With WWE’s announcement that Goldberg will be the centerpiece of the upcoming Hall of Fame class, it has me wondering who else will be part of the pomp and circumstance in New Orleans in April.
It also has me wondering who will be left off the list of wrestlers who are worthy of an invitation to the hallowed fraternity, and those who have been deserving for years but aren’t even close to seeing their name inscribed in immortality.
Goldberg’s last foray in the ring solidified his place in WWE lore. He is certainly a worthy member. Now that his name has been announced, I ask you fans – Who’s Next?
See what I did there?
As Ryan Dilbert of Bleacher Report wrote last year, “It will hard for the WWE Hall of Fame 2018 class to be as stacked as this year’s, but there are still some impressive inductees waiting for their name to be called.”
It is possible this year’s class will leave us in awe. Dilbert offered names like Batista, Rob Van Dam and Vader as possible inductees. I’d hold off on the first two, while Vader is most definitely a worthy candidate.
One thing I do know, if Goldberg is the headliner of this class, then The Undertaker will have to wait another year to hear his name called. It’s also hard to understand WWE not putting the Dead Man’s name in front of all others given Edge was inducted immediately after announcing his retirement.
That’s politics, my friends. Plain and simple.
Here are few thoughts on who I think should be part of the rest of this class.
Will Demolition finally make the list?
Ax, Smash and Crush were three-time WWF World Tag Team Champions, and hold the record for the most combined days as reigning champions with that championship.
Their first reign with the WWF World Tag Team Championship is the second longest reign with any tag team championship in WWE history (behind The New Day’s reign with the WWE (Raw) Tag Team Championship) and is the longest reign on record for that specific championship (which has been defunct since 2010).
Their lack of attention in the Hall of Fame scene is a pure shame.
Sable deserves a nod
Sable replaced Miss Elizabeth as the reigning beauty of women’s wrestling. Her knockout looks, her scandalous storylines and a spread in Playboy (I think I still have it somewhere) are enough reasons for a place in the Hall of Fame.
Also, given that her husband Brock Lesnar is part of the company’s main event picture, we have all waited to see if the blond goddess would become part of a wrestling storyline.
Ray Stevens is still on the outside looking in
As Mike Mooneyham wrote in 2015, WWE missed an opportunity to induct Stevens with WrestleMania in the late wrestler’s back yard.
“Stevens, who died in 1996 at the age of 60, left an indelible mark on the profession during a career that spanned five decades,” Mooneyham wrote.
“But nowhere was his presence felt more than in the San Francisco territory, where he earned a well-deserved reputation for being one of wrestling’s biggest draws and arguably its finest worker during the 1960s.”
Where is Uncle Ivan?
Ivan Koloff may not have had a long run as WWWF Champion, but he will forever be known as the man who defeated Bruno Sammartino and was the bridge between Sammartino and Pedro Morales.
Koloff does not get the recognition he deserves as a singles and tag team wrestler in the NWA. Koloff found success winning many regional tag team and singles titles in the Georgia, Florida, and Mid-Atlantic territories. In February 1981, he teamed with Ray Stevens to defeat Paul Jones and Masked Superstar to capture the NWA World Tag Team Championship.
He was a four-time NWA World Tag Team Champion, later winning the belts with Don Kernodle and twice with his “nephew” (kayfabe), Nikita Koloff as “The Russians”.
OK, I also stole this one from Dilbert. Lauper deserves a place in the Hall of Fame’s celebrity wing. Her connection to WWF and the beginning of the “Rock and Wrestling Connection” are what helped to make Vince McMahon the wrestling genius he has been for decades.
She also helped usher in the concept of WrestleMania and was part of the surge of support for Hulkamania in the early 1980s.
“Lauper was involved in an onscreen feud with Hall of Fame manager Captain Lou Albano. She served as a valet for Wendi Richter at the first WrestleMania,” Dilbert wrote.
I thought Vader would be part of last year’s class. I also know there was a groundswell of support for the former WCW World Champion once it was learned his health was in decline.
Leon White was a successful football player turned professional wrestler. His success internationally led to a solid run in Atlanta, followed by a move to McMahon’s circus. In his career, he won the IWGP Heavyweight Championship and the WCW World Heavyweight Championship three times each, the Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship twice, and the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship once.
Vader was inducted into the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame in 1996.