The WWE Hall of Fame honors the very best in Sports Entertainment history, or at least that’s what the heads of WWE say each year during the Hall of Fame inductions. However, there are many worthy former professional wrestling stars that have yet to be inducted but deserve to be. At the same time, there are quite a few inductees who some would say do not deserve to be mentioned as Hall of Famers. While it is true that Hall of Fame inductions fall on the whim of Vince McMahon, there have been some inductions that do not make sense and some omissions that make even less sense.
The Rock is not in because the company has not seen fit to put him in yet, but he is not on this list because there is no one who is in to compare The Rock to. Each of the omissions has had a career comparable to someone else that has been inducted, which makes it even stranger that these people have not yet been inducted. That said, there are 8 wrestlers who should be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame because of 8 wrestlers who are already in but probably shouldn’t be.
16 Should Be In: Lawrence Taylor
Lawrence Taylor was a Hall of Fame professional football player. He played thirteen years in the National Football League and was one of the fiercest linebackers to ever play the game. During his career, he helped the New York Giants win the Super Bowl on two occasions and even was the MVP of the entire league.
After Lawrence Taylor retired from professional football in 1993, he would venture into the world of professional wrestling, by competing in a match against Bam Bam Bigelow (another one who should be in) at WrestleMania XI. What makes this appearance special is the fact that it gave Taylor two accolades that no member of the Celebrity wing of the WWE Hall has accomplished. The match allowed Taylor to main event a WrestleMania and his pinfall victory over Bigelow, were he inducted, would make him the only member of the Celebrity wing with a victory in a singles match.
15 Should Not Be In: William “The Refrigerator” Perry
“The Fridge” was an iconic character, but was less of a wrestler than he was a football player and he was only an average football player. His football claim to fame was scoring a touchdown in the Super Bowl in place of perhaps the greatest running back in the history of the game, Walter Payton. However, just as singing the last verse of “The Super Bowl Shuffle” does not get one placed in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, lasting six minutes in a battle royal at WrestleMania 2, before getting eliminated by Big John Studd, should not get one inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, but it did. Following Perry’s entrance in the battle royal, he would never be seen by WWE fans again, until his Hall of Fame induction. As this would be his only WWE appearance, seemingly, Perry did not do enough to merit induction whereas L.T. should already be in.
14 Should Be In: Kamala
Kamala was a character. He was a 300-pound man whose most memorable attribute was the fact that he would show up to the ring with his face and body painted, and he would slap his stomach like a hungry savage, which was what the gimmick was supposed to portray. He was not someone who was ever going to be World Champion, but he was a character. He was someone the company could roll out in a comedy sketch or if they needed a fearsome monster for a baby face to vanquish. He was a good worker and his matches were believable, whether he won or lost.
Kamala was not a top guy, but he main-evented against Andre the Giant, Hulk Hogan and The Undertaker during his career. He appeared in the first ever televised casket match and his career would seem to have been very similar to George “The Animal” Steele’s, and Steele is in the HOF.
13 Should Not Be In: Koko B. Ware
Koko was a character. Koko was a very athletic performer who could be a serious or comedy baby face, but not much else. Koko was never close to championship gold and that may have had a lot to do with the fact that he was a smaller wrestler during the time when WWE was the land of the giants. On the other hand, Koko was one of the first African-American wrestlers in WWE whose entrance consisted of the man singing and dancing his way to the ring while never really getting pushed beyond lower mid-card or enhancement level.
Koko was known more for his colorful ring attire and for the Dennis Rodman-like hair colors. However, despite a forgettable career that was made bigger due to the presence of a bird, Koko was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Koko being in the Hall makes one wonder why Kamala is not.
12 Should Be In: “The Mountie” Jacques Rougeau
In terms of championship reigns, Jacques Rougeau is a person who belongs in the WWE Hall of Fame solely based on his career. Rougeau has three tag title reigns and one Intercontinental title reign to his credit. Despite the fact that his IC title reign lasted only two days, the record books show that he defeated Bret Hart for the title before losing it to Roddy Piper, giving Piper his only title run in WWE. Outside of WWE, Jacques Rougeau has the distinction of being one of only a handful of professional wrestlers who were able to score a clean pinfall victory over Hulk Hogan after the creation of Hulkamania.
In total, Rougeau’s anti-American team with his brother Raymond, his character of The Mountie, and his Quebecers team with Carl Ouellet were all memorable characters in WWE history and should have led to him being inducted into the WWE HOF.
