The 2017 WWE Hall of Fame Red Carpet pre-show opens with Byron Saxton. We’re live from the Amway Center in Orlando. We see various WWE Superstars hanging out on the red carpet, including Mick Foley and Noelle Foley. Saxton is joined by Maria Menounos for her 4th straight Red Carpet pre-show appearance. Saxton sends us to Renee Young on the red carpet. She’s with WWE Hall of Famer Booker T and Sharmell. They talk about tonight’s ceremony before sending us to Cathy Kelley. She’s with SmackDown Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss. She says it’s hard to prepare for Sunday’s title defense because it’s open to women on the roster. She gives props to the division and says there’s no weak link. Bliss says she’s been working on her cardio and won’t be going down without a fight. Cathy confirms that the match has been moved to the main card. Bliss says it’s going to be awesome. We go back to Saxton and Maria. They’re with WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair and Wendy (Fifi The Maid). Flair gives props to tonight’s class and comments on Charlotte getting the job done on Sunday.
Renee is with Noelle and Mick. Cesaro and Sheamus interrupt the interview and joke around with Foley. Foley is looking forward to seeing Kurt Angle’s speech, Diamond Dallas Page because he’s been a close friend for 25 years. Foley is also looking forward to Jim Cornette’s appearance. Cathy is with Kelly Kelly next. Her main reason for being here is to see Beth Phoenix. She confirms she filmed a hilarious “Table For 3” with Eve Torres and Maryse this week. Saxton and Maria send us to a break. We come back and Renee is with WWE Hall of Famer Gene Okerlund. Gene is really excited for Rick Rude’s induction tonight. He comments on Rude’s family members being here. Cathy is with Baron Corbin now. He has a lady friend with him. Corbin is confident that he will take the WWE Intercontinental Title from Dean Ambrose on Sunday but he’s going to enjoy the rest of the week for now. Corbin looks at Braun Strowman to win the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal this year. Saxton and Maria are with WWE Hall of Famer Sting and his wife now. Sting talks about tonight’s ceremony and says Eric Bischoff appearing is interesting. Sting does his signature yell and gets a pop from the crowd. Renee is with Mojo Rawley and he’s wearing a Zubaz suit. This is his first Hall of Fame ceremony and Sunday will be his first WrestleMania. He says he’s been dreaming of this since he was a kid. Cathy is with Nia Jax and her aunt Ata Johnson, The Rock’s mother. Nia says the week has been surreal and amazing. Ata says she misses being around, so she tries to make the event every year. Her son isn’t here but she’s looking forward to seeing Nia and Roman Reigns lay the smack down. Renee is trying to get a word with Austin Aries but he’s tied up. Maria and Saxton are with The Miz and Maryse now. They talk fashion and Sunday’s big match against John Cena and Nikki Bella. Miz says it’s a given that they will make easy work of Cena and Nikki. Maryse chimes in and Miz promises their match will be the one everyone wants to see.
Cathy is with Big Show now. He’s hoping to become a two-time Andre Battle Royal winner but he believes there’s a lot of tough competition this year. He knows there will be a target on his back because he’s the 20 year veteran. Show says it’s fantastic that The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express is being honored tonight. He’s also looking forward to Jim Cornette and his friend Diamond Dallas Page. Saxton sends us to another break. We come back and Renee is with Austin Aries and Thea Trinidad. This is his first ceremony as well. He’s just looking forward to taking everything in. He has a game plan for WWE Cruiserweight Champion Neville on Sunday but is sure the nerves will hit when he makes his way out. Thea says she’s excited to see him get the chance and is happy to finally see him where he belongs, doing what he does best. Saxton and Maria are with Eve Torres-Gracie now. Maria and Eve talk about their previous WrestleMania moment together and give each other props. Eve is excited to see Teddy Long get inducted tonight. Renee is with WWE Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose now. He’s covered in glitter because he’s had to say hello to all these ladies. Ambrose feels like a real lady killer walking the red carpet tonight. Renee jokes that he’s not supposed to say that to her. Ambrose goes on and she says he’s ridiculous. Ambrose is looking forward to seeing The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express get inducted tonight because they wrote the book on tag team wrestling with The Midnight Express. Renee ends up sending Dean off to their seats. Cathy is with Charlotte Flair. She’s excited for the Fatal 4 Way on Sunday and talks about her ties to Orlando. She’s also excited to continue her father’s legacy in Orlando. Saxton and Maria are with Roman Reigns and his wife now. Reigns cuts a promo on how he’s made WWE his yard. He says The Undertaker is a different level but he’s ready for the next level. Reigns says this is who he is and he was born for this business. Renee is with John Cena and Nikki Bella now. Cena says he’s tired and it’s been a long week but as we hear in the background, we have an enthusiastic crowd tonight. Cena praises Kurt Angle and is very excited about inducting him tonight. They are both excited about teaming together on Sunday. Nikki says they will always have that huge moment. Cathy is with Samoa Joe now. Joe says he’s looking to make his own Impact at WrestleMania on Sunday. He talks about tonight’s ceremony and mentions having a history with Angle. It means a lot to be here to see Angle be honored. Maria and Saxton send us to another break.
