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Is it Time to Put the WWE Hall of Fame to Bed?

With the recent news of Macho Man Randy Savage’s long overdue induction into the WWE Hall of Fame, it’s time for the annual round of speculation and suggestions to begin anew.

Year after year, we bemoan the overlooking of our favorites, debate the reasoning behind those inductions that come way out of leftfield (Koko B. Ware, anyone?), and tread the proverbial rumor mill with an enthusiasm once only reserved for discussing The Streak.

Just like The Undertaker’s legendary ‘Mania run, however, it may be time to put the annual celebration of times gone by to bed.

At least for the time being.

Generating an interest like little else offered by the current product, the Hall of Fame ceremony has been a guaranteed money maker for Vince McMahon’s sports entertainment empire since it was revived from its eight-year hiatus back in 2004.

Eleven years and some 120 inductees later, you have to wonder how much longer WWE can continue to ride their illustrious history to the bank.

Hall of Fame Worthy Candidates
From the top of the head, this fan can only think of a handful of veterans who are -or at least should be- future certs for induction:

Owen Hart, Davey Boy Smith, The Undertaker, Kane, Big Show, Triple H, Kevin Nash, The Rock, Rick Rude, Goldust, and Vincent K. McMahon himself. There’s a strong argument too, for giving the nod to Sting, Lex Luger, and Paul Heyman.

Whilst we’re at it, why not recognize the achievements of Heyman’s biggest success, ECW, and award those Hall of Fame rings to the likes of Raven, RVD, Tommy Dreamer and The Sandman.

With a little more thought, you’ll probably come up with a few more, though probably not very many. For now though, we’ll concentrate on that core group of eighteen individuals.
Doing the math, let’s consider that WWE tends to make between six and seven inductions per year. That gives us what, three years of top-level, well deserved inductions before we really start scraping the barrel, something the company can ill-afford to do if the Hall of Fame is to keep on wringing a few extra dollars from fans pockets.

Legitimacy
Sure, the whole thing is a gimmick, an event just like Wrestlemania, or at least a B-level pay per view, but still, its success depends on an air of legitimacy and a certain caliber of recognizable, deserving names as its headline attraction.

Lose that, and you ultimately start to lose the interest of the very fans you’re trying to attract. After all, would you buy a ticket to an event where the biggest draw is a posthumous recognition for Nelson Fraizer’s brief main event run back in 1995? Not that many would begrudge an induction for the long-tenured grappler, but that alone is hardly likely to inspire an influx of fans.

What’s the solution then? Simply convince Martha Hart to let Owen be inducted, blast through the aforementioned eighteen men above, and then call time on the whole thing forever more?

Not necessarily.

Filling the void
As we’ve already discussed, there’s money at stake here. It would be foolish just to ignore the cash-making potential of a ceremony-like event for the rest of time.

Rather, this writer is thinking long term. Avoid burnout and dwindling interest by putting the thing back on hiatus for a couple of years.

Those of us still desperate to see the likes of Davey Boy Smith welcomed into the Hall of Fame will still likely feel the same way six or seven years down the line. At that point, bring the ceremony back as an annual event, start working through those who should have been included a long time ago, and by the time the company has exhausted that list, the likes of Cena, Orton and their contemporaries can all receive their inevitable inductions without WWE looking like they’re running out of options.

What about the mean time? What would fill the gaping void in Wrestlemania Weekend left behind in the ceremony’s absence? Well, there’s always the option of upgrading the Slammy Awards from TV-filler to legit event. If anybody could make that work, it’s the sports entertainment empire that is World Wrestling Entertainment. Get fans excited, get the red carpet out, heck, go the whole hog and get Todd Pettengill back as MC. Anything’s got to be better than the diminishing returns the WWE are likely to see once worthy candidates for the Hall of Fame start becoming as rare as a Zack Ryder Raw appearance.

That’s just one suggestion though. For now, it’s time to start debating the names who’ll join the Macho Man in the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2015.

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Chris Skoyles

Chris Skoyles is a writer and wrestling fan from Wigan, England. Currently on a mission to watch and review every WWE ppv from Wrestlemania 1-30, you can read those reviews on the Retro Pro Wrestling blog, tweet him @Retropwrestling, or visit his personal site at www.chrisskoyles.com

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