Remember When WCW Had A Hall of Fame?

Brian Damage

Most wrestling fans are very familiar with WWE’s Hall of Fame. It began in 1993 and the ceremony…for the most part…has been televised the night before the company’s biggest event of the year…Wrestlemania. Ever since WWE came up with the concept, several other pro wrestling halls of fame have emerged including the TNA/Impact Wrestling Hall of Fame, The George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and an actual brick and mortar Hall…The Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame. All of these honor pro wrestling’s legends from the past. There was another that some may have forgotten all about and that was the World Championship Wrestling Hall of Fame.

The WCW version began just three months after the WWF/WWE Hall of Fame was created. Seeing as the two promotions were bitter rivals, WCW mimicked WWF’s idea and created their own. The idea came from booker Ole Anderson and was the first to be televised in conjunction with the company’s pay per view entitled ‘Slamboree.’ The WWF simply announced Andre the Giant as the first ever inductee with a video package on WWF programming with no real ceremony. WCW countered by inducting their very first Hall of Famer as the NWA legend Lou Thesz. Others that were inducted for WCW that first year were Eddie Graham, Mr. Wrestling II and Verne Gagne.

WCW attempted to treat their Hall as legitimate by honoring wrestlers from all organizations and territories. All of WCW’s Hall of Fame inductees were chosen by a committee which was headed by legendary announcer Gordon Solie. Solie also acted as the emcee for the induction ceremonies. While the WWF/WwE Hall has no real legitimate structure, WCW were planning to have theirs inside the CNN Center based in Atlanta, Georgia. All of the Hall of Fame inductees would receive a plaque with their faces on it, 150 dollar appearance fee, plus travel expenses. The was also a dinner and meet and greet the night before called ‘Slam Fest.’

The entire list of WCW Hall of Fame inductees are as follows:

Lou Thesz
Verne Gagne
Mr. Wrestling II
Eddie Graham
Harley Race
Ernie Ladd
The Crusher
Dick the Bruiser
Ole Anderson
Masked Assassin
Wahoo McDaniel
Dusty Rhodes
Antonio Inoki
Angelo Poffo
Terry Funk
Big John Studd
Gordon Solie

WCW’s version only lasted for three years from 1993 until 1995. It was discontinued in 1996 with no formal announcement. The real reasoning behind the discontinuation is far more interesting. It all occurred before the ’95 induction ceremony. WCW management decided to go above the head of the committee chairman Gordon Solie and induct wrestler/promoter Angelo Poffo. Solie was against the choice, as he felt that it was Randy Savage politicking with his new promotion. Some also believed that Solie was against the move because Poffo represented the dreaded “Outlaw promotions” that went against the National Wrestling Alliance for so many years. Angelo Poffo and his family founded the ICW aka International Championship Wrestling.

To try and appease Solie, WCW decided to induct Gordon Solie himself into their Hall of Fame. While Solie accepted the honor, he was still livid over management’s decision to go over his head and choose Poffo and after Solie’s induction at Slamboree ’95, quit the company. With Solie gone and no real leadership behind the Hall of Fame selection process…Eric Bischoff decided to cancel the entire event. According to Bischoff himself, they were running out of legitimate inductees that were willing to come for what they were offering anyway. So with that, the WCW Hall of Fame was no more.

10 thoughts on “Remember When WCW Had A Hall of Fame?

      • The first one especially did, since they didn’t just honor some old-timers but also had other appear on the card in matches.
        Of course Bischoff had to fuck up everything once he came into undeserved power and indeed, it became just another PPV

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      • Well, the first three editions of Slamboree (1993, 1994, and 1995) were all about honoring the legends of wrestling with the WCW Hall of Fame.

        But, from 1996 to 2000, Slamboree dropped that concept and became what I said – just another PPV.

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  1. Didn’t know Solie quit WCW over that. I get being a loyal company guy and all, but since he wasn’t the owner or head of the company, it wasn’t his call to make so I don’t get the big deal. Yeah the ICW was an outlaw promotion but it’s not like they posed any serious threat as to putting the NWA out of business or anything. Solie sure wasn’t that high and mighty when it came to Bob Roop, Boris Malenko, Bob Orton Jr, Wright, or Ronnie Garvin. I know it might not have been public knowledge at the time, but those were the guys behind the Plan B tape, which had it gotten out, would’ve KILLED the business.

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  2. The Ilio DiPaolo Memorial Show picked up where Slamboree left off when they stopped using the legends. They would do introduction of the legends. There was no Hall of Fame part. This was an event that was held in June from 1996-1999 in Buffalo, NY. The 1996 & 1997 events had legends matches. 1998 was used for a broadcast of Thunder. 1999 was the last year they did it.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilio_DiPaolo_Memorial_Show

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