Saturday, January 17, 2009

Top Ten Cases: 2009 WWE Hall of Fame predictions

I was originally going to save this for right before the Royal Rumble, because that's when the "Road to WrestleMania" begins and as such, the 2009 Hall of Fame class will likely be introduced shortly. However, they've already announced Stone Cold, so I figured I should jump on it now before any other names are announced. So, without further adieu, here is my prediction for who will be inducted this year. Of course, there are certain parameters that must be adhered to. For one, you have to consider who is in good graces with the company. That means "legendary" personalities that are associated with rival organizations, like Jim Cornette for example, aren't going to make the cut this year. Along with that, in order to keep the mood light, the number of deceased inductees will probably be limited to two. Past years have to be considered as well, meaning that at least one female and at least one non-wrestler will be inducted as well. Additionally, the class typically includes one tag team. Finally, there will probably only be three or four "huge name" inductees.

Click the "Read More" link for the full list.

10. Cowboy Bill Watts
Inducted by:
He wants Jim Ross, but I'm saving him for a later induction. So how about somebody like Hacksaw Jim Duggan or Shawn Michaels?

Alright, this one is a cheat. Apparently he's already revealed that he's being inducted. This works out for me, though, because I could only come up with nine other names anyway.

9. Miss Elizabeth
Inducted by:
Accepted by: ??

She's so far detached from anybody associated with the company that I had a really difficult time determining who should induct her, and who should accept on her behalf. I'm trying to think of a legitimately classy woman, but I'm coming up short here. Somebody like Mickie James or even a returning Trish Stratus wouldn't be entirely appropriate, because they're not the type of woman that Elizabeth paved the road for. Maybe George Steel? Or Dusty Rhodes?

The next question is, who accepts for her? Her family is an option, of course. But since none of them would be recognizable, would they be suitable? I don't imagine them inviting Lex Luger because, for one, I don't think he's on the best terms with the company. And secondly, they pretty much went as far as to blame him for her death during that WWE Confidential piece. I considered Stephanie McMahon, because she represents a strong, successful, independent woman. Except Elizabeth, for all her fair qualities, was never strong or independent. And Stephanie was often portrayed as a slut. She's the first lady of professional wrestling, and she surely belongs in the Hall.

8. Howard Finkel
Inducted by:
Lillian Garcia

This has long been a mystery to me. Why is this man not in the Hall of Fame already? First off, he's the creator of the "WrestleMania" moniker. He's also been a part of virtually every major moment of the company ("when we think back to those historic title wins, how often do we hear Howard Finkel's voice saying, "And NEW WWE Champion"?) and he's been employed by the company for, what, nearly thirty consecutive years? It baffles me that he hasn't been inducted yet, and the silver anniversary of the event he named seems like as good a time as any.

7. Honky Tonk Man
Inducted by:
Jimmy Hart, if he's on good terms with WWE. If not, Jerry Lawler (and yes, I know they don't particularly like each other, despite being cousins). Or hell, even Santino Marella.

Hey, he's the longest running Intercontinental Champion of all time -- that's gotta warrant him a spot in the Hall, right? As best as I can tell, he's on good terms with the company, even recently appearing at last year's Cyber Sunday. He's a classic name from the 80's and he's recognizable to the current legion of fans. Seems like the perfect fit to me.

6. Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase
Inducted by:
Ted DiBiase (Jr.)

For the life of me, I don't know why this guy hasn't been inducted yet. Not only was he a big time player during his day, but he's clearly influenced a number of significant Superstars in this day and age, most notably former WWE Champion JBL and his own son. He's still over and recognized by current fans, which is a big plus, I would think. Considering that he's still on good terms with the company -- he may even be employed in some capacity -- I figured this would be a gimme for the past few years now.

Also, it's somewhat awkward when you've got Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes, Manu, and Sim Snuka all referring to their Hall of Famer dads, and then have Ted DiBiase simply refer to his father as a "Legend."

5. The British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith
Inducted by:
Bret Hart is the easy suggestion, but since he's apparently "done with wrestling," he may not be available (besides which, he may be holding out for Owen's eventual/hopeful induction). Other possibilities are Jim or Natalya Neidhart (because of the family connection), or perhaps even William Regal: Two Brits who are both multi-time Intercontinental, European, and Tag Team Champions. Chris Jericho is another possibility, if they decide to go the Stu Hart-route.
Accepted by: DH Smith

I considered making this the classic tag team The British Bulldogs, but between Davey Boy being dead and Dynamite being crippled, I figured the company would want to distance themselves with a double whammy of tragedy. Besides which, Dynamite seems like a pretty negative guy who has burned bridges on a professional and personal level with everybody he's ever known, so I don't see WWE going out of their way to honor him.

Along with that, inducting Davey Boy would be a good way to catapult the career of his son, DH Smith. This would also act as a prelude for having DH join Randy Orton's faction, Legacy, if that's the direction they plan on going.

4. Ron Simmons
Inducted by:

Why shouldn't he be? He's the first, if I'm not mistaken, African American World Heavyweight Champion in the history of wrestling. That alone should warrant him a spot. He's also a multiple-time World Tag Team Champion, and he still plays a supporting role on WWE's various television programs. Hell, they even named a Slammy Award after his catch phrase! His legitimate athletic achievements (mostly in football) have also kept his name circulating through the news the past few years. JBL is, of course, the perfect person to induct him for this prestigious honor.

Of course, now that he's been released, this seems unlikely.

3. Ricky Steamboat
Inducted by:
Ric Flair

Yet another one that makes me scratch my head. He's an absolute legend, fulfilling great success in both WWE and WCW. He's recognized for having one of the greatest WrestleMania matches of all time. He's a former Intercontinental Champion. And, unless I'm wrong, he's currently employed with the company. The ONLY thing that I foresee stopping this is that, I believe, there are some legal issues over his "Dragon" moniker. Nevertheless, he's appeared on television numerous times in the past year, so I imagine that they can get around that somehow. Ric Flair is the ideal person to induct him, provided his relationship with WWE isn't sour at the moment.

2. Macho Man Randy Savage
Inducted by:
Honestly, the perfect person to induct him would be Hulk Hogan. But with his volatile relationships with both WWE and Savage, that seems like a long shot. I'm tempted to suggest Stephanie McMahon, if only for the wink, wink, nudge, nudge shout out to those incessant (and outlandish) Internet rumors.

Yeah yeah, there's no chance in hell, I know. And considering he'd be playing second fiddle to Steve Austin, it's entirely possible that he wouldn't even accept if they did offer it to him. But quite honestly, nobody deserves this honor more than Savage. The fact that it's 20 years after the last time he headlined WrestleMania is icing on the cake.

1. Stone Cold Steve Austin
Inducted by:
Jim Ross

I swear, I had him on my list before the announcement was made....

Anyway, in the past few years Jerry Lawler, Jim Ross, and Ric Flair have been inducted, essentially changing the rules and telling us that you don't have to be some legend from the 70's and 80's in order to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Indeed, you can actually be somebody who is still active.

Of course, Stone Cold certainly belongs in the Hall of Fame. He's undoubtedly one of the two biggest names in the history of wrestling, and a significant reason for the resurgence and survival of the only wrestling company essentially left in the game. I see one of his best friends Jim Ross inducting him.

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