Happy Easter, wrestling fans. Just like when Jesus himself came BACK by popular demand on Easter Sunday, I am here for you and if you gave up the internet for Lent, welcome back. You won't be disappointed this time. Also, you waited 40 days, the porn can wait another 15 minutes, so sit back and relax. Turn that water into wine. This is Planet Kayfabe.
Hello everyone and welcome to Planet Kayfabe where today I dig into the 2018 Hall of Fame class and the state of the WWE Hall of Fame in general. The WWE Hall of Fame, like Triple H said himself is unlike any other hall of fame. There's no real clear requirements. There's no voting committee. There's no true outline for what makes someone a WWE Hall of Famer... just who is on good terms with Vince McMahon at a given time. The WWE HoF is supposed to be a fun little break, but that really doesn't stop us, the fans, from complaining about it every year and I don't entirely disagree with you. Before I get into this year's class I want to get into why you shouldn't get too worked up about who gets in and who doesn't get in this club and you absolutely shouldn't get worked up about celebrities and the order of which people are inducted.
Let's start this off by putting it bluntly. The WWE Hall of Fame is just a show. You know that it's not a real place. It likely never will be since I've been hearing for about 12 years that the idea of building a physical hall of fame has been thrown on and off the table dozens of times. It is not a legitimate hall of fame. It never has been. Remember how it went away for a few years in the late 90's before it was brought back in 2004? That's only because WWE found a way to make an extra buck with it around Wrestlemania season. As I mentioned there's no set requirements. It doesn't matter where you were on the card. It doesn't matter how many titles you were booked to win. It doesn't matter how good a worker you were. It doesn't matter how many fans you have or how many Twitter followers you have. It doesn't even matter how much of a draw you were. The only thing that matters is if you're on good standing with the company. Talent are selected based on who the promotion simply feels like honoring and now more than ever who they think the fans will actually pay to see.
That doesn't mean the WWE Hall of Fame is meaningless. We've seen wrestlers accept their induction with tears in their eyes because it truly means something to them and it should. They get to have their hard work highlighted and get to make one more big speech in front of a big crowd for perhaps the last time. Every year we see mid-carders and celebrities get into the HoF and fans debate is they "deserve" it and I used to do that too. However, the WWE HoF is nothing more than an award show handing out lifetime achievement awards. Until the WWE HoF has a clear cut voting process with set requirements its impossible to say who "deserves" to be in a hall of fame that has absolutely NO rules to get in. Kid Rock was announced as this year's celebrity inductee and fans on cue got upset saying ridiculous remarks like "HOW COULD HE GET IN BEFORE OWEN OR CHYNA?!?!" -- like this is their first year watching WWE or something. They induct a celebrity every year. You know why they do it. It's just for the off chance that the celebrity they induct attracts casual eyeballs to WWE and gets them press from outlets that normally wouldn't be talking about WWE. Yes, Kid Rock got in before Owen Hart. Big deal. Drew Carey, who made one WWE appearance at the time of his induction, got in before "Macho Man" Randy Savage. If you're worried about the credibility of the WWE Hall of Fame, there's nothing about this year's class that's going to damage it. The WWE Hall of Fame made clear exactly what it was many years ago.
This is where I somewhat agree with many of the fans or at least understand where they're coming from. I think most fans get worked up because they want the WWE Hall of Fame to have structure and requirements to lend it some credibility since the WWE is the biggest wrestling promotion in the world it only makes sense that their HoF would be the most respected of its kind... but it's not. At least to the insiders. I have changed my position over the years though. If asked about a decade ago I'd say the WWE Hall of Fame should have a voting process, maybe get the fans involved similar to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and have a few simple rules as set requirements for what it takes to be a hall of famer. Today I feel differently because there are institutions like that already though they don't have the reach the WWE does. The good thing about WWE doing their HoF the way they do is you get guys like Mark Henry in who likely wouldn't end up in a "real" hall of fame since he was never a big star, never a big draw and never an elite worker. However I think most fans would agree that he deserves to be in the WWE Hall of Fame simply because he has spent so many years there and has been a good ambassador for the promotion. Fans are happy that a guy like him will have his hard work recognized at the WWE HoF which is great for him and the fans.
The WWE Hall of Fame for better or worse is very much the participation trophy of hall of fames. However what it lacks in true credibility it makes up for in spectacle. Every year we get to see faces we haven't seen in a while and may never see again speak to their fans from the heart and look back on their careers one more time. It's must-see programming if you're a wrestling fan. As for the fans who say things like "how could this guy get in before that guy" all I can say to them is... have you followed any hall of fame in any sport? Or the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Anything? In none of them are the inductees inducted in chronological order of when they retired. You have some baseball players that are first-ballot that are inducted 5 years after their retirement. You have others that are on the bubble that wait 20 years to be inducted if they even make the cut from the voters at all.
My closing words on the general idea of the WWE HoF before I get into this year's class is just take it for what it is. It's just another WWE produced show. It's a worked hall of fame where guys get a cheap little class ring and their picture put on a website. It's not a huge deal like the Pro Football Hall of Fame for example. Guys are selected at Vince's whim and they get to put "WWE Hall of Famer" on their bookings and maybe charge 5 extra dollars for an autograph. That's it. So, just sit back and enjoy the speeches because regardless of who "deserves" it, it's all a work and they all took bumps for decades and it's the least the company can do to honor them.
