Brian Damage, Jamie Lithgow, Craig Wilson and Amerigo Diehl
The WWE roster is filled with “superstars” at every level. There are the main roster guys who regularly appear on Raw and SmackDown, those who are used as glorified jobbers and those who are barely used at all. In this series of pieces, we will take an individual wrestler barely used and decide if they are worth keeping or should they be let go. Today we decide if we Book or Cook the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony.
Brian: I had been going back and forth with this subject for a couple of weeks now. I fully understand that the Hall of Fame is not an individual wrestler or team that we can book or Cook, but I have been feeling lately that the event just doesn’t carry the same cache it once did.
Now with the incident this past weekend with a fan jumping the barrier and attacking Bret Hart it has become even more prevalent than ever that this show needs some sort of change and not just a new set.
Jamie: The primary problem with the Hall of Fame for me is that too many people are inducted at one time. This creates the age-old argument about who is deserving of a place, which is of course always valid. It feels like anyone who got over in wrestling – even if only for a short time – will at some point be inducted into the Hall of Fame. I assume a large part of the reason for this is to create a full show around the ceremony, thus around half a dozen performers are required to be inducted and all at various levels. You can’t just induct all the heavy hitters like Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan and Bret Hart in one go. That dilutes the achievement – as if also inducting less worthy performers doesn’t – and would mean within a few years WWE would really be reaching for marquee inductees – as if they didn’t already this year.
As things stand, we can expect to see the Hall of Fame become more and more diluted as time goes by. My suggestion for a change would be to bring back the Slammy Awards and hold them the night before Wrestle
Brian: All excellent and valid points Jamie. This year especially, felt like it was just a throwaway show for whatever reason. I think it had a lot to do with the Ring of Honor/New Japan G1 show that was held at Madison Square Garden the same night. I’m sorry to say that the MSG show took a lot away from the Hall of Fame event.
The inductees were all worthy in some which way or form, but it felt like the WWE just drew names out of a hat this year. It didn’t feel special as in years past when people were chosen and advertised for months leading up to the ceremony. The importance of it, simply wasn’t there this year.
The other problem I have with the Hall of Fame ceremony is it done in an arena with wrestling fans that are allowed to be served beer before and during the show. That leads to some fans acting like disrespectful jackasses while the speeches are going on. You can hear chants and stuff like that while the inductees are speaking. From my own experience, I went to the Hall of Fame ceremony back in 2013. There were a lot of yelling and screaming all over Madison Square Garden while Trish Stratus and Mick Foley were being inducted. There was a group of drunk fans right behind me screaming obscenities all night long. I actually got up and left early it was so bad.
Craig: Yeah, I’m with Jamie too. I’m a firm believer that much of the WrestleMania weekend needs to be stripped back. But, ultimately, the Hall of Fame needs a refresh. This year’s felt very throwaway and all a bit random, as already alluded to. Whilst there are a few obvious Hall of Fame headliners left – The Undertaker anyone? – there is also a lack of top-level talent to really sell the Hall of Fame as a standalone entity. As such, it’s as good a time as any to refresh the model and deliver something a little bit different. The Slammy’s idea makes a lot of sense. After all, WrestleMania is essentially the start and the end of a wrestling year. When better to have an awards ceremony than at the end of the WWE year?
Amerigo: I think the Hall of Fame is a great idea overall, but it does need an overhaul. The fact that we have seen most of the great stars of the WWWF/WWF and WWE already inducted I’m expecting kind of a lull until the next generation is ready. Maybe cutting back on yearly inductees coupled with adding something else to the show might help. Maybe something like the slammy’s but voting on an inductees greatest match etc.
There you have it, our thoughts on the future of the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony. Got an opinion? Then leave your take in the comments section below.
You can read all previous ‘Book or Cook?’ pieces here.