Saturday, 31 March 2012

The WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2012

As is now the tradition of Wrestlemania, the night before, WWE honours those people who have made a lasting impact on the wrestling world by inducting them into the Hall of Fame. Here is the class of 2012:

Mil Mascaras
 I have to be honest, I’m not much of a wrestling historian so I had to look Mascaras up on Wikipedia. Mascaras is one of the most famous luchadore wrestlers of all time who appeared in the WWE in the early 80’s and made a guest appearance at the 1997 Royal Rumble. He will be inducted by his nephew Alberto Del Rio.

The Four Horsemen (Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Barry Windham and JJ Dillon)
The Four Horsemen were iconic images from the 1970s to late 1990s. There were many incarnations of the group but this is the one that is probably the most famous. They were all talented wrestlers, managed by one of the greatest managers of all time in JJ Dillon. From my personal viewpoint, I only saw little bits of Windham’s career and I saw Anderson and Blanchard as the Brainbusters from old WWF tapes that I used to have. As for Flair, what more can I say about him? The man is, along with Sting, the personification of WCW; and some of his matches that he had in his last WWE run when he was in his 50s were some of my favourite matches of all time. Flair is one of the best guys on the mic as well and my enduring memory of that was when he did an interview after he lost the WWF Championship at Wrestlemania VIII. Flair will make history when he becomes the first double inductee into the Hall of Fame and they will be inducted by Dusty Rhodes.

Ron Simmons
My memory was when he was with the Acolytes with John Bradshaw Layfield and I loved it when they formed the Acolyte Protection Agency with the door frame and beer and poker table. However, Simmons enduring legacy was when, in 1992, he defeated Vader to become the first African-American to become WCW World Heavyweight Champion. The WWF didn’t have their 1st black WWF Champion for another 6 years when The Rock (who is half black and half Samoan) won it at the 1998 Survivor Series. Simmons will be inducted by JBL.

Mike Tyson
Tyson may be a controversial person but you can’t deny the impact that he had in the WWF. Tyson made a brief appearance a few years ago but he is more famous for being the Special Enforcer at Wrestlemania XIV when Shawn Michaels defended the WWF Championship against Stone Cold Steve Austin. Tyson will be inducted by Triple H and Shawn Michaels.

This is a tough one. My memories until recently were a man who lost control of his weight problems that died in a hotel room in my current hometown of Liverpool. A twitter buddy of mine Nick (@nacgator) has wanted to see Yokozuna in the Hall of Fame for years. However, I couldn’t see the reasons why. I decided to look at some of his old Wrestlemania matches and oh my God, I can see it now. Yokozuna came into the WWF with Mr Fiji as his manager and just destroyed everyone, resulting in him defeating Bret Hart at Wrestlemania IX to become WWF Champion (we’ll ignore what happened after that).  Yokozuna left the WWF in 1998 after winning 2 WWF Championships and 2 Tag Team Championships (with Owen Hart) but what I remember now is the tremendous athleticism that he had for a man of his size. He is most definitely worthy of a place in the Hall of Fame and I hope that Nick is very happy and, more importantly, can forgive me for not seeing the reasons why sooner. Nick will be at the ceremony himself along with his buddies from the Future Endeavors Show and I hope he enjoys the moment.

Yokozuna will be inducted by his cousin Rikishi and Rikishi’s sons, the Usos.

I know some people have argued about how soon this is but there’s no waiting period like other Hall of Fames so, shut up. Edge is one of my favourite wrestlers of all time. From the Brood to Edge and Christian to the Ultimate Opportunist to Rated-RKO to the Rated R Superstar to La Familia, Edge has had a stellar career that was tragically cut short due to injury. Edge has been in some of the greatest tag team matches of all time (the TLC matches along with the Hardy Boyz and Dudley Boyz) and at Wrestlemania 22, probably the best hardcore match of all time with Mick Foley. For me, I especially loved it when Edge and Christian would do their 5 second poses for “the benefit of those with flash photography” and I always mention Edge’s manual “How to be the Ultimate Opportunist” when someone seizes an opportunity in my PPV reviews.

When Edge retired, he had won the inaugural Money in the Bank, the 2010 Royal Rumble, the 2001 King of the Ring, 14 Tag Team Championships, the United States Championship, the Intercontinental Championship 5 times, the WWE Championship 4 times and the World Heavyweight Championship 7 times. Edge had won a total of thirty-one Championships in ten years, more any other wrestler, and is well deserving of the Hall of Fame. Another twitter buddy of mine @Rhiannamator will be at the ceremony and, like Nick, I hope she enjoys the moment. Edge will be inducted by his best friend Christian.

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