The WWE Hall of Fame ceremony takes place on Saturday, April 2 from the Philips Arena in Atlanta, GA. It is the night before WrestleMania XXVII.
This year's class features legends that graced the squared circle in the WWE and other promotions, too. Two of the legends being inducted are ones that I've followed ever since I was a kid living in Midwest City, OK watching Mid-South Wrestling which later became the UWF(Universal Wrestling Federation). My dad used to take me and my younger brother to wrestling events at the Oklahoma City Myriad to watch Mid-South/UWF events and when the NWA took them over, too. I had moved away from OK around that time, but always had fond memories of those days as a kid.
Anyway, on with those list of legends that are going to be inducted into this year's class of the WWE Hall of Fame.....
"The Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels
Inducted in by TBD
Michaels is one of the guys I was referring to in his Mid-South days. It was hard to imagine then that he would be the Showstopper and Mr. WrestleMania like he became, but he worked long and hard to get to that point. Nonetheless, you can't make mention of the best WrestleMania matches ever without putting him into the discussion. He had two classics with the Undertaker, 60-minute Iron Man match with Bret Hart, and so many more. He's as deserving as it gets for the Hall of Fame. If I was a betting man, I think that Triple H will be the one to induct him into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Legion of Doom/Road Warriors Hawk & Animal w/Paul Ellering
Inducted in by TBA
When the NWA bought out the UWF, it wasn't long after that they came to OKC on their Great American Bash tour in 1987-88. That night, a scaffold match took place with the Road Warriors w/Paul Ellering taking on the Midnight Express w/Jim Cornette. What a sight it was to see a match like this take place. I had only seen them on TV before, and they were just awesome to see in person. As their characters are based on the Mad Max films, they were the dominant tag team everybody wanted to see. That Doomsday Device finisher was literally a killer move(at least it looked that way). To me, they set the standard as the dominant and most recognizable tag team in wrestling history. Ellering had feuds with likes of Jesse Ventura and Jerry Lawler before severely injuring his knee forcing his retirement from wrestling. He became the manager of LOD both in and out of the ring managing their bookings as well as expenses, too. All three finally get their long-awaited induction in Atlanta this year. As the late Road Warrior Hawk always said, "OH! WHAT A RUSH!!!!"
"Hacksaw" Jim Duggan
Inducted in by the "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase
Duggan is the other Mid-South great that I saw in person in those days. It's only fitting that DiBiase is inducting him since he was a long-time great that I did see many times in the 80s as a kid long before he became the Million Dollar Man. Duggan was the proud American that carried a 2x4 and was the last North American Champion in Mid-South Wrestling before they became the UWF, too. He used to refer to others in promos as "tough guy". I vividly remember watching the first ever Royal Rumble match in which he won after eliminating the One Man Gang(another long-time in-ring enemy from the Mid-South). He had a feud with Andre The Giant along the way and later won titles in WCW. He's still active even after being in the business for over 30 years and is kidney cancer survivor, too. I'm glad he's finally getting in.
Inducted in by TBA
The debate still lingers after all these years if Sunny was indeed the first true diva. I will say that every male fan of wrestling wanted her after she became AOL's most downloaded woman back in the mid-1990s after appearing on the cover of the WWE Raw magazine(pictured above) during a trying time in the promotion. Oh yeah, that cover didn't take very long to sellout since she the pinup girl in the WWF/E at the time. The Last I remember her in WWF/E was when she was managing LOD before she left for ECW and later WCW. The term diva wasn't applied to wrestling females until she came along even though she was mainly used as manager in the WWE. She did happen to win Manager of the Year by Pro Wrestling Illustrated in 1996 as well. Being she was the definition of a sexy diva which is now the common term for female talent in the WWE, she's on her way to the WWE Hall of Fame.
"Bullet" Bob Armstrong
Inducted in by the Armstrong family
For those fans that weren't alive to see Bob in action, then it's very likely you've probably seen one or more of his four sons: Brad, Brian, Scott, and Steve. I did see Brad quite a bit in Mid-South who also wrestled for NWA, WCW, and other indy circuits, too. Brian was more known as the Road Dawg of the famed D-Generation X, Scott is now a WWE referee, and Steve was once a tag team champion in WCW. Anyway, Bob has been associated with the wrestling industry since 1962(No, not a misprint) after he was previously a firefighter in Georgia. Bob was popular in throughout Georgia and eventually trained all of his sons to be wrestlers. It's very fitting that Atlanta is the site for the induction of "Bullet" Bob to the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2011!
Abdullah the Butcher
Inducted in by Terry Funk
I did see Abdullah the Butcher one time when he was with WCW. You knew when you saw him because of the deep scars on his forehead(I'll never forget that) to go along with his massive 400-pound frame. Nonetheless, his matches were always brutal and involved tactics of cheating since he used a fork on his opponents. He and Terry Funk had an intense, brutal feud in Japan that caught the attention of their fans. Their matches were said to have been exceptional to all that watched. Abdullah debuted in wrestling in 1958 at age 15, so he's been associated with the business for over 50 years as well as held many international and regional titles in his career. His long tenure in the business and brutal tactics is plenty enough reasons why he "butchered" his way into the WWE Hall of Fame!
Inducted in by Bob Barker
Carey is this year's celebrity wing pick after making an appearance at the 2001 Royal Rumble when he eliminated himself when Kane entered the match. The comedian is now known as the person that replaced the legendary Bob Barker on The Price is Right show, and that's who will be inducting him in this year.
These Hall of Famers always remind me of the days I watched wrestling as a kid. This class has a little something for everyone. Whether you like old school or are a fan of recent generations, there is someone in this class you followed if you watch wrestling. The WWE should have a facility for the Hall of Fame, and I think it would be very well received by fans. I'm glad that I'll be there to see these wrestling legends being inducted in Atlanta this year. Congrats to the 2011 inductees of the WWE Hall of Fame!