The WWE Hall of Fame gets a lot of flak but it’s still seen as something important to those who are in it. With WWE so dominant in wrestling and basically owning much of its history, having guys in their Hall is a major deal. The question of who goes in can be off as it’s filled with mega stars, jobbers, celebrities and one soon-to-be President of the United States. There are several names not in it due to politics and getting on Vince’s bad side but other guys can surprisingly be included. With a new class due to come, the question of who can get in is growing.
Some choices are obviously not in. No matter what, Chris Benoit will never be inducted into that hall. There are also plenty who have bad beef with Vince McMahon and vice versa so highly doubtful they’d get in. However, some are able to make up and can still have a chance. Many do have careers worthy of Hall of Fame while others are just favorites but they all showcase some terrific popularity to get in. Here are 15 wrestlers who should be considered for the next Hall of Fame class and elevate it for many fans.
15 The Steiner Brothers
Rick Steiner was already a good worker as he was TV champion while rising up the ranks in the late 1980s. But when he joined his brother Scott, they changed the way tag team wrestling could be. Their double-team moves were great. They were pulling off stuff like top-rope bulldogs and hurricanranas that fans had never seen before and were blown away by it. Their success was fantastic, holding the NWA, WCW, U.S. and WWE tag team titles multiple times and while having fantastic programs against so many of the best tin the business.
As a singles guy, Scott enjoyed runs as U.S., TV and WCW World champion as well as infamy for his rather insane behavior and promos. Despite their backstage issues, the Steiners in their prime were the most amazing team around and that should earn them a place in the Hall of Fame.
14 The Great Muta
In the late 1980s, Japanese wrestling was rising up more but still had trouble breaking out in the U.S. Muta changed that, as he introduced a style of wrestling American fans had never seen before...and it was amazing. Moonsaults, flips, technical work and high-flying, it set the stage for the Cruiserweight action we know today. While WCW failed to properly utilize him, it was still a sensational turn that helped elevate all of Japanese wrestling. He has held the NWA title, IWGP championship and the Triple Crown among numerous other belts. While some criticized him for not changing his style too much, the fact remains that Muta was the man who helped put a new style of wrestling on the map for a new generation. That alone earns him a place in the Hall.
13 Ray Stevens
Many heels have emulated Stevens in their mannerisms and actions. An early TV wrestling star, Stevens was known for his harsh manner, his “Bombs Away” flying knee drop and savage piledriver. Cocky and stylish, he was a natural heel and pushed that way for most of his career. He and Nick Bockwinkel were terrific as AWA Tag Team Champions and the “Blond Bomber” dominated as the biggest heel star in San Francisco. His actions could cause near riots at the Cow Palace and pushed him majorly as the guy fans loved to hate. While he never had a real major singles title, Stevens’ work with Bockwinkel and Pat Patterson proved that he was a top tag team wrestler and a man who could get any crowd going. Passing on in 1996, Stevens should be better remembered as a man who inspired so many heels to follow.
12 The Crusher
It’s surprising he’s not already in. Reginald Lisowski was born and raised in Milwaukee and soon began to rise up as a major star in the Midwest. Pug-shaped, he would carry barrels of beer to the ring, often smoking a cigar and boasting of his amazing fighting abilities. This led to a career as one of the most beloved stars of his time as his partnership with Dick the Bruiser became legendary. On his own, the Crusher was incredibly over with fans who cheered him and took him as one of their own. A three-time AWA Champion, the Crusher’s “How bout dat?” line was on t-shirts long before merchandising was a regular thing. Passing on in 2005, a Hall of Fame entry is long overdue for one of the biggest stars not just of his time but of all time.
11 Rey Mysterio
Arguably one of the best cruiserweights of all time, Mysterio had already put on some Hall-worthy stuff in Mexico and ECW before going to WCW. There, he helped make the Cruiserweight Division something truly meaningful with classic matches against Eddie Guerrero and others. After a break, he came to WWE in 2002 and soon became a fan favorite while holding multiple titles, including the World Championship. Incredibly popular with fans, his masks and costumes became some of the most notable parts of any WrestleMania, while also becoming big sellers for WWE. Despite numerous injuries, Mysterio kept up as one of the best talents around and elevating himself nicely. While he left WWE a few years back, Mysterio is deserving of a place in the Hall of Fame to pay tribute to the “biggest little man” wrestling has known.
Perhaps an offbeat choice but hardly the first time a poor worker has gotten into the Hall. Sid did always have the great appearance of a hulking wrestler and powerhouse. Tall and well built, he could be imposing with his powerbomb move, and his promos showcased a man ready to go off at a moment’s notice. However, he was marred by his short temper and ego that wasn’t helped by promoters pushing him as the next Hulk Hogan. That attitude led to some infamous conflicts and firings but also success as WCW and WWE champion and headlining WrestleMania twice. Some will cite him as just too terrible but others insist he can be worthy, far more than some others in the hall being a former WWE Champion. If nothing else, his speech should be truly memorable and be a good way to redeem an otherwise rough legacy.
9 The Dudley Boyz
The numbers alone are Hall-worthy: In ECW, WWE, WCW, IWGP and even TNA, Bubba Ray and D-Von have amassed a total of 24 world tag team championships. From their humble beginnings as part of the huge and wild Dudley clan in ECW, they forged an incredible team that rose up well. While they’re famous for smashing guys through tables, they brought true skill to the ring to handle epic feuds with the Hardyz, Edge and Christian and so many more, backed by great promo work. Their singles work isn’t too bad as Bubba Ray did great as a heel champion in TNA. While WWE may not officially acknowledge that, it’s a consideration.
