10 Interesting facts about WWE Hall of Fame
The WWE Hall of Fame is an exclusive class of elite professionals who have left their impact on the business and have contributed a lot to the industry. Legends that are honored with a Hall of Fame induction are those who have entertained us throughout the entirety of their careers, leaving a legacy for the coming generations to follow.
Apart from these legends, the promotion also inducts celebrities into their Hall of Fame because of the work done by them to put wrestling on the world map and being ambassadors for what is in its true essence a scripted sport.
While we celebrate the achievements of these men and women, year after year, who’ve specialized in taking us into a world of action, excitement, drama and magic, let’s look into the WWE Hall of Fame itself - how it works, and what makes it such a coveted affair!
#10 Active wrestlers are generally excluded
WWE seems to be following the policy of not inducting active wrestlers into their Hall of Fame. Just like any other rule, this one has exceptions as well, with Goldberg and Edge still actively wrestling for the company.
If one thinks of it, this policy makes sense, as a Hall of Fame induction is seen as the ultimate goal, the lifetime achievement award for any athlete. If this accolade is bestowed upon someone who is still making regular appearances, it not only deprives them of a final destination in their wrestling journey, but also diminishes the aura that a Hall of Fame inductee has.
This should explain why wrestling legends such as The Rock and John Cena are still not a part of the Hall of Fame, despite being invaluable to the world of sports entertainment.
#9 Inductions are based on the talent’s equation with WWE
Here's what Bob Holly had to say about the WWE Hall of Fame:
“They try to make the Hall of Fame legitimate. But if you notice, to me it’s politically driven. A dead giveaway is Hunter wanting all of his buddies, his little circle, first. He has taken care of all of them.”
Conversely, Macho Man Randy Savage, The Ultimate Warrior and Chyna, all legends in the sport of professional wrestling, were overlooked until very recently. This is probably because, as opposed to real sports, where a legitimate panel decides whom to induct, this is a family-run affair based on one’s equation with the McMahon family.
#8 The Hall of Fame is modeled after the Halls of Fame for real sports
WWE loves to present itself as an authentic sport. And why not, the promotion puts on weekly shows, which though scripted, require a lot of mic skills and athleticism from their talent. Just like every other sport, wrestlers are always at risk of injuring themselves. In fact, one may even argue that being a pro wrestler is more difficult than being a sportsperson in a different sport, given how pro wrestling has no off-season and is continuous in nature.
Now that every sport has its own Hall of Fame, WWE has one of its own as well. One may argue that it does not deserve one because professional wrestling is not a real sport, but since its very inception, Vince McMahon's promotion has always toed the line between sports and entertainment. Legends are usually inducted based on how much business they draw, how much of an impact they have left in the wrestling world, and their equation with the McMahon family.
#7 WWE's Hall of Fame is not an actual building
Every Hall of Fame of significance across sports and art is an actual building or landmark, as the name signifies. However, the WWE Hall of Fame is just a distinction, and not an actual building. It is to be noted that the promotion has said on numerous occasions that it has always wanted to construct a facility to house the disctinctions of those who’ve been inducted in the past.
#6 The WWE Hall of Fame covers all of pro wrestling
As strange as this sounds, the WWE Hall of Fame isn’t merely for the promotion's wrestlers alone. It covers the entire wrestling industry, including almost all promotions across the world. Sting, who was a mainstay of WCW through Monday Night Wars, and only wrestled 4 matches for WWE in 2015, headlined the Hall of Fame's Class of 2016. Antonio Inoki, the Japanese legend, is another professional who made it to WWE’s Hall of Fame without ever wrestling in the Vince McMahon promotion.
#5 The Hall of Fame Ring is the official induction insignia
If you have watched the WWE Hall of Fame event, you will know that the induction of a wrestler into the coveted league is complete once they have received the ring pictured above. Post induction, the Hall of Famers are also invited to WrestleMania, where that year's Class of Legends pose with their Hall of Fame ring when introduced to the fans. Inspired by the NFL’s Superbowl rings, this is a medallion that cements an inductee’s legacy as a legend in wrestling history.
However, there have been several stories with regard to these rings. Ric Flair took off his ring and placed it on his deceased son Reid’s finger at the time of his death. He was later presented with a replacement at an NXT taping by Triple H. On the flip side, not every story is this touching. Sunny had wanted to sell her Hall of Fame ring, claiming to be wanting to 'start afresh' in life by wiping the slate clean on her wrestling career. We can see that it means different things to different folks. But hundreds across the industry yearn for these rings.
#4 From 1 inductee, the WWE Hall of Fame now inducts upwards of 10 wrestlers a year
The WWE Hall of Fame started around the time of Andre The Giant’s death. It was created to honor his passing and continued for a few years until there was a period when it was stopped altogether. Since 1993, when only Andre entered the WWE Hall of Fame, there has been a steady rise in the number of inductees with every passing year. Thanks to the Legacy wing, the Warrior Award, and the Celebrity wing, there are many inductees each year. From a modest affair, the Hall of Fame has grown into a full blown gala.
#3 The WWE Hall of Fame is an exercise in PR
One of the central aspects of the content WWE puts out is to capture casual fans. Of course, the hardcore wrestling audience will tune in every week, but casual fans often need a hook. The "celebrity" wing of the WWE Hall of Fame serves as this hook. It is designed to get mainstream media coverage to what is, in essence, a niche affair.
Some of the luminaries who’ve been part of the WWE Hall of Fame’s celebrity wing include Mike Tyson, Drew Carey, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and even former American President Donald Trump. While the sports press may not exactly be forthcoming about WWE’s activities, mainstream outlets such as Rolling Stone are a lot more willing to cover the inductions of these celebrities.
#2 The WWE Hall of Fame is also a medium of spreading awareness
To celebrate the life and legacy of the Ultimate Warrior, the WWE Hall of Fame event saw a new accolade being introduced: The Warrior Award. The accolade is awarded to those who have "exhibited unwavering strength and perseverance, and who live life with the courage and compassion that embodies the indomitable spirit of the Ultimate Warrior’.
This is WWE’s way of spreading awareness of the fact that it is a corporate entity that believes in the health and well-being of one and all. Through this award, it establishes itself as a positive influence in the entertainment industry.
#1 People have been removed from the Hall of Fame
A total of 234 men and women are part of the WWE Hall of Fame. But there have been times when Superstars have been removed from the Hall of Fame, like Hulk Hogan and Jimmy 'Superfly' Snuka. We all know about Hulk Hogan and the Gawker scandal. During that episode, Hogan used many racist terms and was subsequently erased from the history of wrestling before being reinducted in 2018. Jimmy Superfly Snuka was involved in murder and manslaughter charges, and because of this ugly episode, he was removed from the WWE Hall of Fame.