Since its creation, the WWE Hall of Fame has been the subject of both criticism and support. Many have slammed it as not a true HOF due to the politics involved and how many of its members don’t deserve such a spot (Koko B. Ware comes to mind). However, those who are in the Hall have said how great it feels to be a member and it is a terrific tribute to their careers. Thus, while some may slam the HOF, others do like it.
While obviously many WWE guys are in the Hall, it is notable how it’s spread to people who didn’t do much in the company. That includes the various “legends” people put in from the Golden Age of Wrestling before Vince McMahon took over. Yet it’s notable how many modern entrants had very little time in WWE with only a few appearances (if that). It says a lot that WWE puts these guys in on their standing as great stars more than what they did for the company.
10 Carlos Colon Sr
The owner of the Puerto Rico-based World Wrestling Council, Carlos Colon held their title a record 26 times. Colon was a good worker who was most famous for his epic feud with Abdullah the Butcher that stretched for years and spilled enough blood to fill an entire Red Cross hospital. Due to how he devoted almost all of his time on his native island, Colon had few appearances in WWE, most in the 1970s and later the 1993 Royal Rumble. His induction seemed to be a favor for son Carlito and recognition for Colon’s wilder days.
9 The Fabulous Freebirds
The Freebirds were basically the first “cool heels” and are well known for their fantastic feud with the Von Erichs that made World Class a hot territory. They had a brief turn in WWE in 1984 but preferred to stick to the South more as WCCW gave them far more freedom to be wild.
Michael Hayes did get attention as Dok Hendrix and Terry Gordy as the masked “Executioner” but the Freebirds never did anything big in WWE in their prime. Hayes was the one pushing for them to be included as a fine tribute to a heel team that blazed a serious trail.
8 Mil Mascaras
On the one hand, the “Man of a Thousand Masks” is well known for his great high flying and those great masks. However, Mascaras also gets a lot of flak from fellow wrestlers for his selfish ways with a refusal to sell for opponents and always going over. Mascaras was the first masked wrestler to compete at Madison Square Garden for a few title matches with Superstar Billy Graham and later the 1997 Royal Rumble. That wasn’t quite Hall of Fame credentials so Mascaras is getting in more on his legacy than WWE work.
7 Antonio Inoki
His legacy is rather complex but has to be noted. Antonio Inoki helped make Japanese wrestling into a powerhouse that still dominates today. He also gained notoriety for his infamous bout with Muhammad Ali.
Inoki didn’t really do much with WWE as he did win the title from Bob Backlund in 1982 but it ended up altered by a DQ so it’s not officially recognized. Inoki was an early entry in the Hall and clearly voted in on his standing as an icon of the entire business rather than any real WWE work.
6 Stan Hansen
The wild cowboy is well known for being as crazy in real life as he was on TV. Hansen did have a stay with WWE in the 70s with the famous bout of him supposedly breaking Bruno Sammartino’s neck (it was really to cover Bruno needing time off for a back injury) with his “Lariat” clothesline. Hansen had runs as AWA champ and in WCW but is best known for his fantastic work in Japan. Many were surprised the rowdy Hansen agreed to join the Hall but it has worked out as the cowboy deserved to have his legacy remembered.
5 The Von Erichs
The saga of the Von Erich clan has sadly become well known in wrestling circles. For a time, they dominated Texas, pushing World Class to huge success and loved by millions of fans. But then the tragedies kicked in as of out of six brothers, only Kevin is still alive.
Kerry did have a tenure in WWE as the Texas Tornado, including the IC title but not much after that. David died long before WWE really rose up and Mike, Chris, and Kevin never worked there at all. The Von Erichs are in the Hall as one big force to remember the good times more than the bad.
4 The Rock N Roll Express
Arn Anderson once said that “if you ever wanted to start a riot, go back 20 years and beat up Ricky and Robert.” Morton and Gibson were a stunning team with high-flying moves and the now-classic trope of Morton taking an unholy amount of punishment before making the hot tag to Gibson to clean house. The duo did make an appearance at the 1993 Survivor Series where they lost the Smoky Mountain tag titles to the Heavenly Bodies. But for the most part, the pair were tied in to Jim Crockett and the AWA more than WWE and voted into the Hall on their own merits.
3 Bruiser Brody
This classic wild man has only seen his legend grow since his untimely end in 1988. Brody was a monster worker who could draw crowds pretty much anywhere and was brilliant, selling his star power to get ahead in any territory. Brody’s time in WWE was very short, only a few visits in the days before Vince Jr. took over as he liked to call his own shots more than let others book him in feuds.
It says much about Brody’s reputation and standing in wrestling that WWE put him in the Hall despite his limited time with the company.
2 Stevie Ray
After overcoming the horrible idea of “wrestling slaves,” Harlem Heat turned into one of the best tag teams in WCW. Booker T and Stevie Ray held the tag titles ten times and facing off against some of the best teams around. The duo were a terrific pair but it was while Stevie Ray was injured that Booker broke out big as a huge star. While Booker got inducted into the Hall alone in 2013, he wanted his brother to join him despite how Stevie hadn’t wrestled a single match in WWE. So Stevie can thank his brother for his place in the Hall.
All throughout the 1990s, WWE made numerous offers to Sting and he has admitted to being tempted. However, Sting felt a loyalty to WCW for helping him get his start, was concerned about the harder traveling of WWE and “I was afraid they wouldn’t let me be Sting.” Thus, Sting was pretty much the one guy who never jumped ship in all that time. WWE kept after him after WCW’s end but Sting instead settled on a long run in TNA. Sting finally showed up in WWE in 2015 for a very short and bad run of matches so it’s his WCW career that’s recognized by his Hall of Fame spot.