A recap for the inductions of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat can be read at this link.
WWE Hall of Fame – Class of 2009 (WWE.com Airing)
April 4, 2009
Houston, TX (Toyota Center)
Report by: Adam Martin of WrestleView.com
– An intro for WWE Classics On Demand airs.
– A graphic opening then plays welcoming us to the 2009 WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony. We go live to the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas to see a shot of the live crowd and the wrestlers in attendance in the front row.
– Todd Grisham is on stage and welcomes us to the ceremony on the eve of WrestleMania 25. Grisham asks the WWE stars in attendance to please stand. Grisham introduces the first Hall of Fame inductees: Terry and Dory Jr – The Funk’s.
– A video package plays highlighting the history of Terry Funk and Dory Funk Jr.
– Grisham introduces “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes who will be inducting The Funk’s tonight. Rhodes said there is so much to say when it comes to Terry Funk and Dory Funk Jr. He called Dory Funk Jr. a shootist and how he held the world title for a record four years. Rhodes said Terry Funk was another story and he was “extreme” before it was cool to call yourself that. He talked about the brothers history in Japan and how many times he has stepped into the ring with them. Rhodes said he has respect for them and The Funk’s have respect for the fans. “One a shootist…the other one the last surviving outlaw in captivity,” added Rhodes. Rhodes then introduces The Funk’s to the stage.
– Terry thanks Dusty Rhodes for a great introduction. Dory Funk Jr. talks about winning the NWA world championship in 1969 adding that his father was so proud of him. He talks about how many bumps he has taken, the roads and flights he has taken and if he had the chance he would do it all over again. Dory said he loves professional wrestling and loves working with young talent in the business and watch them achieve their goals. He thanks all the promoters, the peers, the attorneys who have saved him over and over, his two wives, the Guerrero family, the Hart family, Gene Kiniski, the talent in WWE who has trained and the state of Texas for hosting WrestleMania. Terry Funk thanks his wife, his daughters, his grandchildren, his other family members, his peers, ECW and most of all the people he worked in the ring with over the decades. He jokes that he feels 105 years old and he is ready to go home. Terry said in heaven there will be Universal battle royal’s going on and everyone will get a front row seat. They get a standing ovation from the crowd in attendance.
– Todd Grisham introduces a video package for our next inductee: Koko B. Ware.
– A video package plays highlighting the history of Koko B. Ware.
– Grisham introduces The Honky Tonk Man who will be inducting Koko B. Ware tonight. Honky said it is an honor and pleasure to be here tonight. He said 30 years ago he met Koko in a barn and when he strolled in seeing an athletic, high flying guy, Koko asked him if he came to work out and Honky did. He said Koko beat him up in the ring for the next few months. Honky said Koko shared the same pain with him in that barn for months. He talked about how Koko had the certain key elements it took to become a superstar. Honky said Koko had the will and desire to become a star and no one worked harder. He talks about how JBL has this “Clothesline From Hell” move, but that Koko had a dropkick from hell. Honky said he thought it was bad when he had to carry a guitar around in the WWF/WWE, until he saw Koko had a bird on his shoulder. He tells a story about Frankie and how a promoter didn’t want the bird there. Koko, after going out and doing his match, came to the back with an upset look on his face and said he is never doing another show without Frankie since the people didn’t care about him. Honky said that all changes tonight because everyone is here to see Koko. Honky introduces Koko B. Ware along with Frankie. Koko walks out and gets a big reaction from the crowd in Houston. Koko said it is great to be back in the WWE one more time. He thanks God and talks about being born and raised in a small town called Union City, TN. Koko said the population was around 10,000, but it has now grown to 50,000. He said he grew up playing football and basketball and how he attended a wrestling event that came to his area every week. Koko talked about training with Uncle Elmer and how Elmer told Jerry Lawler about him. He said this was the start of his wrestling career and mentions his experience in Memphis before going anywhere else to wrestle. Koko said one day he got a call from the WWE and it was Howard Finkel asking him to be part of the company. At this point Frankie tries taking Koko’s paper away from him. Koko thanks all of his fans around the world, his wife, his kids and all the wrestlers and promoters who helped him in his career. He lastly thanks the WWE for giving him the opportunity to share his wrestling talent with all the fans all over the world.
– Bobby Heenan is shown in the crowd.
– Todd Grisham is up next and says, “Look, Frankie left everyone a present for everyone who comes up here.” Grisham introduces the next inductees: The Von Erich’s.
– A video package plays highlighting the history of the Von Erich family.
