WWE TV Shows - Other CALDWELL'S WWE HALL OF FAME REPORT 4/5: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of HOF ceremony & Red Carpet
Apr 6, 2014 - 9:53:53 AM
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WWE Hall of Fame Report
April 5, 2014
New Orleans, La.
Aired on WWE Network
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor
Red Carpet Coverage - 7:00 p.m. CST
- Michael Cole and Maria Menounos, both undefeated at WrestleMania, were positioned at a podium just off the floor of the Smoothie King Center to host a "red carpet" Hall of Fame introduction. In the background, wrestlers posed on the floor while Cole and Maria introduced the HOF show. Renee Young and Byron Saxton were introduced as field correspondents from elsewhere on the floor.
- Renee interviewed an out-of-character Roman Reigns, then Byron interviewed The Miz along with Maryse while fellow French-Canadian Pat Patterson hung out in the background behind Maryse. Miz's interview was cut off for ... Hulk Hogan, who was with Renee. Hogan was joined by his wife Jennifer, daughter Brooke, son Nick, and manager Jimmy Hart to hype his WrestleMania hosting gig.
- Next, Byron interviewed Pat Patterson. Pat said he used to think the Hall of Fame was gaga, but now it feels real to the wrestlers. Back to Renee, who was with WWE World Hvt. champion Randy Orton. Orton started with a compliment for Renee, which produced an uncomfortable look from Orton's date. Orton called the legends "old-timers," then got serious about this year's HOF class. Orton said he wants to hear Ultimate Warrior's speech because he didn't come out for rehearsals. So, not even Vince McMahon knows what he's going to say, according to Orton.
- Back to Cole and Maria, who brought in Fandango and Summer Rae. Fandango was in-character as a flamboyant dancer, then momentarily dropped the act to discuss his victory over Chris Jericho last year at WM29.
- Byron Saxton brought in WWE tag champions The Usos for an interview. Uso's wife, Naomi, hyped Lita's Hall of Fame induction this year. On a split-screen, Roddy Piper was shown arriving. Renee then brought in Booker T and Sharmell. Booker said he's a ladies's man, so he's looking forward to seeing Lita's induction.
- Cole and Maria brought in Dolph Ziggler to hype the Andre the Giant battle royal on Sunday. And Maria's new reality show. The discussion shifted to the Hall of Fame.
- Renee Young brought in Roddy Piper to discuss Mr. T being inducted into the "celebrity ward" of the Hall of Fame. Piper said he wants to hear what Mr. T has to say. Off to Saxton, who brought in Alicia Fox. Fox talked up Lita's induction.
- Cole and Maria brought in Jerry Lawler, who asked how he didn't get asked to host the red carpet hosting gig. Lawler, with his girlfriend, said he should have been hosting with Maria while Cole sat off in the corner. Lawler added that he wants to hear Warrior's speech, then discussed his HOF induction in Detroit several years ago.
- Back to Renee, who brought in Tyson Kidd, Natalya, and more female Hart family members. Without referring to crazy Teddy Hart by name, Kidd said he hopes he doesn't crash the Hall of Fame with his cat. Natalya then named Teddy Hart by name, surprisingly.
- Saxton brought in Tamina to discuss her father Jimmy Snuka's legacy and the overall Hall of Fame. On a split screen, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin was shown arriving. Saxton then brought in The Rock's mother, who said she hopes to see Rock inducted into the Hall of Fame one day.
- Cole and Maria brought in Big Show, who towered over both of them. Show joked that he stole the circus on the way to the Hall of Fame, then hyped the Andre Battle Royal. Show said a lot of fans are pulling for him to win, setting up a big heat transfer when a heel eliminates him to win.
- Renee brought in "Stone Cold" Steve Austin for the next interview. Austin said he's really looking forward to John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt tomorrow night, then hyped Undertaker and Brock Lesnar. Austin said he would personally like to see Taker win. He noted he arrived in New Orleans on Thursday, recorded some Steve Austin Show podcasts, ate some cajun food, and hung out with the fans. Renee brought up Austin refereeing Michael Cole in his singlet at WM27 to wrap up the interview.
- Saxton brought in Cody Rhodes and his wife, Brandi Rhodes. Cody talked up his father, Dusty Rhodes's, induction, then noted the HOF speeches help motivate the stars of today to reach that level.
- Cole and Maria brought in Alberto Del Rio, who was with his small son and other family members. Del Rio hyped WM30, then his nephew talked about the Hall of Fame. Del Rio closed by saying he hopes to be inducted to the HOF one day.
- Renee brought in "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan. Meanwhile, John Cena was shown arriving with Nikki Bella on a split-screen. Hacksaw hyped "Legends House" debuting on the Network later this month, noting that Piper was his roommate. He called Tony Atlas a pain in the butt, then hyped the HOF class. Duggan noted Jake Roberts was the head usher at his wedding 25 years ago. As for WM30, he wants to see Taker vs. Lesnar.
