After many, many years of waiting; The Hart Foundation finally got their nod into the prestigious WWE Hall Of Fame.
Also getting the nod was the WCW iconic duo known as Harlem Heat. Of course, there are still many worthy acts that WWE has not gotten around to yet.
The following 12 acts have either been left out because of politics, apathy, or Vince not figuring out how to make money from their induction.
Regardless of the reason, they are way overdue.
1. The Great Muta
Muta is one of those guys that you may have heard of more than you’ve actually seen. He is one of the few wrestling acts that has managed to attain a sense of mystique.
Appearing in the midst of green smoke, Muta was a terrifying figure to behold. And then there was the purple face paint and the green mist leaking from his mouth.
He’s had several stunning matches including a classic against Riki Choshu where he won the IWGP Championship.
The first time I saw Muta was at Starrcade 89 against Sting. he was managed by Gary Hart (who should also be in The Hall of Fame). I was impressed with his submissions – especially the bridged chicken wing he pulled out of nowhere. It was also the first time I ever saw a moonsault. Muta’s influence can be seen in the high flying offense we’ve become accustomed to, from the likes of Ricochet and Kofi Kingston.
For that reason alone he deserves the nod.
WWE.com named him one of the greatest big men in history. That’s a nice sentiment but nowhere near what this man is owed considering his contribution to Vince’s kingdom.
He worked Madison Square Garden with Hulk, Jake The Snake, and Pat Patterson. None of those 3 guys have been excluded from the Hall or has struggled financially as Kamala has.
He suffered racist tirades from Andre The Giant and was repeatedly deceived by Vince MacMahon. Indeed, Vince reportedly told Kamala to lie about how much he was making to make WWE look more prosperous. He slept in rental cars and had to share rooms with 3 other talents just to survive.
The Hall of Fame comes with many bonuses besides the gold ring. You actually get a cheque up to and above $10,000 for certain acts. An induction also can raise your fee at conventions. Considering the way Kamala has been mistreated Vince should do the right thing, honour him with a ring and pay him a sizeable cheque.
The Ugandan Giant was one of Hulk Hogan’s greatest rivals, yet never made anywhere near the cash that Hogan brought in. Hulk even advised him to “take care of himself”. As great as Hulk was, it was the heels like The Iron Sheik, Roddy Piper, and Kamala that made him seem larger than life. Writers don’t get babyfaces over. Neither do the fans. It’s the heels that create your heroes. And no talent that has worked with Hulk has been underappreciated more than Kamala.
Yes, it’s nice she is going in with DX. but that’s just a cop-out. The Ninth Wonder of the World deserves better. I know there is a lot of bad blood because of the whole Triple H/Stephanie McMahon situation, but she was the victim in that story.
Of course, we should address the fact that she did some adult films, and this is one of the excuses Triple H gave for not inducting her, as if that Hall does not have accused rapists and murderers already in it. I would put being an adult film actress slightly below those crimes.
It’s very easy to get caught up in all the controversy that surrounded her and forget about how revolutionary her career was. Just look at her history shattering performance in The Royal Rumble.
And as the only women to ever win the Intercontinental Champion, Chyna is a true phenom. This lady has never gotten her respect. She deserves her own spotlight, not buried in the background, standing behind the men who betrayed her.
WWE needs to give her the respect they could not afford her when she was alive.
4. Arsenio Hall
Why is Arnold Schwarzenegger in the celebrity wing of The Hall of Fame? He’s done nothing, even as a celebrity entrant, to deserve it. Was there some sort of Terminator Film tie in? I think so.
Anyway Arsenio Hall had wrestlers on his popular 90’s show even before The Attitude Era, when guys like Jay Leno peddled to the fans. Unlike Leno, Arsenio was a true fan who had watched the product as a child. It’s obvious in his enthusiasm. He also knew how to interview them. Check out Arsenio with Ravishing Rick Rude and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. Rude’s swagger was off the charts!
Arsenio understood kayfabe. He knew when to be funny. He knew when to seem intimidated. That’s why Vince loved having talent on Arsenio because he knew the storylines and did a great job making the talent feel comfortable.
Perhaps Vince is still angry about Hulk Hogan’s ill-fated appearance when Arsenio asked him about steroids. But, hey that’s not Arsenio’s fault. He only asked the questions WWE was cool with.
He even had WWE wrestlers on his short-lived reboot. Stone Cold Steve Austin made an appearance discussing the WWE Network.
The celebrity wing is often mocked for having questionable entrants but with Arsenio Hall, WWE can reward the comic that gave them mainstream exposure to millions.
5. Earl Hebner
It’s way past time for WWE acknowledge referees. They are really the ones that sell these matches as a sport and they do it seamlessly.
The best ones are invisible.
That kind of goes against what Earl Hebner is known for. He’s possibly the most well-known ref in history. He had a truly historic impact on WWE. After all, he was the guy that had to escape Bret Hart’s ire after he conspired with Vince and Shawn Michaels to screw Bret in Montreal. It was a game-changing incident and Vince needed to trust that Hebner would do what was needed. Vince trusted him and that is a huge honor, in fact, the only greater honor would come in the form of a proper induction.
Some people still want to hold his part in that fiasco against him. That’s fair, but only if you plan on taking HBK out of the Hall. And let’s be honest that Hall is filled to the brim with liars, cheaters, and criminals. If anything he should be respected for taking that bullet for the company knowing it would alienate him from other wrestlers.
It’s a credit to his skills as a referee that he somehow maintained the respect of the locker room and continued to be the go-to guy for WWE.
