TPFKATL PWTorch WrestleMania Marathon: WWE Hall of Fame – Class of 2005 Review
Apr 3, 2005 - 2:39:00 PM
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By Octavio Fierros, Torch Team Contributor
PWTorch WrestleMania Marathon: WWE Hall of Fame – Class of 2005 Review
I’ve attended WWE events more than 100 times and never have I experienced something like this. For those who witnessed The Hall of Fame in person must be lucky because this is probably the last time we will see Hulk Hogan in any wrestling capacity. Easily this show was ranked among my Top 10 wrestling shows I’ve ever attended. To see the legendary Hogan in person is a dream come true and I’m proud to say that this was a true mark-out moment.
Here are several observations during a great day at the WWE Hall of Fame…
- I saw Funaki with his family walking around City Walk in Universal Studios. I didn’t talk to him. It was just like five seconds and he was gone.
- I took a picture of Greg “The Hammer” Valentine after I politely asked him for one. He gladly accepted and it was one of the mark-out moments before the Hall of Fame started. Valentine was surrounded by several bodyguards.
- Doors opened at 4:45pm Pacific Time and the doors to the room opened at 5:05pm.
- The WWF History (Lonely Road of Faith) video package was updated with several superstars added. Biggest pops in order during the video: Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, Steve Austin, and Shawn Michaels.
- The first inductee was Bob Orton Jr. The fans got into it quickly with go away heat by Randy Orton. Fans booed Orton and didn’t seem to care what he was saying. When Bob came out, fans continued to be rude and kept interrupting his speech. The WWE has to do a lot of editing, since there were some wise cracks during his speech.
- The second inductee was Nikolai Volkoff. I started “USC, USC” chant when Jim Ross made his way to the stage with his Oklahoma Sooner theme song. JR heard the chants, but didn’t acknowledge them. Volkoff’s video package was excellent and revealed some wrestling scenarios that I didn’t know about. Nice touch at the end with Howard Finkel saying, “Ladies and Gentlemen, will you all rise and pay respect for the Hall of Famer Nikolai Volkoff!” Volkoff did a great job in his speech and I totally understood his accent. Strange that Volkoff’s gimmick in 1994 was not acknowledged, since that was part of his real life experience when he came to the United States in the 1960s.
- Sgt. Slaughter inducted Iron Sheik. Sheik received one of the biggest pops of the night. Slaughter said that when they came to him and asked him if he wanted to induct Sheik to the Hall of Fame, he would be honored to do it. Fans chanted, “Sheik” during his entrance to the stage. Sheik talked without taking a deep breath as he recalled his early days in wrestling. He called Hogan an “American jobronie”. Sheik started a trend with all wrestlers taking shots at Hogan, who was awaiting his entrance. Do you think Hogan will counter? When Sheik finished his speech, he realized he forgot part of his career. He continued talking and received a great laugh by the crowd. Great reaction to the former WWF Champion.
- One of my favorite moments of the Hall of Fame came when Bobby Heenan inducted Mr. Wonderful. Heenan kept getting interrupted by the crowd, especially yours truly. During Heenan’s speech, a fan yelled, “Weasel” and Heenan replied, “Yeah, I know.” When Heenan was ready to introduce Mr. Wonderful, I interrupted him with a “Heenan fears Hogan” remark. Heenan stopped and said that he was rudely interrupted before introducing Wonderful. I wouldn’t recognize Wonderful due to his new haircut. He thanked his family, the WWE, for the great memories.
- Jerry Lawler was next to induct his close friend Jimmy Hart. At this point, all wise cracks and interruptions were just about over. There were some, but not as much as the first four inductees. Lawler gave a great story on how Hart started in the music and wrestling business. Lawler said he might the right decision staying with the wrestling business. Jimmy Hart came out and thanked everyone for giving him an opportunity. Good to see Hart acknowledge Eric Bischoff, who was instrumental in his success with Hogan during his WCW days. Hart thanked every wrestler who was managed by him and The Hart Foundation received a great pop.
- Ric Flair gave the best speech as he had the crowd in the palm of his hands. Flair knew how the fans would react if he was to talk for 20 minutes, so he asked them for an approval on giving away insider stories about Roddy Piper. Fans approved as they listened to the great stories. Flair delivers on the mic like no other in professional wrestling. Piper came out and said that he hopes that HBO is not here. Piper made a “hair reference” joke on Hogan, as he is the only one who can talk about that, I guess. Piper silenced the crowd with his career telling story. Piper looked better than the last time he was in the WWE, which was in 2003.
- Sylvester Stallone was next to induct Hulk Hogan. Stallone received several “Rocky” chants. When Hogan came out, they gave him a 10-minute standing ovation. Definitely the biggest pop of the night for Hogan. If Hogan was given 24 hours to say his career in-depth, he would be standing there forever. Hogan got back at Sheik for his remarks. He acknowledged his family. They showed Brooke on the screen and male fans reacted. “She’s only 16, guys!” Hogan said. Hogan went from WrestleMania III when he slammed Andre the Giant to his days in WCW and thanked Eric Bischoff. Fans booed, but Hogan said that both men earned millions together. Hogan’s wife Linda came on stage and recalled when they met in a restaurant. The Hogan family gave him a nice present with his old Hulkamania memorabilia.
I will add more to this exciting weekend in-depth tomorrow during my In-person WrestleMania Weekend Festivities.
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