If WrestleMania is Christmas, that makes the Hall of Fame Ceremony Christmas Eve right? Well with Kevin Nash, Arnold Schwarznegger, Randy Savage and more going in this year, it had to be an incredible ceremony, right? This is less of a "review" of the ceremony and more a collection of thoughts.
Inductor - Shawn Michaels
Michaels induction speech was top, top, quality, exactly what you'd expect from the Heart Break Kid. Lots of laughs and some great stories about the time the two spent together on the road. Michaels talking about the reaction he had when Vince McMahon wanted to put the World title on Nash felt very real and was a fascinating story that really showed off the friendship that the two shared.
Nash got plenty of time for acceptance speech, which was honest and laced with humour. Oz is perhaps one of the worst gimmicks than anyone has ever been given, so seeing is showcased here, one more time, and getting the ridicule it deserved was satisfying. Apparently his wife is Unicorn, which knowing what I know about Kevin Nash I really wouldn't be too surprised if it was true!
Inductor - Triple H
Triple H's induction speech just oozed class, as he put over Arnold effortlessly, managing to tie his love of bodybuilding and wrestling together. The idea of Schwarznegger possibly becoming a wrestler instead of a bodybuilder is probably Vince's wet dream.
Schwarznegger came across as very humble for what he has achieved throughout his life, spending a lot of time putting Triple H and others over, which was probably the right thing to do at a wrestling Hall of Fame. His stories about his times with Bruno Sammartino are always interesting, those two would have made a formidable tag team!
Inductor - Hulk Hogan
Hulk Hogan's speech just didn't do it for me unfortunately. It came across as a little hollow, knowing the animosity that the two had for each at the time of each others death, I think it would have been nice for Hogan to talk about his regret for these times. Pretty generic Hogan chatter.
Savage's brother Lanny Poffo collected the award on his behalf. This was always going to be a bittersweet moment. Poffo's collection of poems added a different edge and a change of pace from the other acceptance speeches. His stories about Savage's love for the Special Olympians is genuinely touching, I wonder if WWE getting involved with the Special Olympics over the last few years was part of Poffo agreeing that Savage could go into the Hall of Fame.
Inductor - Ric Flair
Flair's induction speech was short and sweet, putting over Fujinami as the "greatest wrestler in the History of Japan". After a statement like that what else could he have said!
Fujinami's speech was kept fairly short, likely due to Fujinami's lack of English, but he still seemed to do a good enough job of saying what he wanted to say. The crowd were very respectful at this moment which was good to see.
Inductor - John Laurinaitis
Laurinaitis' speech was super quick, he put over The Bushwackers as his mentors, which was good to hear about the time when Luke and Butch were more than just a comedy babyface team in WWF.
The Bushwackers were a lot of fun during their speech. They got a chuckle out of me on more than one occassion, and they seem likely genuinelly funny guys. Getting Roddy Piper, Ted DiBiase, Bret Hart and Jim Duggan to do the classic walk was a nice touch. I also enjoyed the off the mic chats that you hear the two having, which for someone reason I found quite touching.
Connor "The Crusher" Michalek
Inductors - Dana Warrior & Daniel Bryan
Wow, this was sad. I was an absolute mess through Dana's speech and didn't even bother writing notes, because the speech was just perfect. There's nothing else to say about it really. Just perfect. Bryan's speech about Connor was simlarly lovely. He made sure the crowd knew that this was all about how much of an inspiration Connor was and it would be difficult to argue against that point.
Steve Michalek collecting the award on Connor's behalf was heart wrenching. Nothing else can describe it really. A superb way to honour a very brave little boy with a big heart.
Inductor - Natalya
Natalya had one of the strangest deliveries of a speech I've ever heard. She seemed to stop ever four word and then say another four words. It's clear that this was an important moment for her, and maybe it was just nerves that caused her to say her speech in rhythm?
Alundra's was a lengthy name-dropping type deal. The biggest pop it got from me was for a reference to the forgotten member of 3 Count, Evan Karagias. Having her husband back from the army for the show was lovely touch, although I'm not sure how much I enjoyed the stuff she did with the trash can. It seemed a bit like flogging a dead horse and attempting milk it at the same time.
Inductor - Bruno Sammartino
For a guy who spent so long on top of the wrestling business, Sammartino has absolutely no charisma. His speech about sending Zbyszko to different territories was interesting and those kind of stories always interest me. Although, attempting to put their feud of like it was legit in 2015 felt a little bit silly. Let it go, Bruno.
Zbyszko exists to annoy with his name. His speech include quotes from Sigmund Freud and Alice and Wonderland references which was novel idea. The story about how he first met Sammartino was told wonderfully and it's great story to begin with. Although I couldn't help being distracted by the fact he looks like Frank Underwood from House of Cards.
Inductors - The Usos
The Usos did a really good job of introducing their Dad and looked very comfortable with their speech. Perhaps one of the slickest of the entire night. Funny, endearing and kept nice and short.
Rikishi's speech was very geared towards his family, which seemed very important to him. Although the non-existent reaction when he mentioned Manu was perhaps my highlight of the entire night. It was inevitable that Kish was gonna crack out a dance, wasn't it? A nice fun way to open the ceremony.
As Hall of Fame ceremonies go this was a rather enjoyable evening, spent with some of the greatest the industry has produced. Some great stories, some really funny and moments some heart breaking ones. It wasn't half long though!