Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Class Of 2015

Tonight sees World Wrestling Entertainment honour another batch of wrestling personalities in its Hall of Fame ceremony.

Each year, I publish a post writing about the names that will be inducted. Here are the inductees of the 2015 class.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Arnie will be the celebrity entry into this year's Hall of Fame. The actor made his name in the 1970s after becoming the youngest person to win Mr. Olympia. From there, he segued into a movie career and starred in a number of blockbusters. A stint as Governor of California was next to be added on his CV, before returning to acting after leaving office.
As for WWE? He appeared on one of the early episodes of Smackdown and did the introduction speech for his friend Bruno Sammartino two years ago. So, he has been loosely associated with WWE in the past.

Tatsumi Fujinami

Tatsumi Fujinami started his career in 1971 and was one of the first wrestlers to be a part of New Japan Pro Wrestling.
In regard to WWE/WWF/WWWF history, Fujinami won the WWWF Junior Heavyweight Championship in the late 1970s. Furthermore, he is also a former NWA World Heavyweight Champion after defeating Ric Flair for the strap. With that win, he became the first wrestler to hold both the NWA and IWGP world titles simultaneously.

Alundra Blayze

Alundra Blayze is the moniker that Debrah Miceli used when she was signed to the World Wrestling Federation between 1993 and 1995. The female wrestler is best known as 'Madusa'.
Madusa debuted in 1984. She has won world titles in major promotions like the AWA, WWF and All Japan.
Despite the in-ring accomplishments, she'll probably be best remembered for the time in the days following her release from WWF when she made her return to WCW. She was still technically WWF's Women's champion when she showed up on one of the early episodes of WCW Monday Nitro and proceeded to throw the title belt into a bin live on TV. Her act was one of the many shots WCW took at their rivals in this period.
Miceli has retired from wrestling, but now works in a just as wackier career as a monster truck driver on the Monster Jam circuit.

Larry Zbyszko

Larry Zbyszko made his professional wrestling debut in 1973 after being trained by his hero, Bruno Sammartino.
The most memorable feud in Zbysko's career came in the early 1980s when he turned heel on his trainer and mentor. This led to the pair wrestling inside a steel cage at Shea Stadium in New York State.
In the mid-80s, Zbysko travelled to the AWA (American Wrestling Association) and spent a number of years working there. Following a two-year departure in which he wrestled for the NWA, Zybysko returned to the AWA and won its version of the world championship.
He went on to rejoin the NWA which was then known as World Championship Wrestling and remained part of the company until just before its demise in 2001. He was one of the color commentators on WCW Nitro during the show's early years and played a small part in the WCW .vs. NWO feud during the mid-90s.
Zbyszko also ended up in TNA between 2003 and 2006.


Solofa Fatu, Jr. started his career in 1985 as part of a tag team called the Samoan Swat Team. His partner in the tandem was his cousin, Samu. In 1992, the pair debuted in the WWF under the name 'The Headshrinkers'.
Fatu was repacked numerous times during his time with the company. He went from teaming with Samu in the original Headshrinkers to tagging with Sione (the former Barbarian) in The New Headshrinkers. Then he went on to get a short-lived singles career under his Fatu name however, he wore urban clothes to the ring. His gimmick was to 'make a difference'. As noted, the act didn't last long. He eventually resurfaced as 'The Sultan' wearing a mask to cover his mouth. Then, he vanished for a year or so and returned as Rikishi Fatu.
He had evidently put a little more weight on and was given a sumo wrestler kind of gimmick which became a huge hit with the fans.

The Bushwackers

WWF fans will remember Luke and Butch - The Bushwackers - as a crazy Kiwi tag team that walked to the ring with a funny march licking fans heads along the way. Their comedic matches and characters were polar opposites of their earlier incarnations - The Shepherders - in other wrestling territories.
The team started out in their native New Zealand in the mid-1960s and made it to the WWF as the comedy act in the latter part of the 80s. Their run ended in 1996, but made one final appearance in the gimmick battle royal that took place at WrestleMania XVII in 2001.

Kevin Nash

Kevin Nash started off his career in World Championship Wrestling and wrestled under gimmicks like Steel, Oz and Vinnie Vegas. Then, in 1993, the WWF came a-calling and he was brought in as Shawn Michaels' bodyguard - Diesel.
As Diesel, Nash won the WWF Intercontinental Championship, Tag Team Championship and World Heavyweight Championship in the space of nine months in 1994.
His run as WWF Champion lasted a little short of a year - it's worth noting that with Nash on top, it was one of the WWF's most unsuccessful business years.
This did not stop Billionaire Ted.
In 1996, when Nash's WWF contract was up for renewal, Eric Bischoff - using Ted Turners' bankroll - brought Nash back to WCW. Nash's involvement with the New World Order storyline was what kick-started a new boom period for pro wrestling.
Nash remained on the WCW roster up to the day it was sold to the WWF in 2001. Once his Turner Broadcasting contract expired in early 2002, he made his return to WWE to reform the NWO alongside Hulk Hogan and Scott Hall.
After tearing his quad on an episode of Raw, he was sidelined for approximately a year. Returned but was gone not so long later.
He then found himself working for TNA before making a return to the WWE fold a few years ago.

Randy Savage

'Macho Man' Randy Savage was the first name announced earlier this year. He is one of the most iconic names from both of the hottest periods in professional wrestling.
He joined the WWF in the 1984 after spending over twelve years working for his father's promotion and other territories. He went on to become WWF World Heavyweight Champion.
In 1994, Savage struck a deal to work for WCW. It was here that he experienced a renaissance to his career winning further championships.
He had been persona non grata with WWE until his death in 2011.

You can read my memories of meeting Randy Savage in this post I published a day following his passing.

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