NEW ORLEANS -- They laughed. They cried. They reminisced and ranted a bit. They expressed how much they loved their mother…a lot.
Above all else, World Wrestling Entertainment’s Hall of Fame Class of 2014 spoke from the heart and delivered a memorable ceremony Saturday, April 5 from the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. South Florida native Amy Dumas, better known as Lita kicked off the festivities and detailed how she got her start in pro wrestling.
The former diva in red, who was inducted by fellow Hall of Famer Trish Stratus, promised Rey Mysterio and Arn Anderson a beer for helping her along the way and followed through on that promise more than a decade later. She set the tone for the rest of the proceedings and showed WWE was allowing those featured to go as long as they want without any time constraints. After all, it was airing on the WWE Network for the first time ever.
The Class of 2014 took full advantage of the fact, with the event going well over three hours.
Well, that held true unless you’re name was Mr. T.
Kane respectfully appeared as the celebrity went on and on about how influential his mother was in his life. It’s nice that he loves his “momma” so much, but I would have liked to hear more about his WrestleMania and wrestling experiences.
The Ultimate Warrior, who was inducted by former WWE CEO Linda McMahon, made it clear he was not happy with the company’s release of the “Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior” DVD. He didn’t hold back, even showing displeasure for the former WWF having to change to WWE after losing a judgment with the World Wildlife Fund. The colorful figure mentioned how he signed a multi-year contract with WWE to serve as an ambassador.
Redemption and resurrection were common themes when it came to Razor Ramon and Jake The Snake Roberts. The two made a remarkable amount of progress thanks to the help of Diamond Dallas Page and DDP Yoga. In my mind DDP, who inducted Roberts, is worthy of the Hall of Fame when you think about how he has changed lives of many inside and outside the ring. I admit I may have needed a tissue after hearing Roberts’ words. Knowing how far he has come, how can you not be happy for him?
The same can be said for Ramon. I was surprised the man billed from Miami, real name Scott Hall, wasn’t inducted by Shawn Michaels. Kevin Nash served well as his inductor, even making light of Mr. T’s speech. HBK did make an appearance along with Sean X-Pac Waltman and Triple H to join Nash and Ramon for a Kliq photo opportunity.
Even though Kane did the honors for Paul Bearer, The Undertaker surprised the crowd by paying the ultimate tribute to his longtime manager. The Phenom knelt down the same way he did with Bearer with urn in hand. It was an iconic moment that will be remembered for many years. Carlos Colon, inducted by sons, Eddie and Carlito and nephew, Orlando, rounded out this year’s class. He went into a bilingual speech that made the Hispanic fans in the audience respond.
Despite WWE’s warnings about this disrespectful practice, there were still a good amount of fans breaking the company’s edict throughout the show.
I understand people pay to attend the show, but the realization is you are coming to help pay tribute to past superstars and divas. It’s a special ceremony -- not Raw or SmackDown. Trying to start a chant or yelling things is distracting to not only the audience trying to listen, but those at the podium trying to speak.
This is supposed to be a special night, and it was.
Interestingly enough, it was Wade Barrett who made a lasting impact on the ceremony. He “interrupted” Jerry The King Lawler, the host, to basically tell the WWE roster they will most likely never make it into the Hall of Fame. He lived up to his Bad News Barrett persona, and it seemed the superstar got as much a kick out of it as the WWE Universe did.
One tradition of the evening I wish continued is fans dressing up for the occasion. There were a good amount of fans in business attire, but the majority came to the event like it was a live event. Someone who always dresses to impress is Michael P.S. Hayes. This time he chose a red suit befitting of Brother Love or The Godfather. I’m glad some things never change. #PSfashionStatement