The following is a live coverage report on the 2016 WWE Hall of Fame ceremony, which was held on April 1 in Orlando, Florida at Amway Center. Please refresh the page for the latest updates.
The event opened with a montage of each of the inductees that included commentary and narration… Jerry Lawler was introduced as the host. He stepped up to the podium and welcomed everyone to the the ceremony. He said they would be inducting everyone from a night club owner to a Glamazon to an Olympic gold medalist. Lawler set up the video for Dallas Page, which featured a split screen shot of Triple H delivering the news to an emotional Page along with clips from his career and comments from Eric Bischoff, Scott Hall, Mick Foley, and others. It also focussed on his DDP Yoga program and noted his work with Hall and Jake Roberts…
Diamond Dallas Page: Presented by Eric Bischoff
Eric Bischoff was introduced by Lawler as “a controversial combatant from the Monday Night Wars.” Bischoff walked out and blew a kiss. Goldberg was shown applauding Bischoff from the arena floor. Bischoff tried to start his speech, but the fans interrupted with a “welcome back” chant. Bischoff thanked the crowd and then spoke about the definition of heart. Bischoff said he would get back to that. He said he wished someone else was inducting Page while he was watching. “God bless you, Dusty Rhodes,” Bischoff said. “May you rest in peace and may you rest happy, brother.” Bischoff said he was happy to be a “distant second.”
Bischoff spoke about meeting Page in 1988 when he was a manager for “Badd Company” Paul Diamond and Pat Tanaka. Bischoff recalled hearing criticism about Page’s height and being a manager from people he respected such as Ray Stevens and Brock Lesnar. Bischoff told the fans to imagine being Page’s size and having his muscularity while managing Brock Lesnar. Bischoff recalled getting into a bar fight with Page. Bischoff said he wasn’t broken hearted when Page went to WCW to manage the Freebirds in 1991. Bischoff recalled the AWA nearly closing and how he “failed to sell a broom to Vince McMahon.” Bischoff lined up a tryout with WCW and then found out Page was his color commentator. Bischoff said Page didn’t let their issues stand in the way and he spent hours working with him beforehand.
Bischoff said they ended up traveling the road together. He said Page was obnoxious and sad anyone who knows him will tell him the same thing. Bischoff said the desire that Page had drove him to go to the Power Plant at age 35 to train with Jody Hamilton and Dusty Rhodes. Bischoff spoke about Page trying every gimmick in the book to get himself over. “He was a walking, talking, 24/7 gimmick machine,” he said. Bischoff said Page went on to have some great highlight moments and then listed Randy Savage, Goldberg, Ric Flair, and others as his memorable opponents. Bischoff said the reason he was proud to be there was Page’s heart. He said the dictionary has one definition, while Page shares his heart with others in need. Bischoff listed examples of people that Page has helped, then said Jake Roberts and Scott Hall were at the ceremony because Page was there for them. Bischoff introduced Page.
Paige took the stage to a standing ovation form the live crowd. He was escorted onto the stage by four women. The fans chanted DDP. Page thanked “his girls” for walking him out. “I used to have Diamond Dolls, now I have Diamond Daughters,” he said. Page kissed his daughters and they left the stage. “Wow!” he exclaimed. Page recalled driving Greg Valentine and Honky Tonk Man to the ring at WrestleMania VI. He said he didn’t get the gig, his card did, but now he’s going into the HOF before WM33. Fans chanted “you deserve it.” Page said Lee Marshall described him as an anomaly. Page said it was bittersweet to be there because Dusty Rhodes wasn’t there to share it with him. He said shaking Dusty’s hand was a defining moment in his life.
