WWE Hall Of Fame 2023 Predictions
The WWE Hall of Fame was conceived in 1993 as a way of honouring the recently deceased, Andre The Giant. From 1994 onwards the Hall of Fame became an annual ceremony, held in conjunction with the promotion’s King of the Ring extravaganza. The Hall of Fame was quietly dropped after the 1996 edition before it was exhumed to coincide with the twentieth WrestleMania event in 2004.
For the past two decades, the Hall of Fame has become an integral part of WWE’s WrestleMania weekend and has seen true legends such as Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Ric Flair inducted.
WWE has yet to announce any inductees for the 2023 Hall of Fame. This feature speculates who may receive the nod to be inducted this year.
The Guardians of the Galaxy star and former WWE and World Heavyweight Champion has gone on record to say he would like to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame this year.
Batista was supposed to be inducted as part of the 2020 class before the COVID-19 pandemic forced that event to be postponed. When it was rearranged for 2021, a scheduling conflict prevented ‘The Animal’ from attending.
There is little doubt, Batista is a worthy inductee and would likely be the headliner for the class, given he is a former six-time WWE World Champion, four-time Tag Team Champion and two-time Royal Rumble winner. He also headlined WrestleMania twice; in 2005 and 2014.
Batista debuted in WWE as the long forgotten sidekick of Reverend D’Von back in 2002, but soon traded in the former Dudley to join the Evolution stable with Randy Orton, Ric Flair and Triple H. Batista eventually departed the group and would relieve ‘The Game’ of the World Heavyweight Title at WrestleMania 21 after a masterful, slow turn storyline.
After defeating Triple in two rematches, most notably inside Hell in a Cell at Vengeance 2005, Batista officially became a member of the headliner club and remained full time with WWE until 2010, before a six month return in 2014.
‘The Animal’ officially retired from in-ring competition in 2019 at WrestleMania 35.
Batista is one of the most deserving wrestlers yet to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
The Great Muta
The Japanese icon is set to finally call time on his illustrious four decade career on February 21 at the Tokyo Dome. That stage is befitting to host the retirement bout of one of the most famous Japanese wrestlers of all time.
The Great Muta is the alter ego of Keiji Muto, who also wrestles under his real name and has thrilled fans worldwide for decades.
After making a name for himself in the Orient, Muta wowed the West when he began wrestling for WCW in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He participated in the 1989 Starrcade Iron Man tournament and won the 1992 edition of BattleBowl.
He holds the distinction of wrestling for all three major Japanese promotions; New Japan, All Japan, and Pro Wrestling NOAH. He also held World Titles in all three companies; one of only four wrestlers to do so.
Muta also held the NWA World Title in the States in 1989.
The Japanese superstar has continued to wrestle at a high level in Japan and currently competes for Pro Wrestling NOAH where he is set to compete in his final ever match opposite Tetsuya Naito on February 21.
One of the most famous and recognisable stars in wrestling history. Muta is deserving of his own wing in the WWE Hall of Fame.
William Regal began his career 40 years ago in 1983 on the old British circuit. However his big break would come a decade later when he joined WCW as the blue blood English gentleman, Lord Steven Regal.
Under this persona, Regal participated in a number of priceless skits most notably when he helped transform Bobby Eaton into Earl Robert Eaton.
Regal won plenty of gold in WCW, holding the company’s TV Title on four occasions.
He would jump ship to the WWF in 1998 repackaged as a ‘Real Man’s Man’ lumberjack. Regal’s personal problems would cause him to disappear from television. When he resurfaced in the Federation, he had been rechristened William Regal and his character more closely resembled that of his WCW character.
Regal participated in an innumerable amount of classic backstage segments and enjoyed a memorable run as WWF Commissioner in 2001.
The Blackpool native won every title imaginable in WWE apart from the World Title during a hugely successful decade and a half spell as an in-ring performer.
After retiring from combat, Regal took on a backstage role and was the onscreen authority figure in WWE’s third brand, NXT.
Following a brief spell in AEW as the onscreen manager of the Blackpool Combat Club, Regal returned to WWE this year in a backstage capacity once again. As part of his contract release, Regal had to agree not to appear on WWE television in 2023. It’s unclear whether this would also preclude him from entering the Hall of Fame.
After four successful decades in the business, the time would appear right for Regal to take his rightful spot in the WWE Hall of Fame.
In the 1980s, Lex Luger seemed destined to become a superstar in the vein of Hulk Hogan or Ric Flair but regrettably he never quite achieved that level of stardom.
However, there is no question that his career is Hall of Fame worthy. He rose to prominence in JCP in 1987 and would soon join the company’s premier act, The Four Horsemen.
After parting ways with the group, Luger locked horns with their leader, Ric Flair in a series of excellent and hugely profitable World Title matches in 1988.
Luger would be repeatedly screwed out of the World crown until he finally snared the vacant strap in 1991, which earned him a reputation as a choker. It would follow him to the WWF in 1993, when he was promoted as the successor to Hulk Hogan but failed to wrest the WWF Championship from Yokozuna, most memorably at SummerSlam 1993 and WrestleMania X.
