Tomorrow night seven individuals will get inducted into wrestling royalty in the 2017 WWE Hall of Fame. Here are my thoughts on all the participants getting inducted as well as a brief recap of their legendary careers.
Before Kurt Angle became a living legend in the WWE he took a non-traditional path to the company. Angle was loved amateur wrestling he became a two-time All-American and a two-time NCAA Champion while wrestling for Clarion University in his home state of Pennsylvania. Then he made history as he won two gold medals in wrestling at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. Angle overcame adversity when he won those gold medals with a broken neck.
In 1998, Angle made the jump from amateur to professional wrestling as he signed with WWE. Angle made, impact when made his debut at Survivor Series 1999. He picked up the first win of an undefeated streak that saw Angle capture the European and Intercontinental Championships. At No Mercy back in 2000, Angle achieved the highest honor when he defeated The Rock to capture his first WWE Championship.
Angle has pretty-much-done everything in wrestling. His resume includes four reigns as WWE Champion, a World Heavyweight Championship, the WCW, United States, Hardcore, Intercontinental and World Tag Team Championships. In addition, Angle was the 2000 King of the Ring.
The Rock N Roll Express
Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson formed the Rock N Rock became a tag team in 1983. The Rock N Roll Express got their first break in Memphis Wrestling courtesy of Jerry The King. That being said they never looked back and they became stars.
It’s no surprise that the Rock N Express were superstars due to their typically 80’s look With long, flowing hair and bandanas adorning their flashy ring gear.
Morton and Gibson had captured the Mid-South Tag Team Titles on three occasions. They also captured the NWA World Tag Team Titles on four occasions.
Theodore Long’s story in the wrestling industry has been absolutely unbelievable which lasted 30 years. He started as ring crew with Jim Crockett Promotions, then moved on to World Championship Wrestling, and then an eventually a position as an official NWA referee.
Long made a transition to becoming a manager in the late 80’s. His first success as a manager stint came when he took control of DoomUnderrateda tag team of Ron Simmons and Butch Reed. Simmons and Reed captured the WCW World Tag Team Titles from the Steiner Brothers. Long helped guide the careers of several wrestlers such as Chris Jericho, Johnny B. Badd, Ice Train and One Man Gang and many others.
In 1998, Long came to the WWE in a familiar role being a referee. Then by 2002, he started to manage once again D-Lo Brown, Rodney Mack, and Jazz, later adding Christopher Nowinski, Mark Henry, and Mark Jindrak. However, it was not as successful as it was before.
To many wrestling fans Long will always remember as a General Manager. He was made the SmackDown GM in 2004, Long became the first African-American to hold the position. He was also the ECW general manager.
Diamond Dallas Page
In the 90’s during the Monday night wars and Diamond Dallas Page was an underrated story in WCW. Due to the fact that WCW was filled with heavy hitters Hogan, Nash, Hall, Macho, Man Goldberg, and nWo. As a 35-year-old rookie, he exceeded all expectations and over a lot of adversity.
He won the WCW TV Championship as a villain but he really broke out when he started to feud with the nWo. The nWo made him an offer he couldn’t resist to their faction. However, Page thought differently and gave a Diamond Cutter to Nash and Hall.
Battling the nWo
DDP one of his best feuds in WCW was against the late great Macho Man Randy Savage. Then one of the biggest matches in WCW, was when basketball and Wrestling clashed for one night only. Page teamed up with one of the best big men in basketball at the time Basketball Hall of Famer Karl Malone to take on Dennis Rodman and Hollywood Hogan.
DDP was known for his work ethic and it finally paid at Years of hard work finally paid off for DDP at Spring Stampede 1999. He defeated a trio of wrestling legends in Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, and Sting and it marked his first WCW World Championship reign.
Page went on to capture the title on two more occasions. Eventually, he made the jump to the WWE in 2002 but it was lackluster. That being said, DDP went on to win the European Championship. Page went on to successfully defended it at WrestleMania X8 against Christian.
Beth Phoenix first arrived in the WWE in 2006, and at the time women’s division was weak because Trish Stratus Lita was on the way out.
Phoenix at the time she was the strongest women in the since Chyna. Phoenix “The Glamazon” because she destroyed all of the competition and very few woman could complete with her.
Beth Phoenix and Santino Marella made unlikely couple called Glamarella and they were hilarious and entertaining. They made history together at SummerSlam 2008. Phoenix won herself a second Women’s Championship and Marella won the Intercontinental Title in a Winner Take All Tag Team Match.
During her time with the WWE, she accomplished everything in wrestling. Phoenix won WWE Women’s Championship three times and the Divas Championship before she retired in 2012. She also won a Slammy Award for the Diva of the year back in 2008.
Phoenix was the second woman ever to enter the Royal Rumble Match. She surprising eliminated the Great Khali, in 2010 she gave him a kiss before she tossed him over the ropes. She made history once again being involved in the first ever Tables Match to feature women at WWE TLC PPV back in 2010.
Ravishing Rick Rude
It’s about time that “Ravishing” Rick Rude got inducted into the 2017 Hall of Fame. In the 80’s there were many wrestlers in excellent shape but few looked liked Rude. At 6-foot-3, 252 pounds he had a chiseled physique of a Greek god, that would make all the woman scream.
Don’t get it twisted Rude could go in the ring and on the mic with the best of them. He had a devastating Neckbreaker called Rude Awakening. According to Pro Wrestling Illustrated Most Hated Wrestler of the Year 1992. In addition, Pro Wrestling Illustrated ranked him fourth out of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 1992.
Rude picked up many titles over his career such as WCW International World Heavyweight Championship three times. In addition to the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship. He won multiple tag team titles but most notably he won NWA World Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Championship with Manny Fernandez. The Ravishing One went on to defeat The Ultimate Warrior to become Intercontinental Champion at WrestleMania V in 1989.
Rude re-emerged in the WWE back in 1997 as “insurance policy” of the infamous D-Generation X. Later that year, he decided to go back to WCW, and join another hot faction in the New World Order. Rude remained with WCW until early 1999.
Story behind the award
The Warrior Award is presented to an individual who has exhibited unwavering strength and perseverance. In addition, a person who lives life with the same spirit of Ultimate Warrior.
LeGrand was a key player on the Rutgers University football team before a spinal cord injury sustained during a game in October 2010 left him paralyzed from the neck down. LeGrand’s did not give up and he was relentless with his rehabilitation captured the attention of the nation.
He launched his sports broadcasting career as an analyst for Rutgers Football Radio Network. LeGrand founded the charity Team LeGrand of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation in 2013. LeGrand has now turned tragic life altering moment in a positive as he is now a motivational speaker. His mission is raising funds for research to find a cure for paralysis and to help improve the quality of life for people with spinal cord injuries WWE will make a $25,000 donation to Team LeGrand.