The pandemic that reared its ugly head last year kept wrestling fans from experiencing their favorite pastime live.
The most painful part of that experience was having to watch WrestleMania 36 with no crowd and not getting to see the 2020 class of WWE Hall of Fame inductees get their just due. Things are looking up for Vince McMahon’s sports entertainment empire this year, however. Not only will WrestleMania 37 emanate from the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL, but the Hall of Fame ceremony is also going down. Come April 6, the NBCUniversal Peacock streaming service will showcase the ceremony itself. And to top it, last year’s Hall of Fame inductees will also be honored alongside this year’s newest legends.
Now let’s properly showcase all the iconic wrestlers that are making their way into the WWE Hall of Fame for 2021.
Molly Holly (real name Nora Benshoof) has worn many hats during her tenured career in the squared circle. She played the part of one of Randy Savage’s many valets, became a member of the Harcore Holly clan, and even went full superhero mode alongside Hurricane Helms. I was quite a fan of her’s during her run as a super prude heel. The one thing that remained constant throughout Holly’s career was her excellent in-ring aptitude.
She got embroiled in fiery feuds and competed in good to great matches with the likes of Trish Stratus, Victoria, Lita, etc. And whenever she hit the top rope, everyone knew her opponent was set to endure a match ending Molly-Go-Round. I’ve always referred to Miss Holly as one of the more underrated female wrestlers of all time. Her Hall of Fame induction has been a long time coming and it’s great to see her get honored for her awesome contributions to women’s wrestling.
“I’M BACK!!! AND I’M BETTER THAN EVER!” Eric Bischoff had quite the banger when he reigned over Raw as general manager. His pre-WWE history is noteworthy – Bischoff held all the power as he turned WCW into a powerhouse and fought tooth & nail with Monday Night Raw. WCW Nitro was his tank of choice and his arsenal included the nWo, the best cruiserweights on the planet, and a whole lot of attitude to match.
Without Bischoff, the Monday Night Wars wouldn’t have been as exciting as they once were. And lord knows WCW would have died a whole lot sooner without the forward-thinking of “Eazy E.” The eventual demise of WCW disappointed plenty of wrestling fans for sure. But Bischoff’s return and reign as one of the best personalities on Monday Night Raw brought some semblance of his previous reign back and proved to be one of the most entertaining GM runs in company history. This HOF induction is well overdue. Congrats, “Sleazy E!”
Wait, hold up…Kane’s going into the WWE HOF before The Undertaker? While that is pretty wild, I understand why they’re going this route – WrestleMania 38 is going to emanate from Texas next year, which is the home state of “The Deadman.” Makes total sense for him to get inducted as the “main event” at the 2022 WWE Hall of Fame, right? Exactly! Now let’s talk about Kane! This one is definitely well deserved – the “Big Red Machine” came in like a house of fire (pun intended) during the first-ever Hell in a Cell match and instantly became a force to reckoned with. Kane’s been involved in one of the best storylines in wrestling history, won a whole lotta championships, and has evolved into different forms of his unmistakable gimmick along the way.
Kane’s been involved in your typical WWE trash (Kaite Vick ring a bell?), but who hasn’t? The man named Glenn Jacobs has done far more good than bad during his WWE run, which is why he’s getting this HOF honor. Kane’s competed in great matches, developed some surprising chemistry with a slew of memorable tag team partners, and scared me half to death on many occasions. I can’t be mad at this one – congrats to Kane! Here’s hoping we get one last flame pillar explosion before he heads off into the sunset.
The Great Khali
You know what? I’m not that mad at this HOF induction. Shocking, I know. Unlike some of the Hall of Fame inductions that came before him, The Great Khali actually won a few championships. Top championships, I might add. Sure, he was pretty terrible in the ring – the giant relied on chops, a big boot, and a double-handed chokeslam to get by for the entirety of his WWE run. But I can’t lie – Khali had a few shining moments here and there that actually made me admire the guy. His Fall Count Anywhere match against John Cena at One Night Stand was way better than it had any right to be, plus he enjoyed some fun brawls with The Undertaker.
His post-heel shenanigans were pretty cringe-worthy, though – all that Kiss Cam business and his whole strange alliance with Natalya & Hornswoggle did nothing for me. Even still, I gotta give Khali his props for playing the part of the unstoppable monster well. I don’t know how the man’s going to speak when it’s time for him to hit the stage, but I’m down to sit through it all. Props go out to The Great Khali and his dreaded head chop!
Rob Van Dam
And the hits just keep on coming! Rob Van Dam is the next superstar to make his way into the WWE HOF. This induction has definitely been a long time coming and I’m overjoyed to see one of my favorite ECW originals get such an honor. The originator of the Five Star Frog Splash has a laundry list of credentials – he’s the longest reigning ECW World Television Champion, he simultaneously held the WWE & ECW Championships, he’s the 2006 MITB winner (and had one of the best looking briefcase designs, I might add), etc. While most folks remember RVD initially getting introduced to WWE TV during the start of the Invasion angle in 2001, he actually showed up as early as 1997 during ECW’s introduction to the WWF audience.
RVD enjoyed a strong run back in his home fed of ECW and made his transition to WWE to enjoy memorable reigns as the Hardcore and Intercontinental Champion. His feuds with Jeff Hardy, Eddie Guerrero, and Chris Jericho stand out in my mind. Plus his tag teams with Rey Mysterio and Kane were equally entertaining. Rob…Van…Dam (points fingers at head three times in succession) has and always will be a GOAT tier high-flyer. I can’t wait to hear all the double entendres about his favorite “pastime” during his HOF speech.
William Shatner (Celebrity Inductee)
And for this year’s celebrity HOF entrant, we’re getting the legend that is Captain Kirk! Nah but for real, William Shatner has been a part of some decent moments during his guest spots in WWE. He got into a cool war of words with Jerry “The King” Lawler and managed to keep up with him, plus he provided Bret Hart with an assist during a Raw match against Jeff Jarrett. When he popped up that one time to do his own musical renditions of wrestler themes, he definitely got a hearty chuckle out of me. As long as Lawler shows up to induct him and Shatner presents his own version of Sheamus’ theme, I’ll be thoroughly entertained by this HOF speech.
Titus O’Neil (Warrior Award)
TITUS…WORLEDWIIIIIIDE! Man, I miss that group. Anyways, WWE is totally right for honoring one of their most positive representatives (and totally wrong for having him co-host WrestleMania 37 with Hulk “Don’t Get Caught Being a Bigot, Brother!” Hogan). Titus has taken great strides towards speaking with WWE’s huge community of young fans and passing along some sage advice.
Plus he’s a major philanthropist with ties to his very own The Bullard Family Foundation and a huge proponent for charity work. I loved his Prime Time Players stint and will never forget his classic NXT line (“if you wanna win…make it a win”), but this Warrior Award is all about honoring his excellent efforts outside the squared circle.
Ozzy Osbourne (Celebrity Inductee)
“ALL ABOARD!” *cues diabolical laughter* Ozzy Osbourne is a legend out here in these rock & roll streets. And every time he popped up on WWE TV, he gave everyone something worth remembering for years to come. Going back to watch him and Lou Albano accompany the British Bulldogs back at WrestleMania 2 will always be a cool moment worth mentioning.
Plus there was the time he made an appearance on SmackDown in 2007 to give the audience a live rendition of “I Don’t Wanna Stop” (which still slaps, by the way). His co-host role on Raw back in 2009? Ehhhhhhhh, let’s go on ahead and skip that one actually. Anyways, I love me some Ozzy and I’m more than happy to see him get this WWE HOF honor.
Rich Hering (Warrior Award)
Legacy Wing Inductees
• Dick the Bruiser
• Pez Whatley
• Buzz Sawyer
• Ethel Johnson
• Paul Boesch