Byron Saxton and Maria Meneounos were the hosts of the show.
– Renee Young interviewed Ric Flair on the Hall of Fame floor and asked about
Charlotte working her first WrestleMania match. Flair got choked up (shocker!) and then said there’s nothing left on his bucket list.
– Menounos introduced new WWE broadcast team member Cathy Kelly, whom she worked with on the AfterBuzz show. She interviewed The Miz and Maryse.
– Renee Young interviewed Sasha Banks, who said she had mixed emotions, but she’s ready for WrestleMania. She said she, Charlotte, and Becky Lynch have come a long way since NXT.
– Jerry Lawler, his fiancee Lauren, and her son Peyton joined Saxton and Maria. Lawler said he always says it’s his favorite night of the year and it really is. Lawler said they have surprises and there’s a “legacy video that is going to knock it out of the park.”
– Bruno Sammartino was interviewed by Renee Young. He spoke about Stan Hansen leaving him with a broken neck.
– Dolph Ziggler joined the hosts on their podium. He said he is looking forward to seeing Michael Hayes be inducted. He said he and Hayes are “constantly yelling at each other for the greater good of the television show.” Ziggler spoke about how Hayes is up to something backstage and will be trying to stand out.
– Dana Warrior and her daughters were interviewed. Dana spoke about how Joan Lunden embodies what the award is about. Cathy Kelly spoke briefly to one of the daughters, and then put the mic in front of Dana and motioned with her hand to get her to speak. Odd. Dana spoke about how her daughters will become wonderful women.
– Ryback spoke was interviewed on the floor. He said he and Kalisto are going to start out WrestleMania right and he’s bringing home the title.
– Randy Orton and his wife joined the hosts on the stage. He was asked about his recovery and return. Orton said “maybe tomorrow” and the hosts played up the possibility of him returning at WrestleMania.
– Road Dogg was interviewed by Renee, and he spoke about Hayes being inducted. Dogg joked that seeing what Hayes is wearing is the only reason he attended. He then spoke about some of the other inductees before once again saying that “Michael’s outfit is what drew the crowd, I think.”
– Lita and Corey Graves were interviewed by Kelley. Graves is looking forward to hearing Stan Hansen, and said The Freebirds will steal the show. Lita said you don’t need to hype the Freebirds more “because they do that themselves.”
– The Usos and Naomi joined the hosts on the podium. One of the brothers admitted that he was “scared to death” when they inducted their father Rikishi last year. They all danced briefly.
– Sgt. Slaughter was interviewed by Kelley. He looked a lot like Walter White from Breaking Bad with his bald head and hat.
– Sheamus joined Saxton and Menounos and she asked if he is emulating someone else with his look of having full braids in his beard. He said he emulates no one. Sheamus was distracted by the crowd going “hooooooo.” Of course, that meant Jim Duggan arrived. Sheamus spoke about how he’s looking forward to seeing Stan Hansen inducted, and said he tries to incorporate a lot of the things he did into his own matches. Sheamus spoke about how his first match in developmental was against Saxton.
– Sami Zayn was interviewed and Young asked how he was feeling following his match with Shinsuke Nakamura. He said he felt pretty good. He said it’s rare that he’s amped about a match the following day. He said the response from the audience and online has been incredible. Zayn spoke about working his first WrestleMania. He said it hasn’t hit him fully, but it will be an OMG moment when he sees the people.
– Zack Ryder and Emma were interviewed on the floor and they spoke about riding a rollercoaster. Kelley asked Emma about working her first WrestleMania. Emma said it’s actually her second, but she’ll be able to take it all in.
– Big Show was interviewed on the podium. He said was asked about the battle royal and then cracked that it would be amazing if the won anything twice in a row. Show also spoke about Sting being inducted and how he got to experience WrestleMania last year and now he’s being inducted.
– Renee interviewed Kalisto and his wife Abby, who was also wearing a mask. She said she had it custom made for herself.
– Kelley had a problem with her cue coming out of a commercial. She interviewed the Dudley Boyz. Sheboygan, Wisconsin got some love. Well, sorta. Bubba said it doesn’t matter if they are working at WrestleMania or in Sheboygan, they have the same approach.
