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WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2015: Who We Would Like To See

Since World Wrestling Entertainment decided to put a greater emphasis on their Hall of Fame back in 2004, fans have had a short list of names that need to be a part of it before it felt legitimate to them.  Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, Bruno Sammartino, and “Macho Man” Randy Savage.

As the years went by, fans began to give up on some of those names, Bruno and Savage in particular.  Two years ago Sammartino was inducted into the Hall with much fanfare and appreciation, but still, one name was missing in the eyes of fans.  That all changed last week when WWE leaked and then announced that they were inducting “Macho Man” Randy Savage into the Hall of Fame Class of 2015.

More names will be announced in the coming weeks.  In fact, a new name will be announced tonight on Monday Night Raw.  Before WWE announces who will join Randy Savage in this year’s class, the Last Word On Sports Pro Wrestling Department got together to discuss the names they would like to see inducted along with the Macho Man this year.

Miss Elizabeth by Adam Contant

Honestly, I feel like this one is a no brainer.  The woman synonymous with the career of Randy Savage has no better year to be inducted than this year.  Elizabeth was such an integral part of Savage’s career that it actually surprised me that she wasn’t announced as being inducted alongside him!

For those uninitiated, Miss Elizabeth was the real life wife of Randy Savage, who later became his valet.  Although Savage would likely have found success without Elizabeth by his side, there is no question that she played a huge role in both his popularity and his character development.  When Savage was treating the beautiful and gentle Elizabeth badly, you hated his guts for it.  When he showed her love and affection, every fan cheered.  There isn’t a great moment from his career in the World Wrestling Federation when Elizabeth wasn’t by his side.  In fact, without Elizabeth, Savage wouldn’t have had two of the most memorable moments in pro wrestling history – his reunion with her at Wrestlemania VII (which still brings LWOS writer Jeff Dehaan to tears), and their wedding that main evented Summer Slam 1991.  Think about that for a moment.  A wedding was the main event for the second biggest wrestling event of the WWF calendar year.  That alone speaks volumes of the importance Miss Elizabeth had to the career of both the Macho Man, and the WWF.

Early on, Vince McMahon gave Elizabeth the nickname of “First Lady of the WWF”.  Looking back, the name was completely appropriate.  Miss Elizabeth was a successful woman in a male dominated business.  Even long after her time with Randy had ended, Elizabeth went on to manage some of the biggest names in the history of pro wrestling such as Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, and Lex Luger.  Without Elizabeth, there were few female role models for young girls to look up to in the WWF, certainly none with the longevity she possessed.  She helped open the doors for future WWF female stars like current Hall of Famer Sunny, who then opened the doors for women like Trish Stratus, who opened the doors for women like Paige.  Without the lovely Elizabeth, there would be no WWE Divas.

While on the subject of the WWE Divas, although there are many good choices for those to induct Miss Elizabeth into the 2015 class, few of those names come without a small amount of stigma to them.  With that in mind, I think in choosing a inductor for Miss Elizabeth, a WWE Diva would make an excellent choice.  Although there are several names that come to mind from the current crop that I believe would make great choices like The Bella Twins or even Rene Young, I personally believe that the best possible choice is Maria Kanellis, a woman from WWE’s past.  During her time in WWE, I always thought of Maria as the modern day Miss Elizabeth, and she has gone on record as saying the first lady of the WWF was a role model for her growing up.  No one understands the impact she had on future Divas more than she.  She even cohosted WWE’s first Randy Savage DVD match set, in which she spoke eloquently and admirably of Miss Elizabeth.  That’s the kind of induction she deserves.   Although currently working for Ring of Honor, Maria recently received a scholarship from WWE, which would lead one to believe she is still on good terms with the company.

There’s an old saying that goes “Behind every great man, is a great woman”.  In the case of Randy Savage, that statement could not be more accurate.  Because of this, and her inspiration for future generations of WWE Divas, Miss Elizabeth should be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2015 at the side of Randy Savage, just the way we remember her.

Rick Martel by Jeff de Haan

Each year when the WWE Hall of Fame announcements start, the fans start buzzing about who will be inducted. This usually leads to the same question every year, “When is it _____’s turn?” The name in question is often an Owen Hart or a “Macho Man” Randy Savage (up until this year) but the Hall of Fame doesn’t need to just be filled with decorated competitors, when there are plenty of mid-card workers deserving of the honor as well. The mechanics of the ring, the carpenters, they may not have won a lot of championships, but were and still are a staple of the industry. The name that I want to see in the WWE Hall of Fame is Rick Martel.

The French-Canadian grappler didn’t win a lot of gold in WWE, but he certainly had his share of championship reigns prior to entering the World Wrestling Federation. From the AWA to NWA to Stampede Wrestling, Martel made his presence felt. As for WWE, he did manage to win the Tag Team titles as a member of Strike Force with his tag partner Tito Santana, a man who was inducted in 2004. After Strike Force parted ways, it’s arguable that Martel may have had a more successful singles career.  As the brash, arrogant “Model” Rick Martel, he was a memorable heel through the late 80s and early-mid 90s.

Rick Martel deserves to be in the WWE Hall of Fame as much as anyone, and I can think of no one better to induct him than his former tag team partner Tito Santana, and no better time to induct him than 2015.

Owen Hart by Ricky Rana

I was asked to suggest a suitable candidate to be nominated as a potential Hall of Fame inductee. This was never an easy task as there are many legends past and present who are eligible for one of wrestling’s most prestigious accreditation. There are many names that one can suggest, however the name Owen Hart was first to come to my mind. Let’s analyze why.

Owen not only hails from one of the most famous families in wrestling history but is regarded as one of the soundest technical wrestlers and highly memorable heels within the industry, more so due to his feud with his elder brother Bret Hart.

