The WWE Hall of Fame aired on Friday night in New Orleans in front of a nearly full Smoothie King Center and plenty of WWE superstars as well as legends seated in the crowd. It aired on WWE Network at 8pmET and ended four and a half hours later.
I watched the first hour of the ceremony live, then I decided to watch some sports (go Raptors and Blue Jays) because frankly I wrote/edited about 15,000 words of content in the last few days and I needed a bit of a WWE break. Plus, the next few days will be insane too. Anyway, I ended up watching the last hour live as well. Earlier today I decided to go back to watch the two hours that I missed.
I’m not going to recap every speech in detail because when I did it last year I wasn’t really happy with the post. Instead, I’m just going to put some point form thoughts on the speeches.
The Dudley Boyz (Inducted by Edge and Christian)
– I thought Edge and Christian had the best introductory speech. They worked in comedy really well, which was no surprise. It was really funny when Christian acted as if this was his Hall of Fame introduction only for Edge to cut him off. They even worked in Ron Simmons into the speech leading to Simmons shouting his famous “DAMN” catchphrase at them.
– D’Von Dudley was pretty funny, which was a bit of a surprise because he didn’t have a reputation for that in his career. D’Von works for WWE as a Producer now, so he mentioned that during the speech and was trying to boss Bubba around. Bubba Ray even laughed about it noting that it was the first time D’Von showed that kind of personality.
– They mentioned guys that helped them get there like Ron Simmons and Bradshaw (the APA), they thanked Mae Young for putting them over with Bubba telling him to slam Mae like one of the boys. Bubba called Mae Young the toughest man he’s ever met in his life, which drew a lot of laughs. Paul Heyman was thanked of course.
– It was nice to see them shoutout Tommy Dreamer in the crowd because Dreamer spent a lot of time with both Dudleys and D-Von talked about how much Tommy helped him when he was getting started. Bubba Ray called Tommy his best friend although he did make a fat joke, which is something they love to do to eachother.
– There was a really fun moment with the TLC match legends reunited on the stage with Bubba inviting Matt and Jeff Hardy on the stage along with Edge and Christian. Bubba said the six of them created their history together. They posed on the stage together, which drew a huge ovation. It was one of the loudest pops of the night.
– They ended their segment by putting a stagehand through a table with a Bubba Powerbomb. Fans loved the “get the table” bit of course. I thought it should have been a 3D, but that’s okay. It went well.
Hillbilly Jim (Inducted by Jimmy Hart)
– Jimmy Hart doesn’t age. He doesn’t look as old as he actually is. Jimmy told the story of Hillbilly Jim being a good basketball player, but he always wanted to be an entertainer and got into wrestling. Jimmy talked about Jim’s wrestling career and how he kept on fighting even after a knee injury.
– I’ll be honest with you when I say I didn’t watch most of it. I skipped ahead because while I do remember Hillbilly Jim as a kid, he was never really a favorite of mine nor was he that big of a name.
– What I liked from Jim’s speech is that he spoke from the heart about his passion for the business and how hard he worked to be a success in it.
– You could tell how passionate he was about wrestling. That’s what the Hall of Fame is really about. The speech did drag on a bit at over 30 minutes, but when you consider how much time these wrestlers spent on the road it’s easy to see why they want to spend their time during their Hall of Fame speech.
Ivory (Inducted by Molly Holly)
– Molly Holly isn’t known for a big personality, but she did a good job talking about her friend Ivory, who she called a “sexy tomboy.” Lilian Garcia appeared on the stage to introduce Ivory for her speech.
– Ivory looks tremendous at 56 years old. Ivory talked about how Molly was always good to drive with because she was the calm one while Ivory was the hyper one.
– Ivory talked about her Tina Ferrari days as part of the TV show GLOW (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling) in the 1980s. She spoke about how she had to go to New Orleans to represent GLOW, so she had a lot of history there.
– Ivory put over the women’s wrestlers from that era like Trish Stratus, Lita, Molly Holly and others with Ivory talking about how they helped inspire the next generation of women.