- Saxton brought in Zeb Colter, who hyped his facial hair. Zeb then got serious about New Orleans being a great wrestling town. He hyped inductions for Razor, Jake, and Carlos Colon from his Puerto Rico career. Zeb was interrupted by a "We The People" chant in the background as Cesaro showed up off-camera. Meanwhile, "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase was shown arriving, which should make for some interesting camera shots during Warrior's induction.
- John Cena and Nikki were with Cole and Maria. Cena hyped the "interesting speeches" tonight. Nikki and Maria then tried to make nice. Cole interrupted to throw to Cena discussing the historic nature of the Hall of Fame. Cena hyped his WM30 match against Bray Wyatt as Dusty Rhodes, then Triple H & Stephanie McMahon were shown arriving on a split-screen.
- Saxton brought in Cesaro to discuss learning from the Hall of Fame class. Asked about Ultimate Warrior, Cesaro said he thinks it would have been a great style mix of raw power vs. power and finesse.
- Cole and Maria brought in Hunter and Stephanie. Stephanie said the Hall of Fame is one of her favorite nights of the year. She called it a true celebration, then Hunter hyped Hulk Hogan hosting WM30 and Warrior being inducted into the Hall of Fame. Hunter said the biggest night for him is the HOF because he's a history buff.
- Renee Young was with Santino, sporting a full beard. Santino brought in his family, then Renee demonstrated a Twitter Mirror gadget on the floor. Basically, it's a fancy version of Mac's Photo Booth program.
- Saxton brought in Arn Anderson, who appears to have gained significant weight. Anderson hyped the Hall of Fame growing into a huge event. He added that if you're a young talent in this business, this is what you aspire to do.
- Cole and Maria brought in Bruno Sammartino next. Cole said Bruno is the reason why he is in WWE, then brought up Bruno's new life-size statue of Bruno that will be "in the Hall of Fame." Wherever the Hall of Fame exists. Suddenly, loud "Yes!" chants broke out. WWE cut to Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella arriving before returning to Cole's interview with Bruno. "Daniel Bryan" chants in the background as Bruno hyped the WWE Title match and Lesnar vs. Taker match tomorrow night.
- Renee brought in Bryan and Brie, noting the arena went crazy when Bryan showed up. Brie talked up Lita's Hall of Fame speech, then Bryan talked up how busy Mania Week is before the actual WrestleMania PPV. Bryan said it should be the night of his life. Brie noted they've been able to hydrate throughout the week, get in their work-outs, and escape to their hotel room to digest for Sunday. Bryan said he hopes they both walk out tomorrow as champions.
- Cole and Maria spoke from the Hall of Fame stage. Back to Saxton, who brought in MDM Ted DiBiase. Saxton asked DiBiase about being inducted into the Hall of Fame. DiBiase said it's a very humbling experience being recognized by his peers. He said one of the things he loves about Mania Week is the Fan Axxess event when fans tell him their stories. DiBiase noted his long wrestling history in New Orleans to wrap up.
- Renee Young brought in Zack Ryder. Ryder hyped Jake, Warrior, and Razor Ramon, then noted he's prepared for the Andre Battle Royal. He said to win it would be getting his career back on track.
- Cole and Maria spoke from the stage again. Maria hyped being a Warrior fan back in the day, then Cole and Maria talked Jake Roberts memories. Back to Saxton, who brought in a sharp-looking Sgt. Slaughter. Slaughter said he's anticipating the "Ultimate Puke" Ultimate Warrior's speech, adding that he hopes he left the ego at home.
- Renee Young brought in Damien Sandow. A subdued Sandow said the Hall of Fame is great because they get to pay honor to the likes of Scott Hall (not Razor Ramon) and Carlos Colon, who he worked with early in his career.
- Saxton brought in Mick Foley. Foley said he remembers how special the Hall of Fame was for him last year, then cheap-popped New Orleans. Foley said he hopes WWE doesn't cut to him during Jake's speech because he doesn't want people to see him crying. Asked for one word to describe tonight, Foley said, "Undescribable."
- Back to Cole and Maria for a final plug for the 2014 Hall of Fame up next.
2014 Hall of Fame Coverage - 8:00 p.m. CST
The Network special started with a photo slideshow and dramatic music introducing this year's HOF class. The video noted the Hall of Fame started with Andre the Giant and now includes icons, legends, and larger-than-life personalities who "defined their time and re-defined the future of WWE." The slideshow stopped on Eddie Guerrero. Tonight, the 2014 HOF class takes their place in history.
Live inside the arena, Jerry Lawler was introduced as the HOF ceremony host. Lawler opened by saying tonight will be a celebration. He then fed to an historical WrestleMania video package set to Kid Rock's music. The video turned into the WWE propaganda video that usually plays at live events.
Back in the arena, Lawler said it will be a celebration on Sunday. He then hyped their first inductee, a high-flying, extreme Diva. The video package on Lita included comments from Divas champion A.J. Lee noting Lita inspired her to become a Diva. Also included were soundbytes from Natalya, Naomi, Kofi Kingston, Michael Cole, Trish Stratus, Summer Rae, and Michael Hayes.
