HOF and Womens Battle Royal

March 11, 2009

I missed RAW this week; it was my daughters 9th birthday so I had better and more important things to do. That being said I’ve read and listened to reviews of the show and there are a couple things I want to comment on. The first being the WrestleMania 25 Women’s Battle Royal, and the second being the new HOF Induction list.

I think the Women’s Battle Royal at WrestleMania is a great idea. It does damage the credibility of the Women’s Titles a bit but apart from that it does accomplish a lot. The biggest thing it accomplishes is that it manages to get all of the current WWE Divas on WrestleMania, which I think is great. In past years there was only the one Diva’s match and only those two girls get rewarded with a WrestleMania pay day despite all of them working hard all year.

In past years this has really been unfair, as traditionally the Diva Search winner would receive the favorable contest-winning contract, then later be selected for the Playboy photo shoot, which in itself is another big pay day, and then that push was then followed up with the Mania match and the subsequent WrestleMania pay day. At the end of the year that Diva Search Winner (in her Rookie year) would make far more money than the girls that had paid their dues for several years and worked more dates all year. This was obscenely unfair so at least this year all of the Diva’s will be receiving a piece of that WrestleMania pay cheque.

It’s also going be great with the addition of past Divas to the match. As bad as the “gimmick” Battle Royal was at WrestleMania 17 it was a lot of fun. Getting to stroll down memory lane is always fun and watching the ring entrances of past WWE Superstars was a highlight of that show for me. This match will offer us a bit of that as well with I think 7 or 8 past WWE Divas taking part. I haven’t heard any of the names officially yet but here are some of the past Divas I’d like to see in this match.

I’ve heard Wendi Richter’s name mentioned and I really hope she takes part. Wendi won the WWF Women’s Title at the first WrestleMania so for historical purposes she would be awesome. I would also add Madusa (Alundra Blaze) to the mix. She was in a lot of ways the precursor to Trish Stratus in that she was one of the first (if not the first) woman wrestler who was both sexy and attractive and a talented worker. I remember when Madusa first broke in and she was so far ahead of the curve back then for women’s wrestling. She was doing German Suplexes when other women where still primarily doing hair mares.

On an interesting side note Madusa wrestled on the very first wrestling show I ever attended as a fan. (Madusa if you are reading this I think I was 18 at the time so this isn’t one of those “I used to watch you when I was a kid” stories, you would have been likely only 24 back then.) She was wrestling on a show in North Bay, Ontario in late December in either 87 or 88 that featured a lot of AWA talent. I don’t remember her opponent that night but the Rockers, Wahoo McDaniel’s and Many Fernandez were also on the show.

Okay back to the Battle Royal. Going through the generations of Divas in WWF/WWE I would have included Sable, if she wasn’t pregnant with Brock’s child, but I’m guessing that rules her out. Chyna would also be a great candidate depending on her current condition. Sunny has already stated she is in and deservingly so. Trish Stratus is a no brainer, as should be Lita, and Victoria. I would also like to see Molly Holly, and Jazz added to the mix.

Okay before this gets too long to add my HOF thoughts I better get to that. I’ve been bombarded with emails asking my thoughts on Koko B. Ware being added to the 2009 HOF Induction Class, and I’ve been trying to find the right words to express my thoughts. Let me start by saying that I don’t know Koko nor have we ever met. I’m sure he is a great guy (I’ve never heard a negative word about him) and he has his place in wrestling history, as do I and everyone else who has participated in this business. That being said I do question his selection for this years HOF. I just don’t see how he fits on the same bill as the rest of the 2009 class. Steve Austin, Ricky Steamboat, Dory and Terry Funk, to me are just on a whole other level. Koko’s is not the first HOF induction I’ve questioned nor do I think it will be the last. Perhaps my view of the HOF is different than other peoples’; to me Hall of Famers are supposed to be the absolute cream of the crop. They are the names that first pop into your head when the wrestling business in mentioned. They are supposed to be the Michael Jordans, the Wayne Gretzkys, the Babe Ruths, and the Muhammad Alis, of our sport.

When fans think of that caliber of star in the wrestling business I envision them think of guys like Lou Thesz, Bruno Sammartino, Harley Race, Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Bret Hart, Steve Austin, and The Rock, to name just a few. No offense to Koko but I think fans would have to make a pretty long list before they got to Koko B. Ware’s name. I’m not saying this to be mean or because I have anything against Koko, I also think it would have to be one god-awful long list before my name ever appeared on it.

To me, there should be some pretty high standards for the HOF if induction into it is going to mean anything. I think you either need to have been a long term “face of the company” World Champion (Bruno, Hogan, Flair), A long term player, multiple Title holder, and greatly respected worker (Bret Hart, Randy Savage, Ricky Steamboat), a monumental almost historic character (Andre the Giant, The Undertaker). There should also be a place for standouts in their specific field; Bobby Heenan as a HOF manager, The Road Warriors as a HOF Tag Team, but guys like me and Koko don’t fit that bill in my opinion. We both contributed to this business, we both had our own level of success, as well as our share of loyal fans, but the names Koko B. Ware, and Lance Storm are not the first names that pop into your head when you think of Pro-Wrestling and the all time greats in our sport.

I think the HOF is a great concept and something I look forward to every year, so I think it should be protected. It needs to be limited to the truly great performers this industry has produced and inducting 8 people each year is just too many. I wish they would induct just one Superstar each year and have it more like a celebrity roast where other greats from the Inductee’s career would get up and toast the new HOFer and tell stories from their career. When Flair got in; HHH, Arn Anderson, Ricky Steamboat, Roddy Piper, Harley Race, and Dusty Rhodes could have roasted him. They could make it an entire night to celebrate the career of one of the all time greats. If they can’t fill 2 hours discussing the career of a HOF inductee that inductee didn’t have a career worthy of the Hall of Fame.

That’s my two cents, for whatever it is worth.
Lance Storm