Reported by Adam Martin of WrestleView.com
*LIVE COVERAGE* of WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2007 from Detroit, MI
On Saturday, March 31, 2007 at 7:04 PM EST WWE Hall of Fame - Class of 2007 Ceremony (Early Coverage)
Location: Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan
Report By: Adam Martin of WrestleView.com
7:02pm ET: We are live at the Fox Theatre in Detroit. It appears many WWE wrestlers and staff are still taking their seats in the first few front rows.
7:05pm ET: WWE promo hits. The opening promo for the WWE Hall of Fame highlighting previous inductees airs.
7:06pm ET: We are live in Detroit. We see a shot of the audience in attendance, including the WWE stars in the front row. We see a shot of Shane McMahon sitting next to Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. The curtain opens to display the set tonight. Mean Gene Okerlund welcomes us to the WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Tonight, we honor the class of 2007. Mean Gene passes it on to our host for the evening, Todd Grisham (who gets boos). Grisham points out the WWE stars in attendance tonight.
7:09pm ET: We go to our first inductee of the night - Nick Bockwinkel. A video airs showcasing Bockwinkel's career, including highlights from his career in AWA.
7:12pm ET: Todd Grisham introduces Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, who will induct Nick Bockwinkel tonight. Heenan gets a huge reaction from the crowd in Detroit. Heenan says, "Thank you. Thank you. Drive safe" and walks away as the crowd laughs. He said he is inducting one of the nicest men he has ever known. Someone yells, "I love you Bobby" and he responds saying, "Me too." Always an entertainer. Heenan says, "This man was the AWA champion for 4 times, he was tag team champion, he is class in the ring, but he has a problem. He doesn't do anything. There is nothing I can tell you this year. He's not a deadbet dad. He doesn't drink and doesn't carry a gun." Heenan told some stories of his time with Nick. He added you should set your watch for 4 in the morning since Nick will be out here for a while. Heenan introduces Nick Bockwinkel.
7:17pm ET: Nick Bockwinkel uses a big word to start off his speech and Heenan tells him its not a promo, its his induction. Bockwinkel said it is a privilage to receive this award tonight. He said he is thrilled to death to get this honor from such a humble crowd. Bockwinkel thanks his wife for sticking with him since the profession is hard on any marriage. He also thanks his daughters and his father, Warren Bockwinkel. Nick mentions he was a professional wrestler before him and said he was a very humble man and professionally very proud. He credits his success to his father and says, "Thank you dad." He finishes up saying he will now go take a seat next to Mr. Bobby Heenan.
7:21pm ET: We come back from an "All Grown Up" promo based on John Cena. The crowd in Detroit is chanting HBK loudly. Todd Grisham introduces the next inductees, The Wild Samoans (Afa & Sika). A promo airs highlighting The Wild Samoans in Stampede Wrestling, NWA and Japan. They then move on to their arrival into the World Wrestling Federation in the Fall of 1979. Yokozuna, Rikishi, The Rock and Umaga are mentioned as following in the steps of The Wild Samoans and the Samoan tradition in wrestling.
7:25pm ET: Sam and Matt (formerly Rosey) Anoai come out. They speak about how proud they are to be up here and celebrate their fathers careers in the WWE. Matt spoke out how they moved to the United States to make things better for their families. They thank them for the dedicated years. The Wild Samoans (Afa & Sika) are introduced.
7:29pm ET: The Wild Samoans hold their induction plaques high in the air. Sika thanks his family for all of the support over the years. Afa thanks God and says without him, we wouldn't be standing up here today. He said they were taught very young to never forget where they came from. Afa thanks his Uncle Peter Maivia and Rocky Johnson because they were the ones who trained him. He talks about watching family wrestle at the Cow Palace in San Francisco and remembers one match where Peter Maivia wrestled Patt Patterson. Afa said the place was jam packed and 10 minutes into the match, he looked up and saw his brother throw a chair. He said in five minutes, there was a riot. Afa said his brother ended up in jail and that many samoans were doing security that night, adding that many gave up their jobs and got involved in the fight. He said through Peter Maivia he got started and his brother got started. Afa then thanks the fans for their support. He then tells the young wrestlers to look around each other and see the older guys since they paved the road for them. In closing, Afa points out his sister. He mentions that is Umaga's mother. The fans then boo her loudly in a funny moment. Afa ends saying, "Take care of each other and trust in God."
