Craig Wilson, Russ Morgan & Brian Damage
Whatever value the WWE Hall of Fame has has surely been reduced in recent weeks with the removal of both Jimmy ‘Superfly’ Snuka and Hulk Hogan over their respective controversies. In this Sunday Sermon the team discuss these issues and exactly what makes someone worthy of a place in it.
Craig: Brian’s suggestion and a very good topic. Amongst actual wrestling fans, the WWE Hall of Fame has very little value compared to, say, the Cauliflower Alley Club but for us WWE fans it is certainly a big part of WrestleMania weekend.
It’s also something that results in a great deal of online discussion as we discuss the worthiness of certain entrants and express confusion at other superstars being absent from it.
It’s earlier than normal for the focus to be on the Hall of Fame but that’s just what has happened thanks to the removal of both Hulk Hogan and Jimmy Snuka from it. It raises an interesting question though: what actually constitutes entry?
Are superstars included due to their body of wrestling work, their longevity in the sport, the impression they made or a mix of all three?
And if that’s what merits someone being included, just how important is their personal lives? Hogan isn’t being charged with a crime but is removed, Tammy Sytch conducts nude Skype shows with fans for money and is still there while Chyna has appeared in porn and that’s often cited as the reason for her not being included. Is there a line and where is it?
Russ: It seems to me that it is a mixture of all three. Snuka is a strange one for me. He was never a champion in the WWF, so apart from leaping off a cage, and getting a coconut smashed off his head, what else did he really do to deserve entry? Compare that entry to say a Ric Flair, which obviously deserves it due to carrying the NWA/WCW on his back for many years, multi-time World Champion in both organisations and the best talker in the business.
Brian: Let’s be realistic here for a minute…the WWE Hall of Fame is more a way to generate income then it is honoring past legends. The notion that a wrestler or personality can be removed from the Hall AFTER already being inducted is a farce. Chyna isn’t getting into the WWE Hall of Fame…not because of her porn past as Triple H stated…but rather he would have to answer to his wife Stephanie for doing it. That isn’t much of a criteria now is it?
We can debate the merits of Jimmy Snuka getting in all day long….but the fact is…he is already in…or was until this murder charge came about. A murder charge the WWE has known about for years before the idea of a Hall of Fame was even conceived. A WWE without arguably its biggest star in Hulk Hogan makes it a complete sham. Regardless of what racist things Hogan said…that shouldn’t take away what he meant for the company during its expansion years. They were well within their rights to fire him for those vulgar words…but to remove him from the HOF is a joke. I hate to say this, but if we are going to base Hall of Fame merits on pro wrestlers personal lives…that HOF will be pretty empty.
Russ: Completely agree with Brian, there was always a chance that Snuka could be indited on the charges. Hogan is the greatest star wrestling have ever seen. He made the company and wrestling a global billion dollar market place. Having him taken out makes the whole thing a sham.
Brian: The thing is, there really doesn’t seem to be much of a criteria for the WWE’s version of the Hall of Fame. Why is Koko B. Ware an entrant but not Demolition or Honkytonk Man? Why is Verne Gagne and the Von Erich family in? Was it because they sold off their video library to the WWE? Is that a criteria?!? The more submissive you are…the better your chances? Both Abdullah the Butcher and Billy Graham sold off their HOF rings? How worthy of an honor is it to being inducted actually?
Craig: In the grand scheme of things, there doesn’t seem to be any honour or really any criteria. A Hall of Fame induction can often take place around a DVD boxset. If Demolition are announced as entrants for next year, are you telling me that the WWE wouldn’t cobble together a DVD on them? Maybe we should see it for what it is, as Brian alludes to, a way for the WWE to thank superstars that they want to thank, for whatever they see fit.
Brian: And that’s the sad part….everything has a price tag on it. I remember years ago when I interviewed Paul Orndorff. He said the only way he would agree to being inducted is if they met his asking price. How is that in any way an honor?
Craig: It’s not. Should we just look at it as a fun part of WrestleMania weekend that gives us a nostalgia kick rather than a bona-fide Hall of Fame?
Brian: I think we have to and that is a shame in many ways.
You can read all previous Sunday Sermons here.