We come back to Saxton and Maria with Corey Graves and his wife. Graves is super excited to see Angle’s induction tonight. He grew up in the Pittsburgh area and knew of Angle as a star before his WWE days. We get other appearances by Dana Warrior and her daughters, The Godfather and others. RAW Tag Team Champions Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson acknowledge a loud AJ Styles chant. Saxton and Maria are with AJ and his wife now. AJ mentions “doing a few years” in Orlando and says he has a few fans here. Saxton reminds him he debuted in Orlando with WWE. AJ says he and Shane McMahon are going to tear the house down on Sunday. We take another break and come back to Randy Orton and wife Kim with Renee. Orton also says he and WWE Champion Bray Wyatt will tear the house down on Sunday. Orton talks about looking forward to seeing Kurt Angle get inducted because they have history. He also names DDP and looks forward to hearing Jim Cornette with a live mic. We also get appearances by Shane McMahon and RAW Women’s Champion Bayley. Renee and Cathy join Saxton and Maria to close the pre-show.
2017 WWE Hall of Fame:
The 2017 WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony opens with a video package on tonight’s inductees.
– We’re live from the Amway Center in Orlando as host WWE Hall of Famer Jerry Lawler makes his way out. Lawler welcomes us and praises the inductees. Lawler sends us to a video package for Diamond Dallas Page.
Eric Bischoff on Diamond Dallas Page:
After the video, which was great, Lawler brought out Eric Bischoff, who got an amazing reaction and a welcome back chant. He appreciated it. He talked about heart and he would get back to that in a minute. Then he got emotional and said he wished that he was in the crowd and someone else was inducting Page, “God Bless You Dusty Rhodes. May you rest in peace Brother”. He then said he is happy to be the distant second and being here to share this with DDP and the fans. He is amazed at the progress DDP made. He met him in 1988 when he was the manager of Badd Company. People told Bischoff that he towered over the guys he was managing. Then Bischoff said close your eyes and imagine Paul Heyman at 6’11 and 360 pounds of muscle managing Brock Lesnar.
He said that DDP kept at and he was talented and obnoxious. One night they got into a bar fight back in the AWA and when DDP went to WCW in 1991 he was not upset to see him go. He talked about all of the things that DDP did down in WCW and as AWA was dying, he needed a job. He failed an audition a year earlier so he was happy to get a call from WCW. He got to WCW and found out the guy who was there for his audition was the guy he got into the bar fight with, DDP. Instead of holding it against him, DDP worked with him and he ended up getting the gig. They became great friends, even though Page remained obnoxious. He clearly meant it in a good way.
Bischoff learned to respect Page’s commitment. That is what led him to go to work at the Power Plant to learn how to make himself more valuable, as he was a manager and commentator at the time. At 35 he was training to become an in-ring performer. Everyone around him said he was too old, but Page was relentless. Page would tape everything and corner people to watch it with him and give him their thoughts. He was relentless. He kept working hard as he became a wrestler. He tried every gimmick he could think of to get himself over and kept at it because he was committed. He said DDP went on to have career moments with all time greats like Savage, Flair, Hall, Nash, Goldberg, Hogan and more.
Bischoff respects him and he is here because of his hard work and that is why he is here. He said that he is happy to be here because of Page’s heart. Page shares his heart with others in need. He spoke about people that Page has helped with his yoga system and how he wouldn’t let people accept limitations. He namechecked Scott Hall and Jake Roberts and said that they were there tonight because Page was there for them. They nodded in agreement. With that, he brought out DDP.
DDP came out with his daughters, to a huge pop. He said he used to have Diamond Dolls and now he has Diamond Daughters. He put them over and then said it’s time to go. He was funny. He talked about Mania 6 driving Rhythm and Blues to the ring in his pink Cadillac. He said he didn’t get that gig, his car did. And 33 years later, he is going into the Hall of Fame. He said he was truly humbled. The crowd gave him a “You Deserve It” and he got emotional. He said that Lee Marshall said he was an anomaly, he wasn’t supposed to be here. He talked about about Dusty Rhodes and how sad he wasn’t here. He talked about his first meeting with Dusty, doing a good Dusty impression. Dusty said he wanted to make him the Jesse Ventura and Gordon Solie would help him through it. He said didn’t start wrestling until he was 35 and a half and Michael Hayes fell down laughing. He talked about training under Jody Hamilton at the Power Plant. He said he can’t remember how many times he hit the mat and said this fake stuff hurts like hell. He asked if he really wanted to do this and he said Yes. The fans chanted Yes and DDP said Daniel Bryan is one of his favorites, he loved him. He said after three months he got over with Jody and it meant a lot to him. He thanks Buddy Lee Parker and Terry Taylor. He thanked Dusty’s wife Michelle. He said he knows that he wouldn’t get all of those callbacks without her. As Bischoff said, he was trying everything he could do back then to get over, all at the same time.
