“I enjoy this night more than any other night” – Vince McMahon
The quote above comes from the boss himself during an interview with ESPN. Despite the polarizing history of the WWE’s Hall of Fame, McMahon truly loves the night as it pays homage to wrestling’s past. Despite his love for the event, it has come with a lot of criticisms over the last couple of years. Take last year as an example. The headliner, Goldberg, took it upon himself to complain about the event telling Vince it is way too long. Bill does has a point, and in fact, so many of the current talents had left the venue when it came time for his speech because the ceremony dragged on for way too long.
Cleary, it is still a work in progress. The same can be said for the criteria for those that get inducted. How is it possible the WWE Hall of Fame includes the likes of Kid Rock and Drew Carey while others like Owen Hart and The British Bulldog are still waiting on their stamps of approval? In this article, we showcase 11 talents that are more than worthy of the recognition, however for one reason or another, an induction seems less likely. On the flip side, we’ll forecast future inductees that might seem lackluster to the pure wrestling fan. In most cases, longevity and staying in the WWE’s good books might be the reason for the HOF approval.
Enjoy the article as we take a look at 11 deserving wrestlers who will not make the HOF and 9 undeserving ones that will. Let’s get started.
20 Won’t Make It: Scott Steiner
Nine-time Tag Team Champion with both WWE and WCW, former World Heavyweight Champion, TV Champion and US Champion. Steiner was also the eighth Triple Crown winner in WCW history.
Given his resume, the guy is more than worthy of a WWE Hall of Fame induction. However, given his ill words towards the WWE in the recent years, an induction really doesn’t seem likely. Don’t feel too bad for Scott however, he isn’t losing sleep over it;
"I am already in a couple Hall of Fames like the Michigan Hall of Fame and the Dan Gable Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame so my accolades speak for themselves. Let's just say I'm not losing any sleep over any Hall of Fame induction. If you can have a Hall of Fame, at least have an address. That's the only Hall of Fame I laugh at. Come on man, give me a break." (Source: Givemesport)
19 Undeserving: JBL
With the WWE since the mid-90s, based on his resume, it would be harsh to suggest JBL isn’t Hall of Fame worthy. The guy won every major WWE Championship, not to mention his role during the glory days of SmackDown as the brand’s best villain.
That’s good and all, however, JBL’s reputation in the business might be a little tainted these days given the Mauro Ranallo situation and other examples of JBL’s bullying throughout the years. WWE can send a strong message by not inducting JBL given all these controversial circumstances. However, we all know that won’t happen given Vince’s personal relationship with the talent.
18 Won’t Make It: Marty Jannetty
For the last couple of years, Marty Jannetty continued to campaign for himself and a possible WWE Hall of Fame induction. In truth, we’re pretty sure WWE believes he has the credentials to get in. However, his personal life is a bit of a hot mess. His Twitter account alone has sunk his status with the company.
For that reason, putting all of his wrestling accomplishments aside, chances of an induction are less likely unless he pulls a complete 360. However, for the time-being he isn’t likely to receive an induction. Unbelievably, nearing his 60s, the former IC Champion still takes on independent bookings.
17 Undeserving: Billy Gunn
Don’t get it twisted, based off his tag team run, Billy Gunn definitely deserves an induction. However, that should come as a tag team with his partner, Road Dogg. The New Age Outlaws served as one of the most memorable duos from the Attitude Era. Both stars definitely deserve the recognition.
However, in terms of his run as a solo talent, Gunn’s road is a questionable one. He was a one-time IC Champion and his title run was a forgettable one. Fans also tend to forget that he won a King Of The Ring Tournament – that’s not the best nod either. However, due to all of this and given his connections in the business and personal friendships, he’ll likely still get the approval as a single’s guy as well.
16 Won’t Make It: Earl Hebner
When we think about some of the great matches that took place in the '90s, former WWE referee Earl Hebner was usually the chosen one for such bouts. One would think, had it not been for that merchandise incident, Hebner might still be with the company today.
Given his bitter departure, a WWE Hall of Fame induction seems highly unlikely. At the very least, he was given the nod of approval into the Impact Hall of Fame. Hebner admits he would love a WWE induction but he also knows that’s pretty unlikely at the moment;
“If Vince doesn't ever want to induct me into it that is fine. I really think I should be but the problems that we still have, it is what it is. If I never get in there that is fine and it is no problem to me but people know who I am and I'll let it be my legend of being a Hebner and I'll just base it on that." (Source Wrestlinginc)
15 Undeserving: Vickie Guerrero
She isn’t in the Hall of Fame yet, however, Vickie Guerrero herself is quite sure that she’ll get the honor eventually. She’s even discussing who she’ll choose to induct her if the honor is to take place;
“One of them would have to be Tamina [Snuka]. She was my road partner. We still talk at least twice a month to catch up. I truly have a special friendship with her. She was there for a lot things I was going through in my personal life, and I was there for hers.” (Source Stillrealtous)
She isn’t the least deserving person on the list. However, given her limited in-ring role and basically, comedic character for all those years, some might challenge her Hall of Fame induction based off those criteria.
