2015 WWE Hall of Fame live coverage: Randy Savage, Kevin Nash, Larry Zbyszko, Madusa/Alundra Blayze, The Bushwhackers, Tatsumi Fujinami, Connor Michalek, and Arnold Schwarzenegger
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The following is a live coverage report on the 2015 WWE Hall of Fame ceremony. Please refresh the page for the latest updates.
The opening video aired and focussed on each of the inductees... The event is sponsored by the Terminator movie with the weird spelling of the word genesis...
Jerry Lawler was introduced as the host of the show. He entered to a nice round of applause and "Jerry" chants. He welcomes viewers to the show and said it's by far his favorite night of the year. He set up the first inductee's video package. A Rikishi video aired...
Rikishi: Presented by Jimmy and Jey Uso
Jimmy and Jey Uso served as the presenters for their father. They said they've been asked a lot about growing up the son of Rikishi and they said it was the norm for them. They said they grew up watching him on television. They spoke about him going through various characters until he found the one that stick.
They humorously set up a shot of Rikishi's ass in the thong on the big screen and said it bought them Christmas presents and other perks. They said they were happy he never gave them the Stinkface. They got serious and spoke about Rikishi's hard work, passion, and sacrifice for WWE. They introduced their father, who came out wearing a Hawaiian leis.
Rikishi said he was hanging out backstage with Vince McMahon and Triple H. He held up his hand and quoted Iron Sheik by telling the cameraman to zoom in as he held up his Hall of Fame ring. He spoke about coming from the Anoi'a family "known as the Samoan dynasty."
Rikishi noted that that there has been at least one member of the family on the WWE roster for five decades. The audio cut or he was censored when he said WWF rather than WWE, which is ridiculous if it's the latter. He ran through the list of those wrestlers. He said Afa and Sika laid roadmaps for him and he is forever grateful.
Rikishi thanked his wife and "the best fans in the entire world." They responded with a Rikishi chant. He said he feels like his life has become full circle. He mentioned that he's a trainer with his brother and Gangrel, who was shown sitting in the crowd. He gave a shoutout to "Miro, Rusev." Rikishi spoke about his passion for the business and said it's in his DNA and is his entire being.
Rikishi spoke about how he remembers all the shows and the missed birthdays and family events (he looked at his sons who were standing off to the side while saying the last part). He said he remembers all the dance moves, the pyro, and every Stinkface. He said he remembers the face of every fan he's ever performed in front of.
Rikishi said the thing he will remember most of all is this moment with the fans. He said he is honored and humbled to be inducted into the 2015 WWE Hall of Fame. He said WWE is where he was born and where he was raised. He spoke in Samoan to close out his speech.
"This is my night, right?" he asked. He said he can't leave his fans like this. He said he'd been stretching and the did a couple moves that he said Mark Henry taught him. One of his sons pulled out his shades and put them on his father. Rikishi and his sons did the Rikishi and Too Cool dance routine...
Powell's POV: A nice speech, but speaking of Too Cool, I don't believe he event mentioned Scotty Too Hotty or Grandmaster Sexay (Brian Lawler), who were a big part of his act. I thought they might appear on the stage with him at some point, so I'm shocked that they weren't at least mentioned. It a nice speech otherwise.
Lawler set up the video package for Larry Zbyszko...
Larry Zbyszko: Presented by Bruno Sammartino
Bruno cracked that after all they'd been through, "can you believe I'm inducting this guy into the Hall of Fame tonight?" Bruno praised the class of 2015 and specifically mentioned Arnold Schwarzenegger. Bruno recalled meeting Larry when he was just a young man. He said Larry told him he would like to become a pro wrestler someday.
Bruno said Larry kept popping up and telling him he wants to be a wrestler. He said Larry was a terrific amateur wrestler and he told him to stick with that, then told him to get his college degree. Bruno said Larry didn't want to go to college, but he did and graduated, then called Bruno and told him he hopes he'd keep his word.
Bruno said he used Larry on smaller shows around Pittsburgh and eventually told Vincent J. McMahon about him, who agreed to bring him in. Bruno recalled the angle where Larry turned on him and how successful it was. He spoke about the remainder of Larry's career and how he went on to become a broadcaster before introducing him.
Zbyszko came out to a nice round of applause and shook hands with Bruno. Larry said standing in the WWE Hall of Fame "truly is a dream come true." He said he couldn't help but drive Bruno crazy about getting into the business. He said his dream at age 16 was to be a pro wrestler.
