On Saturday Night the WWE held their annual Hall of Fame Ceremony. The 2007 Hall of Fame class included Dusty Rhodes, “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig, Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Mr. Fuji, The Sheik, the Wild Samoans and Nick Bockwinkel.
The main event for the 2007 Hall of Fame was the induction of “the American Dream” Dusty Rhodes. Dusty Rhodes was introduced by his two sons and reminisced about his days of wrestling one hour time limit draws every night with legends like Ric Flair, Harley Race and Ricky “the Dragon” Steamboat. Dusty even broke out a black handkerchief with yellow polka dots and shimmied on the stage with one of the divas.
Monday Night Raw’s current announce team, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler were also inducted into the WWE 2007 Hall of Fame. The two announcers were inducted by two equally iconic, but extremely different celebrities, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and William Shatner. Jim Ross has been the voice of Monday Night Raw for over a decade and to many is the greatest wrestling announcer of all time. A lot of people would say that Jerry Lawler is not in the same league, and he’s not, but I think many have forgotten that when Lawler first starting announcing for the WWE he was actually a really good heel commentator. Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler were there along with us for pretty much every big moment, from Steve Austin fighting with Mike Tyson, to Mick Foley falling of the Hell in the Cell, to John Cena winning the World Heavyweight Title.
Unfortunately, just like last year, one of the WWE greats couldn’t be on hand. Like Eddie Guerrero last year, “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig was taken from the wrestling world way too soon when he passed away in 2003. Curt Hennig was one of the best mat wrestlers of his generation and his charisma made for one of the best characters in the 80’s. Curt Hennig was a great Intercontinental Champion for the WWE and will go down in history as one of the greatest wrestlers to not win the WWE World Title.
Also inducted was Nick Bockwinkel, a six time AWA World Heavyweight champion. Mr. Fuji was also inducted to the WWE Hall of Fame. Mr. Fuji won several titles in the NWA, had three World Tag Team Championship reigns in the WWWF and then continued his career as a manager and managed some very successful wrestlers like Jeff Jarrett, the Orient Express, Yokozuna, Demolition, and the late Owen Hart.
The Original Sheik would be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by his nephew Sabu and one of his trainees Rob Van Dam. It was very fitting for Sabu and Rob Van Dam to induct the Original Sheik, not just because they knew him, but because the Sheik was one of the originators of the hardcore wrestling style. Without the Sheik ECW probably never would’ve existed and Sabu and Rob Van Dam may have never been discovered.
Finally, the Wild Samoans were the final members of the 2007 WWE Hall of Fame class. The Wild Samoans have held twenty-two Tag Team championships including titles in AWA, GCCW, IWA, Mid-South Wrestling, NWA, Stampede Wrestling and the WWF. The Wild Samoans are part of the legendary Samoan wrestling fan and are related to other superstars such as Rikishi, Rosey, Umaga and Yokozuna. Though they are not related by blood, they also consider the Maivia family a part of their own which includes Peter Maivia, Rocky Johnson and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Every year the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony is the precursor to Wrestlemania. Wrestlemania 23 will be highlighted by Shawn Michaels and John Cena wrestling for the WWE Title, Batista and Undertaker wrestling for the World Heavyweight Championship and a match that will end with either Vince McMahon or Donald Trump shaving their head.
This was the fourth year the WWE held their Hall of Fame ceremony the night before Wrestlemania. Some past winners include Bret “The Hitman” Hart, Eddie Guerrero, Hulk Hogan, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, Bobby “the Brain” Heenan, “Mean” Gene Okerlund, Jesse “the Body” Ventura, Junkyard Dog, Sgt Slaughter, “Superstar” Billy Graham, Harley Race, Nikolai Volkoff and the Iron Sheik.