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The WWE Hall of Fame is a hall of fame for professional wrestlers and professional wrestling personalities maintained by WWE. The 1994 and 1995 ceremonies were held in conjunction with the annual King of the Ring pay-per-view events. In 1996, the ceremony was held with the Survivor Series event, for the first time in front of a paying audience as well as the wrestlers, after which, the Hall of Fame went on hiatus.

WWE Hall of Fame
WWEHallofFameRender.png
WWE Hall of Fame logo, used since 2015
Established March 22, 1993
Founder WWE
Members
110 individuals
12 groups (33 members)
10 celebrities
4 Warrior Award recipients
26 Legacy inductees
(183 total inductees)

In 2004, WWE relaunched the Hall of Fame to coincide with WrestleMania XX.[1] This ceremony, like its predecessors, was not broadcast on television. However, it was released on DVD on June 1, 2004.[2] Beginning with the 2005 ceremony, an edited version of the Hall of Fame was broadcast on Spike TV (2005)[3] and on the USA Network (2006[4]–present[5]); these were aired on tape delay. Since 2005, the entire Hall of Fame ceremony has been packaged as part of the annual WrestleMania DVD release,[6] and from 2014, has been broadcast live on the WWE Network.[7] In 2015, historical WWE Hall of Fame ceremonies became available on the WWE Network.

Although a building has never been built to represent the Hall of Fame, WWE has looked into constructing a facility. In 2008, Shane McMahon, then-Executive Vice President of Global Media of WWE, stated that WWE had been storing wrestling memorabilia in a warehouse for years, with all items categorized and dated in case a facility is created.[8]

As of 2018, there have been 183 inductees – with 110 wrestlers inducted individually, 12 group inductions (consisting of 33 wrestlers within those groups), ten celebrities, four Warrior Award recipients, and 26 Legacy Inductees. 46 members were inducted posthumously. Also as of 2017, Ric Flair is the only Hall of Famer to be inducted twice, first individually in 2008, then as a member of The Four Horsemen in 2012.[9]

Contents

Classes

Class of 1993

WWF Hall of Fame (1993)
Promotion WWF
WWE Hall of Fame chronology
← Previous
First
Next →
WWF Hall of Fame (1994)

WWF Hall of Fame (1993) was the inaugural class of the WWE Hall of Fame. It was announced on the March 22, 1993 episode of Monday Night Raw where André the Giant, who had died nearly two months prior, was announced as the sole inductee.[10][11][12]

During the episode of Monday Night Raw a video package announcing his induction was shown.[12] No ceremony took place, and André was inducted posthumously. In March 2015 a condensed version of the 1994 ceremony was added to the WWE Network.[13] Due to no original ceremony, the 1993 introduction of André was discussed by Gene Okerlund and Renee Young as part of the 1994 commentary.

Image Ring name
(Birth Name)
Inducted by WWE recognized accolades
  André the Giant
(André Roussimoff)
None One-time WWF World Heavyweight Champion, one-time WWF World Tag Team Champion.

Class of 1994

WWF Hall of Fame (1994)
Promotion WWF
Date June 9, 1994
City Baltimore, Maryland
Venue Omni Inner Harbor International Hotel
WWE Hall of Fame chronology
← Previous
WWF Hall of Fame (1993)
Next →
WWF Hall of Fame (1995)

WWF Hall of Fame (1994) was the event which featured introduction of the 2nd class to the WWE Hall of Fame. The event was produced by the WWF on June 6, 1994 from the Omni Inner Harbor International Hotel in Baltimore, Maryland. The event took place the same weekend as King of the Ring.

In March 2015 a condensed version of the ceremony was added to the WWE Network.[13] Due to the original ceremony only being partially recorded and not originally intended to air, Gene Okerlund and Renee Young host the program with added commentary.