Larry said his mother gave him Bruno's address. He told a story about climbing through the hedges and then introducing himself to Bruno and telling him he wanted to be a wrestler. "Bruno started me out," he said. "He started me out on a career that was indescribable." Larry said he doesn't know why Bruno took him under his wing. "I don't know why," he said. "I really don't know why. Oh, God, this is amazing."
Larry said that after all the years of having a reputation for having a big mouth, "...man." He said Bruno was gracious enough to get in the ring with him. He said maybe it was just meant to me that he didn't throw him out of his yard when he introduced himself. "I lost my train of thought," Zbyszko said. "I thought this was going to be easy."
Larry said that after Bruno took the time to talk to him, "my dream was going to come true come hell or high water." He said things were great and then "one day came the hell and the high water." He said destiny threw him around like a leaf in the wind and he drove everyone crazy around him.
Zbyszko said Bruno broke his neck and it shocked the world when he hung up his boots and became a color commentator. He said something wasn't right and that the old school wasn't ready to go out yet. "Something wasn't complete, the old school era wasn't going out this way, not with Bruno breaking his neck," he said. "So off we went."
Larry said so much for a speech, "let's just tell it like it is." The fans chanted "thank you, Larry." Zbyszko thanked Bruno from the bottom of his heart for "letting a young boy's dream come true when you didn't have to do it." Larry said there was another man involved - Vince McMahon Sr.
Larry said that even though he drove Vince Sr. nuts, he believed in Larry's dream and rented Shea Stadium anyway. He said it gave birth to a new era of national television, nationwide pay-per-view, "and it was awesome." Larry said that "47 glorious years ago" he dove into the rabbit hole and Bruno was standing there to open the door to a wrestling wonderland. "Still not sure why," he said.
Larry said he just walked out the other end of that rabbit hole a few minutes ago and Bruno was standing there to open the door to finally let him out. Larry said he's standing there wearing the same ring as his hero. He said it's a perfect ending to an outrageous dream he had. He said he gets to go home and become what he was once upon a time - one of the biggest wrestling fans alive.
Larry said there's something he has wanted to say about the fans for a long time. He said that without each other to share the powers of our imagination with there would be no dreams at all. "I have felt the love of standing in the ring with millions and millions of people chanting my name," he said.
The fans chanted Larry. "Mean Gene Okerlund announcing me as wrestling's living legend, and for that glorious moment in time I became like my hero. And my dream was coming true. And I have felt the wrath of fighting my way out of riots night after night." Larry spoke about having cabs overturned and being stabbed in the ass "by the greatest fans in the world," he said. He said he hopes all their dreams come true as well...
Powell's POV: A good speech in which Larry showed true admiration for Bruno Sammartino. Sure, it was a bit disjointed and his love for Bruno is just a notch below Mr. T's love for his mother, but it was still cool to see the guy who always struck me as such a cynical, wise ass character being seemingly awestruck by the moment. I am surprised that he only focussed on his WWWF run and didn't mention his runs elsewhere, particularly the AWA given his run as the world champion and because he married one of Verne Gagne's daughters. I guess it's the WWE Hall of Fame and he opted to focus on Bruno and his WWE/WWWF days.
The video for Alundra Blayze/Madusa aired...
Alundra Blayze: Presented by Natalya
Natalya spoke about how Alundra showed up to fight and was a revolutionary. "One iconic act of defiance would change the history of sports entertainment forever, when Alundra Blayze took her WWE Women's Championship and threw it in the trash on WCW TV." There were boos from the fans. She said the gloves came off and the gauntlet was thrown. She said that act started a revolution.
Natalya said she had to tell someone when she found out that she was going to induct Alundra. She said she hoped Arn Anderson wouldn't mind. Natalya told a story about Arn being upset that Madusa was cutting promos before him doing too many takes, and that led to Alundra chasing after him with her heels. After reading a quote about a brick wall, Natalya introduced Alundra Blayze as "the only woman in the world who Arn Anderson is afraid of."
"Yeah, I'll bet you never saw this coming, did you?" Blayze started. "Yeah, neither did I." She thanked Natalya for the introduction and spoke about her carrying on the Hart family legacy.
Alundra spoke about meeting a stunt coordinator who told her she should be in pro wrestling. She spoke about working for promoter Eddie Sharkey and making zero money, living in her car, and having it repossessed. She said Eddie told her that's what wrestlers do.
Madusa said she got a call from Wahoo McDaniel, who wanted her to work with Sherri Martel. She said she learned so much from Sherri and busted her ass while learning her craft. She said her time with the AWA led to All Japan Pro Wrestling, WCW, and laid the foundation to Greg Valentine and Pat Patterson of WWE.
