Does the WWE Hall of Fame Even Matter? Submitted by Damn Fine Wrestling on 01/07/2021 at 01:46 PM
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Kill Your Idols...
This mentality is best known through the 1995 punk rock band formed of the same name, but the premise is simple: Never let your alleged "idols" influence you. Case in point -- myself.
Chris Jericho will likely go down as one of my all-time favorite professional wrestlers. I have watched his career grow as far back as the ECW days before quickly jumping to WCW to help revolutionize their Cruiserweight division. His run in WWE was legendary in spite of early resistance. His contributions to All Elite Wrestling have been priceless, both in legitimacy and quality matches. Chris Jericho is the man.
However, Chris Jericho currently has me blocked on Twitter.
Perhaps it had something do with the fact that I called him a "Karen" for publicly calling out Domino's Pizza for getting his order wrong, as well as calling him out for playing a live concert amidst a pandemic with the "Harvey Weinstein of Hair Metal" Steel Panther. His $3,000 contribution to the Trump campaign already formed a bad taste in my mouth, and his recent radio show topics that humor QAnon, Covid-19, and Flat-Earther conspiracy theories tell a very sad story of who Christopher Irvine (Jericho's real name) is -- not so much Chris Jericho. If I were to meet Irvine face-to-face, the reality is that we likely wouldn't get along at all.
So this brings me to the topic of the WWE Hall of Fame, as Mick Foley has made recent calls to oust Donald Trump from the Hall of Fame. I think it's obvious that YES, you remove a man who incited a feckless coup on the Capitol on Wednesday in an assault on our democracy from the Hall of Fame. However, does this really matter at the end of this? Because when you look at the history of others in the Hall of Fame, it's kind of a Hall of Hot Garbage...
We can start with Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka, who died before standing trial for the murder of his girlfriend, Nancy Argentino. This was well-documented on an episode of Vice's Dark Side of the Ring. If we keep digging, we also find that Pat Patterson was involved in the Ring Boy Scandal, and the sexual assault of young men in exchange for favors within the company during the 80s. Patterson and Terry Garvin would resign as a result of this before Patterson was rehired years later.
"Stone Cold" Steve Austin is a beloved Hall-of-Famer, but was arrested for domestic abuse, and has multiple accounts of racial slurs. We know Hulk Hogan has a history of racist remarks, which led him to question why half of the young locker room were acting weird around him in his latest Raw appearance. In fact, there are a lot of racists in the Hall-of-Fame: The Iron Sheik, Road Warrior Hawk, Michael Haynes, and even Andre the Giant have had well-documented blemishes in their history of multiple racially-charged statements towards other wrestlers. This is extremely well-known for The Ultimate Warrior, who made not only multiple racist, but homophobic remarks -- and of course, Vincent Kennedy McMahon himself.
Perhaps you don't care about racism (stand up person you are). Keep digging...
In 1983, Scott Hall was charged with Second-Degree Murder, which he believes led to his ongoing history of substance abuse problems. The Fabulous Moolah not only abused her trainees and women who put their trust into her, but financially and sexually exploited them for decades. Let's not forget "Rowdy" Roddy Piper's history of racist tropes, from culturally insulting the likes of Snuka, Tony Atlas, and other black wrestlers -- and of course, his cringe-worthy blackface at Wrestlemania 6.
At what point does the Hall of Fame become an empty honor? This is the same Hall of Fame that inducted The Godfather -- whose gimmick played out as a pimp who exploits women for money. While I can pick apart the large list all day, the question isn't whether a douchebag demagogue like Donald Trump should be taken out of the HOF, but if the Hall of Fame is prestigious enough to begin with for it to even matter.
The answer? It doesn't matter.
WWE has a long history of exploiting and abusing their talent, both sexually and physically. We know McMahon turned a blind-eye to the rampant drug/steroid abuse during the 80s that led to his 1993 steroid trial. We know his conquest for hoarding talent from territories led to the deaths of many promotions throughout the 80s. We know that there's a laundry list of just how terrible Vince McMahon is as a person.
So why should we care about a Hall of Fame from a company with a dark history? It would be one thing if 10 years from now WWE truly turns it around. While the company has become wise to sexual assault allegations, homophobic and racial slurs, and a focus on women's wrestling as opposed to treating them like objects -- they still exploit their talent in other ways.
The bottom line is that I don't care about the Hall of Fame for one company when there are so many other companies and organizations out there to give my attention and prestige to. The Wrestling Observer has their own Hall of Fame, as well as the NWA Hall of Heroes, Cauliflower Alley Club, OWW, New Japan, and much much more. Of course, there will be undesirable characters in ALL of these halls, but at least they don't carry with it such a large black eye in their history, and actually take this seriously (Pete Rose, I'm looking at you).
In conclusion: Make your own Hall of Fame! Who will stop you?
My first 5 inductees? Mildred Burke, Rikidozan, Eddy Guerrero, Bret Hart and...Chris Jericho. ;)