Back in 1993, it was announced that the WWE would be creating their own Hall of Fame, with Andre the Giant being the sole member of the first class. Over the next three years, many new members were added before the Hall of Fame went on hiatus. Ever since 2004, the Hall of Fame has been back in action, introducing a new class of professional wrestlers, managers and announcers.
Even though there isn’t a physical WWE Hall of Fame that we can visit, there are still a lot of arguments about the 164 people that have been inducted overall. There are some no-brainers that have been inducted like “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, but also many mid-carders that made us scratch our heads.
Today we highlight some of the WWE Hall of Fame members that you might have forgotten about, since they weren’t headliners and others that flat out had no business making the Hall of Fame in the first place. The list will likely only get longer in the coming years as more surprising entrants are inducted and those that are already in start to be forgotten.
15 Forgot: Big Boss Man
Ray Traylor, AKA The Big Boss Man made his debut with the WWE back in 1988, and was never really part of the main event scene during his first stint. After leaving in 1993 to head to Japan and then WCW (including being a part of the Dungeon of Doom), Boss Man would return to WWE in 1998. He was part of the Attitude Era including one of the many members of the Corporation.
Despite having so many years in professional wrestling, Boss Man wasn’t top billing in just about every event he was in. His list of titles included just one World Tag Team Championship and four Hardcore Championship reigns. Boss Man unfortunately passed away in 2004, so you might have forgotten about him when he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2016.
14 Undeserving: “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan
It’s fun yelling “HOOOO!” once in awhile, but after that, the fun of watching “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan sort of went by the wayside. Never touted for his in-ring ability Duggan was essentially an entrant into the WWE Hall of Fame from a longevity standpoint alone, and winning the first ever Royal Rumble Match in 1988.
The Royal Rumble win was really the only notable accomplishment for Duggan during his time with WWE, as he never held gold with the company. In his long stint with WCW, he still only had one reign as the World Television Champion and one as the United States Champion. The fact that he’s still working though is quite the accomplishment. Having an unintelligible catchphrase and carrying a 2x4 were the only memorable parts of Duggan’s career, really, but it was enough to get into the Hall of Fame.
13 Forgot: Tony Atlas
Younger fans likely don’t remember guys such as Tony Atlas and Rocky Johnson, who were the one-time Tag Team Champions. Most will instead remember Atlans for appearing in the past decade with WWE, returning in 2008 as part of the ECW brand. Just two years before, Atlas had been inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Atlas became a heel as a manager working with Mark Henry, and eventually wrestled.
Atlas’s stint with the WWE in the 2000s didn’t last long however, as he would be released in April 2010 and has only made a couple of random appearances since then. If you’re under 30 years old, you’re probably wondering why Atlas is a Hall of Famer because that’s how you remember him, but he had a very long and successful career before being a manager for a brief period.
12 Undeserving: Abdullah the Butcher
There’s no doubting that Abdullah the Butcher was an innovator in the “hardcore” form of professional wrestling, but he went about it the wrong way. Abdullah would often blade his own forehead to draw blood, and would cut open his opponents without them knowing that it was the same blade. It turned out that Abdullah had Hepatitis C, and was knowingly sharing the blades that could spread the disease.
Devon Nicholson once worked with Abdullah, and sued him for contracting hepatitis as a result of their bout. Nicholson ended up winning the lawsuit, and Abdullah was ordered to pay more than $2 million in damages. In terms of kayfabe, there’s no doubt that Abdullah is a Hall of Famer, but you have to consider personal actions when it comes to entrants.
11 Forgot: Jacqueline
Jacqueline was part of the reason that the Women’s Championship came back to the WWE, after her feud with Sable. Though the Attitude and Diva eras of women’s wrestling produced some more memorable names such as Sable, Trish Stratus, Lita and more, Jacqueline was a big contributor throughout her time in both WWE and eventually TNA. In 2016, she got some of the recognition she deserved with an induction into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Jacqueline’s induction was a bit overshadowed as Sting was the headliner, and The Godfather had some people questioning if he deserved to be in or not. There weren’t many that opposed Jacqueline becoming the first african-american woman to be inducted, but there also wasn’t a lot of recognition at the time as the spot light was not on her.
10 Undeserving: The Celebrity Wing
There are certain celebrities that helped the WWE get where it is today. Without the likes of Mr. T, WrestleMania wouldn’t have been as big as it was, and Mike Tyson really helped to kick off the Attitude Era. Other members of the celebrity wing in the WWE Hall of Fame aren’t nearly as worthy, however. For instance, Snoop Dogg guest hosted twice and accompanied Sasha Banks to the ring once...and that’s about it.
Even Donald Trump being in the Hall of Fame has been protested (though not for actual WWE reasons), while people like Drew Carey or William Perry never contributed much to begin with. At least legendary baseball announcer Bob Uecker was able to work multiple WrestleMania events as an interviewer, providing some hilarious moments.
9 Forgot: Junkyard Dog
Sylvester Ritter got his start with Mid-South Wrestling in the early 1980s, and immediately adopted the gimmick of Junkyard Dog, the boisterous and charismatic person that walked out to the ring wearing a dog collar. JYD quickly became one of the biggest names in NWA and Mid-South Wrestling, winning multiple titles that included eight stints as the Mid-South Tag Team Champion.
JYD wouldn’t win nearly as much gold in his time with WCW or WWE, but he had a huge contribution during the territorial days, winning titles in Stampede Wrestling and the USWA. JYD unfortunately passed away in 1998 and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004. Since he didn’t spend much time at the top in national promotions, some forget that he’s actually in the WWE Hall of Fame.
