Lou Thesz: The greatest world heavyweight champion of all time. Without Lou Thesz, there is NO Hall of Fame. He is the only wrestler to ever compete in 7 different decades. Thesz held the World’s Heavyweight championship a number of times, and took on hundreds of challengers during his reigns. Thesz’ background as a shooter made him a great champion, able to hold his own if a wrestler decided to go into business for himself. Thesz is the measuring stick in the world of pro-wrestling.
Harley Race: A real Man’s Man. Harley Race held the World Heavyweight title an amazing eight times. He held the championship with pride, honor and dignity, like no one else has ever done. Race took on all challengers everywhere he went and stood up for what he believed every time. His ability to transform himself at the end of his career, and adapt to the changes effecting the wrestling industry were nothing short of admirable. Long live the King!
Andre The Giant: The eighth wonder of the World. Andre probably sold more tickets to wrestling events than anybody in the history of wrestling. When the “Giant” was on the card, he WAS the show. His dedication to wrestling surpassed all others, even though he was in constant pain due to his Acromegaly. Andre never complained. And lived each day like it was his last. Everyone, in and out of the business, has an Andre-story they love to tell. Andre, the Hall of Fame Giant.
“The Nature Boy” Ric Flair: Whhoooooooooooo! To be the man, you got to beat the man! Sometimes that’s true. Lots of people have beaten Ric Flair in the last 10 years, but Ric is still “The Man”. The debate will live on forever as to who is the greatest, and Ric Flair is always in the discussion. Flair’s dominance is only proven by his 20 World title reigns over his career. A charisma that has never been matched, and a passion for the business AND the people involved make this Legend stand out among Legends.
Jake “The Snake” Roberts: “Trust me” was Jake Roberts’ words of wisdom. But can you ever really trust a snake? That makes Jake “The Snake” the master of psychology. He is arguably the greatest ring psychologist to ever step between the ropes. Not many wrestlers could pull off a Blindfold match with Rick Martel and make it believable. Roberts’ understood the crowd, and could feel their pulse from bell-to-bell. Despite Roberts’ battles with demons, he is still a valuable part of wrestling past. Trust us…….
“Classy” Freddie Blassie: Listen you pencil-neck Geek! was Fred Blassie’s most famous catch phrase. His greatness is most often misunderstood because fans who tuned into wrestling for the first time in the 80s only saw a shell of Blassie’s former self. Blassie’s legacy extends all the way back to the 60s and 70s when he was the top babyface in Los Angeles. His feud with John Tolos ranks as one of the most barbaric ever experienced. To get a feel for Blassie’s greatness, READ HIS BOOK.
Bruno Sammartino: The Living Legend. This is one Hall of Fame induction Bruno cannot decline. Yes, Bruno, wrestling has gone down the pooper since your day. But that doesn’t diminish your greatness. In the 1960s and 70s, Sammartino dominated the WWWF, selling out Madison Square Garden an unfathomable number of times. Holding the WWWF title on two different occasions, once for 8 years, and once for 3 years. Mr. Sammartino you are a Hall of Famer, whether you want to be, or not.
Randy Savage: “Ooohhhhhh yeeaaaaaahhh, freak out freak out!” Randy Savage was so talented. He was Hulk Hogan with talent. Wrestling was literally in Savage’s blood from the day is was born. He was one of two people who could actually get multiple good matches out of the Ultimate Warrior. His storylines with his then-wife Miss Elizabeth, George Steele, Ricky Steamboat, Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, Jake Roberts, Dusty Rhodes, Ric Flair and countless others was always the show stealer. His program with Hulk Hogan as part of the Mega-Powers remains one of the defining storylines of the 1980’s and peaked for Savage with a WWF world championship. Macho Madness will forever run wild in the OWW Hall of Fame.
Ted DiBiase: Everyone’s got a price for this Million Dollar Man, even Ted DiBiase himself. That was a hot topic in DiBiase’s book, published a few years back. DiBiase went up and down the road and submitted to just about every temptation available to him, but he eventually saw the light and changed his life for the better. However, it is DiBiase’s ring work as a heel that has earned his spot in the Hall of Fame. When gimmicks were taking over the world of pro-wrestling, the Million Dollar Man perfected the art of gimmicks.
