Crystal Ball: 2014 Hall of Fame, Early Predictions
Jay Shannon draws upon all his experience as a pro wrestling fan to try and predict the outcome of an upcoming major wrestling event.
Ok, the original premise of this column was to predict the results of wrestling cards. Got a note from my buddy, Chicago Ed, a couple weeks back, asking about next year’s Hall of Fame. Decided that since this is a predictions column, I’d step outside the box, just a little, and try to predict next year’s Hall of Famers. I’ll also include who I think will induct the various people or groups.
Inductee: The Rock
Inducted by: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin
It looks very likely that The Rock is done with wrestling. He has used social media to discuss the injury that happened at Wrestlemania. After a couple of years of bringing back some major media coverage to the WWE, it seems only fair that Rock would go into the Hall, next year. There are several people that could induct Rock. Most fans would expect John Cena to put Rock in. A few would call for Mick Foley to do the honors (but I have other plans for Mrs. Foley’s baby boy). Others might expect his father, Rocky Johnson, to return the favor to his son (Rock inducted his father and grandfather, a few years back). I think it would make much more sense to have Austin induct Rock. Austin is in the Hall of Fame (unlike Cena). Austin and Rock had a brutal feud that spanned several years. Obviously, Rocky will be there to see his son go in, but it would have much more impact if Austin were to honor his long-time foe.
Inductee: The Undertaker
Inducted by: Mick Foley
2014 will be the 30th anniversary of the start of Undertaker’s career. Undertaker worked the Southern Corridor during his early years in the business. Undertaker has hinted about retirement, recently. His hip and knees are in pretty bad shape and it was doubtful if he would be able to work this year’s Wrestlemania. Of all the matches that Undertaker has been involved with, the King of the Ring 1998’s Hell in a Cell match is considered one of his best. The site of Undertaker throwing Mick Foley off the top of the 16 foot high cage has run, on a regular basis, for a decade and a half. That match, plus numerous other great battles, was my reasoning for having Foley induct Undertaker. Kane would also do well to induct his “Big Brother”, but Kane isn’t in the Hall of Fame, yet. All of my inductors will be members of the Hall of Fame. I think it should, whenever possible, be that way.
Inductee: Honky Tonk Man
Inducted by: Jimmy Hart
My first question is “Why isn’t he already in?”. Honky is still the longest reigning Intercontinental Champion of all time. He also had runs as champion in Puerto Rico and Canada. Honky had a brief run with Greg Valentine (Rhythm and Blues). In addition, Honky aka Wayne Ferris has worked with Ron Starr and Larry Latham. There are three Hall of Famers that should be considered for the inducting honor. One is Honky’s real-life cousin, Jerry “The King” Lawler. I have to think that Lawler will be busy hosting the event, so he’s out. The other is Honky’s tag partner, Valentine. While I think it would be great to see Valentine put Honky in, I think the pleasure should go to the man who was a major part of Honky’s entire WWF career, his manager, “Colonel” Jimmy Hart.
Inductee: Jake “The Snake” Roberts
Inducted by: Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat
Jake got involved with the sport in 1974. His father, Grizzly Smith, brought him in as a ref. Eventually, Jake would train and enter the in-ring wars. Jake worked in almost every major federation, including: WWF/E, WCW/NWA, TNA, ECW, Stampede, World Class, AAA and Mid-South/UWF. Jake was an original member of the Legion of Doom. While he never held gold in the WWE, Jake was involved with several high-profile feuds. He was Undertaker’s 2nd Streak victim. Jake also helped “Stone Cold” Steve Austin launch the “Austin 3:16” catchphrase. Jake also invented one of the most used moves in pro wrestling, the DDT. The move was created, by accident, during a match. The move has been incorporated into the arsenals of dozens of wrestlers, over the years. With Jake’s recent request to be part of the 2014 Royal Rumble, it would be a perfect time to induct Jake. He’s turned his life around and more than deserves the honor. While Randy Orton (The Viper) would make sense as the inductee, I think
I will stick with Hall of Famers as inductors. Jake had a vicious feud with Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat. It would be good to see Steamboat bring his old enemy into the fold.