– Grisham introduces Michael P.S. Hayes who will be inducting the Von Erich’s tonight. Hayes talks about the Guerrero’s, the Funk’s, but no family had a bigger effect in transforming professional wrestling into sports entertainment than the Von Erich’s. He talks about the early history of the family in Fritz Von Erich. Hayes said while Fritz was talent in the ring, his talent outside the ring helping to make Kevin, David, Kerry, Mike and Chris is what stands out the most. He talked about how they had a deep desire to follow in their father’s footsteps. Hayes talks about the world famous Sportatorium and the birth and success of World Class Championship Wrestling. He talks about how the Von Erich’s were loved all over the world and how they were a worldwide sensation. Hayes introduces the surviving members of the family: Kevin Von Erich. Kevin first says, “God Bless Texas!” He recalls wrestling in Houston for only $35 a night and how wrestling has changed since then. Kevin mentions how he wishes his family could be with him tonight, but he has other brothers in the business. He puts over Terry Gordy and Buddy Roberts and how it is strange, but when you beat someone up it helps you get closer. Kevin said he knows people look at him and go, “Oh, poor Kevin.” He said the Von Erich’s are not gone and introduces his boys in the crowd. Kevin also calls out his daughters and wife of 31 years. Kevin said he is so proud of his father and brothers and says he can’t wait for tomorrow night.
– Mae Young is shown in the crowd.
– Todd Grisham is up and introduces our next inductee: Howard Finkel.
– A video package plays highlighting the history of Howard Finkel.
– Grisham introduces Mean Gene Okerlund who will be inducting Howard Finkel tonight. Okerlund said nobody did it better and he is one of a kind…but enough about him. Hayo! He said he is the oldest employee of the WWE and is credited with coming up with the term “WrestleMania.” Okerlund said he is the only personality to have appeared at every WrestleMania event. He said Finkel is a walking encyclopedia and contributes to WWE.com. Okerlund said the first ring announcer to ever be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame…Howard Finkel! Howard Finkel walks out and says, “Good evening Houston!” He said he never thought he would become a ring announcer when it comes to the world of professional wrestling, something he is so in love with. Finkel talked about working for the then WWWF at Madison Square Garden and having a fan come up to him saying how fans across the world will now know how great he is on TV. He never looked at himself as the star of the show and that was the job of the superstars. Finkel said he has never had the pleasure to work with better people than those current and past WWE superstars. He puts over working as a lackey for WWE stars and his great match with Harvey Whippleman. Finkel mentions the greats he has announced as World Champion and takes a page out of his own book announcing himself as the NEW inductee into the 2009 WWE Hall of Fame.
– Nick Bockwinkel is shown in the crowd.
– Todd Grisham is up and introduces our next inductee: “Cowboy” Bill Watts.
– A video package plays highlighting the history of “Cowboy” Bill Watts.
– Grisham introduces Jim Ross who will be inducting Bill Watts tonight. JR jokes that he met Dog The Bounty Hunter’s hairdresser backstage who was flown in to do Michael Hayes’ hair tonight. Jim Ross discusses the history of Bill Watts including his time with the Houston Oilers and Minnesota Vikings. He talked about Watts main eventing Madison Square Garden in only three years time. JR talks about Watts going from booking to owner and creating a company called Mid South Wrestling. He said Watts is famous for fining wrestlers bringing up a story about Shawn Michaels and how if any wrestler lost a fight to a fan they would get their notice. JR said working for Watts was demanding and required perfection and that being “okay” or “average” was not acceptable. He talked about Watts calling him “dumbass” often. JR said what he is bringing with him tomorrow to WrestleMania is what he was taught by Bill Watts and is a better man for it. JR introduces “Cowboy” Bill Watts to the stage. Watts talks about hiring Jim Ross out of college and how proud he is of him today. He said JR earned everything he has right now. Watts talks about turning 70 soon and how this is quite the present. He points out his daughter, son and grandchildren. Watts thanks WWE and asks what took them so long! He said wrestling is in great hands right now. Watts said he is here because of the fans. He talks about working for Vince Sr. Watts jokes about being nicknamed Big Dick Watts and having a little girl call him that causing him to fall flat on his face. Watts talks about working with Killer Kowalski, Bruno Sammartino, Ernie Ladd, putting the world title on Ron Simmons, the Junkyard Dog, Tony Atlas, Rocky Johnson, Koko B. Ware, Eddie Graham, Dusty Rhodes, Gordon Solie, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels, Dick Murdoch, Jim Duggan and Andre the Giant. Watts added, “What a run huh?” He thanks everyone and said he gets to witness his first WrestleMania live tomorrow night. Watts said his next run will be when he is called to heaven when he gets to see his hero, Jesus Christ.
– The live feed has come to a close. WWE will be showing the inductions of Ricky Steamboat and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin later tonight at 10:00 p.m. ET (9:00 p.m. CT). We will have full coverage of those inductions later tonight.