Every sports and entertainment in the world has a Hall of Fame. A Hall of Fame is meant to be a place where those top legends at the top of their game in their chosen genre or industry are honoured and commemorated for their efforts and legacies they left behind for others to emulate or follow. There is always a raging debate as to who should, and who should not be in something so distinct and commemorative. But what makes the Hall of Fame itself so special? I found myself wondering what on earth it really means to be a part of the WWE Hall of Fame, and whether or not it really means anything in the overall final assessment of someone's time in WWE.
To understand the meaning of the Hall of Fame, it's important to ask yourself, what is the WWE Hall of Fame? In the grand scheme of things, it's Vince McMahon's personal little way to celebrate the names he believes should be remembered for their contributions to the sports entertainment industry. Vince always has the final say who goes in, so ultimately it is seen by many fans that he will prevent certain names going in, and this in turn seems to make some fans, and event superstars, believe that it means nothing in the grand scheme of things. But when you peel back the surface of the Hall of Fame, I feel it is there to make sure that those who paved the way for the stars of today are remembered for the contributions they made to the sports entertainment and wrestling industry.
While it is apparent that Vince has the final say on who does or doesn't make it into the Hall of Fame, there are people who believe Vince stops certain people getting into the Hall of Fame, it isn't just all down to Vince as to who gets in. Take for example, Owen Hart. I'm sure in the big picture and perfect world, Vince McMahon would love to have Owen in the Hall of Fame. After the way he spoke about Owen in the 50 Years of WWE DVD, you can tell Vince still regrets what happened that night, and I believe he really wants Owen to be remembered for all the right reasons. So what, or who is stopping him? In my mind, Martha Hart is what, and who. For those who do not know her, Martha is the widow of Owen Hart, who has filed lawsuits against Vince for wrongful death and sued Vince for the use of Owen's image and royalties owed for this. Things like this do not help the situation, and I'm not entirely sure if that situation will ever be truly resolved. I hope to one day see Owen in the Hall of Fame, but for now I accept it isn't something that could happen overnight.
In contrast to this, we have seen great names deserving of a spot for so long, who have only recently been inducted into the Hall of Fame, for various different reasons. Bruno Sammartino in 2013, the Ultimate Warrior in 2014, and this year Macho Man Randy Savage, were all three names that were always thought by fans and internally within WWE who would never be inducted, some for personal reasons, and others for more complicated reasons than we will ever truly know. All three men fully deserve their spot in WWE's Hall of Fame, and it's great to see that sometimes personal issues and egos can be put aside for the greater good of the business. These guys are names that Vince is documented to have had past issues with, and this proves without a doubt that this Hall of Fame isn't just all about Vince and his personal preferences.
Likewise, there are names who are in the Hall of Fame already that over the years have wanted to disassociate themselves from WWE, and will even go as far as to sell their Hall of Fame ring. I don't really want to go as far as to name any names in particular, but there are guys out there now who are a part of the WWE Hall of Fame that are trying to keep their distance, and have been very vocal on social media about not wanting to even have their name associated with the company. There are reasons behind this, again some of which we will not truly ever know, but I have seen there is a lot of disgruntlement from former talent over the fact Vince is using their likeness to make money through things like the WWE Network, and that are not being paid royalties for this. While I can understand their frustration with this it would be incredibly difficult for WWE to pay each one for every time they get their likeness used. If anything, I believe they should focus on the positive side allow a great platform like the WWE Network to allow a whole new audience to appreciate their work. I understand some of these guys have other issues with WWE, but I believe if they truly feel that aggrieved about being in the Hall of Fame, why not sort it quietly and privately with the company instead of making it public knowledge.
The Hall of Fame is always a spectacular night, where we as fans can honour the legends of the business from the past, while we celebrate with those from the present, and look to those who will take their place in the future. How the Hall of Fame will look in ten or twenty years from now is anyone's guess, with the industry changing all the time and more top stars emerging and writing their legacies. The legacy of Vince McMahon and WWE runs deep through this one night of the year, and I believe that in making sure the Hall of Fame is a tradition that remains in tact, even after Vince one day is no longer in charge of the company. It is a fantastic tool for fans to honour the stars of the past who should be remembered for their rightful contributions to the industry, and anyone who is inducted should see it as an honour that they will forever be remembered as long as the tradition continues.