He said that he had to thank Eric Bischoff. It was Eric that made him lose all of those gimmicks and just be him. He thanked E for always watching his back. He said that he also wanted to thank his other mentor, Jake The Snake Roberts. Without the Snake there is no three time champion. Without him and Dusty he is not on the podium right now. He said that he filmed every match and people laughed at him, but everyone does it now. Jake watched all of the take with him and critiqued him. He said you don’t learn from winning, you learn from falling down. Jake was instrumental in helping him. He wanted to thank Johnny Ace for giving him a finish that would change his life. He had to make it his own so he wanted to thank William/Steven Regal for the cravat that made it work. He said that Ron Ries down in the Power Plant told him to do the Diamond Cutter first, before the move. When the fans did it back, they showed the booking committee that they cared and that helped him.
1996 he had his first competitive match with Sting. The next day PS Hayes calls him and he answered. Hayes wanted to get the machine. He said he saw his match with Sting and he has to be honest. I have never been so happy to eat crow. I’m proud of you boy. And Hayes hung up. In 1997 he got another call from Jake, “Congratulations!” For what? Reinventing the DDT. It meant the world to him.
He wants to thank Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. Nash blew him a kiss. No one believed in his idea to turn on the nWo but they did. And they set it up perfect. The fans hated when he joined and they loved when he laid Hall and Nash out. They set the table for him to have the 1997 Feud Of The Year with Randy Savage. By the way, he is doing great impressions of everyone. He talked about calling Savage on Thanksgiving and leaving a message when it dawned on him that he wanted Savage to know how grateful he was to him. He hung up and thought that was it. He said at TV on Monday that Savage took him in a room and said he got his message and played it a few times. He said he called his dad and asked him if anyone ever did that for him and Angelo Poffo said no. He then hugged DDP harder than he has ever been hugged.
He thanked Hulk Hogan and said it won’t be this year or next year, but if you keep working on it you will make huge money with me down the road. He talked about the angle on The Tonight Show with Karl Malone when they went after Hogan and Dennis Rodman.
He thanked his support team for “putting him back together” when he came home off of the road. He also thanked his ex-wife Kimberly. Then he thanked his wife Brenda. He said that she is his strength. She is a breast cancer survivor and that they did it the holistic way. He then ran down a list of other people he had to thank before he left the stage, with the last one being “especially Chris Jericho”. Jericho smiled and the crowd chanted Y2J. He talked about Jericho blowing his back out about five years ago. He sent the video to Jericho and Y2J said he would do whatever he said and look at him now.
He said he wanted to thank his family, his friends, the fans for coming, the DDP Yoga people all over the world and the Accountability Crib. He wanted to thank Goldberg for a hell of a match. Lastly, he wanted to thank his Mom for always letting him believe that he could do anything. Dusty was mentor. He could be his big brother and even his dad. Dusty would let him vent all the time but one night he went to far and said he would never be World Champion. Dusty finally raked his eyes and say that is enough. He said then what the hell are doing this for? If you don’t believe that you have the ability to be the World Champion you need to get out of the business right now. He doesn’t remember what Dusty said after that, but he remembers what he did. He wrote down, “I will be the World Champion in five years”. He said it was less than 5 years when he did. He stepped in the ring with Flair, Hogan and Sting. He thanked Flair for changing his life that night. He will never forget it and he is truly thankful. When the guest ref Randy Savage handed him that Title, an inner peace came over him. The next day Dusty called. How’s it feel. He said Dream, it feels real. Dusty said That’s because it is.
He said that his buddy Jim Ross has called him one of the biggest overachievers ever and he takes that as a big compliment. He said to be an overachiever, you first have an over believer. Always believe in yourself. He thanked the fans and did the Diamond Cutter. Feel the Bang!
– Rock and Roll Express are next. Lawler said he feels good having a hand in creating them. Video time. It was nice to see all time greats give them the credit that they deserve. Here comes Jim Cornette.
Jim Cornette on the Rock and Roll Express:
Jimmy came out in a tux and a racket. He yelled Oh Yeah! Then he said he said Oh My God, here I go. I’m Jim Cornette on a live mic and the sound guy is on Xanax. He talked about how much people are expecting out of that. I won’t be able to do this justice so I won’t even try.
