‘How Randy Savage’s induction puts an end to one of WWE’s most glaring problems.’
Wrestling fans can be hard to please. That’s a compliment just as much as a criticism, but it’s true either way. Throw a bad gimmick in front of a wrestling crowd and they’ll destroy it. And while that may not bode well for the worker saddled with said bad gimmick, it’s good news for those who are eventually embraced by the fans. The fact that wrestling fans don’t throw their praise on everything they see makes their united praise all the more special. It even changed the main event of WrestleMania XXX. A united fan base soured on the thought of Batista/Orton and put Daniel Bryan on their pedestal.
But this is too often the exception, and not the rule. In the current generation of sports entertainment, it’s not often that the fans unite in such a way. There are always disagreements among wrestling fans on a wide array of issues. Whether it be the preferred in ring style, types of talking segments, announcers, pay-per-view gimmicks, or countless other issues, wrestling fans’ opinions vary. These contrasting opinions are so prevalent, it makes a united fan base all the more powerful. And this leads us to, “The Hall of Fame Problem.”
When it comes to the Hall of Fame, the fans’ lack of universality will always be present. Some will say a particular individual is undeserving, while others may tout that same person’s deservedness for their Hall spot. That happens in any Hall of Fame, but when there is an omission from the Hall of Fame that brings about that rare moment of united fan support, it diminishes the legitimacy of the institution and is the definition of The Hall of Fame Problem.
Enter, Randy Savage. The last of the great omissions from WWE’s fraternity of legends, Savage was the glaring blemish on the Hall of Fame and the source of some of its greatest criticism. Sure, there seemed to be roadblocks on both sides of the issue, (and there are countless rumors about the heat between Savage and Vince McMahon, which have been talked about enough, so I’ll refrain) but the fact still remained, there was an individual whose exclusion from the Hall of Fame united the fans. In short, the fans universally saw Savage’s absence in the Hall as a travesty and it lessened their view of WWE’s Hall of Fame.
On January 12, 2015 WWE finally solved it’s Hall of Fame Problem. While Savage wasn’t the only source of The Problem (see: Bruno Sammartino), he was the final piece of the puzzle. Does this mean that there aren’t omissions from the Hall now? Certainly not (I for one am still waiting on Rick Rude), but as for those whose accomplishments make them indisputably deserving, Savage was it. A man who should have been a first ballot inductee is finally taking his rightful spot in the Hall. In a world of illegitimate contests, the Hall of Fame is, at last, legitimate.
The induction of Savage doesn’t just add his name among the other inductees, but it elevates the prestige of this particular Hall. And if there was ever a Hall of Fame that needed that elevation, it’s WWE’s. Looked at through the often jaded eyes of wrestling fans, WWE’s Hall of Fame has had its critics. From questionable inductions (I’m looking at you, Koko B. Ware) to claims of the typical wrestling politics, WWE’s Hall of Fame has been looked at in the past as being less of a legitimate institution and more of a list of individuals who were willing to sign Legends contracts.
But over the past few years, as guys like Bruno, Backlund, and Warrior were added, the blemishes faded, and the criticisms diminished until all that was left was one man. During the 80s and into the 90s, Randy Savage was the biggest name in wrestling outside of Hulk Hogan. Savage was to Hogan what Ty Cobb was to Babe Ruth, what Larry Bird was to Magic Johnson, and what Peyton Manning is (or maybe was) to Tom Brady. Without him, the Hall was incomplete and therefore not quite legitimate.
So heading towards March 28th, as we celebrate the career of The Macho Man, we can also celebrate something else, the emergence of a truly legitimate Hall of Fame. Debates will still exist, many will still call for the induction of certain individuals yet to be included, but gone is the glaring black eye on the face of this institution.
Randy Savage, among all the others accomplishments and achievements of his illustrious career, can add one more to the list: he just put over the Hall of Fame, and everyone in it.