Hulk Hogan: Watchha gonna do, when Hulkamania runs wild on YOU? I’ll tell ya what we’re gonna do… Induct you into the Hall of Fame. Hulk Hogan helped changed the face of professional wrestling in the 80s. As wrestling was transformed from a sport into sports-entertainement, Hogan was the main attraction. As a contributing factor in the first nine Wrestlemanias, The Hulkster is believed by many to be the greatest of all time. The debate rages on. So say your prayers, and take your vitamins.
The Freebirds: The first team/faction to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Michael Hayes, Terry Gordy & Buddy Roberts were inseparable — but can you blame them? The sum of their parts was incredibly great. They left their home state of Georgia and travelled to Dallas, Texas, where they engaged in an historic feud with the Von Erich Brothers. Every time the Freebirds showed up in a territory, they would be thrust into the spotlight. The Freebird trio single handedly made six man tag team wrestling a major part of the show.
Dick The Bruiser: The Bruiser was the original beer guzzling, cigar smoking, tough guy in the wrestling industry — long before Steve Austin ever came along. Dick The Bruiser was a character everywhere he went. The fans cheered and cheered until they couldn’t cheer no more. Dick’s Indianapolis-based promotion was a hotbed of wrestling and started many careers such as Bobby Heenan. The Bruiser’s partnership with The Crusher is legendary, dominating the tag team circuit wherever they went.
Dusty Rhodes: Virgil Runnels lived out the American Dream for 30+ years battling wrestlings top villains in rings all over the world. Early in his career, a young Dusty Rhodes joined forces with the legendary Dick Murdoch as “The Outlaws” and kicked a whole lot of butt all over the country. Rhodes learned his craft and eventually broke off on his own and became a major player in Florida and in the Carolina’s both wrestling and booking for both territories during some of the hottest years of pro wrestling. It is with pride that we welcome Dusty Rhodes into the HOF.
Jerry Lawler: It’s good to be the King, sometimes. That was the name of Jerry Lawler book which he put out several years ago. The King enjoyed a long and successful career which put him on top of the Tennessee territory for an unusually long period of time. Lawler’s most famous match happened when Hollywood star Andy Kauffman got involved in wrestling, and led to Lawler & Kauffman doing an angle on NBC’s David Letterman show. Lawler has been successful in all aspects of the wrestling business and is a perfect fit for the OWW Hall of Fame.
The Sheik: The Sheik was a pioneer of the hardcore style of wrestling. He was the promoter and top heel in the Detroit territory for several decades and made a habit of drawing blood out of his opponents on a nightly basis. Not only that but he went out of his way to maintain the secrets of the business, a philosophy carried on by his nephew Sabu. The Sheik was a major influence on careers of many wrestlers even after his death back in January 2003. We are honored to induct Ed “The Sheik” Farhat.
Bret Hart: Bret “The Hitman” Hart is a hero to thousands upon thousands of wrestling fans, and an icon in the sport of professional wrestling. With the wrestling business literally flowing through his veins, Bret Hart stepped into the wrestling ring in an attempt to make his father proud of him, and ended up becoming one of the biggest legends in the entire industry. Bret’s career was marred by a series of tragedies, but through it all, remained loyal to himself, to his fans, and to his country. No Hall of Fame would be complete without The Hitman.
Bruiser Brody: Frank Goodish was known all over the world by the name Bruiser Brody; a forerunner of hardcore wrestling who had a believable gimmick during a time where legitimacy was on its way out the window. Brody jumped from territory to territory, but achieved his biggest success working for Giant Baba’s All Japan Pro Wrestling promotion. His career and life was cut short when he was murdered in the dressing room by a fellow wrestler in Puerto Rico. Who knows what level of stardom this man might have earned, if he was not taken so early.
Penny Banner: The very first female to be inducted into the OnlineWorldofWrestling.com Hall of Fame – and it very is deserved. Penny Banner had a unique mixture of extraordinary beauty outside of the ring and unmatched ruthlessness inside of the ring that made her one of the top female wrestlers for over two decades. Banner held several different Women’s Tag Team titles as well as the AWA Women’s title during her illustrious career. It is with tremendous honor that we include the wonderfully talented Penny Banner in the OWW Hall of Fame class of 2007.