6. Brooklyn Brawler
Yeah, I know you’ll say, “But, he’s a jobber.” I will say, “No. He’s talent enhancement.” I also believe that unlike most jobbers Brawler actually had a gimmick. He was a street tough that played by his own rules. A hooligan that always believed he was the best wrestler in the ring. That’s why he always patted himself on the back. It’s a great lesson for the kids. But seriously, Brawler helped elevate talent like The Rock and Shawn Michaels.
Steve Lombardi stayed employed with WWE for 32 years. Only Howard Finkel and Bruno can match that.
He also did radio shows, cold opens, and home videos for WWE. He was not just losing matches he was also a producer. That’s 17 years in the ring and 15 years working behind the scenes. He has paid his dues and deserves that ring!
7. Jim Cornette/The Midnight Express
Cornette has long been a controversial figure in pro wrestling, whether it’s his physical attack of Santino or his infamous short temper. But it’s more likely it’s his fights with WWE Executive Vice President Kevin Dunn, who he once called Bucky Beaver, that have kept him outside of WWE.
Vince has always respected Cornette, but it also seems like he could never quite control him, which is why Cornette ended up running OVW: still helping the company, but too far to induce headaches.
Regardless of that, he is widely seen as one of the greatest minds in the industry.
The Midnight Express is simply one of the greatest tag teams ever. Whether it was Beautiful Bobby Eaton and Dennis Condrey or Eaton and Stan Lane, they were as smooth and cohesive a unit that you will ever see. Think the Revival with a touch of The Bar and you’ll get a sense of how good they were. Not only did they have classic feuds with The Rock and Roll Express, but they also had what The Wrestling Observer called “The 1989 Feud of the Year” with The Fantastics.
In 2017 Cornette inducted The Rock and Roll Express into the Hall of Fame. This was seen by many as a dry run to gauge whether Cornette could be trusted with a mic. Frankly, The Rock and Roll Express should not have been entered in without The Midnight Express, and the Midnight Express should never go in unless Cornette is next to them.
8. Nikita Koloff
The Russian Nightmare never won the big one in NWA but was easily their top heel at a time. Nikita was a beast. He battled with Magnum TA, Dusty Rhodes and Ricky Morton all at the same time.
This guy would have been great in WWE. If only he had gotten that role as Ivan Drago in Rocky 4. He was 280 lbs, and Stallone was 160 lbs, so it turns out Koloff casts a shadow over Stallone when they were face to face. He was too big for Hollywood, but not too big for Vince.
Can’t you hear Vince McMahon seeing Nikita for the first time? “Godd**n! Look at that physique!”
When you look at Rusev, you are actually just seeing a Nikita Koloff knock off, minus the blonde.
Did you know that Nikita always stayed in character? My Dad met him at a grocery store and he was still speaking with the aggressive broken English. That’s a commitment to character that the current product is in dire need of.
9. Tony Schiavone
The voice of my childhood and the voice most people hear when you think of NWA/WCW. What I liked about Schiavone was that his matter of fact delivery and straight forward commentary.
He once said one of his biggest regrets was not working for WWE. Vince should have snapped him up after he bought WCW.
I can’t say I’m sure he would have fit in. I cannot imagine him putting on tights like Michael Cole, or kissing Vince’s a** like Jim Ross. Schiavone has always had a sense of dignity and respectability to him. He carried himself with class right up until WCW went out of business. And even then you never saw him haunting conventions. He moved on with his life. In fact, I think he ended up working at Starbucks for a while. You could catch him mopping the floor or taking out the trash.
That humility and dignity is something The WWE Hall of Fame could certainly use more of.
Put Tony Schiavone in the Hall of Fame. He would class up the joint.
10. Cyndi Lauper
Now that she has a Tony Award maybe Lauper is too good for WWE, but the offer should still be made. She was a huge factor in helping WWF make Wrestlemania a mainstream monster. How big was Lauper at the time of Wrestlemania? If you were not into her, you were into Madonna. It was really just those two. And it was a coup for WWE to get her.
The first time I ever saw Lauper she was dancing like a gypsy and screaming at Captain Lou. These were the early ties she had with wrestling.
She then popped up on Piper’s Pit, where she was attacked by Captain Lou, setting her up for her famous Wrestlemania appearance.
There was a beautiful callback to Lauper and Piper a few years ago. It was the last time we saw Cyndi in the company. In the segment, Roddy Piper gave her an award and called her “The best lady that has ever been paired with our business.” Nice sentiment, now give her the real thing.
11. Big Van Vader
Vader has actually been to The Hall of Fame, he inducted Stan Hansen, but the big man has not been given his rightful place in the Hall. I assumed and hoped he’d get in before his death, but it was not to be.
Leon White is widely considered to be the greatest big man ever. He had the flexibility of a cruiserweight. A multiple world champ that redefined what a giant could do in the squared circle.
Even if we disregard his work in WCW and WWE he would garner an induction simply from his work in Japan. He was an absolute sensation over there.
Has there ever been a wrestler that had a second act like Goldust? He
looks better now then ever and took a character most wrestlers would reject and turned it into gold (no pun intended).
Let’s be honest Dustin Runnels will never be a world champ but he deserves an early induction not just for overcoming his demons, but for creating a path for other bizarre acts. Goldust set the standard for sexually ambiguous characters like Velveteen Dream and Orlando Jordan.
His father will always be a wrestling legend, his brother will likely go down as one of the greatest minds in pro wrestling history, but both of them can’t hold a candle to him in the ring. I say let Goldust in the Hall then have him do the honours for Velveteen Dream in his final match.
A Hollywood ending for the Hollywood Superstar.
With a couple of weeks left, there is still a chance one of the these 12 makes it into this year’s class.