Induction #1 - Lita
- Trish Stratus was introduced as Lita's inductor. Trish reminisced on being "maid of honor" for Lita's fake WWE TV wedding, then noted that "Amy" is the godmother of her child, so perhaps it's fitting that their career destinies continue today. Trish recalled their careers starting and ending around the same time, then flashed back to when they main-evented Raw.
Trish said Lita was relatable to the female audience, then went back to Lita's run with Team Xtreme. She said the cool thing about Amy in that group was she was an equal one-third, not just an accessory. No mention of Jeff and Matt Hardy by name. Trish then noted she and Lita go together so well and she's a "pretty awesome chick." Trish talked up Lita's personal life, then brought out Amy Dumas.
- Lita said she's super into this moment. "Thank you, Lita" chant from the crowd. Lita flashed back to the beginning of her career when she went down to Mexico. She told a travel agent that she wanted to find Lucha Libre, but the agent didn't know how to help her. She ended up on a one-way ticket to Mexico City. Lita said the airline said don't travel unless you have official business. Lita thought to herself that she had business to become a professional wrestler.
Once in Mexico, Lita said she found the Lucha Libre show at Arena Mexico. There was a dirt floor, three rings, and nothing like she expected. But, it was for a circus. So, she found another wrestling show. Lita said she was on the front row next to a lady who had not missed a show in 35 years. She ended up in the commentator's booth, then went back to her floor seat to watch Lucha Libre. Lita said they can all relate because it's the same feeling at WM30 tomorrow. "That's what hooked me. That bonding right there watching it happen," she said.
Lita continued that she ended up with a Lucha mask on her first day part of CMLL. The crowd got mad about something, which PWTorch specialist Ben Tucker noted is because the Titantron keeps switching from the HOF logo to Lita. Back to Lita, who said she was wow'ed by Rey Mysterio in Mexico. Back in the U.S., Lita recalled she went looking for Rey Mysterio, but found Arn Anderson. So, Arn made sure Lita met Rey before she left. Lita said the caveat was Lita owed Anderson a Miller Lite.
So, 20 years later, Trish re-emerged with a Miller Lite for Anderson and Rey. Arn took both, then Arn walked across the floor to share one with Rey. Arn and Rey toasted Lita. Lita then continued her speech about starting out in the U.S. on the independents. Lita referenced ECW, which produced an obligatory "E-C-Dub" chant. She noted Danny Doring proposed to her on TV with a condom, then went through her odd WWE TV relationships with Edge and Kane.
Lita then recalled breaking her neck during a TV shoot for James Cameron. Lita noted she went back home, which was a house show in Amarillo, Texas, where she felt safe again. But, she was told she needed to visit a hospital right away. Lita said a doctor told her she could be paralyzed if she made one false move. And her career was over. But, Lita decided to talk to "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, who was shown on the front row next to Jim Ross for a big pop. Lita said Stone Cold basically saved her career.
Lita said reflecting on these stories has made her think this is all crazy. She thanked everyone for seeing something in her early on. Tommy Dreamer and Victoria (recently Tara in TNA) were shown in the crowd during the shout-outs. Luna Vachon, Manami Toyota, Terry Taylor, Dr. Tom, and J.R. got shout-outs. "Mick James" was next, then Essa Rios and Team Xtreme. Lita referenced the Hardys, Dudleys, and Edge & Christian by name. Christian was shown in the crowd for a pop.
Lita thanked the production crew, then her "bestie" Trish Stratus and her family. Lita moved to the punk rock scene. She encouraged everyone to find their Lucha Libre, punk rock, and professional wrestling to close her good, but lengthy opening speech at 8:45 p.m.
Induction #2 - Jake Roberts
- The introductory video package included a past soundbyte from Vince McMahon on Jake Roberts having "such great range," plus soundbytes from Jerry Lawler, Hulk Hogan, Paul Heyman, and JBL.
- Lawler introduced Diamond Dallas Page to induct Roberts. Page said he cannot express how proud, humbled, and honored to be here tonight. He said there's divine intervention because it's his 58th birthday and he couldn't have asked for a better present than to see not only one, but two of his boys in the Hall of Fame tonight. DDP thanked Triple H.
Page said without Dusty Rhodes, there is no DDP. He thanked Dusty for mentoring him, then noted his other mentor, Jake Roberts, taught him the art of pro wrestling. Page noted he got fired from WCW 20 years ago, but Dusty and Jake believed in him. Page said Kimberly agreed for Jake to stay in their house, but only if no snakes were in the house. So, Jake taught Page the art of wrestling.
Page recalled hearing wild, crazy laughter downstairs, found Jake in his room with a 12-foot black cobra, and realized it was Kimberly laughing. Page then noted he got booked in Asia, went to high-five Jake, and Jake told him there's big problems - the snake is gone. So, they found the cobra by the vanity in the bedroom. Jake said the cobra just needed to chill out and he'll come back in the morning. "Jake came back three days later," Page recalled to laughs.
Page choked up as he recalled working on paying back Jake's generosity with his knowledge of the wrestling business. Page noted everything Jake did in and out of the ring had purpose. Page referenced Jake's feuds with Ricky Steamboat, Rick Rude, and Randy Savage that will go down as some of the greatest in history.