Image Ring name
(Birth Name)
Inducted by WWE recognized accolades
N/A Arnold Skaaland Bob Backlund One-time WWWF United States Tag Team Champion and long-time manager of Bruno Sammartino and Bob Backlund in WWF[14]
N/A Bobo Brazil
(Houston Harris)
Ernie Ladd Seven-time WWWF United States Heavyweight Champion, one-time NWA United States Heavyweight Champion[15]
N/A "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers
(Herman Rohde Jr.)
Bret Hart Posthumous inductee: One-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion and first WWWF World Heavyweight Champion[16]
N/A Chief Jay Strongbow[17]
(Luke Scarpa)
Tatanka Four-time WWWF/WWF World Tag Team Champion[18]
  "Classy" Freddie Blassie Shane McMahon Held over 30 NWA regional championships. Long-time manager in WWF[19]
N/A Gorilla Monsoon
(Robert Marella)
Jim Ross Two-time WWWF United States Tag Team Champion. Former WWF announcer and onscreen President[20]
N/A James Dudley Vince McMahon First African American to run a major arena in the United States[21]

Class of 1995

WWF Hall of Fame (1995)
Promotion WWF
Date June 24, 1995
City Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Venue Marriott Hotel
WWE Hall of Fame chronology
← Previous
WWF Hall of Fame (1994)
Next →
WWF Hall of Fame (1996)

WWF Hall of Fame (1995) was the event which featured the introduction of the 3rd class to the WWE Hall of Fame. The event was produced by the WWF on June 24, 1995 from the Marriott Hotel in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The event took place the same weekend as King of the Ring.

In March 2015 a condensed version of the ceremony was added to the WWE Network.[13] Due to the original ceremony only being partially recorded and not originally intended to air, Gene Okerlund and Renee Young host the program with added commentary.

The 1995 class featured two posthumous inductees. Antonino Rocca was presented by his wife, and The Grand Wizard was represented by Bobby Harmon.

Image Ring name
(Birth Name)
Inducted by WWE recognized accolades
  Antonino Rocca
(Antonino Biasetton)
Diesel One-time WWF International Heavyweight Champion. Pioneer of the acrobatic wrestling style[22]
N/A "Big Cat" Ernie Ladd Bobo Brazil Won several NWA regional titles, and was one of few professional wrestlers to have had a successful career in American football[23]
  George "The Animal" Steele
(William Myers)
Doink the Clown One of professional wrestling's first monster heels[24]
N/A Ivan Putski
(Józef Bednarski)
Scott Putski One-time WWF Tag Team Champion[25]
  The Fabulous Moolah
(Mary Ellison)
Alundra Blayze A four-time WWF Women's Champion prior to her induction, her first reign is recognized as lasting a record 28 years[26]
N/A The Grand Wizard
(Irwin Roth)
Sgt. Slaughter
Long-time heel manager in WWF[27]
  Pedro Morales Savio Vega Savio Vega accepted the induction. One-time WWWF World Heavyweight Champion whose reign lasted nearly three years, and the first WWF Triple Crown Champion[28] He was also the first Latino to win the world title[29]

Class of 1996

WWF Hall of Fame (1996)
Promotion WWF
Date November 16, 1996
City New York City, New York
Venue Marriott Marquis
WWE Hall of Fame chronology
← Previous
WWF Hall of Fame (1995)
Next →
WWE Hall of Fame (2004)

WWF Hall of Fame (1996) was the event which featured the introduction of the 4th class to the WWE Hall of Fame. The event was produced by the WWF on November 16, 1996 from the Marriott Marquis in New York City, New York. The event took place the same weekend as Survivor Series.

In March 2015 a condensed version of the ceremony was added to the WWE Network.[13] Due to the original ceremony only being partially recorded and not originally intended to air, Gene Okerlund and Renee Young host the program with added commentary.

Due to Vincent J. McMahon's passing in 1984, he was posthumously inducted by the McMahon family.