– Shades wearing Dean Ambrose was interviewed by Young. She pointed out his shoes. He told her to ask how much his dress shoes cost, then told her he wasn’t even wearing dress shoes. WrestleMania will be a hazardous and painful day at the office. Ambrose said Lesnar disrespected him and win, lose, or draw he must be taught a lesson. He said it’s about urban warfare. Ambrose said he may not look this good on Monday, “so let’s just celebrate it tonight.”
– A video package recapped the Dusty Rhodes statue being unveiled at Axxess.
– Steve Austin was interviewed on the podium. He spoke about how Dusty Rhodes meant a lot to everybody. Austin said he doesn’t have a lot of heroes, but Dusty is one of them. Austin also spoke about making road trips with Jacqueline. He said it’s been a longtime coming for Stan Hansen. He also spoke about “paying my hard earned money” as a college student to watch the Freebirds back in the day.
– Booker T and Sharmell were interviewed by Kelley on the floor. Booker said his five year-old son asked if he would get to fight at WrestleMania. Booker said if his son wants to get into wrestling then he will support him all the way.
– Renee interviewed Nikki and Brie Bella. Nikki was wearing a neckbrace and she said she’s making strides every day. Brie spoke about how she wants to enjoy every second of WrestleMania.
– Maria and Byron are with Roman Reigns and his wife. He says he’s rested and ready to go for tomorrow. He’s happy to be here, very blessed and happy to be here with his wife. Reigns says Michael Hayes has helped him so much and he’s looking forward to that induction, saying it will be top notch.
– Byron, Cathy, Renee and Maria all close the show together and that’s it for the pre-show.
2016 WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony:
A video opened the show with still shots of past WWE Hall of Famers. The narrator said it began with one man – Andre the Giant.
We’re live from the American Airlines Center in Dallas as the familiar voice welcomes us. WWE Hall of Famer Jerry Lawler makes his way out to the stage to host.
After a quick introduction from Lawler, they went to the first inductee The Godfather…
The Godfather: Presented by Ron Simmons and JBL
JBL and Simmons were very comical as they spoke about how it wasn’t a gimmick for Godfather and they still had the munchies from traveling with him. The bit was that JBL would start to tell a story about Godfather and Simmons would cut him off because it would incriminate him. JBL said they used to help Godfather select the members of his Ho Train. Simmons told his wife at home that JBL was just making it all up. JBL told his wife the same. Various wrestlers were shown cracking up at their bit.
The Godfather made his entrance. He stopped and then had a small group of women who walked out with him. Godfather thanked his parents and got choked up briefly as he said they weren’t with us, yet they are with us. Godfather thanked his kids and cracked, “Yeah, I’ve got a lot.” He also spoke about his grandson and had Isaiah stand up for his birthday. Godfather called him a little pimp. Godfather said there will never be another Godfather in WWE. He said it won’t be allowed today, but he encouraged fans to check it out on WWE Network.
Godfather said he and the Godfather character are the same person. He said he’s not really a pimp, but then mentioned Cheetah’s in Las Vegas. Godfather said he would love to tell stories, but he would get a lot of people in trouble. He said fans could visit him in Vegas and they could chop it up and he would tell some stories. He said he wouldn’t stay long, he’d save the time for some of the longwinded guys in the back. He led the crowd in the “Ho Train” bit and wrapped it up. The four-woman Ho Train came out and danced with him to close his induction.
– Stan Hansen’s video aired… Lawler spoke about the Lariat clothesline and said fans could see it on WWE Network. He then said he couldn’t help but wonder if any fans in the building still didn’t have WWE Network and encouraged them to do so. Ugh. He said Vader may look nice without the mask, but don’t let that fool you.