About 18 months ago, DDP recalled started another journey with Jake where they lived together. "A wild roller-coaster," he said. Page said their big fantasy dream was to somehow, someway be on this stage on this very night. "We're here. Thank you, God," he said. Page said dreams can come true if you're willing to put the work in. DDP then proudly presented his mentor, friend, brotha, prodigal son, the one and only Jake "the Snake" Roberts.
- Jake and DDP embraced on-stage and shared a moment before Jake collected himself, paced the stage, pointed to his HOF ring, and pounded his chest. "Thank you, Jake" chant from the crowd. Jake cleared his throat and comically said he's all of a sudden forgotten what he was going to say.
Jake said he's always loved professional wrestling. And he's always hated ties. And he's always loved the men that did professional wrestling because they're special men; a breed of their own. WWE cut to the Hogans on the front row and John Cena elsewhere. Jake referenced Hiro Matsuda, Fritz Von Erich, Bruno Sammartino, and more having such love for what they do.
Jake said he hated wrestling because his father wrestled and he never saw him. So, he figured it was wrestling's fault that he never had a moment with him. But, that wasn't the truth; it was the man. Jake said he could never understand his dad's desire to be a wrestler, but he did the same thing. "I walked away from the responsibilities of raising a family because I fell in love with something called wrestling," he said.
Jake continued that when you get in the ring and control all of those emotions in the crowd, make a child smile, make an old woman try to cut you, and make a young girl flash a smile, there's nothing like it. Jake rapped about being able to make the crowd dance, then said you can't understand that high until you've done it. Jake said he's 58, but he's not going to lie like Dallas. "He's at least 60," he said to laugh.
Jake said at 58, it hurts because he can't play anymore. He said he could still do a little something, get a few cheers, and DDT someone. Jake said Steamboat has one coming for him, then backed away when Ricky stood up. "You still got it" chant, which made Jake choke up. "No, you're wrong," he said with a grin. "My heart and my mind still want it." He added, "But, it reaches the point where you can't do it justice."
Jake went through his health and emotional issues that led him down alcoholism to medicate the pain. Not so much from the ring, but the pain sharing it with your family. Jake said you can't look your woman in the eyes anymore, you're tired of lying to your children, and you don't want to carry on. "Your career is gone and all you have in your heart is shame and pain," he said. So, what do you have left? Not much. And if you're alone, you make bad choices. Like wanting to be one of those wrestlers who didn't make it. Jake recalled being angry that he didn't die like his colleagues. He said he didn't want to commit suicide. But, for some reason, one person stuck a hand out. And that person was Diamond Dallas Page.
Jake said he was doing drugs every day and didn't want to live. But, if you know DDP, no one is as stubborn or positive as he is. "Dallas saved my life. I know that," he said. Jake said he is so grateful that he saved it. And he used the fans during that process. Jake said he had a shoulder injury, so DDP got him signed up for the fans to help pay for his surgery. "It woke me up," Jake said. "Somebody does care."
Jake continued that he was given a great amount of talent from God and he used some of it, but wasted a lot of it. Tonight, he is so happy because he has some special people here called family. Jake said he has a hero. His hero is 18 months old. Jake's family produced his 18-month-old grandson, who Jake said weighed 1.8 pounds when he was born. He told Vince McMahon to get his writers ready because this kid will be at WM50. Jake then asked for his family to stand up in the crowd. Jake said they gave him a second chance, and so did WWE. "Thank you very much," he closed. Amazing speech.
- Before the next speech, the "comedown segment" was Hornswoggle and El Torito doing a skit that led to Torito crotching Jerry Lawler. The crowd boo'ed the "WWE comedy" bit.
Induction #3 - Mr. T
- "Mean" Gene Okerlund was introduced as Mr. T's Hall of Fame inductor. Gene said he doesn't want to say time is marching on, but two men with a shovel were chasing him down in the parking lot.
Gene got serious introducing his close, personal, long-time friend, Mr. T. He flashed back to just about 30 years ago for WrestleMania 1. Gene referenced Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper, and Paul Orndorff in the main event, with "Ace" Bob Orton in the corner. WWE showed Bob in the audience next to Randy Orton. Gene said tomorrow is going to be one to remember, then noted "Stone Cold" Steve Austin knows what he means.
Gene listed some more accomplishments, then introduced Mr. T's son, T Junior. Jr. said it is his greatest pleasure to present his father, Mr. T.
- Mr. T hugged his son on-stage, then took the podium with a few pages of notes. Mr. T thanked the crowd and said he is so happy to be here standing among the very best in 'rasslin. He paused to pray and thank God for how he has blessed him. Mr. T read a prayer to God, which drew cheers and applause.
Mr. T thanked his mom for her patience and understanding, then said he hopes to not bore everyone. He said his upbringing is not different than many others, but hopes a way-ward teenager will hear his speech and find the straight path. Mr. T thanked his mom for raising a dozen children by herself, and with the help of God. "With God, all things are possible," he said.