Page recalled telling Rhodes his story, and Rhodes telling him they would make him the Jesse Ventura of the nineties. Page said everyone thought he was crazy. He sought out Michael Hayes, who had a great pimp hat and outfit, and recalled him laughing hysterically about him deciding to become a wrestler. Page recalled training under Hamilton and thanked him. He also thanked Terry Taylor, and Dusty’s wife Michelle. Page thanked Bischoff for making him lose all of his gimmicks so that he would be himself. Page thanked Jake Roberts, who was in the crowd. Page said Roberts was his education who watched all of his early bad matches with him.
Page thanked John Laurinaitis for giving him a finisher that saved his life. He thanked Steven “William” Regal for helping him put it all together. He also Ron Reese for suggesting the Diamond Cutter sign. Page recalled having his first match with Sting, who was in the crowd, in 1996. He recalled Hayes telling him he’s never been so happy to eat crow. He recalled Roberts congratulating him for “reinventing the DDT.” Page thanked Kevin Nash and Scott Hall, who were both in the crowd. Page also recalled working with Randy Savage. Page mentioned Hulk Hogan telling him he could make money with him if he kept doing what he was doing. Page recalled their tag match with Dennis Rodman and Karl Malone. Page thanked his doctor and then his ex-wife Kimberly. She said it was an awesome ride and thanked her for always having his back “especially when you thought I was out of my mind.” Page thanked his wife Linda for being hid strength. He noted that she is a breast cancer survivor. “She is my personal superhero,” Page said.
Page ran through a list of additional wrestling personalties and said, “especially Chris Jericho.” Fans chanted Y2J. He recalled sending him the video of a disabled veteran who used DDP Yoga and changed his life. Jericho called Page and said he would do whatever he told him, and now he’s bouncing around like a 24 year-old. Page thanked everyone who has used DDP Yoga for believing in him. Page thanked Goldberg “for a helluva match.” Finally, Page thanked his mother for letting him believe he could do anything. Page closed with a story about Dusty Rhodes scolding him for saying he would never be him or Hogan or Flair. “Then what the hell are you doing it for?” Page recalled Rhodes asking. Page said he became world champion. Page encouraged everyone to own their dream. Page thanked Ric Flair for changing his life that night and recalled guest referee Randy Savage handing him the title. Page gave the Diamond Cutter sign and thanked the “universe” for helping him reach his dream. Page closed out with a bang.
Powell’s POV: You had to know Page’s speech would be long, but it was also good and from the heart. I’m all for anyone who takes the HOF induction seriously and clearly this meant the world to Page. Bischoff’s presentation speech was also well delivered and showcased the fact that Page accomplished all that he did in the ring even though he didn’t start training until he was 35.
After a commercial, a shot aired of Roman Reigns, who was greeted by boos. Reigns nodded in response. Lawler set up a Rock-n-Roll Express video package and said they are the definition of a hot tag.
The Rock-n-Roll Express (Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson): Presented by Jim Cornette.
Lawler introduced Cornette, who brought out his tennis racket. “Oh my God,” Cornette started. “Well, here we go.” He joked about it being a live microphone and the audio guy’s on Xanax.” Cornette said he could give a combination of the Gettysburg Address and the Sermon on the Mount and fans would still go home disappointed. He said the over/under on his speech is Sunday morning. Cornette went right into talking about the early days of the Rock-n-Roll Express. He noted that Lawler had the idea 34 years ago this month. Cornette called the R&R “Justin Bieber before he was born.” He said they had sex on the way to the ring more times than most people had in a year. Cornette said it wasn’t just women who admired the R&R, it was men too because they had guts and wouldn’t quit.
Cornette spoke about Ricky Morton’s tremendous selling ability. He said that when they eventually came back and hit the double dropkick, the fans threw babies in the air. He spoke about how they needed their own Joker – the Midnight Express and how they were mirror images. He said their matches were madness. Cornette said it was cool to go from working Dyersburg, Tennessee to working in front of 25,000 fans at the Superdome in short order. Cornette praised Ric Flair and “the creative genius” Dusty Rhodes. Cornette said that just about the time it seemed like it was all over, the Midnight Express got a new member in Stan Lane (teamed with Bobby Eaton, replaced Dennis Condrey).
