Since WWE revived their Hall Of Fame in 2004 (and during the three years it was active in the 90’s), critics have always pointed out that Bruno Sammartino not being a part of the Hall killed any semblance of credibility it might have. Well, after watching the Baseball Hall Of Fame take a beating by not inducting anyone, and the Football Hall Of Fame getting criticized for putting in Warren Sapp over others, the WWE actually managed to silence some critics with the announcement that Bruno Sammartino, along with Bob Backlund, Mick Foley and Trish Status, would be the headliners for this year’s Hall Of Fame, to be held Wrestlemania weekend at Madison Square Garden.
However, it doesn’t end the demands of fans who feel there is other talent worthy of being included. Much like the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, there is a laundry list of popular performers that have been overlooked, and just like KISS fans get incensed over seeing disco acts going into the Rock & Roll Hall, there are wrestlers that fans feel deserve the same honor that has been bestowed on Koko B. Ware. I recently asked my Twitter followers who they feel should be inducted (now that Bruno is going in) and four names topped the list, with the first name receiving an overwhelming response.
Randy “Macho Man” Savage
Why he should be in: Do I really need to list the reasons he should be in the Hall Of Fame? He had the larger than life personality that made stars in the 80’s, but he also put on the matches that kept grappling fans satisfied. Go up to a person who doesn’t watch wrestling and mention the name, and they’ll know he’s a wrestler. With Bruno going in, Savage is now the number one argument for those that feel WWE’s Hall isn’t “legitimate” yet.
Why he isn’t in yet: After Savage left WWF for WCW at the end of 1994, Vince McMahon wanted nothing to do with him. Stories and rumors have circulated as to why Savage was not welcome back when others who jumped were, but the bottom line is Savage was simply persona non grata when it came to WWE. It seemed the ice was starting to thaw just prior to his passing, with WWE releasing a DVD set of his classic bouts, and Savage becoming the spokesman for Mattel’s line of classic WWE figures. With his tragic passing, his induction would now be met with “why didn’t you do this when he was alive” criticism.
Jake “The Snake” Roberts
Why he should be in: Roberts is arguably the most popular WWE star to have never held a championship on the national stage, which is a testament to how well he got over with the fans. His quiet, but entrancing style of interviews set him apart in a world where everyone else screamed and yelled. He was a “bad guy” who got cheers just for being different, which prompted him to be turned babyface. And we haven’t even mentioned the snake, or the way he popularized the DDT.
Why he isn’t in yet: As unpredictable as he could be in the ring, he was more unpredictable outside of it. Issues with substance abuse and a reputation for no-showing events (or embarrassing himself at the ones he showed up for) made him a poster-child for the excesses of the business over the last 15 years. Every time he was given an opportunity to work for a company, he seemed to self-destruct. However, wrestler-turned-inspirational guru Diamond Dallas Page has taken on Roberts in an attempt to put his life back together. An induction would be a nice end to the story.
The Ultimate Warrior
Why he should be in: When you actually look at the amount of time Warrior was an active main event star, it is surprisingly short. However, he made such an impact during his big run as the successor to Hulk Hogan that he could be away from the business for years, but fans would still be interested in his return. He holds a place as one of the most remembered stars of the period where WWF took Sports Entertainment to a new level.
Why he isn’t in yet: Wrestling purists will point out he only had two good matches (Wrestlemania bouts against Hogan and Savage), and most of his comebacks ended up being flops. However, the real reason he isn’t in probably has more to do with his over-the-top personality and demands he would probably make before accepting induction. He apparently isn’t the easiest person to try and put together a business deal with.
Why he should be in: There’s a generation that probably only knows him from late-night infomercials for convection ovens, but in the 80’s, Mr. T was one of the most well known personalities in the world. That popularity was a big part of the entertainment world taking note of the first Wrestlemania. He occasionally made appearances in wrestling after that mega-event, but even if T had never appeared again, his importance to that business changing event is enough to get him a spot.
Why he isn’t in yet: When WWE created the “celebrity wing” concept for the Hall Of Fame, their first choice to go in was…. Pete Rose. A few Wrestlemania appearances that were of no real consequence. Their second choice was… William “The Refidgerator” Perry, the Chicago Bears great who made one appearance at Wrestlemania 2. Apparently, this hasn’t sat well with T, who refused WWE when they approached him for the Hall Of Fame in the past. Still, with it being held in Madison Square Garden (site of the first Wrestlemania) it would be nice if he was convinced to go in now. There’s still time for WWE to make it happen.
Coming Soon: More from the list.