Mr. T noted he was the baby child, grew up around drugs, but they were never in him because his brothers and sisters respected their mom. Mr. T referenced a Proverbs, then noted underneath the mohawk, tough-talking persona, and rhyming is an old-fashioned momma's boy who loves his mother very much. Mr. T said her mom had to work for two when he was in the womb. Mr. T got choked up, then said for every hour of pain she endured in labor, God said she is due credits.
Back in 1984, Mr. T recorded a song titled "Treat your mother right." He said he dedicated that song to his mother because he wanted his mother to know that he loves her every day, not just on her birthday, Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, or Christmas, but that he loves his mother on President's Day, Election Day, Labor Day, Independence Day, Columbus Day, Earth Day, Memorial Day (what?), Flag Day (what?), Groundhog Day (what?), April Fools Day (what?), New Year's, St. Patrick's Day, and even on Father's Day. Stone Cold had a big laugh on the front row.
Mr. T waited out an applause, then the crowd shouted "Yes! Yes! Yes!," which drew a reaction shot from Daniel Bryan. Mr. T thanked the crowd, then comically said he's just trying to tell them how he feels about his mother. The crowd responded with a "This is awesome" chant. Mr. T thanked his mother for raising him in the ghetto, but he comes from good stock and the good fruit doesn't fall too far from the tree. Mr. T referenced Jesus's speech in Luke that the tree is known by the fruit that it bears. Mr. T said it's not where you come from, but where you're going. He said they were poor financially, but rich spiritually because their mom taught them good values.
Mr. T said he was taught to respect his elders, don't talk back to teachers, and not hang with the wrong crowd. He said his mom taught him that if you want something, work hard and save your money. Mr. T said when they needed to be disciplined, she pulled out the big strap and whipped them. And when he got sick, his mother never left his side. Mr. T said when he was nine-years-old, he drew a picture of a house. The picture was of him as a football player and a boxer. He said he vowed to buy her a big house and pretty dresses. Mr. T said he did buy her that house and dresses.
Mr. T continued that he wanted his mother to know that her love comforted him, was like a blanket on a cold Chicago night, and his mother's love was stronger than any peer pressure from the streets. He said that Jesus said in John that if you love me, you will keep your commandments. Mr. T said he loved his mother too much to disrespect her.
Mr. T thanked his seven big brothers for setting a good example for him. He said they didn't drink, smoke, or do drugs. They played football, boxed, wrestled, and ran track. He said three brothers joined the Army, one joined the Marines, and they never joined a gang. Mr. T said they were rough and tough around the edges and they were no angels, but they were not criminals. One of his brother became a police officer, another a fireman.
Mr. T said his daughter cannot be here tonight because she is studying for her Doctorate's degree. He then thanked his son, T Junior, who received his Master's degree. Suddenly, Kane's music played. Kane walked out on-stage to confront Mr. T, who extended his hand for a shake, but Kane walked to the back. Mr. T said apparently his time is up, then graciously said "sorry" on the way out as Hogan and Co. stood up on the front row to applaud him.
- After a transition video played, Jerry Lawler tried to make the save for the abrupt, borderline rude ending by saying he thinks they can all agree that Mr. T's mother is awesome. Lawler then introduced Kane for the next induction.
Induction #4 - Paul Bearer
- As Kane walked to the podium, WWE cut to the Hall of Fame video package on Paul Bearer. Included were soundbytes from Vince McMahon, Big E., and Jerry Lawler.
Back live, Kane said he hated to run off Mr. T, but all that talk about Mr. T's momma made him miss his daddy. Kane then told Bill Moody's story. He referenced Robert Gibson and Michael Hayes also growing up in the wrestling business with Moody. Kane said in one of the great ironies of their business, Paul Bearer was a mortician in real life.
Kane said Moody made his in-ring debut as Mr. X. That didn't work, so he became a manager as Percival Pringle III. Then, in 1990, Moody joined the WWF as The Undertaker's manager. And Paul Bearer was born. For years, Taker dominated WWE until Bearer turned on him to try to take down his creation with the likes of Vader and Mankind. Suddenly, there was a deep, dark secret from Taker's past, which of course, "was me."
Kane said he thinks the Taker-Kane storyline was the best saga WWE has done. But, it could not have been done without Bearer. He noted that when it was revealed that he was Bearer's son, Bearer regularly reminded him who his daddy was. Then, one day, Bearer asked him to drive them to the building. Kane said he was trying to be as discreet as possible (since his character had not developed into a regular person) when suddenly Paul popped up and declared that it was a miracle: "Kane can drive!"
Kane said he is forever grateful for Paul Bearer. He said Bearer's run eventually ended, but he returned from time to time, which always ended in his demise. Kane referenced Bearer's involvement with the Cauliflower Alley Club and D.J. Pringle role on independent shows. Kane said Moody died last year and joined his beloved wife, Diana, in their eternal rest. He said Bearer had a final WWE role playing a part in The Undertaker's WM29 match last year. Kane offered a flowery take on the controversial angle that it was a fitting ending to his career on the biggest stage of them all.
