Welcome to Wrestling View’s first ever Hall of Fame!!! From this point on, every year the day before WrestleMania, I will induct someone into the Wrestling View Hall of Fame! Being the first year, I am inducting 3 people, however in future I will stick to just ONE inductee per year in order to keep it as special and “elite” as possible.
Since this IS #WVWMWeek, I felt it would only be right to induct the 3 people who were mostly responsible for WrestleMania being the big success it is today!
Love him or hate him, Hogan is one of THE biggest icons in wrestling history. His popularity in the 1980’s helped the WWF take the world by storm, and his heel turn in 1996 in WCW helped them take over the WWF for a number of years too. He was a main driving force of TWO wrestling boom periods, and deserves to be in any wrestling Hall of Fame for that alone. He might not have been “technically sound” in the ring, but his mere presence electrified fans around the world for years, and always added something to his matches that most wrestlers will never be able to do. His legendary matches (good or bad) with the likes of Andre the Giant, Ultimate Warrior, Randy Savage, Ric Flair, The Rock and others will forever be remembered by fans of multiple generations. His impact on WrestleMania undoubtedly helped it become the phenomenon it is today. He was an major part of the first NINE events, main eventing 8 of them (WM IV was a tournament where he and Andre had a WM 3 match in the first round ending in a draw/double countout or something, and WM 9 he showed up after the main event to challenged Yokozuna for the WWF championship and won), and of course the first ever WM main event where he teamed with Mr T was imo THE match that helped make WrestleMania a success. His charisma, his energy in the ring, his memorable matches, his multiple title wins and his overall impact ont he business during his lengthy career made him an easy pick for the first ever Wrestling View Hall of Fame!
“Rowdy” Roddy Piper
The Hot Rod! Known for his crazy personality and incredible mic skills more than anything else, Roddy Piper was a HEAT magnet that could incite the crowd simply by making his way to the ring. And then at the same time, he could also become one of the most popular guys on the planet, simply by diverting his attention to heels. Unlike most wrestlers today, who seem to change how they act depending on which “side” they are on, Piper would remain the same loud mouth, quick witted guy he always was regardless of who he was going after. A rare quality for someone to be able to be both heel and face doing the same thing. His career, while not as “flashy” as someone like Hogan (Piper was never a World Champion etc), has left a mark on the business that can never be forgotten, and the first ever WrestleMania might be his biggest accomplishment. As much as Hogan can lay claim to WM 1 being a huge success, Piper is right up there next to him. WM 1 imo was built upon the fact the people wanted to see HOGAN beat the hell out of PIPER. Switch either of them out for anyone else, and WrestleMania, and the WWF, might have never got off the ground. It was the 2 polarising characters and ideals that drew the people into the match and the show. Following WrestleMania 1, Piper would be in one of the 3 main events at WM 2 (WM 2 was a unique event that was held in 3 different locations, each getting their own main event), taking on Mr T (Hogan’s partner for the WM 1 main event tag match) in a boxing match (note: Mr T will NOT be inducted into my Hall of Fame as I won’t be doing a celebrity wing…). While Piper moved back and forth between wrestling and trying to make it in Hollywood (THEY LIVE), he was always welcomed back by the fans and treated like the true legend he is. But as colourful as his in ring career was, his role outside of the ring on PIPER’S PIT might very well define him. His incredible mic skills and ability to out-talk anyone on the planet made for one of the greatest interview shows ever, and would feature many classic moments not only for him, but other wrestlers two. The coconut to Jimmy Snuka’s head helped put Piper on the map prior to WrestleMania. The epic confrontation between Hogan and Andre the Giant, where Andre came out with Bobby Hennan for the first time and challenged Hogan for a title match all took place on Piper’s Pit. Even in 2014, the wrestling world sees value in such a segment, bringing it back time after time in order to help promote matches and get younger talent over. Well deserving of being part of the first Wrestling View Hall of Fame for sure!
Since my first Hall of Fame Class is very WrestleMania-centric, who better to induct that Vince McMahon? Hogan and Piper were undoubtedly driving forces to get people to watch the show, but it was Vince who orchestrated the whole thing. It was his vision that made WrestleMania come to life. He wanted to take the WWF from being a regional territory and turn it into a worldwide phenomenon. And he did it. He took the hottest babyface and the hottest heel at the time, and he threw them together, sprinkling celebrities from all walks of life over the top to help enhance the show and it’s appeal to a wider audience. It worked, and wrestling was never the same since. His incredible work ethic and his ability to surround himself with the best talent he can get (be it in ring performers, agents, producers, corporate workers etc) has enabled him to take the WWF/E to heights people would have thought impossible. And even as it looks like things are falling apart (early 90’s steroid scandal, competition from WCW), Vince always finds a way to fight back. His feud with Stone Cold Steve Austin is arguably the main reason for the WWF defeating WCW in the Monday Night Wars. In a similar way to how Hogan/Piper worked, Austin was beloved by everyone and Mr McMahon was hated by everyone, and together they created magic. The fans wanted to see STEVE AUSTIN battle VINCE MCMAHON. Would that have truly worked with any other authority figure? Doubtful. They have tried to recreate the angle over and over again, both with Austin against someone (Bischoff, kinda) and McMahon against someone (HHH, DX etc). It never worked the same because nothing was ever quite as good as Austin Vs McMahon. And being a “WM themed” Hall of Fame, who can possibly forget the incredible moment from WrestleMania 17 when Vince McMahon and Steve Austin SHOOK HANDS and joined forces? Sure, it didn’t really work out the way it could have, but the moment is unforgettable and was as big as it was because of the people involved. One of the many WM moments Vince would have, including matches with his own son Shane, Hulk Hogan and Shawn Michaels! Vince McMahon could go into the Wrestling View Hall of Fame based on his WrestleMania credentials alone, both in the ring and behind the scenes, but his impact on the business transcends even that. It is an honour to welcome Vince McMahon into my Hall of Fame!