• By Anthony Cox, Kayfabe Kickout Senior Columnist

The Hall of Fame Game

Updated: Aug 16, 2020

Photo: WWE.com

Let me start off by saying this, in some ways I find a pro wrestling Hall of Fame to be silly. I mean, what do you even measure it on? Who won the most fake wrestling matches? Who did the promoter let hold the title longest? With that being said, it doesn’t mean that I am not always interested to see who the WWE inducts into their Hall of Fame every year. I think of it as more of a Walk of Fame than a Hall of Fame. I look at the WWE Hall of Fame for what it is, and that is a marketing tool. It’s probably one of the most important marketing tools that company has. It’s a way for Vince McMahon to have another event that will sell additional tickets during WrestleMania weekend. It’s just another one of WWE’s many revenue streams that have allowed them to always make a profit even when the in-ring product leaves a lot to be desired. As the great Tupac Shakur once said “I ain’t mad at cha”, and Vince I am talking to you with that statement. The goal for any business is to make money, and Vince knows this. This is why he is a billionaire, and when you are a billionaire at the top of the wrestling food chain, it also allows you to use that same marketing tool to serve agendas. Look at how long it took Randy Savage to be inducted! It took him dying to be inducted all because of some past beef, and an alleged incident. We’ve all heard the stories on what the deal was here, so I won’t rehash it here. How come Demolition, who had the WWF World Tag Team titles for 478 days, hasn’t been inducted? What about the longest reigning IC champion of all time in The Honky Tonk Man? Did Vince catch these men having a four way with Linda or something? The WWE Hall of Fame includes a jobber, a limo driver, Donald Trump, and Drew Carey. WWE has even inducted people like Verne Gagne and Bill Watts who never even worked for WWE. Then again, I guess when you own all their footage of their wrestling product, giving them some shine in your Hall of Fame and to be recognized for their contributions to the business is the least you can do. Even if it is just a reminder of who won by a megalomaniac like Vince McMahon, I guess you just take your money and your plaque, and roll with it. This leads me to the lecture at hand with Sting being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Let me start off by saying that I am very happy that Sting is going in. Sting was one of my favorite wrestlers growing up. It’s just that there is a part of me that feels like this is just another moment where Vince is letting everyone know who won. It doesn’t matter that the war with WCW ended nearly 15 years ago. Vince was able to coax Sting to come to WWE and job just so he can say that his guys defeated WCW’s last warrior. When I was just a 4 year old kid, Sting was the wrestler that introduced me to professional wrestling that was the WWF when I started watching NWA Wrestling. It was cool to see a different group of wrestlers, a different type of ring, and even at that age I recognized that it was a different product. I watched as that product morphed into WCW, and I always looked at him as the flag bearer for that company as well as their most recognizable star along with Ric Flair, Lex Luger and The Road Warriors. The biggest thing about Sting is that he doesn’t even need to be in the WWE Hall of Fame to be considered a legend. Sting is about to be the first guy inducted into the WWE who was a big star during both of wrestling’s boom periods in the 80s and the 90s, and he did it without having to work for WWE. Conversations between him and Vince had always happened, but Sting always stuck with WCW. Even after WCW closed, Sting held out making that jump to WWE. I will always wonder, what made Sting stick around in TNA all those years instead of making of jump? The things he did for that company haven’t gone unrecognized which is why Dixie Carter has him in their Hall of Fame too. I am sure it was the money and the easier work schedule that had him stave off Vince for a little longer. I mean he nearly had a match set with the Undertaker for Wrestlemania 27, and somehow it didn’t happen! Instead, Sting came in and did the job to Triple H four Wrestlemania events later. Scott Hall, in a recent interview with Sports Illustrated’s Extra Mustard, had this to say on that subject of Sting jobbing to his longtime friend: “We didn’t get anything done at the rehearsal the night before, so WrestleMania day, there were tents in the parking lot set up with rings for rehearsal. So we’re all in there again, and I’m next to Hulk on the ring apron, and Triple H is going over the match and then he goes, ‘OK, he’ll break the sledgehammer, and then I’ll hit him with the sledgehammer, and cover him, 1-2-3.’ “I looked at Hulk, and Hulk looked at me, and I was thinking, ‘Sting, what kind of lawyer do you have, bro? You’re coming in the door doing a job? You weren’t even guaranteed to go over?’ That’s Vince just reminding you who won, even if he’s going to make money the other way.” I have to agree with Razor here, and I think that is what the WWE Hall of Fame induction itself is about. Vince McMahon is making money as well as making a statement. Sting is 0-2 in WWE, and is pretty much the highest paid jobber when you think about it, all because he wasn’t a McMahon creation. Maybe Sting doesn’t care at this point. He is secure with his legacy in pro wrestling. He has wrestled all over the world, and he drawn money with the likes of Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair. Now he gets to draw money with Vince McMahon through headlining his Hall of Fame this year, and the money that is going to be made with his likeness and trademarks through books, DVDs, shirts, and all other types of merchandise that WWE can come up with. In a way, it’s a win-win situation. One situation motivated by ego and the other by money. If Sting is good with it, then we should all be good with it. Sting went through teaming up with Robocop in WCW and acting like the Joker in TNA to have this Hall of Fame moment. Flair will induct, and we will be all smiles as we remember the career of a true icon in professional wrestling. Quick thoughts: If you want an example of true Hall of Fames that exist out there for pro wrestling, check out the The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum located in Wichita Falls, Texas, Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame, or the George Tragos & Lou Thez Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame that is located in Waterloo, Iowa. These Hall of Fames only have the best of the best in there, and are voted on by panels of wrestlers and journalists and not by politics or agendas. You won’t find Johnny Rodz or Koko B, Ware in these Hall of Fames! I will even provide some links here:

http://www.pwhf.org/ http://www.pwi-online.com/pages/hallofame.html http://nwhof.org/pro-class/ Another thing: There are two celebrities who aren’t in the WWE Hall of Fame who deserve it more than Drew Carey! Those people are Phil Collins and Tiny “Zeus” Lister! Phil Collins had the theme song for the first WrestleMania with Easy Lover. And his hit song “Take Me Home” was the closing theme song for Saturday Night’s Main Event. As for Zeus, we all know that No Holds Barred didn’t do well in the box office. In spite of this, he still got to main event multiple WWE events opposite Hulk Hogan and he was able to get a ton more acting jobs because of it. This includes his iconic role as Deebo in the 1995 classic “Friday”. Make it happen, Vince! As always you can hit me up on Twitter @whosantcox with your thoughts and opinions, and I am also now goofing off on Instagram under the username “UltraGoldenAnt”. I’ll catch you next time, wrestling fans!

*Kayfabe Kickout (2012 - 2020) has since rebranded in July, 2020 and is now known as 'Pro Wrestling Slam!'

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