Besides WrestleMania itself, the biggest event on the “Road to WrestleMania” is without a doubt the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony. The Hall of Fame is WWE’s way of honoring those who have gone above and beyond for the WWE and the industry of professional wrestling as a whole. Sadly, due to the world essentially coming to a standstill, the Hall of Fame ceremony did not take place last year and will instead take place this year, so fans can rejoice in seeing Batista, JBL The NWO, and finally “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith take their place among the legends of the past.
As well as last year’s inductees, 2021 will also have its own Hall of Fame class, and it was revealed via WWE’s The Bump that two time WWE Women’s Champion and WWF Hardcore Champion, Molly Holly, would the first name in the class of 2021.
There are a plethora of names that could and rightfully should be inducted into the Hall of Fame at some stage or another, however who should be inducted soon, if not this year?
1. The Undertaker
There’s only one real choice for a headliner this year and it is “The Deadman”. The past few years of The Undertaker’s career have been rocky to say the least; losing to Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 33 in what was likely supposed to be his retirement, returning the following year to squash John Cena at WrestleMania 34, then having a god awful match with Goldberg at Super Showdown in Saudi Arabia, before finally delivering a decent Boneyard Match against AJ Styles at WrestleMania 36.
WWE then released The Last Ride, an absolutely phenomenal documentary series in which The Undertaker persona was finally lifted and fans got to hear directly from the man beneath the proverbial mask, Mark Calaway.
In the documentary, Calaway detailed the last few years of his career before finally declaring that he had no real intention to return to the ring, a point made all the more certain by his retirement ceremony held during Survivor Series 2020, 30 years after he debuted on the same pay-per-view.
If The Undertaker truly is retired, then it makes perfect sense that he should be inducted into the Hall of Fame. He is more than just a character, he is an icon of professional wrestling, a persona which has morphed and changed through every generation of WWE’s existence. He is the last of a generation who put their personas above everything else and for doing that for a staggering 30 years, Mark Calaway deserves to be inducted so that The Undertaker can finally rest in peace.
The fact Vader has not been inducted into WWE’s Hall of Fame is one of the biggest gripes that both wrestling fans and wrestlers alike have with the ceremony. One of the greatest powerhouse wrestlers of all time, Vader proved that even if you are built like a truck that you can still fly with incredible agility and possess a style which, even to this day, can be seen in the likes of Keith Lee.
His presence was not just felt in WWE (WWF at the time), but also in WCW and in NJPW where he is a multiple time champion, having incredible matches against names such as Mick Foley, Hulk Hogan, and Keiji Mutoh. Vader had cemented himself as a legendary talent worldwide before even stepping foot into a WWE ring.
Sadly, Vader passed away in 2018 which has since led to an even bigger push to have “The Mastodon” inducted into the Hall of Fame. To this day, however, that push has fallen on deaf ears as four years after his passing Vader has still been snubbed for his rightful place alongside those names he made history with.
3. Miss Elizabeth
Miss Elizabeth goes down in history as being part of some of the greatest moments of the “Golden Era” of WWE.
She was at the centre of the Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan feud, which saw The Mega Powers explode, and her on screen wedding to “The Macho Man” which tugged at the heart strings of all fans watching. Later, Miss Elizabeth came to his rescue after a heel Savage was attacked by his then manager Sensational Sherri after he lost a retirement match against The Ultimate Warrior, Miss Elizabeth hoisted up onto Savage’s shoulder to give us one of the most iconic photographs in WWE history.
One of the greatest managers in wrestling history, the fact that Miss Elizabeth has not been inducted anytime between now and and her death in 2003 is saddening, as she’s one of the most recognisable faces of the “Golden Era” of professional wrestling and a name that still brings joy to fans to reminisce and remember. She should, one last time, take her place alongside “The Macho Man” in the WWE Hall of Fame, as her legacy is just as important as that of Savage.
A prediction now mired by his signing with AEW but it cannot be denied that Christian deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame.
While his singles career in WWE may not have been the greatest, he is undoubtedly one half of the one of the greatest tag teams of all time alongside Edge. The two revolutionised tag team wrestling with their bouts against The Hardy Boyz and The Dudleys, which would introduce the WWE Universe to hardcore tag matches.
What made Edge & Christian stand out amongst the tag roster in the 2000s was the bond and friendship they both shared, having been tag partners since their stints on the independent circuit in the 1990s, debuting as part of the devilish Brood faction with Gangrel, before becoming the tag team we all know and love.
While Edge was inducted into the Hall of Fame by “Captain Charisma” back in 2012, Christian, sad to say, is yet to be inducted himself, so here’s hoping that WWE can put aside bitterness at him leaving for AEW and give him the induction he deserves.
5. William Regal
Easily one of the greatest wrestlers to never win the World Championship, William Regal has constantly been a fan favourite. Whether it be as the cheating, conniving heel or in his current role as NXT General Manager, he has constantly been a driving force behind professional wrestling and its presentation as a sport with his technical and submission based style.
While he never did make it to the top to win a World Championship, he does have several title accolades under his belt, including being a four time WWF European Champion and Tag Team Champion, five time WWF Hardcore Champion, and two time Intercontinental Champion.
Outside of his wrestling career, he has been a huge model for what NXT would become, constantly putting over the new talent, most notably before his retirement match against Cesaro in 2013 when he cut an impassioned promo about how talented of a wrestler Cesaro is, saying “even on my best day, he is ten times the man and the wrestler than I have ever been” and referring to him as “the ultimate competitor”.
Regal has always had wrestling in his heart and has strived to give it his all in the business, and that should be commended with a more than deserving induction into the Hall of Fame.
Bonus 1: Jim Johnston
While not a professional wrestler, Jim Johnston’s impact on the WWE has been felt for decades now. The musical composer has given us wrestling fans some of our favourite entrance themes, including the bangers of The Undertaker, The Rock and Bret Hart. Those are just a few of the names whose incredible themes come from the genius of Johnston.
Johnston firmly believes that the entrance theme for a wrestler is just as important to the character as their in-ring work, which shows as even to this day his themes are more uniquely recognisable than a lot of CFO$, who composed the majority of WWE’s recent music until 2020. Johnston himself has spoken about the modern WWE themes saying how they “don’t have anything to do with characters or storylines”
To this day, Johnston’s contribution to professional wrestling lives on in the minds and hearts of fans and he is more than deserving of a spot in the Hall of Fame for it.
Bonus 2: Paul Heyman
It was announced on WWE After the Bell that former WCW Vice President and RAW General Manager Eric Bischoff will take a rightful place in the Hall of Fame, so it stands to reason that Paul Heyman, former ECW owner and current “Special Consul” to Roman Reigns, is more than deserving of a spot in the Hall too.
As owner of ECW, he provided the wrestling world with an option outside of the norm, a, for the lack of a better word, extreme brand of wrestling which was completely different from what was being presented on WCW and the then WWF. The attitude of ECW is still felt to this day as the overwhelming chants of “we want tables” and “EC-Dub” can still be heard during an extreme rules match within any company.
Both during his time in ECW and WWE, Paul Heyman has been a memorable figure who has changed the face off the WWE with the ECW Invasion, and most notably becoming “The Advocate” for Brock Lesnar, a role he held for over a combined decade. He is genuinely one of the greatest managers of all time, being able to put over talent in incredible off the cuff promos.
His effect on the business has also been huge backstage as he has worked as both a writer and producer, a role he still holds for SmackDown to this day.
Paul Heyman’s effect on the business has undisputed and is a continuing factor in modern day WWE, and while he is not retired, an induction is without a doubt a certainty.
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