Thanks to Steven Tei for sending us an extended recap of last night’s annual 2011 WWE Hall of Fame ceremony last night from Atlanta, Georgia:
The set that they used was the same as the titantron set that you see on RAW, NXT, Superstars or SmackDown, although it did look classy and gave the WWE Hall of Fame its own feel this year. They played the WWE All-Stars trailer before the WWE Hall of Fame began so many times, that I lost count, although it is a good way to promote it to fans in the arena, who had not bought the game yet.
Jerry Lawler was announced as the host of this year’s WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Lawler said that he would like to welcome everyone to the WWE Hall of Fame, noting that its one of his favourite nights of the year. Lawler then said that some day, the stars sitting in front of us will be in the WWE Hall of Fame and asked us to show our appreciation for the current WWE Superstars. Lawler then talked about patriotism in wrestling and say that no one embodied it more than Hacksaw Jim Duggan.
“Hacksaw” Jim Duggan
They played Hacksaw’s induction video and “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase came out. DiBiase said that he was honored to be standing on the same stage just one year ago, being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame and he is even more honored to induct a good friend that he has known for many years into the WWE Hall of Fame this year. DiBiase teased that he would drop money for the fans, before saying, how does it feel to want it. DiBiase talked about the passion that Duggan had in all sports and discussed his High School and College sports career as well as the Atlanta Falcons. DiBiase noted that he first met Duggan 30 years ago, in 1981, while teaming with Tommy Rich.
DiBiase told a funny story about the time that Duggan busted his head open on a bolt inside the ring. DiBiase said that Hacksaw was pacing the locker room angry after that and had bandages on his head that slipped up, so he looked like a conehead and when he saw himself in the mirror, Hacksaw laughed it off and went out to work a Battle Royal match. DiBiase spoke about the Tuxedo match he had against Duggan as well as Duggan beating cancer.
Hacksaw came out, accompanied with a 2×4 and said it had been 30 years since he became a wrestler, and that he couldn’t imagine that meeting Fritz von Erich by chance would change his life and open the door into wrestling. Hacksaw talked about working as Big Jim Duggan and how Arnold Skaaland told him to come up with a better name. Hacksaw talked about how he wrestled as The Convict in Hawaii and wrestled in Georgia Championship Wrestling, where he met DiBiase and the late Terry “Bam Bam” Gordy, who he said was a great friend. Hacksaw then went on to discuss competing as Wildman Duggan, before eventually becoming Hacksaw Jim Duggan. Hacksaw said that Bruiser Brody, his mentor, advised him to carry something to the ring that he could use, which is how the 2×4 started off.
Hacksaw talked about his big break, while working for Bill Watts and said that he still remembers Ted DiBiase joining forces with Skandar Akbar and how he helped to defend America, which drew U-S-A chants from the crowd. Hacksaw said that his greatest accomplishment in his career, was having the honor of main eventing at MSG against Andre The Giant. Hacksaw said that working for the WWE changed his life, in ways that he can’t explain. Hacksaw talked about joining WCW and how Atlanta was an important part of his career and how he is now being inducted in the Hall of Fame here. Duggan said that he had wrestled worldwide and had the opportunity to wrestle his friends children. Hacksaw said that he was never in a group or a clique of wrestlers and his clique was the American flag and his trusty 2×4. Hacksaw thanked his sister and his parents and asked his daughters to rise out of their seats so he could thank them. Hacksaw thanked his wife for her support over the years, and thanked the Armed Forces, before leaving the saying “Hoooooooooooooooooo!”
Jerry Lawler came out and introduced a video on the second inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame, “Bullet” Bob Armstrong.
“Bullet” Bob Armstrong
Brian, Scott and Brad Armstrong came out to Road Dogg’s “Oh You Didn’t Know” theme song, minus the fourth brother, Steve. Road Dogg said that he had something to say and that he was going to break character and shoot. Road Dogg thanked the fans for their support of the Armstrong family and noted that 50 years ago, Bob Armstrong became engaged to his mother and to wrestling and that Bob Armstrong’s two loves, still love him. Brian said that watching the video of his father made him prouder of his Dad, than he has ever been and then introduced his father.
Bob came out and joked that he was asleep a few times. Bob thanked the WWE for the honor of the induction and said that Steve could not make it, but he will see him soon. Bob said that he may have had 4 sons, but his wife raised 5 boys, including himself. Bob said that his wife had the best wristlock in the business, because she could apply it on the boys if they were too rough, acting like their father. Bob said that he would like to thank her for never giving up on him over all the years.
