WWE HOF 2015

March 29, 2015

I'm just going to offer a few quick thoughts on the WWE HOF, which I watched live last night. For those who are wondering I had maybe 3 short moments where the stream froze on my iPad but I closed the player and started it again and it immediately continued playing. Other than those 3 instances, during Johnny Ace's speech the stream was crystal clear and seamless.

The show went very long, 4 hours is just so long for a speech driven show. I'm not suggesting shortening anyone's time, this is a once in a life time opportunity for these people and they deserve the chance to say their piece. I think to keep this show to a manageable length the HOF class needs to be kept to a maximum of 4 to 6 people. With inductor and inductee doing speeches 8 to 12 speeches is more than enough for one evening.

I didn't take any notes and I wasn't planning on doing a review so this is going to be all from memory and I'm realizing now that I have far fewer memories of the last few inductees, which I think is a reflection on the long show more than the calibre of their speeches. There seems to be two different types of speeches at these events. There are the heartfelt, talking about history, and their career speeches and the entertainment speeches that I suspect are written by WWE writers. While at times the entertainment stuff is funny, that is not what I want from a HOF speech, so those speeches will be more easily forgotten by me.

The Usos: This felt like a speech written to be entertaining, rather than 2 guys speaking from the heart about their dad. It was fairly short and fine but that's about it. I suspect most of the guys on the current roster where either out right given speeches or told what they were supposed to talk about.

Rikishi: I would have liked Rikishi to talk more about his lengthy career. He talked about the Samoan Dynasty and his family but very little about the history of his own career. With the heavy emphasis on the dancing, stink facing, Rikishi part of his career, I was shocked and disappointed he did not even mention Scotty 2 Hotty or Brian Christopher. 2 Cool was such a big part of getting Rikishi over in that gimmick, that over looking them came off very disrespectful IMO. Closing the speech with the 2 Cool dance just drew more attention to the omission.

Bruno Sammartino: I love Bruno so I likely enjoyed this speech more than others. I was DMing with a friend of mine during the show and that was certainly the case with her. I think Bruno recapping his feud with Larry as if it were real threw people a bit, it did me. This felt like it came from the heart so I enjoyed it.

Larry Zbyszko: Larry was well on his way to having the speech of the night and then he lost his train of thought. Larry is a great talker and his speech was absolutely fantastic until he just stopped. He circled the wagons a couple times but he didn't have any notes, and when he did wrap up you could tell it would have been a 15 out of 10 calibre speech had he not gotten lost. As it was it was still really good but it wasn't as great as it could have been. He had a great story to tell and you could tell it meant a lot to him, it's a shame it got jumbled in the middle, and wasn't the grand slam home run it could have been. Since I'm into the baseball analogy I'll give Mr. Zbyszko a stand up triple.

Natalya: Again a main roster person and it felt like she was giving the speech WWE wanted. I really didn't like the constant emphasis on "Alundra" (I'm going to call her Madusa from here on out) throwing the WWE Title in the trash. It was such a small part of her career and I wanted to hear about everything else.

Madusa: I'm probably a little partial here, because I've been a huge Madusa Miceli fan for a long long time, she was on the first live wrestling event I ever attended, but I thought she had the speech of the night. She talked about her career. She talked about breaking in with Eddie Sharky, paying dues, making it to the AWA, going to Japan, etc. all of the stuff that makes her a worthy HOFer. She got choked up several times and had people on the verge of tears. Putting over her time in Japan and doing part of her speech in Japanese, was the home-run part of the speech for me. Talking about her husband getting to be there was so emotional, as was showing respect to all service men and woman. Pointing out that she has been a World Champion in 2 Male dominated sports, was powerful, and hopefully inspirational to a lot girls around the world. Then we got to the WWE portion of her speech where they brought out the trash can. I'd have been happier if they hadn't done this part but I guess WWE wanted it done, so it was done.

Dana Warrior: Dana went very long but this award is to honour her late husband, and with its introduction she deserves however much time she wants to speak from the heart and say her piece. I thought she did a pretty damn good job of holding it together. The Connor story is enough to make most people break down and she's also had to deal with the memory of losing her husband last year. Hat's off to her.

Daniel Bryan: This speech needed to be sponsored by Kleenex because everyone watching was in need of a tissue to dry their eyes after this one. Daniel Bryan came off like the realest, nicest man on the planet here and this was so emotional and touching. Excellent

Steve Michalek: This guy did a good job of holding it together too, but as a detached person who has never met him or his son, this whole presentation just went too long and I have to admit my brain tuned out for his speech. I feel like a terrible person for saying this but after seeing that great video, the Dana speech, and the Daniel Brian speech, the story had been told, I'd shed all of my tears, and I was as sad as I wanted to be on this night. I wanted to go back to enjoying me evening.

