The WWE Hall of Fame will add one more deceased wrestler to its halls this year when it inducts DX into the shrine. This means that, after years of refusing to allow her entrance, Chyna will finally get into the Hall of Fame. There have been years where very deserving wrestlers get in quickly after they die, such as in the case of Eddie Guerrero. However, there are others who took years to get in after their passing, such as Ravishing Rick Rude.
There are many wrestlers in the WWE Hall of Fame who are no longer with us, but the sad cases are when WWE waits too long and the wrestler passed away while waiting for their name to be called for induction. With some deserving candidates, here is a look at the dead wrestlers who deserve to be in the WWE Hall of Fame.
Owen Hart is a case where he is not in the WWE Hall of Fame because of his widow. Martha Hart owns the rights to her late husband's name and likeness and refuses to allow WWE to use it in any way, and this includes allowing his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame. There have been rumors that WWE could induct the Hart Foundation as a faction, and that could include him, but it hasn't been done yet.
The problem is that Owen Hart died in a WWE ring, falling from the rafters when a harness he used to lower himself to the ring broke. While his brothers, specifically Bret Hart, want him recognized, until Martha Hart allows it, it won't happen.
Vader is someone who legitimately wanted to be part of the WWE Hall of Fame. However, when he died in 2018, it meant that his dream would never happen while he was alive to enjoy it. Vader never retired from wrestling, even though that is what helped lead to his death as Dallas Page told him that he had to stop wrestling if he wanted to save his bad heart.
Vader never held a single title in WWE but he was immensely successful everywhere else he wrestled, a three-time WCW world champion who also had a very successful career in Japan.
There were some immensely successful tag teams in the '80s, from the Hart Foundation and Demolition to The British Bulldogs, and none of them are in the WWE Hall of Fame. The Bulldogs were the one babyface team that was more over than any other tag team of their era but they are not in the WWE Hall of Fame.
Davey Boy Smith, who went on to have a successful singles career in WWE, died in 2002 at the age of 39. Dynamite Kid, who many consider one of the greatest technical wrestlers of all-time, died in 2018 at the age of 60 after spending the last two decades in a wheelchair, partially paralyzed due to the bumps he took in his wrestling career.
Brian Pillman is one of those wrestlers who burned brightly and then flamed out quick. After training with the Hart family in Canada, he got his break in WCW as Flyin' Brian, where he was one of the most exciting high flyers in the company at the time. However, when he turned heel and took on an unhinged gimmick, he really started to shine.
He was a tag team partner with Steve Austin in WCW, was a member of the Four Horsemen, had a cup of coffee in ECW and then finished up with the Hart Foundation in WWE. Pillman died in 1997 of the same heart disease that took his father's life, and he still is not in the WWE Hall of Fame.
Bam Bam Bigelow was one of the most talented big men in WWE history. To understand how good he was, Bigelow was chosen to work the main event of WrestleMania XI because WWE signed NFL star Lawrence Taylor to work the match and they needed someone to make the inexperienced football star look good.
Over his career, Bigelow was the ECW world champion, won titles in WCW and World Class Championship Wrestling and was successful in Japan as well. In 2000, he suffered severe burns over most of his body when he saved some children from a burning house. Bigelow died in 2007 at the age of 45.
The WWE has the celebrity wing of the WWE Hall of Fame and has inducted named like Drew Carey, Bob Uecker, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Snoop Dogg. However, there are two major names that they have passed over time and time again. One is Cyndi Lauper, who was responsible for a lot of the success of the Rock and Wrestling Connection at the first WrestleMania.
The second is the first major celebrity that helped wrestling crossover with professional wrestling. Andy Kaufman had started wrestling women and called himself the champion. He would make women int eh audience so angry they would sign to fight him next. It led to a feud with Jerry Lawler that blurred the lines between reality and fiction.
The only thing keeping Miss Elizabeth out of the WWE Hall of Fame is how she died, and that seems very unfair looking at other members of the classes over the years. The fact that Sunny is in the hall and Elizabeth isn't is a travesty. Miss Elizabeth made her WWE debut as the manager of Macho Man Randy Savage.
The two worked together for years and were involved in one of WrestleMania's most memorable moments. After splitting up for a time, Savage lost a retirement match to Ultimate Warrior and his manager Sensational Sherri attacked him. Elizabeth came to his rescue and when the two hugged, there wasn't a dry eye in the house. Elizabeth died at the age of 42 from a drug overdose.
King Kong Bundy died in 2019. The big man was in the main event of the second WrestleMania when he fought Hulk Hogan in a steel cage match. He was one of the few people that Hogan didn't pin in their feud, as Hogan escaped from the cage. He also wrestled in the infamous match at WrestleMania III where he splashed a midget wrestler.
The problem with a WWE Hall of Fame induction is that King Kong Bundy left WWE on bad terms. He held onto the rights to his likeness and started to make money on the side in commercials, so WWE fired him for it. Over the years, Bundy kept wrestling while also taking on roles on television shows like Married... With Children.
Fans in the '80s remember Adrian Adonis as the man who wore makeup, with pink scarves, and carried flowers with him to the ring. It was a huge change from his previous gimmick as a tough-as-nails biker who wore leather and kicked the crap out of anyone who got in his way.
When he became Adorable, he also packed on some major weight and lost a lot of his in-ring abilities due to the excessive weight. With that said, he did as he was told and sold the gimmick as best he could. In 1988, Adonis died in an automobile accident when a van he was in fell from a bridge to avoid hitting a moose in the road.
One of the most surprising omissions to the WWE Hall of Fame is the Russian Bear, Ivan Koloff. What makes this surprising is that he is a former WWE world champion, beating Bruno Sammartino for the title in 1971. The tragedy is that Bruno Sammartino, Pedro Morales, Stan Stasiak, Billy Graham, Buddy Rogers, and Bob Backlund are all in the WWE all of Fame, making Koloff the only one of the first seven WWE champions to not be inducted.
Ivan Koloff died in 2017, so WWE had plenty of time to induct him but chose not to, for some reason. Over his career outside of WWE, he also held many titles in the NWA and the territories.