Alundra paid homage to the Fabulous Moolah and thanked her for paving the way. She thanked Verne Gagne "and my AWA family." She thanked Curt Hennig and Dallas Page, and said Page is a future Hall of Famer. She also mentioned her Japanese wrestling family and said her beliefs, values, and morales were forged during the three years she spent there. She thanked several of her Japanese counterparts by name.
Alundra thanked her parents and family, and her "extended family watching me right now on WWE Network for $9.99." She thanked her "Monster Jam Family" and her pink warriors, and her "die-hard Madusa fans." She also thanked Evan Karagias for "having the stones to let me pin him for the cruiserweight title." She also thanked a list of women who "did their part" in her success.
Madusa gave "special thanks" to Paul Heyman, who was shown in the crowd sitting next to his children. Heyman had tears in his eyes. "I was the first Paul Heyman Girl," Madusa said. She mentioned the Dangerous Alliance. She also brought up Steve Austin and said she had the biggest crush on him. She said Arn better not think about coming up on the stage "or I will beat your ass." She mentioned Bobby Eaton, Larry Zbyszko, and Rick Rude while labeling him a future WWE Hall of Famer.
Madusa got choked up as she said she was honored to be inducted in the same class "as the immortal" Randy Savage. She mentioned Nora Greenwald (Molly Holly) and Gorgeous George (Macho valet version). She gave a shout out to members of the WWE staff.
Madusa thanked the love of her life and noted that he served in the army for 30 years. He was shown sitting in the crowd. She said she hadn't seen him in nearly a year because he's serving, but his platoon arranged for him to come back for this occasion. The fans roared. She asked for the military members, first responders, and public servants to stand up to be recognized.
She was censored as she said it was time to get to some fun shit. She said it was time to talk about the title. She said she was sitting on the toilet in 1995 when she got a call from Eric Bischoff, who was booed. She laughed. She said he offered her a WCW contract.
Madusa said she had no idea that she would fire the first shot in the Monday Night War by throwing the title in the trash. She said that when Bischoff told her to dump the title, her reaction was hell no, but she ultimately did it for job security. She said she did what any other male or female wrestler would do under those circumstances.
Madusa said Bischoff's goal was to get WWE's attention. "Mission accomplished," she added. She said she will be forever known as "that bitch" who threw the title in the trash. She said she's at peace with it now "and so should you." She looked toward the back.
Natalya walked out with a trash can. Madusa reached down and pulled out bra and panties. "Really, I hated that crap, who came up with that." She pulled out JR's BBQ and questioned who the writer was who had her wrestle in that. She praised JR's BBQ sauce. She pulled out an Eric Bischoff book. She said they are friends to this day.
Madusa pulled out the WWF Women's Championship. She said that's a "women's wrestling belt." She challenged anyone to come take it, then said she's just kidding because he's retired. She said the belt is finally home where it belongs.
She read from her notes and said being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame is the highest honor to be bestowed upon a sports entertainer. She joked that she's the reigning WWE Women's Champion who has held the belt for 20 years. She said she is a two-time Monster Jam champion, and the only woman to hold world championships in two male dominated professions. She closed out by saying you can call her Alundra or Madusa, but you can bet your ass that this diva will never be subdued"...
Powell's POV: Excellent speech. The best of the night thus far. She touched on all aspects of her career and had a great mix of humor and emotional moments. She has such a fun personality and was highly respectful of so many people. And she made Paul Heyman cry on camera, which is something you don't see every day. I really enjoyed that.
Lawler set up the footage of the Ultimate Warrior statue being unveiled with his wife and children at Axxess on Thursday. Back live, the fans chanted "thank you, Warrior." The statue was on the stage behind Lawler, who spoke about the Warrior Award. A video for Warrior was shown.
Warrior Award - Connor Michalek: Presented by Dana Warrior
Dana Warrior was introduced. "Is it too late to say I had other plans tonight?" she asked? She said it was an honor and it was a terrifying honor. She recalled how proud she was of her late husband's speech and said she agreed with all he stood for. "Most of all, I was proud to be called his wife," she said.
"Losing him was an unspeakable blow," Dana said. She said people don't tell you about the physical pain that comes from losing someone so much. She said it was like losing the air from her lungs and the beat of her heart. "That kind of sadness could swallow a person whole if you hadn't spent 22 years with a man who embodied the spirt of a warrior... and he gave a little of that to me along the way."
