WWE Hall of Fame Report: Mae Young, Gordon Solie, Jack and Jerry Brisco, Eddie Graham inducted, plus JBL's hilarious speech
The WWE website is streaming the show live tonight. Only portions will air during the web broadcast and the rest will be shown tonight at 10 p.m. (CST) on the USA Network.
-The web broadcast started late because WWE taped Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson inducting Rocky Johnson and Peter Maivia first, presumably to make life easier for the editing crew. The footage did not air on the web broadcast, nor will Triple H inducting Ric Flair. Rather, those inductions will be broadcast on the USA Network later tonight and I'll cover those inductions in a separate post.
-More than an hour after the advertised start time for the web broadcast, the show kicked off with Lillian Garcia introducing Gene Okerlund. He sent his best wishes to Bobby Heenan and introduced the next inductees.
-The Brisco Brothers HOF video aired.
-JBL came out to induct Jack and Jerry Brisco. He joked that the Rock's long layoff caused him to forget the most important words in pro wrestling: "Go home." He said The Rock went on so long that the Briscos and Ric Flair had sobered up. He said Jerry was supposed to be in his last wedding, but couldn't make it. He said he was assured that Jerry would be in his next several weddings. He went on for quite some time and told a bunch of jokes at the expense of the brothers and their Native American heritage.
Powell's POV: JBL was an absolute riot. His speech was straight out of a celebrity roast.
-Jack and Jerry came out. Jack said he looked up to Danny Hodge and Lou Thesz. He also put over some of the great tag teams. He kept it short and thanked his family and friends.
Jerry took over and thanked Bruce Prtichard for helping JBL with the induction speech. He said he and his brother are proud of their Chickasaw heritage and he also pointed out his son in the crowd. Jerry also thanked guys he's stretched over the years like Pritchard, JBL, and Steve Austin, who was shown laughing in the crowd.
Jerry recalled JBL claiming that he was hired by Jerry in a shower. Jerry got even with JBL by saying he learned then that not everything from Texas is bigger. The crowd popped for that one. He said there have been some bumps in the road during his career in the industry, but it was worth the drive. He wrapped up by saying: "Support our troops. Bring 'em home."
Powell's POV: Classy video. It's nice that fans get to see the other side of Jerry after watching him play Vince McMahon's stooge for so long.
-The Gordon Solie video aired. Okerlund introduced Jim Ross.
-Ross took the stage and said he's thought about Gordon a lot the last few days because he gets to call Flair vs. Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania tomorrow. Ross ran through several Gordon-isms. He said he wouldn't have become a WWE broadcaster had it not been for Solie, and praised him as the best broadcaster of all-time.
Ross recalled Flair calling Solie the night before he died and put them over as the best at their chosen professions. Ross said he has always stated that Gordon is the best broadcaster that ever lived and "the rest of us yahoos are fighting over number two." Ross introduced "the five children of the Dean of Broadcasting" to accept on Solie's behalf.
-Five members of the Solie family walked onto the stage. One of the sons (or son-in-laws) stood at the podium and thanked WWE for recognizing Gordon's contributions. An idiot in the audience shouted, "Speak up." The fan tried to say something again, but people in the crowd yelled at the fan. He said Gordon was never the show, but he made the show better.
One of the other sons (who looks just like his dad) took the stage and pointed out that his father was a news broadcaster and called races. He put over several of today's broadcasters and told a story about a blind man who listened to his father's calls and felt like he knew exactly what was taking place. He signed off with Gordon's signature "So long from the Sunshine state" sendoff.
Powell's POV: It was so nice to hear other fans tell the obnoxious fan to pipe down. The crowd has been very classy and respectful thus far.
-Okerlund introduced the Mae Young video. Okerlund pointed out that Mae Young is the third woman to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. He introduced Pat Patterson to induct Mae Young.
Powell's POV: That's a surprise. Steph was never advertised, but it was widely reported that she would do the honors.
-Patterson took the stage and said Mae told him earlier in the day that she hopes to have a match when she's 100 year-old. Patterson told a story about the first time he met Mae and how she told him he had to smoke a cigar if he wanted to be in the pro wrestling business. He told some other funny stories and noted that he will be celebrating 50 years in the business this year. The crowd cheered, but he pointed out that Mae has been in the business for over 65 years and has wrestled in eight decades. He closed it out by singing a few lines from "My Way" and introduced Mae.
-Mae Young walked onto the stage. She told the crowd she was the first women's champion in the state of Florida and won the title in Orlando. The crowd popped. She said she'll be around a few more years and vowed to wrestle when she's 100 year-old. Mae talked about traveling to Tulsa and trying to talk the promoter into letting her challenge Mildred Burke. The promoter made her wrestle two women and she says she plowed through them so the promoter sent her to Charlotte to train.
Mae said Ed "Strangler" Lewis once told her that he thought women should be in the kitchen instead of in the ring, but he felt differently about her. He told her that she was born to be a wrestler. Mae thanked the fans and said they are the reason she wants to wrestle when she reached her 100th birthday.
-Gene Okerlund introduced the Eddie Graham video, and then introduced Dusty Rhodes to deliver the induction speech. Dusty came out wearing a tux and danced to his "Common Man" theme song briefly. Dusty said Graham was a father and a mentor to him. Dusty said the only time Eddie got mad at him was the time he said, "Funky like a monkey" because he didn't know what it meant, but he liked it when they sold out the building that week.
Dusty encouraged his peers to latch onto a younger wrestler and help them out. He said there's not a day that goes by when John Cena doesn't approach him and ask what he can do better.
Dusty introduced Mike Graham to accept on behalf of his father. Mike credited Vince McMahon Sr. with changing his father's life. He also mentioned that his father launched a YMCA charity in Florida. He showed off a picture taken in 1961 of an NWA meeting that was held in Toronto. It was attached to a nice plaque and he said he was presenting it to all the fans and wrestlers, and then thanked the crowd to conclude his segment.
-A graphic appeared on the screen that invited fans to tune in for the final hour of the ceremony on the USA Network beginning at 11 p.m. (ET).
Powell's POV: A classy presentation thus far. There have been a few unruly fans, but it's nothing like in past years when the fans interrupted the speeches with chants and tried to make themselves the center of attention. That being said, WWE.com should not have advertised the start time when they knew their broadcast wouldn't start until after The Rock inducted his father and grandfather. Granted, they did say "approximately" and it sounds like the Rock went on forever, but they didn't do their users any favors and probably cost themselves a number of viewers who probably gave up because they didn't know what was happening.
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