Since 2004, the eve of Wrestlemania has been dedicated to the WWE’s coveted Hall of Fame ceremony. Make fun of it all you want because of the celebrity wing, but I’m sure most guys with ties to the business will agree that being inducted is a big deal. It has to be a tremendous honor to be recognized for all your accomplishments and have your memory etched beside greats the likes of Ric Flair, Jerry the King Lawler and Bruno Sammartino.
With Wrestlemania 30 on the agenda, it’s no surprise that WWE would roll out one of its most impressive HOF classes to date. This year’s class is a star-studded roster that includes Jake the Snake Roberts, The Ultimate Warrior, Lita, and most recently, Scott Hall, who will apparently be inducted as Razor Ramon. As far as who’s next or who should be inducted period, it’s a topic that can be discussed for eons. Here are my six picks.
1. Ravishing Rick Rude
Since he was technically World Champion over there in WCW (or WCWA), I don’t consider the Ravishing One in those would’ve should’ve conversations. That doesn’t mean I respect him any less. The chiseled frame. The wrestling skills. The ability to draw massive heat. Rude had everything that makes an awesome heel and perhaps a little bit more. I actually think he thrived most outside of the WWF as he won multiple titles while tearing it up in both WCW and NWA. Based on his impact in WWE history alone, Rick Rude has to live forever in the hall.
2. Kevin Nash
Though I say Scott Hall should have gone in under his own name, it’s just great to see him honored period. His induction brought his Outsiders comrade big Kevin Nash to mind. Nash is one of those guys that draws major heat from the IWC for various silly reasons. It took him a while, but after all the ridiculous gimmicks, he found himself with Diesel and made an even bigger splash as a founding father of the nWo. Love him or hate him, this guy was a primetime player in wrestling’s hottest era, instrumental in some of its biggest angles. He doesn’t have to go in next year or nothing, but Big Sexy has carved out a comfy spot beside the Bad Guy.
3. Michael PS Hayes
A lengthy WWF or WWE career isn’t the only qualification for HOF material. It’s all about your legacy in the business, which shows what respect Vince McMahon has for wrestling, despite some beliefs. While they only had a brief WWF stint, the Fabulous Freebirds are legendary in the wrestling world, and the charismatic Michael Hayes was at the forefront of it all. Whether it was those wild brawls with the Von Erichs, taking advantage of the controversial Freebird Rule, or re-imaging the group by teaming with Jimmy Garvin, you always found Hayes at the center of Freebird business. If you only know this guy as Dok Hendrix or current WWE booker, you missed out on some awesome times.
4. Davey Boy Smith
We used to wrestle kids on the block, at school – wherever we could. My cousin and I would perform as the British Bulldogs and rule the concrete ring. The Bulldogs are often mentioned with the best teams ever, and if you’ve seen them go to work, you know why. These guys brought technique to the game at a time when wrestling was still largely about headlocks and sloppy execution. On his own, Davey Boy had an awesome run as Intercontinental Champion and a few top card pushes in both major promotions. I hear all isn’t necessarily well with his family and WWE, but excluding all that jazz, he’s more than worthy.
5. Honky Tonk Man
You don’t have to like a guy to respect what he’s done for the business. Of course I don’t have anything personal against him, I just was never a fan of the Honky Tonk Man. For me, the best thing about him was that goofy theme song I still can’t get out of my head, “I’m cool. I’m cocky. I’m bad!” Honky had a lengthy WWF stint that saw him engaged in legendary feuds with guys like Jake the Snake and Ricky Steamboat, in addition to the longest Intercontinental Championship reign in history. Forgettable WCW run out the window, Honky’s place in the WWE Universe makes him an easy choice.
Like every wrestling nerd, I’m sure, I’ve got my GOAT list, and Sting is firmly cemented at number three. I had the pleasure of watching this guy’s career develop and evolve from almost the very beginning. While I wasn’t quite sure when he was teaming with Rick Steiner under the tutelage of Eddie Gilbert back in UWF, I was sold on Sting being a once in a lifetime type of talent when he put on that classic with Flair at the first Clash of the Champions. The battles against and alongside the Horsemen. The Crow-inspired loner gimmick and the war against the nWo. The very face of WCW. WWE presence or not, this guy is a shoe-in as far as I’m concerned.
Unless you’re somebody who takes these things so incredibly serious, I think you’ll agree that being a WWE Hall of Famer is a prestigious honor bestowed upon those who make this corny sport we love tick. In my eyes, it pays homage to the art of wrestling as a whole; not just the company hosting it. With that said, don’t expect to see Samoa Joe, James Storm, or any other TNA guys in there any time soon – unless Vince buys the TNA library, then we’re all in trouble!