Stan Hansen: Presented by Vader
ader said that he took a lot of clotheslines from Stan. He talked about working at a “small regional company, the AWA” with Stan. He talked about the other people that were there, Scott Hall, etc. He talked about Stan breaking Bruno’s neck. He said that Stan had the power to take you out of your boots. He said that at one point Stan weighed over 300 pounds and had a heart rate in the 30s (which is sick). He said as a mentor and a friend, you couldn’t find a better one. He said that Stan is a big man and a wrestler, so he will never call him a good, big man. He was a great wrestler, period and that’s the bottom line, because I said so. They showed Steve Austin after Vader said it and he didn’t look overjoyed to have his phrase glommed. Vader put over Scott again. Vader talked about working in a tag team with Hansen for All Japan and Giant Baba. He said that Hansen was every bit the definition of a wrestler. He told the story about a 30 minute tag match where they beat the living hell out of each other, including Vader’s eye coming out of its socket. They put it back in and kept it going. He said that Inoki wanted to see his Vader mask in the ring but Vader said Hansen wouldn’t want to let him bring it in. He said that since Stan can’t see very well (which is true) he swung his rope and broke Vader’s nose before he even got in the ring. He said that the next thing he knew the lights went out in the Tokyo Dome. He wondered how that happened and then he realized that it was him that lost the lights and his eye was hanging out. He said despite how tough he was in the ring, Stan is a nice guy. Vader said that he hasn’t been the same since then. He said he lost his cognitive skills. He said he needed to put on is glasses. He turned around and when he came back he had glasses with a dangling eye. It was funny.
Vader then got serious and then said an old announcer said that a guy could knock you out of your boots. That was Stan. He introduced his friend Stan The Man, The Lariat Hansen. He then told the crowd to stand up and out came Stan.
Stan then put over Leon (Vader’s real name). Stan said that Vader is his kind of man. He said that while Vader’s eye got messed up in that match, his nose was messed up and was never the same again. He said Vader told him he had tickets to go see Buster Douglas and Mike Tyson and Vader said he was going home because those two couldn’t throw any harder punches than they threw in the Dome.
Stan said that he was suprised to be inducted and it’s honor. He thanked God for giving him his lungs and his legs. He shortchanged him on looks but that’s OK. He thanked JBL for keeping his name alive all of these years, putting over how great Stan was. He said that there were 1,000 opponents to thank. You need somebody to fight. Without them there is n match. He got a little lost so he said he wanted to talk about the important things, his wife. He put over Bruiser Brody, who said if two big ugly guys like us who can find a woman who would fall in love with them, they are blessed. He said he tells his wife all the time how he feels. He put over his kids for being independent and making their own way. He is really proud of them.
He said he had people to thank and started with Terry Funk for being a mentor and breaking him in. He appreciates Terry and the whole Funk family. He mentioned Moose Morowski and Karl Von Steiger for helping him when he was green. He mentioned the talent around Amarillo then and namechecked Bob Backlund. He talked about what a great athlete he was. He said it was an honor to wrestle Bob at MSG. He put over Chavo Guerrero. Then Jumbo Tsuruta (who was awesome if you never saw him). He said it was great to be with a young class of guys like that.
He then said his trip to this stage started with Fritz Von Erich at the Sportatorium. He said Red Bastien was a great guy and booked him against the High Chief Peter Maivia. He mentioned working hard against Rick Martel, who was a pretty white meat babyface but boy he could fight. He said one time against Martel, Stan charged him and Martel moved and rolled him up in 9 seconds. Stan wanted us to know that because he has done a few jobs. After that, every time his mama heard Martel’s name, she would say isn’t that the guy who beat you in nine seconds? He appreciates Martell.
He talked about a guy in the promotion who was friends with Bruno and he called him and said there was a kid who he may want to wrestle. Bruno talked to Vince Sr. and the next thing he knew, he was at Madison Square Garden at 25 years old. He said he wasn’t nervous but maybe he was a little bit because he slammed Bruno and he broke his neck. He was out for four months. Stan said that the class guy Bruno is, he never held that against him. He said that every few months he calls Bruno and thanks him for giving him the opportunity. They were both emotional.
He talked about Vince Sr. sending him to Japan where he saw Tiger Jeet Singh and he said that is the style he wanted to develop. He also put over his best friend, Pete Roberts.
He talked about what a good guy Andre The Giant was and he was looking for an opponent. He said he was young and stupid and they had a match that people are still talking about. He said he owes his career in Japan to The Andre The Giant.
He said that while New Japan and All Japan were having a war, he went with Giant Baba and All Japan. He said he worked for him for 26 years on a handshake deal. He said that he got reunited with Brody and they ran roughshod in the 80s (which is total truth).
