The WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2016 Induction is tonight! Here is my full preview of all the inductees.
His time in WWE has been limited and while considered still active we have not seen Sting in quite some time. His history in the business is long and important, every feud and match a step in his career. During his tenure he was a longer and when he had a partner they often turned on him while the fans never did.
Sting, in his more colorful days.
After joining NWA in 1987 and experiencing success, and a push in NWA, he challenged Flair for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. The match ended when the forty-five minute time limit expired but this would be just a footnote in the great Flair/Sting rivalry and while there would be stretches of them not facing each other the tension remained throughout their careers. After a brief stint as a tag partner with Dusty Rhodes Sting returned to singles competition and started with a one-hour draw against Ric Flair. Flair and Sting would continue to go about their business but, after Flair was attached at the Great American Bash Sting would come to his rival’s aid. Joining up with Flair they challenged Muta and Terry Funk and, at Halloween Havoc 1989, Flair and Sting defeated Funk and Muta in a Thunderdome Cage match.
Due to his alliance with Flair Sting was put into an alliance with the Four Horsemen. However, this alliance was short-lived as Sting defeated Flair for a shot at Flair’s NWA title. Soon, Sting wasn’t just rivals with Flair but with all the Horsemen. Sting would suffer an unfortunate injury, changing the storyline and forcing Sting to ally with another former rival, Lex Luger in an attempt to push Luger to win the title since he himself was not cleared to wrestle. Luger would attempt to save Sting from an attack with from the Horsemen but lost the match. Despite his injury Sting wasn’t off screen, instead used to further the storyline without wrestling (i.e. being attacked by the Horsemen backstage).
Ric Flair and Sting, battling it out as they did for most of their WCW careers.
Sting’s return to the ring was tainted by his being stalked by a figure called The Black Scorpion who taunted Sting. This feud continued until Starrcade: Collision Course. Sting would win the match, pinning and unmasking The Black Scorpion which turned out to be Flair. Black Scorpion & Sting promos, here.
Sting’s slow change to his darker persona also brought on the idea of the vigilante. He was the first to stand up to the “Outsiders” Kevin Nash and Scott Hall and eventually became one of the biggest rivals to the nWo. The nWo pretended that Sting was against WCW and at the Fall Brawl in September in 1996 an impostor version of Sting was on team nWo. Lex Luger’s refusal to believe that Sting wasn’t in on it spurned Sting into action. Sting entered the match, took out the nWo members and then left team WCW to fend for themselves. The next night on Nitro Sting went on a tirade about how everyone doubted him, how he was tired of the doubt and of the those that did not believe in him. Instead Sting announced that he would be a free agent.
After this infamous moment Sting disapeared from WCW for a time until, when the impostor Sting was wrestling Mr. JL he returned wearing his now trademark trenchcoat and face paint. After taking out the impostor and refusing to cut a deal with the nWo he became a silent vigilante, carrying a baseball bat and styled after the film The Crow.
See the moment here.
To this day there are aspects of the Eric Draven character in Sting’s persona, the face paint being the most obvious physically and the vigilante mind-set not only makes him a fan favorite but links him permanently to the Draven character which, for me, is one of the connections to pop culture that stands the test of time.
Sting’s more recent face paint style.
In his recent time in WWE Sting kept up his vigilante tactics, challenging The Authority and assisting those that worked to opposed and take down the powers that be in the WWE. His mysterious movements, motives and the question of whether or not he’ll even be on a show always draws fan interest. Perhaps one of my favorite surprise Sting moments from his time in WWE is when he arrived to provide Randy Orton with some back up and take down the Authority. Watch the moment here.
Whether you know Sting from the WCW days or his stint in WWE you have to know one thing, he’s the only one like him in the history of the business.
Charles Wright, best known for his character The Godfather, wasn’t always performing under this moniker/ characterization. He went through a variety of characters before he became popular with the fans and it stand to reason that, given his induction into the Hall of Fame this year that he won’t ever truly be forgotten.