- Bearer's sons, Michael and Daniel Moody, were introduced to accept the Hall of Fame on Bill's behalf. They comically asked each other if they know who their daddy is.
Michael said they cannot leave until this final thing is said: "Oooooh yes." Suddenly, The Undertaker's bell tolled and Taker emerged on-stage dressed in his Taker gear and holding an urn, making his first Hall of Fame appearance. Taker looked toward the "In Memory" for Paul Bearer on the big screen, then knelt down and raised the urn toward the screen. The video faded to a WM30 video package.
Induction #5 - Razor Ramon/Scott Hall
- Jerry Lawler introduced Kevin Nash to induct Hall/Razor. The NWO theme played to bring out Nash, who looked down to the front row to greet the dignitaries. Nash said the Bible says ... pause for laughs ... that gray hair is a sign of wisdom. And he knows there are a lot of guys sitting in front of him who will be bouncing around in the ring tomorrow night, so Hall told him, "Big man, speed it up."
Nash said he got the call from WWF to leave behind the prestigious Vinny Vegas gimmick ... to become Shawn Michaels's bodyguard. Nash said Michaels was working with Razor/Hall and he got to watch two of the greats of all-time in the ring from ringside. He also got to watch it inside the car as they talked out their plans.
Nash said Razor had worked with Michaels, and now he had to work with the Jolly Green Giant and draw money with him. Nash described Scott as a mentor to him and still worked with him after he cut him in half with elbows that only Stan Hansen could appreciate. He said the three of them spent 300 days per year on the road and they shared a room, which was because no one liked them.
Nash reflected on the impact from Michaels, who put him on the beach, and Hall, who kept him there. He said he didn't think anything would be more emotional than watching Michaels enter the HOF, but he was wrong because this is very emotional for him. He said he's putting in another one of his brothers tonight, then introduced Razor Ramon.
- Hall/Razor emerged on-stage with the Bellas, who helped him glide into position for an Outsider's electric slide. Hall, dressed in an NWO white and black suit and looking very tanned, threw up the Wolfpack signal, then tossed a toothpick toward the on-stage camera for a cheer. Hall smiled and surveyed the crowd. "Hey yo!" he said.
Hall said he fell in love with pro wrestling at a young age, then said that no matter how his life was going in the real world, when he stepped through the curtain, he had a certain amount of power in the ring. Later in his life, as his career developed, when asked how he was doing, the standard response was: "Better than you, chico."
Hall said he learned that when he stepped through the curtain, he learned about the power of a relationship with the audience. He thanked the wrestling fans here and all the fans watching around the world. "Thank you, Razor" chant from the crowd. Hall continued that he's had the luxury of wrestling with and against some great talent. He thanked those individuals. Hall got choked up.
Hall continued that he's learned that hard work pays off and dreams come true. "Bad times don't last... but Bad Guys do," he said in conclusion. The Razor Ramon theme played, then Hall posed on the podium. Suddenly, Shawn Michaels and Sean Waltman emerged on-stage. Triple H and Kevin Nash followed him to share a moment on the stage. The five of them posed for the crowd, then Michaels and Hall embraced.
- Before Lawler could introduce the next inductee, Bad News Barrett interrupted to a pop from the international fans. Barrett said as he looks out before him to survey a bunch of Superstars, he wants them to soak up this feeling because it is the closest these pathetic wannabes will get to the WWE Hall of Fame. The roster laughed as Barrett left.
Induction #6 - Carlos Colon
- Primo, Epico, and Carlito were introduced to the stage to induct Carlos. "Carlito" chant from the crowd. He said he's used to working at bingo halls and high school gyms, so he's glad to be here. He joked about this being like a talent meeting - hey, there's the Clique, and they have to close with the Ultimate Warrior, so how do you bring 'em down - bring out the Colons! Carlito said they got their time cut, too, so it's just like he never left. Carlito laughed and said this is why he was afraid of a live mic, but this is about their dad.
Primo offered the serious side of the induction, saying Carlos grew up in New York watching WWWF and knew he wanted to become a pro wrestler. He said Carlos graduated on a Monday and was in the ring on a Tuesday. Primo went through Carlos's Puerto Rico wrestling history, then said this audience knows ECW, but Paul Heyman got his ideas from Puerto Rico. He said that was just in the ring, nevermind the fans. Why hasn't Primo been given more mic time in his career? Underutilized talent.
- Carlos Colon came out on-stage and hugged Primo, then Epico, then Carlito. Carlos said when he started 48 years ago, he never envisioned this moment. He said he started his career traveling territory to territory expecting greatness. And in Canada, he found his wife, Nancy, who stood by his side.
Carlos thanked Abdullah the Butcher, Harley Race (shown in the crowd), Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, Tully Blanchard, Dutch Mantell (Zeb Colter), the Funks, the Briscoes, the Wild Samoans, and many others. Now, he joins Pedro Morales in the WWE Hall of Fame. Carlos thanked the WWE Universe, then signed off in Spanish.