11 Should Not Be In: The Big Boss Man
While the Canadian policeman should be in the WWE Hall of Fame, the American policeman/prison guard should probably not be. Ray Traylor, who played the Big Boss Man, was a great performer and was a better than average in-ring performer. Traylor was a big man, but he moved around the ring like a much smaller man. He too played a part in some main event feuds, but his career never reached the point where he would have been considered one of the best ever and his time in WCW did little to help his cause, as he was never more than a mid-card performer there.
Traylor did, however, have one tag title reign and four reigns with the Hardcore title. His four reigns all came before the 24-7 era of the title began and he even defeated Mick Foley to become the first wrestler to actually win the title in a match. However, since the Hardcore title is the best that he was able to do; his credentials do not seem as HOF worthy as Rougeau’s does.
10 Should Be In: Val Venis
Val Venis’ character was that of an adult film star and most of his story lines centered on him being an adult film star, on his sexual prowess or on the size of his genitalia. Val Venis was one of the performers who helped to give The Attitude Era its identity because it was clear that every time Val was on the screen, whether in a match, during an interview or in a backstage segment, sexual innuendo would follow.
His conversion to Right to Censor and his work as Chief Sean Morely, the assistant to Eric Bischoff, showed Sean Morely’s range as a performer and his two IC Title reigns, along with his European Title run, showed that he could be trusted with important titles. Aside from the title runs, his impact on the most fondly remembered era in WWE history should be enough to get him inducted into the Hall.
9 Should Not Be In: The Godfather
This one is difficult because Charles Wright was inducted in to the WWE Hall of Fame as “The Godfather” and not for his entire career, or even for his entire WWE run. If the company had included his work as The Soultaker in USWA, as Papa Shango, Kama, and his time with The Nation of Domination and Right to Censor, then Wright’s WWE run might have been Hall-worthy. However, he was inducted as The Godfather and The Godfather gimmick was more about the ladies and Jerry Lawler’s adolescent rantings than about the man and his work in the ring. Not that his ring work was bad, because Wright was a credible performer, but his character was more about the scantily clad women that accompanied him to the ring, because during The Attitude Era, sex appeal moved the ratings needle and The Godfather’s ladies provided lots of sex appeal. Unfortunately, this does not appear to be enough to merit induction into a Hall of Fame. Especially when compared to Val Venis.
8 Should Be In: Ivory
There seems to be a recurring theme developing with discussions of the members of the Right to Censor Group and their Hall of Fame credentials. Stevie Richards, the leader of the group, and his 21 Hardcore Title Reigns, probably belong in the Hall also, but this is about Ivory.
Ivory’s work with Right to Censor was great, but it was the final chapter of a WWE run that saw her win the Women’s Championship twice before the RTC gimmick and once during her time with the group, as she feuded with Chyna over the title and Chyna’s Playboy Magazine spread.
During her time in WWE, Ivory has appeared in arguably some of the worst (against Fabulous Moolah) and best (against Lita) women’s matches of The Attitude Era. However, because she was one of the pioneering women in the company, along with Trish Stratus and Lita, Ivory deserves to join them in the Hall.
7 Should Not Be In: Sunny
A Wikipedia search for the WWE Hall of Fame will show all of the inductees and their accomplishments. Under the entry for Sunny, all that is listed is “Billed as WWE’s first Diva.” There are no championship reigns listed. There is no indication of anything great that she did with regards to professional wrestling. At least Cowboy Bob Orton’s listing shows numerous regional NWA titles. Somehow though, Sunny was inducted into the Hall of Fame and was inducted before Lita, Alundra Blayze, Jacqueline and, especially Ivory, who is not yet in.
Sunny was a valet, a sometimes manager, a ring announcer and a commentator, but more importantly, because she was a beautiful woman, she was the eye candy of the early part of The Attitude Era. Unfortunately, that was all there was. As a contributor, she might deserve to be in the Hall of Fame, but even that would be a stretch.
6 Should Be In: Rick Martel
Young fans might not know who these next few people are, because they were all prominent in professional wrestling before The Attitude Era and Rick Martel is one of those people. Rick Martel was a champion in Stampede Wrestling, WCW and Georgia Championship Wrestling, all territories that can be seen on the WWE Network. Martel was also one of the longest reigning AWA World Champions in that company’s history. Aside from that, he was a three-time WWE Tag Team Champion. Those credentials alone should be enough to get him in, especially seeing as how one of his partners, Tito Santana, is already in, but his work as “The Model” should definitely put him over. People might remember the blindfold match with Jake Roberts at WrestleMania VII, but the entirety of that character’s run, combined with all of the titles that he won, should have been enough to get him into the HOF.
