SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE HALL OF FAME 2021 REPORT
APRIL 6, 2021
RECORDED IN TAMPA, FL.
AIRED ON PEACOCK
REPORT BY JOEL DEHNEL, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Rob Van Dam
The pre taped package touched on Rob Van Dam’s beginnings in ECW and his martial arts style. It touched on his unique move set and his Five-Star Frog Splash. It went into his WWE career and winning the money in the bank and the WWE Championship leading to the reinvention of the ECW brand. Van Dam talked about the fans and that they are the reason he got into wrestling. He said that when his father died, he had a choice to do an autograph signing or go home. He chose to do the signing and not tell anyone then said the fan’s positive energy got him through it. He said it’s amazing to be in the Hall of Fame that includes the legends that inspired him. He said it’s important to keep your individuality and keep going. He concluded by thanking several people including his family, The Sheik, Sabu. He emphasized to the fans that this was a big moment for him and a victory for everybody. He ended by calling himself the whole f’n show RVD.
(Dehnel’s Analysis: The most genuine and authentic of all the speeches thus far. This felt like an important moment to RVD. He spoke from the heart and showed genuine appreciation to the fans and those who helped him along the way.)
The video package went through her career in the ring and her character as Mighty Molly Holly. She then morphed her character to focus more on her in-ring ability. Natalya called her a pioneer in the women’s division and said that she has inspired so many others to be a good person. Molly Holly acknowledged that only her and Vince are the only people to have their heads shaved at WrestleMania. She credited the crew backstage for being there for her. She listed off the names of those from backstage she wanted to acknowledge. She ended by thanking the fans for everything.
(Dehnel’s Analysis: Another short speech. She was to the point and mentioned people who wouldn’t typically get recognition, which made it more special rather than being clumped in with a bunch of other wrestlers.)
The Great Khali
The pre-taped video showed a collage of The Great Khali taking out several stars including John Cena, Shawn Michaels, and Batista. It went into his impact and star power in India before showing his lighter and comedic side. The video concluded by touching on his work being a trainer now in India. Khali joined over video and spoke about how much the induction means to him and his family. He said that all of the fans are in his heart and he thanked the fans before being cut off by his music.
(Dehnel’s Analysis: All of the speeches have been short, but this was the first where it felt like WWE wanted to get it over and done with. If he could only have a couple minutes, why would they just not wait to have him in-person? The induction meant a lot to him, but it was too short to have nay impact.)
The video package touched on Ozzy’s historic music career as well as providing many theme songs for WWE events and performing live at WWE shows. Ozzy joined over video and acknowledged that he doesn’t deserve the award, but thanked them for it anyways. He thanked Vince McMahon and Triple H for the opportunity.
(Dehnel’s Analysis: Ozzy broke the proverbial unwritten rule and thanked Vince. Classic Ozzy.)
Legacy Wing (Dick The Bruiser, Pez Whatley, Buzz Sawyer, Ethel Johnson, Paul Boesch)
Another short and rapid fire video package that just barely scratched the surface of their careers.
The video went through Bischoff’s beginnings in the AWA as an announcer before joining WCW and quickly rising to power. It then went through the fall of WCW leading to a new act in his career as primarily an on air talent for WWE. Paul Heyman touted him as one of the most influential people in all of wrestling. Bischoff said he must go quickly because he was only given 3 minutes which he turned into a tribute to 3-Minute Warning. Bischoff talked about his start in the AWA in Minneapolis. He said he went on many journeys that taught him so much during his life. He thanked all of the giants who came before him and all of the fans who have supported him. He ended with saying the best is still yet to come.
(Dehnel’s Analysis: Bischoff came out with a ton of excitement and energy, which is not how I would typically describe him. This was a big moment for him, but he had to be very particular with what he included in his speech given the time restrictions.)
Warrior Award: Rich Hering
The video documented Rich’s career as a lawyer and overseeing sporting events before joining the WWF and playing a key role in growing into the mainstream. He was also acknowledged as the pastor in the Macho Man and Elizabeth on-air wedding. They alluded to his accomplishments backstage aiding talent and growing close to Warrior’s family when he died. Rich Hering thanked the WWE and the fans for the award.
(Dehnel’s Analysis: I like WWE using the Warrior Award for the purpose the Warrior intended. I would’ve liked to have gotten a better understanding of what he actually does backstage, but they made it clear that he was an integral part in WWE’s growth and made a real connection with many talent.)
The video package began with Kane’s debut taking out The Undertaker. Several wrestlers spoke about him being a unique character and evolving his look over the years. They showed highlights from his career including comedic moments with Daniel Bryan. The Undertaker said he thinks the world of Kane and that he is a career that people want to model. Kane came out with his mask in a glass case on the podium. He said that his mother loved the Isaac Yankem character because she always wanted a dentist in the family. He said his only regret is missing all the time with his family. Kane said that he has so many people he wants to thank, but he won’t go through everyone at this time. He jokingly apologized to Jim Ross for setting him on fire. He said all of the people backstage who don’t get mentioned is why he got to where he is. He said that those in WWE are the best entertainers in the world. He mentioned Paul Bearer and his first match against The Undertaker in 1995. He said the Undertaker-Kane saga is the best story that the WWE has ever told. He detailed his relationship with The Undertaker then concluded by thanking the WWE fans for making Kane one of the memorable characters ever. Kane put his arms up and brought them down for his signature pyro.
(Dehnel’s Analysis: In a year like this, Kane is a very suitable headliner. He has the longevity and star power to be seen as a main eventer. In ways I agree with Kane about the story with Undertaker being quite good, but the video package before his speech is a reminder how if they would’ve kept Kane in a serious and more limited role he could’ve been a bigger star.)