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WWE HALL OF FAME CEREMONY REPORT
APRIL 6, 2018
NEW ORLEANS, LA.
REPORT BY JEFF INDELICATO, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Hosted by Jerry “The King” Lawler
1st Inductee: The Dudleys
Edge & Christian enter to induct the Dudleys.
Christian makes a joke about inducting himself into the Hall of Fame. Edge reminds him that Christian is just inducting someone else (again.) “You deserve it chant” from the crowd.
On a more serious note, they are here to induct the greatest tag team. Edge makes a joke about why they (and not Paul Heyman) are inducting the Dudley’s. They don’t owe them money, and they are one of the only ones in the locker-room who actually like Bubba Dudley.
We then move on to their career, from beginning in ECW, to debuting in the WWE and beating up the APA (Bradshaw & Simmons). They cut to a shot of Ron Simmons, looking comically displeased. He produces a microphone to say “Damn.”
Edge quotes that “There are no E&C’s or Hardy’s without the Dudley’s” and how their feud grew into the lengths of creating the TLC match (which is now its own PPV). On a closing note, the Dudley’s have won more tag team championships than any other tag team.
E & C then put on the trademark Dudley glasses, and lead into “Christian, Get the Dudley’s!”
D-Von starts off by speaking, which Bubba immediately interrupts him. “After 25 years, you just say Testify.” D-Von reminds him that he works in the office now (WWE), and he’ll tell Bubba when to speak.
D-Von talks about growing up, and becoming a Hulk Hogan fan, he even looked like him with the tan & hairdo. He puts over his family, including his kids, who are the reasons that he took the beatings that he did, and are now going to be wrestlers.
For Bubba, he also grew up a wrestling fan, and told his Dad that he was going to be one day. While this induction is the icing on cake, they are most proud of being the first original ECW act to ever be inducted in the Hall of Fame. They thank every member of the ECW roster, including Paul Heyman, and Spike Dudley, who was the toughest 150 pound man in the locker-room, and kept coming back for more. Bubba elaborates and thanks every single wrestler in the locker-room that they worked with, because they helped them get to the top. Even though they didn’t have the body type, wrestling skill, or looks, they still succeeded.
If there’s a song that sums up their career, it’s the Sex Pistols version of My Way. D-Von goes back to Tommy Dreamer, who helped take care of him, and he appreciates everything that he did for him. Bubba seconds that.
Bubba then mentions Velvet Sky, and thanks her for her support.
D-Von then brings up the feud with APA, and how he’s still feeling the effects. He remembers when Ron called him “Devon” instead of D-Von. The team gave the Dudley’s their stamp of approval, which was as good as gold. Money APA drinking fund.
We then talk about Mae Young, and how she contributed to getting the team over. After the attack on Mae, she stormed up to Bubba backstage and said, if you’re gonna slam me, slam me like one of the boys. “Mae Young was the toughest man I’ve ever met in my life.” – Bubba
Bubba then brings up the TLC matches, and how historical they were. He then invites E & C and The Hardy’s up on stage. “It’s the six of us who created our history together.” D-Von tries to book one final TLC match, which leads to E & C walking away, and a “Delete” chant from Matt.
All of a sudden, the Dudley’s music plays to cut them off. A producer walks out to explain that it was time to end the speech, leading to him going through a table. The Dudley’s then thank the fans and we move to a commercial.
Return from break with a shot of Roman Reigns (boos from crowd).
2nd Inductee: Hillbilly Jim
Jimmy Hart comes out to induct Jim.
Hart talks about how Jim was originally a bouncer, who would play music during the night. One night, he was discovered by a wrestling promoter who saw something in him. Eventually, it led to Jim getting hired by the WWE, where he became a famous celebrity.
After a serious injury, he was told by doctors that he would possibly never wrestle again, but he worked hard and ended up returning to perform in front of the crowd at WrestleMania 3.
Hart then thanks Hillbilly Jim, as he was responsible for getting Jimmy a job with the WWE, and introduces Jim to the crowd.
Jim thanks the crowd, and lets them know that he is going to talk slow, as he’ll be mentioning names that they do and don’t know. He mentions Jim Ross, and how gave great advice about opportunity, which will become the theme of this speech.
He then goes back to the beginning of when he began wrestling. Over time, Stu Hart would reach out to him about joining Stampede Wrestling (cut to shot of Tyson Kidd & Natalya smiling in the crowd). It was in Stampede that he would end up making one of his best friends in Bruce Hart.
From there, he would get a call from Jerry Lawler, who would offer an opportunity to come join him in Memphis. He worked with such wrestlers as Koko B. Ware, Rick Rude, and Jim Neidhart.