He talked about the great talent there, including Kawada, Kobashi and Misawa.
He said that he wants to thank all of the carpenters, they are the guys who make the talents as they go up the roster. He clapped for them. He said it was an honor to be in Texas and then he paid tribute to all of his buddies in Waco with his signature yell. And with that he left the stage.
Jacqueline: Presented by The Dudley Boyz
Bubba came out and said firstly, they are glad to be back in WWE. He said that when Mark Carano said they were inducting her, they were pysched because they love her. He said the fact that Jackie wanted them to do it was amazing and humbling. Bubba said that they have done a lot in their career but never something like this, and to do it in her hometown of Dallas, TX. He said that when they talked about what to say about her, like with The Godfather there are a lot of stories they couldn’t tell. He said that the one word that describe her was tough. Like Mae Young/Moolah tough. D-Von went to talk and Bubba stopped him and said you just get to say Testifty. D-Von faked being mad and told him from Mania was about to start early and from now on, get your own table. Jackie is one of the boys. She is also cheap. Like when they are riding in a car, she’s talking until she sees a toll booth then the next thing you know, she’s asleep. Then it comes time to pay for the rental car and she would forget her wallet.
D-Von asked her if she can dance. Uh, no. She thinks she can dab, like Cam Newton. He said she will have to do it for the people tonight. He said that she has ridden up the roads many times. They are great friends and she is tight with his family. He said that in this business you will only have enough true friends to count on one hand with fingers left over. She is one of those friends. With that D-Von brought out Jackie Moore.
Before she talks I have to tell you, everything they said was true. Jackie was tough as nails.
She came out and she dabbed. She hugged them both and then made her way to the mic. She looks like she could go today, no problem.
She talked about breaking in at the Sportatorium for the Von Erichs, after seeing them on TV. She talked about meeting Skandor Akbar. She then made it to WWE and won the Title. She said she wanted to thank some people. First, the fans. You made it all worth while. She thanked her friends and family.
Trish, Lita, Molly Holly, Terri Runnels, Victoria and Sable. She said she wanted to thank the men she worked with, There are too many to mention. And she wanted to thank WWE for the opportunity. It was great working here. Witth that, she ended it. Short but sweet, and down to business, just like Jackie as a wrestler.
– Lawler set up the video for The Freebirds, which naturally included Bad Street USA playing, and then Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Freebird” to close. A great video.
The Fabulous Freebirds: Presented by The New Day
New Day came out to induct The Freebirds. The fans popped HUGE for New Day. Kofi said that tonight is about The Fabulous Freebirds. People are wondering why the New Day are the ones inducting them. They have a lot in common. They love to sing, dance and are both multi-man units that function like an oiled machine. Big E said that his unit is well oiled, which led to hijinx. He said that both groups like to have fun. The Freebirds had fun too. He said that the Birds tought them that they were family and brothers. They were also the first team to come out to music so Kofi got the crowd to chant, “Freebirds Rock”. Freebird played and out them came when the song hit the guitar solo.
Michael Hayes had on a Texas overcoat, cowboy hat and t-shirt. Jummy Garvin had on a tux. They danced through the solo and Jimmy sold it like he was having the big one. The crowd did the Free….Birds Rock chant. Michael said, “Free…birds need oxygen”. Jimmy said he hasn’t danced that hard in a quarter century and Hayes said it looked like it. Hayes put over New Day and then said thank you and left. Garvin said that he almost had a heart attack and thats it. Hayes said they have an office pool and he took the under. Garvin took the over. So they made a deal to hang around a little bit.
Jimmy gave numbers. 55, 37 and 32.
55 years ago Chief Jay Strongbow broke him into Championship Wrestling from Florida when he was 9 years old. 37 years ago was when they became brothers at Tommy Rich’s birthday party. Hayes said with moonshine. Garvin said he didn’t want to get in trouble. Hayes said he’s always in trouble. 32 is years ago that at Texas Stadium they set the attendance broken and tomorrow at WrestleMania 32 that rcor will be smashed.
