A previous blog examined the Hall of Fame chances / credentials of talent not on the current WWE roster (retired from the ring, working elsewhere, or passed away). Most on that list might hear their name called one day to make the induction speech. The names on this list, however, are “first ballot” Hall of Famers, even if there is only one ballot cast that matters.
That previous blog reviewed what might be the WWE criteria for inclusion since some obvious non-Hall of Famers went in early (and often). The trend continues with people like Bullet Bob Armstrong in 2011 and the Bushwackers in 2015. It is not like the WWE Hall of Fame is the only Hall of Fame with problems. Who is in and who is out of the Baseball Hall of Fame spurs sports talk radio debates, newspaper editorials, and even a book or two.
In writing about the Baseball Hall of Fame in the first edition of the Bill James Historical Abstract, James defines four “levels” of Hall of Famer. This approach might be instructive when looking at past WWE selections which could guide future ones. This is about total entertainment value and box office power, not work-rate. The focus for these definitions is only on ring in talent.
Definition A: someone who could be argued as greatest ever: Austin, Hogan, Andre, etc
Definition B: one of the greatest ever and dominant for years: Hart, Michaels, Backlund, etc
Definition C: consistently among the best: Santana, DiBiase, Henning, etc.
Definition D: rises above the average wrestler: Junkyard Dog, John Studd, Iron Shiek
And of course Definition WTF: Koko B Ware, Johnny Rodz, Wendi Ritcher, etc.
So with those definitions in mind, let’s look at talent active in or outside the WWE ring that one day will be defined as WWE Hall of Famer.
14 T13. Lillian Garcia
13 T13. Mike Chioda
12 The Dudley Boyz
11 T9. Mark Henry
10 T9. Big Show
9 T9. Kane
8 T7. Randy Orton
7 T7. Chris Jericho
6 T4. Stephanie McMahon
5 T4. Mr. McMahon
4 T4. Triple H
3 Brock Lesnar
2 The Undertaker
1 John Cena
A t-shirt selling machine that also drew money in big matches month after month, year after year. On the top of the card and center of attention for a decade, Cena’s not the Babe Ruth of wrestling (whatever that means), but he’s an icon fans won’t soon forget. With his movie career taking off and maybe the house only big enough for one alpha male SuperMan, Cena’s days on top seem to be fading. Ironic, given his work with Owens and Cesaro in 2015 was some of the best of his career. Up there with Hogan, Austin, Andre and that rarified air of someone, in terms of making money, is one of the top of all time. Six words. Hustle. Loyalty. Respect. Hall of Fame.
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