14 Won’t Make It: Sable
In the mid-90s, Sable shook the wrestling business. She became one of the most popular faces in the entire company. Heck, her segments were typically amongst the most viewed, this during an era that flourished with so many great talents.
She was also pushed in the ring as a former Women’s Champion. Sable is more than Hall of Fame worthy, however, given her troubled relationship with the company, both sides might be better off avoiding this hassle. Sable seems to be content living a quiet life away from the spotlight. This is one of those rare instances that the induction might not take place cause of the talent and not the company – what a shame.
13 Undeserving: Eve Torres
Her resume is definitely a deserving one. However, what some fans might question is Eve Torres' longevity in the business. She joined SmackDown in 2008 and by 2013, she was already out of the ring, serving a role as a brand ambassador. Should a career spanning a mere five years get the recognition? It’s also pretty peculiar that she’ll likely get the nod regardless while a journey-woman such as Gail Kim continues to be overlooked.
Nonetheless, Eve maintains a close relationship with WWE. She’s still technically under contract as a brand ambassador. Given all of that, she’ll be inducted despite her short career.
12 Won’t Make It: Sabu
It isn’t just about a strong WWE career. The WWE’s Hall of Fame also pays homage to other wrestlers that made an impact with different companies. Sabu would be the prime example of that. This man put his body on the line during the '90s and he continued to do so during the 2000s. He at least deserves a pat on the back by the company. However, given his in-ring style and broken relationship with the WWE, it isn’t likely to take place.
Sabu doesn’t really mind either. According to his comments, he would only take the induction for the money;
“It’s such a fake Hall of Fame. I’d only do it because I need the money. I don’t know if I would mother— everyone or if I would take it graciously, but I don’t consider it a real Hall of Fame. It’s not like the Baseball Hall of Fame or the Football Hall of Fame. They let anybody in it, anybody who could draw money.” (Source Stillrealtous)
11 Undeserving: Brooklyn Brawler
Loyalty. This is the reason as to why the WWE is likely to induct the Brooklyn Brawler at some point. The former wrestler started with the company back in the '80s and he stayed on board till the 2000s working behind the scenes. His 33 year run finally came to an end in May of 2016.
Loyalty and longevity is great and all but what kind of message are you really sending out giving this potential induction? Brawler is known for piling up the defeats and basically serving a purpose as an enhancement talent throughout his career. Does that really sound like someone that’s Hall of Fame worthy?
10 Won’t Make It: Demolition
Prior to The New Day, Demolition held the record for longest Tag Title reign with the straps. The duo is also argued as one of the best teams in WWE history. With such credentials, why are they still waiting for the approval?
Some of it might be due to the fact that the team joined a class action lawsuit against WWE. Another elephant in the room; the duo reportedly want an extra $100,000 to join the Hall. That just won’t happen. Regardless, the team is content whether or not they join the Hall of Fame:
“We do not lose any sleep over it. Fans and people like you on the podcasts they know we should be in it. And there are a lot of deserving teams. If we make it fine. We know we had a good career.”(Source Wrestlinginc)
9 Undeserving: Al Snow
To his credit, Al Snow isn’t supporting his own campaign to get into the Hall of Fame. Instead, he was one of the advocates in getting The British Bulldog into the Hall.
His resume certainly doesn’t sparkle. His most notable run with a WWE Championship came with the Hardcore Title as a former six-time champion. Aside from that, Snow had short-lived runs with both the European and Tag Team Titles.
Nonetheless, due to his longevity in the business and his mentorship during the Tough Enough days, he’ll likely still get the approval by the WWE.
8 Won’t Make It: Brian Pillman
The new school wrestling fan might not know Brian Pillman. That’s a shame. Pillman changed the game completely behind the scenes. Thanks to Brian, WWE initiated guaranteed contracts. Back in the summer of 1996, WWE influenced Pillman to sign with this type of deal and it would cause a snowball effect with the other signees thanks to the former WCW star.
His work was truly ahead of its time. Pillman’s persona is one various wrestlers still study to this day. We lost a great wrestler far too early back in 1997. Given all of this, it is quite surprising that WWE is yet to induct Pillman. According to the rumor mill, that might have something to do with his wife refusing the accolade. His work deserves the recognition, at the very least.