JC talked about 34 years ago Jerry Lawler had an idea. MTV was taking off. He had these two great wrestlers but they needed a gimmick. He got them their outfits and they debuted in March of 1983. Lawler picked the right two for the job. Ricky’s dad was a ref and Ricky learned from him. Robert learned from his brother Ricky Gibson, who Cornette loved. Said he was great. He said that allowed Ricky and Robert to learn what the fans liked and didn’t like. The fans in Memphis knew them since they were teenagers so they needed to move to another territory to be exposed to fans that didn’t know them. Bill Watts came along and took them to Mid South. They were Justin Beiber before he even existed. The R and R had more sex on the way to the ring that most people had in a year. Women loved them, but men did too. They were smaller but they were quicker and smarter. He talked about how great Ricky was at selling and building to his big comeback. He would reach out to the fans and say help me, and they did. He has been beat up by R and R fans than by the team itself. Finally, he would make the hot tag to Robert and they would hit the double dropkick and it was over. They had great opponents but just like Batman needed the Joker, the R and R needed The Midnight Express. They all wanted to get over. The R and R were good, and the Midnights were the exact opposite. When they worked together, the matches were magic. He talked about how cool it was to be young guys in that spot. He said that they were hot and could have gone anywhere but two guys in Charlotte wanted them to come there, the greatest champion of all time Ric Flair and the creative genius Dusty Rhodes. So they went and got on national TV. He said as the feud was winding down, in came Stan Lane and it started again. In the 1990s backstage politics broke up the Midnights. In the 1990s the R and R because the backbones of Smoky Mountain Wrestling. If it weren’t for them, SMW wouldn’t have lasted as long as it did. He owes them more than he can ever repay.
They also debuted for WWE back then and exposed the world to what they were all about. Many wrestlers have told him that after seeing those teams they knew what they wanted to do, become wrestlers.
In the 2000s, they kept working. They would fight the Midnights on indies. The feud lasted 27 years. He got to manage the opponents of the R and R in their first match and he managed an opponent of them four months ago. They are still fighting and are training young wrestlers. 34 years.
He said that for their fans, the R and R were their family. He talked about fans who considered them family and took Christmas pictures. They brought the pictures to Ricky and Robert and behind the tree were pictures of Jesus Christ and the Rock and Roll Express. That’s how you know you are over. He brought out two men who have meant so much to his personal and professional life, and out they came.
Rock and Roll Express:
They hugged Corny and then walked around thanking the fans. The fans gave them a big Rock and Roll chant. Ricky put over Jimmy. He said that Jimmy and them are living proof that anything can happen in WWE because Hell did not freeze over. Robert said that the call to get in the Hall was the best call he ever got. Then he got a call that both children were having kids so he will have two grandkids. Ricky said he has seven kids and seven grand kids. And Robert said they all look like him. Pop. Robert said that they were still active and Ricky said that their independent rate went through the roof. They joked around and then said to be part of his business for 40 years and it has grown. He looks at the business now, they are professional athletes. They talked about their path and the people that believed in them. They spent time talking about Dusty’s vision and how he believed in them. Ricky said he was lost, and they kind of were, in a really good way. They are obviously having fun. Then he said that some people say that he is the Gene Simmons of Professional Wrestling. He said no, Gene Simmons in the Ricky Morton of Rock and Roll. Ricky put over Shawn Michaels and Kevin Nash. Thanks to Ric Flair, the Greatest of all time. He had the building do a WHOO on three. Robert talked about Ric telling Jim Crockett to come down and see them in New Orleans. Ricky said that Michael Hayes always worked stiff. Robert said that he and Hayes would hitchhike to arenas to put up the rings. Ricky said that they made history with another team and he hopes they are up there soon, the Midnight Express and the greatest manager of all time, Jim Cornette. Robert thanked the man upstairs for keeping them alive. He then put over his fiancé and his family. He thanked his brother for teaching him everything he knows. Ricky talked about his wife Andrea for never trying to change him. Over 35 years they have been around the world together. They have been through great and bad times. They have shared life’s tragedy. He has four brothers, but Robert makes five. He is the greatest person he has ever met in his life. It was awesome. Both teared up. I may have too. That was a lot of fun, it really was.
– Back from a break and Jerry Lawler says if our next inductee was here tonight, he would ask for all you sweathogs to stand and watch what a real man looks like. Lawler leads us to the video package for Rick Rude’s induction.
Ricky The Dragon Steamboat on Rick Rude:
Inducting Rick Rude is Ricky The Dragon Steamboat. He talked about 8 years ago he was up here and he still wears the ring with pride. He said that with Rude, they broke the mold on that guy. He talked about how Rude was a true heel who didn’t want to share his heel with anyone. He was a true heel. He talked about strong Rude was, doing 80 pound wrist curls one handed. He talked about him doing 300 pound seated rows. He was strong. You could feel how strong he was when you worked with him. He never would forget how to sell what had happened earlier. He talked about him being the Enforcer for DX and Bobby Heenan’s Family. He talked about great psychologists in the ring, and pointed out how great Rude was. He told a fun story about how Rude could adapt on the fly. He said that Rude was “snug” in the ring, you felt him. Ricky then brought out the family to accept the award.
