So the last time I looked at the WWE Hall of Fame I went over its first 4 years, which was around the first 22 people or so to enter it. I also talked about how there was not an actual physical hall and how the WWE had considered making one and had special items in storage and I also said that the whole idea would be pretty much forgotten and not mentioned until 2004. So I am pack today to take it from there and talk some more about it.
So to recap or just bring someone up to speed who is reading this without having read my prior post on the matter the WWE Hall of Fame is basically a list of professional wrestling personalities who are being honoured for there contribution to the world of WWE, people who they personally feel have had a major impact on the WWE brand and company.
Well Vince McMahon decided to bring it back in 2004 and he brought it back in a big way. It was televised and went on to be released on DVD. This was a real turning point for the hall of fame in my opinion, now it was more than just a list or an event tagged on to another event, it is here that it became something in its own right.
The 2004 Hall of Fame ceremony runs around the three hours mark on DVD and apparently people who attended it have claimed this is a trimmed version and that the actual ceremony ran for far longer. It doesn't feel as long as it is though, its a nice look at the stars who are being celebrated and a chance to see them get the respect they deserve.
Those added to the Hall of Fame list in 2004 were Jesse "The Body" Ventura, Greg "The Hammer" Valentine, "Magnificent" Don Muraco, "Big" John Studd, Junkyard Dog, "Superstar" Billy Graham, Sgt. Slaughter, Tito Santana, Harley Race, Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, and Pete Rose. It is great to hear what those who were still alive had to say about there careers and about being put in the hall of fame. In the case of "Big John Studd and Junkyard Dog, family members accepted the awards on their behalf as they were being inducted after they had already passed on.
The camera doesn't just sit on them though, sure you will see shots of them talking and giving there acceptance speeches but the camera also pans and shows you who is in the audience, and in the audience you will notice younger still active wrestlers (at that point) wrestlers who were most likely inspired by some of the people on the stage to enter the squared circle.
This is also the point where people I really felt I knew were beginning to be added, sure I knew Jesse Ventura more for his work on the mic than for his wrestling but this was the first time when I didn't have to really stop and think who people were, Id seen or heard all of them on events like wrestlemania. Greg Valentine I had seen both as a solo wrestler and with the Honky Tonk man as a tag team called rhythm and blues. Tito Santana as well I had seen on his own and with Rick the Model Martel as the fast high energy tag team Strike Force. As a kid I absolutely hated Bobby the Brain but as I have gotten older I realise just how much of my enjoyment of the WWF/WWE came down to this man. It was his motor mouth speech his on the spot insults, he knew how to get the kind of heat on a regular basis that most people in the world of wrestling would dream of striking once or twice in there career. With the exception of the celebrity inductee I would find it hard to really argue that any of these men didn't deserve there spot.
The 2005 Hall of Fame can best be described as the one where a whole bunch of the people responsible for making the first wrestlemania the huge event that it was as good as it was get inducted. Literally every single person inducted this year was involved in the first ever Wrestlemania.
Hulk Hogan (Terry Bollea),"Rowdy" Roddy Piper (Roderick Toombs),"Cowboy" Bob Orton and "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff who all featured in the main event bout of Wrestlemania. On top of this Jimmy Hart, Nikolai Volkoff(Josip Peruzovic), and The Iron Sheik (Khosrow Vaziri) who were all involved in other matches at wrestlemania were inducted. Now I dont think I need to tell anyone who Hulk Hogan is, he is the wrestler that even people who dont know or care about wrestling know of. The WWE might have removed him from the hall of fame since this because of the recent controversy around him but they will never get people to forget him. I was never that in to Hogan though, sure I enjoyed some of his matches but he was too squeaky clean, all of the say your prayers and take your vitamins stuff and that big weight lifting body just didn't appeal to me. Now Piper that was a guy who was one of my Heroes, he had a believable body but more than that he had the mouth and the will to win at whatever the cost, I respected him as a Villain but when he started to become a hero well he was my hero an anti hero, a hero who didn't care if he had to fight dirty and take it to the villains with all of the same dirty tricks they would pull.
I didn't see the first wrestlemania when it happened as I was about 4 at the time but I did get my hands on a Video Tape of it and the next few wrestlemanias when I started watching all of the main events which was around the time of Wrestlemania 3, so I really knew what all of these guys had done for the world of wrestling and wouldn't question any of there inductions. The 2005 Hall of Fame can also be got on DVD.
Well for now I will leave it here, next time I will pick this up by continuing to work my way through the years, but I also plan to at some point take a look at my pick of the top 10 Wrestlers who are not in the hall and who I really believe should be by now.