Dana said she wants him back every day, but she never wanted to follow him. She said she knew he would be so mad at her if she didn't stand up and embody a warrior woman. She said a wallflower can't be married to a warrior, so even though she's quieter, she is a warrior. She issued her gratitude to those she said know who they are and what they have done.
Dana thanked her daughters and said they have been her reason for getting up every day "and to fight like mad to make you proud." She asked the girls, who were in the crowd, to forgive her for any mistakes she made during trying times. Like their dad, she said the most awesome thing she will ever do is be their mom.
Dana also thanked the fans. "Even if you didn't like us much in the beginning, we got better as we went along," she said. She thanked WWE and said she would never forget what they did for her and her family. She thanked "Stephanie and Paul" and said they might play bad guys, but they are really good friends. She also thanked Steve Wilton and said he was her husband's most trusted friend.
Dana spoke about what makes one a true warrior and said it's about the impact you have on those around you and the impact you leave behind. She said Conor and her husband have taken their final breath and journeyed into parts unknown, but their legacies are ultimate. She challenged every person out there to make a donation to Connor's Cure in Warrior's memory.
She said if they raise $1 million she'll do something warrior crazy and she might even bodyslam someone. She said she had the perfect opponent in mind, "brother." She said she was kidding and said there was nothing but love.
Dana introduced Daniel Bryan and said her husband thought he was a wonderful example of an underdog rising to the top. She said watching Daniel Bryan and his love for Connor made her love him even more. Dana said she believes her husband would have selected Bryan for his huge heart and his own warrior spirit.
Bryan came out and hugged Dana, who left the stage as the crowd delivered a "Yes!" chant. Bryan was already teared up as he stood at the podium, which had the Warrior Award trophy. He apologized for keeping his hands in his pockets to keep from crying. The fans chanted his name. He said he really appreciated that, but everything he's done is fiction and what he's talking about is something very real.
The fans chanted "Connor." Bryan said that's more like it. "You shouldn't be chanting for me, you should be chanting for him," he said. Bryan said he first found out about Connor via a Youtube video even though he's rarely on social media. He spoke about having his heart stolen the second he met Connor. Bryan said it's not just because he was cute and charismatic.
Bryan said there was something more there and he struggled to find what that was when he was putting his speech together. Bryan said he thinks the thing that spoke to him was his strength. He said Connor was diagnosed with brain cancer at age three, and lived his life in and out of hospitals. He said that when you met Connor, he was full of life and confidence."
Bryan said he was still doing the "no" thing because they wanted the fans to stop saying yes. "Whatever," he said. Bryan recalled Connor telling him that he didn't like it when the fans chanted yes because Bryan didn't want them to. He recalled asking Connor if he thought he could put him in the No Lock. Connor told him yes, he could put everyone in the No Lock.
Bryan recalled Connor getting Triple H to punch him. He said Connor told him no, he couldn't do that in a way that suggested it was going to hurt. He said it didn't take much more for Connor. The fans chanted "Crusher." Bryan said noted that he was called Connor The Crusher.
"I wish that you all could have seen Connor through my eyes at the end of WrestleMania last year," he said. Bryan said he was in front of 70,000 fans with confetti falling. He said he looked out and saw Connor, who sat through a four-hour show and had to be tired, but he was smiling and throwing his hands in the air while in his dad's arms.
Bryan said that gave him a sense of what is truly important. "It wasn't what I was doing in that moment in time, it was the love between a father and his son," Bryan said. "And you could see the life in Connor's eyes. And you could see the love in his dad's eyes, so appreciative of being there in that moment and being able to hold his son."
Bryan said it was his pleasure to present the award to Connor's father, who supported his son throughout all of it. Bryan introduced Steve Michalek, who walked out and hugged Bryan before heading to the podium as the fans gave him a standing ovation. Another Connor chant broke out.
Steve thanked Connor and said if it wasn't for his spirit there was no way he would be able to talk in front of so many people. He thanked Dana Warrior and said her bravery and commitment in raising her children can't be overstated.
Steve thanked Bryan for the kind words "about a little boy who saw you as a hero." Steve said Connor's love and passion for WWE began with Bryan, and he would be so happy to know that Bryan was giving him the award and inducting him into the Hall of Fame.
Steve spoke about how Warrior owned the crowd, and said Bryan has the same energy and passion that Warrior had. Therefore, he found it fitting that Bryan was giving the award. He also thanked Stephanie and Triple H for starting Connor's Cure. He said he's proud that the foundation has been so successful, and said it's thanks to the fans that it's here to stay and to make a difference.