Inductee: The Fabulous Freebirds
Inducted by: Kevin Von Erich
This is one that several people have asked me about, basically since the Von Erichs went in. We all have been in agreement that the Von Erichs and Freebirds should have gone in at the same time. That being said, the ‘Birds aren’t in, yet. 2014 is a double anniversary for the ‘Birds. They were created in 1979 (35 years) and disbanded in 1994 (20 years). Over that 15 years, the Boys from Badstreet tore things up all around the world. I had the great pleasure of meeting all three original members of the ‘Brids, back in the late 80s.
The Freebirds were the first group to incorporate rock music into their entrances. They began with the Lynyrd Skynyrd classic that gave them their name (“Freebird”). By the 80s, the song had been retired for “Badstreet USA”.
The Freebirds actually worked in the WWF, during the early 1980s. They were managed by Cyndi Lauper and David Wolff. Sadly, two of the three original members are gone. Terry Gordy died of a heart attack in 2001. Buddy “Jack” Roberts passed away, in 2012, of pneumonia. If the ‘Birds go in, I can only see one person to put them in…Kevin Von Erich. I’m a little torn as to whether Jimmy Garvin should go in as a member of the Freebirds. He was the tag partner of Michael Hayes in the WCW version of the group. Garvin was a fantastic performer and deserves a lot of credit for his time in the ring. I’m just not sure if he should join Hayes, Roberts and Gordy in the Hall.
Inducted by: Trish Stratus
Amy Dumas began wrestling in 1999. That would make 2014 the 15th anniversary of her debut. She received her training from some of the biggest names in the business, including: Dory Funk, Jr., Leilani Kai, (Fit) Finlay, and Miguel Perez. Her first big break came in the original ECW organization. During her time in the WWE, she won the Women’s title on four occasions. She was also involved in one of the wildest “True Life” storylines, revolving around the Love Triangle of herself, Matt Hardy and Adam “Edge” Copeland. During the 2013 Hall of Fame, Trish Stratus pointed out her “Bestie”, Lita. Trish praised Lita for her abilities. I think it would be only proper for Trish to induct her friend into the Hall of Fame, next year.
Inducted by: “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan
After a troubled youth, James Harris met Bobo Brazil, in Michigan. Brazil introduced Harris to “Tiny” Tim Hampton. Hampton trained Harris, who debuted in 1974. Initially, he used the name “Big” Jim Harris. The character of Kamala (sometimes spelled Kimala) was created by The Great Mephisto. Jerry Jarrett and Jerry Lawler would help refine the character, during the early years of Harris’ career. Kamala spent quite a bit of time working in the South (World Class, CWF, Mid-South, etc…) Kamala would make several runs in the WWE and a brief appearance in WCW. Harris wrestled well into the 2000s, before health concerns forced him to retire. In 2011, Harris had to have his leg amputated, due to diabetes and blood pressure problems. A year later, Harris lost his other leg to amputation. Since Kamala worked for many years in and around New Orleans, it would be appropriate for him to go into the Hall of Fame. Jim Ross, who called many of Kamala’s matches, would be one possible choice for an inductor. I really think Jim Duggan might have many more enjoyable stories about the Ugandan Giant to share, so he gets to induct him.
Inductee (Celebrity Wing): Cyndi Lauper
Inducted by: Wendi Richter
Ok, I’m not giving up until Cyndi is in the Hall of Fame. She was at the first Wrestlemania. A couple of her mid-80s videos featured “Captain” Lou Albano. She managed both Wendi Richter and the Fabulous Freebirds. She was the catalyst for the whole “Rock and Wrestling Connection”. Her first run in the WWF was in 1984 (30 years ago, next year). Cyndi is one of the few “High Profile” players in Wrestlemania not to be in the Hall of Fame. It’s time. The only person who should induct Cyndi would be her friend, Wendi Richter.
There are so many people that deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. Randy Savage, Jim Cornette, Sir Oliver Humperdink, Kevin Sullivan, Paul Bearer, Mike Rotunda, Arn Anderson (solo), John Bradshaw Layfield, and the list goes on forever more. At most, 8 inductions are going to happen. The 8 inductees listed above are the most likely candidates for next year’s Hall of Fame.