– Ivory also had a bit during the speech where she got “married” to the wrestling business since she didn’t get married in her life.
– There was a funny moment where Ivory was thanking people, then she mentioned dirty dancing and the Right to Censor music/sounds showed up.
– Ivory did well with her speech, but the crowd wasn’t that loud for her. The speech wasn’t that funny either although she spoke well and was full of energy like usual.
After two hours, they had only had three speeches.
Kid Rock (Inducted by Triple H)
– Triple H did a good job of putting over Kid Rock’s contributions to WWE over the last twenty years including the theme song to this year’s WrestleMania. It’s not like Kid Rock has done that much, but it’s the celebrity wing of the Hall of Fame where they don’t have to do that much.
– Kid Rock claimed this was better than any Grammy any day of the week. He spoke about how you were told to not thank Vince and to stay away from politics. That led to him thanking Vince because he changed the landscape of American entertainment. Rock said he wants to body slam some Democrats, which led to some boos from the crowd while some wrestlers were laughing.
– Kid Rock talked about The Undertaker and the American Badass entrance that he enjoyed. He spoke about being friends with The Rock, Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan.
– He spoke about his old bandmate, the late Joe C. He was part of the band and Rock said that nobody loved wrestling more than him. He accepted the award on behalf of Joe C.
This speech was short, which was good.
Jeff Jarrett (Inducted by Road Dogg)
– Road Dogg spoke about how he met Jeff Jarrett 25 years ago when they were both young, hungry, second generation performers. That’s when Road Dogg was told he was going to be Jeff’s Roadie, which was Road Dogg’s original name in WWE. Road Dogg had a joke that he couldn’t remember the 1990s and said don’t do drugs.
– Jarrett joked that he won’t make it through the speech without crying. He spoke about how 32 years to the day of his first match, he’s standing on the stage at the WWE Hall of Fame. Fans chanted “you deserve it” for him.
– He spoke about wrestling Shawn Michaels in July 1995 and how some people call him the Michael Jordan of Professional Wrestling. There was a shot of HBK in the crowd. I’m still getting used to the short hair HBK look. Jarrett said there’s been a lot of greats, but in his opinion there’s nobody as close to him and he’s the best ever. Jeff thanked Shawn.
– Jarrett gave a nice shoutout to The Miz for making the IC Title proud. Jarrett mentioned being part of stables like the Four Horsemen, New World Order, Bullet Club (he didn’t say it by name) and mentioned there was that thing with David Arquette while wondering that was. Jarrett put over Stephanie McMahon for beating him in her first match and said it will be a different story on Sunday while saying good luck to Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle.
– Jarrett got emotional talking about how he loved Road Dogg and how close their friendship was.
– He also mentioned Owen Hart as his other best friend in the wrestling business. Fans chanted “Owen” for him. Jeff talked about Owen being a great guy that was a kind, gentle soul and we lost him way too early. He told the story about how Owen pranked Hacksaw Jim Duggan in a hotel and Owen getting Ahmed Johnson’s music to play three times during a match. There was another story of Owen and Jeff putting on the red clown noses during a match with Edge and Christian. That’s when Edge and Christian showed up with red clown noses.
– They ended the speech with a karaoke session of the mid-90s Jarrett song (sung by Road Dogg) called “With My Baby Tonight.” Doing the song was the right thing to do, but the execution of it wasn’t that great. Some people like Zack Ryder joined in, but not a lot of the other wrestlers.
– That was fun. Jeff went through alcohol rehab last year paid by WWE and it was nice to see him back on a WWE show for the first time in 19 years.
Warrior Award Winner Jarrius “JJ” Robertson (Inducted by Dana Warrior)
– Dana Warrior was emotional during some of her speech, which was understandable because the Ultimate Warrior was inducted into the Hall of Fame in New Orleans in 2014. He died a few days later, so she was in the same building where he had that big moment.