5 Should Not Be In: Maurice “Mad Dog” Vachon
Maurice “Mad Dog” Vachon was one of the greatest professional wrestlers who ever lived. As a five-time AWA World Heavyweight Champion, if there was a Mount Rushmore for the American Wrestling Association, “Mad Dog” Vachon would be up there alongside Verne Gagne and Nick Bockwinkel, with the fourth spot being a tossup between The Crusher, Larry Zbyszko and Rick Martel. Unfortunately, Vachon has no affiliation with WWE, except for a small stint in the '90s.
It is admirable that WWE elects to induct individuals into their Hall of Fame who were not affiliated with the company because it adds a bit of legitimacy to the Hall of Fame. “Mad Dog” Vachon belongs in any professional wrestling Hall of Fame that exists, but because this is the WWE HOF, it would seem that, even with his credentials, he probably doesn’t belong. Being the third greatest AWA star does not seem to outweigh being arguably the fourth greatest AWA star, and a memorable WWE character as well, as Martel was.
4 Should Be In: William Regal
William Regal is currently known as the on-screen commissioner and as an off-screen trainer in NXT, but prior to that, William Regal was a top wrestler and is credited with having contributed to the training of many of the top stars working in the business today. Prior to the inclusion of the US Title in WWE and with the exception of the WWE World Title, during his WWE career, Regal had held every other man’s title in WWE at least two times each and was a four-time WCW TV Champion. This alone should be enough to earn him a spot in the Hall.
However, in addition to his in-ring accolades, as a contributor, his training of wrestlers such as CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Samoa Joe and Brian Kendrick should have earned Regal a spot in the WWE Hall of Fame, as all of these men have made huge impacts in WWE and may someday be in the Hall themselves.
3 Should Not Be In: Eddie Graham
Eddie Graham was a legendary promoter in Florida and is known more for his promoting than for his wrestling career. Many wrestling legends like Dusty Rhodes, Barry Windham and Kevin Sullivan all came out of Championship Wrestling from Florida to become major stars in the business and can attribute their careers partially to lessons learned from Eddie Graham. However, though his contributions to the business are worthy, compared to someone like Regal, he seems to fall a little short. It could be said that Eddie Graham was inducted because his son Mike was working with WWE and was providing insight on DVDs of individuals and events with Florida roots. Whatever the reason, it would not be a stretch to assume that fans in 2008, the year in which he was inducted, had little clue as to who he was or what he had contributed to the business that made him HOF-worthy.
2 Should Be In: Jim Cornette
The legendary manager of The Midnight Express, the operator and booker of Smoky Mountain Wrestling, the booker and trainer at Ohio Valley Wrestling, where John Cena, Batista, Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton and Shelton Benjamin’s careers were born, and the manager, along with Mr. Fuji, of Yokozuna, the first Samoan WWE Champion, should be in the WWE Hall of Fame. Jim Cornette’s contributions to the wrestling business are quite numerous and Jim Cornette has been inducted into every wrestling-related Hall of Fame that exists, except for the WWE Hall of Fame.
In addition to his work in WWE’s developmental programs and sister companies, Cornette’s work as a color commentator should have added to his Hall of Fame resume. Besides, if the company is not interested in inducting Cornette by himself, it would be a crime not to someday induct The Midnight Express, provided the company includes all three team members who were managed by Jim Cornette.
1 Should Not Be In: Bill Watts
Bill Watts is another one, like Eddie Graham, who is known more for his work as a promoter than for his career as a wrestler. While it is true that wrestlers such as Ted DiBiase, Jake Roberts and The Junkyard Dog found fame while working for Bill Watts, as did Jim Ross and Jim Cornette, contributing to the success of others would seem to not be enough to merit a Hall of Fame induction, especially considering he was last relevant in professional wrestling in 1992, but he was inducted in 2009. Modern fans, like with Vachon and Graham, probably have no idea about Watts or his contributions. If the WWE Hall of Fame had a contributor’s wing, people like Watts and Graham could go in there, but in the main wing of the Hall, their careers would not seem to merit induction, especially when people like Jim Cornette and William Regal have been omitted.