Hayes talked about one of the first nights they came back from The Sportatorium where Buddy, Terry and Hayes roomed together for the first time. Hayes asked who had the key. They didn’t trust Buddy with a key. Terry didn’t have it. Hayes had no idea where it was. Terry said I have the key, and kicked the door in, their first night in the apartment. During the party that night, after they propped the door back up, Terry threw their rented table into the wall. Buddy followed by throwing forearms into the sheetrock. Buddy knows they are mad at him so he does a running elbow through the coffee table and said, “Well, we never drink coffee anyway”. Buddy then took the wood from the table and burned it in the fireplace, in the middle of summer.
Jimmy said that was one story and they both miss them both so much. They are both their brothers. He would give anything to have them with us now. Michael said that we will feel the presence of them both. To make it more special, they brought our their sons, Ray Gordy and Buddy Jack Roberts Jr. That is cool.
Ray talked about growing up around the business and how he was a fan. People would ask who his favorite wrestler was and of course he said it was…..Kevin Von Erich. He said that once he got in the business, he realized that Terry Bam Bam Gordy was one of the best big men to ever wrestle. He said that on behalf of his sisters, he wanted to thank WWE and the fans for honoring the memory of their father.
Buddy Jr. came out and said that everything he was going to say from rehearsal is out the window. He instead thanked WWE for inducting the Freebirds. He made his mom stand up and she blew kisses to her son. He said he knows he is trouble but dad would have done it. He said his dad had a great career with The Freebirds and the Hollywood Blondes. He sad his dad loved every minute of it. He said that he loved the car rides and being with his brothers, and not just the guys on the stage. He thanked the fans and left.
Ray went back and said he would like to hear some more Freebirds stories. That brought Michael and Jimmy back.
Jimmy said that since it’s a family show, they can only tell so many stories. Then again, what can do they do other than fire Michael?
Jimmy said that they could look at each other and know what the others were thinking. He said that he would be in the shower and feel something warm on his back and sure enough, Buddy was peeing on him. He watched Buddy Jr. when he was out there for that reason. He said they had fun and it was NOT THEIR FAULT! Yes, he did his catchphrase.
Michael told a story of before they had turned on the Von Erichs and they were traveling together. The Von Erichs knew this Strip Club. Michael knew that wasn’t a good idea for him. He wanted to stay in the car. So, Kerry and David teamed with Terry to take him in. He said he would walk in and it’s a place where Aunt Rosey, after her third baby, was working it. She looked good after enough Jack and Coke. So he goes to play Pac Man rather than engage. He is playing when he takes a shot from behind. It was a gang member wondering what gang he was in. Hayes said he wasn’t. It was about to get ugly so Terry came over and the gang guy slapped him. Terry took out the guy and Michael got another guy. Michael says let’s get out when a guy goes for a gun. The guy chasing them had a wooden leg so he didnt catch them. When the guy got outside he fired the gun but didn’t hit them. Terry started laughing. Michael asked why. And he said, “Because he missed!” The fans chanted Freebirds Rock.
Jimmy talked about an apartment building his dad had and lots of wrestlers lived there. Buddy, Michael and Terry needed a place to stay so he rented it to them and within a week they almost burnt it down, including Percy Pringle throwing a burning chair into a pool. He then said that being valet for a day for David Von Erich was memorable. Then he put over Chris Adams. He mentioned his two women and he put over his wife Patti, aka Precious, and how they have been together for 47 years. He loves her and his two daughters. And his grandkids. He has been blessed in many ways, including being a Freebird (long before most people knew he was). He will forever appreciate being par of the group.
Michael came on and said he wants to pay homage to WCCW, on the corner of Cadiz and Industrial. He put over The Iceman King Parsons, Chris Adams, Precious and Sunshine, and Jimmy Garvin.
Michael said he people to thank. God. His mother. He said his mom was his greatest motivator, not that she meant to be. She had a way about her. He said one time he went out to get jeans at 9. He was chubby and had a flattop but the girl was looking. Then mom asked where the husky department was. He put over Pat Patterson, The Briscos, Hollywood John Tatum (YES!), the producers, the writers (and he knew they would hate it and they did, the fans booed). Hayes said that they work their ass off and so does every single person in the company. They all work overtime to give you a product that puts a smile on your face. When he first heard that slogan, he thought it was stupid. Then he went to a show and saw smiles on faces and it dawned on him that it was true. He then put over Afa and Sika, out of nowhere.