Bob Backlund: That’s MR. Bob Backlund to you, plebeians! Over five years as WWWF World Heavyweight champion is more than enough to earn Bob Backlund a special place in any wrestling Hall of Fame. In addition to that, Backlund was an NCAA amature champion, as well as Heavyweight champion in Missouri, and Tag Team champion in both Florida and Georgia. Most fans will remember Backlund for his whacky Mid-90s WWF gimmick and running (not really) for President of the United States! Welcome to the OWW Hall of Fame!
Owen Hart: On May 23rd, 1999, Owen Hart became wrestling’s most heart-breaking tragedy. He was a man equally respected for skills in the ring as he was for the kind of man he was in – what we call – real life. Owen’s potential was never quite reached during his career as a professional wrestler, but he still provided us with some of the memorable moments in WWF history. Growing up as the runt of the Hart family litter, Owen was arguably as good, or better, than his famous older brother Bret – even though he was not as decorated. Owen Hart was a diamond in the rough, and belongs in the Online World of Wrestling Hall of Fame. Bless you Owen, we miss you!
Jack Brisco: Jack Brisco, the older of the two famous Brisco brothers, captured two World Heavyweight championship during his long 20+ year career in professional wrestling, along with numerous other singles and tag team titles in Missouri, Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico, and the Mid-Atlantic territory. Jack was a key player in every region of the world that he wrestled in, before he retired in 1984 to run the Brisco Brother’s Bodyshop in Tampa, Florida. In 2008, Jack was inducted along side his brother, Jerry, into the WWE Hall of Fame. If you. Jack has one of the most informative wrestling books out there with his autobiography, “BRISCO.”
“Rowdy” Roddy Piper: The “Hot Rod” entered the world of professional wrestling to kick ass and chew bubble gum, but he quickly ran out of bubble gum. Piper paid his dues in various territories across the nation before making a name for himself as Hulkamania’s number one nemesis in the WWF. The Rowdy One made a distinct impression every where he went. But how could someone so hated, become so loved during the later stages of his career? It’s professional wrestling, and Roddy Piper is one of the greatest of all time.
“Handsome” Jimmy Valiant: Wooooo, Mercy Daddy! The Boogie Woogie Man has come to the OWW Hall of Fame and it’s safe to say that this place will never be the same again! Handsome Jimmy’s career spanned the globe, as a heel member of the Valiant Brothers tag team, and as one of the most beloved fan-favorites in the history of pro-wrestling. The man has influenced an incredible number of up-and-coming wrestlers and his legacy lives on through his unique spirit and distinct personality.
“Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig: Curt Hennig was taken away from us far too soon, but fans were lucky enough to bear witness to the only wrestler worthy of the name “Mr. Perfect.” First making a splash in Verne Gagne’s territory, winning the celebrated AWA World championship from the legendary Nick Bockwinkel. Hennig came from a family of wrestlers, but managed to pave his own road to stardom, after being blessed with the “Perfect” gimmick in the WWF. Mr. Perfect’s matches with Bret “Hitman” Hart can be described with one word – legendary. Curt Hennig is the PERFECT member of the OWW Hall of Fame!
Danny Hodge: To a nicer guy it couldn’t happen. Danny Hodge is a legend at everything he does. He was trained for the mat work by the iconic Ed “Strangler” Lewis, and then became an icon himself for becoming a master of the squared circle. Hodge dominated opponents with pure strength and skill like no other wrestler before him. A proud and humble Oklahoma-native, and champion as an amateur as well as a professional. Mr. Hodge, welcome to the OWW Hall of Fame!
The Rock: The most electrifying man in sports entertainment is now the most electrifying man in the OWW Hall of Fame. The Rock may have moved on from the world of pro-wrestling, but he remains an important part of its colorful history. Despite being in the wrestling business for a relatively short period of time, the Rock solidified his status as a wrestling legend by entertaining his millions, and millions, of fans night in and night out while performing at a brilliant skill level in the ring. OWW is proud to welcome Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson into its Hall of Fame… if ya smell, what the Rock, is cookin’!
