As we here at GonzoGeek continue to prepare for the WWE’s invasion of Houston in April, our attention turns today toward the annual Hall of Fame induction.
The WWE established the Hall of Fame as a way of recognizing contributions of those who have gone before. That can mean a wrestler like Ric Flair or a media celebrity like Pete Rose.
Now, when Stephe and I attended Wrestlemania XVII, we noticed that, by and large, the Texas wrestlers won their matches. Be that coincidence or not, it happened. That gave me an idea.
Given that this is the Golden Anniversary of Wrestlemania and the event is being held in Texas, it seems like a good year to get some Texas icons in the hall.
That being said, here are my humble suggestions for induction into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2009.
“STONE COLD” STEVE AUSTIN
This one is a no brainer. At his peak, Austin transcended wrestling to become a genuine media sensation. With the possible exception of Hulk Hogan, there has never been a bigger crossover star in the world of sports entertainment. His feud with Mr. McMahon ushered in the “Attitude” era and gave the WWE the upper hand on WCW during the Monday Night Wars. For those contributions alone, the Texas Rattlesnake goes in. And as a bonus, have Vince McMahon induct him. Gimme a Hell Yeah!
“MILLION DOLLAR MAN” TED DIBIASE
Arguably the greatest heel of his era, Dibiase should be in. His Million Dollar Man character was heat personified. What he couldn’t win, he’d buy. He denigrated the fans, Virgil and any superstars who crossed him. What gets forgotten is that prior to joining the WWE, Dibiase was a huge star in Georgia and the Mid-South/UWF. His turn on the Junkyard Dog still resonates today. His team with “Dr. Death” Steve Williams was amazing. Let his son induct him.
THE FUNK BROTHERS
Sure, their mid-80s run in the WWE was lackluster. That doesn’t change the fact that these two guys belong in the Hall. Both are former NWA World champions. Terry has gone on to become a hardcore icon. Dory has run the Funkin’ Conservatory for years, training another generation of superstars. These second generation wrestlers are the template for old school toughness. Induct them and have Dusty Rhodes do the honors.
THE VON ERICH FAMILY
The first family of Texas wrestling deserves to be in as a unit. For a time in the 80s, their WCCW eclipsed every other promotion under the sun. They changed production values, the way the matches were shot and even how the we got to know the wrestlers. If tragedy had not struck this family again and again, who knows how high they might have climbed. Now, with WCCW a part of WWE 24/7, the time has come to recognize the contributions of the Von Erichs. Have longtime rival, Michael “PS” Hayes induct them and exchange a heartfelt hug with Kevin.
THE FABULOUS FREEBIRDS
If you’re inducting the Von Erichs, the Freebirds have to go in right behind them. Every hero needs a villain and the Freebirds were those villains. Through memorable stints in Georgia, WCCW and the UWF/Mid-South, they laid the groundwork for all the heel stables that were to follow. They also introduced entrance music to wrestling. When the opening chords of “Freebird” played you knew trouble was on the way. Then they took it a step further when they wrote and recorded their own theme song “Badstreet USA.” Have Kevin Von Erich return the favor and induct the ‘Birds with Hayes, Roberts and Terry Ray Gordy(Jesse) accept.
“RAVISHING” RICK RUDE
“Feeling good and looking better. He made a burlap shirt look like a cashmere sweater.” This guy was a star and a champion everywhere he went. He was the first WCCW World champion. He was NWA champion. He was WWE Intercontinental champion. He held tag titles with Manny Fernandez. He was part of DX AND the NwO. Who else can claim that? Nobody. His opening insults to each and every crowd garnered boos from coast to coast. A classic heel who deserves to be in the hall. Let his longtime manager, Percival Pringle III (Paul Bearer) induct him.
There you have it, my six nominations for the WWE Hall of Fame in April 2009. Its hard to argue with any of them, but you’re welcome to do so if you like.
The actual nominees are expected to be announced in January. When they are we’ll let you know who they are.