It was after meeting Pat Patterson that he would end up in the WWE. Jim talks about how he never left because why would he “go to the back seat, when you’re already in the front seat.” This leads to him putting over Hulk Hogan, who took him under his wing.
He tells a story about how the job could sometimes be exhausting, as they would do multiple shows a day; however, it all ended up being worth it in the long run financially.
He then talks about Andre the Giant, and how one time they split 57 bottles of the small liquor bottles at an airport. (Jim: 8, Andre: 49)
We then move on to WrestleMania III, and how it outdrew the Pope, the Rolling Stones, and Elvis with regards to attendance. He was involved in a match against King Kong Bundy and mentions how he ended up blowing himself up carrying Little Beaver from the ring to the backstage area.
Jim begins to wrap it up by saying that he is the “luckiest guy on earth because he got to do what he wanted to do with his life.” He’s already had a Hall of Fame life, and this just solidifies it.
He thanks his Mom, family, and accepts the induction on behalf of the fans, who accepted him from day one, and never left. He lives in the now, and enjoys every minute.
Jim is asked, “How would you like to be remembered?” It’s not about that. He would just like to be remembered. He then goes on to remember such friends as Johnny V, Lord Alfred Hayes, Gorilla Monsoon, Bobby Heenan, Freddie Blassie, Captain Lou Albano, Macho Man Randy Savage, and Rowdy Roddy Piper. He thanks the fans, and closes out his speech.
(Jeff’s Analysis: Little long winded, but good to see the Country Boy again.)
We then get a video package on the Legacy Inductees, including Boris Malenko and Lord Alfred Hayes.
3rd Inductee: Ivory
Molly Holly is introduced. She mentions how Ivory did a number of things outside the ring, from mentoring others on Tough Enough and visiting patients in hospitals.
Molly mentions the time that Smackdown went live after the September 11th attacks. While wrestles had a choice to compete that night, Ivory stepped up and wrestled twice in an effort to help the fans forget about the country’s problems for a while.
She then brings out Lillian Garcia, who introduces Ivory to the audience.
Ivory enters full of energy, and puts over Lillian and Molly as great friends.
She then serenades New Orleans, and notes how her and the city are meant to be. In fact, she once arrived in New Orleans to sell GLOW (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling) to television executives. It was also in New Orleans that she helped Katrina victims, and became involved with animal charities.
Ivory talks about how different women’s wrestling was back in her day, and how the women of the Attitude Era inspired today’s superstars.
She loved working for the WWE, because she was surrounded by the best in the business, and thanks the fans for embracing her.
Since Ivory has never been married, she equates the Hall of Fame ceremony to her wedding ceremony, including a proposal (being chosen for the Hall), a dress, Maid of Honor (Molly Holly), a ring, and moving to the actual reception with dirty dancing (Right to Censor music interrupting). Her guests are the fans and her family, who she recites her vows, and gives her final thanks as well.
(Jeff’s Analysis: The wedding idea was creative, but went on too long. Ivory was passionate though, and generally happy to be receiving this induction.)
4th Inductee: Kid Rock
Triple H arrives to induct Kid Rock. He talks about how outside celebrities amplify the experience for the fans. This is especially true for music, and how it makes special memories for everyone. Kid Rock made those memories for fans, especially during the Attitude Era. This then leads into a speech about how WrestleMania will create even more memories, with the soundtrack again being led by Kid Rock.
Kid Rock is introduced, and mentions advice once given to him, “Go where you’re celebrated, not tolerated.” He says that this is better than any Grammy Award.
He was given two things to not talk about, Vince McMahon & Politics. So, he first thanks Vince, and wants to body-slam some Democrats. Scattered boos, but cuts to smiles/laughs from A.J. Styles, Kurt Angle, Baron Corbin and an unamused Singh Brothers behind them. Then the crowd booed and Rock reacted. They cut to a laughing Braun Strowman and Daniel Bryan. Rock settles everyone down, and wants everyone to get along.
He then puts over great wrestlers like the Undertaker (who used one of Rock’s songs as his theme), The Rock, Ric Flair, and Hulk Hogan, and talks about how they lead a very difficult lifestyle and deserve recognition.
Rock closes out by thanking his family, and dedicating this induction to his old friend, Joe C.
5th Inductee: Jeff Jarrett
Road Dogg arrives to induct Double J. Dogg could tell a million stories about Jeff, but he won’t due to them being Non-PG, and because he can’t really remember the 90’s. “Don’t do drugs.”
(Analysis: I’m all about moving things along, but it would’ve been nice to hear something.)