Terry Funk: The legendary Terry Funk is now a member of the OWW Hall of Fame! The man who has transcended all styles of professional wrestling and become a king of legends in a world full of legends. With a career that spanned 40+ years, the Funker entertained fans for just about every wrestling promotion on the planet, and did so with the passion of a divine wrestling genius. Thank the wrestling Gods for creating a Terry Funk, because without him, the wrestling world would be a lot less complete.
Ricky Steamboat: Ricky Steamboat earned his legendary status when he feuded with “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair in and around the Carolinas. He later joined the WWF, where he was able to showcase his skills to a wider audience. The Dragon participated in arguably the greatest match in WrestleMania history, at the third installment, when he defeated Randy “Macho Man” Savage for the Intercontinental title. He is now passing the torch as an agent backstage at WWE events and has a son in the developmental system.
The Great Muta: The Great Muta first competed as the White Ninja in the Florida territory before going full time in Japan, quickly solidifying his status as the legendary Great Muta. His star power resulted in him being lured back to North American, where he became a main eventer in the National Wrestling Alliance wrestling such greats as Sting, Ric Flair, and Terry Funk! Muta will go down as one of the most successful International stars to compete on our side of the planet.
Sting: He was the franchise of WCW. He was the only man to never be lured to the WWE by Vince McMahon’s money. He remained loyal to his brand, and became an ICON in the process. What a career Sting has had, despite never stepping into the spotlight of a WrestleMania. Sting has won and lost numerous championships, but what he will carry with him for the rest of his life is the endless respect of the fans. The man we call STING is a TRUE HALL OF FAMER!
Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka: This man is a huge legend in the sport of professional wrestling. Happy to be the number two guy under Hulk Hogan throughout the 80’s, Snuka electrified crowds with his dynamite Superfly splash off the top rope – and on occasion, off of the top of a steel cage! Some of Madison Square Garden’s greatest moments happened with all eyes pointed at Jimmy Snuka as he took flight against many villainous opponents!
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin: If you strictly look at the beginning and the end of the career of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin it would make sense that he would be regarded as one of biggest wrestler stars ever to compete. Steve Austin won multiple rookie of the year awards when he debuted in 1989. Austin quickly found himself competing in World Championship Wrestling and despite performing well he didn’t see the potential that others assumed he would meet. He had a brief spot with Extreme Championship Wrestling before being brought into World Wrestling Federation. He fought and talked his way into being one the of the most popular performers the company’s ever featured. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin is not only a hall of famer but if a Mount Rushmore of Professional Wrestlers was ever constructed, there’d be a strong argument to include his face. And that’s the bottom line…
Dory Funk, Jr.: Dory Funk, Jr. is often times known as “Terry Funk’s big brother”. However, Dory himself had a fantastic career. Dory became the first man in the Funk family to win the NWA World Heavyweight title, which he held for almost 5 years. During his lengthy career he battled ring legends such as Gene Kiniski, Harley Race, and Stan Hansen and won numerous championships in both singles and tag team competition. Dory formed a legendary tag team with his brother Terry and had a legendary feud with the Junkyard Dog, culminating in a big win at Wrestlemania 2. Later in his career, Dory trained a crop of World Wrestling Entertainment stars including Kurt Angle, Christian, and Edge. Today Dory runs a training facility in Florida and still occasionally competes inside the ring. If you look at all of his career accolades, Dory Funk, Jr. is no doubt a Hall of Famer.
Nick Bockwinkel: During his time in the American Wrestling Association Nick Bockwinkel helped define what it meant to be a world champion. Three times he held their world tag team titles with “The Crippler” Ray Stevens. Managed by the legendary Bobby “The Brain” Heenan this combination showed the world true tag team excellence. Nick also is four-time AWA world heavyweight champion, second only to owner Verne Gagne. Nick Bockwinkel put the word “professional” in Professional Wrestling and was considered by his peers to be an excellent wrestler, with great technical ability, ring psychology, and charismatic promos. In 2007 he was elected president of the Cauliflower Alley Club, a non-profit organization. It is our pleasure to welcome Nick Bockwinkel into the OWW Hall of Fame.