His son accepted. He said when he found out he was to this, he wasn’t nervous even though he has never done it before. No, it was that how can he measure up to his dad’s words. So he did the Rude spiel about out of shape sweat hogs. Tremendous. HHH loved it. So did the crowd. He said that he won’t tell them about the wrestler. He will tell them about his father. He overcame incredible odds to gain the success he did. He was one of six kids in a single parent home. His dad was a hard worker and set a good example for Rick. He went on to be a bouncer and take sixth in the arm wrestling championships one year. When his friends started in the business, he did too, with Eddie Sharkey. His dad always worked hard to get better and did it for the fans. Rude loved boating and trying to hunt. But he loved his family. He worked hard for his family to have better opportunities than he did. His son said he accomplished that. He said his dad married the best woman he has ever known. He owns his own business. His sister is about to graduate college. And his late brother was a wonderful person. He thanked WWE for the honor and placing him among the greatest wrestlers of all time.
– Back from a break and we get the video package for Beth Phoenix’s induction. Jerry Lawler introduces Natalya to do the induction.
Natalya on Beth Phoenix:
Natalya says she gets to induct her best friend into the WWE Hall of Fame tonight. She doesn’t know what magic made this happen but this was meant to be. She tells a story of her first look at Beth and how they could pass as sisters. Beth reached out on MySpace one day and said she wanted to become a WWE Superstar because of two people – Natalya’s uncles, Bret Hart and Owen Hart. Fans chant for Owen. Owen was Beth’s inspiration. Natalya’s future best friend was inspired by her family. Natalya says she finally met this amazing woman and Beth showed up wearing the same outfit. Natalya says Beth became her sister, her partner in crime. They did their best to impress Fit Finlay and Arn Anderson because if you’ve done that, you’ve made it in this industry. She goes on and talks about the first women’s tag team table match in WWE and how Beth wanted the spotlight to be on Natalya. Beth was like that, she always wanted to lift others up. Beth believed in Natalya when she sometimes didn’t believe in herself. She talks more about their time on the road together and mentions Beth being one of 3 women to compete in the Royal Rumble. Natalya jokes that she is still jealous of Beth getting to kiss The Great Khali and she didn’t. Natalya still believes that Beth is her Uncle Owen’s gift to her from heaven. Natalya gets emotional. She believes in fate because of Beth. Natalya asks everyone to give it up for her best friend, her sister, her soul mate and her destiny. The familiar music hits and out comes Beth Phoenix. They embrace.
Beth came out and hugged Natty. She was obviously emotional, as the fans chanted Welcome Back. She said that they say you never forget your first love and that is true because her first love is wrestling. She said her grandmother loved it and introduced her to it. At WrestleMania 10 she saw Bret vs. Owen and a switch flipped for her. They crafted a work of art that stayed with her. It’s what she wanted to be when she grew up. She talked about going to college and hanging a Steve Austin poster on her wall. And her roommate loved it. He roommate encouraged her to become a wrestler if that is what she wanted to do. She thanked Ron Hutchinson for training her. She thanked a lot of others who helped her along the way, including Afa and his family who opened their home to her.
She got her first WWE Tryout in Toronto at 22 years old. She pumped herself up and opened the door, and walked right into Brock Lesnar. So much for not being intimidated. She went to the ring and saw so many people that she admired. The Dudleys, Christian, Val Venis, Simon Dean, William Regal, Chavo and Eddy and others. They were there early and worked with young talent that didn’t have a contract and she appreciates every moment that they spent teaching her.
At that time she became great friends with Molly Holly. Molly gave her ring gear and put her in touch with Nick Dinsmore and Danny Davis so she could train at OVW. She drove down to OVW and paid 100 bucks. She was handed a receipt saying it was paid in full, by Molly Holly so she could chase her dreams. That is awesome. He said that strong women build others up and that is who Nora/Molly is. OVW was great and she thanked everyone that was a part of it. Paul Heyman was last and got a big pop.
She said that Heyman saw something in her that he knew would translate to WWE. He helped her gain confidence and grow. She thanked him. Then she went on to Tommy Dreamer, who was there smiling. She said that he is the champion of the little guy. He still fights for people who have passion and she said she doesn’t know anyone that loves the business more than him. That is a shoot. She thanked him for all he did for her.
After a few hiccups she made it to the main roster and she thanked all of the women she got to work with. It took the Bellas to get to one that is still there. Lots of turnover there. All the women got pops. She thanked them all.
She talked about working with Candice Michelle and how much she did for her. In many ways she created the Glamazon. Candice cried when she said that. Then she went to Mickie James. That was her first opponent. She put her over and said that today’s roster is lucky to have her. Nick Aldis is there with her FYI. Eve Torres, she put her over big time. And then she went to Santino. She said that she suggested the idea to Vince McMahon and they ran with it. She talked about Santino ripped her in a promo that she didn’t understand. She thought it was good stuff but then back at the hotel an Italian fan translated it for her. She got ribbed a lot by him but he was the funnest she ever worked with and he put a smile on everyone’s face.
