Ever since the WWE Hall of Fame was reinstated and turned into a public event, I have cringed and cursed at certain audience members who do not have the class and dignity to recognize that they?re not seeing a written promo in which fan reaction is key; they?re watching a wrestling legend try to sum up their career in a heart-felt, personal speech that we fans have the privilege to witness. Since a select few audience members each year seem to not be able to grasp that concept, we get such low moments in Hall of Fame history as ?Colon cancer is a slobber knocker? interrupting Jim Ross? speech. ?
Another classless moment came as a teary-eyed Ric Flair mentioned ?My first two wives? which got a chuckle f rom about 200 people. It was so distracting that Flair actually had to say ?I?m not joking, this is very serious.? Can you imagine the nerve of these people?
Sometimes I hear columnists and reporters talk about wrestlers being marks for themselves; not knowing where their character ends and the real man begins, but Hell, take a look at this certain batch of audience members, who are such marks for themselves that they don?t know when the entertainment side of wrestling ends, and where the seriousness begins. They think that they are obligated, or that it’s somehow appropriate and cool to yell out obnoxious things during a wrestling legends? speech. They can never just turn the intensity switch off, sit back, listen, learn and most of all, keep their collective mouths shut. Talk about wrestlers being marks for themselves, never in any of the televised Hall of Fame ceremonies or the 2007 ceremony I attended in person did I ever hear a wrestler in the crowd shout out something stupid, untimely or disrespectful during another wrestler’s induction speech. Even Hulk Hogan, who some would say is the biggest mark for himself, appreciates the Hall of Fame and respects his fellow legends enough to shut up.
Now of course it’s appropriate and encouraged to cheer for each legend as they make their way on stage to speak and certainly it’s appropriate to send them off with a loud ovation. Appropriate crowd reactions have made for amazing Hall of Fame moments, such as ?One more match! One more match? for Hogan, or the whole reaction for The Rock’s return to a WWE hosted event. However, there is a thin line to be drawn between appropriate and annoying and for those in the audience who may not know where that line falls, treat the Hall of Fame as you would a classroom lecture (As Mr. V can tell you). Shut up while the person up front is talking, pay attention, and speak only when asked to.
Also, let me briefly address the dress code. ?Casual business attire? is what is written on everyone’s Hall of Fame ticket, so when I see, again, a minority of people dressed for the ceremony in what they would wear to a buddy’s house to drink beer, it makes me sick. Again, I?ll assume they wouldn?t dress like that for any other ?Casual business? event, so why do they feel it proper to do it for the WWE Hall of Fame? Yes, it’s wrestling, and yes, you?re a rabid wrestling fan, but there’s a time to look and act rabid and there’s a time to look and act at least slightly decent.
Having been to the 2007 Hall of Fame I experienced first hand what a rude minority can do to hurt an inductee’s speech. The J.R. colon cancer remark was beyond tasteless. In 2008, a small minority treated Gordon Solie’s family with the disrespect usually reserved for substitute teachers by 7th graders. However, if this rude minority learns to smarten up, separate entertainment f rom seriousness, and treat the Hall of Fame as a privilege instead of a right, the 2009 Hall of Fame ceremony in Houston Texas will be all smiles.
My gripes may seem petty at first, but go back and watch some past Hall of Fame ceremonies, namely 2007’s and 2008’s, and you?ll find that heckles, catcalls, inappropriately timed yells, cheers, and full on screams litter an unfortunate amount of legends? speeches. This childish, barbaric behavior needs to be stopped or at least severely quelled or else expect the Hall of Fame to become a private ceremony.
In closing, the 2007 induction ceremony was an amazing experience, one I?ll never forget. However, it was like a fantastic party that had some unruly guests; the loud, lewd, obnoxious guests no one invited but everyone tolerates out of common courtesy. I?m sure you know their kind. Now I?ll be attending the 2009 Hall of Fame Ceremony and I?ll be damned if I don?t try my best to spread the word to potential HOF attendees to dress up, calm down and shut up. So if you?re reading this column and you know someone who will be going to the HOF, or you happen to be going yourself, please take my advice and avoid the tasteless remarks and incoherent yelling. Treat the ceremony as you would a classroom lecture and please don?t mistake ?Casual business attire? for casual loaf around the house attire.
I?m really interested to see how people feel about annoying audience members of past HOF ceremonies, so if you agree, disagree, like what you see or want to debate me, send me an email: Norty840@yahoo.com.