A big part of Wrestlemania season which some love and some loathe in equal measure is the WWE Hall of Fame. Whilst the Hall of Fame has its fair share of controversial figures (Donald Trump for one) and baffling omissions, it’s something that is definitely here to stay and, in my mind, there’s nothing wrong with celebrating those wrestlers and non-wrestlers alike who have paved the way for the current stars the WWE is betting on right now to carry the company forward into greater and greater heights. With 2019 having a bumper year for inductions (DX, The Honky Tonk Man, Torrie Wilson and Harlem Heat to name just some of the names going in), I thought I would look at some people who haven’t been in the Hall of Fame yet but definitely deserve a chance to be in there.
(Note: I’m not putting Owen Hart in this. Sorry. As much as I would love Owen Hart to be in the Hall of Fame, there are powers more influential in this decision than Vince McMahon and Triple H are who don’t want him to be. So I’ll save everyone the arguments and just leave him out.)
Dave Bautista is a Hollywood megastar now. Not even a question about it. His role in the MCU as the terrifying yet loveable Drax The Destroyer have made him a household name just like The Rock. With his retirement very obviously on the horizon due to him finally getting the Wrestlemania feud with Triple H he has wanted for years, it’s only right that at some point soon he joins the Hall of Fame club. Whilst it’s probably more likely that he will go in as part of Evolution first, his storied in-ring career more than deserves a solo induction.
You’d think this one is obvious, right? Well, he still hasn’t been inducted yet, even though he’s been a full time actor in Hollywood for years and only very occasionally returns to the ring (the last time he had a “match” in any form was his surprise 8 second win against Erik Rowan at Wrestlemania 32). Surely The Most Electrifying Man in All of Entertainment deserves his place amongst the WWE’s elite?
The eccentric and charismatic singer of D-Generation X’s theme and “My Time” deserves a lot more praise than he gets. His unique delivery that alternated between aggressive rapping and shrill, piercing screams (almost predicting the emergence of fellow New Yorker Carley Coma of Candiria, who employed a very similar style on the band’s incredible debut album 300 Percent Density WHICH YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO BECAUSE IT’S CRIMINALLY UNDERRATED) was a huge part of the sound of what many people consider as being the WWE’s greatest era. Now that he is sadly no longer with us, a posthumous induction would be the best way to honour his legacy, preferably inducted by the group whose antics his voice soundtracked.
Randy Orton is somewhat of a divisive figure amongst fans. A lot have viewed him over the years as being a lazy worker or somebody who plays it too safe. Regardless of what you may think of Orton, he’s been a mainstay of WWE programming since the early 00s and has been a huge part of major storylines as a member of Evolution, in his incredible run as “the legend killer” (where he had an incredible match with Mick Foley at Backlash 2006, almost universally regarded as one of the best of both men’s careers) and in his feuds with Triple H, John Cena, The Undertaker and most recently AJ Styles. He’s also got what is arguably the most over finisher in the business – you only have to look at the incredible RKO’s he’s hit over the years on Matt Sydal/Evan Bourne, Seth Rollins and Nia Jax to name but a few. The third generation wrestler is very likely going to be with WWE until the day he hangs up his boots and with loyalty and reliability like that, he definitely deserves a spot amongst the industry’s greats.
AJ Styles may have only been with WWE for a few years, but he’s made a massive impact in the promotion he now calls his home. Being one of the most decorated professional wrestlers ever to live doesn’t exactly harm him either. Even though his WWE achievements are comparatively few and in such a short time, he’s become such a big name in WWE’s annals of history for being one of the company’s most consistently fantastic performers that he definitely deserves his time to shine in the Hall of Fame.
