Posted June 6th, 2016 by jshannon

Crystal Ball: WWE Hall of Fame 2017 (early Predictions)

Jay Shannon draws upon all his predictive skills to look at an upcoming major wrestling event.

It’s 102 degrees outside my office, today. Since I don’t have to work out in this evil heat, I thought I’d have some fun and give my early predictions for next year’s WWE Hall of Fame. I realize that things could happen (retirements, deaths, etc…) that could affect the inductions. If things don’t change, these are my choices for the award ceremony on April 1, 2017.

The Rock

Being that Wrestlemania will be in Florida, next year, it seems only fair to induct one of the state’s favorite sons. Rock, son of Rocky Johnson, would join his dad and grandfather (Peter Maivia) in the Hall. Rock has held pretty much every male-oriented title in WWE. He has provided the blueprint of how to mix in-ring talent and mic skills. While I would hope that Rocky Johnson would induct his son, I could see the WWE going with The Miz (a fellow actor/wrestler).

Rick Rude

Rude was the first man to appear on both Nitro and Raw on the same night (one was taped and the other was lice). Rude had a fantastic career as both a wrestler and manager. He worked in World Class, the WWF, WCW, AWA, ECW and so many other territories. Sadly, his life ended far too soon. Since Rude was a member of Degeneration-X, it would be only right that Triple H and/or Shawn Michaels would induct this great star.

Kevin Sullivan:

When you think of classic Florida wrestling, two names come to mind. One is Dusty Rhodes and the other is Kevin Sullivan. These two great performers MADE Florida. They were the Yin and Yang of each other. Sullivan had one of the earliest factions of the modern era. Purple Haze (Mark Lewin), Luna Vachon, Fallen Angel (Nancy “Woman” Sullivan-Benoit), Maha Singh (Bob Roop) Mike Davis and The Lock (Winona Littleheart) worked with Sullivan to terrorize the Sunshine State. Sullivan (or “Sully” to his friends) became one of the best behind-the-scenes guys in the business. He booked Florida, as well as WCW. He has also managed more than two dozen top stars during his career. Since Dusty is gone, I would imagine the honor of inducting Sullivan would go to Dustin Runnerls aka Goldust.

Hiro Matsuda

Matsuda was an outstanding wrestler but is perhaps better known as the “Trainer of Champions”. Matsuda is responsible for trainng: Hulk Hogan, Lex Luger, Scott Hall, The Great Muta (Keiji Mutoh), “Cowboy” Bob Orton, Jr., “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff, Steve Keirn and Ron Simmons. Hulk Hogan often tells the story of how Hiro broke Hogan’s leg on the first day of training. It would seem only fitting that Ron Simmons induct his mentor.

Lex Luger

Lex (real name Larry Pfohl) was an amazing football star. He played for the Miami Hurricanes, while in college. He later moved on to the Canadian Football League and the NFL (Green Bay Packers). Luger also had a run in the USFL. His career path would dramatically change when he met Bob Roop at a celebrity golf tournament. Roop would introduce Larry to Hiro Matsuda. Larry got his ring name as a take-off on comic book villain, Lex Luthor. Lex began his career in Florida but quickly moved to Jim Crockett Promotions. Luger rose to be one of the top stars in Crockett’s organization. His star continued to shine as JCP became WCW. Luger worked as both a heel and face. He both teamed with and feuded with long-time real-life friend, Sting. Lex was even a short-lived member of the Four Horsemen. Lex did a stint in WWF, working as “The Narcissist” and later as an All-American hero. He was the first to Bodyslam Yokozuna. Lex’s career almost came to a tragic end when he was involved in a motorcycle accident. That accident took him away from Vince McMahon’s World Bodybuilding League and may well have helped to cause the fitness/bodybuilding project to crumble. There could only be one man to induce Lex, Sting.

(Bill) Goldberg

Goldberg was injured while playing football. While he was rehabbing, he was discovered by Sting and Lex Luger. They invited him to the WCW Power Plant to train. He accepted the offer and soon began one of the most famous “Streaks” in professional wrestling. He scored 173 straight victories before Kevin Nash (with help from Scott Hall) both ended the streak and took Goldberg’s WCW World Title. After WCW folded, Goldberg did some work in All-Japan. Two years after WCW ended, Goldberg moved to the WWE. he defeated Triple H, in September, 2003, to claim the World title. He would drop the strap back to HHH after less than three months. Goldberg, in recent years, has expanded into Mixed Martial Arts, as well as numerous television projects. His match against Brock Lesnar, at Wrestlemania XX, was probably his most memorable. As far as the person to induct Goldberg, I’m leaning towards Brock Lesnar. Kevin Nash could also be another option.

Muhammed Ali (Celebrity Wing)

Ali was perhaps the absolute best talker of all time. Ali was a fantastic boxer but that almost paled in comparison with his ability to turn a phrase. He was part of the celebrity crew at the very first Wrestlemania. If anyone else goes into next year’s celebrity wing, the WWE should be ashamed of themselves. I would hope that the WWE would call upon Hall of Famer, Mike Tyson, to induct Ali.

In Conclusion:

There were so many names that ran through my mind for induction in the Hall of Fame. Owen Hart, William Regal, Daniel Bryan, Undertaker, The Fabulous Ones, Luna Vachon, Bam Bam Bigelow, Mike Rotunda, and dozens more were considered for next year’s special honor. I know that someone will get the Warrior’s Award. I’d love that to be Droz, who came back from paralysis to have a fantastic Behind-the-Scenes career with the WWE. Whoever goes in, they will be deserving of being recognized as one of the greats of the industry.


–Jay Shannon

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