Steve spoke about the videos that people have seen. He recalled that six year-old Connor told Bryan and Kane that he and his younger brother Jackson were the real tag team champions. He recalled the ring appearance where he punched and pinned Triple H, "and even had the presence to hook the leg."
Steve said Connor got to have his own WrestleMania moment when he shared a hug with the new champion (Bryan) as confetti fell all around them. Steve said that while Connor may not be physically with us, he never let cancer beat him. He said at times it may have put him on his back, but his WWE friends like Justin Roberts and Daniel Bryan made his smile brighter and made him laugh a little longer.
Steve said doctors told him that Connor would never make it to WrestleMania. "But that didn't stop the Crusher from making it to the show of shows, and dare I say that with Daniel Bryan by his side, he became part of WrestleMania history," he said.
Steve said Connor will always be his best friend and his hero, and he hopes that he will also be a hero for all kids fighting against this terrible disease. He said he is humbled, honored, and proud that his son made such an impact on so many lives.
Steve said one of the last times he was with his son, it seemed like everywhere they went someone knew him. Steve told him it seemed like he was becoming a big celebrity. He recalled Connor looking up at him and said, "Dad, don't you know, I'm going to be famous one day." He said that thanks to the award, the Hall of Fame, and Connor's crusade, his words came true and his legacy will live forever.
Steve introduced Connor's brother Jackson to say a few words. Young Jackson walked onto the stage, and his father picked up him. Jackson waved to the fans and then blew a kiss. "I love you, Connor," Jackson said to close the speech...
Powell's POV: I'm struggling to find the words, so I'll just say that this was among the most touching moments I've ever witnessed and I'm certainly not talking just in a pro wrestling context. Wow.
Lawler set up The Bushwhackers video...
Powell's POV: Good booking. The crowd needs a light moment after that tearjerker.
The Bushwhackers: Presented by John Laurinaitis
Laurinaitis came out and the crowd chanted "People Power." He thanked them and said it's not about him, it's about The Bushwhackers. He spoke about how everyone has to start somewhere, and you become who you are thanks to people along the way. He pointed to the New Zealand flag and said it helped him meet the people who made him the man he is today.
Laurinaitis had Dusty Rhodes stand up as he recalled Dusty telling him he was sending him to Florida to be paired with The Sheepherders. A shot of the trio was shown and the fans laughed at Johnny's hair. He made a crack about how his hair wasn't as cool as he thought it was.
Laurinaitis said the Sheepherders told him what to do and why he was doing it. He said they were his mentors. He said they were his family, his mates, and his beginning. He said it's an honor for him to induct Luke and Butch.
The Bushwhackers made their entrance. Luke did the walk, and Butch did his best while walking with the help of a cane. Butch made some classic Bushwhackers sounds, then Luke joined in. They spoke about Gene Kiniski and Andre the Giant. Butch told a story about being attacked by hundreds of Samoans.
Luke told a story about Stu Hart and Stampede Wrestling, neither of which they had ever heard of. "We were doing hardcore before hardcore was called bloody hardcore," Butch said. They said they were working for the AWA when Luke got a call from a guy named Pat (Patterson).
Luke said they went to a meeting and were told they wanted to make them the good guys. Butch questioned how they would make good guys "out of these ugly looking bloody heads." He followed by saying, "And you know what, they bloody did, it's amazing."
They spoke about the match and licking fans. "You bloody Americans taste great," Butch said to laughs. They thanked the fans. Luke said he had one more story from the Royal Rumble. He recalled being eliminated and continuing to march the whole way. He said Butch didn't like it because he was in the match for 25 minutes. Vader was shown cracking up. Butch said what really got him hot was that Luke got the same check he did.
Butch asked Roddy Piper to stand up. Piper stood up and did the Bushwhacker march. Luke called for Ted DiBiase to stand up, and Ted did a quick Bushwhacker march and shook their hands. Luke mentioned Stu Hart, and they asked Bret Hart to stand up on behalf of his father. Bret did the march and shook their hands.
Butch recalled working SummerSlam at Wembley Stadium. They said their partner was Jim Duggan, who stood up and gave them a hoooo. He did a standing version of the march too. Butch said it was a great night because there were plenty of whoas, plenty of hos, and a great big hooooo. Funny.
Butch had his wife Helen stand up and thanked her. Luke said God bless her for living with Butch, who thanked her again and said he loves her. Butch also thanked his daughters who were back home for letting him chase his dream and understanding when he wasn't at home. He thanked them for the grandchildren and said they are beautiful.