Johnny Ace: Unfortunately the crowd took this speech down a fair bit. There was a great story here to be told with Johnny getting his start with Luke and Butch and I wanted to hear it all but the crowd was giving "Big Johnny" a bit of a hard time which took distracted from the point Johnny was trying to make.

The Bushwhackers: Putting these guys after the Warrior Award was brilliant. The crowd needed to be brought back up and these guys were a lot of fun and very entertaining. I don't remember a damn thing either of them said, but I remember laughing along and enjoying it. Very reminiscent of their Bushwhacker run in fact; I doubt anyone remembers a single specific match they had during their WWE run but everyone remembers having fun and enjoying them.

Ric Flair: This was where the people in the back obviously realized they were going way over on time and started asking people to cut it short. This was the shortest speech Ric has likely ever delivered. It was good, but way too short to be memorable.

Tatsumi Fujinami: This was super short and Fujinami's English was very limited. I'm a big fan of Japanese wrestling so I'm a big fan of Fujinami's and was disappointed with how short this was. My friend suggested it might have been better if they let him speak in Japanese and just subtitled him, which I would have been totally fine with.

Hulk Hogan: This was good but felt a bit rushed. I'm not sure if Hulk was pressed to hurry up or whether he didn't want to stay out there too long for fear it would seem like he's making it more about himself. Without Randy to follow him, this was likely for the best because Lanny Poffo following Hulk Hogan can't be easy.

Lanny Poffo: This was way better than I expected. I've never been a fan of Lanny and his poetry so, to be honest, I was dreading this. I was very pleasantly surprised; I thought Lanny did a really good job and the way he used his poems worked very well. It's just such a shame Randy wasn't able to be there and accept this himself. I would have loved more of a career recap talking about his road to the WWE in particular, but having someone else tell that story probably wouldn't have worked. Randy had one of those careers where you could have done an entire HOF ceremony just for him and done it like a roast where guys all give speeches talking about their time with Randy. Jerry Lawler could have talked about the Outlaw promotional feud in Memphis, leading to their singles program; Ricky Steamboat talking about their famed IC Title program leading to Mania III; Hulk Hogan talking the Mega Powers program, as well as their time in WCW; Ric Flair their title feuds in both WWE an WCW; and close with Lanny speaking from the heart about Randy the person and his dedication to the Special Olympics. At the end of the day the important thing is that The Macho Man is in his rightful place in the WWE Hall of Fame. Thank you Lanny for proving me wrong and doing such a great job.

Triple H: This is where I was starting to get tired, and going into a Celebrity Induction this late made it even harder. Comedy and humour aren't the first things you think of when you think of HHH but this guy has great timing and is really funny, so I enjoyed this. I am not an Arnold fan however so this late in the night I was really just looking forward to getting to our final induction.

Arnold Schwarzenegger: As I mentioned I'm not a fan of Arnolds so I didn't pay that much attention to this speech. Don't get me wrong I was a big fan of his as a kid, but I can't continue to look at people through naive childhood eyes so I am not a fan today. I have been accused of being "Holier than Thou" on more than one occasion, and perhaps this is a case of that, but I don't judge anyone by any higher a standard than I judge myself, and I do not consider this man a role model. I won't go into this any more than that, everyone can make up their own minds and look up to whoever they wish.

Shawn Michaels: Shawn was very funny and real entertaining, which should surprise no one. Shawn gave just enough here to be entertaining and great without over shadowing or trying to steal the spot light. This was very good.

Kevin Nash: Kev is a really funny guy in person, so I was expecting this to be more, light hearted but it ended up more heartfelt. It's his HOF speech so he can do what he wants. He did bring up and mention Oz, which gave everyone a good laugh. This was pretty subdued and not overly long, so while I enjoyed it, I don't remember much about it. The show closed with the big Kliq celebration on stage, so I guess we still have Xpac and HHH to go before the whole Kliq gets in.

Well so much for a few quick thoughts. I guess like the HOF Ceremony itself, I went a little long. If you didn't see the HOF it's worth checking out and is of course available on the WWE Network as are all past HOF Ceremonies. Congrats to everyone who was inducted into the WWE HOF Class of 2015.

Lance Storm


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