Sting called it a career, officially announcing his retirement from pro wrestling at the WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Saturday, April 2 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas during WrestleMania Week.
The iconic figure’s induction closed the event enshrining the 2016 class. Sting denied retirement reports in the media just a day prior and made it clear he wanted to face The Undertaker. Now it seems this was a cover-up so he could break the news his way.
Sting reflected on his historic run, including working in WCW, where he became the company’s franchise player, and finally wrestling in a WWE ring at WrestleMania 31 last year. Ric Flair, arguably the 57-year-old’s greatest rival, served as inductor. The final moments of the show saw Sting break out his signature baseball bat and sunglasses before walking off stage.
The Fabulous Freebirds’ highly anticipated induction did not disappoint. Michael Hayes and Jimmy Garvin appeared to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird.” They captivated the audience with past stories. One of the best moments in Hall of Fame history occurred when Hayes performed a live rendition of the Freebirds’ “Badstreet USA.” Their induction was essentially a love letter to Texas wrestling with a cameo by Kevin Von Erich. The Von Erich’s and the Freebirds drew big business with their feud in World Class Championship Wrestling. Buddy Roberts’ son, Buddy, and Terry Gordy’s son, Ray, accepted on their respective behalf. The New Day were their inductors, and despite some initial skepticism, entertained in the spirit of the Freebirds.
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John Cena returned to television after time off from injury to induct Snoop Dogg into the celebrity wing of the Hall of Fame. Cena got the usual mixed reaction from the audience. What makes the WWE franchise player so great is the way he never loses his composure, no matter how he is being received. The Dogg has a built-in relationship with WWE and has been on numerous shows. He took time in the middle of his speech to say how proud he is of his cousin, Sasha Banks, and her success.
Award-winning television host Joan Lunden was presented the “Warrior Award” by Dana Warrior. She lent some inspiring words about her battle with breast cancer and how she is using it to make a difference.
Stan Hansen, Jacqueline, the Godfather and the Big Boss Man rounded out this year’s list of inductees. Hansen proved a master storyteller, as did his inductor Vader. The time Vader had his eye knocked out of his socket by “The Lariat” during one of their Japanese showdowns. He had fun with it by pulling out glasses with an eye springing from them.
Jacqueline, who asked the Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von) to induct her, has never looked better. The same could be said about the Godfather, who brought the Ho train back from obscurity. That put smiles on faces, especially the APA (Ron Simmons and John Bradshaw Layfield) who reunited to induct him.
His widow, Angela, and daughters, Lacy and Megan, led the posthumous induction of the Big Boss Man. Angela took the nightstick from a WWE bag saying the nightstick may have been used in the ring, but he gave his heart to his family and everyone he came in contact with. Boss Man’s manager, Slick, was inductor for his late colleague.
The audience was largely respectful of the speeches. Although it’s a little sad to see less fans dressing up for the occasion. I always thought proper attire was a nice show of respect to those being honored and added to the atmosphere.
I thought the show itself had a nice flow
Prior to the ceremony getting underway, superstars, divas, legends and their families walked the red carpet. Byron Saxton, Renee Young, new WWE hire Cathy Kelley and Maria Menounos did a good job handling hosting duties.
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- WWE WrestleMania 32
WrestleMania 32 is 7 p.m. EST Sunday, April 3 on WWE Network from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, near Dallas.
- WWE Network
- WrestleMania 32 will be free for new WWE Network subscribers. WWE is using the #FreeWrestleMania hashtag to promote it.
- WWE WrestleMania Kickoff
USA Network will carry the WrestleMania 32 Kickoff Show at 6 p.m EST. It will include the Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von) against the Usos (Jimmy and Jey) and Total Divas (Brie Bella, Paige, Natalya, Alicia Fox and Eva Marie) vs. B.A.D. & Blonde (Lana, Summer Rae, Naomi, Emma and Tamina).
- Pro Wrestling On The Web