Anyone familiar with the history of The Ultimate Warrior was eagerly anticipating what kind of whacky, crazy speech Jim Hellwig would give at the WWE Hall of Fame. Yet it was a forgotten wrestling hero whose speech is making headlines.
I thought T’s speech was not only the best celebrity induction speech I have ever heard at the WWE Hall of Fame, but one of the most genuine speeches I have ever heard from a celebrity accepting anything. I loved it for the fact that T obviously took the moment seriously, something you rarely get from celebs receiving the same honor. Ironically T is getting blasted for this whereas it was just last year that Donald Trump got criticized for not taking it seriously enough. You can’t have it both ways.
Not only should T’s speech be appreciated, but T deserves much better from the wrestling world. This may rattle some of you but the fact is this. If not for Mr. T participating in WrestleMania 1, there would probably not have been a WrestleMania, nor would pro wrestling have exploded the way it did in 1984. Every single WWE star and fan owes this man a great deal of gratitude, much better than the reaction he is receiving today.
Let’s step back for a second and think about WrestleMania without Mr. T. Would MTV have cared? Maybe they would have due to Cyndi Lauper’s involvement or maybe she would not have been enough to lure in the network? I was a fan at this time and all I remember is seeing Mr. T and Hulk Hogan on every talk show you could imagine. I can’t remember seeing Cyndi Lauper on one of them. Take Mr. T out of the equation and the media buzz disappears and you are left with just another wrestling super card.
This is not meant to be a sign of disrespect to the roster of WWE wrestlers who helped make this show possible. Roddy Piper was the greatest big time heel I have ever seen. He could have drawn money with anyone back then. Hulk Hogan had the charisma and a connection with the fans not seen since the days of Bruno Sammartino. Yet the two of them could only draw so much without a boost from popular culture. These guys needed Mr. T much more than he needed them.
Sending Kane out to cut Mr. T off was ridiculous. I know this is a television production but if there is anyone that Vince McMahon should allow to speak for as much as they want it is Mr. T. Sending Kane out there was not necessarily disrespectful. Sending Kane out with his music and turning T’s moment into some kind of a wrestling angle was disrespectful in my opinion. Especially in the midst of one of the classiest speeches ever given at a Hall of Fame induction.
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