In 1991 We first saw Wright in WWF under the name “Sir Charles”, an underdeveloped and barely remembered character that wore long robes to the ring. Wright himself has admitted this was brief and forgettable as he himself only recalls the robes.
In January of 1992 WWF tried to give Wright a more substantial character in Papa Shango. While a bit more effort was put into the character it bombed completed. A voodoo practitioner that carried a skull to the ring and cast spells during a match to gain the advantage. Fans reacted poorly to the character, voting it Worst Gimmick and Most Embarrassing Wrestler in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter in 1992. The character was dropped and forgotten about.
Wright worked outside WWF for a few years but returned in 1994 under the ring name Kama. Kama was booked as the “Supreme Fighting Machine” and joined up with Ted DiBiase’s Million Dollar Corporation. While in that stable he took the Undertaker’s urn and interfered on the Stables behalf for some time before leaving WWF in 1996 once more as there was nothing for him and the character had again failed to take off.
He would return in 1997 as Kama Mustafa as part of the Nation of Domination which put him into an instant feud with the Disciples of the Apocalypse and Los Boricuas. This was a “gang warfare” angle that did well but soon all parties within the angle were moving on to other characters and angles. Wright, for his part, became known as “The Godfather” of the Nation, which lead to the name being popular and becoming his new character gimmick thereafter.
Wright as The Godfather, Kama and Papa Shango.
In 1998 The Godfather debuted his “Hoes” during a tag match with fellow Nation of Domination member Mark Henry. When the Nation of Domination disbanded Wright moved on to his well known gimmick.
The Godfather character was surrounded by “hoes” every time he entered the ring. The “hoes” were usually women from the local strip clubs or, in some cases, young Diva talent that was not yet debuting on the roster (Lita and Victoria among them). The Godfather offered his girls to his opponents if they forfeited the matches to him. The Godfather often used his girls ot his advantage and this was a very popular portion of his gimmick. Opponents, tag team partners and even referees were often seduced by the girls, leaving Wright to do as he pleased.
Lita as one of the Godfather’s hoes.
When Smackdown! moved to UPN the Parents Television Council took notice of the WWF programming and proclaimed that it was severely inappropriate. The Godfather character was targeted throughout this time period and, as a result of the censorship he went through, the character’s popularity suffered. The WWF decided to take the controversy and mock it by creating the group Right to Censor. Steven Richards led this group of conservative wrestlers. These wrestlers often challenged others and, if they lost, they would have to stop their inappropriate behavior. The Godfather lost to Bull Buchanan and, as a result, had to give up his pimp lifestyle. He changed his name to The Goodfather and won the World Tag Team Championship with Buchanan.
When the Invasion story line began the stable, and gimmick, was dropped in favor of the focus being on the Invasion story line. In 2002 the Godfather returned, claiming to have formed a legitimate escort service. When the brand split took place he was on Smackdown! but his time there was short lived. He retired from wrestling in 2002. Since then we have seen The Godfather a few times, interrupting Viscera’s marriage proposal to Lilian Garcia, entered the 2013 Royal Rumble and, on the 15th Anniversary of Raw he allowed Hornswoggle to join his Ho Train.
On February 22, 2916 it was announced that The Godfather would be inducted into the Hall of Fame by John Bradshaw Layfield and Ron Simmons.
The Fabulous Freebirds
Michael Hayes, Terry Gordy, Buddy Roberts and Jimmy Garvin. The Fabulous Freebirds. While they are better known for their time spent in WCW they did have a short stint in WWF but their impact lives on.
In 1979 Bill Watts brought together Michael Hayes, Terry Gordy and Buddy Roberts. They became a sort of gang, instead of being a strictly two-man tag team they often cycled through partnerships during matches. Their feud with the Von Erichs was outstanding and long lasting which is perhaps why Kevin Von Erich is going to induct them into the Hall of Fame. I admit, I don’t know much about them as they were before “my time” aka I was too little to be in the room when this was on TV. Still, I looked into videos and articles about this group and honestly, I was not disappointed.
The Von Erichs (left side) and the Fabulous Freebirds (right side).
