Saturday, April 2, 2016

WrestleMania Week: Hall of Fame Edition

It's the day before WrestleMania and as is tradition in the land of WWE, tonight is the Hall of Fame induction. This year's class looks interesting if nothing else so I thought that I would show off a few cards of each inductee (with some help from COMC) and give a brief summary of their careers. I also should note that even though Snoop Dogg and Joan Lunden are being honored at the event, they are classified as "honorees" not "inductees". Enjoy this trip down memory lane!

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Sting first came on the scene in the UWF in the mid-1980s teaming with the future Ultimate Warrior as the Blade Runners. He debuted in the NWA with Jim Crockett Promotions during the UWF vs. NWA invasion angle during 1987 and found himself in the main event of the first ever Clash of the Champions broadcast in March 1988 against Ric Flair. The match has since become legendary and during the course of the 45-minute match, Flair turned Sting into a certifiable main event star. Flair and Sting would have a legendary rivalry over the years and Sting would capture his first World Championship from Flair at the 1990 Great American Bash in Baltimore.

Throughout the 1990s, Sting would remain in WCW as other stars jumped back and forth between WCW and the WWF. However, in 1996, with the invasion of the nWo into WCW, his image changed drastically, going from the blond surfer character that everyone knew and loved into a dark, brooding character with face paint that resembled the movie The Crow. At Starrcade 1997, he challenge Hollywood Hogan for the WCW Title, a match that was marred with controversy afterwards.

In the latter part of the decade, Sting joined the nWo Wolfpack faction and feuded with Bret Hart and in 1999, he was involved in forgettable feuds against Rick Steiner, Sid Vicious, and Hulk Hogan. Come the end of WCW in 2001, Sting returned to face Ric Flair for the last match in the company's history. After the end of WCW, many of the stars eventually made their way to WWE, but not Sting.

After the fall of WCW, Sting would make sporadic appearances in multiple promotions such as the ill-fated WWA and NWA-TNA. He would eventually start working for TNA on a regular basis in 2006 feuding with their top talent such as Kurt Angle, Abyss, and Samoa Joe and stayed with them until 2013, including a match against Hulk Hogan at Bound for Glory in 2011 and a match against Ric Flair on an episode of Impact Wrestling.

At Survivor Series 2014, towards the end of the Team Cena vs. Team Authority main event, Sting finally debuted in WWE, costing Team Authority the match and setting up a match with Triple H for WrestleMania 31, which he ultimately lost. Later that summer, Sting returned and challenged Seth Rollins for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. That match would turn out to be the last match in Sting's lost career as he suffered a career-threatening neck injury during the match that has unofficially ended his career.

The Fabulous Freebirds 
(Michael Hayes, Jimmy Garvin, Buddy Roberts, Terry Gordy)
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The Freebirds (consisting of Michael Hayes, Terry Gordy, and Buddy Roberts) had a legendary feud with the Von Erichs during the heyday of World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW) in Dallas. It all started Christmas night 1982 when Michael Hayes was the special referee in the Ric Flair vs. Kerry Von Erich steel cage match at Reunion Arena. As Von Erich was about to leave the cage, special outside enforcer Terry "Bam Bam" Gordy slammed the door into his face costing Von Erich the NWA Championship. That would set off a nearly two-year long feud involving many wrestlers such as Jimmy Garvin and Iceman King Parsons among others.

In 1984, The Freebirds migrated north to the WWF for a brief stay, about a month. However, they did make it into the opening bit of the first Highlander movie during that brief stay. The Freebirds then returned to WCCW rekindling their feud with the Von Erichs that would last until Michael Hayes and Kerry Von Erich called a truce. During this time, The Freebirds also made some sporadic appearances in the AWA, most notably at Superclash '85 and WrestleRock '86.

The Freebirds would resurface in WCW in the late 1980s, this time as a duo with Michael Hayes and Jimmy Garvin. The two would capture every major tag team title WCW had to offer at the time, including the World Six-Man Titles with a masked wrestler named Badstreet. Towards the end of 1992, The Freebirds would split for good as Hayes began to transition out of the ring by managing and providing color commentary on TV broadcasts. He would later jump to the WWF as Dok Hendrix. He remains there today as one of the top WWE road agents and producers.

Big Boss Man
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Debuting as Jim Cornette's bodyguard Big Bubba Rogers in the NWA in the mid-1980s, Ray Traylor began a huge career in pro wrestling. In 1988, he debuted in the WWF at the Big Boss Man, the character that he is forever known as. Later that year, he formed a heel tag team with Akeem known as the Twin Towers and ended up facing Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage in the featured match on the second episode of The Main Event. In the summer of 1989, he challenged Hogan for the WWF Title, culminating in fantastic cage match on the May 1989 episode of Saturday Night's Main Event.

After turning on Akeem and being accepted by the fans, Boss Man began siding with Hogan and teamed with him as part of the Hulkamaniacs team at the 1990 Survivor Series. As the calendar turned to 1991, he began feuding with the members of the Heenan family such and challenged Mr. Perfect for the Intercontinental Title at WrestleMania 7. His most memorable match however came at SummerSlam 1991 as he competed against the Mountie in a Loser Goes to Jail match in which the loser, honest to God, spent a night in jail. Mountie lost which led into a number of ridiculous skits with the Mountie in the city lockup.