She then turned to Natty and put her over big time. She talked about Natty getting her teeth knocked out in a match and then asking the ref to hold onto them until later. She loves to perform. Natty is family to her and has always been there for her. Owen had a little part of bringing them together. As far as friends go, she’s the best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be.
She wanted to thank the current stars for continuing the movement for equality for women in wrestling. She name checked the female roster. She put over Finlay Arn, and so many others I don’t want to mention names and leave people out. She said it takes an army to make a WWE Superstar.
She wants to thank those that came before her and had her chase her dreams. Again, don’t want to forget anyone here. She did finish with Chyna. And mentioned Lita, who is there. She then talked about Chyna breaking down the door for her to appear in the Rumble. She saw Chyna on Raw and started lifting weights the next day. She never met her but she appreciates his contribution to the business.
She thanked the fellow inductees. It’s an honor to be next to them. She thanked the fans for demanding opportunity for women.
She said that her mom and dad aren’t there because he mom just had a Triple Bypass operation. It’s a miracle that she is here and they have always been her biggest fans. He favorite song is Wind Beneath My Wings and that is what she is to her. She thanked her brother and her wife. Her mother in law Judy for treating her like a daughter. She thanked her husband Adam, which got a bug pop, she was going to call him the Rated R…..when Tony Chimel came out. He gave the intro for Edge. It got a huge pop. He was holding their daughter. She said that being a wrestler has unique challenges. When wrestlers are married to wrestlers, it’s even worse. She gave funny examples. She told a funny story that culminated with Mick Foley, who is there with his daughter. She thanked her husband for being himself and a great father to their two girls. She loves him for being the husband and father that he is. She then told her daughters that they are her greatest accomplishments. She wants them to know that if they ever feel like they don’t fit the mold, it’s because they were meant to. You are meant for greater things. Embrace what makes you different and other different. That is what makes dreams become reality. She thanked us and left. Another great speech.
– The Warrior Award with Eric LeGrand is next.
The Warrior Award – Eric LeGrand:
Jerry Lawler says it’s time to introduce the winner of this year’s Warrior Award: Eric LeGrand. We see a video package of him growing up in Avenel, NJ, and how he was paralyzed during a Rutgers college football game. He fought to get off the ventilator and recover, and a year later, he led his college team back onto the field, and now works as a motivational speaker for those with spinal injuries. Lawler introduces Dana Warrior to present the award.
Dana comes out and says that once upon a time is a humble beginning most people can believe in, and just the word believe breathes magic into a room, and we’re here because of characters who bring stories to life. Heroes, villains, and evil queens (we get a close up of Stephanie McMahon), and not out frail America’s Top Model maidens, we have brass knuckle princesses who knock tiaras off heads, and wear bling around their waist, and they don’t need to be rescued because their woman superstars rule. They have men too, and when women ask where the good men have gone, she asks if they checked WWE because they slay dragons on the weekly, or at least the pyro makes it look that way. Every story needs a jester, and that’s why we have Enzo…how you doin’? Once upon a time, there lived a Warrior so electric and vibrant, they called him Ultimate, and he dazzled crowds, slayed his opponents, inspired his loyal subjects to be warriors in their own lives, and this Warrior’s battle cry was “always believe”, and his loyal warriors did. Three years ago, he stood here and accepted his place in the Hall of Fame, and he delivered a message that reverberates still throug the WWE Universe, and even after he drew his last breath and passed into Parts Unknown, not every story ends with laughter. All stories have an interconnectivity and run on for all time and Eric LeGrand is such a spirit as the Warrior. Eric is a man full of belief, and the one word he wrapped his life in since his accident is believe. He required himself to be disciplined in the face of challenge, and he shone a light so bright that others are able to follow, and his mother Karen is a heroine. Dana says that, mother-to-mother, she bows down to her because her son is a warrior, and she is a warrior queen…and she bought her a tiara and it’s in the back. Eric is in a chair, but he is not the chair. The chair might be his chariot, his means of transportation for this one chapter, but he has vowed to walk again and she believes him. Knowing research is the key ot victory, he formed his foundation where proceeds go toward finding a cure for paralysis, so she wants everyone to search out Team LeGrand because you never know what dollar will tip research in the way of recovery. We will be moved and inspired by Eric, a warrior who embodies the “always believe” spirit her husband promoted, and she introduces Eric LeGrand.