Jarrett arrives in full Double J mode, and is interrupted by Road Dogg, who takes his cowboy hat.
32 years after his first match, and here he is being inducted into the Hall of Fame. “You deserve it” chant from the crowd.
He’s often asked about his best match, which he specifically mentions his July 1995 match against Shawn Michaels, who he feels is the greatest wrestler, and thanks him.
Jarrett then goes through some career moments, including his time with the Four Horsemen and nWo, as well as his encounters with celebrities Chuck Norris, Ben Stiller, and David Arquette.
Jeff takes a moment to acknowledge two men who have affected his life: Road Dogg and Owen Hart. This leads to some funny stories about Owen, from pranking Hacksaw Jim Duggan at 2:30 in the morning to putting on clown noses during a match with Edge & Christian. More importantly, Owen was a kind and gentle soul who we lost too early. E & C then arrive, and put a clown nose on Jeff. “It looks better on you Slapnuts.” – Christian.
Jeff gets choked up, and thanks Karen and the kids, as well as his Dad, and his Grandmother. He closes out his speech the poem “Don’t Quit.” Road Dogg returns to duet with the classic “With My Baby Tonight” and they both sing with various attendees including Zack Ryder and Heath Slater.
(Analysis: This was a good speech. Jeff was emotionally touched by the induction, told good stories, and kept it at an appropriate length. The duet at the end was a nice touch, but they pretty much sung the entire song, when just the first chorus would’ve been enough.)
6th Inductee: Jarrius “JJ” Robertson (Warrior Award)
Dana Warrior is introduced. She references how Warrior was inducted just four years ago in New Orleans. She gets emotional talking about him, and the experience of his induction. She believes the last weekend of his life, spent in that city, was his ultimate crowning.
Dana states that the creation of the Warrior Award was for those who consider the word “impossible” profane, and choose to always believe. J.J. embodies that spirit, and inspires many. She then introduces J.J.
J.J. arrives, and there is no stool for him to stand up to the microphone on. After an awkward few seconds, he gets to his speech.
This induction is the greatest honor of his life. From the first time he met Stephanie McMahon, her and the WWE have treated him well. He’s gotten to meet his heroes: Roman Reigns (boos from the crowd), Randy Orton, and Zack Ryder. He even gives a shout out to his least favorite wrestler, The Miz (loud cheers from the crowd) and takes a joking shot about a WrestleMania match at John Cena’s expense (fun reaction from Cena).
He talks about how two donors have saved his life, mentions his charitable work, and thanks everyone.
7th Inductee: Mark Henry
Big Show is introduced to induct someone who he considers to be a brother. He tells a quick story about seeing Mark frustrated backstage because he could only bend a quarter in half, not break it. This leads into a couple of other quick stories about how Henry was always willing to try and help other wrestlers by recruiting them, or could have a hot temper. He then introduces the World’s Strongest Man.
The fans begin a Sexual Chocolate chant, which gets a chuckle. He is humbled, and shocked that he made it after 20 years. Another “You deserve it” chant. He gets choked up telling a story about how, when attending an event as a young fan, he got knocked down by some fans, and was picked up by Andre the Giant.
Henry thanks those who inspired him, including his mother, coaches, and trainers for providing what he needed to become the strongest man in the world
In 1996, he received a call from Vince McMahon, and hung up because he thought it was a prank. Needless to say, everything worked out, and he never looked back.
Things weren’t great initially. During his first years, he didn’t put in the effort that he should have at first, which led to a lack of success. It was after a discussion with Ernie Ladd that he realized it was time to step up.
From there, he ended up spending a year being mentored by the Hart Family. Owen brought so much joy to his life, and he misses him dearly. He then gets emotional talking about how Owen deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.
Mark then lightens up the mood by talking about his Sexual Chocolate alter ego, and transitioned into the character. This leads into him hitting on Stephanie McMahon (laughs from Stephanie and Triple H) and his own wife. Mark thanks Mae Young and Chyna, as they made that character.
Mark brings up the Nation of Domination, which was a fun time. He gives thanks to D-Lo Brown, The Godfather, Ron Simmons, and The Rock (who he jokes may owe him some money after letting the Great One stay in his apartment).
2011 was the highest point of his career when he won the World Championship. He gives thanks to Big Show, Daniel Bryan, and Randy Orton who were instrumental in the success of that run.
Mark then thanks his wife and his family, who he loves. He lived the greatest dream a man can ask for.
He closes out by promoting diversity, and encouraging others to embrace it.
Finally, he puts on the salmon sports coat that he wore during the infamous “retirement speech” calls out A.J. Styles, John Cena, and Roman Reigns, and then thanks everyone “Because that’s what I do.”
