Welcome everyone to the WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony of 2017! Tonight we will see a stacked HOF Class made up of The Glamazon Beth Phoenix, Ravishing Rick Rude, Teddy Long, Rock 'n Roll Express, Eric LeGrand, Diamon Dallas Page, and headlined by Kurt Angle. Stay tuned here for all your live coverage needs all throughout the night, and view the link below for the live stream of the Red Carpet Ceremony!
We kick things off with a very nice video package of all of tonights nominees. It also summarizes a handful of inductees from the years past. They then announce the host of the event, The King Jerry Lawler. He thanks the audience and welcomes them to the ceremony. He announces the first inductee into the Hall of Fame, Diamond Dallas Page. They play an emotional video package reminiscing his career as well as Triple H's call to him revealing he had been chosen as an inductee. They then talk about his revolutionary health and fitness program DDP Yoga.
DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE
Lawler introduces the person who will be inducting DDP, Eric Bischoff, who comes out to a nice reception. A "Welcome Back" chant breaks out before Bischoff starts his speech. He says he wishes that there had been someone else to induct DDP, and that the man who should be doing it is Dusty Rhodes. Bischoff reassures people that he is extremely happy to be inducting DDP. He recalls people having problems with DDP as a manager due to his height and figure, and that DDP did everything in his power to stand out. He says that lead to him being obnoxious, which led to him and DDP having a bar fight. Bischoff talks about DDPs rise in stardom, and his recruitment of stars such as Vinny Vegas. Bischoff talks about his own lack of job, and that he owes his career to DDP for landing him an important gig as a commentator. He talks about DDPs search to finding value in himself, which led to him becoming an on air wrestler and training at the WCW Power Plant. Regardless of his age, he didn't take no for an answer and was, as Bischoff put it "relentless". He called him a "gimmick machine" and that it was because of his ability to be willing to try anything and make it work. He then talks about his heart, and his willingness to help other through his yoga program. He mentions Jake "The Snake" Roberts and Razor Ramoan being here today thanks to DDP, and then announces him to the stage.
He reminisces about Wrestlemania 6 and his gig as a car driver in a pink Cadillac, and that it's mindblowing to him that years later he finds himself going into the Hall of Fame. He calls it an anomoly, which he also calls the story of his life. He wishes that Dusty Rhodes had bneen here, and that without him there would be no Diamond Dallas Page. He tells a story of Rhodes' vision for his character being the "Jesse Ventura of the 90s". He says that whether you say you can or you say you can't, you're right. He recalls learning the ropes and that "this fake stuff hurt like hell". He then thanks many names that have helped him become who he is today including Rhodes, Terry Taylor, Rhodes wife Shelly, and others. He confirms Bischoff's claim that he did everything to see if it worked, and then thanks him for telling hi to drop all the gimmicks and just be himself. He then thanks his mentor Jake Roberts, and says he wouldn't be at the podium if it wasn't for him. He took from his time with him that you don't learn from winning, you learn from losing. He thanks Johnny Lorenitus for his finish, and William Regal for crafting that finish into something that fit his character. He then thanks the audience for holding up the Diamond Cutter every night and telling the bookers they cared. He tells a funny story about Michael Hayes and saying that after his match with Sting he'd never been happier to "eat crow". He then thanks Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, and for pushing the bookers to give DDP a chance. He recalls his PWI Feud of the Year with the Macho Man Randy Savage, and tells a funny story about him giving him a big angry hug after DDP thanked him for taking a fall for him. He also thanks Hulk Hogan and for helping him be apart of one of the biggest grossing angels in wrestling history with Dennis Rodman and Carl Malone. He thanks a few more personal friends including his ex-wife Kimberley for backing him up even when he shouldn't have been. Then he thanks his current wife Brenda for making him the best DDP possible. He then lists a host of wrestlers and personalities ending with a big thanks for Chris Jericho as being a huge advocate for DDP Yoga. He then thanks all the DDP Yoga people, Goldberg for one of his best matches, and finally his mom. He finishes with a story about Dusty Rhodes raking his eyes after DDP was self loathing and saying he'd never be World Champion, asking him if he doesn't believe he will be then why is he in this business. He tells people if they have a desire to own it like he did after this moment when he wrote down that in 5 years he'd be champion, achieving that goal. He then recalls Dusty calling him to ask who it feels, to which DDP responds with "it feels real". He tells people to believe in themselves before leaving the stage with a "BANG!"