Image Ring name
(Birth Name)
Inducted by WWE recognized accolades
N/A "Baron" Mikel Scicluna Gorilla Monsoon One-time WWWF World Tag Team Champion and one-time WWWF United States Tag Team Champion[30]
  "Captain" Lou Albano Joe Franklin One-time WWWF United States Tag Team Champion. As a manager, he led 13 different tag teams to a record 17 tag team titles,[31] and four singles wrestlers to various championships. His association with Cyndi Lauper was pivotal in turning professional wrestling into a mainstream phenomenon[32]
  Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka Don Muraco One-time NWA United States Heavyweight Champion, two-time NWA World Tag Team Champion, two-time ECW Heavyweight Champion[33]
  Johnny Rodz
(Johnny Rodriguez)
Arnold Skaaland Wrestled in WWF for nearly two decades[34]
  Killer Kowalski
(Walter Kowalski)
Triple H One-time WWWF World Tag Team Champion, held seventeen NWA regional championships[35]
  Pat Patterson[36] Bret Hart One-time and first WWF Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion, one-time AWA World Tag Team Champion and held over 20 NWA regional championships. Credited as the creator of the Royal Rumble match[37]
N/A Vincent J. McMahon Shane McMahon Founder and longtime promoter of the World (Wide) Wrestling Federation[38]
Group Inducted by WWE recognized accolades
The Valiant Brothers British Bulldog and Owen Hart One-time WWWF World Tag Team Champions, first tag team to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame[39]
Jimmy Valiant (James Fanning) – four-time NWA Television Champion
Johnny Valiant (John Sullivan) – became a manager in the WWF and AWA during the 1980s

Class of 2004

Category Inductee Inducted by
Individual Big John Studd[40] Big Show
Don Muraco[41] Mick Foley
Greg "The Hammer" Valentine[42] Jimmy Hart
Harley Race[43] Ric Flair
Jesse "The Body" Ventura[44] Tyrel Ventura
Junkyard Dog[45] Ernie Ladd
Sgt. Slaughter[46] Pat Patterson
Superstar Billy Graham[47] Triple H
Tito Santana[48] Shawn Michaels
Bobby "The Brain" Heenan[49][50]
[51]
Blackjack Lanza
Celebrity Pete Rose[52] Kane

Class of 2005

Category Inductee Inducted by
Individual Hulk Hogan[53]
Sylvester Stallone
"Rowdy" Roddy Piper[54][55][56] Ric Flair
"Cowboy" Bob Orton Jr.[57] Randy Orton
Jimmy Hart[58] Jerry Lawler
"Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff[59] Bobby Heenan
Nikolai Volkoff[60] Jim Ross
Iron Sheik[61] Sgt. Slaughter

Class of 2006

Category Inductee Inducted by
Individual Bret "Hit Man" Hart[62] Stone Cold Steve Austin
Eddie Guerrero[63] Chris Benoit, Rey Mysterio, and Chavo Guerrero
"Mean" Gene Okerlund[64] Hulk Hogan
Sensational Sherri[65] Ted DiBiase
Verne Gagne[66][67][68] Greg Gagne
"Mr. USA" Tony Atlas[69][70] S.D. Jones
Group The Blackjacks
(Blackjack Mulligan and Blackjack Lanza)[71]
Bobby Heenan
Celebrity William "The Refrigerator" Perry[72] John Cena

Class of 2007

Category Inductee Inducted by
Individual "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes[73][74][75] Cody Runnels and Dustin Rhodes
"Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig[76] Wade Boggs
Jerry "The King" Lawler[77][78] William Shatner
Nick Bockwinkel[79][80][81] Bobby Heenan
Mr. Fuji[82] Don Muraco
The Sheik[83] Rob Van Dam and Sabu
Jim Ross[84] Stone Cold Steve Austin
Group The Wild Samoans
(Afa and Sika)[85]
Samu and Matt Anoaʻi

Class of 2008

Category Inductee Inducted by
Individual "Nature Boy" Ric Flair,[86][87][88] Triple H
"High Chief" Peter Maivia[89] The Rock
"Soulman" Rocky Johnson[90] The Rock
Mae Young[91][92] Pat Patterson
Eddie Graham[93] Dusty Rhodes
Gordon Solie[94] Jim Ross
Group The Brisco Brothers
(Jack Brisco[95] and Gerald Brisco[96])
John "Bradshaw" Layfield