The Road Warriors: Oooooh, what a rush! The Road Warriors were composed of Michael “Hawk” Hegstrand and Joseph “Animal” Laurinaitis and are perhaps the greatest tag team of all time. During their careers they won championships all over the world and in the process redefined the look of tag team wrestling, coming to the ring with intimidating face paint and large spikes, and using dominating power moves such as the innovative Doomsday Device. They achieved great success in all of the world’s largest promotions: the AWA, NWA, WCW, WWE, and Japan. Managed by Paul Ellering, the Road Warriors had legendary feuds with the Fabulous Freebirds, the Four Horsemen, Demolition, and the Steiner Brothers. On April 2, 2011, the Road Warriors with Paul Ellering were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Sadly, Michael Hegstrand passed away in 2003.
Sergeant Slaughter: From the time of his debut in 1972 until he retired in the 1992, Sergeant Slaughter was one of the real stars in professional wrestling. The American patriot had major success in the NWA, AWA, and the WWF. His feuds with Pat Patterson, Bob Backlund, Stan Hansen, Larry Zbyszko, and the Iron Sheik are legendary. Among his many championships, Sergeant Slaughter famously defeated the Ultimate Warrior in 1991 to win the WWF world title. He then headlined WrestleMania VII, losing the belt to Hulk Hogan. At his peak Sergeant Slaughter was so famous that a cartoon version of his character was incorporated into the G.I. Joe toy line, animated series, and comic books. Slaughter is currently working in the WWE’s front offices. It is our pleasure to welcome Sergeant Slaughter into the OWW Hall of Fame!
Bobby “The Brain” Heenan: Raymond Louis Heenan, commonly known as Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, is a beloved manager, wrestler and color commentator, best known for his time with the AWA, WWE, and WCW. Known as “The Weasel”, he was known for drawing heat for himself and his wrestlers, and for his on-screen banter with Gorilla Monsoon as a color commentator. WWE recently described Heenan as “one of sports-entertainment’s best loved legends” and inducted him into their Hall of Fame in 2004. As a manager, Heenan’s biggest moment was standing beside Andre the Giant in the WrestleMania III main event. He also managed legends such as Nick Bockwinkel, Ray “The Crippler” Stevens, Angelo Poffo, Big John Studd, King Kong Bundy, Rick Rude, Curt Hennig, Ric Flair, and many more. Bobby Heenan…welcome to the OWW Hall of Fame!
The Wild Samoans: It is hard to argue that the Wild Samoans are not one of the most influential and successful tag teams of all time. Afa and Sika wrestled all over the world and won an unbelievable 21 tag team championships. The team began its career in Stampede Wrestling, and spent the majority of the 1970s in various NWA territories. The Samoans came to the WWF in the early 1980’s, and although they occasionally competed in singles competition, they found their greatest success as a tag team. They won their first WWF tag team championship in 1981 and over the next few years won the WWF titles on two more occasions. Although the Samoans appeared in other promotions such as Mid-South Wrestling and Georgia Championship Wrestling, most people remember their time in WWF where they were one of the best teams of their era. Each man also found success as a trainer, especially Afa who opened the Wild Samoans Training Center. Afa and Sika were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2007. By any measure, the Wild Samoans are one of the best teams ever.
Trish Stratus: When Trish Stratus was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013 she took her rightful place among the best performers in the company’s history. By all accounts she is the most important modern-day “Diva” of all time, a true representation of their moniker, “Sexy, Smart, Powerful”. Trish basically did it all in WWE, from winning the women’s championship 7 times (a record) to sparring with Vince McMahon to feuding with Lita in matches that raised the bar for women’s wrestling. She even won the Hardcore title! Trish Stratus has also been a tremendous success outside of the ring. And her popularity endures. At WWE Fan Axxess 2014 in New Orleans, LA, one person had a line of fans literally 3 times longer than anyone else. One person was greeted by the loudest screaming fans when she walked out. One person felt like a bigger star than anyone else in the room. Trish Stratus.
Edge: Edge, born Adam Joseph Copeland, is best known for his time wrestling for WWE. In the 1990s he wrestled in various U.S. independent promotions, usually with long-time friend Christian. In 1997 Copeland signed a deal with the WWF, then made his TV debut the following June as Edge. In July 1999 he won the WWF Intercontinental title, his first title in WWE. He and Christian went on to win the WWF tag team title on seven different occasions. In total Edge won 31 championships in WWE, including 11 world titles. He also won the King of the Ring tournament, the Money in the Bank ladder match, and the Royal Rumble match (the first to achieve all three of those accomplishments. Edge headlined many major PPV events and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2012. In addition, Edge is a film and TV star, currently appearing on the SyFy series Haven.
Junkyard Dog: Sylvester Ritter, a.k.a. the Junkyard Dog, is best known for his work in Mid-South Wrestling and the World Wrestling Federation. JYD regularly headlined cards that sold out the Louisiana Superdome and other major venues, becoming the first black wrestler to be the top star of his promotion. Entering the ring with a big chain and Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust,” JYD was one of the most charismatic wrestlers in the country during his peak in the early 1980s. JYD came to the WWF and worked big programs with the One Man Gang, Kamala, Terry Funk, and King Kong Bundy. He appeared on the very first WrestleMania, challenging Greg Valentine for the Intercontinental title. The word “thump,” which referred to JYD’s power slam, was also displayed on his wrestling trunks.
King Kong Bundy: King Kong Bundy is not only a professional wrestler, but also a stand-up comedian and actor. Bundy achieved great recognition in the WWF during the 1980s and 1990s. In 1986 he headlined WrestleMania 2 against Hulk Hogan in a steel cage match for the WWF world title. Then in 1995, Bundy met the Undertaker at WrestleMania XI and became the fourth victim in Taker’s famous undefeated WrestleMania streak. Early in Bundy’s WWF career play-by-play commentator Gorilla Monsoon started referring to Bundy as the “The Walking Condominium”, of course in reference to his enormous size. A valued member of the Heenan Family, Bundy had legendary feuds with Andre the Giant, among others, and often times demanded a five-count from the referee while pinning an opponent. It is our pleasure to welcome King Kong Bundy into the OWW Hall of Fame!
Greg “The Hammer” Valentine: The career of Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, the son of famous wrestler Johnny Valentine, has spanned over four decades. Valentine has held more than 40 championships, including the NWA US heavyweight title, WWF Intercontinental title and WWF world tag team title. “The Hammer” defended his WWE Intercontinental title in the first WrestleMania, and the next year defended the WWE tag team title (along with Brutus Beefcake) against the legendary British Bulldogs. Valentine’s figure-four leglock remains one of the best finishers in wrestling history. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004, and then inducted into the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2016. It is our pleasure to welcome a true warrior into the OWW Hall of Fame!
Shawn Michaels: This induction is long overdue! Shawn Michaels has been cited by a number of peers and fans as the greatest in-ring performer in history. Michaels wrestled for WWE from 1988 until his first retirement in 1998. He then held non-wrestling roles from 1998 to 2000 and resumed wrestling in 2002 until 2010. He started as a trainer in 2016. During his career the “Heartbreak Kid” headlined major PPVs between 1989 and 2010, closing WrestleMania five times. He was the co-founder and original leader of the successful stable, D-Generation X. Michaels also wrestled in the AWA, where he founded The Midnight Rockers with Marty Jannetty in 1985. After winning the AWA World Tag Team Championship twice, the team continued to the WWF as The Rockers and had a high-profile breakup in January 1992. Within the year, Michaels twice challenged for the WWF Championship and won his first Intercontinental Championship. Overall Michaels is a four-time world champion, having held the WWF Championship three times and WWE’s World Heavyweight Championship once. He is also a two-time Royal Rumble winner, the first WWF Grand Slam Champion and the fourth WWF Triple Crown Champion, as well as a WWE Hall of Fame class of 2011 inductee. Online World of Wrestling is proud to induct Shawn Michaels into our Hall of Fame!