Butch thanked Luke. Butch said you could never have a better partner than he did for 34 years. "The only thing in 34 years that pissed me off is when he walked straight out of the ring and I did 25 bloody minutes." Luke issued thanks for letting two boys from down under be in the WWE Hall of Fame. Butch licked Luke's head as Luke pretended he didn't want him to, which got a rise from the fans to close it out...
Powell's POV: The lighthearted segment the event needed after the Connor segment. Again, great booking (or whatever you want to call it). They may need to postpone WrestleMania until April at the rate this show is going.
Lawler set up the Tatsumi Fujinami video...
Tatsumi Fujinami: Presented by Ric Flair
Flair read from his script initially and then noted that he was about to ad lib (make that WrestleMania postponed until May). Flair spoke about how what he's doing with WWE now is the coolest thing he's ever done. He spoke about how hard Fujinami trained and the moves he invented.
Flair had Vader stand up and spoke about his feud with Fujinami. "The guy can go," Flair said regarding Vader. Flair said Fujinami is the greatest wrestler in the history of Japan. He said he thought about Muta before he said that. He kept it (mercifully) brief and introduced Fujinami.
Fujinami walked out wearing a tux and shared a moment with Flair. Fujinami pulled out his speech and said he was proud to be there. He thanked WWE "for this great honor." He said he fights because it's his mission. He said today he joins the WWE Hall of Fame, and he thanked his wife and family for supporting him...
Powell's POV: It looked like Fujinami was going to say more, but the music played right after he said thank you. He was struggling to read his speech in English, but that's to be expected. Who would have guessed that Ric Flair would deliver the shortest presentation speech, especially when he said he was going to ad lib?
Lawler set up the Randy Savage video...
Randy Savage: Presented by Hulk Hogan, Accepted by Lanny Poffo
Lawler introduced Hulk Hogan, who wore a tuxedo (sadly, the tux had sleeves). Hogan started with a Savage impersonation. "He was something else," Hogan said. He said he was crazy and it was his pleasure to induct someone he really loved into the Hall of Fame.
The fans chanted Randy Savage loudly. Hogan spoke about how intense Savage was. "Great competitor, even a better friend," Hogan said. He said there were countless times that intensity spilled over. He said Savage would call him at three in the morning to talk wrestling.
Hogan said they all looked up to Randy's father Angelo Poffo. Hogan said he actually switched to the canary yellow tights because Angelo wore those and stood out so well. Hogan said Savage loved his craft. He brought up WrestleMania 3, and said he feels Savage proved he was the best "in the Super... I mean, Silverdome" (intentional and funny).
Hogan spoke about his match with Andre, but he said Macho Man stole the show at WrestleMania 3. Hogan said the MegaPowers were a great tag team. He said Savage would take sports entertainment to another level. He recalled the angle where they were breaking up and Savage accused him of having jealous eyes for Elizabeth.
Hogan said Savage wasn't getting the reaction out of Hogan that he wanted, so he poked his finger in his face and it brought Hogan up to that level of intensity. "He was the Macho Man 24 hours a day," Hogan said. He said that was Hogan's voice and impersonated him saying, "Pick up the tab, brother." Funny.
Hogan said Savage was so intense that he made you better at everything you did. Hogan recalled some of his personal favorite WrestleMania moments. He brought up the money and the miles line he's been using. Hogan said whenever you worked with Savage it was always intense and he made him and everyone else in the business step up and be a better performer.
"When I think about it, there wouldn't be Hulkamania without the Macho Madness," Hogan said. Hulk said if it hadn't been for Randy he wouldn't have stepped his game up. Hogan said Savage deserves to be in the Hall of Fame and he thanked WWE for inducting him.
Hogan introduced Lanny Poffo as the man accepting the award for Savage. Randy's music played as Poffo walked onto the stage and hugged Hogan. Lanny read a poem about his brother's accomplishments. It included a line about the storyline being real when the MegaPowers exploded and said it's time for us to heal.
The fans chanted Randy Savage, and Lanny joined them once. "Okay, we've got a curfew, okay," Lanny said. He noted that his mother couldn't be there. He said she's 88 years-old and spoke about how great she was in the Savage DVD.
Lanny brought up Randy's widow Lynn, and said he knew she was watching and had paid her $9.99. He thanked her for making his brother the happiest man in the world right up until he died. Lanny got choked up and said, "Think of baseball."
Lanny recalled Warrior getting a chance to speak before he passed. Lanny said Randy didn't get that opportunity, so he wanted to say what was in his heart. He praised him for being a good uncle to his daughter, and a good father to his wife's children from a previous marriage.