Class of 2009

Category Inductee Inducted by
Individual Stone Cold Steve Austin[97][98] Vince McMahon
Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat[99] Ric Flair
"Cowboy" Bill Watts[100] Jim Ross
Howard Finkel[101] Gene Okerlund
Koko B. Ware[102] The Honky Tonk Man
Group The Funks[103]
(Terry Funk and Dory Funk Jr.)
Dusty Rhodes
The Von Erichs
(Fritz Von Erich, Kevin Von Erich, David Von Erich, Kerry Von Erich, Mike Von Erich and Chris Von Erich)
Michael Hayes

Class of 2010

Category Inductee Inducted by
Individual Ted DiBiase[104] Ted DiBiase Jr. and Brett DiBiase
Antonio Inoki[105] Stan Hansen
Wendi Richter[106] Roddy Piper
Maurice "Mad Dog" Vachon[107] Pat Patterson
Gorgeous George[108][109] Dick Beyer
Stu Hart[110] Bret Hart
Celebrity Bob Uecker[111] Dick Ebersol

Class of 2011

Category Inductee Inducted by
Individual Shawn Michaels[112] Triple H
"Hacksaw" Jim Duggan[113][114] Ted DiBiase
"Bullet" Bob Armstrong[115] Scott, Brad, and Brian Armstrong
Sunny[116][117] WWE Divas
Abdullah the Butcher[118] Terry Funk
Group The Road Warriors[119]
(Road Warrior Hawk, Road Warrior Animal, and "Precious" Paul Ellering[120])
Dusty Rhodes
Celebrity Drew Carey[121] Kane

Class of 2012

Category Inductee Inducted by
Individual Edge[122] Christian
Mil Máscaras[118] Alberto Del Rio
Ron Simmons[123] John "Bradshaw" Layfield
Yokozuna[124] Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso
Group The Four Horsemen[125]
("Nature Boy" Ric Flair, Barry Windham, "The Enforcer" Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard and James J. Dillon)
Dusty Rhodes
Celebrity Mike Tyson[126] D-Generation X (Shawn Michaels and Triple H)

Class of 2013

Category Inductee Inducted by
Individual Mick Foley[127] Terry Funk
Bob Backlund[128] Maria Menounos
Trish Stratus[129] Stephanie McMahon
Bruno Sammartino[130] Arnold Schwarzenegger
Booker T[131] Stevie Ray
Celebrity Donald Trump[132] Vince McMahon

Class of 2014

Category Inductee Inducted by
Individual The Ultimate Warrior[133] Linda McMahon
Jake Roberts[134] Diamond Dallas Page
Lita[135] Trish Stratus
Paul Bearer[136] Kane
Carlos Colón Sr.[137] Carlito, Eddie, and Orlando Colón
Razor Ramon[138] Kevin Nash
Celebrity Mr. T[139] Gene Okerlund

Class of 2015

Category Inductee Inducted by
Individual Randy Savage[140] Hulk Hogan
Rikishi[141] The Usos
Alundra Blayze[142] Natalya Neidhart
Larry Zbyszko[143] Bruno Sammartino
Tatsumi Fujinami[144] Ric Flair
Kevin Nash[145] Shawn Michaels
Group The Bushwhackers[146]
(Luke Williams and Butch Miller)
John Laurinaitis
Celebrity Arnold Schwarzenegger[147] Triple H
Warrior Award Connor "The Crusher" Michalek Dana Warrior and Daniel Bryan

Class of 2016

Category Inductee Inducted by
Individual Sting[148] Ric Flair
The Godfather[149] The Acolytes Protection Agency
Big Boss Man[150] Slick
Jacqueline The Dudley Boyz
Stan Hansen[151] Vader
Group The Fabulous Freebirds
(Michael Hayes, Terry Gordy, Buddy Roberts, and Jimmy Garvin)
The New Day
Celebrity Snoop Dogg[152] John Cena
Warrior Award Joan Lunden Dana Warrior
Legacy Mildred Burke N/A
Frank Gotch
George Hackenschmidt
Ed "Strangler" Lewis
Pat O'Connor
Lou Thesz
"Sailor" Art Thomas