Eric comes out and thanks the fans, then thanks God for the blessings he’s bestowed since his injury since his injury. He thanks Triple H for his friendship, and he says it began with Triple H’s personal trainer bringing him on his podcast, and then Triple H invited him to Summerslam in Brooklyn. He and his friends got to go backstage, but as time went on he started a show called Mission: Impossible where he gives people in his case a chance to share their stories. He talks about a guest he had who had to get his legs amputated at four years old, but now he’s a Penn State wrestler, and Triple H got to be a part of that episode. His life changed forever at that football game in 2010, and he relives the moment and the days after, and he knew as he tried to recover, he was never going to give up and tells a story about asking to come off the ventilator, and his respiratory therapist didn’t think he’d survive, but he was fine an hour and a half later. The feeding tube was out, and he had a full Thanksgiving dinner with his family, and he could barely turn his head when he first got hurt, but now he can shimmy and dance and little things are coming back to him. He knows people who die or their condition degenerates after surgery like his, but he’s trying to give people hope and make it so people with his injury can get surgery to fix it the way you can get an ACL repaired today. He puts over Christopher Reeve for everything he did, and then he turns to WWE and says that pretty much everyone in the world was a fan at some point. He was born in 1990, and he remembers when he was 5 or 6 and his friend on his block used to put holds on them, and his sister put the Walls of Jericho on him as a kid. He was always inspired by Stone Cold Steve Austin, and watching him come out with a crowbar and beat people up. He was also inspired by Kane and the Rock, and tells a story about watching Goldust want to be like the Rock. He also wants to thank his mom watching on the Network at home, and she dropped her life to learn to take care of a quadropalegic, and also her Team LeGrand team and his people from Rutgers. He thanks WWE, hopes he can represent this as well as the Warrior, and he WILL walk again one day.
– Time for our next induction, and holla holla, it’s Teddy Long! We see a video package showing his history as a manager in the NWA, and later the General Manager of Smackdown. Lawler says that luckily, Long’s inductors got kicked out of the bar in time to make it here, it’s the APA!
The APA on Teddy Long:
JBL and WWE Hall of Famer Ron Simmons are out next to do the induction. They joke how he was the cheapest person ever. They have a bill for more than $72,000 for unpaid tolls and other expenses from the years on the road together. They talk about how Teddy drove them. They talk about Teddy’s success in various areas of the business before talking about his personal journey, coming up during the Civil Rights era. It’s their honor to induct their good friend and the cheapest human being on Earth. Out comes Teddy Long to a pop as his music plays.
Teddy comes out and does his dance, then stops because his back hurts…but it was just to trick the APA. He tells the fans to give him a HOLLA HOLLA HOLLA! He starts talking about how he got started in wrestling and didn’t get paid at first, but he got to show a well-known wrestler around town in Georgia and that’s how he got in. He started getting busy doing anything he could to earn his keep backstage, and then his job was setting up and breaking down the ring, and he didn’t get paid at first doinbg that, then he took the ring to Marietta one night and found out the referee wasn’t there, so he got to be the referee that night. He was scared to death, and his first match was Black Bart and Ron Bass in a Texas Death Match, and they are beating the hell out of each otehr and bleeding all over the place, so the first thing he does when they start bleeding is jump out of the ring, then he eventually got back in and became a referee. Years later, he started riding with Kevin Sullivan and Eddie Gilbert, and learned a ton from the both of them, but they found out he was a disc jockey back in the day, so they drank together and he started DJing for them. They went to Jim Ross, who was in charge in WCW at the time, and Jim got him in to become the manager of Doom. He also managed Johnny B. Badd, Scott Norton & Ice Train, and then in 1998, he came to work for Vince McMahon and the WWF, once again Jim’s work. He started refereeing here again, and then he heard his name was brought up that he could talk, and since they needed a manager at the time, he came to TV in Providence with D-Lo Brown, and he cut a promo one night, and came to the back and Vince said he couldn’t believe he had him under his nose all this time and never knew it. He got to manage Mark Henry, Rodney Mack and their White Boy Challenge, Mark Jindrak, Chris Nowinski, and then one night they got to Smackdown and found out he was becoming the General Manager. He was nervous, but couldn’t let the WWE and the McMahons down, and he isn’t blowing his own horn, but he made it work. He was General Manager for nine years, the longest in wrestling history, and now he wants to thank God, WWE, the WWE Universe, the McMahon family, and his son, who at six years old when he was working for the Crocketts, helped him put the ring up, and it took six hours, but they got it done, and his wife who he’s been married to for over twenty years. Behind every good man is a great woman, and that’s his wife, and he wants to thank everyone else in the 2017 Hall of Fame, and he wants the APA to know that if they have a problem with him paying them that money, he may need to put them in a TAG TEAM MATCH, PLAYA! Faarooq is retired, so if he’s just gotta take Bradshaw, he’ll put him one-on-one with the Undertaker! The fans chant for Teddy, and he just wants us to know this, then he’s outta here: HOLLA HOLLA HOLLA!
– Jerry Lawler is back and introduces the video package wit this year’s Legacy Hall of Fame, including Haystacks Calhoun, Judy Grable, Bearcat Wright, Farmer Burns (!), Rikidozan, Luther Lindsay, June Byers, Toots Mondt, and Dr. Jerry Graham.