Not only were their matches spectacular but any interaction between the groups was always on point, giving the best show they could for the crowd. In one of their memorable moments, in which the Von Erichs were defending the Six Man World Heavyweight Title we saw Kevin, David and Kerry Von Erich square off against Michael Hayes, Terry Gordy and Buddy Roberts. At the onset of this match Kevin Von Erich has something important to say to the Freebirds and the crowd.
“Hey Freebirds, you listen to me and you listen good! You got everybody in the world believing this is a war between Texas and Georgia. and i have relatives that died under the southern flag and i’ll tell you right now this war is not between Texas and Georgia. It’s between decency and filth!”
See the rest of the match, promo to finish here.
As for their short time in WWF the rumor goes that their WWF time was limited after an incident with Andre the Giant. In the story relayed by Bret Hart, the Freebirds had arrived late to a show (allegedly drunk) which upset Andre. He saw this as unprofessional and apparently told them they were fired. The next day they were no longer with the company.
After WWF they worked in a few other promotions before the group disbanded in 1994 after fifteen years together.
Since their time as wrestlers Gordy, Roberts and another member who joined the group later in it’s legacy, Brad Armstrong (Badstreet) have all since passed away. Hayes and Garvin will be inducted while Gordy and Roberts will be inducted posthumously. Badstreet, as well as other that were affiliated with the group will not be inducted as they were not part of the original group.
A notable part of this legacy rests in “The Freebird Rule”. “The Freebird Rule” states that any two of the three members of the group could defend the tag team titles on any night, as they saw fit. This rule has been used in many promotions for many titles, both tag and single titles. In WCW The Wolfpac (Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and Syxx) used it. When a title is co-held, such as it was with Chyna and Chris Jericho co-holding the WWF Intercontinental Championship. The New Day currently uses this tactic though we more often than not see Kofi Kingston and Big E Langston in the ring with Xavier Woods outside of it.
What is your favorite memory of the Fabulous Freebirds? Share in the comments so I can learn more about these legendary inductees!
Stan Hansen. I’ll admit I don’t know much about the man but here is what I have learned through some digging and the power of the internet. John Stanley “Stan” Hansen was known for his stiff wrestling style and his loud, rowdy cowboy gimmick. It appears he became more popular internationally, especially in Japan, than in the US.
Hansen, ready for a fight.
Like so many wrestler Hansen was a football player before finding his way into wrestling. In 1976 Hansen made his debut for the World Wide Wrestling Federation and quickly began to feud with the Heavyweight Champion Bruno Sammartino over the title. During a title match Hansen broke Sammartino’s neck (during a botched powerslam). When Sammartino recovered Hansen faced him for the title but was unsuccessful in take the title off of his opponent. He left the promotion briefly before returning to feud with Sammartino and Andre the Giant. He feuded with Bob Backlund, a feud that culminated in a steel cage match at Madison Square Garden.
He then competed in the American Wrestling Association where he won the World Heavyweight Championship. He also wrestled for New Japan Pro Wrestling where he had a nasty encounter with Big Van Vader. Both men were known to be stiff in the ring and, when fighting for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, exchanged legitimate punches. (Vader had been struck in the eye by Hansen’s bull rope, angering Vader and, ultimately, leading to the match ending in a draw.)
In All Japan Pro Wrestling he succeeded in both singles and tag competition, tagging with Ted Dibiase, Terry Gordy and even his former opponent, Big Van Vader. You can see one of Hansen’s physical AJPW match here.
Their alliance was over quickly and, when battling in Tokyo Dome for the championship Hansen poked Vader’s right eye with his thumb, causing Vader’s eye to pop out of the socket. Vader, mid-match, pushed his eye back into the socket and continued wrestling. The match ended in a no-contest due to the injury. (If you want to see the gross-out moment you can watch it here but I don’t recommend it. Happens around 1:56. Again, a severely gross moment but if that’s you’re thing, go ahead.)
Hansen then returned to the United States wrestling in WCW where he feuded with Lex Leuger and teamed with Dan Spivey throughout his time in WCW. After his brief run in WCW Hansen returned to AJPW before retiring in 2001.
One thing I can’t help but notice with Stan Hansen is how similar his appearance is to that of a certain former wrestler/ commentator JBL.
Both men wore hats to the ring, chaps, carried bull-ropes and fit neatly into the rowdy cowboy gimmick.
Hansen stayed in the wrestling scene, working as the commissioner of AJPW before officially retiring from the wrestling circuit.
Can anyone tell me more about Stan Hansen? I feel like I don’t know near enough about the man going into the Hall of Fame.
Big Boss Man
A former prison guard Ray “Bubba” Washington Traylor, Jr. worked for Jim Crockett promotions and Universal Wrestling Federation before joining the WWF. In June 1988 he entered the WWF as “Big Boss Man” fashioned after his time as a prison guard. He was a heel character and, after his matches, he would handcuff his defeated opponents and beat them with a nightstick.
After defeating Koko B. Ware at the first ever SummerSlam Boss Man began his first major storyline by attack Hulk Hogan. During this feud with Hogan he challenged Randy Savage for the title, formed a team with Akeem (the Twin Towers) and this would lead to many battles between the team of Savage and Hogan (The Mega Powers) and the Twin Towers. Savage would turn on Hogan but Hogan would defeat the Twin Towers alone. At WrestleMania V the Twin Towers defeated The Rockers and went on to feud with Demolition over the Tag Team Championship.
Boss Man’s feud with Hogan ran concurrently with the Demolition feud. During a steel cage match against Hogan Boss Man would be superplexed off the top of the cage. Like most tag teams Akeem and Boss Man would go their seperate ways, battling each other at WrestleMania VI. He began working as a face character, making peace with Hogan and teaming up with him in the 1990 Summerslam. He feuded with Bobby Heenan and the Heenan Family anger Heenan continually insulted Boss Man’s mother.
In 1993, after he lost to Bam Bam Bigelow at the Royal Ruble he departed the WWF and worked in All Japan Pro Wrestling. He worked there briefly, tagging with Stan Hansen, Kendall Windham or “Dr. Death” Steve Williams.
After his run there Boss Man began working in World Championship Wrestling. While in WCW he worked as “The Boss” but, when the WWF took issue with the legality of the name similarities he began working under the name “The Guardian Angel.” He worked several feuds in his time at WCW but, when his contract expired Boss Man decided not to renegotiate.
In 1998 he returned to the WWF as the Big Boss Man and served as Vince McMahon’s bodyguard during the McMahon’s feud with Stone Cold Steve Austin and feuded with D-Generation X. While in McMahon’s stable, The Corporation, Boss Man was often the bodyguard for the members and he formed a tag team with Ken Shamrock, winning the Tag Team Championship. He also won the Hardcore Championship and, during the Corporation’s feud with the Undertaker, fought the Undertaker at Wrestlemania XV.
After his match with the Undertaker at Wrestlemania XV Boss Man was hung, using a concealed body harness for safety to perform the illusion.
Wrestlemania XV was a Hell in a Cell match and, after losing to the Undertaker, Boss Man was “hung” from the roof of the cage, a symbol of the Undertaker’s unholy ways. See the end of the match and infamous moment here. Boss Man also feuded with Al Snow and The Big Show. He briefly formed a tag team with Bull Buchanan (his protégé) before the team split after Boss Man, angry after losing a match, knocked Buchanan out. Boss Man would work the secondary television shows like Sunday Night Heat and work in a few lesser known storylines before being assigned to work in the developmental system with newer talents. He was released from the WWE in 2003.
After leaving he worked with the International Wrestling Association of Japan before retiring from wrestling. He died in 2004 of a heart attack.
What was your favorite Boss Man moment?
Jacqueline DeLois Moore began her career in professional wrestling after she met Skandor Akbar and joined his wrestling school in Dallas, TX. She wrestled in Japan for Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling, Ladies Professional Wrestling Association and Women’s Pro Wrestling. In 1991 she joined United States Wrestling Association in Memphis where she was known as Miss Texas. She was valet to Eric Embry and Tom Prichard as part of Team Texas during the Texas v. Tennessee feud. She feuded directly with Dirty White Girl Kim Anthony and battled her in a mudpit match and a Hair v. Hair match. Kim Anthony won and Jacqueline had to have her head shaved.