Motorhead. They’re one of the most iconic and recognisable rock bands ever to exist and that doesn’t even cover the half of it. They helped create “The Game”, “King of Kings” and “Line In The Sand”, Lemmy’s gravelly voice carrying the sound of the one man those three themes are all associated with – the future heir to the company, Triple H. It’s no secret that Lemmy became close friends with Triple H and Chris Jericho to name just two and that, even though he never liked “The Game”, it’s a song that’s become just as much of a part of Motorhead’s back catalogue as “Ace of Spades” or “Overkill”. The epic Wrestlemania entrance where Motorhead played Triple H out as he walked down the ring will too forever go down as one of the greatest ‘Wrestlemania moments’ that WWE loves so much. The fact that they’ve never been put in the Hall of Fame, even several years after Lemmy’s death and the dissolution of the band, is a bit of a shame really and it would be fantastic to see the band be inducted by The Cerebral Assassin himself.
Like him or not, Michael Cole has been one of the WWE’s most prominent and most recognisable voices for 20 years now. Love or loathe his one-liners (“THE BIG DOG!” and “IT’S BOSS TIME!” very much come to mind here), he’s been one of the most integral parts of the WWE product for longer than a fair chunk of its fanbase have been alive and it’s very difficult to imagine Monday Night Raw without him these days. With the recent rumours that he’s preparing to step away from the commentary booth and fully into a backstage role, it’s coming up to the right time for him to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Jim Johnston has, quite literally, soundtracked multiple generations of the WWE product. An ace composer who can craft anything from huge orchestral soundscapes (think Undertaker’s theme) to the iconic RATM-influenced riffs of Stone Cold Steve Austin’s music and the rebellious funk-rock grooves used by DX, it’s a crying shame that in recent years he has been discarded almost without ceremony by the WWE. His legacy deserves better and the best way to remedy that would be to put him in the Hall of Fame.
Kofi Kingston has been a mainstay of WWE programming for over a decade now. Following a shaky start as a fake Jamaican (which wasn’t completely unfounded considering he loves reggae music and Jamaican culture in real life), he has grown and matured into an incredible performer and, along with his New Day compatriots Big E and Xavier Woods, one of the most beloved and most entertaining characters the WWE has ever had. With his ever-increasing rise to main event status, something he more than deserves after being so loyal and hardworking in the WWE, a Hall of Fame induction surely has to be on the cards when he eventually decides to hang up his boots.
Nobody would argue with you that William Regal isn’t one of the greatest talents that has ever graced the world of pro wrestling, let alone the WWE. During his in-ring career Regal mixed his background in traditional British grappling with a comically over the top villainous persona inspired by the classic British comedy he grew up watching to craft incredible feuds with people like Chris Jericho and Triple H. In his post-retirement career, he’s been one of the most important aspects of developing new talent for the WWE and he’s forgotten more about the business than most people have learned. For those reasons, William Regal absolutely should go in the Hall of Fame and with as much fanfare as possible. He may have been more of a wrestlers’ wrestler, but that doesn’t mean his career shouldn’t be celebrated as much as somebody who reached a higher level in the WWE than he did.
It’s unlikely to ever happen because of a myriad of circumstances, but it’s something that the fans have wanted for years, especially those of the older generations who remember the feud between him and Jerry Lawler well. The late comic performer being inducted into the Hall of Fame by his old rival would be the biggest talking point at any Hall of Fame ceremony and it would draw attention again to how great Kaufman’s character was, especially in those days where kayfabe was very much real.
“THE RRRRRAAAAATTTEEEDDD RRRRRR SSUUUuuuuuuuuuuPERSTAAARRRRR!”
Tony Chimel made himself one of the WWE’s most beloved announcers with his now classic introduction of the perennial fan favourite Edge and even though he no longer steps out into the ring (except for very special circumstances), he is still an integral part of the WWE’s production team backstage. Whilst it’s fairly unlikely to happen because, after all, he is only an announcer and certainly not one on the same standing as the legendary Howard Finkel, it would still be really nice to see him go in. Who would induct him? There’s only one person who could – the Rated R Superstar himself.