The WWE Hall of Fame is home to some of the most important, prestigious names in the history of professional wrestling. While it originally started out as enshrinement for top WWE superstars, soon it opened its doors to those from outside WWE such as Verne Gagne, the Von Erich family and Sting. These men and women -- both from inside and outside WWE -- deserved their induction and it all started with the best of them all, Andre the Giant in 1993.
However, throughout the years, there have been headscratchers. Forget about the celebrity wing where names like Drew Carey and Snoop Dogg are enshrined while names like Cyndi Lauper and Andy Kaufman are still absent. Look at the wrestlers and there are some inductees to the WWE Hall of Fame that may have been colorful stars in their days but did nothing to really warrant this honor.
Known as The Birdman in WWE in the '80s, Koko B. Ware was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2009. Through his WWE career, Koko was known for two things -- high energy and his bird Frankie, which he carried to the ring with him and kept on a perch in the corner during his matches. He was the antithesis to Jake "The Snake" Roberts and his pet snake.
However, unlike The Snake who never won a title in WWE but still developed a reputation as one of the company's greatest wrestlers and promo men of all-time, Koko did little above mid-card matches. He did have success pre-WWE as part of a tag team known as the PYTs and teamed later in WWE with Owen Hart, but compared to the wrestlers still waiting induction, Koko B. Ware seems an anomaly in the WWE Hall of Fame.
Tito Santana had success in WWE but was never a major player, even when he was a champion. Santana was a two-time Intercontinental Champion but his loss of the title to Randy Savage was more important to making Savage a star and Santana was shuffled out of the title picture.
Tito Santana then started a tag team with Rick Martel called Strike Force and won the tag titles but that team was best known for Martel turning heel and Santana disappearing again. He was a decent mid-card champion but the fact that he was inducted to the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004, long before names like Randy Savage and Honky Tonk Man, seems a little off.
Mr. USA Tony Atlas came to WWE with some major distinctions behind his name. A bodybuilder and powerlifter, he won Mr. USA three times in his bodybuilding career. Atlas worked throughout the territories in the '70s before coming to WWE in 1982 and became part of the first African American tag team to ever hold the WWE tag team titles.
WWE was reportedly considering a mid-card title run for Atlas but he left the company in 1984. When he returned to WWE he was moved to the mid-card and never rose any higher. By 1986, Atlas was used as a well-known wrestler who would lose to the new stars coming into WWE. Despite this, he was still inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006.
Abdullah the Butcher seemed very grateful and happy when he received his WWE Hall of Fame induction in 2011. However, there were many other wrestlers, including Superstar Billy Graham, who was not happy about this due to the style of wrestling of Abdullah and the rumors that he would infect other wrestlers with hepatitis C through sharing a blade when cutting them during matches.
Abdullah's entire gimmick was to use foreign objects to slice open his opponents, and he accepted the same for himself as showcased by the scars on his head. Abdullah the Butcher never wrestled in WWE.
On her merits in wrestling, Sunny more than deserves a spot in the WWE Hall of Fame. However, for a company that refused to induct Chyna for 18 years due to her career in porn and drug addiction issues, it seems almost hypocritical that Sunny is in there.
Sunny has been arrested numerous times and even spent time in jail in 2019. She has been to drug rehabilitation centers numerous times and is the only person WWE refuses to pay for any further stays since she ends up always going back. She also spent time in the porn industry and was still inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011.
Before they entered WWE, the Bushwackers were known as The Sheepherders and were one of the most violent and brutal tag teams in the regional territories. Their battles with the high flying Fantastics were brilliant as the two teams contrasting styles created fantastically violent matches.
WWE changed them into a comedy duo, where they would come down to the ring swinging their arms, lick each other's heads, and act goofy through their matches. They were a comedy act who did little to nothing in WWE but were still inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2015 over teams like the British Bulldogs, Hart Foundation and Demolition.
Rikishi has two things going for him. One is that he is part of the great Samoan Dynasty in WWE and the second is that he kept working until he found a gimmick that fit him. His path to WWE greatness is similar to that of The Godfather, but his career was never quite that successful and it wasn't until he dressed like a sumo wrestler and showed his butt that he became a star.
Rikishi started out in a tag team known as the Samoan Swat Team which was renamed The Headshrinkers by WWE. They were moderately successful, winning tag titles in World Class and WWE. After working as Sultan to little success, he turned into Rikishi, used a move called the Stink Face, and won the IC title and a tag title with Scotty 2 Hotty. It was enough to get him into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2015.
Hillbilly Jim came into WWE in the '80s as Hulk Hogan's biggest fan. The entire gimmick was that Hulk Hogan could take this big country boy, train him, and turn him into a successful wrestler. After this, his gimmick was enhanced by WWE giving him a fictional family with Uncle Elmer, Cousin Luke, and Cousin Junior.
His biggest moment came in WrestleMania III when he teamed with two midget wrestlers to battle King Kong Bundy and two other midget wrestlers -- which was best known for Bundy slamming a midget wrestler. Hillbilly Jim was never anything more than a novelty wrestler who never held a single title in his life but was still named to the WWE Hall of Fame in 2018.
Brutus Beefcake started his wrestling career as a fictional brother to Hulk Hogan before the two men moved on to WWE. Once there, Hulk Hogan became the world champion and Beefcake became a heel and eventual tag team champion with Greg "The Hammer" Valentine. They lost the titles at WrestleMania II to the British Bulldogs -- neither member of which is in the WWE Hall of Fame.
Then, Brutus Beefcake became a babyface as a singles star using the nickname "The Barber" where he would cut his opponent's hair after matches. He never won a singles title and went on to use multiple gimmicks in WCW before retiring. Beefcake joined the WWE Hall of Fame in 2019.
Ivan Putski had the nickname The Polish Hammer and competed in WWE from 1974 until 1987. He worked as a singles star for a few years before he finally won his only gold in WWE when he teamed with Tito Santana to win the tag team titles in 1979.
After losing the titles six years later, he rifted through mid-card feuds and never sniffed a WWE title again. In the '80s, Putski was one of the big name WWE stars sent out to lose to all the up-and-coming wrestlers until he finally left the company in 1987. With only one title reign lasting six months in WWE, he was still one of the company's first inductees to the WWE Hall of Fame in 1985.