She would later become the first ever USWA Women’s Champion, the first to win in the tournament for the title in 1992. After her time is USWA she would come to the WWF under the ring name Wynonna, managing Jeff Jarrett. She wasn’t popular and would soon join Smoky Mountain Wrestling under the name Sgt. Rock in Jim Cornette’s Militia before moving on to WCW.
She debuted as Sweet Georgia Brown as the manager of Kevin Sullivan whom she helped by body slamming his opponents. She aided him in his feud with Chris Benoit and Sullivan’s ex-wife, known as Woman. Her alliance with Sullivan ended when she turned on him in Loser Must Retire match. She moved on to manage Harlem Heat before she moved on, returning to WWF.
When she returned to the WWF in 1998 on June 1st she debuted as the on-screen girlfriend of Marc Mero. This lead to her feud with the estranged wife of Mero, Sable. Sable defeated Moore in a bikini contest at Fully Loaded. Moore and Mero were defeated by Edge and Sable at SummerSlam that year before she won her first WWF Women’s Championship title. Sable would take the title off of her at Survivor Series.
Jacqueline with the WWF Women’s Championship title.
Soon Jacqueline formed Pretty Mean Sisters with Terri Runnels and Ryan Shamrock. (Shamrock’s role was short-lived in this group.) Terri Runnels, recently separated from her husband Goldust, entered the ring with Jacqueline during Raw, in which both their former men (Marc Mero and Goldust) were competing. The women simultaneously low-blowed their former love interests. The group of women were manipulative, Runnels even going so far as to claim she miscarried after D-Lo Brown knocked her from the ring apron. D-Lo became a servant for the women until finding out the truth, starting a feud with the group.
PMS, with “Meat” from left to right, Shamrock, Runnels, “Meat” and Jacqueline.
Shawn Stasiak, going by the name “Meat” became a sort of “love slave” for the women, fighting for them and being at their call whenever they needed him. The storyline was that the women would also use Meat for sexual desires and when Teri, again in storyline, exhausted him sexually for hours on end before matches he would then lose the matches. The group came to an end shortly thereafter.
In 2000 Jacqueline won her second Women’s Championship from “Hervina” (Harvey Wippleman in drag). She would successfully defend the title against Luna Vachon before losing the title to Stephanie McMahon who had help from D-Generation X.
Next she feuded with Ivory who was a part of the Right to Censor team, starred as a trainer on the first ever Tough Enough and feuded with Victoria, Stratus and Jazz. Her appearances decreased overtime however she did win the WWE Cruiserweight Championship after then champion, Chavo Guerrero, issued an open challenge. She lost the title back to him in a match in which Chavo had one hand tied behind his back. See Jacqueline’s win as the only woman to hold the title under the WWE re-branded banner here.
I remember watching Jacqueline’s match against Chavo and being annoyed, not only with Chavo’s blatant lack of respect for her as an opponent but the questioning of the announcers. Tazz can be heard saying “She must be bringing someone out here, like a valet…who is she going to bring out here?” Even though it was near the end of her career Jacqueline had one more moment in the spotlight to show that women could be tough and should be taken more seriously in the ring. Instead, WWE had her win by low-blowing Chavo and rolling him up. Still, she’d won a title predominantly held by men. The re-match for this title was sort of like WWE backpedaling on their decision to show her as tough and all it did was make her reign look like a bit of a fluke. I remember wishing she had lost the title in a more serious match.
After her short reign she was soon released from the company and moved on to the independent circuit and TNA.
She was tough while being attractive and she did a good job on the inaugural season of Tough Enough. Jacqueline may not have been as popular as other women in the WWF/WWE but she has definitely earned her place.
What is your favorite Jacqueline moment?
Tags: Hall of Fame, hall of fame 2016, WWE, wwe hall of fame, wwe hall of fame 2016