Induction # 7 - Ultimate Warrior
- Lawler introduced a highlight package that included soundbytes from Jerry Lawler, Dolph Ziggler, Trish Stratus, Christian, and The Miz, initially focusing on the hyped promos. The video transitioned to Warrior vs. Hulk Hogan at WM6, which included soundbytes from Lawler, Edge from the past, Hogan, John Cena, the Bella Twins, Miz, and Chris Jericho from the past.
- Former WWE CEO Linda McMahon was introduced to induct the Warrior. Linda, looking stately, said when Warrior called and asked her to induct him, she said she would be absolutely flattered. Linda said this is her favorite WWE night of the year and said she expects Warrior to inspire tonight in his own style.
Linda said she admires a man who has stuck to his principles to the point of changing his name. Not as "Warrior Hellwig" or "Jim Warrior," but "Warrior" because he believed so much in himself. Linda recalled Warrior charging the ring, running around the ring "to downshift," and shake the ropes over and over.
Linda said Warrior was a loner and not the easiest guy to be around or convince that his way wasn't always the right way. He said when Warrior came back for the last time, he asked for Linda to be his direct, personal contact because they connected. But, there would be times when Warrior's frustration would spill over and he would call her. She noted that he doesn't have a soft voice, so she often times put him on speakerphone, turned down the volume, and did some work while Warrior vented. And then they would have a terrific conversation.
Linda offered a side story that Warrior called him "mom" one time. She recalled telling Warrior that he was behaving like a petulant child and he would spank him if he were here. She said that made of them laugh. Linda said Warrior has no tolerance for whiners, but he will always extend a helping hand. No excuses, either.
Linda described Warrior as a devoted husband, father, and patriot. She called him a true WWE icon and legend. Linda then welcomed out Warrior along with his two daughters.
- Warrior walked out with a big smile on his face looking very tanned a la Scott Hall. No facepaint. Warrior smiled to both sides of the arena, then snarled like Ultimate Warrior. Warrior surveyed the crowd, then described this as the most-anticipated speech in history. Warrior noted a lot of guys are squirming on the floor right now.
Warrior said his wife came into his life in 1996 around the time he left WWE, some things unraveled, and she has been with him ever since. Warrior thanked his mom, also on the front row. He said his dad walked out on the family and she supported the family. Warrior credited his mom for giving him the self-discipline and drive that defines him. Warrior added that the most awesome thing he will ever do is be his daughter's father.
Warrior got to his speech that he was backstage and thought this was unbelievable after suffering all the blows, taking all the shots, toil on the body and the mind, he couldn't believe it was happening. He said he was talking out-loud or talking to himself or talking to his hands like the Ultimate Warrior used to do, then a young kid came up to him and said this is like a dream come true being inducted into the Hall of Fame. Warrior said he wasn't talking to himself about the Hall of Fame, but DDP Yoga! He said he wants the 800 number if it flashes on the screen.
Warrior said it's inspiring how DDP is helping people fix their self-destructive ways. "Did I just say that?" he said. He said he promised not to say those two words when he came here. Warrior thanked Paul (Triple H) for arranging this and he told himself he wouldn't go there - the "Self-Destruction" DVD. Warrior said he went to the WWE Towers a few days ago and it's like the DVD never existed. Warrior joked that Hunter said years ago that "I only spent five minutes with him and I knew he was an a-hole." He said it appears that Hunter learned a lot in those five minutes. Warrior said everyone busted up laughing.
Warrior continued that perhaps everyone should learn from his brand of self-destruction because he's back in WWE 18 years later and headlining the Hall of Fame for the landmark 30th WrestleMania. Warrior paused for a "one more match" chant. He said now the crowd is being kind. He said that's not going to happen, but other bigger things are going to happen.
Warrior thanked Red Bastien and referenced Sting/Steve Borden, which drew a crowd pop and Sting howls. He then referenced learning from Jerry Lawler, Dutch Mantell, the Fantastics, Bill Watts, Ted DiBiase, and "Dr. Death" Steve Williams. Warrior addressed DiBiase, saying he fashioned his clothesline after him. He said DiBiase tried to get him to leave the business with massive clotheslines, but it taught him to use the clothesline. Warrior called out to DiBiase and said hello to him for an interesting exchange.
Warrior continued that he learned so much in World Class before transitioning to his WWF career. He paused to say he wishes they could put the "F" back in WWE, prompting a loud "Yes!" chant. He then called out long-time WWE attorney Jerry McDevitt for "getting his ass kicked by the World Wildlife Fund."
Warrior continued that he knows he was green early in his career and everyone kept trying to get him out of the business. He shouted out to Brooklyn Brawler for taking his "green" offense and helping him out. Warrior said there was discussion on the first DVD that he wasn't welcome in the locker room and was an a-hole to everyone, which broke his heart. Because he said when new guys came into the business, they were out of there real quick unless they were wanted.
