When it comes to professional wrestlers who have died, WWE has worked to try to limit the total number of inductees into the WWE Hall of Fame for one very good reason. Putting a wrestler in when they are gone means that a family member or friend will induct them and that means less money for WWE when it comes to fans seeing former stars accept the honor.
Since those deceased wrestlers are limited, it means it is almost only WWE wrestlers that receive a posthumous induction. With that said, WWE is now letting in what they call Legacy Inductees, which is where most of these men and women will find their calling. Regardless of how they get in, here are 10 former WCW wrestlers who deserve to hear their name called for the WWE Hall of Fame.
10 PAUL JONES
While professional wrestling managers are a thing of the past in most cases, at one time they were one of the most important parts of professional wrestling. One of the most important in the old-school territory days of WCW when it was called Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling was Paul Jones, who is easily Hall of Fame worthy.
From 1982-1989, he led Paul Jones' Army, which included names like Superstar Billy Graham, Ivan Koloff, Ravishing Rick Rude, The Raging Bull Manny Fernandes, and the Powers of Pain. Before that, he was a great wrestler in his own right, holding 12 different tag team titles in Mid-Atlantic with partners like Ricky Steamboat, Wahoo McDaniel, and more. Paul Jones died in 2018 at the age of 75.
9 GENTLEMAN CHRIS ADAMS
When World Class Championship Wrestling was at the top of their game, Gentleman Chris Adams was one of their biggest stars. Originally a friend of the Von Erich boys, he later became one of their biggest enemies with Gorgeous Gino Hernandez and was a massive draw in Texas.
In 1997, Adams joined up with WCW at the age of 42 and was slowing down but was still a big name in wrestling. He was supposed to work with William Regal, but that idea was shortlived, and he went on to work as a mid-card star until leaving in 1999. Based on his days in WCCW alone, Adams is a Hall of Famer. It's also worth noting that Stone Cold often credits his success in part to Chris Adams. Adams died in 2000 at the age of 46.
8 BIG VAN VADER
Big Van Vader never hid the fact that he wanted to be part of the WWE Hall of Fame. In recent years, his health declined, and he suffered from severe heart problems due to his massive weight. However, he wouldn't quit wrestling and making appearances and finally passed away in 2018 at the age of 63.
Vader worked in WWE from 1996-1998, but they took a monster and turned him into a joke. However, he is a former WCW world champion and was one of the toughest, hard-hitting wrestlers ever to step foot in that promotion. He deserves a WWE Hall of Fame induction -- and not just a Legacy honor.
7 BAM BAM BIGELOW
Bam Bam Bigelow has experienced an honor that very few wrestlers in the world ever achieved -- he wrestled in the main event at WrestleMania. Not only did he work that main event but Bam Bam carried NFL star Lawrence Taylor to a halfway decent match. That was about the extent of Bigelow's success in WWE outside of jaw-dropping athletic moves in his matches.
Bigelow was a star in ECW as part of the Triple Threat where he was a former world champion and then wrestled in WCW as part of the Jersey Triad with Diamond Dallas Page and Kanyon where he was a two-time tag champion and hardcore champion. Despite this, he still has never made it to the WWE Hall of Fame. Bigelow died in 2007 at the age of 45.
6 DR. DEATH STEVE WILLIAMS
Dr. Death Steve Williams got his start in Mid South Wrestling where he was one of the top stars for Cowboy Bill Watts promotion. The former All-American football player and wrestler from the Oklahoma Sooners went on to win multiple titles there before it transitioned over to WCW in a buyout.
He was also a major star in Japan and had a chance for success in WWE before the Brawl for All fiasco. As for WCW, Williams was part of Kevin Sullivan's Varsity Club and then returned later with the Miracle Violence Connection with Terry Bam Bam Gordy. Williams died in 2009 after a battle with throat cancer.
5 DAVEY BOY SMITH
Davey Boy Smith made his name in WWE. He was part of the contingency that arrived from Canada with Bret "The Hitman" Hart. For Davey Boy, he arrived with Dynamite Kid as the British Bulldogs, and the two quickly became one of the most popular teams in WWE history. When Dynamite retired, Davey changed his name to the British Bulldog and enjoyed singles success.
In 1993, Davey went to WCW and was a contender to Vader's world title. After returning to WWE, he made his way back to WCW in 1997 after the Montreal Screwjob but ended up suffering an injury that eventually ended his career when he was slammed on a hidden trapdoor in the ring. Davey died in 2002 at the age of 39.
4 BRIAN PILLMAN
Before The Loose Cannon Brian Pillman arrived in WWE, he was a homegrown WCW superstar. After leaving his football career, Pillman trained under Stu Hart in Canada and returned to the U.S. in 1989 to join WCW. He took on the name Flyin' Brian and was a high-flying cruiserweight, winning that title as the first notch in his belt.
Over his career, he went on to form a heel tag team The Hollywood Blondes with Stunning Steve Austin and then developed his Loose Cannon character and became a member of the Four Horsemen. In WCW, he held five different titles. Pillman died in 1997 at the age of 35.
3 MAD DOG BUZZ SAWYER
Mad Dog Buzz Sawyer is an old-school professional wrestler. He worked almost solely in the NWA, working in promotions like Crockett Promotions, Georgia Championship Wrestling, Mid South Wrestling, and World Class Wrestling. His matches were violent, and his Last Battle of Atlanta against Tommy Rich is considered one of the most brutal of all-time.
In 1989, Buzz Sawyer returned to WCW and was part of a faction led by Gary Hart that feuded with the Four Horsemen. He was also part of Kevin Sullivan's Slaughterhouse faction in 1990. He held 12 titles over his career and died in 1992 at the age of 32.
2 DICK MURDOCH
When one thinks of Dusty Rhodes in the '70s, one also has to remember his long-time tag team partner Captain Redneck Dick Murdoch. The two men formed a tag team called the Texas Outlaws, and then both men moved on, Dusty becoming one of the world's most popular stars and Murdoch a hated heel.
Murdoch wrestled in Florida, Mid-South, and even the WWE for a time where he won the tag team titles with Adrian Adonis. He also worked in WCW in the early '90s with Dick Slater in a tag team called the Hardliners. He held 47 titles over his career and died in 1996 at the age of 49.
1 HOT STUFF EDDIE GILBERT
Many people have called Hot Stuff Eddie Gilbert one of the best minds of professional wrestling, and he worked as not only a despised heel but also as a booker toward the end of his life. Gilbert gained his most notoriety in a feud with Jerry "The King" Lawler in Memphis where the two blurred the line between reality and fiction.
He also worked in Mid South where he managed men like Rick Steiner, Sting, and The Ultimate Warrior. Toward the end of the UWF, he also worked as the booker there before WCW purchased the company and Gilbert moved to WCW. Eddie Gilbert died in 1995 at the age of 33.