Cornette said the R&R were the backbone of Smoky Mountain Wrestling. He said he lost his hair and some of his sanity in trying to bring back territory style wrestling. Cornette said it would not have lasted as long as it did without the R&R. Cornette recalled the duo appearing on Monday Night Raw. He spoke about how no matter what the crowd size was, the R&R always delivered. He said that more than one wrestler on the WWE roster has told him that the first time they saw the R&R vs. Midnights is when they knew they wanted to be pro wrestlers. Cornette spoke about how the R&R continued into the 2000s. He said they are still going and fighting guys half their ages and they should be in the Smithsonian. Cornette said no one wants them to stop because they are a national treasure.
Cornette recalled a family of fans who took pictures in front of their Christmas tree. They considered Ricky and Robert family so they shared their pictures with them. Cornette said he saw the pictures and in the background was a photo of Jesus Christ on the left and the R&R on the right. “That’s when you know you’re over,” Cornette said. He said this brings him back in time. He recalled fans chanting “Rock N Roll.” Cornette said it was his pleasure to introduce two men who meant so much to his professional and persona life.
Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson took the stage wearing tuxedos (and no bandanas?!?) and hugged Cornette. A brief Rock-n-Roll chant started. Gibson compared getting the HOF call to finding out he was going to be a grandfather. Morton said he has seven children and seven grandchildren. “And they all look like me,” Gibson cracked. Gibson said they know each other so well that they dress alike. Morton pulled out a bandana(!). He also cracked that their independent rate just went through the roof. Gibson said they both came from wrestling families. He recalled a fan holding up an R&R for the Hall of Fame. Morton joked it was actually him dressed up like the fan holding up the sign.
Morton spoke about how he was happy to be involved with the global empire that WWE has become. He said he always stands up for the boys. Morton said look at the wrestlers in the crowd and stressed that they are professional athletes. A brief batch of boos occurred when Reigns was shown. “Whoa,” Morton said. He credited Lawler with coming up with their gimmick. He spoke about working for Bill Watts in Louisiana. He thanked Bill Dundee and Jim Ross for believing in them. He said they followed the Yellow Brick Road when they went to the Carolinas. They thanked Dusty Rhodes for his creative vision.
Morton spoke about the great people they worked with. He said he saw Shawn Michaels grow up. Michaels winked at him. He thanked Kevin Nash for keeping them alive. Morton praised Ric Flair as the greatest world champion. Gibson told a story about Flair at the Superdome with Muhammad Ali. He said a man came to the show per Flair’s recommendation. It was Jim Crockett. Morton waved to Michael Hayes. He said he always thought he had heat with Hayes because his punches were so stiff. Gibson praised Hayes and said he loves him. Morton said they wrestled a lot of guys and it was a great honor to be in the HOF. He said they made history with Bobby Eaton, Dennis Condrey, Stan Lane, and “the greatest manager of all time” the Midnight Express and they hope they will be on the stage soon. Gibson thanked his fiancee and his family. He also thanked his brother Rick Gibson for teaching him everything he knows. Morton spoke about his lady Andrea and how he found someone as crazy as he is. Morton said he had four bothers at home, but in his heart he has five. He told Gibson that he is the greatest person he has ever met in his life. They hugged.
Powell’s POV: It makes my day to see Morton, Gibson, and Rick Rude go into the Hall of Fame. Cornette did a fine job with the presentation. WWE tried to play up the possibility that he would go off on a rant, but the fact that he stayed focussed on Morton, Gibson, and the Midnight Express really shouldn’t surprise anyone. Cornette respects Morton and Gibson, and he surely wants to see his own team have their own day in the sun. By the way, if you’re too young to remember the R&R vs. Midnight Express then believe the hype. I know everyone and everything gets portrayed as being great on HOF night, but their matches are the gold standard for tag team wrestling.
Lawler set up a video package on Rick Rude while playing off of his “sweat hog” speech. After the video, Lawler introduced Ricky Steamboat.
Rick Rude: Presented by Ricky Steamboat
Steamboat took the stage and acknowledged Shane McMahon and Triple H. Steamboat recalled his own induction and said he wears his HOF ring every day of his life. Steamboat mentioned that Rude was trained by Eddie Sharkey. He said Rude was a true heel who would pick out someone in the crowd and mock them for not having a six-pack like him, then look at the girl next to the man and say she wishes her man had a six-pack like him. Steamboat spoke about Rude’s feats of strength, including his handshake and the way he could move wrestlers around in the ring. Steamboat also spoke about how Rude would never forget in the ring.
Steamboat recalled Rude being the enforcer for DX and being a member of Bobby Heenan’s Family. Steamboat spoke about psychologists in the ring. He mentioned Ric Flair, Jake Roberts, and Rude. Steamboat told a humorous story about a cage match they worked together. Steamboat introduce the son of Rick Rude along with his daughter and mother.
Rick Rood (Rude’s son) did the infamous “cut the music” line to start. He also delivered Rude’s “fat, out of shape, Central Florida sweathogs” lines. The fans cheered and Triple H was shown applauding. Rick said he wasn’t going to tell the fans about Ravishing Rick Rude because they probably knew more about his stats and career than he does. Instead, he wanted to speak about the man. He said his father overcame incredible odds to achieve what he did. He said he was one of six children in a home in Robbinsdale, Minnesota. He recalled his father being a world class arm wrestler. He said there must have been something in the water when it came to the wrestlers his father came up with. He mentioned that he was trained by Eddie Sharkey.
Rick said his father enjoyed boating and fishing. “As Steve Austin would tell you, he enjoyed trying to hunt,” he cracked. He said his father made sure that his family didn’t have to struggle the way he did. “He married the strongest woman I have ever known,” Rick said regarding his mother on the stage. Rick mentioned his late younger brother Colton, who was shown in a photo on the screen. Rick thanked WWE for the career his father had and for “finally placing him” amongst the greats. The fans responded with a standing ovation.
Powell’s POV: A nice speech by the son of Rick Rude. It’s obvious that Rick’s son is not a big wrestling fan, but he stuck with what he was comfortable with and he did a really nice job. Steamboat felt like an odd choice as a presenter. He had some personal stories, but I am surprised the company didn’t go with someone who came up with Rude or an opponent he had more history with. I still feel that Paul Heyman would have been the ideal presenter.
Lawler set up a video package on Beth Phoenix. It focussed heavily on her pairing with Santino Marella as a love interest, then went into various current female wrestlers raving about her. Lawler introduced Natalya as the presenter.
Beth Phoenix: Presented by Natalya
Natalya played off a joke Lawler told about her cat by plugging her cat’s social media page. Natalya got emotional as she spoke about presenting her best friend. She said it was destiny. She said it started with Mark Henry, who was shown in the crowd. Natalya said the first thing Henry told her was that she reminded her of Phoenix. Natalya asked him who the hell she was. Once Natalya learned about Phoenix, she wondered why she was “single white femaling me.” Natalya recalled Phoenix writing her and saying that she wanted to become a WWE Superstar due to Bret Hart and Owen Hart. The fans offered a long ovation for Owen and chanted his name briefly.
Natalya said she finally met “this strange, wonderful, amazing woman” who showed up wearing the same outfit she did. Natalya said Phoenix became her sister and partner in crime. She said they did their best to impress Fit Finlay and Arn Anderson because in their industry that meant you’d made it. She said they deemed themselves Mae Young and Fabulous Moolah. Natalya said they grew up wanting to kick ass. She recalled the two of them teaming in the first women’s tag team tables match and Phoenix being adamant that the spotlight be on her. She said that’s the type of person that Phoenix is.
