Well the fact that we have just had another WWE hall of fame induction ceremony has reminded me that it has been far to long since I have talked about the hall of fame. Last time I talked about the inductions for 2004 and 2005 so I think its a little obvious what I am going to look at now is 2006 sure im kind of slowing things down by only looking at one year but I think it was a year with several important inductions that deserve talking about to some degree of depth.
In 2006 Bret "Hit Man" Hart, the excelencnce of exiqution, singles wrestler and former member of the tag team the Hart Foundation was inducted into the hall of fame by Stone Cold Steve Austin. It was a very obvious unsurprising entry given for a start how well loved the Hart Foundation was during early WWF events add on to that that he wwas a Five-time WWF World Heavyweight Champion, two-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion, co-winner of the 1994 Royal Rumble and a two-time King of the Ring winner (1991 and 1993) and I think most people would find it hard to question his place in the hall of fame. I dont know if he really is as he claimed the best there ever was and the best there ever will be but I certainly dont think his status as a legend can be questioned. Also given the amazing match that Hart and Austin had against each other I think they picked a pretty good person to do the induction.
Eddie Guerrero, Eduardo Gory "Eddie" Guerrero Llanes, was a Mexican-American professional wrestler and much like Bret Hart he came from a very important family he wass a member of the Guerrero wrestling family. He performed in Mexico and Japan for several major professional wrestling promotions, and in the United States, performed for Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW), World Championship Wrestling (WCW), and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). Guerrero's gimmick was that of "Latino Heat," an intelgent sneaky wrestler who would do whatever it took to win a match, it didnt matter if he was a villian or a hero at the time he always had this cheat if yo can get away with it gimic. He had the catchphrase "I Lie! I Cheat! I Steal!" and was used in one of his entrance theme. Many have claimed that he was one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time including CM Punk and Sasha Banks, Gerald Brisco, Dusty Rhodes and Paul "Triple H" Levesque. His list of accomplishments might not be the longest with him being a One-time WWE Champion, two-time WCW/WWE United States Champion and two-time WWF/WWE Intercontinental Champion. I think few people would be able to claim he wasnt a real loss to the business and the world in general, and I certainly think he deserved his posthumous induction.
This year also saw "Mean" Gene Okerlund Long-time AWA, WCW, and WWF/E interviewer and announcer added to the hall of fame. Now the thing is when people think about the hall of fame they tend to think about wrestlers but wrestlers are only a part of the product, sure they put there bodies at risk to tell the stories we watch but there are so many more layers to providing the best shows than that. Mean Gene was an absolutly awesome announcer who always knew what to say to build up a match or event, he played really well of others and the man just helped add this extra layer of magic over everything. In my oppinion his inclusion in the hall of fame is more than just, the business wouldnt be where it is today if not for the effort he put into it.
If you have looked through all of the inductions so far then you will proberbly notice that there has not really with one exception been any women inducted, well 2006 saw the count double to a grand 2 with the induction of Sherri Schrull AKA Sherri Russell, Sherri Martel, Sensational Sherri, Sensattional Queen Sherri. To people of my generation she is proberbly best known for being a heel manager a part she played so awesomly that as a child of that time I couldnt help but hate her with all I had but she was so much more than that. For a start she wasnt just a manager in her career she was also an American professional wrestler who started joined the American Wrestling Association (AWA) in the mid-1980s and held its AWA World Women's Championship a total of three times. In the late 1980s, she joined the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), where she held the WWF Women's Championship. The WWF basically more or less gave up on the idea of having female wrestlers for a time and it was during this period that she became a manager to wrestlers such as Randy Savage, Ted DiBiase, and Shawn Michaels, she was often a key point in story lines and often interfered in the procedings, she was a wonderful love to hate villian responsible for a lot of the best moments of various main events in her time. She also appeared in Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) and World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in the 1990s, in the latter she had a particularly memorable stint as the manager for the tag team Harlem Heat. She even managed to make an apperance in TNA before her death. I think Sherri was capable of a lot more wrestling wise than she got to show, but rather than cry or dissapear she showed that she could find a new lease of life as a great manager and I think this more than earns her a fair and valid place in the hall of fame. As a kid I would have told you that she was total garbage and shouldnt be allowed at ringside but as an adult I can see that she made so many matches and moments far more memorable, it aint easy being the villian but great vilians make for great TV.
Tony Atlas, born as Anthony White was not only a professional wrestler he was also an American bodybuilder, and powerlifter, who has held multiple titles and championships in each sport. He is also known by his bodybuilding title, "Mr. USA" (a distinction he earned three times). As for his WWE career well he was a one-time WWF Tag Team Champion, in fact he was half of the first ever African American WWF World Tag Team Championship winning duo with Rocky Johnson. WWF/WWE wasnt the only wrestling promoion he worked for he also managed to work for World Championship Wrestling (WCW), the NWA's Jim Crockett Promotions, the World Wrestling Council (WWC), World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW), and the American Wrestling Association (AWA). I have to really admit that he is not really someone I ever followed or was a big fan of, in fact I dont remember ever watching any of his matches back in the day, he is someone I have heard a lot about and I can understand his entry into the haall of fame but I dont really feel qualified to say if he does or does not deserve his place.
Then there is Laverne Clarence "Verne" Gagne. The man was not only an American professional wrestler, he has also been a football player, a wrestling trainer, and a wrestling promoter. He was the owner and promoter of the American Wrestling Association (AWA) until it folded. Gagne was a 16-time World Heavyweight Champion, having held the AWA World Heavyweight Championship ten times, the World Heavyweight Championship (Omaha version) five times, and the IWA World Heavyweight Championship once. He is one of only six men inducted into not only the WWE hall of fame but also the , WCW, Professional Wrestling, and Wrestling Observer Newsletter halls of fame. Again this is not someone who I really know of from my time watching wrestling, he is more someone I have read about but I have to admit that I can see why they would add him.
As for this year in general I think it was a good year induction wise, I think some really brilliant people were put in, and there is not a single person who I feel that I could really stop and go ''oh why him, why now''. However there was one team/group inducted this year The Blackjacks who held the WWF World Tag Team Championship one time. The team consisted of BlackJack Mulligan (Robert Windham) three time NWA United States Heavyweight Champion and one time NWA World Tag Team Champion and BlackJack Lanza (Jak Lanza) one time AWA World Tag team Champion. Maybe part of it is the fact that a lot of there career was before my time but I think there are teams who as a unit did far more, maybe these fellas would have been better of being looked at as Individuals but I dont think as a team they deserve a place in the hall of fame. I can think of other teams I would rather see in but I will keep that for a seperate blog post.