Going to the Hall
Well, it’s WrestleMania season once again and that means a new induction class into the World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Fame. While the figurative “hall” has grown immensely over the last decade, there are some big time names that are shockingly still absent from what has been long-rumoured will someday be a physical structure. Here are the top five superstars that should be in the WWE Hall of Fame:
#5: John Bradshaw Layfield
Layfield worked his way up the roster from glorified jobber to tag team specialist to World Champion. When he first entered the company, he was saddled with the gimmick of a wild mountain man. From there, he became a rough and tumble cowboy, a brainwashed disciple of the Undertaker and a bar room brawler who could be hired for protection. Layfield was launched into the main event scene as JBL, a character similar to oil tycoon J.R. Ewing from the TV show Dallas. Under this persona, Layfield finally won a World Championship, a distinction even he thought was never going to happen in his career. Now a color commentator, Layfield has seamlessly transitioned from the ring to the announcer’s table and his time will certainly come for enshrinement.
The ‘9th Wonder of the World’ was an integral member of the Attitude Era and became a role model for women, as she was able to compete with the men, becoming the first female to hold an top-level championship when she won the Intercontinental Title and competed in numerous intergender bouts. Unfortunately, outside of the ring, Chyna (real name Joanie Laurer) split from her boyfriend Triple H (real name Paul Levesque) as the millennium changed and he went on to marry Stephanie McMahon, daughter of WWE Chairman Vince McMahon. She wasn’t part of the company much longer after that. Chyna has done some work in the adult industry and with WWE’s return to a PG-13 rating and kid friendly programming, those two worlds don’t gel too well together.
#3: Jim Johnston
Many of you reading this are probably asking: “Who the hell is Jim Johnston?” While he’s not a household name, he should be and anyone who has ever followed professional wrestling knows his work better than they think. Johnston has been creating the music that accompanies superstars to the ring for three decades. His most famous compositions include theme songs for ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin, The Undertaker, The Rock, D-Generation X, the Ultimate Warrior, and so many others. Compilation records released of Johnston’s work have garnered huge sales, some of the 17 albums hitting gold and platinum levels. Johnston now works for WWE’s film division, putting together scores for the company’s movie releases.
#2: Paul Heyman
While his greatest contribution to the wrestling business was as a competitor to WWE, as owner of Extreme Championship Wrestling, he has also enjoyed a noteworthy career with his one-time adversary, in the roles of an on-screen character and off-screen member of the creative team. Heyman is one of the greatest minds in the wrestling business, as proven with the way he changed the landscape of the industry with his revolutionary ECW promotion. The man, once known as Paul E. Dangerously, is also one of the best talkers of all-time and any time he has a microphone in hand, people take notice. While Heyman’s career has not concluded, managers and behind-the-scenes folks are in a different category, compared to active wrestlers and it’s time to see Heyman get his due.
#1: Owen Hart
While professional wrestling is more performance than sport, grapplers still make huge sacrifices to their bodies in the name of entertainment. Hell, Owen Hart literally gave his life for wrestling, tragically dying in an entrance stunt gone wrong. The youngest of the legendary Hart family should be recognized for his stellar career, including multiple championship reigns, but litigation between Owen’s widow Martha and WWE will likely kibosh any chance that he makes it into the Hall of Fame. That’s incredibly sad, as Owen was a gifted entertainer who was able to shed the shadow of his renowned wrestling lineage and create a path for himself as a star technician, devoted family man, and infamous practical jokester.
Super Saturday Shot Day: DDT
- Rim glass with Honey and Cinnamon Sugar
- 0.5 oz Honey Whiskey
- 0.5 oz Cinnamon Whisky
- Dash of Tabasco Sauce
I left off sure-fire Hall of Famers who are still semi-active with WWE, including the Undertaker, Kane, Triple H, Chris Jericho, and others. I also didn’t give much thought to those without padded WWE resumes. Although the company has inducted some with little association to the company, they just wouldn’t be able to crack the top five presented here. In closing, I have to say that it’s about damn time that ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage was enshrined in this year’s class.
Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
The DDT, of course, is the finishing move made popular by WWE Hall of Fame member, Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts… you know, as well as being the infamous insecticide chemical! This shot was kind of neat, with the sweet Honey Whiskey coming through first, followed by the warmth of the Cinnamon Whiskey, and finally the burn of the Tabasco Sauce. It all makes for a cool (or hot) little shooter!