THE 2018 WWE HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES
Goldberg: If you want an example that the only WWE HoF requirement is being on good terms with Vince look no further than this year's headliner. Granted Goldberg made his fame in WCW and his initial WWE run was a failure, his legacy was heavily glossed over after his exit in 2004. Make what you will of his work, whatever, the guy was a star. Work is subjective. Money isn't. He's your 2018 headliner because he made things right with WWE in 2017.
The Dudley Boyz: Obvious HoF'ers by any measure. Not much to say. They check all the boxes.
Ivory: A fine inductee. A former GLOW girl, a former Women's Champion during the Attitude Era. Not a huge name, but every year they induct a woman and this is who they chose. They aren't all going to be Trish.
"Double J" Jeff Jarrett: Put this in the category of "only in the WWE HoF". Like I said in the main body of this column, it's nice to see the speeches. The thing I like the most about this induction is I like seeing fences mended in wrestling and Jeff is one guy that has been on the outs for almost 20 years with WWE. The WWE Hall of Fame will be his first WWE appearance since 1999. That's really all I care about. They seem to be mainly focusing on the Double J character and I'm not even sure if they mentioned that he was a world champion in WCW.
Hillbilly Jim: The most WWE HoF induction of this year's WWE HoF. I mean, whatever.
Kid Rock: The celebrity inductee. I guess he's more deserving than other inductees like Drew Carey. I saw some people on Twitter bitch and moan because he's a Trump supporter. Seriously, f*** you. Bunch of hypocrites. You're so worked up about a *gasp* Trump supporter being inducted yet you still give money to the company that inducted THE Donald Trump himself into this very Hall of Fame in 2013 so shove your politics up your ass or put your money where your mouth is. You same people complaining for this reason are probably the same people who popped huge for Eric Bischoff at Raw 25 and it doesn't take much scrolling on his Twitter feed to see where he stands politically, so give it a rest.
Mark Henry: This seems to be the fan choice for the most "feel-good" induction. While the fan's overwhelmingly respect Mark today, that wasn't always the case. It took a long time for him to really get there. His initial debut push didn't light the world on fire. He was in the Nation. He was Sexual Chocolate in the center of a few hokey midcard Attitude Era comedy angles. His work was never great. He struggled in more serious roles in the mid-2000's... Then suddenly the "Hall of Pain" clicked and he was pushed as a monster heel which was the perfect role for him. He solidified his respect from the fans in his now famous 2013 fake retirement speech adorned in his salmon blazer. Everyone bought in and it was all a swerve to challenge John Cena. It was so well done this ended up turning him babyface just out of shoot respect from the fans. When it comes to career highlights, this may be the one moment that people will most fondly remember of Mark Henry and rightfully so. I'm not sure where I'd rank it, but it's one of WWE's best promo segments ever.
There's my thought's on this year's Hall of Fame class and thoughts on the WWE HoF in general. Congratulations to the inductees. The Hall is what it is. It's really just a night where we can turn our brains off and just appreciate the careers of those inducted. Yes some "deserve" it more than others and there's plenty of inductees that you could say don't belong in there at all, but like I said earlier there are no requirements. There's no voting board. There's no official ballot submitted by wrestling writers around the country. It's one guy deciding who he wants in his club. That's all, so it's hard to complain about who belongs in when there's no set requirements to begin with.
If you're reading this and worried about glaring annual omissions like Owen Hart and Chyna, you should know the story. WWE isn't going to induct Owen without his widow's blessing. I don't know if she will ever grant that blessing either. 8 years ago WWE made a DVD about the Hart Family and she sued them because Owen was on the cover. Yes, that was 8 years ago and a lot can change, but it's been well documented that she never liked wrestling and she probably sees the WWE HoF as more of a way for the company to make a buck off of Owen's name than a way of having his legacy remembered by the fans. Make of that what you will, but that's where the Owen situation stands even if his brother Bret wants to see him inducted, it doesn't matter. They need his widow's approval. As for Chyna, in death she probably has more chance of being inducted some day. The public reason Triple H gave was they can't induct her because of her history and kids will Google her and find a lot of f***ed up shit. Well, look you could Google a lot of the inductees and find f***ed up shit including porn which seems to be the main public stance WWE had chosen in distancing themselves from Chyna. In reality HHH wasn't going to say "she's my ex, I think she's f***ing crazy and me and my wife don't want to be around her" which is probably the real reason. Obviously she deserves it but unfortunately it probably took her death for it to be made possible in the first place, so whatever... Some day. It'll happen when it happens. Do you still care that much now that she's no longer around herself to see it happen and have that moment? I mean it'll be a nice gesture, but that's about it.
Thanks again for reading for complaints and questions e-mail me at PlanetKayfabe@gmail.com Follow me on Twitter @PlanetKayfabe and leave a comment below.
I'll see you next time where I get into Wrestlemania 34! I'm Paul Matthews for NoDQ, see you next time. Enjoy your Easter Sunday.