It’s time. It’s Vader time! WWE announced on Monday that former WCW World Champion Vader will be inducted in the WWE Hall of Fame on Friday, April 1.
Here’s the official announcement from WWE’s website.
As first reported by Bleacher Report, Vader will be posthumously inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame’s Class of 2022. The Mastodon will be enshrined in the hallowed hall during the 2022 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony as part of WrestleMania Week.
The WWE Hall of Fame ceremony will take place Friday, April 1, at American Airlines Center in Dallas as part of WrestleMania Week. The event will stream live exclusively on Peacock in the U.S. and WWE Network everywhere else. In addition, for the first time in history, WWE will present both Friday Night SmackDown and the 2022 WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony live on the same night at American Airlines Center, giving all fans in attendance an unprecedented opportunity to witness both events for one price. Tickets for the special 2-for-1 SmackDown + Hall of Fame are now available via Ticketmaster.
Hailing from The Rocky Mountains, the intense 450-pound Vader first made a splash in the rings of Japan, where he destroyed WWE Hall of Famer Antonio Inoki in a wildly controversial match. The Japanese fans were so distraught over seeing their hero dismantled by the gigantic Vader that a riot broke out in Tokyo’s Sumo Hall. This pandemonium only further fueled Vader’s aggression, and a long line of competitors fell to his devastating maneuvers — particularly the bone-crushing Vadersault.
The Mastodon continued to assert his dominance in Japan and eventually stomped his way through competitors all over Europe and Mexico. This path of destruction brought the giant to World Championship Wrestling in the early ’90s where he would eventually become one of their biggest stars. With WWE Hall of Famer Harley Race in his corner, Vader battered WCW legends like Sting, Ric Flair and Cactus Jack and captured three World Heavyweight Championships during his time with the company.
In 1996, the powerhouse made his way to WWE, where he debuted in that year’s Royal Rumble Match. Immediately impactful, Vader teamed up with manager Jim Cornette and battled Shawn Michaels for the WWE Championship at SummerSlam that year. The Mastodon then linked up with Paul Bearer and locked horns with Undertaker, scoring a huge victory over The Deadman at Royal Rumble in 1997.
Vader passed away in June 2018 at the age of 63.
Here are some more thoughts on Vader from TJRWrestling’s John Canton:
“Vader left a big impression on me when I was in my early teens. I started watching WCW in the early 1990s and have fond memories of Vader working with Sting and Mick Foley (as Cactus Jack) with Vader instantly becoming a favorite. Vader made it look legit. He was a legit badass that looked scary. A power wrestler with agility. Great talent.”
“He was never WWE Champion, but he came close at SummerSlam 1996 against Shawn Michaels. There were plans for Vader to take the WWE Title from Michaels in 1996, but Michaels didn’t like working with Vader due to Vader’s stiff style and Sid was the one that beat Michaels for the WWE Title instead. Sadly, Vader’s WWE run was not as good as it should have been. He also had a lot of success in Japan, so there’s a lot of good stuff to check out from Vader’s career.”
Vader’s WWE Hall of Fame induction is well deserved. It’s just a shame that the big man won’t be here himself to accept the honor. I’m sure his family is thrilled as they should be. Thanks for memories, Vader. A no doubt Hall of Famer.