Cory Wiatrek from worstofwrestling.cjb.net sent in the following live notes from the WWE Hall of Fame in Houston, TX:
Before the show my friend and I headed over to the Ring of Honor show which was letting out. If I would have know that it ended in time for the Hall of Fame show I would have gotten tickets. Funny thing is all the wrestlers hang out after the show and hang out with the fans like buddies. Cool people I got to meet were Brian Danielson and Blue Demon. The owner of ROH gave me a free program too. Necro Butcher was actually breaking down the ring as well.
From here we headed to the Toyota Center for the WWE Hall of Fame. We hit the restroom first and who is peeing at the urinal next to me? None other than Pete Gas! I asked to take a picture with him and I made a joke that it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to take it in front of the urinals in a men’s bathroom. He joked and said that would be all over the internet in no time. Outside the men’s room he took a photo with me. He is still in great shape, but looks a little older now. Some of the other original Mean Street Posse from WrestleMania 15 were with him, but no Rodney. Watch Mania 15 to see the guys I’m referring to.
On to the actual event we go! All the wrestlers walk in dressed nicely. It might just be my imagination but it seemed like the complete roster of WWE talent was not there. There were so many of them coming out it was hard to tell. Diamond Dallas Page was a suprise to me. He was there and did the “bang” sign. Weird, considering he isn’t with the company in any fashion. Mickey Rourke was also a guest. Legends I happened to see were Harley Race, Ron Simmons, Sgt. Slaughter and Jimmy Hart, among others.
The Funk brothers were inducted first by Dusty Rhodes. Here comes my little rant for the night. WWE had the microphone turned way way down. I myself spend over a hundred dollars for these tickets and didn’t get to hear a word Dusty Rhodes said. I couldn’t even head Dory Funk make a sound. And all I could make out from Terry Funk’s speech was for young wrestlers to get an education.
There is a huge timer screen directly across the arena for the wrestlers to more or less stick to. It counts down. Most inductors had 2 minutes and most inductees got anywhere from 5 minutes to 10 minutes. You might notice the speeches are a little shorter this year.
Honky Tonk Man inducted Koko B. Ware next. We could hear Honky because he talks so loud, but when Koko came out we could not hear a word he was saying. Fans were getting really pissed off by this point, I know this has happened at past Hall of Fame ceremonies hosted by WWE, and it is really sad they haven’t learned from it yet.
Finally during the Von Erich’s intro video the audio was turned up and the fans cheered loudly. Michael PS Hayes inducted the Von Erich’s. Kevin Von Erich came out and gave a good speech about how lucky he was to have all his brothers and said the Von Erich family isn’t dead. He introduced a few family members in the crowd and then stated he still has brothers living. He of course was talking about his wrestling brotherhood.
Mean Gene Okerlund introduced Howard Finkel. The Fink is a funny, funny man. Jim Ross introduced Bill Watts next. Bill Watts probably gave the best speech of the night. He was very entertaining and I am shocked he doesn’t have more of an impact on the current business today. Bill Watts made a steroid joke somewhere in his speech which might get edited out. Only time will tell. Erik Watts was in attendance.
Right before they went live Todd Grisham ran out and reminded everyone to be respectful of the inductees tonight. Good point considering some wrestling fans attitudes.
Ric Flair inducted Ricky Steamboat. You all probably saw this on TV so I won’t dive too much into it. This “live” portion was actually on pretape because Ric Flair had to stand there after the Steamboat video package with the Hall of Fame music going. It was awkward, because for about two minutes he just stood there while they piped in the sponsors of the show.
Vince McMahon inducted Steve Austin. You all saw this too, so same story here. Vince had to do what Flair did with the sponsors too. Weird to just see mega stars standing there doing nothing in front of thousands of people, but it’s TV at the end of the day and that’s how it is made.
After the show went off the air the Hall of Famers stood around and talked on stage for awhile and then headed to the back. Then the wrestlers got up and went out the way they came in. It was definitely an interesting event to attend. I have to say the Houston fans were very respectful of the inductees. In years past it seems like the fans constantly interrupt the speeches. I was proud to be a Houstonian tonight as the fans dressed like it was a prom or ball, and they showed respect.
I ran into super fan “Sign Guy Rick” again. I always bump into him. He was desperately seeking out a men room to go pee in, so he followed me to the mens room. I let him go as I figured I’d bothered too many guys in the mens room this evening anyway. Thanks for reading my live notes! I can’t wait for WrestleMania tommorow. I met a lot of fans from Manchester sitting by me. People are in town from all over the globe and it should be a great time!
– Cory Wiatrek