THE ROCK N' ROLL EXPRESS
Lawler introduces the next inductees, The Rock n' Roll Express, and they play a cool video package spanning their entire career. He then introduces Jim Cornette to the stage to induct them. He comes out like a ball of fire and says he has a live microphone and "the sound guy is on Zanax". He thanks Jerry Lawler for is vision that led to the formation the the Rock n' Roll express. He says it wasn't just a marketing gimmick and that Lawler picked the perfect guys to be a part of the team. He speaks to the passions that they had for pleasing the fans and contributing the mentality of the sport. He thanks Bill Watts for giving them a home. He reminisces about their skills at selling and connecting with the crowd, especially Ricky Morton. He then talks about their nemesis, The Midnight Express, and how they both made each other's careers. He then talks about their move to Charlotte, NC where they made an even bigger impact. He says that The Midnight Express broke up due to backstage politics, but the Rock n Roll Express survived and moved to Smokey Mountain Wrestling and then to WWE, opening up their brand to a whole new audience. He recalls many superstars over the years attributing their career to the inspiration they got from watching Midnight vs. Rock n Roll. He even talks about their recent matches wrestling people half their age and their reunion with Midnight after 34 years, and how fans viewed them as family with one family going as far as to give them Christmas pcitures of their family with the Rock n Roll Express framed in a picture in the back next to Jesus (LOL). He then introduces the team to the stage.
Morton says he's surprised that Cornette said good things and Gibson makes a good jab when Morton talks about his grandkids, saying "yeah, they look like me." Morton jokes that their Indie wrestling rates just went through the roof thanks to this. He talks about the business changing over the years, becoming the juggernaut that it is today and how proud he is for that. He says he stands up for the wrestlers. They both thank multiple promoters who allowed them to pursue wrestling, with a special thanks for Dusty Rhodes. He makes a funny joke when a wrestler called him the Gene Simmons of professional wrestling, responding with "Gene Simmons is the Ricky Morton of rock n roll". He gives a shout out to Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash, and Ric Flair. He gives a final shout out to Michael Hayes and the Fabulous Freebirds sa well as the Midnight Express, who they hope to be in the same spot in the coming years. They both thank their families and God for giving them the strength to survive in a very physical business. Ricky makes a very emotional thank you to Robert Gibson before they both leave to a standing ovation.
The next inductee is Ravishing Rick Rude, and they show a video package of his career with wrestling personalities praising him from his looks to his skills to his unique tights being such a staple to his heel character. Lawler introduces his inductor, Rick "The Dragon" Steamboat. He recalls his own induction ceremony and thanks the audience for the honor. He talks about Rude's huge list of accolades. He praises Rude's ability to be able to get under the fans' skins and draw heat. Then Steamboat talks about Rude's freakish physique and workout routines, which translated to his work in the ring. He then talks about the great psychologist, saying Rude is among the best. He recalls a story where Rick Rude was hung up on the steel cage and Steamboat attacked him with crossbodies, and on the third one he did an inverted situp to dodge causing Steamboat to crash and burn. Rude then continued to do sit-ups to mock him. He introduces Rude's family and his son does the honors. He asks himself what his father would have done, and then proceeds to demean the crowd in true Rick Rude fashion (LOL). He says he's not here to talk about the wrestler, but that he's here to talk about the man. He talks about his fathers humble beginnings as well as his arm wrestling accolades. He thanks the WWE for inducting his father and they leave the stage.
