This time of year the WWE makes every effort they can to step up their performance. With Wrestlemania around the corner, they want to make sure as many eyes as possible are watching the Granddaddy of Them All. It’s also a time to reflect and honor the past as this is usually the time of year they start announcing the next WWE Hall of Fame class. Thanks to Bryan Alvarez from the Wrestling Observer, we may have some clue as to who will be a part of the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2017. Let’s discuss the picks now but remember, until they’re confirmed by the WWE, these choices are strictly rumor at this point.
Diamond Dallas Page
A deserving choice if there ever was one. Starting off as a manager, he worked his way up in his late 30’s to become a wrestler and eventual WCW World Champion. He had some great run ins with the NWO, spent some time teaming with Karl Malone against Hollywood Hulk Hogan and Dennis Rodman, and had a great match against Goldberg early in Goldberg’s career. While his time in the WWE was not as noteworthy, DDP’s in ring work alone would be worth the nod. Yet his work outside the ring with his DDP Yoga brand is something else all together. Through DDP Yoga, he helped two people that wrestling fans had lost hope for, Jake The Snake Roberts and Scott Hall, get their lives back on track. Those two well known names, on top of all the other folks benefiting from his yoga program, make his career post wrestling probably more rewarding than anything he ever did in the ring. And that’s not a bad thing. That’s a good thing!
Ravishing Rick Rude
It is about damn time! Ravishing Rick Rude was one of the greatest heels of the 1980’s. You hated him when he came to the ring. What with his smug face, his chiseled physique, his cockiness on the mic, and the fact that he could make anyone look like a million dollars in the ring, he was everything you wanted to hate in a villain. He’s probably the main reason why The Ultimate Warrior got the push he did. Rick Rude made him look amazing. I suspect the only reason he’s been out of the Hall of Fame to this point has been due to leaving the WWE in 1997 after the Montreal Screw Job and showing up on Monday Nitro. The WWE had a taped episode of Monday Night Raw where Rude appeared yet on the Nitro that aired the same night, Rude appeared live. He didn’t have a contract with the WWE so he was not contractually bound to stay with the company yet Vince McMahon is notorious for holding grudges. It’s great to see Rick Rude finally get his due.
Another deserving choice. Fans today may only know him as the General Manager of NXT but I strongly encourage you to check out some of his early work in WCW and the WWE. While he never reached the main event level, he’s another person who could make anyone look good in the ring. While his career had some ups and downs thanks to some personal issues with substance abuse, he was always great when he had a chance to showcase his skills either on the mic or in the ring.
Christian definitely deserves a spot in the WWE Hall of Fame but you have to shake your head here. He’s talented in the ring as well as on the mic yet the WWE never really got behind him apart from his efforts in the midcard. He had a legendary run with Edge as a tag team. He’s also worked with the likes of Chris Jericho and Lance Storm. It seemed that by the time the WWE was willing to get behind Christian on the main event scene, the injury bug hit him hard. His work in the tag team division is worthy of inclusion alone. If you get a chance, check out the ladder match at No Mercy in 1999 between Edge and Christian vs The Hardy Boyz.
Not a widely known name today but Mike Rotunda back in the day was quite solid in the ring. His work with The Varsity Club in WCW is worth checking out on the WWE Network. Yet most folks will know him for his Irwin R. Shyster gimmick in the early 1990’s with the WWE. While it was a stupid gimmick, I have to give it to the guy for giving it his all for that character. He’s also the father of current WWE Superstars Bo Dallas and Bray Wyatt so his legacy lives on in the WWE to this day. A great choice.
The Natural Disasters-Earthquake (John Tenta) and Tugboat (Fred Ottman)
I find it odd these two are going in as a tag team since they’re primarily known as singles performers. Yes, they did team together with Jimmy Hart as their manager but most will probably remember Earthquake for his battles against Hulk Hogan in the late 1980’s. Fred Ottman is also notorious for being The Shockmaster in WCW, a character that had the worst possible introduction in professional wrestling history and that is saying something. Both these guys deserve induction yet I think they should have been added for their individual accomplishments more than anything.
The WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony will be held on Friday March 31st at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. You can watch it on the WWE Network.