Natalya praised Phoenix for being a mother of two, her college education, and being able to bench press 220 pounds. She said that’s two Caremallas (Carmella was shown laughing in the crowd). Natalya said she believes Beth was her uncle Owen’s gift to her. Natalya asked fans to give it up for her best friend, her sister, and soulmate.
Beth walked out and shared a nice embrace with Natalya. She said Nattie bought her really expense false lashes for her and they were already ruined. The fans chanted “welcome back.” She said she’s a mom now and would put them all on timeout. She said you never forget your first love and for her that is wrestling. She spoke about her grandmother introduced her to wrestling.
Phoenix said a switch flipped for her when she saw Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart at WrestleMania. She thanked her college roommate Janet and her husband for standing by her. She thanked her trainer Ron Hutchinson, who was shown in the crowd. She noted that he trained Edge, Christian, and Trish Stratus as well. She thanked various wrestlers, including Afa the Wild Samoan and his family for opening their home to her and making sure she always had a hot meal. Afa was shown in the crowd.
Beth recalled her first tryout with WWE. She recalled accidentally hitting Brock Lesnar with a door. She recalled the wrestlers who helped her. Beth said she became great friends with Nora/Molly Holly, who was shown in the crowd. She said Nora noticed she didn’t have professional ring gear, so she gave her gear that she didn’t wear anymore. She also recalled Nora paying her tuition to wrestling school for her so that she could pursue her dream. The camera cut to Nora. She recalled a quote that strong women build each other up, not tear each other down. Phoenix said that is the definition of female empowerment and who Nora is.
Phoenix thanked her trainers and instructors from Ohio Valley Wrestling. She said Paul Heyman saw something in her. She spoke about Tommy Dreamer, who was shown in the crowd, and said she doesn’t know if anyone loves wrestling more than he does. Phoenix listed Gail Kim, Katie Lea Burchill, Traci Brooks, Ariel, Cherry, Melina, Maria, the Bella Twins, Vickie Guerrero, Tamina, Michelle McCool, Layla, Kelly Kelly (shown in the crowd), Alicia Fox, Eve, Trish Stratus as people she worked with. She recalled working with Candice Michelle, who was shown in the crowd, and said she fit the role of fighting champion and said in many ways she created the Glamazon.
Phoenix mentioned Mickie James, who was shown in the crowd. She said James was her first opponent and called her confident and a friend. A photo of their match was shown. Phoenix spoke about Eve Torres, who was shown in the crowd. She ran through her impressive resume and said she’s always made time for her as a peer and a friend. Beth said Santino was one of her favorite opponents. Beth said she gave a one page storyline pitch to Vince, who went with her idea. Beth recalled Santino cutting a promo in Italian and he wouldn’t tell her. A fan who did translated it. It was about how she couldn’t cook and all she did was feed him protein shakes, and he needed help. She said she was ribbed by Santino, yet she had the most fun she ever had in her career.
Phoenix mentioned Natalya and called her “the Mae to my Moolah.” She said Natttie is her own breed. She said Natalya had her front teeth knocked out in a match. She picked them up and handed them to the referee and asked him to hold on to them. Beth said they bonded over wrestling, family, triumphs, and tragedy. Beth said she also believes Owen played a part in bringing them together. Beth got choked up while saying, “As far as friends go, she’s the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be.”
Beth spoke about the current stars and said she’s grateful for women like Charlotte, Sasha Banks, Dana Brooke, Bayle, Nia Jax, Alexa Bliss, Carmella, Naomi, Becky Lynch, and all of the current locker room talent. “The future is so bright,” she said. She praised Fit Finlay, Arn Anderson, Dean Malenko, Pat Patterson, Goldust, Barry Windham, Jim Ross, the referees, announcers, etc. She praised Shawn Michaels, Ted DiBiase, Curt Hennig, Sherri Martel, Alundra Blayze, Molly Holly, Trish Stratus, Lita, and Chyna as people who came before her and inspired her.