Having already gotten into the TNA Hall of Fame, it makes total sense the Dudleyz would enter WWE’s and it would cap off the careers of the most decorated tag team of all time.
8 Rick Rude
“The Ravishing One” remains one of the greatest heels of all time. He broke out in World Class as champion, and followed that up in the NWA. But it was WWE that he reached his true height. Arrogant and showing off his body, he was also a top worker capable of doing amazing matches with his fantastic promos. He reigned as IC champion before a falling out with the company. In WCW, he held the US title and had several great feuds. His work later included the great moment where he managed to show up on both “RAW” and “Nitro” on the same night, which was a major deal. Passing on of heart failure in 1999 (brought about by his long-time addictions), Rude’s legacy as one of the best heels around should be remembered with a spot in the Hall.
A tricky one given Vader’s clashes with WWE management over the years. However, with Vader's sad announcement that he only has two years to live due to heart problems, it's time to let bygones be bygones. He should get in as the man set himself up as a fantastic worker in the ‘90s. A big and beefy strongman, he could take off the ropes well and his power bomb was truly devastating (even breaking the back of a jobber). He was a dominant WCW champion in 1993 and an incredible worker afterward. He was marred by a rough WWE run and his own attitude lead to numerous clashes and fights that pushed his stardom down.
However, Vader remained an incredibly top notch star, a legitimate tough guy with a good legacy as a monster heel that deserves to be remembered. He's had his issues on social media, but his work speaks for itself. That alone should put him in the Hall.
They were the rip-offs who became just as big as the originals. When Ax and Smash debuted in 1987, fans dismissed them as WWE’s lame attempt to have their own Road Warriors. However, the Demos began to catch on as they were good in the ring, with Mr. Fuji as their manager giving them more heat. They would win the tag titles in March of 1988 and would hold them until June of ’89, the longest tag title reign ever (although The New Day may soon pass them). They would win the belts twice more as they were a fantastic team. The fact they dominated in arguably the most talent-filled era of the tag team division is a remarkable achievement.
They finally ended in 1991 but would be great to see them honored in the Hall as a reminder of how the “copycats” were just as great a team in their own right.
5 The British Bulldogs
While their backstage attitudes were nasty, the Bulldogs were among the best tag teams ever. Breaking out in Stampede, the Dynamite Kid and Davey Boy Smith soon clicked as a team. Their run as WWE tag team champions was sensational as they were doing great moves to blow away fans. Their run was cut short by Dynamite’s severe back injury and hard times afterward but they still some great matches nonetheless. Davey Boy then moved to a good singles career as IC and European champion and despite his own rough times, showed his amazing skills as well. It’s highly unlikely Kid would show up for the induction but the Bulldogs do deserve it as their sons are more than ready to put them in and let newer fans appreciate the genius the Bulldogs brought to the ring.
Given how he’s coming back for one more match with Brock Lesnar, Goldberg’s entry into the Hall makes a lot of sense. He was one thing WCW did right, as he was a good worker who erupted in 1998 as an unstoppable powerhouse smashing everyone in his way. He was on fire with the crowds chanting his name, an awesome entrance and WCW smartly booking him better and better to win the US title and grow in popularity. His beating Hogan for the WCW title was one of the biggest moments in the company’s history and set him on a road to immortality. True, WCW would blow it badly with Goldberg, as they would break the streak too soon. In the WWE, it didn’t do right by him with his poor run in 2003-04.
However, his place as one of the biggest stars of his time is set and with his working with WWE, a place in the Hall makes total sense and should a good capper to his career.
3 The Rock
Another major name seemingly ready for the Hall, The Rock has transcended wrestling. Dwayne Johnson overcame a bad start as Rocky Maivia to transform into one of the biggest stars the business has ever seen. An eight-time WWE champion, he has headlined WrestleMania multiple times with some of the biggest feuds around. A genius on the mic, his charisma could not be beat and led to more fantastic success. Since leaving WWE, Johnson has become one of the biggest names in Hollywood with multiple smash hit movies and a TV series “Ballers.” His return in 2011 was a massive deal to feud with John Cena and boost himself up even more.
Today, the Rock is an icon and his place in the hall is assured and thus makes total sense to have him as a highlight of the latest class. If nothing else, it’ll be one killer speech.
This seems like a sure bet and one of the classic cases of how sometimes it takes a death to finally get someone into the Hall. Joanie Laurer really did change things when she debuted in 1997. This big, imposing woman who could hold her own and take down men was a sensation. She upped things as she changed with surgery to become hotter, more outgoing and a serious competitor in the business. She reigned as champion, posed for Playboy and became a key face of the Attitude Era. Of course, she’s known for her sad fall afterward, as her addictions and such unfortunately getting the best of her.
However, her death in 2016 has changed attitudes and it seems likely she’ll be put into the Hall. It's just a real shame that it couldn’t have happened when she was alive to enjoy it.
1 Owen Hart
This is a tricky one. According to reports, Vince would put Owen into the Hall in a second with the full backing of Bret. The issue is Owen’s widow is dead-set against it as she still blames Vince and WWE for Owen’s tragic death in 1999. It’s a shame as he deserves to have his career honored. A rising star in Stampede, Owen quickly showed he was even better in the ring than Bret, as he was a high flyer as well as brilliant technical worker. His early stuff in WWE was rough but he erupted to main event level with his feud with Bret in 1994. Owen was terrific in the ring and killer on the mic as he was an arrogant jerk. As a Slammy Award winner, IC and tag team champion, he was amazing and seemingly ready to rise up the card.
His sad death remains one of WWE’s greatest tragedies and one can hope Vince and Owen's widow come to a deal to give Owen his place in the Hall as he deserves.