Bob says that he remembers seeing his first match back in 1942, as if it was only yesterday. Bob discussed seeing Gorgeous George, when he came to Marietta, Georgia and said that George sold out the house that night, because he went to ladies beauty parlor that day. Bob said that Marietta had a record from that night, that was never broken. Bob discussed how he asked his father, despite being 6 years old, to take him to see wrestling. Bob said that when he saw George, it was like watching an angel floating across the ring. Bob also discussed George and his bobby pin.
Bob discussed how he wanted to be a wrestler and became one, even though he still held a job as a firefighter at the time, before he eventually decided on being a wrestler full-time. Bob said that tonight showed he made the right decision and thanked everyone for coming out.
Lawler came out and said that there is not a bigger fan of the WWE Divas in the company, than him. A video highlighting Sunny was aired.
“The Original Diva” Sunny
Nearly every Diva came out to induct Sunny. Lay-Cool said that no one paid to see this and that the fans came to see them. Michelle said that she was speechless, to which Layla said that’s a first. Lay-Cool said it was not about them tonight, but instead someone who made it possible for them to be what they are today. They said that the term WWE Diva, would not exist without Sunny and that she was groundbreaking and ahead of social media for her time, by being one of the most downloaded women ever. Lay-Cool said that Sunny was the original Diva and now the WWE Hall of Fame had become…..FLAWLESS.
Sunny came out and pointed at the WWE Divas, stating that look at what she started. Sunny said that she is still in shock at her Hall of Fame induction and said that her life was a rollercoaster, but has come full circle. Sunny talked about being a huge fan of wrestling and the wrestlers she met when she was a child. Sunny said that she never intended to get into the business and noted that she was just the girlfriend of Chris Candido, which drew “Chris Candido” chants from the crowd.
Sunny talked about going to Smoky Mountain Wrestling, courtesy of Jim Cornette and how she wanted to go into medical school. Sunny said that 2 years after, she was offered a WWE tryout and that she flew to Stamford, Connecticut on her birthday. Sunny said that she had no idea how to be an announcer, and that she had a terrible audition. She said that at that time, she put a chance in the WWE at the back of her mind, but was surprised when they asked her to start several weeks later. Sunny noted that she began working as Tamara Lynn Murphy and how just six months later, Sunny was born. Sunny said that she showed to the fans that a woman could be a referee, an announcer and a manager and talked about doing the first on-location bikini video.
Sunny said that there might have been a debate on who the first Diva in the WWE was, but they can now put that debate to rest. Sunny thanked her parents and her boyfriend and thanked makeup artists for making her look great and for the WWE having her back. Sunny noted that she is the youngest WWE Hall of Fame inductee and said that she could be back for another run, because “What Sunny Wants, Sunny Gets”.
Jerry Lawler came out and introduced Terry Funk who was inducting Abdullah The Butcher.
Abdullah The Butcher
Funk said that it was time to get down to the real deal and induct Abby and said that Abby may have been an ugly guy, but he was tough and that he and Dory Funk had a love-hate relationship with Abby. Terry said that The Funks hated to wrestle Abdullah, but they loved the money it brought in. Funk said that Abdullah put asses in seats, night in, night out. Funk did a Dusty Rhodes impression and discussed facing Abby in Japan. Funk told a funny story about how a ref named Joe Higuchi was told by Funk that there was an object in his pants, to which the ref said, we all have objects in there. Funk said that Abby pulled out a fork and put a fork in him every night in Tokyo, Osaka, Sapporo and everywhere else in Japan until the returned to Texas. Funk said that Abby made the brutality beautiful and made him so much money, that he would marry Abby if he could.
Abdullah came out and teased that he would use the fork on Funk. He said that he received a phonecall at 3 in the morning from Johnny Ace and was told that the company wanted to induct him into the Hall of Fame. Abby said that he punched himself in the face and asked who it was because it was so late. Abby said that he wished his parents were here and got a bit emotional but said that his 90-year old aunt is here with his friends and family. Abdullah said that he was really happy to be here and inducted into the Hall of Fame, but says he wishes Johnny Ace was here, so he could stick that fork in his head. Abdullah said that he has been around a long time, thanks to the man upstairs and thanked everyone for coming out.
Jerry Lawler introduced Dusty Rhodes, following the airing of a Road Warriors video.
