Shawn Michaels has been announced as the first formal inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame in Atlanta in 2011. Having Michaels as the frontrunner makes anyone else pale in comparison or importance but others mentioned have been Bill Goldberg, which negotiations are on-going with him because Goldberg wants a “one off” or a last match and fade into obscurity and Vince McMahon wants a one or two year contract, Arn Anderson, possibly Sting if the planets align correctly, Ron Simmons, Lex Luger and the Steiner Brothers.
The Hall of Fame has long been the source of controversy for many in the wrestling community mostly for who has not been invited than for who has. Although there have been some highly ridiculed picks, Pete Rose and Vince McMahon’s chauffer to name a couple, there is one name that continues to come up among wrestling purists who claim that the WWE Hall of Fame will never be legitimate until Bruno Sammartino is inducted.
The WWE version of a Hall of Fame debuted officially in 1993 and has since become a profitable marketing tool and lead-in for WrestleMania. Since that time a number or truly deserving stars have had their name called during the ceremony and received their Hall of Fame rings including Andre the Giant, Buddy Rogers, Bobo Brazil, Ernie Ladd, Fred Blassie, The Grand Wizard and Pat Patterson among others. Some questionable entries would include the aforementioned Rose, William Perry of the Chicago Bears and Bob Uecker.
The true vision of the Hall of Fame, other than to make money in case WrestleMania does not, is that of Vince McMahon. McMahon decides who is in and who will not be in and more often than not it coincides with the venue or town that WrestleMania is being held in. The company tried hard to get the Ultimate Warrior to accept an invitation last year when WrestleMania was in the backyard of Warrior, Arizona. The water under the proverbial bridge between McMahon and Warrior is too deep and muddy for any kind of reconciliation, at least at this time.
McMahon chooses people he likes, thinks can make him the most money or who can at the very least try and add some legitimacy to the concept. There has been talk of a physical Hall of Fame museum and Orlando, Florida is the frontrunner for housing the WWE HOF. The whole decision making process ends with Vince McMahon casting the deciding and ultimately the only vote that counts.
The purists who argue that this is and never will be a true Hall of Fame do so by mentioning the one name that everyone agrees, including Vince McMahon himself, that belongs in any wrestling hall of fame, especially the WWE version, Bruno Sammartino. Sammartino and the WWE, more accurately stated, Vince McMahon Jr. have been at war for a number of years. Although McMahon has downplayed the rift between the two parties, Sammartino has been vocal about his feelings for McMahon, the WWE, what McMahon has done to wrestling and the Hall of Fame.
Sammartino has said that it would take miracles and apologizes as well as an entire business overhaul of how the WWE presents its product before he would consider an invitation to the WWE HOF. Bruno has not been shy about relaying his feelings toward the WWE and how much of a joke he feels the HOF is because there are non-athletes and non-wrestling branded people who have been “voted” in.
While Sammartino has a right to his opinion, some of his claims border on the outlandish and some of the blame he places upon McMahon for the drug use and blatant exploitation of women because sex sells, is not entirely McMahon. Wrestling has always suffered from some form of steroid or drug abuse issues and there has always been a “sex sells” mentality in the business including some promoters sleeping with the wives and girlfriends of the workers to give one of the boys a push or run with a title.
There is no arguing that Bruno Sammartino belongs in the Hall of Fame, especially the WWE version. Sammartino helped put the then WWWF on the map and had one of the longest reigns as a world champion in the history of the WWE but also wrestling. Whether there is a physical building or not, the WWE Hall of Fame and the yearly ceremony is a celebrated event and most consider it an honor to be recognized for their contributions to the business. Bruno needs to be in the WWE HOF not only for the sake of legitimizing the Hall but because Sammartino needs to be recognized with the honor. The time for letting go and moving on was years ago and Sammartino and McMahon both need to do what is best for business and in this case, what is best for Bruno Sammartino as well.
–Former WWE announcer, who had the spot for less than fifteen minutes, Mike Adamle was popped for DUI recently.
–Matt Hardy’s debut with TNA was less than stellar and many wonder just how long he will be in the company.
–Scott Steiner has been in Orlando at the TNA tapings and is telling people he is back with the company.
–The Ohio Wrestling Alliance announced that their January 21 show has been canceled and will be rescheduled for March. The reason given was many of the top stars on the roster have a number of personal issues, either with jobs or family, that would prevent the show from going on as advertised. The new line-up, date and time will be announced shortly but the show will be in Defiance, OH so those with tickets are encouraged to hold onto them they will be honored at the March show.
–The official cause of death for Trent Acid was an accidental overdose as ruled by the medical examiner.
–Tom Burke was the special guest on “And Then The Bell Rings” radio this past Wednesday and it was a great show. Next week is a special Thursday edition with the voice of OVW Dean Hill. Be sure to tune it at 6:00 pm Eastern for what is becoming one of the hottest shows on the net. Black Bart rounds out the month on January 26 and that should be an interesting show.
–W.A.R. will be in Lima, OH on February 5 with “Broken & Bruised” with a feature match of Kaden Assad v. Brian Beech for the WAR Title. This is one of the oldest and best indie groups in Ohio and they have some of the best talent including Assad, Sherman Tank, Chris Hall and the Hi-Def Supernovas. Check out WAR Wrestling for all the latest.
–Also on February 5 is Hoosier Pro Wrestling in Columbus, IN at the Bartholomew County Fair Grounds with a great match between Ox Harley v. JD Marionni and mainstays TJ Powers and “Diceman” Ronnie Vegas also on the show. Visit HPW for all the information.
–Jimmy Jacobs will defend his IPW title against Jesse Emerson at the Insanity Pro Wrestling show in Indianapolis, IN at the Fountain Square Salvation Army Corps building on Shelby Street. The Irish Airborne, one of the most popular tag teams in the tri-state area will also be on the show. Check out IPW online for information.
–AIW will showcase Isis the Amazon at their annual “Ladies Night Out” show on January 28 in Lakewood, OH. Also on the show will be Sara Del Ray, Jessica Havok, Mickie Knuckles and the champion Angledust. Should be a good show, AIW always produces so check them out online for more information.