Boss Man left the WWF in 1993, wrestled some in Japan, Smoky Mountain Wrestling, and independent promotions here and there until he resurfaced in WCW towards the latter part of the year as The Boss. He never really found his footing in WCW as there was a long list of character changes. First as The Boss, then the Guardian Angel, then back to Big Bubba as part of Kevin Sullivan's Dungeon of Doom.

Late in 1998, Boss Man would resurface in the WWF with a new look and new attitude as part of the Corporation and won the tag team titles with Ken Shamrock. During this run, he also became a multi-time hardcore champion and had an infamous match with Al Snow called a Kennel From Hell match, the concept of which is baffling to explain. In 1999, he had another infamous angle with Big Show over Big Show's dead father and challenged him for the WWF Title.

Boss Man left the WWF in 2002 and sadly passed away in September of 2004 at the age of 42.

The Godfather
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Charles Wright, the man most famously known as the Godfather, began his career in 1989 in USWA, one of the last remaining territories, as The Soultaker and soon after beat Jerry Lawler to win the USWA Unified Heavyweight Title. Late in 1991, after a brief run in the GWF in Texas, he made is debut in the WWF as Sir Charles but was given a makeover and turned into Papa Shango, a voodoo warrior. While Papa Shango's run was only for about a year, he did make an impression as his only major feud was with Ultimate Warrior, which included a bizarre scene where Warrior puked on television. After Papa Shango vanished from the WWF full-time in 1993, he popped up again in the USWA, independent shows around the New York area, and the occasional appearance on WWF television.

In early 1995, Papa Shango was history and Kama, the supreme fighting machine, debuted as part of Ted DiBiase's Million Dollar Corporation. He was involved as a cornerman during the Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Lawrence Taylor match at WrestleMania 11 and his highest profile match during this time was against the Undertaker at SummerSlam 1995. Kama would disappear for about a year and a half before returning as Kama Mustafa and a member of the Nation of Domination.

While he was with the Nation, he began calling himself the "Godfather" of the Nation and the name stuck. Eventually, he adopted the fun-loving, pimp character we've all come to know and love. In 1999, Godfather won the Intercontinental Title and was scheduled to defend it against Owen Hart at the Over the Edge pay-per-view in May of 1999 but just before the match, Owen Hart was tragically killed during a stunt gone wrong.

In 2000, The Godfather dropped the pimp persona and joined up with heel censorship group Right to Censor and started teaming with Bull Buchanan. The duo won the WWF Tag Team titles from The Hardy Boyz. As the calendar flipped to 2001, Right to Censor starting losing their steam and all members were eventually released as they were all lost in the shuffle following the purchase of WCW in March 2001.

Today, Godfather still makes sporadic appearances in WWE while also working independent shows.

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Jacqueline got started in USWA right at the tail end of the territory days as Miss Texas and wrestled there for four years winning the USWA Women's Title an astounding 14 times. She showed up in WCW during 1997 accompanying Kevin Sullivan to the ring on certain occasions and wrestled Disco Inferno at the Halloween Havoc 1997 pay-per-view. In 1998, she debuted in the WWF feuding with Sable, which led to the WWF re-instituting the defunct Women's Title. Jacqueline defeated Sable on an episode of Raw to become the first Women's Champion in three years.

After the feud with Sable, Jacqueline moved into a stable with Terri Runnels called P.M.S (Pretty Mean Sisters) and managed Shawn Stasiak, known as Meat. During the 2000s, Jacqueline would readily be in contention for the Women's Championship and was a coach on the first season of Tough Enough. In 2004, she became the first woman to win the Cruiserweight title, beating Chavo Guerrero Jr in an open challenge. A few months later, she was released from WWE.

After WWE, Jacqueline toured the indies and made a few appearances for TNA, including a surprise appearance on the first 3-hour TNA pay-per-view in November 2004. Three years later, Jacqueline started wrestling for TNA on a regular basis at the side of James Storm and eventually managing the team of Beer Money, which consisted of Storm and Bobby Roode, which lasted until she left TNA in 2013.

Stan Hansen
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Stan Hansen is probably the most successful American wrestler ever in Japan, however he debuted in the WWWF in the mid 1970s and began an immediate feud with Bruno Sammartino, including a match where he broke Sammartino's neck. After Sammartino returned, he again challenged for the WWWF Title but came up short. Hansen returned in 1980, this time going after champion Bob Backlund but after finding no success, he left the promotion and went to work in Japan.

It was in Japan that Hansen became a star, but he still wrestled the US on occasion, most notably for the AWA in the mid-80s where he beat Rick Martel to win the AWA World Title and WCW in the early 90s where he feuded with Lex Luger over the United States Title. However, most of his time was spent in Japan for both New Japan and All Japan.

He teamed with Bruiser Brody, became the first foreigner to beat both Antonio Inoki and Giant Baba, had violent and hard-hitting matches with Vader, Hulk Hogan, Dr. Death Steve Williams, Mitsuharu Misawa, and Kenta Kobashi during his long career overseas. He retired from the ring in January 2001 and was named the commissioner of the Pacific Wrestling Federation, a position which he held until 2007, when he resigned.


  1. I always loved the Freebirds even though they were always heels. Their feud with the Von Erich's was classics. Remember Stan Hansen well from his early 70's stint. Some of my earliest wrestling memories

  2. Don't have the Network, but I really want to see the induction ceremony. Great post!