Class of 2017

Category Inductee Inducted by
Individual Kurt Angle[153] John Cena[154]
Theodore Long[155] The Acolytes Protection Agency[156]
Diamond Dallas Page[157] Eric Bischoff[158]
Beth Phoenix[159] Natalya Neidhart[160]
Rick Rude[161] Ricky Steamboat[162]
Group The Rock 'n' Roll Express[163]
(Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson)
Jim Cornette[164]
Warrior Award Eric LeGrand Dana Warrior
Legacy Martin "Farmer" Burns N/A
June Byers
Haystacks Calhoun
Judy Grable
Dr. Jerry Graham
Luther Lindsay
Toots Mondt
Rikidōzan
Bearcat Wright

Class of 2018

Category Inductee Inducted by
Individual Goldberg[165] Paul Heyman[166]
Ivory[167] Molly Holly[168]
Jeff Jarrett[169] Road Dogg[170]
Hillbilly Jim[171] Jimmy Hart[172]
Mark Henry[173] Big Show[174]
Group The Dudley Boyz[175]
(Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley)
Edge and Christian[176]
Warrior Award Jarrius "JJ" Robertson[177] Dana Warrior
Celebrity Kid Rock[178] Triple H
Legacy Stan Stasiak N/A
Lord Alfred Hayes
Dara Singh
Cora Combs
El Santo
Jim Londos
Rufus R. Jones
Sputnik Monroe
Boris Malenko
Hiro Matsuda

Specialty inductees

Celebrity wing

The "celebrity wing" of the Hall of Fame is dedicated to celebrities that have made memorable appearances on WWE programming, and/or have had longtime associations with WWE.

Warrior Award

 
Dana Warrior presents the inaugural Warrior Award at the 2015 Hall of Fame ceremony

In 2015, WWE introduced the Warrior Award for those who have "exhibited unwavering strength and perseverance, and who lives life with the courage and compassion that embodies the indomitable spirit of the Ultimate Warrior."[179]

While WWE promotes Warrior Award recipients as Hall of Fame inductees,[180][181] they are not included in the Hall of Fame section at WWE.com.[182] and an image gallery which shows "every WWE Hall of Famer ever" does not contain any recipient.[183]

The award was created following The Ultimate Warrior's death. During his April 2014 Hall of Fame speech shortly before his death, he proposed that there be a special category called the "Jimmy Miranda Award" for WWE's behind-the-scenes employees.[184][185] Miranda, who died in 2002, was part of the WWE merchandise department for more than 20 years[186] Former WWE ring announcer Justin Roberts expressed disappointment at how WWE used portions of Warrior's Hall of Fame speech to promote the award, but left out Warrior's intentions of honoring WWE's off-screen employees[187][188] WWE responded, "It is offensive to suggest that WWE and its executives had anything but altruistic intentions in honoring Connor and his legacy with The Warrior Award", adding that "moving forward the award will be given annually to acknowledge other unsung heroes among WWE's employees and fans".[189]

Traditionally, Dana Warrior (widow of The Ultimate Warrior) presents the award.

Legacy inductees

In 2016, WWE introduced a new category for the Hall of Fame called the "Legacy" wing. Inductees under this new category feature wrestlers from the early years of professional wrestling, primarily during the early part of the 20th century.[190] All inductees thus far have been inducted posthumously and were recognized with a video package at the ceremony.[191]

Ceremony dates and locations

 
The induction of Bret Hart into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006
 