Phoenix thanked the WWE Universe for demanding opportunities for women. She said her mom and dad couldn’t make the trip because her mother underwent surgery less than a month ago. She said her father has been her biggest fan long before she was a wrestler. She said her mom’s favorite song is “Wind Beneath My Wings’ and she said that’s fitting because it’s what she is to her. She thanked her brother and sister in-law, and her mother in-law. She thanked her husband “Adam.” The camera showed Edge with one of their daughters on his lap while the fans chanted his name. She started to say the fans may know him better by his name.
Tony Chimel interrupted and said he might be able to help her out. Chimel gave his Rated R Superstar introduction (he was a bit out of practice). Edge’s music played and he received a nice ovation as he waved to the fans. She joked about being a wrestler married to a wrestler and said you run out of icy hot. She said you get called brother even though you are a woman. She told a joke about Edge’s wedding vows and him putting Mick Foley through a table. She spoke about how Edge was a great father to their daughters. She thanked their nanny. Phoenix addressed her daughter Lyric who was with Edge. She said that if her daughter watches the footage back someday, she wants her and her sister to know they are her greatest accomplishments. She said if she ever feels like a square peg who doesn’t fit, it’s because she wasn’t meant to because she is meant for great things. Phoenix thanked the fans to close.
Powell’s POV: I can’t say this was high on my list of inductions that I was looking forward to, but this was really nice albeit long. Natalya’s introduction was touching and a very pleasant surprise. Beth hit on a nice mix of humor and sentimentality. The story about Molly paying for a portion of her wrestling school tuition was very cool, and her message to her daughters at the end was great.
After a commercial break, Goldberg was shown in the crowd. On the stage, Lawler set up the Warrior Award and a video on Eric LeGrand. The video focussed on how he was paralyzed during a college football game and his life since then.
Eric LeGrand – Warrior Award: Presented by Dana Warrior
Dana Warrior was introduced by Lawler and she received a respectful ovation from the fans. She brought out the Warrior Award trophy and her Warrior action figure. She said spoke about WrestleMania being in Orlando, which is a place for once in a lifetime stories. She spoke about how the “women superstars rule.” She said WWE has giants, warriors, monsters, and beasts. She joked about ladders getting involved and asked Sheamus how the stitches were. Sheamus was shown. She said every story needs a jester. “Right, Enzo?” she asked. He jumped up and jokingly acted upset. She made reference to Triple H, who was shown.
Dana’s fairytale shifted to her late husband. Dana then spoke about LeGrand. She told LeGrand’s mother that she bows down to her and called her a Warrior Queen. She said LeGrand has vowed to walk again and she believes him. Dana introduced LeGrand, who drove his wheelchair onto the stage and received a standing ovation from the fans.
LeGrand thanked God. He also thanked Triple H for their friendship and for bringing him in as a fan. Stephanie was smiling next to Hunter on the floor. He said Triple H invited him to his first pay-per-view when SummerSlam was in Brooklyn two years ago. He spoke about doctors telling his mother he would never walk again and would have to eat through a feeding tube. He said his words to his mom were, “I’ll be back.” He said he found his inner Warrior. He spoke about being able to breathe on his own and being removed from the ventilator. He said he eats plenty of solid food.
LeGrand spoke about Christopher Reeve and how his dream is a world without wheelchairs. LeGrand said Reeve died and now he feels like it’s his turn to use his platform to make that happen. LeGrand spoke about WWE fandom. He said you can speak to nearly anyone in the world and at one point they were a fan of wrestling. He recalled being put in the Walls of Jericho by his sister. He performed a flying elbow on his teddy bear and it broke his bed.
LeGrand said Steve Austin inspired him and there was nothing like the pop that followed the glass breaking (amen). He also mentioned Kane and the pyro. LeGrand said Kane won him a lot of matches in Smackdown vs. Raw when he was in college. LeGrand brought up The Rock. He recalled a segment involving Rock, Goldust, and Booker T. LeGrand said WWE will always be with him and will always guide him. He thanked his mom, who he said was watching on the network. He said she gave up her life for him. He had his Rutgers teammates “Team LeGrand” stand up in the crowd and said he wouldn’t be where he is now without them. LeGrand closed by saying he will walk again one day.
Powell’s POV: A nice speech by LeGrand. His WWE memories were good fun and his overall message was inspirational. He came off like a very likable guy.
A shot aired of AJ Styles talking with The Miz. Lawler stood on the stage and set up a video package on Teddy Long.
Teddy Long: Presented by JBL and Ron Simmons
JBL and Ron Simmons received Be A Star, er, APA chants. They joked about Teddy being cheap and owing them over $72,000 for travel expenses. Simmons said they would never see a dime. JBL recalled Teddy being a driver for APA and Godfather. They both agreed it was awful. JBL said there was an arrest incident. Simmons said he was driving while black. JBL said Teddy failed a sobriety test without drinking for an entire week. Simmons took a serious turn and spoke about Teddy’s accomplishments. JBL said Teddy was born in Birmingham, Alabama. He spoke about the racial injustice that Teddy grew up with. JBL quoted Dr. Martin Luther King. JBL introduced Long as their friend and the cheapest man on Earth.
Long walked out and then did his usual dance. He pretended to injure his back and then said, “Gotcha,” when APA checked on him. Teddy played to the crowd and got them to chant holla. Teddy said he is cheap. He told his version of his arrest. He said the cop smelled alcohol in the car. He said Simmons responded, “Oh, we got a bloodhound now, right?” Teddy said there were also a lot of beer cans on the floor. Teddy said the cop had him take the sobriety test and he passed, but the cop still gave him a $200 ticket. Long boasted that he found a way to get JBL and Simmons to pay for it.
Teddy said he wouldn’t be long winded because he knew what time it was. He spoke about his early days in wrestling, which included setting up the ring and filling in as a referee when the regular referee missed the show. He said his first match was Ron Bass vs. Black Bart in a Texas Death Match. He said he was a college deejay and he showed off his skills to Eddie Gilbert and Kevin Sullivan. They told Jim Ross he could talk, which led to him becoming a manager.
Long spoke about going to WWE and how his name was brought up in a meeting and someone told Vince McMahon that he could talk. He was given a chance to manage D-Lo Brown. He said he cut a promo and Vince McMahon said he couldn’t believe he was right under his nose the entire time. Long thanked the McMahon family. He thanked his son, who was in the crowd. He recalled his son helping him set up the ring at age six. Teddy thanked his wife Sasha and said they have been married over 20 years. She was shown crying in the crowd. Long thanked the fans for coming out to support him and the other inductees. Long closed by saying that if JBL and Simmons had a problem with the money he owes, then he might have to put them in a tag team match. He also threatened to book JBL one-on-one with Undertaker. Long danced on the stage to close the show.
Powell’s POV: A mercifully brief and lighthearted speech. Long has a great story and I could definitely listen to him spend more time discussing his career, but we’ve had a lot of long speeches and we’re three hours and 20 minutes in at this point, so the brevity was appreciated.
Triple H was shown in the crowd. Lawler introduced the Legacy Hall of Fame video package on inductees Haystacks Calhoun, Judy Grable, Bearcat Wright, Farmer Burns, Rikidozan, Luther Lindsay, June Byers, Toots Mondt, and Dr. Jerry Graham.
Lawler set up the Kurt Angle video package. It featured comments from Samoa Joe, Steve Austin, AJ Styles, Shawn Michaels, The Miz, Stephanie McMahon, Pat Patterson, and others. It focussed heavily on his comedy exploits.