(Analysis: Great speech. Mark comes across as a very likable guy, and this is something that is much deserved.)
Commercial for Fighting for My Family (the movie based on Paige’s life)
8th and Final Inductee: Bill Goldberg
Paul Heyman introduces himself to induct Goldberg. Why is Paul inducting Bill? First of all, he aspires to be half the father that Bill is to his son. It’s difficult to find someone who is not only a credible opponent for Brock Lesnar, but can convincingly defeat the Beast, “and it sure as hell ain’t Roman Reigns.” He then introduces Goldberg.
We cut to backstage, where Goldberg does his pre-match walk to the ring (or stage in this case). “Goldberg” chants from the crowd.
Bill lets the crowd know that this will be short. He proudly proclaims that he is the first Jewish WCW & WWE Heavyweight Champion to have ever had a Bar Mitzvah. He then thanks his parents, who inspired him to be passionate, not give up, and treat everyone like you want to be treated.
Ultimately he just wanted to be a role model and succeed. He started in the NFL, but an injury and lack of talent ended his career. It was Diamond Dallas Page who would regularly ask Bill to join the world of professional wrestling. So he eventually accepted, and joined WCW.
The character was a success, and it eventually became easy to copy. “Where’s Roman” – Goldberg (Ooohs from the crowd, and no reaction shot).
Just when everything was going well, it crashed, and WCW closed, but not before Kevin Nash ended his undefeated streak, on his birthday.
Bill recognizes DDP, Eric Bischoff, Arn Anderson, Kevin Sullivan, Bobby Heenan, Lex Luger, Ron Simmons, Curt Hennig, and Rick Rude as those who helped him.
He was right in the middle of the Monday Night Wars, and was a bit spoiled, so when he finally came to the WWE, he knew things might not be so easy. He even screamed at Triple H at a toy convention in front of Stephanie.
On his 2003-2004 run: “It sucked and I sucked, so let’s move on. But, it’s not too bad when you get to work with The Rock, Taker, Booker, Malenko, and Goldust.” He also states: “Although I resent it, I must thank Steve Austin for helping me along the way.”
He’s not proud of how he performed and acted in that run. When he left though, he ended up having a family, which led to questions of what his son would think of him wrestling. Obviously, he returned and worked his tail off to make it successful.
He thanks his wife, and let’s his son know that he did it for him. They are his world, and pushed him to a level he never thought he could get to. He loves his wife, and cannot wait to grow up with his son.
He talks about Team Goldberg, and specifically calls out the newest member Trombone Shorty.
It’s all about the fans, and they made him love wrestling too. They were the ones that would always ask when he was coming back, and he would do anything for them
Goldberg tells a story about how Stephanie once told him that he couldn’t headbutt the doors prior to his entrance. He decided to punch the door instead, and ended up breaking his hand, which no one knew about until just now.
That led to another story of him drinking 13 beers during a beer bash segment with Stone Cold, while Austin didn’t even drink a drop. “What kind of tough guy is he?” – Bill.
Goldberg makes sure to mention Sting, who had integrity and inspired him. Along with DDP, Sting made Goldberg, and he’ll be forever grateful.
He originally looked at wrestling as just a business, and sold himself short. He has now developed a love for it, and the fans. His original dream was for the NFL Hall of Fame, but he knows that this induction has a better payoff than an NFL induction would ever have, and it’s where he belongs.
He never says never, and has only one final question, “Who’s Next?”
(Analysis: If you’re going to tell the audience that your speech will be short, abide by it. There were some good parts, but Bill rambled here and there. He seemed to go back and forth from being honored to coming across as smug.)
Are we really analyzing speeches? Cut the guys a break and be respectful. Not every thing has to be rated as a wrestling match.
It would have been nice if Jarrett had said something nice about Dixie Carter and TNA. He owes them some recognition.
Best Speeches of the night was Mark Henry and Hillbilly Jim who in my mind is going to be Braun in 30 years because seeing him in interviews that`s how Braun comes across and you can see why WWE keeps these guys around as employees they`re AWESOME PEOPLE and AWESOME in the communities and i can see Big Show filling the same role and when it`s time for Miz and R Truth too
Long, yes but quite nice. I think one more JR kissup would have broken the tears out on Good Ol JR. lol I agree with Kenny on Mark and Jim being best, perhaps Mark Henry could induct my keyboards left cap keys into the Hall of Pain. lol I think if anyone or anything ever had a chance for Owen while Martha still lives, it was Mark henry.
Seriously, stop watching after the body slam statement? I swore he stated that he was joking.
Human beings first.
Let’s find some common ground for all of us to get along.
Thank you for your bias.