He then thanked his two ex-wives. They both believed in him. It was their fault that they married him. He said that in the past few years he has found something out, and that is due to the McMahon family. Paul and Steph helped him when he was in a not so good place. He said that Steph always had his back and he loves her dearly. You are the sister I never had. Shane, you keep me up at night. When will you settle down. Linda, you are the only one that is not crazy. You cut me shorts at the wedding! And then some. No Vince.
He said that his little vacation taught him why he sucked at marriage, that is because he already had one, this business. He said if you have a dream, make it happen. He said he should be the last one on this stage, but here he is. The fans chanted he deserved it. He said he loves his kids in NXT. Love our business and our business will love you back. He said he has one love that started good and ended good, his dog Jojo Hayes. He misses her every day. He lost her two years ago in September. He said a Hall Of Famer that told him don’t look back at what you don’t have, look forward and enjoy what you do. He said that the man that told him that was a Von Erich and with that be brought out Kevin Von Erich, who still looks great.
Kevin came out and said that The Freebirds were brothers because they love each other. He made a slip and said the “New Gay” guys because they love each other. He sent love to his family and to the Freebirds. He put over what Ray said about Terry. He said that you know his story and he did lose his family. He said he found out that it’s not about money, it’s about family. He had his boys stand up. He looked out and said he is grateful. He said some people say, “Poor Kev”. He said don’t say that, say “Lucky Kev”. He put over the Birds and said that we may have beat on each other but it was a lot of fun. God Bless Texas.
Michael said that Jimmy won, they did the over. So it’s time to go back to…..oh he;s gonna sing. Jimmy left and Michael sang Badstreet. Everyone was standing. Many were singing along. Hayes went itno the crowd and sang with the peeps, including The Iron Shiek. Damn, that was awesome.
This whole segment was f’n great, at least for old timers like me. Wow.
The Big Boss Man: Presented by Slick
After a video package for The Big Bossman, out came Slick to induct him. We got to hear some Jive Soul Bro!
Slick, who is a preacher now, did a joke about collecting from the crowd. He then went into talking about how great Bossman was in the ring, as well as how big his heart was. Slick was lucky to be his manager, but luckier to be his friend. He talked about Bossman joining Akeem and being the Twin Towers. He talked about how great Bossman was and how he helped establish WWE’s business. He passed too young but heaven gained a guardian angel. Bossman was a humble man that loved his family. There is no better way to pay tribute to the man that loved his family and the business he lived for than to induct him in the Hall Of Fame.
Slick brought out Ray’s wife and daughters to accept for their husband/father. Daughter Lacy spoke and thanked WWE and the fans. She wish h was there to accept it, he would be tickled. She didn’t realize how cool her dad’s job was then but she does now. She told nice stories about her dad and even namechecked Pepper. She talked about the fact that despite the fact that he was a great villain, he was great guy out of the ring. His wife then pulled out the nightstick and taked about how great a guy he was. Ray loved being funny and doing things for the kids. The day he died, he was out doing things for the community. She was with him for 30 years. When you have Rick Steiner as a roommate for a few years, you learn a lot. They had a great life and they appreciate the fans and the legacy he left behind.
Snoop Dogg: Presented by John Cena
Snoop Dogg is about to go into the Celebrity Wing. After the package, it ends up John Cena is the one inducting him and he got a lot of boos. He took it in stride.
Cena joked about when he says hi to Snoop, it doesn’t mean hello. Cena put him over and there were a lot of fans that were, well, jerks. This isn’t the night to boo people. Cena did a great job introducing him.
Snoop took the stage and was awesome, putting over the business and the people in it. Then he put over his little cousin, Sasha Banks. He told the story of taking her to WrestleMania as a teenager. He could see that is what she wanted to do and what she wanted to be. He is happy for her. He talked about his grandfather and how they would watch Rasslin. He said as a kid his grandfather took him to see Andre The Giant and Gorilla Monsoon. It taught him to love the sport of wrestling and seeing it become the number one sport in the world has been great for him. He told the fans to give themselves a round of applause. He talked about people that influenced him. Tony Atlas. Rocky Johnson. The Junkyard Dog. The American Dream Dusty Rhodes. And of course, Ric Flair. Wrestling has been good to him and he is happy to be part of the family. He ended with a great rap.