Up next is The Glamazon Bath Phoenix with a pretty awesome video package showcasing her dominance and beauty. Lawler introduces Natalya to induct Phoenix. She tells a story about Mark Henry saying that the two look alike, making her wonder who she is. She says Phoenix messaged Natalya on MySpace saying that her inspiration was her two uncles, Bret and Owen. She talks about their bond as friends and as sisters, with both of them finding strength in each other. Natalya said they didn't want to be supermodels they wanted to kick ass. She reminisces about competing in the first ever women's tag team tables match, and how she insisted the spotlight be on Natalya. She says she's not just an ass kicker, shes a mother of 2, a classical pianist, and can bench 220 pounds. She then talks about Beth being Gods gift to her, and tearfully introduces Beth Phoenix to the stage.
Phoenix is already in tears as the crowd chants "one more match", to which she cutely replies"I'm a mom now, don't make me put you in time out." She says you don't forget your first love, and hers was wrestling. She recalls her first time watching Bret vs. Owen, which flipped a switch in her mind telling her wrestling is what she needed to do with her life. She thanks her friend Janette who stood by her, and a bunch of people who helped her early on in her career such as trainers and mentors. She talks about her first goings in the WWE and making sure she wasn't intimidated on her first day, which led to her fearlessly opening the door right into Brock Lesnar's face. She then thanks a bunch of wrestlers she had spent time with, especially Molly Holly who gave her the necessary advice and help she needed to get where she wanted to be including paying her entire tuition so she could follow her dreams. She then thanks all her trainers in OVW trainers and mentors with a special thanks to Paul Heyman for building her confidence. She thanks Tommy Dreamer for standing by by the little guy even when you don't have the traits but have the passion. She then gives a shout out to all the women she worked with over the years with a special thanks to Candice Michelle for helping her become the Glamazon. She thanks Mickie James for allowing her to have fun, Eve Torres for sticking by her and being a friend, and Santino Morrella. She tells a hilarious story about Santino keeping her in the dark on an Italian promo until she says it in the middle of the ring. She gives a big thanks to Natalya, saying as far as friends go she is "the best there is, the best there was, and the best there every will be." She then gives a shout out to the current female roster and thanks them for continuing to strive for gender equality in entertainment. She then thanks her WWE trainers, saying it takes an army to create a WWE superstar. She then thanks superstars that came before her finishing on Chyna which gets a big pop. She cites her as a huge inspiration and thankful for her contributions to the business. She thanks the WWE Universe for demanding equal opportunity for women, her mother and father who could not be there, her brother, her sister and mother in law, and her husband Adam (Edge). All of a sudden Tony Chimel comes out and announces Edge in his own goofy way and his music plays as he laughs historically. She talks about the perks of being married to a wrestler, like being called brother even though you're a woman. She finally thanks her two daughter, stating that everything she has done is for them. She tells them to be accepting of what makes you different and leaves the stage to a standing ovation.
WARRIOR AWARD: ERIC LEGRAND
Next is the Warrior Award Recipient Eric LeGrand, a football player who was paralyzed from the neck down before fighting back from a 0-5% chance of survival to regain minor movement throughout his body. Lawler introduces Dana Warrior to induct LeGrand. She makes comparisons of wrestling to Disney because they are in Orlando, such as calling Stephanie an evil queen and Enzo a jester. She remembers her husbands induction into the Hall of Fame and his message to every to embrace their own story. She talks about Eric LeGrand, saying his strongest attribute is his belief. She praises his mother as well as Team LeGrand. She welcomes Eric LeGrand to the stage to a standing ovation.
He thanks God for everything he's done for him and his recovery, and Triple H for helping him become a fan. He talks about his friendship with Triple H and how he helped him with his show on Fox Sports called Mission Impossible. He recalls his injury, and how he prayed to God to be able to get a breath in order to survive. He thanks everyone that helped him recover for their positivity which strove him to get better. He talks about his steps to recovery, from being on a respirator and a feeding tube to being able to breath on his own and eating a full Thanksgiving meal with his family. He also talks about his hopes for a medical cure to these kinds of injuries, and that he hopes to pick up where Christopher Reeves left off. He reminisces about being a wrestling fan, especially a Stone Cold, Kane, and Rock fan. He then thanks his mom, his Team LeGrand, his Mission Impossible team, and his Rutgers Football team, and leaves the stage.