WWE Hall of Fame 2009 ceremony
Date Location Venue Host Associated Event
June 9, 1994 Baltimore, Maryland[192] Omni Inner Harbor International Hotel N/A King of the Ring (1994)
June 24, 1995 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania[193] Marriott Hotel King of the Ring (1995)
November 16, 1996 New York City, New York[194] Marriott Marquis Survivor Series (1996)
March 13, 2004 New York City, New York[1] The Hilton Gene Okerlund WrestleMania XX
April 2, 2005 Los Angeles, California[3] Universal Amphitheatre WrestleMania 21
April 1, 2006 Rosemont, Illinois[195] Rosemont Theatre Jerry Lawler WrestleMania 22
March 31, 2007 Detroit, Michigan[196] Fox Theatre Todd Grisham WrestleMania 23
March 29, 2008 Orlando, Florida[197] Amway Arena Gene Okerlund and Todd Grisham WrestleMania XXIV
April 4, 2009 Houston, Texas[198] Toyota Center Jerry Lawler and Todd Grisham WrestleMania XXV
March 27, 2010 Phoenix, Arizona[199] Dodge Theater Jerry Lawler WrestleMania XXVI
April 2, 2011 Atlanta, Georgia[200][201] Philips Arena WrestleMania XXVII
March 31, 2012 Miami, Florida[202] American Airlines Arena[203] WrestleMania XXVIII
April 6, 2013 New York City, New York Madison Square Garden WrestleMania 29
April 5, 2014 New Orleans, Louisiana Smoothie King Center WrestleMania XXX
March 28, 2015 San Jose, California SAP Center[204] WrestleMania 31
April 2, 2016 Dallas, Texas American Airlines Center WrestleMania 32
March 31, 2017 Orlando, Florida Amway Center WrestleMania 33
April 6, 2018 New Orleans, Louisiana Smoothie King Center WrestleMania 34
April 5, 2019 Brooklyn, New York Barclays Center[205][206] TBA WrestleMania 35

Reception

In 2012, The Post and Courier noted that the Hall has garnered criticism due to the inductions of questionable performers, and the omissions of major names within the industry.[207] Bob Backlund declined induction multiple times,[208] and The Ultimate Warrior wrote that he refused the honor in 2010;[209] they were eventually inducted in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Randy Savage was recognized as being noticeably absent;[210] Chris Jericho said that the Hall achieved a level of legitimacy by inducting him in 2015.[211] Slam Wrestling questioned how Koko B. Ware, who primarily wrestled in the undercard, was inducted but former WWWF World Heavyweight Champion Ivan Koloff never was before his 2017 death.[212]

Bruno Sammartino, the longest reigning WWWF World Heavyweight Champion, was once critical of the Hall of Fame. Sammartino disapproved of celebrity inductees such as Pete Rose and William Perry, and said of the ceremony: "What's the point to a Hall of Fame? Is it a building I can actually go to? No. Give me a break".[213] Sammartino declined previous induction offers, before accepting in 2013. Paul "Triple H" Levesque said that it was important for Sammartino to be inducted from a "legitimacy standpoint" and ESPN said that his induction is an opportunity to legitimize the Hall of Fame.[214] After being announced as an inductee, Sammartino said he considers the Hall to be legitimate.[215]

Superstar Billy Graham publicly slammed the hall and demanded that WWE remove him from it, due to the 2011 induction of Abdullah the Butcher. Graham wrote: "It is a shameless organization to induct a bloodthirsty animal such as Abdullah the Butcher into their worthless and embarrassing Hall of Fame and I want the name of Superstar Billy Graham to be no part of it".[216] Sabu also criticized the Hall of Fame, saying "I'd only do it because I need the money... I don't consider it a real Hall of Fame."[217]

2015 Hall of Fame headliner Kevin Nash stated that two things in the professional wrestling business are real: "When you win your first championship and when you get inducted into the Hall of Fame." Nash claimed this is a sentiment to which colleague Ric Flair also subscribes.[218] During his 2013 induction, future U.S. president Donald Trump said that the honor meant more than "having the highest ratings in TV, being a best-selling author or getting a spot on the Hollywood Walk of Fame."[219]

Dave Scherer of PWInsider has questioned how WWE can sustain the 2004–present Hall of Fame model, due to legends being rapidly inducted. He wrote: "There are only so many people that they can have headline a class. They really need to make more new stars to ensure that they can keep filling arenas for the ceremony".[220]

See also

References

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  3. ^ a b "World Wrestling Entertainment Invades Los Angeles Starting Tuesday, March 29, With Series of Public Events As Part of WrestleMania 21 Week". World Wrestling Entertainment Corporate. March 23, 2005. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved February 15, 2009.
  4. ^ "World Wrestling Entertainment Blows "Big Time" Into Chicago Starting Tuesday, March 28, With A Series of Public Events As Part of WrestleMania 22 Week". World Wrestling Entertainment Corporate. March 22, 2006. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved February 15, 2009.
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