Lanny said all the athletes of the Special Olympics were like his sons and daughters. Lanny said Randy loved them like Mr. T loved his mother. Hilarious. Lanny read a very poem he wrote about the Special Olympics.
Lanny recalled going to the Special Olympics with Savage numerous times. He said he introduced Savage, who came out in his full regalia, and he spoke about how his speeches always seemed to get better. He said WWE always sent a mountain of merchandise so that Savage could hand it out like Santa Claus to the Special Olympians. "He was a champion of the underdog," Poffo said of his brother. He read another poem to close out his speech...
Powell's POV: Well done. Lanny is such a unique character that you never know what you're going to get from him, but you know it's going to be entertaining. He's also a very good public speaker, so in retrospect I guess we shouldn't be surprised that he did so well. I've never heard him say a negative word about his brother in any interview, so I have no doubt that everything he said was from the heart. For those surprised that Savage didn't go on last, you shouldn't be. I'm sure he would have if he were alive (though who knows if they would have let bygones be bygones if that were the case), but I believe they wanted to go with someone still with us.
The Arnold Schwarzenegger video aired...
Arnold Schwarzenegger: Presented by Triple H
Triple H spoke about how this is his favorite night of the year. He said you're laughing one moment and crying the next. He spoke about Schwarzenegger interacting with Vince McMahon and Hulk Hogan. He recalled being punched hard and repeatedly in the angle with Arnold.
"My nose hasn't always been this big," Hunter cracked. He said he's been trying to get the swelling down ever since. Hunter questioned what would have happened if Schwarzenegger's hero had been Bruno Sammartino. He said Schwarzenegger could have been the biggest superstar in WWE history. "People are just drawn to Arnold," he said. "He's larger than life." Hunter imagined what it would be like if Arnold was chanting "Yes" instead of saying "Get to the chopper."
"Arnold Schwarzenegger is the American dream," Hunter said. "Actually, he might just be the global dream." He said that while he's the greatest bodybuilder and box office attraction in history, and the two-time governor of California (booed), he can add 2015 Hall of Famer to his resume.
Schwarzenegger walked out wearing a suit and shook hands with Hunter. Arnold ran through a couple of his famous lines. He thanked Hunter for the introduction and spoke about his respect to him. He had the fans give him a round of applause for being a wrestler, a businessman, a promoter, and a health advocate.
Schwarzenegger thanked WWE for inducting him. He admitted he never thought he would be in the Hall of Fame. He said he always loved pro wrestling and brought up Otto Wanz. He said he idolized pro wrestlers in addition to bodybuilding. Schwarzenegger spoke about how the wrestlers would train in the gym he went to back in Austria.
Schwarzenegger said Bruno Sammartino was the head judge when he won his first bodybuilding competition. He recalled Bruno telling him he was going to vote for him when he first saw him. He said they formed a friendship at that time, and he said that's why he was there when Bruno was inducted. Schwarzenegger spoke about seeing him backstage and spending time with him.
Schwarzenegger praised the fans for making them and making his movies successful. He spoke about liberty and being received in America with open arms. He said we must keep it the number one country in the world. He closed by thanking America several times, then delivered the "I'll be back" line...
Powell's POV: Schwarzenegger is a big get for WWE and all, but his WWE history just isn't substantial enough to grab me even on the celebrity wing level. Hunter did a good job and Arnold is polished, but I was numb to Schwarzenegger's entire speech.
Lawler set up the Kevin Nash video package...
Kevin Nash: Presented by Shawn Michaels
Lawler introduced Shawn Michaels, who wore a tux with a camouflage vest. I was hoping for a tux with big wader boots. Michaels tore up his script and said this induction would be one pro wrestler inducting another pro wrestler. He said clearly one of them would be in trouble backstage, but he's used to it. "Ladies and gentlemen, don't try this at home, I'm a trained professional." Funny.
Michaels recalled seeing Vinny Vegas (Nash) on WCW television and wanting to bring him in. Nash was under contract, so he went to Ole Anderson and told him he was giving notice so he could go back to bouncing at a strip bar. Ole gave him his release and he faxed it to WWE.
Shawn said he was not supposed to mention Vince McMahon's name and thus he will clearly be getting in trouble. He said Vince felt Diesel was getting white hot. Michaels said he brought the big goon to WWE and suddenly Vince was in love with him and wanted to put the strap on him. He recalled Diesel/Nash beating Bob Backlund in eight seconds to win the title.
Michaels recalled being pulled into the shower. He said you worry a bit when you get pulled into the shower by a big man. Nash told him he had no idea whether he was going to make it three years ago. He told Michaels he never would have made it without him, and thanked him for being his buddy."
