As the road to Wrestlemania continues on and we get closer to the biggest wrestling (“sports entertainment?”) event of the year, the 2016 Hall of Fame is coming closer. The Hall of Fame serves as a memorial to some of the greatest performers of WWE’s history. The inductees this year include some of the following:
Sting, “Steve Borden”
Sting is an absolute legend. Anyone who even heard of wrestling, not just World Wrestling Entertainment, could tell you of Sting. Sting originally started as a “surfer-dude” gimmick, looking absolutely like an intimidating figure with his bleach blonde hair and facepaint. As WCW continued on and the NWO came relevant, Sting changed his persona and outfit to a much darker, more brooding and interesting character. Since then, Sting has moved from WCW to TNA, and eventually to WWE all operating under the same badass character; trenchcoat, face paint, baseball bat, and a silent, confident character.
Sting’s accolades and achievements include being the second active WWE wrestler to be inducted, being a six-time WCW World Heavyweight champion,
two-time NWA World Heavyweight champion, two-time WCW United States champion, and three-time WCW World Tag Team champion. Of course, these are only the achievements WWE intends to notice; Sting has held numerous titles in the secondary TNA brand, where he spent a stunning 11 years from 2003 to 2014. In TNA, Sting held the TNA World Heavyweight Championship four times, and was a one-time TNA World Tag Team Champion with Kurt Angle. Sting was also induced into the TNA Hall of Fame in 2012, and is the first person to be inducted into both the TNA and WWE Hall of Fame.
Sting is currently injured, unfortunately, due to a match with champion Seth Rollins at the Night of Champions pay per view. Sting had to undergo neck surgery, and is currently healing for his return.
The Godfather, “Charles Wright”
The Godfather is the second WWE wrestler to be inducted into the class of 2016. The Godfather originally served under a much less creative, much more offensive “Papa Shango” character, who was essentially a voodoo witch doctor stereotype of the late 80s into the 90s. However, Charles Wright, the man behind the character, soon took time away from WWE (then WWF) to hone his wrestling skills and find a fresh new take on his character. He returned to the WWE in 1994 and served to float for a little while, serving with The Nation of Domination (The Rock’s original group, before he took over it) before eventually hitting The Godfather gimmick.
The Godfather gimmick is much like it sounds; the Godfather would come to the ring with his “ho train” and a pimp walk, equipped with all the necessary clothing and even a cane. The Godfather gimmick may have
been offensive, but the longevity of the gimmick shown through and since then, The Godfather has made sporadic appearances on WWE events, including occasional Monday Night Raw appearances and Royal
The Godfather was a one-time WWF Intercontinental champion, one-time WWF Tag Team Champion (with Bull Buchanan), and a two-time United States Wrestling Association Unified World Heavyweight Champion.
The Fabulous Freebirds
Michael “Purely Sexy” Hayes, “Michael Seitz”
Buddy Roberts, “Dale Hey”
Jimmy Garvin, “James Williams”
Each year, WWE tries to incorporate an induction of a team rather than an individual. This year’s team induction is the Fabulous Freebirds, which consists of four wrestlers; Michael Hayes, Terry Gordy, Buddy Roberts, and Jimmy Garvin. The Fabulous Freebirds were a “heel” (bad guy) group, and had the gimmicks of loud-mouth southern rednecks. During their time, they associated with other members during high intensity feuds, including Iceman Parsons and The Angel of Death. The Fabulous Freebirds were credited with creating “The Freebird Rule,” adding a sub-gimmick which allowed any two of the members to defend the title on any given night. Since then, this rule has lived on through various teams, not just limited to WWE but also other promotions such as TNA, WCW, and even backyard promotions like CZW (Combat Zone Wrestling).
The Freebirds have held more than 2 dozen titles between them, a majority of which were tag team titles, but there were a few World Heavyweight titles reigns. The Fabulous Freebirds were the first real “obnoxious bad guy” group, and really do deserve a place in the hall of fame for their tenure in wrestling.
Big Boss Man, “Raymond Traylor Jr.”
Big Boss Man, also known as Raymond W Traylor Jr., is this year’s unfortunate post-humous inductee. Big Boss Man was a military/prison guard-esque type gimmick who operated under no nonsense and wore tactical gear to the ring. Big Boss Man would handcuff his defeated opponents to the ring rope and beat them with a nightstick or a ball and chain. “Bossman,” as he is sometimes known, is also known for taking a superplex from Hulk Hogan off a steel cage, as well as a terrible angle where The Undertaker actually “hung” Big Boss Man from the Hell in a Cell cage. Bossman was known to participate in more PG-13 angles and was known for his crude, powerful “beat down” style.
Bossman became a crowd favorite when he turned on his manager, Slick, after taking a little too much abuse during a match. He beat down Slick with his infamous handcuffs and stick, handcuffing Slick to the ropes and using his nightstick to beat up Slick.
Bossman passed away on September 22, 2004 at the age of 41, in his home of Dallas, Georgia. He is survived by his childhood sweetheart and wife, Angela Traylor, and two children.
Bossman held the Universal Wrestling Federation Heavyweight Championship once, the WWF Hardcore Championship once, and the WWF Tag Team Championship with Ken Shamrock.
Stan Hansen, “John Stanley Hansen II”
Stan Hansen has been a member of the wrestling universe since 1980. Stan Hansen initially signed up with the World Wide Wrestling Federation in 1980, and began to feud with Bruno Sammartino, who is another well-known wrestler that held the title for years. Unfortunately, Hansen injured the legendary Sammartino, who would then occasionally feud each other during their brief time spent together before the departure of both men from the company. Hansen then ventured to other wrestling territories, including the AWA based out of the south, and eventually to Japan where he participated in New Japan Pro Wrestling and All Japan Pro Wrestling, before coming back to the states for one year then returning to Japan until he would retire.
Hansen has also appeared in the World Wrestling Federation movie, “No Holds Barred” which starred Hulk Hogan.
Hansen will be remembered primarily for his venture through different territories, as well as the amount of titles he held – in All Japan Pro Wrestling, he held over 20 titles, including the International Heavyweight, World Heavyweight, and Triple Crown Heavyweight championships as well as tag team championships. In other territories, Hansen held either Heavyweight championships or Tag Team Championships.
Jacqueline will be inducted by Mark Henry, and is one of only three female wrestlers to hold a title predominantly held by men, and the only one to do so under the WWE brand. Jacqueline held the WWE Cruiserweight Championship once and Women’s championship twice in her stint with WWE, but it is also important to note that she held the United States Wrestling Association Women’s Championship for 14 individual reigns. Jacqueline is one of the few female characters WWE somehow did right.
Jacqueline Moore had been wrestling since 1991 officially, but had traveled through some of the independent circuit, performing for various jobs. She eventually came to WWF in 1993, in 1994 and going to Jim Cornette’s Smoky Mountain Wrestling, before returning to WWE in 1998. Jacqueline will be remembered for her many title reigns, and her unique character of being a badass that can still hang with some of the male wrestlers. Since her semi-retirement in 2007, she has made some individual appearances on TNA’s Impact show, as well as serving as a road agent who helps wrestlers put together matches.
This year’s WWE Hall of Fame ceremony will take place on April 2nd, the night before Wrestlemania 32, and is viewable on either the USA Network or the WWE Network.