Joan Lunden (Warrior Award): Presented by Dana Warrior:
Joan Lunden will be getting the Warrior Award next. After a great vignette, Dana Warrior came and she thanked the fans for their loyalty to them. Thanks to them, they will live on forever. She said that she has learned a lot about wrestling is applicable to real life. As an outsider, it amazes her how important wrestling is to our lives and what it brings is. Once you know it, you become hooked and you live it. She will take on anyone that comes up against the business. She said that we are counting the day until Warrior’s daughter makes her run to the ring. She put over how WWE gives women opportunities.
She is honored to be here to honor a Warrior like Joan Lunden. She did a great promo putting over Lunden for her strength and taking her battle public when she didn’t have to. Dana was awesome.
Lunden thanks everyone and says she never would gave thought she’d be standing at the WWE Hall of Fame, and that she would be following Snoop Dogg. She’s honored and said her credibility soared when she told her kids, who are serious WWE fans. She talks about being diagnosed with breast cancer and she did have feelings of sadness and defeat. Those feelings didn’t last long as she decided to fight. She says that changed her life completely and all of a sudden her life took on a new purpose. She realized she would be fighting for other women across the country. She dedicated herself to give a voice to women who don’t have a platform to stand on. She uses her connections made in 3 decades of broadcasting to fight for cancer patients and women’s health in Washington. She’s built a community on the internet for women to find support. She praises the WWE community for showing her support and says the energy she felt on RAW one year ago was palpable. She says the crowd gave her energy to go on that night. She says there are no fans like WWE fans and she can’t think of any other business like WWE. She says the respect and loyalty that she sees each Superstar and Diva has to the McMahon family is extraordinary and she doesn’t know if you can find it in any other business in this country. She thanks everyone from the bottom of her heart for reaching out to her. She says they really did heal her and lit a fire under her to get into Warrior mode. She thanks The Ultimate Warrior and Dana, and her daughters. She calls Dana his real life tag team partner. She thanks her own kids, all 7 of them, and her husband Jeff. She says Jeff is her rock. She feels fortunate to use her journey to help other women and she can only hope she’s offered inspiration to others fighting their own battle. Just as Warrior promised a good fight in the ring, she promises she will fight the good fight to help women outside of the ring. She thanks everyone and waves before leaving.
Sting: Presented by Ric Flair
Back from the break and Lawler leads us to a video package for Sting. He comes back and introduces WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair to do the induction. Flair noted how we lost two Hall of Famers this year – one being Dusty Rhodes. Flair asks Dusty’s wife Michelle to stand up and talks about the statue presentation at Axxess. He says the company hates it when you thank them but now is the time to give them recognition for making such great TV and telling the story of the great Dusty Rhodes and Roddy Piper. Flair wishes Piper’s wife was here. Flair says he knows Vince McMahon hates it but thank you. He thanks Linda, Triple H and Stephanie. Flair gives a shoutout to WWE Divas Champion Charlotte and there are some boos. Flair says if Snoop can recognize Sasha, he can do Charlotte. She finally stands and is a little embarrassed. Flair calls her genetically superior and pats himself on the back for raising her.
Flair talks about The Icon, The Man Called Sting. Flair pulls out his speech and says the company censors him, makes him outline his speech. Flair says it’s better to follow the guidelines than not and then have to walk to the back. He knew Sting had it from the first day he walked in. Flair says he prides himself on conditioning and he wrestled 55 minutes with Sting. He says it was supposed to be an hour but something went wrong and that’s why the company didn’t go anywhere at that time. He says they went 55 minutes and Sting didn’t take one deep breath. Flair says Sting had the body and the haircut, he put money into his wardrobe and always looked the part. Flair always told Sting to go to WWE but he wouldn’t. He says Sting’s career speaks for himself. He talks about the chemistry he had with Ricky Steamboat but says they always competed to see who was better. He talks about how working with Sting was easier. He trusted Sting and Sting could do anything with him. Flair admits he has no offense, a chop, a whooo and a strut. He says that’s why he always liked being a bad guy. He did one dropkick in his career and didn’t even get to the knees but he can take bumps and he can talk.