Graduating from Stu Hart’s dungeons, Owen went on to carving a niche for himself in the WWE. Having the synonymous Hart name to his attribute may have appeared to be a stepping stone for Owen, but in fact it may have also acted as a hindrance for him. In the early days within WWE, Owen faced difficulty in having to step out of his brother’s shadows and create his own gimmick/identity. At the start, this was not easy for Owen, playing a character known as the Blue Blazer and then being teamed with Koko B Ware as the tag team – High Energy proved to be unsuccessful. Owens’s ‘second WWE run’, where he was himself, Owen Hart, youngest son of the Hart family, started to get him noticed. It was his feud with his elder brother Bret and Owen portraying the jealous younger brother character who felt he was bigger and better than his elder brother that elevated Owen to top heel status and main event caliber.  The two embarked on almost year long feud displaying terrific matches including their cage match at Summer Slam 1994. Owen went on to becoming multiple time Tag team champion, Intercontinental champion, European champion, Slammy award winner and crowned King of the Ring. He was clearly destined for the big one! However on May 23rd 1999, in a tragic accident at WWE’s Over The Edge ppv, Owen Hart fell to the ground after being lowered to the ground via a harness above the ring. Owen Hart was shortly pronounced dead. The wrestling world was left stunned.

In the years that followed, we have seen Bret end his dispute and make amends with WWE after his controversial departure from the WWE following the incident known as the Montreal screw job. We witnessed Bret being rightfully inducted into the Hall of Fame, so why the delay with his younger brother Owen?  There is strong suggestion Owens’s widow, Martha Hart, is preventing WWE from honoring her late husband’s career due to her strained relationship with WWE.  Bret recently went on record to state this:

“I too share everyone’s feelings as Owens’s career and accomplishments deserve recognition. However with my sister-in-law, Martha, still at odds with WWE, the likelihood of the two coming to terms on Owens’s individual induction remains highly unlikely”.

If this is true, why can’t we see Owen inducted as part of the Hart Foundation (alongside Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart, British Bulldog (who is equally as deserving as Owen to be inducted into the Hall of Fame), Brian Pillman and Bret Hart). This was a similar approach WWE adopted in 2011 when they inducted the Four Horsemen.

There is no doubt that Owen Hart most definitely deserves his rightful place into the WWE Hall of Fame.  Martha Hart may have her own valid personal reasons as to why she may object to this; however from a fan’s point of view, Owen Hart spent many years delivering and performing for his fans. His induction to the Hall of Fame will be a fitting tribute and an opportunity for his fans to say thank you for delivering and being part of one of wrestling’s most greatest storylines, thank you for the five-star matches you gave us, thank you for the memorable promos and lastly, thank you for being the person we have watched and loved…thank you for being Owen Hart.

“Ravishing” Rick Rude by James Carlucci

For a over a decade throughout the eighties and nineties, “Ravishing” Rick Rude was the pinnacle of aesthetic perfection in professional wrestling. From the instant Rude stepped out from behind the curtain, the entire audience was transfixed; each member filled with lust, envy, or some combination of both. His lascivious disrobing, gyrating, and dual seduction/berating of the crowd only served to intensify matters. Once the bell rang, however, Rude proved to be more than just a bodybuilder; operating between the ropes at a level few have ever reached. He was a former WWF Intercontinental Champion, member of both Bobby Heenan’s Family and the original D-Generation X, and, in an interesting bit of pro-wresting minutia, was the only man to ever appear on both WWF Raw and WCW Nitro on the same night. With his most adversarial contemporaries (namely The Ultimate Warrior and Jake “The Snake” Roberts) being admitted in recent years, it seems the time is right for the WWE Hall of Fame to experience a Rude Awakening.

Diamond Dallas Page by Shawn Wilken

A career span that lasted two decades, DDP’s accolades spread across two promotions, most notably his three reigns as WCW World Heavyweight Champion. His Self High-Five and Diamond Cutter persona got him over in WCW to the point where it didn’t matter where you slotted him on the card, he’d receive one of the biggest pops of the night. Page was also the fourth WCW Triple Crown Champion, and in consecutive years, he placed in the top-5 (4th both years) of PWI’s Top 500 Wrestlers of the Year.  His move to the WWE received some criticism, mainly for the gimmick he took, however his debut as the stalker of the Undertaker’s wife and preceding feud with the Deadman were well received. Plus, he made a happy-go-lucky therapist gimmick look fun and rolled with it well.

Outside of the ring, Dallas Page has done even more than inside. His DDP Yoga program has helped thousands to rehabilitate themselves, from not being able to stand on their own two feet to sprinting on the beach. His kind attitude has also been viewed by millions, taking in the likes of Scott Hall and Jake Roberts, two souls that were believed to be lost, and changed their lives around, continuing to do so to this day.

An author of two books, small roles in a handful of movies and his own radio show, DDP has done it all and continues to change the lives of people who were once broken. He even took Jay Z to court and got a settlement, for gimmick infringement. How awesome is that?

Should he be inducted, there will be no need for a Self High-Five, because plenty of people will be lining up to give him one, along with a hug and a pat on the back.

There are hundreds of names that would look good alongside that of Macho Man Randy Savage, and whether you agree with our choices or not is ok.  Pro Wrestling is a subjective art form and whether you believe the WWE Hall of Fame is legitimate or not, one thing is clear: the night before Wrestlemania has come to be known as a night to honor the men and women who have given their lives to entertain us.  Given that criteria, everyone on this list, and many more, are deserving of such a tribute.

Feel free to comment below, and follow the site @lastwordonsport and @LWOSwrestling. Also follow @AdamContant,  @DeHaanoffate, @RealRickyRana@CrimsonSkorpion and @LWOSCarlucci on the Last Word on Sports Wrestling team.

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