WWE Hall of Fame

The WWE Hall of Fame is a hall of fame for professional wrestling personalities maintained by WWE. It was announced on the March 22, 1993 episode of Monday Night Raw where André the Giant, who had died nearly two months prior, was announced as the sole inductee. The 1994 and 1995 ceremonies were held in conjunction with the annual King of the Ring pay-per-view events. In 1996, the ceremony was held with the Survivor Series event, for the first time in front of a paying audience as well as the wrestlers, after which, the Hall of Fame went on hiatus.

In 2004, WWE relaunched the Hall of Fame to coincide with WrestleMania XX. This ceremony, like its predecessors, was not broadcast on television. However, it was released on DVD on June 1, 2004. Beginning with the 2005 ceremony, an edited version of the Hall of Fame was broadcast on Spike TV (2005) and on the USA Network (2006–present); these were aired on tape delay. Since 2005, the entire Hall of Fame ceremony has been packaged as part of the annual WrestleMania DVD release, and from 2014, has been broadcast live on the WWE Network. In 2015, historical WWE Hall of Fame ceremonies became available on the WWE Network.

Although a building has never been built to represent the Hall of Fame, WWE has looked into constructing a facility. In 2008, Shane McMahon, then-Executive Vice President of Global Media of WWE, stated that WWE had been storing wrestling memorabilia in a warehouse for years, with all items categorized and dated in case a facility is created.

As of 2017, there have been 164 inductees – with 105 wrestlers inducted individually, 11 group inductions (consisting of 31 wrestlers within those groups), nine celebrities, three Warrior Award recipients, and 16 Legacy Inductees. 36 members were inducted posthumously. Ric Flair is the only Hall of Famer to be inducted twice, first individually in 2008, then as a member of The Four Horsemen in 2012, while Flair, Sting, and Kurt Angle are the only people to be inducted while still active.

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Inductees

Individuals

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Groups

Year Group Inducted by WWE recognized accolades
1996 The Valiant Brothers Garea, TonyTony Garea One-time WWWF World Tag Team Champions, first tag team to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Jimmy Valiant (James Fanning) – four-time NWA Television Champion
Johnny Valiant (John Sullivan) – became a manager in the WWF and AWA during the 1980s
2006 The Blackjacks Heenan, BobbyBobby Heenan One-time WWWF World Tag Team Champions.
Blackjack Mulligan (Robert Windham) – three-time NWA United States Heavyweight Champion and one-time NWA World Tag Team Champion.
Blackjack Lanza (Jack Lanza) – one-time AWA World Tag Team Champion
2007 The Wild Samoans Samu and Anoaʻi, MattMatt Anoaʻi Three-time WWF Tag Team Champions.
Afa (Arthur Anoaʻi Sr.)
Sika (Leati Anoaʻi)
2008 The Brisco Brothers Layfield, John "Bradshaw"John "Bradshaw" Layfield Three-time NWA World Tag Team Champions, held over a dozen regional NWA tag team championships.
Jack Brisco (Freddie Brisco) – two-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion.
Gerald Brisco (Floyd Brisco) – one-time NWA World Junior Heavyweight Champion, two-time WWF Hardcore Champion
2009 The Funks Dusty Rhodes Held several tag team championships, including the NWA International Tag Team Championship on three occasions.
Terry Funk – one-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion, two-time ECW World Heavyweight Champion and one-time WWF Tag Team Champion.
Dory Funk Jr. – one-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion.
2009 The Von Erichs Michael Hayes Noted wrestling family that spent many years wrestling in World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW). Various combinations of the family held several NWA regional and WCCW tag team championships, including the WCCW World Tag Team and World Six-Man Tag Team Championship.
Fritz Von Erich (Jack Adkisson) – Posthumous inductee: Founder and longtime owner of WCCW, one-time AWA World Heavyweight Champion and 16-time NWA American Heavyweight Champion (later renamed the WCCW World Heavyweight Championship).
Kevin Von Erich (Kevin Adkisson) – Six-time NWA American/WCCW World Heavyweight Champion.
David Von Erich (David Adkisson) – Posthumous inductee: Eight-time NWA Texas Heavyweight Champion.
Kerry Von Erich (Kerry Adkisson) – Posthumous inductee: One-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion, nine-time NWA American/WCCW World Heavyweight Champion. Wrestled in WWF as "The Texas Tornado" where he was a one-time WWF Intercontinental Champion.
Mike Von Erich (Michael Adkisson) – Posthumous inductee: One-time NWA American Heavyweight Champion.
Chris Von Erich (Chris Adkisson) – Posthumous inductee: Wrestled and worked several backstage jobs for WCCW.
2011 The Road Warriors Dusty Rhodes Two-time WWF Tag Team Champions, one-time AWA World Tag Team Champions, four-time NWA National Tag Team Champion, one-time NWA International Tag Team Champions, three-time NWA World Six-Man Tag team Champions, one-time WCW World Tag Team Championship .
Road Warrior Hawk (Michael Hegstrand) – Posthumous inductee: Two-time IWGP Tag Team Champion (without Animal)
Road Warrior Animal (Joseph Laurinaitis) – One-time WWE Tag Team Champion (without Hawk)
"Precious" Paul Ellering – Long-time manager in the AWA, NWA, WWF and AJPW. Inducted alongside the Road Warriors, who he managed for much of his career.
2012 The Four Horsemen Dusty Rhodes One of the top stables of the 1980s, they reached their peak in 1988 when the four members controlled all three major NWA Championships, (World, United States and Tag Team).
"Nature Boy" Ric Flair (Richard Fliehr) – First two-time inductee. Previously inducted in 2008 for his individual career.
Barry Windham – One-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion, one-time NWA United States Heavyweight Champion, one-time WCW World Television Champion, four-time NWA/WCW World Tag Team Champion, and two-time WWF Tag Team Champion.
"The Enforcer" Arn Anderson (Martin Lunde) – Four-time NWA/WCW World Television Champion, five-time NWA/WCW World Tag Team Champion, and one-time WWF Tag Team Champion.
Tully Blanchard – One-time NWA United States Champion, three-time NWA World TV Champion, two-time NWA World Tag Team Champion, and one-time WWF Tag Team Champion.
James J. Dillon (James Morrison) – Long-time manager in the NWA, former WCW onscreen commissioner.
2015 The Bushwhackers John Laurinaitis Known as the Sheepherders prior to joining WWE, they won over 20 regional tag team championships in the AWA, NWA, UWF, and Stampede Wrestling during their 40 year career.
Luke Williams (Brian Wickens)
Butch Miller (Robert Miller)
2016 The Fabulous Freebirds The New Day
(Big E, Kofi Kingston, and Xavier Woods)
Six-time WCCW World Six-Man Tag Team Champions, two-time WCW World Tag Team Champions, two-time WCW United States Tag Team Champions, one-time WCW World Six-Man Tag Team Champions.
Credited for creating the "Freebird Rule".
Michael Hayes (Michael Seitz) – One-time NWA United States Heavyweight Champion.
Terry Gordy – Posthumous inductee: represented by his son Ray Gordy. One time NWA Americas Heavyweight Champion, one-time WCW World Tag Team Champion, one-time NWA World Tag Team Champion.
Buddy Roberts (Dale Hey) – Posthumous inductee: represented by his son Buddy Roberts Jr. One-time NWA Texas Heavyweight Champion, one-time WCCW Television Champion.
Jimmy Garvin (James Williams) – Four-time NWA American Heavyweight Champion, one-time AWA World Tag Team Champion.
2017 The Rock 'n' Roll Express Jim Cornette Four-time NWA World Tag Team Champions (Mid-Atlantic Version), Four-time NWA World Tag Team Champions, and ten-time SMW Tag Team Champions.
Ricky Morton (Richard Morton)
Robert Gibson (Ruben Gibson)

Celebrity wing

The "celebrity wing" of the Hall of Fame is dedicated to celebrities that have made memorable appearances on WWE programming, and/or have had longtime associations with WWE.

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Warrior Award

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Dana Warrior presents the inaugural Warrior Award at the 2015 Hall of Fame ceremony

In 2015, WWE introduced the Warrior Award for those who have "exhibited unwavering strength and perseverance, and who lives life with the courage and compassion that embodies the indomitable spirit of the Ultimate Warrior."

While WWE promotes Warrior Award recipients as Hall of Fame inductees, they are not included in the Hall of Fame section at WWE.com. and an image gallery which shows "every WWE Hall of Famer ever" does not contain either recipient.

The award was created following The Ultimate Warrior's death. During his April 2014 Hall of Fame speech shortly before his death, he proposed that there be a special category called the "Jimmy Miranda Award" for WWE's behind-the-scenes employees. Miranda, who died in 2002, was part of the WWE merchandise department for more than 20 years. Former WWE ring announcer Justin Roberts expressed disappointment at how WWE used portions of Warrior's Hall of Fame speech to promote the award, but left out Warrior's intentions of honoring WWE's off-screen employees. WWE responded, "It is offensive to suggest that WWE and its executives had anything but altruistic intentions in honoring Connor and his legacy with The Warrior Award", adding that "moving forward the award will be given annually to acknowledge other unsung heroes among WWE's employees and fans."

Traditionally, Dana Warrior (widow of The Ultimate Warrior) will present the award.

Year Recipient Presented By Notes
2015 Connor "The Crusher" Michalek Dana Warrior and Daniel Bryan Posthumous recipient/inductee: Represented by his father Steve and brother Jackson.
Eight-year-old WWE fan who died of cancer. "Connor's Cure" cancer charity fund established in his honor by Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, run by Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation.
2016 Joan Lunden
(Joan Blunden)
Dana Warrior Long-time former co-host of Good Morning America.
Returned to the public eye in recent years for openly discussing her breast cancer diagnosis.
Spokeswoman for Susan G. Komen.
2017 Eric LeGrand Dana Warrior Former Rutgers University football player. LeGrand was paralyzed during the 2010 game against Army. He has gone on to become a renowned motivational speaker.

Legacy inductees

In 2016, WWE introduced a new category for the Hall of Fame called the "Legacy" wing. Inductees under this new category feature wrestlers from the early years of professional wrestling, primarily during the early part of the 20th century. All inductees thus far have been inducted posthumously and were recognized with a video package at the ceremony.

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Ceremony dates and locations

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The induction of Bret Hart into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006
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WWE Hall of Fame 2009 ceremony
Date Location Venue Host Associated Event
June 9, 1994 Baltimore, Maryland Omni Inner Harbor International Hotel N/A King of the Ring (1994)
June 24, 1995 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Marriott Hotel King of the Ring (1995)
November 16, 1996 New York City, New York Marriott Marquis Survivor Series (1996)
March 13, 2004 New York City, New York The Hilton Gene Okerlund WrestleMania XX
April 2, 2005 Los Angeles, California Universal Amphitheatre WrestleMania 21
April 1, 2006 Rosemont, Illinois Rosemont Theatre Jerry Lawler WrestleMania 22
March 31, 2007 Detroit, Michigan Fox Theatre Todd Grisham WrestleMania 23
March 29, 2008 Orlando, Florida Amway Arena Gene Okerlund and Todd Grisham WrestleMania XXIV
April 4, 2009 Houston, Texas Toyota Center Jerry Lawler and Todd Grisham WrestleMania XXV
March 27, 2010 Phoenix, Arizona Dodge Theater Jerry Lawler WrestleMania XXVI
April 2, 2011 Atlanta, Georgia Philips Arena WrestleMania XXVII
March 31, 2012 Miami, Florida American Airlines Arena WrestleMania XXVIII
April 6, 2013 New York City, New York Madison Square Garden WrestleMania 29
April 5, 2014 New Orleans, Louisiana Smoothie King Center WrestleMania XXX
March 28, 2015 San Jose, California SAP Center WrestleMania 31
April 2, 2016 Dallas, Texas American Airlines Center WrestleMania 32
March 31, 2017 Orlando, Florida Amway Center WrestleMania 33
TBA, 2018 New Orleans, Louisiana Smoothie King Center TBA WrestleMania 34

Reception

In 2012, The Post and Courier noted that the Hall has garnered criticism due to the inductions of questionable performers, and the omissions of major names within the industry. Bob Backlund declined induction multiple times, and The Ultimate Warrior wrote that he refused the honor in 2010; they were eventually inducted in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Randy Savage was recognized as being noticeably absent; Chris Jericho said that the Hall achieved a level of legitimacy by inducting him in 2015. Slam Wrestling questioned how Koko B. Ware, who primarily wrestled in the undercard, was inducted but former WWWF World Heavyweight Champion Ivan Koloff never was before his 2017 death.

Bruno Sammartino, the longest reigning WWWF World Heavyweight Champion, was once critical of the Hall of Fame. Sammartino disapproved of celebrity inductees such as Pete Rose and William Perry, and said of the ceremony: "What's the point to a Hall of Fame? Is it a building I can actually go to? No. Give me a break". Sammartino declined previous induction offers, before accepting in 2013. Paul "Triple H" Levesque said that it was important for Sammartino to be inducted from a "legitimacy standpoint" and ESPN said that his induction is an opportunity to legitimize the Hall of Fame. After being announced as an inductee, Sammartino said he considers the Hall to be legitimate.

Superstar Billy Graham publicly slammed the hall and demanded that WWE remove him from it, due to the 2011 induction of Abdullah the Butcher. Graham wrote: "It is a shameless organization to induct a bloodthirsty animal such as Abdullah the Butcher into their worthless and embarrassing Hall of Fame and I want the name of Superstar Billy Graham to be no part of it". Sabu also criticized the Hall of Fame, saying "I'd only do it because I need the money... I don't consider it a real Hall of Fame."

2015 Hall of Fame headliner Kevin Nash stated that two things in the professional wrestling business are real: "When you win your first championship and when you get inducted into the Hall of Fame." Nash claimed this is a sentiment to which colleague Ric Flair also subscribes. During his 2013 induction, future U.S. president Donald Trump said that the honor meant more than "having the highest ratings in TV, being a best-selling author or getting a spot on the Hollywood Walk of Fame."

Dave Scherer of PWInsider has questioned how WWE can sustain the 2004–present Hall of Fame model, due to legends being rapidly inducted. He wrote: "There are only so many people that they can have headline a class. They really need to make more new stars to ensure that they can keep filling arenas for the ceremony".

See also

Content from Wikipedia