Several weeks ago, following the announcement that Bruno Sammartino would be going into the WWE Hall Of Fame, I asked Twitter followers who topped the list of “Should be in the Hall Of Fame, but isn’t” now that Bruno (along with Bob Backlund, Mick Foley, Trish Stratus and Donald Trump) were going in. The overwhelming choice was Randy “Macho Man” Savage, and in a recent column I looked at Savage, along with other top finishers in my informal poll. Today, we look at the next names on the list following Savage, Jake Roberts, The Ultimate Warrior and Mr. T.
A brief note before going back to the list. The recent passing of William Moody, known to fans as Paul Bearer and/or Percy Pringle, has brought up the possibility of him being inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame this year. While he certainly is worthy of being inducted, and was prior to his passing, for WWE to add him to the list for this year now might come across as capitalizing on the attention brought on by his passing. Not to mention, it will raise the “Why didn’t you induct him while he was alive?” questions that the company will inevitably face when they induct Randy Savage and others. I wouldn’t rule out him being added to the 2013 ceremony, but I wouldn’t expect it either.
Now, onto the next names on the list.
Why she should be in: Her name belongs right next to Hulk Hogan, Mr. T, and Roddy Piper for leading Vince McMahon’s vision of the then-WWF into the mainstream of pop culture. Her work with Captain Lou Albano, The Fabulous Moolah and Wendi Richter (all Hall Of Famers) placed the WWF on MTV, and she was an integral part of the angle with Piper, Hogan, T and Paul Orndorff that set up the first Wrestlemania. Recently, she returned to WWE, appearing on Raw with Piper and Richter while filming a segment for her new reality show.
Why she isn’t in yet: For years, Lauper seemed to be distancing herself from her involvement with WWE. Bios and documentaries on her career usually portrayed her time around the ring as a poor career move by manager David Wolff (who had been a longtime fan and pushed the association). Now that she seems more comfortable with being part of WWE again, she should move way up the celebrity list. However, Donald Trump already beat her to the spot this year.
Why he should be in: Arguably, he is the best heel ever. During his career, it seemed the easiest way to get the fans to cheer someone newly turned babyface was to put him against Rude. In fact, once he established himself as a headline heel in World Class, I don’t recall him ever being cheered until his ECW appearances in the late 90’s (and if ever a company loved traditional heels, it was ECW). Plus, Rude could make a match work with a limited worker (Ultimate Warrior, anyone?) or hang with an in-ring genius (Ricky Steamboat).
Why he isn’t in yet: It might have something to do with his last departure from WWE. Rude was present for the Montreal Screwjob, and reportedly called Eric Bischoff to inform him of the events of that night. Disgusted by Vince McMahon’s treatment of Bret Hart, Rude jumped to WCW, setting up the historic night where Rude (who was not under a WWE contract) appeared on WCW Nitro, clean shaven, and ripped on the company, while he was featured, with a beard, on a taped edition of Raw at the same time.
The Fabulous Freebirds
Why they should be in: In this day and age, where tag team wrestling is almost an afterthought, it is hard to understand how radical the Freebirds were. They were three men, and they would interchange members from match to match, while also working singles matches. They were a unique blend of veteran heel (Buddy Roberts), monster worker (Terry Gordy) and smart-mouthed leader (Michael Hayes) that were so good, every wrestling company in the 80’s wanted them. So much, that they could essentially dictate when and where they wanted to work, hitting the AWA, World Class, UWF, NWA and WWF (where they left when Vince McMahon wanted to break them up).
Why they aren’t in yet: This one is a head scratcher. Sure, they didn’t make their mark in WWE, but there are plenty of members of the Hall of Fame that never worked for the company at all (Abdullah The Butcher). Hayes has been a huge part of WWE Creative for years, so it really seems bizarre that the Freebirds haven’t been enshrined. With Gordy and Roberts having passed on, it would be nice to see Hayes and latter-day Freebird Jimmy Garvin given the chance to honor the team.
Coming Soon: The rest of the list.