Next is Teddy Long, who get's a video package as fly as you would expect. It spans from his time as the manager for Doom to when he was the Smackdown GM. Lawler introduces the APA to induct Long. They joke that the Hall of Fame is dragging, saying they might be inducting him into the 2018 Hall of Fame. They also call him the cheapest man on God's green earth and the worst driver they've ever had, recalling a time where he failed a breath test. They say even though they poke fun they praise the fact that he has had many roles in the business and succeeded in them all. JBL praises him for protesting during very aggressive points of the Civil Rights Movement and suffered sever discrimination, and that he's an inspiration to not just African Americans but Americans. They introduce Teddy who pops right out to dance.
He confirms that he is cheap,but that the breath test story is wrong. He went out the wrong exit, and when he got pulled over the cop said he smells alcohol. Ron Simmons says "Oh we got a blood hound". Even thought he got a ticket it's because of them and he made them pay for it. He then talks about his early career and how he found his way into the back but showing wrestlers around town, and made himself look busy backstage. This led to him putting up the ring until one night they lacked a ref, which gave Teddy an opportunity. The match happened to be a Texas Deathmatch, which caused Teddy to jump out of the ring every time they bled. He then tlks about Jim Ross jockying for him to be a manager, and he gives shout-outs to all the guys he's managed. He recalls his time in WWE as a ref, and when Vince promoted him to a manager because he heard he could talk. He remembers being told a half hour before Smackdown that he would be made Smackdown GM, and while he was nervous he knew he would make it work. He thanks God, the WWE, the McMahons, his son for helping him put the ring up one night, his wife of 20+ years, and finally the WWE Universe. He leaves after saying that if Simmons and JBL have a problem they will put them in a tag match, and that if it's JBL he'll go one on one WITH THE UNDERTAKER. (LOL)
Jerry announces the inductees into the Legacy Wing of the Hall of Fame, Haystacks Calhoun, Judy Grable, Bearcat Wright, Farmer Burnes, Rikidozan, Luther Lindsay, June Byers, Toots Mondt, and Dr. Jerry Graham.
The final inductee tonight is Kurt Angle, who get's a breathtaking video package covering his integrity as well as his comedy. Lawler introduces John Cena who get's a....warm...reaction. Cena praises Angle for his superhuman athletic ability, something hasn't been seen since. He says not only that, he had an innate ability to entertain.. He's someone that people will tell their kids about, and with that he introduces Kurt Angle to the stage.
A big "You Suck"chant breaks out, but I promise you it's a good thing. He thanks the crowd and says it's great to be back home. He thanks Cena for his speech and begins to tell his story about his first going with the WWE. He says when he first got offered a contract it was turned away because he didn't have respect for the sport. After watching the show he grew a desire to be a part, and although it was off the table he wanted to tryout and get an opportunity. He thanks his mentors and people who pushed for him to get better. He praises the selfless wrestlers who helped him on their spare time, he says he wants to give advice. He tells them to follow the rules and not make the same mistake he did. He also says to take chances, but ones that will benefit you in the long run. He cites the cowboy hat, which prompts someone to bring one out. He then sings Jimmy Crack Corn and everyone sings along. He then cites the wing, which prompts someone to bring it out as well with headgear. He also does the battle rap and "Sexy Kurt" and it is glorious. He pushes wrestlers to make character moments, not just good matches. He then thanks the Lord for allowing him to do what he does, the WWE for giving him the platform, his family, his children, and finally his wife who he says saved his life. Before he leaves, he celebrates with two battles of milk and dumps them all over himself as the show comes to a close. What a great Hall of Fame.
What did you guys think of tonight's Hall of Fame ceremony? Let us know in the comments!