Kurt Angle: Presented by John Cena
John Cena was introduced by Lawler. Cena received more boos than cheers. He smiled as the fans sang “John Cena sucks” to his theme song. “Very nice to see all of you too,” Cena said. A loud “let’s go Miz” chant started. Cena raved about Angle becoming the measuring stick for all wrestlers just two years into his career. Cena closed with an “it’s true, it’s damn true” line and asked fans to welcome home Angle.
Angle was escorted onto the stage by his daughter. His WWE theme played and the fans chanted “you suck” along with it. Angle and Cena hugged before Cena left the stage. Angle kissed his daughter, who left the stage. Angle walked up to the podium and thanked the fans, who gave him the loudest ovation of the night and a “welcome back” chant. “It is great to be back home,” Angle said. He thanked Cena for the speech. “One more match,” the fans chanted. Angle said he just got there and said to give him a little time.
Angle recalled being offered a big money contract offer. He said he told Vince McMahon that if he signed the contract, he could never lose a match. Angle said he didn’t hear back from WWE. The fans laughed. Angle said he started watching Raw later and contacted Jim Ross and asked if the contract offer still stood. Ross said no, but Angle could come tryout like anyone else. Angle thanked Ross for helping him out. Angle thanked Dory Funk Jr, Tom Prichard, Bruce Prichard, Jerry Brisco, Pat Patterson, John Laurinaitis, Arn Anderson, Fit Finlay, and Terry Taylor. Angle thanked the late Steve Bradley and Sean Evans. Angle thanked his peers for helping him when he started, and some of this big match opponents.
Angle said he wanted to give advice. He said don’t be the guy who people say could have been the greatest of all time if he had stayed out of trouble. Angle said he knows how that feels. He told the wrestlers not to be afraid to take changes. He brought up the little cowboy hat. Someone walked a cowboy hat out to him and he put it on. Angle sang the “Jimmy Cracked Corn” song. He also had his wig and headgear brought out to him and he put them on. He asked if fans could believe he made Hulk Hogan tapped out wearing the wig and headgear.
Angle brought up his battle raps with John Cena. He said his favorite of all time was singing, “I’m just a sexy Kurt.” He teased the crowd before singing the song as they clapped along and sang with him. Shawn Michaels was shown laughing in the crowd. The fans roared and chanted Angle.
Angle said you have to make moments and personalities make moments. He said the fans will remember your matches for a long time, but they remember the personality moments and they stick with them. He said his favorite was the milk truck and said he hopes the fans didn’t think he was driving a milk truck out there. He said whether he was a good guy or a bad guy, the fans were always there for him and he was appreciative. Angle thanked his family members and his parents for driving him to do his best. He said they were tough on him but it worked. He thanked his children and said they are his life. Angle thanked his wife Giovanna for being there at his worst and being there now at his best.
Angle said he was going to celebrate his induction the only way he knows how. A man brought out two milk bottles for him. He delivered an “it’s true, it’s damn true” and then two-fisted the milk into his mouth and all over his suit. The fans applauded and Angle, who was covered in milk, returned the favor and played to the fans while his music played. The cameras cut to the wrestlers in the crowd to close the show.
Powell’s POV: A very playful acceptance speech from Angle. The fans ate it up and it closed the show on a fun high note. Overall, this won’t be remembered as one of the great Hall of Fame ceremonies because it lacked the emotional punch that some of the past events delivered. Still, it was a nice night for the inductees and the fans in attendance seemed to enjoy themselves.
Join me for live coverage of NXT Takeover: Orlando and WrestleMania 33. Be sure to check out Prowrestling.net Live on Sunday at 2CT/3ET at PWAudio.net.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Ricky Starks on his NWA run, doing enhancement work for WWE, leaving NOLA due to Hurricane Katrina, the January 24 NWA Hard Times PPV on FITE.TV, his relationship with Nick Aldis, and much more...