Warrior referenced one of his top opponents recently calling him a good guy (apparently he was referring to Hogan). He said he is a good guy, then shouted out to all of the people who work behind-the-scenes in WWE. Warrior thanked the ring crew for their hard work and he'll never forget those guys. He said when he thinks about the Hall of Fame and the 30th WrestleMania tomorrow, he thinks about all of the dedicated people who have made this happen. He suggested a Hall of Fame category honoring the behind-the-scenes folks. His suggestion is the Jimmy Moranda Award.
Warrior said he knows it's cliched, but he wouldn't be here without the fans. He said he is the creator and performer of the Ultimate Warrior and the fans are legendary. He said they waited all of these years to speak their voices and fight those who tried to re-program their minds and re-write history about the Warrior character.
Warrior said when he meets people at signings, he thanks fans for supporting him to give him the life he has. Warrior said fortunately when he was in the business, it was all on merit. He said he was always respectful of the veterans and the reason why he and Steve Borden got this far in the business is because they had respect for their elders and respected those who let them in despite being green.
Warrior moved to discussing Vince McMahon. Warrior said McMahon gave him room to use his imagination and creativity to go all the way with his character. He said he remembered the first time he met Vince - then transitioned to wrestlers complaining about their pay-offs on the road, confronting Vince in the office, and then coming out being mind-tricked by Vince. He said Bad News Brown was supposed to be the guy who broke down Vince, but even he came back being mind-tricked. They cut to Big Show laughing.
Warrior said he journaled his first meeting with Vince. He said Vince laughed at him coming to their first meeting with a list of ideas. But, Vince always respected that going forward. He said it was incredible to experience the magic. The magic of working in the business. "I miss that," he said. Warrior said it was awesome to be bigger and larger-than-life than he really was. He said there are few legit tough guys in this business. "The rest of us get to play that role," Warrior said.
Warrior said he'll never forget the first time he did a Make-a-Wish, then shouted out to John Cena for "kicking ass" with MAW. He said he also understands that Cena is a "big Ultimate Warrior mark." Warrior said he remembers the first time he met with a child in a wheelchair and understood the power and responsibility of that.
Warrior referenced NFL star Ray Lewis retiring last year. He said Lewis and The Rock were Warrior fans, so the ESPN guys put Ray Lewis in Warrior gear. He said wrestlers don't put on hockey, basketball, baseball, or football gear, but all those athletes put wrestling gimmicks on. "That's how powerful that is," he said. Warrior said he appreciates the responsibility of playing a tough or strong guy in WWE, so you should be able to handle a simple thing like life.
Warrior said people tell him that he doesn't respect or appreciate the business. He said not a day goes by where he doesn't think about the business. He said the gear bag that he built here in WWE didn't just give him what he needed to make a match work, but to make his life work. "And I appreciate that," he said.
Warrior tried a joke about becoming good friends with "blowing up." He explained it, then said guys used to make fun of him for blowing up in the ring. "They still do," he said. "I'm blown up now." Warrior said he punished himself even more, doing things to blow himself up at the end of the match, but pushing his body to the limit was a great feeling and the thing he misses the most. It taught him about life, and he would love to go back and experience that again.
Warrior said being in WWE gave him incredible experiences, then took a long pause to look into the crowd. Warrior then right-turned to people wondering how he would handle himself on the stage tonight. He said a lot of people talk about him not knowing how to draw the line between himself and the Warrior. But, he said he sees people still work their gimmick on social media, whereas Ultimate Warrior was his.
Warrior said he has used his character to inspire himself. He said people were wondering if he would go on a rant, point the finger, or pick on people. Warrior said when he was in the business, people never came up to him with a bone to pick, then said the DVD was wrong and hurtful.
Warrior moved to a wrap-up. He said he's glad to be included with this class, then said he has signed a multi-year ambassador deal with the company. Warrior started to address Vince, then pulled something out of his coat pocket. He said Vince wrote him a letter in 1991. Warrior then pulled out a check and jokingly asked Vince if this check for supplemental income will bounce.
Warrior moved to WM6, where he was only 30-years-old when he wrestled Hogan. He said he didn't think he was a legend in his own mind at the time, but Vince was a good fortune-teller saying Warrior was a legend because he is here today. Warrior thanked the audience for their support, then a light "one more match" broke out again. Warrior said there is no more match.
Warrior continued that it's hard to walk away from the business, but there is a time when you move on to the next phase of their life. That's helping the next generation come up. He told the younger crew that the writing is already on the wall when your time comes and goes. He told them to prepare for the other incredible things that will happen in their lives. WWE cut to shots of Dean Ambrose listening intently, Uso yawning, Dolph Ziggler listening intently (crowd pop), and Roman Reigns listening. Warrior thanked them for their support, wished for a good WrestleMania, and said good night.
Warrior waved to the crowd and smiled toward the WWE gathering on the floor as his music played. The Hall of Fame then wrapped up at 11:32, ending a three-and-a-half-hour event.
WHAT STOOD OUT: Jake Roberts topped the speeches, Carlito took Jim Ross's long-standing advice to "take advantage of your minutes" with a stand-out 30 seconds, Mr. T's mom was inspiring, Ultimate Warrior was very challenging to transcribe with the stops, starts, and re-directions, and I am ready for church on Sunday.
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