Monday, 26 October 2015

The Early years of the WWE Hall of Fame

So here is a quick look at the early years of the WWE Hall of Fame.

So what is the WWE Hall of Fame well put simply it is a hall of fame for professional wrestling personalities maintained by WWE. Or to put it more simply its a list of people who it is felt have had a major impact on the WWE brand and company.

It was first mentioned and officially created on the March 22nd 1993 episode of Monday Night Raw. André the Giant, had died around about two months prior to this, and he was announced as the sole inductee.I don't think there is really anyone who would debate whether the Giant deserved his place in the hall,so he was certainly a good starting point. He was a Posthumous inductee as it was held after his death, there was no actual ceremony but a Video was made and shown to announce his induction and celebrate his career, a career which included an undefeated streak lasting nearly 15 years, as well as being both a former WWE Champion and WWE Tag Team champion.

The 1994 and 1995 ceremonies were held in conjunction with the annual King of the Ring pay-per-view events. The 1994 ceremony saw the following added to the hall, Arnold Skaaland, Bobo Brazil, "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers, Chief Jay Strongbow, "Classy" Freddie Blassie, Gorilla Monsoon and James Dudley. Now I wont talk about all of these in turn as I would be here all day and a lot of them are either before my time or I know of them for there other work, for example I know Gorilla Monsoon for his stint as a WWF announcer and on-screen President rather than for his actual in ring career, all of them with the exception of Buddy Rogers were alive at the time of there induction.

The 1995 ceremony saw the induction of stars such as Antonino Rocca, "Big Cat" Ernie Ladd, George "The Animal" Steele, Ivan Putski, The Fabulous Moolah, The Grand Wizard, and Pedro Morales. Again a lot of these wrestlers were before my time, with the only one I really hold a lot of memories and affection for being the lovable monster heel character of George The Animal Steele. The year is proberbly most worthy of note for being the first time a Woman found her way in to the WWE Hall of fame.

In 1996, the Hall of Fame ceremony was held with the Survivor Series event that year. This year would see "Baron" Mikel Scicluna, "Captain" Lou Albano, Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka, The Valiant Brothers (the first tag team to go into the hall) Johnny Rodz, Killer Kowalski, Pat Patterson, and Vincent J. McMahon AKA McMahon Senior. Captain Lou Albano was obviously very well known particularly as a manager and many kids will know him as being the real life Mario who featured at the start and end of episodes of the Super Mario Bros Super show. Jimmy Snuka will also most likly be known because of firstly the fact that he achieved super fame in the company and has kept popping up again and again but also unfortunatly because of the fact that he is currently facing a court case in relation to a death around 20 years ago. This makes it the first year in which we have a super star entering the hall who will latter be removed from it in at least some capacity (As of September 2015, Jimmy Snuka's profile is no longer in the Hall of Fame section at WWE.com. However, this does not necessarily mean that Snuka has been removed from the WWE Hall of Fame completely as no statement has been made by WWE yet in regards to this, nor do we know if one ever will be).

So there we have the first 4 years of the Hall of Fame and by my reckoning around the first 22 people to enter it. At this point it felt like the Hall of Fame would just keep going, getting bigger and bigger but suprisingly it stopped being mentioned and no new blood would be inducted in to it until 2004. None of these early ceremonies were televised with the exception of the video made to induct Andre.

So is the Hall of Fame a real physical thing or is it just a list, well technically a building has never been built to represent/house the Hall of Fame, although I have heard that WWE has looked into constructing this kind of thing, however In 2008, Shane McMahon, who was at the time Executive Vice President of WWE, stated that they had been storing wrestling memorabilia in a warehouse for years, with all items categorized and dated in case a real Hall was ever made. Now while I am very glad to hear that they are at least storing significant items its a shame we dont get to see them. I would argue that if they cant or do not at present want to create a real physical hall then maybe the next best thing would be a virtual hall of fame, let us see and virtually interact with this pieces of wrestling memrobelia, photo them from every angle and let us virtually turn them around and study them while reading about the greats that they are connected to, this way if they are ever lost or damaged they will live on in this way.

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