7 Undeserving: Hardcore Holly
Age 55, Hardcore Holly continues on in the business, wrestling sporadically. He took on Colt Cabana in the later summer months this year. We can give Holly credit for his longevity in the business. He started way back in the mid-80s and continues on to this day.
Longevity is great. However, at the end of the day the Hall of Fame should be about resumes. Holly’s biggest accomplishment is a six-time Hardcore Title holder. That really doesn’t sound Hall of Fame worthy. Nonetheless, we wouldn’t put it passed Vince to induct Holly regardless, if only for his dedication and lengthy run with the company.
6 Won’t Make It: Raven
“The question of will I ever be inducted in the WWE HOF is asked repeatedly. Here are the odds of it happening. First, turn on the news and wait for the weather report. Then watch, & if the meteorologist says something about a snowfall in Hell, I’d say my chances are still awful” (Source Twitter)
This was a tweet issued out by Raven during the Hall of Fame season last year. As you can tell, the talent believes he won’t be inducted. A lot of factors play into that. For one, his WWE run wasn’t the greatest. In addition, he was involved in a lawsuit against the company most recently – surely, that won’t help his cause either.
That’s unfortunate as Raven was a must-see character during the 90s with both ECW and WCW. Similar to Pillman, his work was so underrated and ahead of its time. We hope we’re wrong about this one.
5 Undeserving: Torrie Wilson
If still looking as lovely as ever at the age of 43 is a credential, then by all means induct Torrie Wilson and heck, make a statue out of the beauty. However, when assessing in-ring accomplishments alone, it becomes that much more difficult to evaluate. Yes, Wilson made an impact on SmackDown, although a lot of it was less about the wrestling aspect. Wilson herself admitted that she really didn’t like the in-ring component of the business all that much. So by inducting her, what message are you really trying to send?
She’s kept in WWE’s good books since her retirement and in fact, she’s always included during events paying homage to the wrestling women from the past. No doubt, she’ll also get the Hall of Fame nod as well, whether she deserves it or not, that might not matter.
4 Won’t Make It: The Hart Foundation
Tom Chang of Monkeys Fighting Robots wrote a great piece on why The Hart Foundation deserves the stamp of approval from the WWE Hall of Fame. Their resumes speak for themselves. The group featured talents that were all individually talented. As a unit, they were just as dominant and arguably, the top faction in the WWE during the '90s (yeah, that’s quite the statement).
Bret Hart himself has campaigned for this to happen. With all of the members passing aside from Bret, it would be a great tribute to those men. Hart can be the one to give an emotional speech. However, given some of the members’ tough status with the company because of their loved ones, it seems less likely. This is one of those cases we hope WWE circles back on.
3 Won’t Make It: CM Punk
For sure, WWE is a never say never type of company. Take a look at this year’s inductee, Jeff Jarrett. Did you ever think we’d see him back on WWE television after all these years and given the way his career with the company ended? No, probably not.
However, we’ll have to stick to what we know for the time being. The awkward part here is that CMPunk has heat with both Vince and Triple H. This makes his entry into the Hall of Fame that much more unlikely. It also doesn’t help that Punk has no interest in anything WWE or pro wrestling, in general.
2 Undeserving That Will: David Arquette
“That's not my place to say that I should be in it or whatever.” (Source Wrestlinginc)
Considered the worst World Champion in wrestling history, David Arquette recently spoke about a possible Hall of Fame induction. He says it’s up to the WWE and he definitely wouldn’t disapprove such an induction.
So the question remains, why would the WWE induct such a controversial champion? Entertainment purposes. It would draw lots of eye balls due to his polarizing legacy with the company. WWE also has a celebrity wing; they can easily throw Arquette into that category. Admit it, at the very least you would be intrigued.
1 Won’t Make It: Owen Hart
"Owen brought so much joy to my life," said Mark Henry during his Hall of Fame speech.
"I wish that he could be here with us, and I miss him dearly. And Martha, let that camera zoom in here, please. This is not from the company, this is not from other wrestlers, this is from his other brother. He needs to be here, and I hate that I haven't kept up like I should have. I would love to be able to look down one day and see [Owen's son] Oje able to be among us. This is his birthright." (Source CBS Sports)
Henry made quite the statement at the Hall of Fame when he issued out a campaign to get Owen into the Hall. As Bret Hart mentioned in the past, the one hurdle remains Owen’s widow. Bret claims she’s doing more to erase his legacy than help it. We’ll have to agree with Bret on this one and hope Martha finally reconsiders. For now however, the induction remains an unlikely one. Gut wrenching stuff.