Road Warriors (Animal and Hawk w/Paul Ellering)
Dusty said that tonight was a powerful night and that this year’s class, set the table for the stars of today. Dusty talked about Paul Ellering and said that he was the real deal and how he and the Warriors had crossed paths early in their careers. Dusty talked about Hawk, who he said he loved to call Hank and said that only the good guys die young, which Hawk was proof of. Dusty said that Hawk didnt slow down for anyone and ran his life hard and said that his presence is being felt tonight even though he is no longer with us. Dusty said Hawk was a good friend and we miss him dearly. Dusty talked about Animal and said that Animal would puff up like a frog when he was mad, but Animal was a leader and one of the most powerful wrestlers around. Dusty said that Animal was a loving father and joked about his son’s (James Laurinaitis) NFL career. Dusty said that Road Warriors were the best tag-team of all time and told how Animal had his back during a bar fight. Dusty said that it was his honor to induct the Road Warriors.
Ellering came out, carrying a rolled up Wall Street Journal and both he and Animal thanked Dusty. Animal said that they started their careers right here in Georgia and told how they were told by Ole Anderson that they needed to get over by attacking Dusty Rhodes, and that they didnt know what that meant at the time. Animal said that they were told to open Dusty up and still didnt understand what was being said and that they were told not to let anyone in the ring to interfere and how Stan Hansen was told to get in the ring and take out the Warriors. Animal said that it was all a rib that ended with him outside the ring crying and him pulling a knocked out Hawk from the ring. Animal said that he would like to thank Dusty for seeing something in them that they didnt see in themselves at the time and will always be indebted to Dusty for what he did for their careers.
Paul Ellering said that he was thinking that Road Warriors would never make it to the Hall of Fame and Animal said that they were very blessed and thanked Jesus for allowing him to be in this business. Animal talked about all the titles that Road Warriors had won and said he would give them all up for this night. Ellering said that Road Warriors were just kids without adult supervision and that he became the adult.
Animal said all the tough wrestlers came from the Minnesota area like Rick Rude, Nikita Koloff and Demolition Smash. Animal discussed how he learned a lesson of humility from Roddy Piper and told how he said that he wanted to learn how to control the crowd, to which Piper said that he didnt have it to do so. Animal said that he and Piper still joke about that today. Animal discussed how he was put to sleep by Johnny Weaver and said that it was a learning experience in the business.
Ellering said that they give thanks for being named a symbol of excellence in the business. Animal started talking about his family and thanked his father, before discussing his father’s views on him wanting to be a wrestler. Animal thanked his brothers for being here and asked his wife Julie to stand and said that she was a true saint and thanked her for her support. Animal said his son Joe is a hero and said he thanks him for fighting in Iraq. Animal thanked his son James, who got a pop from the crowd. Animal said that James was always his buddy and might be a strong guy, but he turned back into a little kid, when he heard his Dad would be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Animal also thanked his daughter.
Ellering thanked his family and his wrestling family for allowing him to have a good career. Ellering said that tonight is about the fans. Animal said that they helped feed them and fuel them and thanked the fans. Ellering said that he was proud of being part of something special. Ellering said Hawk was a son, a brother, a warrior and a friend and that today, they are dancing to the music that Hawk plays. Ellering said that Hawk was a friend to all that knew him. Ellering said that the day Hawk passed away, he knew Hawk would have wanted a celebration of his life, a life he loved and that Hawk only lived to make one person proud and that was his wife, Dale. Animal and Ellering thanked everyone for the induction, before unveiling a Hawk action figure. Ellering said that Hawk may no longer be with us, but he is on the podium with the greatest tag-team in the business and is with them in spirit. Ellering said that he misses Hawk and that Hawk might not have been an angel, but he knows one angel and that angel will forever say…. “Ohhhhh What A Rush!”
Jerry Lawler talked about Drew Carey, before showing the video, which fans booed.
Kane came out and talked about eliminating 11 Royal Rumble competitors in the same Rumble that Drew competed in. Kane said that Carey was the embodiment of pure evil, before introducing Carey.
Carey thanked people, but was still getting booed and said that he doesnt care if fans boo him, because he was rich, so he couldnt care less. Carey told a bunch of jokes and said he was having a great time that he might legally change his name to Dwayne Johnson.Carey talked about The Miz being from Cleveland and said that wrestlers are great at what they do, for putting their bodies on the line. Carey said that he would like to thank the fans for being a small part of the WWE Universe and would see everyone at WrestleMania. Very short.