– Jerry Lawler says it’s time for our final inductee: Kurt Angle. We see a video package of Kurt Angle from his time as an Olympic gold medalist, and Steve Austin, the Rock, and Mick Foley say he never saw anyone get into the business and get to the top and learn it the way he did. He can do anything, and bleeds excellence. Jericho says he’s a great athlete, but we never knew what a great character he’d become. We see the Kurt Angle “sexy Kurt” scene with Sherri Martell, the milk truck, and everyone of consequence saying how he’s an all-time great. Lawler introduces an inductor who needs no introduction: John Cena!
John Cena on Kurt Angle:
Cena comes out to “John Cena sucks” chants and says it’s nice to see all of us too. The fans chant for Miz, but Cena says that this induction is long overdue because Angle is someone in a class by himself: physically superhuman and with a personality larger than life that he could have you laughing before running circles around you. He didn’t just win an Olympic gold medal, he won with an injury that would put anyone else in a hospital bed. People come to WWE with so much hype behind them that they can’t live up to expectations, but he not only lived up to them, he actually exceeded them. In less than two years, he became the measuring stick for any and all superstars. People would line up off camera to test how tough he was, but they all failed because he could tie anyone in a knot, but he could entertain with the best of them. He didn’t just make us laugh, he made us cheer, watch, and believe. He is the type of guy that fathers tell their sons about and then the son says there’s no way that can be true. He was there, he lived it, and it’s true…it’s DAMN true. Ladies and gentlemen, a friend and mentor and deserving member of the WWE Hall of Fame: Kurt Angle!
Here he is, and the fans haven’t forgotten to chant “you suck!” along with his entrance music. The fans chant “welcome back” at Kurt, who says it’s great to be back home. He wants to thank Cena for the speech, but the fans cut him off to chant “one more match”, so Kurt says he just got here and to give him a few minutes. He tells a story about how he came to WWE: after he won the Olympic gold medal with (the fans chant along) a broken freakin’ neck, Vince McMahon invited him over and offered him a contract for more money than he’s ever seen in his life. He doesn’t want to pass it up, but he has something to tell Vince: he can never lose a match. He never heard back from Vince, but two years later he was watching Raw, loved it, and gave WWE another call. He asked Jim Ross if the contract offer still stands, and Ross said no, but he can come and try out just like everyone else. So he did, worked hard, and picked it up fast, and he has some people who helped him along the way who he wants to thanks. Jim Ross, Dory Funk Jr, Tom & Bruce Prichard, Gerry Brisco, Pat Patterson, John Laurinaitis, Dean Malenko, Arn Anderson, Terry Taylor, and two men who lost their lives in their 30s: Steve Bradley and Shawn Evans. His first match was only 12 months after he began training, but he did it because there were people like Edge & Christian, the Hardys (fans start chanting DELETE at him), Chris Jericho, Eddy Guerrero, and Steve Austin, the Rock, Triple H, Undertaker, Kane, Big Show, and even Rikishi, and he has to thank all of them. When he got his own groove about two years in, the matches he had with those guys, he was one of the best in the business, and he couldn’t believe it. Then the matches he had with Shawn Michaels, Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton, John Cena, and that crazy son of a bitch Shane McMahon (and he can’t wait to see Shane and AJ). He has some advice for the wrestlers in the crowd: he did a lot of good and bad, but limit your mistakes, follow the protocols, follow the rules, don’t be the guy everyone says they could have been the greatest of all time if they stayed out of trouble, and take chances with their personality and their character. Sometimes you make fun of yourself and it works out in your favor, like the cowboy hat. A stagehand brings out the hat and Kurt puts it on, and Kurt asks if we think he wanted to do this with Austin and McMahon. He sings Jimmy Crack Corn, then there was the wig (he puts on the wig he wore after Edge shaved his head and then demands his headgear and he puts that on too. He asks if we believe that he tapped Hulk Hogan out with this on, then says he’ll keep it on with a while. He rode a moped to the ring to wrestle the Undertaker, then doing WHOO offs with Ric Flair. And of course, battle raps with John Cena. Angle gets the fans to clap along as he raps about winning the gold medal with a broken freakin’ neck, and then says his favorite of all time…he’s just a sexy Kurt. He teases that he’ll do it live, then does and the fans sing along. What he’s trying to say is you gotta make moments, because people will remember the matches, but the character moments are what really matters. His favorite was the milk truck, and he’s not driving the milk truck out here, but he wants to thank God, the WWE Universe for always making it fun for him, his brothers, parents, and the woman who was there at his worst and now at his best, and that’s his wife Giovanna. Finally, he’ll celebrate this induction the only way he knows how…the stagehand brings out a couple of milk bottles, and he says we are now looking at the 2017 Hall of Fame class…it’s true, it’s damn true, and he has a milk bash! His music hits and the fand chant “you suck” along with Kurt as he thanks all of them. Great induction to end a great night.