Opinion: Does Brutus Beefcake deserve his WWE Hall of Fame Induction?
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The news was not unexpected. It had been rumoured for weeks and with Hulk Hogan once more part of the WWE family, it seemed inevitable that one of his longtime buddies who had not yet been inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame would be. That reality has come to pass.
This induction for longtime wrestling fans should seem jarring. The reason: Ed Leslie, the man behind Beefcake, is not a celebrated legend by WWE itself and never has been.
In fact, it is hard to remember WWE ever referencing Leslie in WWE after he left the promotion way back in 1993.
In the many nostalgia driven episodes and segments in WWE over the past 20 years or so, Beefcake is a wrestler who has never appeared or indeed, been referenced.
Which is understandable considering his post-WWE career. If Dean Malenko is the "Man of 1,000 holds" then Leslie, is the "Man of 1,000 gimmicks." After departing WWE in mid-1993, Beefcake re-surfaced in WCW after his pal, Hogan had signed on in the summer of 1994.
Leslie was unable to use the WWE trademarked "Brutus Beefcake" moniker and was instead dubbed "The Butcher."
At Hogan's behest, Leslie was given a big push and amazingly was Hogan's opponent in the WCW World title match at Starrcade 1994; possibly the worst Starrcade top liner ever.
The gimmick was not a success and Leslie subsequently became known as "The Man With No Name" and aligned himself with the woeful "Dungeon of Doom" faction, who existed solely to rid WCW of Hogan. As any longtime fan will know; they were unsuccessful in this quest.
"The Man With No Name" did not last long and Leslie was given a succession of terrible short-lived gimmicks such as "The Zodiac" and "The Booty Man", the latter was an embarrassing character who was obsessed with his own buttocks (no joke).
Leslie departed WCW shortly after the nWo's formation in the summer of 1996 and did not return until February 1998, when he aligned himself with Hogan and became known as "The Disciple." Leslie's latest incarnation did not wrestle very often and was mainly an interference runner for nWo Hollywood. He later turned on Hogan again in the fall of 1998 before departing WCW and virtually wrestling entirely in 1999.
It was a completely forgettable end to a woeful decade for Leslie throughout the 1990s. It is safe to say that this period of his career will receive little mention in his Hall of Fame induction speech.
So, why exactly is Beefcake deemed Hall of Fame worthy?
Well, it's safe to say that WWE focussed on his WWE career from 1984 to 1993 when making the call to induct Beefcake.
It's true that Beefcake was one half of a successful tag team with former Intercontinental Champion, Greg "The Hammer" Valentine called "The Dream Team."
The tandem contested some entertaining contests with The Rougeau's, The British Bulldogs and others between 1985 and 1987 before they split up at Wrestlemania III.
It was at the most famous WWE card of all time that Beefcake became "the Barber" when he inserted himself into the "Hair vs Hair" bout between "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and Adrian Adonis. Beefcake assisted Piper in cutting Adonis's hair post-match earning himself the new nickname.
Form that point forwards, Beefcake began bringing garden shears to the ring and would cut his opponent's hair after defeating them with his Sleeper Hold submission move.
Beefcake was a popular singles act during this period and famously feuded with The Honky Tonk Man over Honky's Intercontinental Title.
However, his proposed Summerslam 1988 title bout with Honky never took place after he was "injured" in an infamous angle with "The Outlaw" Ron Bass. Bass allegedly cut Beefcake with spurs from his cowboy boots, ensuring Beefcake could not compete as planned.
When "the Barber" returned, he was aligned with his real-life friend, Hogan in storylines. Together they formed the "Mega-Maniacs" tag team and main evented Summerslam 1989, versus the team of "Macho Man" Randy Savage and Zeus.
Beefcake then became the first WWE Superstar to pin rising star "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig in competition in a decent singles bout at Wrestlemania VI.
However, that was to be Beefcake's last hurrah as a WWE Superstar. Several months later he was severely injured in a parasailing accident and required over 100 metal plates to be inserted into his face after it was crushed in the incident.
He briefly returned in 1991, hosting the "Barber Shop" interview segments, before returning to the ring in early 1993, once again partnering Hogan in tag team competition.
His final appearance on WWE pay per view was at the woeful Wrestlemania IX, when he teamed with Hogan in a losing effort versus the team of Ted DiBiase and IRS.
That, in a nutshell, is Beefcake's entire wrestling career.
So, does Beefcake deserve a Hall of Fame Induction?
The jury's out. No doubt he was a star, during his prime years between 1985 and 1990, but his career afterwards was marred by an incessant array of different personas and terrible in-ring performances.
If he didn't have friends in high places (namely Hogan), then it's likely he wouldn't have enjoyed the career success or longevity he did have. If you think of the wrestlers that are not yet in the WWE Hall of Fame, such as The Rock, The Dynamite Kid, The British Bulldog, Vader and others, the mind boggles why Beefcake would be enshrined before far more obviously deserving candidates.
However, it is also easy to see why he has received the nod. Like "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, Beefcake was not a great worker or major name but was a very memorable part of wrestling's 1980's boom period due to his outlandish "Barber" gimmick.
Whether several year's of success in a near two-decade career is worthy of a Hall of Fame spot is WWE's call and no one else's. Point being, WWE see Beefcake as worthy, therefore "the Barber" is, whether the WWE Universe agree or not.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the article belong to the writer and doesn't necessarily represent Sportskeeda's stand.