– Jarrius is a kid with a strong personality. He has had a lot of health issues, but he’s doing a lot better and had a lot of funny things to say. Jarrius mentioned his favorites like Roman Reigns (fans booed), Randy Orton and Zack Ryder. Jarrius had jokes about how The Miz was his least favorite superstar and how he felt like a WWE superstar, so at this point maybe he has a better chance of getting a WrestleMania match than John Cena. That drew a lot of laughs from the crowd.
– Jarrius spoke about how one donor can save nine lives and two donors saved his life. He said a year ago he was waiting for his second transplant and now he’s got a new liver and he’s a WWE Hall of Famer. It was a good message by a strong kid that was very inspiring to watch.
Mark Henry (Inducted by Big Show)
– Big Show spoke about how he’s known Mark Henry for nearly two decades and they became like family. Big Show had a funny joke about how thankfully Mark’s daughter looks like her mother. Henry added that Mark wasn’t just a wrestler, he was a recruiter for WWE and he got a lot of people to come to WWE.
– Mark talked about growing up a wrestling fan, he got into Strongman competitions and then he signed with WWE in 1996. He said “I’m a mark literally and figuratively.”
– My favorite moment of the night was when Henry got emotional talking about what the Hart Family meant to him. Henry said that he wanted Owen’s widow Martha to allow Owen to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
– Henry thanked a lot of people that helped him along the way with shoutouts to Nation of Domination members including The Rock. Henry had a funny story about how The Rock lived with him when he was starting in wrestling, then Henry mentioned that Rock is doing pretty good now, so now Henry can use that money back. That was funny.
– Henry spoke about the best run of his career in 2011 as the World Heavyweight Championship on Smackdown. He gave shoutouts for guys he worked with during that time like Randy Orton, Big Show and Daniel Bryan.
– It was nice to see Mark’s son wearing the salmon jacket that Mark made famous a few years ago during a great fake retirement promo to set up a match with John Cena. Henry even wore the salmon jacket as well briefly, which drew a nice reaction.
– Henry was emotional during a lot of the speech. It was my favorite speech of the night.
Bill Goldberg (Inducted by Paul Heyman)
– Heyman put over Goldberg as a guy that was probably the toughest opponent that Brock Lesnar had in his career since Goldberg was 2-1 against Lesnar. Heyman also spoke about the admiration he had for Goldberg as a father to his son.
– Goldberg said he would be brief, but ended up talking about 30 minutes. He told his story about being a football player that wanted to be like his brothers that played football and also that wanted to be a role model for kids, which ended up happening for him as a wrestler.
– Goldberg spent most of his speech thanking people for helping him in his career from the WCW days. He made an interesting remark about how Kevin Nash ended his undefeated streak in WCW on his birthday and he didn’t seem too thrilled about the whole thing.
– There was a funny moment when he brought up his WWE run in 2003/04 by saying that we all knew it sucked, so there was no point in talking about it. At least he’s honest!
– Goldberg did a nice job of thanking his wife and son for being the inspiration behind his 2016/2017 WWE return that started when he got the call to be in the WWE 2K17 video game. Goldberg mentioned that when he did an interview saying he was miserable during that time, he didn’t mean he was unhappy – it was just tough on him physically since he’s 50 years old.
– I thought Goldberg’s speech was a bit boring at times because his career in wrestling wasn’t that long compared to some of the guys in the Hall of Fame. However, he was genuinely honored to be there
The entire ceremony lasted 4 hours, 31 minutes ending at 11:31 pm local time in New Orleans. Is it too long? Yeah it probably is, but like I mentioned earlier it’s a big night for the people on that stage and they want to make sure they thank everybody that helped them get there.
If I had to rank them in order as my favorite speeches I’d go: Mark Henry, Dudley Boyz, Jeff Jarrett, Goldberg, Jarrius Robertson, Ivory, Hillbilly Jim and Kid Rock.
This wasn’t the best Hall of Fame class and it wasn’t the worst, but it was a fun night of speeches just as long as you can handle the length of a nearly five hour show.