7:38pm ET: Todd Grisham introduces the trailer for WWE Films' "The Condemned" starring Steve Austin.
7:41pm ET: Todd Grisham introduces ECW Originals Rob Van Dam and Sabu. RVD says he didn't grow up too far from here in a town called Battle Creek. He said as a young boy, he wanted to be a pro wrestler. RVD said it was a long shot, he wanted to make it happen. He talked about doing the research and finding a wrestling school. RVD said his dad wanted him to go to college, but convinced him to let him go to a wrestling school. He said the most important thing he looked for in a wrestling school was credibility. RVD said he came to discover a school ran by The Original Sheik only 45 minutes away from his home. He talked about The Original Sheik being hardcore before anyone else. RVD said once Sheik knew he was tough enough, he threw him into the ring with his nephew Sabu. He talked about training with Sheik in his backyard, swimming and then going in to have dinner listening to Sheik tell old stories. RVD said he can't tell all stories since he paid tuition to hear them, but told one story where The Sheik told him to apply a headlock. He complained to Sheik that he already knew how to do it and Sheik made him show him how. When RVD did, The Sheik would complain. He joked that no one wanted to have Sheik get in the ring to teach them how. RVD also talked about how people would look at them as Sheik's "boys" at local indy shows. He mentioned that Sheik instilled some important values into him, including being original and being one of a kind. RVD said he can only hope that Sheik is proud of him carrying on his values along with Sabu.
7:50pm ET: A video airs highlighting the career of Ed "The Original Sheik" Farhat. His ability to use fire during his match was also highlighted. In 1972, Pro Wrestling Illustrated named Sheik the "Villian of the Year." His teachings still live on today through Rob Van Dam and Sabu.
7:53pm ET: We are back live and Sabu says this brings great honor to his family and Sheik's wife. Joyce Farhat is introduced. Joyce said it is a great honor for her to be there tonight. She says she hopes she can get through this without crying. Joyce talks about being brought to New York City by Vince McMahon Sr. and taking part in the wrestling business. She talks about losing The Sheik four years ago, but doing things like these makes it hard to get over him. Joyce mentioned that Sheik was considered one of the most despised wrestlers ever and how fans would curse at him. She said that never bothered him because he loved what he did and did it well. Joyce said he did what he loved the most and even though he didn't say it, he always cared about his family and the fans. She talked about how people would ask her how she could live with such an awful person. Joyce said its just the wrestling business and that if you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen. She thanks the WWE and the Hall of Fame and asks when you think about The Sheik, just remember to be a little more kinder to each other.
7:59pm ET: Another "All Grown Up" promo airs centering on Shawn Michaels. We are back live and when the camera goes on John Cena, they boo. When the camera goes on Shawn Michaels, they cheer. Todd Grisham then introduces our next inductee, Mr. Fuji.
8:00pm ET: A video airs highlighting the career of Mr. Fuji, focusing on his in-ring career before his career as a manager. Mr. Fuji was called one of a kind as a manager in wrestling. Some of the past stars he managed included Demolition and Yokozuna. They also highlighted Fuji's time with Don Muraco and some of the TV spoofs they did.
8:03pm ET: Todd Grisham introduces Don Muraco, who will induct Mr. Fuji tonight. Muraco said he is here tonight to induct a tough man, but a practical joker nonetheless. He talks about a few pranks that Fuji played on wrestlers in the past, including shaving the eyebrows and mustaches off wrestlers in their sleep. Muraco adds it wasn't only limited to eyebrows and facial hair, which got a laugh and groan from the crowd in Detroit. He introduces his friend and mentor, Mr. Fuji.
8:07pm ET: Mr. Fuji comes out to the cheers of the fans in Detroit. Fuji thanks the fans and WWE for inducting him into the Hall of Fame. He said he is so proud from the bottom of his heart. Fuji said he worked and worked and finally got it. He said he truly has done it all. Fuji talks about being a pranker, but that was just him. He wanted to entertain his fellow wrestlers. Fuji thanks everyone for coming out tonight and lets out a loud BANZAI to close the induction.
8:14pm ET: The live feed on WWE.com has now ended. The inductions for "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig, "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes, Jerry "The King" Lawler and Jim Ross will air tonight at Midnight ET/11:00pm CT on the USA Network. WrestleView.com will have full coverage of those inductions later tonight.
Thanks for joining us.