As has been a tradition on this blog for the past few years, I'm going to dedicate today's post to writing about this year's inductees to the WWE Hall of Fame.
The ceremony takes place tonight from the New Orleans Arena. Here are the names that will be honoured.
Mr. T will be the celebrity inductee this year. T, as many already know, is a household name from the 1980s. He was one of the main stars of the hit TV show, The A-Team, the third Rocky movie and appeared in his own cartoon series among other things. He was also in the main event of the very first WrestleMania. He and Hulk Hogan took on Paul Orndorff and 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper in the bout that was Vince McMahon's gamble. Had it not been for T's involvement with the WWF, it's more than likely the company wouldn't have been in business for WrestleMania II, which saw Mr. T return for a boxing battle against Piper.
Carlos Colon began his wrestling career in the mid-1960s. He is best known for being the promoter and main eventer of Puerto Rico's World Wrestling Council (WWC). It was a hot territory filled with bloody bouts. He is also the father to two current wrestlers - Carly (Carlito) and Eddie (Primo/Diego).
Amy Dumas learned to become a professional wrestler after travelling to Mexico in 1998. She made her national debut a year later when she became 'Miss Congeniality' in Extreme Championship Wrestling. Her run in the Philadelphia-based promotion ended later that year after she was signed by the WWF.
Now named Lita, Dumas started out her WWF career as the valet to Essa Rios in early 2000. Her run with Rios segued into a partnership with Jeff and Matt Hardy. It was a perfect fit as the trio - Team Extreme - were known for their high flying wrestling maneuvers.
She won four WWE Women's Championships before injuries prompted her to cut her in-ring time down. She returned to valet work where she was aligned with the likes of Kane and Edge.
She left WWE in 2006 and has made occasional returns for both WWE and the independent circuit.
Jake 'The Snake' Roberts
Jake Roberts has had quite the storied life both in and out of the ring. He first became a mainstream name in the 1980s after being part of the WWF during its initial peak era and was involved with feuds against the likes of Andre the Giant, Earthquake and 'Macho Man' Randy Savage.
The two things he will best be remembered for in his career is the snakes he used to bring to ringside with him (the most famous being Damien) and his finishing move - The DDT. It was one of the most popular finishers amongst fans back then. Even to this day whenever he is involved with wrestling the crowd still chants the three letters proving the longevity of its appeal.
He has had some public battles with drink and drugs but currently seems to be keeping himself sober thanks in part to help from Diamond Dallas Page.
Razor Ramon / Scott Hall
Scott Hall had made a career in pro wrestling before and after leaving the WWF but it was as 'Razor Ramon' where he got his first taste at being a worldwide name. He will be inducted under the 'Razor Ramon' moniker. To me, I think this is wrong. Yes, Hall found fame under the Ramon name. However, it came during a period when the WWF wasn't as hot. When he left for World Championship Wrestling in 1996, the business blew up and he was a part of one of wrestling's biggest storylines - the New World Order. As a member of the NWO, he went by his real name. Because of this, I feel he should be recognised under his actual name and not a gimmick he used for four years.
As noted, Hall was a journeyman wrestler who landed in the WWF in 1992 and came up with the Scarface-themed Razor Ramon gimmick and it worked out well. He ended up winning the Intercontinental Championship on four different occasions which became, at the time, a record. In 1996, he and Kevin Nash (Diesel) departed for World Championship Wrestling after being offered huge money by Ted Turner. The result was the aforementioned biggest period in pro wrestling as part of the NWO.
Hall's career had its ups and downs at that point. Most of the drops came due to his 'demons' - a fight he appears to be in control of these days following assistance from Diamond Dallas Page.
Razor Ramon, Scott Hall or what ever he's going to be named tonight was one of my favourites back then. One of the highlights I had when meeting the WWF roster in December of 1993 was getting the chance to talk to Hall. He certainly deserves his moment tonight.
Bill Moody had a storied career in the wrestling business long before 1991. However, at the start of 1991 he was brought in to the World Wrestling Federation, given the moniker of 'Paul Bearer', was given The Undertaker to manage and became a worldwide name.
As The Undertaker is the most successful wrestling gimmick of all time, surely the case must be argued that Paul Bearer was the most successful manager gimmick of all time.
Moody passed away last year so his induction into this year's Hall of Fame will be a posthumous one.
I've written on this blog before about how I met Paul Bearer a little over twenty years ago and also noted how I had communicated with him quite a bit over the years.
It's a shame he isn't around to be able to enjoy his moment of recognition.
The Ultimate Warrior
The Ultimate Warrior will be the main inductee at tonight's show. After stints wrestling for Continental Wrestling Association, Universal Wrestling Federation and World Class Championship Wrestling, Jim Hellwig came to the World Wrestling Federation as The Ultimate Warrior. After three years and 2 Intercontinental championship reigns, he went on to defeat Hulk Hogan for the WWF championship in the main event of WrestleMania VI in 1990. In my opinion, it was here that his career peaked and became controversial.
Warrior would end up getting fired in the summer of 1991, brought back in the spring of 1992 and then fired once again that autumn. He made a brief reappearance in 1996. This only lasted a number of months before the animosity between he and Vince McMahon resurfaced.
A comeback for World Championship Wrestling came a-calling in 1998. This return was almost as short than the 1996 one.
Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, The Ultimate Warrior was one of my favourite wrestlers. Time has made me realise his act was one dimensional. Still, I cannot take away the fact that he is one of the bigger names from the company's history and he is an obvious choice to be the headline name this year.
It will also be interesting to hear what he says in his speech.