8 Undeserving: The Bushwhackers
If your team has put on some of the worst matches in pro wrestling history, never won a title with WCW, WWE or ECW and was twice named by the Wrestling Observer Newsletter for being the Worst Tag Team, you wouldn’t expect to be in the Hall of Fame. The Bushwhackers were mostly a comedy gimmick team that jobbed out regularly, but were able to get into the Hall of Fame on the heels of working together for nearly 50 years.
When they were inducted in 2015, not many thought that the Hall of Fame had that much prestige to begin with, but whatever was left was gone when the Bushwhackers were inducted. They were fun in small doses, but probably not worthy of being called Hall of Famers in the long run.
7 Forgot: Antonio Inoki
Many young fans only know the name Antonio Inoki for being the founder of New Japan Pro Wrestling; the promotion that has always been popular in Japan and is now getting recognition around the world. What you might not know is that Inoki actually spent time with the WWE, and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2010.
Not only did Inoki wrestle in the WWE, but he also won a few titles. Two of his title reigns were as the WWWF World Martial Arts Heavyweight Championship, a title that obviously doesn’t exist these days. Inoki even beat Bob Backlund for the WWF Heavyweight Championship, but the company doesn’t recognize his very short reign as an official one, vacating it from him on the next day.
6 Undeserving: Jimmy Snuka
Innovator? Sure. Murderer? Possibly. “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka had some of the most memorable matches during the WWE’s Golden Age, but he should have been removed from the WWE Hall of Fame when he was charged with murdering his girlfriend, Nancy Argentino. All signs of the case pointed to Snuka committing the crime, but the charges were dropped for the reason that he couldn’t stand trial because of his dementia.
The incident happened long before then, however, dating all the way back to 1983. Snuka’s page was removed from the WWE Hall of Fame website, but he hasn’t been completely removed from the Hall of Fame itself. Now that he’s passed away (January 15, 2017), it’s doubtful that the WWE will permanently remove him, but they should.
5 Forgot: Mr. Fuji
In August 2016, news of Mr. Fuji’s death didn’t seem to make many waves with younger wrestling fans, but he was one of the most influential managers in pro wrestling history. Fuji spent much of his time with WWE, managing the likes of George “The Animal” Steele, Yokozuna and much more. Because of his contributions, Mr. Fuji was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2007.
Many forget that Mr. Fuji was ever inducted because it’s been more than a decade since his enshrinement, and he had retired from pro wrestling altogether in the mid 1990s. He didn’t retire at a young age, either, as Mr. Fuji was already in his 60s. Thankfully he lived a long life, passing away at the age of 82.
4 Undeserving: Sunny
If you ask any pro wrestling fan to name the first thing they know about Sunny (or Tammy Lynn Sytch), they would probably tell you that she was appeared nude on the internet and even had an "intimate" video made in 2016. When it comes to her pro wrestling career though, not many could tell you that much. She spent time with all three of the major promotions of the 1990s (WWE, ECW and WCW), and was mostly remembered for being a manager, winning the 1996 Pro Wrestling Illustrated Manager of the Year Award.
Outside of that, she didn’t have much in-ring success, and her only wrestling title was winning the Women Superstars Uncensored Championship...whatever that is. In the WWE, her honors included two Slammy Awards. One was for "Minds Behind the Mayhem" and the other… "Best Buns."
3 Forgot: Koko B. Ware
Those that even remember the fact that Koko B. Ware was in the WWE Hall of Fame have said that he doesn’t deserve to be there. That’s because Ware was mostly remembered as a jobber whose gimmick was wearing bright colours and bringing his bird Frankie to the ring. Before becoming a jobber, Ware had some solid success in the mid-card, but never won a title while with WWE.
Ware was a big name in the territories during his prime however, as he racked up more than a dozen titles with the Continental Wrestling Association and a trio of titles with the United States Wrestling Association. Interestingly enough, Ware has still been wrestling, and even had a match over the summer of 2017, meaning that the 60 year old Hall of Famer isn’t quite done with his wrestling career.
2 Undeserving: Cowboy Bob Orton
Not many people can say that they got into a Hall of Fame on the heels of their son’s success but that’s what “Cowboy” Bob Orton has done. Orton is the second of a three-generation succession of professional wrestlers, but he never achieved the height of fame that his son Randy Orton has. Wrestling with NWA, WWE, WCW and All Japan, Orton didn’t win any titles with the world’s biggest promotion, and there aren’t many “must-see” matches that he’s had.
Orton was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005, and some think that it was to promote Randy Orton’s legacy early in his career. When you say that he’s the son of a WWE Hall of Famer, it gives him more prestige. In the end it seemed to work, as Randy is still in the main event scene with WWE.
1 Forgot: Greg “The Hammer” Valentine
There were a lot of huge names in the WWE during the 1980s such as Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Andre the Giant and many more. Far down the list of favorites from the decade, you’d find Greg “The Hammer” Valentine. While he wasn’t truly a main eventer like some of those other names listed, Valentine played an important role at the time, having one reign with the Intercontinental Championship and Tag Team Championship (with Brutus Beefcake).
For the most part, though, Valentine was relegated to the mid-card, and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004. Valentine proved that you don’t have to be on the marquee to be considered a legend, as he held more than three dozen titles in professional wrestling altogether, even if youngsters don’t know his name.