Flair talks about Triple H vs. Sting at WrestleMania 31 and says you have to be ready to go when you face Triple H, he’s not just saying that because Triple H is his best friend. Flair says the same about Shawn Michaels and says Shawn carried him through the entire retirement match at WrestleMania 24.
Flair says he spent three decades wrestling Sting, Steamboat and Dusty, and they were three of the greatest rivalries in history. Flair says Sting didn’t even ask, he just knew about the personal sacrifice you had to make to be successful back then. Flair talks about wrestling twice on holidays. Sting sacrificed. Flair talks more about feuding with Steamboat and jokes around with him. Flair says he thinks the world of Sting as a person and can’t say enough about him. Flair says he didn’t see Sting for 10 years but they had the same chemistry and respect when they saw each other. Flair says they want him to wrap this up. He introduces one of the greatest of all time, saying he and Steamboat were just too nice to be wrestlers. Flair says he’s glad Sting had the chance to come to WWE because this is the place to be. Flair goes on and introduces The Icon, Sting.
After laughing at how Flair left the notes he didn’t use, of course, on the podium, he talked about how he knew nothing about the business until getting into it in his 20s. He talked about how he was a west coast guy that got paired with Jim Hellwig, AKA Warrior. Warrior was into protein and introduced him to Waffle House.
Sting talked about how you have to be careful for what you ask for. He went from sleeping in his car to maing a ton of money. He talked about how he went from that having over 400 endorsement products. He talked about his influences and people then saying how wrestlers told him they got into the business because of him. He mentioned how Seth Rollins came out to the ambulance the night he got hurt and said that Seth had to tell him he dressed up like him for Halloween. He said he knows a lot of them did too. Sting mocked Robocop in WCW and asked Vader if he remembered White Castle of Fear. He then talked about being stoic Sting to Kevin Nash. Nash and him asked if they were OK and then Nash rolled on him when they were and asked if it was OK to spoon with him.
He talked about all of his various incarnations of his character as it changed over the years. He said it was fitting because in his personal life he was a chameleon as well. He said that he made choices and in 1998 it came to a head. On TV he was great but off camera his life was falling apart. In August of 1998 he got pinned to the mat by God. He got another chance and he made his life right and changed his priorities. Since then, he has never looked back. His life is back in order with his family and all of you.
He said that he has bragging rights because he knows so many wrestler want to say they peform at WrestleMania, and he did, against a great opponent in HHH. And now he can say that he is here in front of everyone a Hall Of Famer.
He wants to thank people. The first one is the guy he started with, Jim Hellwig. He was intense and pushed him hard. If he wasn’t he might not be here now. Some fans chanted for Undertaker. Ugh.
H thanked some people close to him, including his personal trainer. He thanked Jim Ross for giving him inside scoops at the right time. He thanked Michael Hayes back for all his help. He thanked Road Dogg. Road Dogg reminded him not to forget his life alert necklace before the match with Seth.
He had to thank Ric Flair, the Nature Boy. He said he didn’t have to make him, but he did. He put him on the map to begin with. He thanked his Mom and Dad for the work ethic they instilled. They loved him, even when he didn’t deserved it. He thanked them and dad yelled you’re welcome. He thanked the rest of his family. He said that they have gone through so much and he thanked his kids for all that they are becoming.
He thanked his second wife, as they are about to have their first anniversary. She is also his trainer.
He wants to also thank the fans. They chanted Thank You Sting. He said no, without you there would be no us. Not verbatim, but he used my tagline (and I mean it, thanks to all of you for supporting the site).
He said the one thing that is for real about Sting is that he is finishing his WWE career under the WWE umbrella. He is officially retiring tonight. The fans chanted THANK YOU STING.
Sting grabbed the bat and put on the glasses. He said, “I want you to know this isn’t goodbye, it’s see you later”. He posed with the bat and left the stage.
He was fantastic.
In fact, the whole show was fantastic. Amazing, amazing event.
You can see photos of the Ceremony on WA Facebook Pages: