats. People that have paved the way for the present and future generations of superstars who want to step inside the ring and leave their mark. I can’t wait for Saturday night to see each one of them take their rightful place amongst other legends.

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