‘The Total Package’ famously jumped ship to WCW on the debut edition of Monday Nitro which set the tone for the Monday Night War that followed. Although in his first major match for the company, he once more failed to win the big one as he could not dethrone Hulk Hogan for the WCW World Title.
He did eventually earn a second reign as WCW Champion (for six whole days) in August 1997 and later joined the nWo Wolfpac in 1998.
Luger remained in WCW until the promotion folded in March 2001 where he faded from the public eye until the tragic death of his girlfriend, Elizabeth Hulette in 2003.
After several years of health problems, a Hall of Fame induction by WWE would be a classy way to recognise a forgotten legend.
Elizabeth Hulette entered the wrestling business in 1983 when she met ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage, whom she married in late 1984.
She joined the WWF with Savage in the summer of 1985 as his manager, Miss Elizabeth and was a constant at his side until they split in 1989 after Savage dropped the WWF Championship to Hulk Hogan.
Elizabeth dropped out of the spotlight until WrestleMania VII, where she had an emotional reunion with Savage after he had lost a stipulation match to The Ultimate Warrior forcing him to retire. His then-manager, ‘Sensational Queen’ Sherri attacked Savage post-match, which led to Elizabeth storming the ring and disposing of Sherri before reconciling with her former beau.
She married Savage in storyline at SummerSlam 1991, where a storyline began with Jake Roberts, which led to the ‘Macho Man’ being reinstated as a wrestler.
Elizabeth was at the centre of the WrestleMania VIII feud between Savage and WWF Champion, Ric Flair, wherein Flair had claimed to be intimate with her prior to her relationship with Savage. After Savage defeated Flair, Elizabeth left the company and would disappear from wrestling for several years, during which time she legitimately divorced the ‘Macho Man.’
It was a major shocker then when in January 1996, she resurfaced at Savage’s side in WCW. This led to a four year tenure with the group, where she played against type, primarily as a heel, alongside the nWo and later, Lex Luger.
When her contract expired in August 2000, Elizabeth disappeared from wrestling altogether. She tragically passed away from an accidental overdose in May 2003. She was 42 years old.
Miss Elizabeth’s legacy is that she was a major female star in an era where men dominated the featured positions in wrestling and paved the way for future female performers in the United States.
As part of the WWE Hall of Fame, the company tends to induct a celebrity as part of its “Celebrity Wing.” The criteria is unclear as previous inductees range from celebrities who played a major role in the company for a period of time such as Mr. T who headlined the first WrestleMania event and Mike Tyson, who played a huge part in the success of WrestleMania XIV to celebrities like Drew Carey, who made a single solitary appearance for the promotion and did not take a single bump.
For her part, Cyndi Lauper falls into the former category. Much like Mr. T, she played a huge part in the success of the inaugural WrestleMania event. As Mr. T was attached to Hulk Hogan, Lauper was tasked with making Wendi Richter a mainstream star.
Richter was a heel when the deal was made with Lauper but was abruptly turned face and partnered with the pop star to become the star of the women’s division. Richter challenged The Fabulous Moolah for the Women’s Title at the MTV Special, Brawl To End It All in July 1984 and captured the strap. The title change was major news thanks to Lauper’s involvement. Richter dropped the belt in another MTV special called War To Settle The Score in February 1985 but rebounded to reclaim the gold with Lauper’s assistance at WrestleMania.
Lauper then disappeared from the promotion and Richter’s star faded as a result and she departed the WWF under acrimonious circumstances in November of that year. However, Lauper was a major part of WWF television between 1984 to 1985 and played a massive role in helping the Federation become a pop culture phenomenon. It is therefore incredulous that she has not been inducted already. Perhaps in 2023, she will finally be enshrined.
Jim Cornette & The Midnight Express
Put simply: The Midnight Express is one of the finest tag teams of all time. The tandem originated in South East Championship Wrestling way back in 1980, comprising Dennis Condrey and Randy Rose.
However, it wasn’t until 1983 when Bobby Eaton replaced Rose and Jim Cornette was installed as their manager that the group took off.
They competed in Mid South, WCCW and JCP, capturing the Tag Team Title in all three promotions. Stan Lane replaced Condrey in 1987 and the new look Midnight Express even feuded with former members Rose and Condrey, managed by Paul E. Dangerously in a heated feud.
However, the Midnight Express’s most famous conflict came opposite The Rock n Roll Express. The two teams tore it up in countless classic bouts which are still talked about today.
For all intents and purposes, the Midnight Express disbanded in 1990 when Cornette and Lane left WCW after a scheduling dispute. Eaton would remain and would soon join The Dangerous Alliance before he was memorably repackaged as Earl Robert Eaton in 1994 alongside Lord Steven Regal.
The Midnight Express name was exhumed by the WWF in 1998 with Bob Holly and Bart Gunn as members. Cornette was once again installed as their manager. However, the run was short-lived, lasting a few short months.
The WWE Hall of Fame will be incomplete so long as the Midnight Express is not a part of it. Hopefully, this omission will be rectified in 2023.
You can watch the WWE Hall of Fame ceremonies past and present exclusively on the WWE Network.