The WWE Hall of Fame Has Other Options
by Eric E. Jenkins
In professional wrestling, when a gimmick or story line overstays its welcome, the promoters will pull the plug on it and move on to something else. Based on this year’s list of inductees, the WWE Hall of Fame might have run its course as well.
To begin, I have no problem with Gorgeous George, Stu Hart, Antonio Inoki or Mad Dog Vachon being inducted, because they have all had great careers, but none of these men have ties to WWE. I also do not have a problem with Wendi Richter, because it shows that Vince can forgive and forget, but she is truly not worthy of the Hall of Fame. In truth, the WWE Hall of Fame inductees should either have some tie to WWE or have had Hall of Fame careers, and while each member of this year’s class either fulfills one or the other of these requirements, there are some who fulfill both, are not on the outs with Vince and have not yet been included in the hall.
It has been said that Vince McMahon does not wish to do too many posthumous inductions into the Hall of Fame, but this year, there will be two, including one who died nearly fifty years ago. However, if you include one posthumous induction per year, over the next two years, there are still plenty of individuals who deserve consideration, and one simply has to look through the results of the firs 25 Wrestlemanias to find them.
Many of the stars of the first 25 Wrestlemanias are still alive, and there are some, men like Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Brutus Beefcake, Demolition, Rick Martel and “The Doctor of Style” Slick are still alive and are memorable contributors to what WWE has become. Even more significant than the previously mentioned “stars” were some of the gentlemen who, in the days when the WWF aired televised matches that were designed to promote interest in these “stars”, made said “stars” appear to be larger than life.
Conrad Efraim, the man known as Special Delivery Jones, was the tag team partner of Andre the Giant in the infamous match where Ken Patera and John Studd cut the Giant’s hair. S.D. Jones was the opponent when King Kong Bundy won his match at the inaugural Wrestlemania in 25 seconds, and S.D. Jones was one of the great “jobbers” in wrestling history. Jones, on the basis of his work for the WWF deserves to be inducted in the WWE Hall of Fame.
Perhaps even more deserving of induction than Jones is the man who came to be known as The Brooklyn Brawler and deserves induction into the WWE Hall of Fame; Steve Lombardi. Lombardi, throughout his entire career, has been a loyal and devoted soldier to the cause of the World Wrestling Federation and World Wrestling Entertainment. He was arguably one of the best known and most beloved enhancement talents in the federation, but more than that, he was the go-to guy when someone was needed in a pinch. His appearances as Doink the Clown when Matt Borne was unavailable went unknown to the fans. He also appeared as Kin Chee, accompanying Kamala to the ring. He faced, and was defeated by Dwayne Johnson in The Rock’s tryout match with the WWF. Once his wrestling career ended, he continued to work for WWE as an agent, and has been praised for his work. This man, perhaps more than most, deserves a spot in the WWE Hall of Fame.
If Vince wants to induct performers who left indelible marks on he wrestling business, then posthumous induction are in order for Owen Hart, Rick Rude and Rodney Anoa’i, the wrestler known as Yokozuna, deserve spots in the hall. These men have been remembered by their peers for their work in the ring as well as for their personalities and kindness outside the squared circle. Each man was a champion several times over, and each man has had memorable moments that will live on in the minds of wrestling fans forever.
Vince McMahon is the final voice regarding who gets inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, but if he looks back at the federation’s history, he will find many individuals who are deserving of induction, and if any f these individuals are considered, he will not have to go to Japan or the 1930’s to find suitable candidates.
Eric E. Jenkins is an author who is currently writing “Dead Too Soon”, a book chronicling the careers of and paying tribute to many of the wrestling stars who passed away very young. You can view excerpts of the book at www.ericejenkins.com and can comment on this article at [email protected].