Michaels said Nash changed the way the business works whether people want to admit it or not. He said every wrestler in the building now has a guaranteed contract because of the actions of Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. He said Nash treated the business like it was a business while Michaels and everyone else grew up wanting to be a wrestler.
Michaels said Hall and Nash held WCW hostage and made them pay guarantee money, and that changed the business for everyone. He said without Nash there would be no NWO or guaranteed contracts. He said without the NWO there would be no DX. "And without DX, there would not be a lifetime of merchandise checks keeping me afloat for the rest of my life." Funny.
Michaels said it gives him great pleasure not only for being a great friend but also for making sure he doesn't have to get back in the ring and toss his body around "for your enjoyment." Michaels introduced Nash.
Kevin Nash walked out to the NWO music and did the Diesel and HBK high-five with Michaels, who headed backstage. He said he's always considered Michaels the Michael Jordan of the industry. He said Michaels put him over big, so he must not have sucked.
Nash said he wouldn't be there now if it wasn't for Rick Steiner taking that call from Michaels that led to him going to the WWF. He said people wondered whether he would go in as Nash or Diesel, and he said there's no difference to him because if there hadn't been a Diesel there wouldn't have been an NWO.
Nash said a lot of people said he got into the business for the money, then deadpanned while saying that's absolutely true. He said when he first entered WCW they wanted to give him a mohawk, which would kill any action he had going on. He said they gave him a partner who was greener than he was. He said his partner missed a headbutt by a mile and the fans chanted LOD Wannabe at them. He said a few weeks later they told him to grow his hair out.
Nash pointed out Dusty Rhodes in the crowd and recalled him pitching the idea of Oz. He had them post a a photo of Oz on the big screen and the fans laughed. He had them run another one of Oz "with the dunce hat." Nash cracked that he's not Brad Pitt, "but do you really want to put a rubber mask on my face?"
Nash said he took the outfit out of the box for the first time and wondered why they didn't just put a note in the box that read "you're fired." Nash mentioned that Dallas Page is one of his best friends, and credited him with telling him to stick with pro wrestling.
Nash recalled being at MSG with WWE for the first time and said Shawn was working Marty Jannetty for the Intercontinental Championship. Nash said he did one thing during the match that led to Michaels winning the title. He said he did more in one day in WWF than he did in three and a half years in WCW.
Nash said his run as Diesel was fantastic. He recalled having a bit to drink "a couple of nights in a row, maybe 23" during a European tour. He said the agents told him Vince McMahon wanted to see him when he got back, and he figured he was going to be fired in person. He said he waited so long that he fell asleep on the couch.
Vince informed him that he was going to put the strap on him. Nash thought he was talking about the Intercontinental Title, but it led to Bob Backlund doing the honors for him in eight seconds. Nash said he was guaranteed ten dates at $150 when he signed his first deal with WWE. He said they were given an opportunity, and they took it and made a lot of money.
Nash said he doesn't think enough credit goes to the people who keep the lights on - the fans. Nash said his generation made some steps, but they've taken it tenfold since then. Nash said the growth of the company whenever he comes back is staggering. "I just have a feeling in the near future that I'm going to watch some kind of spaceship from Cape Canaveral that's not going to be going to Mars, it's going to be going to the moon because WWE has decided they're going to run Mania on the moon."
Nash said he could thank a thousand people, but he'd forget someone so he's not going to do it. He thanked his wife and said people probably think she's like a unicorn and doesn't exist. He said his first mentor Rick Rude told him if he wants to keep his wife he should keep her away from the business. He said he's done that for 27 years and they're still together so it must have worked. "Without her I would implode," Nash said while getting choked up.
Nash said he was talking with Ric Flair earlier and they came to the conclusion that there are two things in the business that are real. "When you win your first championship and when you get inducted into the Hall of Fame," he said. "I thank you."
Nash walked toward the entrance and was greeted by Shawn Michaels, Scott Hall, Triple H, and Sean Waltman. They all hugged Nash and held up the Wolfpac sign. They continued to shake hands and hug as the show went off the air...
Powell's POV: A very good speech from Nash to close the show. It was a marathon night that lasted just over four hours, but I like that the Hall of Famers were given a chance to deliver their full speeches rather than be rushed. Thanks for watching along with me tonight. I'll be back tomorrow with the WrestleMania Sunday edition of Prowrestling.net Live (see the top of the page) and, of course, live coverage of WrestleMania beginning with the Kickoff Show at 4:00 p.m. CT.
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