Wrestlemania 33 is in Orlando this year, a very familiar area to WWE. This year’s show will feature some of the best wrestlers in the world and they even got a legend like Goldberg to come back.
A lot happens the weekend of Wrestlemania. Many indie promotions run shows in the area since there are tens of thousands of fans in that area, so why not? WWE also runs an Axxess fan festival, NXT Takeover show and the WWE Hall of Fame.
A few people have already been announced to be in this year’s Hall of Fame class (Kurt Angle, Rock N Roll Express & Teddy Long) and a few are strongly rumored like Rick Rude, Diamond Dallas Page and William Regal, so I will not include them on this list.
There are a lot of reasons why a person who deserves to be in the Hall of Fame gets passed over. It’s mostly political or depends on a person’s willingness to sign a Legends marketing deal in order to sell merchandise at the show.
Many stars that have been on the outs with WWE for various reasons have made their way back to the WWE in recent years. All-time greats like Bruno Sammartino, the Ultimate Warrior and Macho Man Randy Savage have been inducted the last few years.
Here are ten wrestlers (or tag teams) that should be in the WWE Hall of Fame (in no particular order).
Owen Hart – In 1999, Hart passed away at a pay-per-view in Kansas City after a harness malfunctioned that was supposed to carry him from top of Kemper Arena down to the ring. His widow Martha has been vocal about not having any sort of relationship with the WWE since they settled a wrongful death lawsuit. She has been at odds against many of Owen’s brothers and sisters since this tragedy. Many got their hopes up in 2016 that maybe Martha and the WWE started a dialogue since WWE released an Owen Hart DVD/Blu-Ray.
“British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith – He’s another member of the famed Hart family. He married into the family, but would be a Hall of Fame without those ties. He was a member of the British Bulldogs and then had a nice solo career. His biggest match was when he won the Intercontinental title at Wembley Stadium in London at Summerslam 92. He passed away in 2002 after years of drug use weakened his heart. It’s only a matter of time before he is in inducted. His family is currently in good standing with the WWE.
Chyna – There are a lot of issues that need to be resolved before Chyna finds her way into the WWE Hall of Fame. I’m not sure which problem is the biggest, since there are three huge ones that stand out. First, she appeared in hardcore pornography. Secondly, she had a very public drug issue and appeared on various rehab reality shows didn’t help her out. Lastly, she is a former girlfriend of Triple H, who is now married to Vince McMahon’s daughter. Chyna died from an accidental overdose in 2016. It may take awhile before she gets inducted since the WWE is extremely PG right now.
Big Van Vader – Vader is a well-traveled pro wrestler that had success in just about every promotion on the planet. Not only did he have success in the WWF and WCW, but he may have had his best years in Japan. He was a big man who laid his stuff in stiff. WWE should try to get him inducted this year since he announced that he has less than two years left to live due to congestive heart failure. I wish him the best and hope he outlives his prognosis.
Lex Luger – Luger may not have been a good choice to receive a top babyface push during WWF’s New Generation, but he ended up having one hell of a career. He was never a great worker in the ring, but the dude could get over. Yes, he didn’t get over to the level WWF wanted him to, but if they pulled the trigger and gave Luger the title at Summerslam 93, he could have been the man for many years to come. The count-out finish felt like a weak orgasm. There’s no denying he was over in WCW, but drugs cut his career short. I think it’s time to put the Total Package in the Hall of Fame.
Miss Elizabeth – I placed Elizabeth immediately after Luger because they will always be tied together. Many blame indirectly blame Luger for her death due to accidental overdose in 2003. I don’t think it would be in good taste to have them in the same Hall of Fame class, but both deserve to be in the WWE Hall of Fame. Miss Elizabeth put valets on the map in pro wrestling. I realize she didn’t invent the valet role, but I doubt Macho Man would have been as over if he was without her. She was so sweet and innocent, he was brash and cocky, so it brought intrigue to his character. People started to ask themselves if there is a different side to him that we didn’t see.
Bam Bam Bigelow – Just like Vader, Bigelow made a name for himself in nearly every major wrestling promotion. He is best known for his time in WWF and WCW, but I would argue that his most important time was in ECW. He helped establish the renegade promotion. He never held a title in the WWF, but he did headline Wrestlemania XI by facing NFL Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor. Bigelow was an innovator in the ring. He was quite agile for his size and helped pave the way for big guys like Kevin Owens to jump off the top rope.
Demolition – Demolition held the record for the longest continuous reign as tag team champions before the New Day passed their mark last year. Ax and Smash deserve to be in the Hall of Fame, but wrestlers who sue the WWE don’t usually end up in there. They first sued the then-WWF after they were let go and they tried to use the Demolition name in Japan. The WWF argued that they came up with the gimmick, but they Ax and Smash argued against that. They are now suing the WWE in the class-action concussion lawsuit, which has little-to-no merit.
The Steiner Brothers – Rick and Scott were one of my favorite tag teams growing up. Actually, Scott Steiner wrestled at the first ever live wresting event I attended. It was WWA event with him, Dick the Bruiser, Bobo Brazil and many other greats. Scott eventually deserves to be in the WWE Hall of Fame as a singles wrestler, but it is doubtful due to his past issues with the WWE. I hope the Steiners eventually make it into the Hall of Fame as a tag team while they are alive. Current WWE tag team American Alpha are clearly fans of the Steiners due to their matching singlets and move-set.
The Midnight Express – You can’t put the Rock N Roll Express in the WWE Hall of Fame and leave out the Midnight Express. Jim Cornette was the perfect heel manager to go with ‘Beautiful’ Bobby Eaton and Dennis Condrey. Stan Lane later filled in for Condrey, but the duo of Eaton and Condrey was the best version of the Midnight Express. These guys sold out arenas and armories all over the South when they faced the Rock N Roll Express. It’s time some more NWA tag teams get their due in the Hall of Fame.
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob