Well WrestleMania Season has come and gone and this is where for the next nine months us fans debate who will be inducted into the next year’s class of the WWE Hall of Fame. It is always a great conversation as some have different opinions as to who is worthy but in the end, whoever goes in or doesn’t, some end up disappointed anyway.
Since its re-introduction back in 2004, it has always become of my favourite nights of the year and admittedly I have shed many a tear both of laughter and emotion watching it. It truly is a special night and you can genuinely see and feel how much the induction means to those inductees.
Today here on The Great Debate you will be able to read on who I feel should be in the WWE Hall of Fame that isn’t, the list is a bag of goodies and they are in no particular order. You don’t have to agree with me but I will be interested to hear who you feel should be in the Hall. This is part one of four, part two will follow in the next few days.
I sound like an advocate for this gentleman but what can I say? I am a huge fan of his work, both in film and TV as well as his career in professional wrestling. Andy was a fan and he got the business, he respected it and appreciated all it stood for. His father would take him and his brother as youngsters to Madison Square Garden and that is where he fell in love with “Nature Boy” Buddy Rogers and the rest as they say is history. Upon wanting to pursue a career in professional wrestling, Andy initially went to the WWWF but it is believed Vince McMahon Sr didn’t like the idea of having celebrities in professional wrestling. Thankfully professional wrestling journalist Bill Apter saved the day and got the ball rolling by introducing Andy to Jerry “The King” Lawler.
Bill introducing Andy to The King was a match made in heaven and the pair went on to make history. Their appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman in July 1982 ended up being named as one of the sixty Most Riveting Moments in TV History! I am believed to understand that Mr Lawler has been lobbying for Andy to get his place in the Hall for a number of years.. I just hope it happens sooner rather than later.
BAM BAM BIGELOW
When I was a child I guess I can safely say now that I didn’t appreciate his work as much but as I got older I guess I valued it even more. IBigelow got his start in the Memphis territory and rose until he ended up in the WWF by 1987 and managed by Sir Oliver Humperdink as a babyface. He was also a part of NJPW and alongside Vader, he was able to capture Tag Team gold and they were known as Big, Bad, and Dangerous. In November 1998 Bigelow signed for WCW, I hadn’t seen much of him since he left the then WWF after Survivor Series 1995 so I was excited to see him. My love for him started but more so a year since his initial arrival as he paired up with who was one of my favourites Diamond Dallas Page and Kanyon as The Jersey Triad. Once the WWF bought WCW, I believed maybe Bam Bam would be signed but it wasn’t to be and he never wrestled for a major wrestling promotion, even though he was considered to be signed by Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. Bam Bam’s legacy is etched in his amazing work whilst at Extreme Championship Wrestling. He was able to establish himself there as a top dog and right they were to have him be at the top of their mountain.
Unfortunately Bigelow passed away in January 2007 at the tender age of 45. Undoubtedly one of the greatest big men ever, as claimed by his peers as well as fans. I do think they have had the perfect opportunities to induct him already, especially as two times in the last eight years they have been on his turf.
This is one that always surprises me. Why on Earth isn’t Rick Martel in there yet, but I guess I can say the same for many. I always liked Rick as a kid, despite his arrogance (No pun intended). When I first started watching he was already “The Model” and was on TV quite a lot. My first memory of him is his feud with Shawn Michaels in the Summer of 1992. They were both heels so to me it didn’t make sense but their match at SummerSlam, at least in my view is a forgotten one. He was a part of the WWF for a long time after that, even feuding with Tatanka which was quite memorable as well as making it to the last two in a Battle Royal for the vacant Intercontinental Championship alongside WWE Hall of Famer Razor Ramon. His last appearance as an on-air talent came at the 1995 Royal Rumble.
In 1998 Martel signed with WCW and embarked on a feud with 2x WWE Hall of Famer Booker T which resulted in him becoming WCW Television Champion. The feud was short lived as Martel would injure himself in their match at SuperBrawl VIII. Martel’s career is quite memorable, no doubt. He is a former AWA World Heavyweight Champion and won the WWE Tag Team Championship on three separate occasions. Twice with Tony Garea and one with Tito Santana. I have read many times that Mr Martel is not interested in an induction but I speak for his fans that many believe he is worthy and they are right.
This is a name that pops up often and I also ride on the Lex Express of fans who continue to say that Lex deserves to be in. I ABSOLUTELY love Lex and his work, his nickname said it all, he was The Total Package and that wasn’t just a moniker, it was fact. Trained by Hiro Matsuda, Lex was managed early in his career by WWE Hall of Famer Paul Bearer then known by his real name Percy Pringle and made a name for himself in the CWF (Championship Wrestling from Florida) and rose up the ranks to the point where a month after his debut he defeated Wahoo McDaniel for the Southern Heavyweight Championship.
It wasn’t until 1987 when Lex joined Jim Crockett Promotions aka JCP that fans were able to witness the prowess he possessed and it was visible from the get-go. He was added to The Four Horsemen and he went on to feud with Nikita Koloff for the NWA United States Heavyweight Championship, a Championship he would go on to win five times. His third reign of the said belt lasted 523 days! Quite remarkable if you ask me. By 1992 he had left WCW and embarked on a new journey to the WBF (World Bodybuilding Federation), he even made an appearance at WrestleMania VIII in an interview with Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. A motorcycle accident would put an end to his career there but by the time he recovered the WBF had already been obliterated of the face of the Earth! He would debut as a member of the WWF roster at the 1993 Royal Rumble as “The Narcissist” and to a certain degree I like to think it worked and was generating momentum UNTIL Hulk Hogan left the WWF in June 1993 (He would still be around) but didn’t appear on WWF TV until February 2002. Vince panicked I guess and decided to make Lex his next big star which resulted in him turning babyface at the Stars & Stripes Challenge.
He would go on to bodyslam then WWF Champion Yokozuna and that was it! A match was set for SummerSlam 1993, Lex would win that by countout and then a few months later, he was also the co-winner of the 1994 Royal Rumble so they still saw a lot in him to carry the company. Lex would lose his WWF Championship match at WrestleMania X by disqualification and after that the Lex Express ran out of fuel.
He would be a part of the WWF roster for another year and a half till he made his return to WCW on the very first episode of WCW Monday Nitro in September 1995.
A LOT of controversy has followed Lex after WCW’s end in 2001 but his contributions, legacy and name still carry a lot of pull. He definitely did do well and had a storied career, so why not?
Part two will follow in the coming days but this for now are the first four whom I feel should be a part of the WWE Hall of Fame.