Jerry Lawler came out and introduced Triple H after they aired a Shawn Michaels video.
“The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels
Triple H asked if the building was sold out and the fans yelled yes, which he said that Shawn can now brag about for the rest of his life. Triple H said that there is a lot to talk about with Shawn. HHH said that Shawn made cut smart ass remarks and made fun of Shawn’s height and sense of fashion. HHH said that he could talk about Shawn’s time as part of The Rockers, his Iron Man match with Bret Hart, his ladder match with Razor Ramon or his Hell in a Cell match against The Undertaker. HHH said that he could talk about the guy who returned after 4 years away and had a great 45minute match on PPV and that Shawn was the best he was ever in the ring with.
HHH said that he could talk about The Kliq, but the stories dont fit in a PG environment and said that some of the stuff that they did with DX, shouldnt have even played during the Attitude Era. Triple H said that he could talk about the wrestlers that HBK inspired or about how Shawn was a family man, his best friend and how great a performer he was.
HHH discussed their time in DX and said that the comedy in that was the size of HHH’s nose along with Shawn’s wardrobe, mullet and being on Playgirl. HHH said that Shawn wouldnt want to admit his place in the Hulk Hogan haircut, even though its a comedy gift, just like his eye. HHH said that he could talk about all that all night, or talk about his best friend. HHH got a bit emotional when he said that HBK was his brother and that he loved him. HHH said that HBK was the greatest performer he has ever seen in his life and the best that he has ever stepped in the ring with and said that despite all the names that he can recount that HBK used, the newest one is most fitting, Mr. Hall of Fame.
HBK came out and hugged HHH and the fans gave him a standing ovation, which went on for what seemed like eternity. HBK said that somehow his induction turned into a roast and that he knew that HHH would not say anything nice about him and that it was a huge deal for HHH to even recognise that HBK worked in the business, which HHH smiled and chuckled at. HBK said he didnt bring a speech with him, so he apologises if he leaves anyone out tonight, that was expecting to be included. HBK said that for once could the fans stop chanting HBK, and let tonight be about him.
HBK said that he didnt know where to start and talked about why he wasnt on TV. HBK said that when he was 19, he never dreamed of the WWE and all he wanted to do was wrestle in front of 25 people in San Antonio and he was happy. HBK said that now he is 45, he’s had a hell of a great ride and feels so blessed. HBK said that when he got into the business, all he was looking for was validation that he did a good job from his peers and sad that HHH and the other inductees have made tonight fun.
HBK said that he doesnt want to cry tonight, but said that he has worked so hard and done this for so many years and said that he discussed whether he was okay away from wrestling, which The Undertaker he said, told him that he was going into the Hall of Fame, full of regrets. HBK said that if he was done and got inducted in 1998, he would have been sad for himself and for a man backstage that he can’t mention. HBK discussed how he came back and had one more match for the fans, which occured 9 years ago and that he only hung them up this time last year. HBK said that today he has no regrets in his life and thanks God and his family. HBK said that the moment his son and daughter came into his life, he has been forever thankful. HBK said that it was important that he could walk away on his own terms and said that his son is who he wanted to thank, for letting his Daddy go play wrestling.
HBK said that there are lots of special moments he has had in his career and those guys know who they are, because he pulled them aside and thanked them for those moments. HBK said that a lot of times, all wrestlers have on the road is each other, and that we all love our women, but when the guys are together, it’s like a foxhole. HBK said that they may stab each other in the back, but everyone does it to everyone and that they all love each other. HBK said that he would like to thank the guys for allowing him into the best fraternity.
HBK thanked the fans for their support over the years and said that includes when people bother him at 5am in airports. HBK said he was never prom king and that onight he knows it, he feels it and he loves his ring. He said if you aren’t down with that he has two words for you, which drew a loud “SUCK IT” chant. HBK and HHH hugged after and they played the DX Theme song.
I don’t know if this will make it to air, but X-Pac and Kevin Nash came on stage with the guys after all this. HBK acknowledged a few people in the crowd, notably Ric Flair. Shawn was left on stage as his theme song played before he jumped down to hug and kiss his children. HBK returned up on stage receiving a standing ovation with fans chanting his name.
Jerry Lawler came back out and thanked everyone for coming and said that he would see them tomorrow at WrestleMania.