Podcast Rundown: Wade Keller dissects the WWE HOF ceremony – the good, the bad, and the interminable

Wade Keller interview with Stan Hansen

Following Friday night’s WWE Hall of Fame ceremony, PWTorch.com’s Wade Keller analyzed the highs and lows of the five-hour show on his daily hotline.

The Dudley Boyz
– Introduced by Edge & Christian
– D-Von tried speaking, only to be interrupted by Bubba several time. D-Von reminded Bubba that he was a producer now.
– Their speech closed by a gag where a “producer” came out and cut them off. They put him through a table.

At this point, Roman Reigns was shown on camera and received heavy boos. He was not shown again throughout the rest of the night.

Hillbilly Jim
– Introduced by Jimmy Hart
– Said the job was exhaustive, often running several shows in a day.
– Told a story about a surprisingly large merchandise check he received.
– The segment ran incredibly long. Given his place on the show, he was out of turn speaking as long as he did. Wade says it felt as though he gave a main-event length speech. The blame in this case is on WWE, not Hillbilly Jim.

– Introduced by Molly Holly
– Talked about GLOW and how different women’s wrestling was then.
– She’s never been married and equated the HOF to her wedding ceremony.
– Another segment that ran too long, but her energy and vibrance carried things well.

Kid Rock
– Introduced by Triple H
– Noted that he was given guidelines and told not to talk about Vince McMahon or politics, before saying he was going to “body slam some Democrats.”
– Wade feels he was comfortable doing this since he has no retribution to fear.
– The story here was a camera shot immediately after Kid Rocks remarks that showed AJ Styles, Kurt Angle, and Baron Corbin laughing uproariously. Wade says AJ looked as happy as a four-year old getting balloons, Legos, cake, ice cream and seeing his favorite cartoon character all at once. He’s never seen someone so giddy. By contrast, the Singh Brothers are standing behind them as the only non-whites in the shot, not looking happy at all.
– Wade points out this is why politics are ruled out for Hall of Fame speeches.
– Daniel Bryan was also shown laughing, but Wade points out that the shot of him was taken a moment later, after the crowd had booed Kid Rock’s comment.
– Wade notes polls and surveys have shown that pro wrestling fans are largely democratic.
– He was cheered when he guaranteed his would be the shortest speech of the night, which it was.
– Wade says that Kid Rock actually came across as a cool person other than the political barb. It was a classy, concise speech.

Jeff Jarrett
– Introduced by Road Dogg, who joked he couldn’t remember the 90’s because of drug usage.
– This was the first inductee of the night who seemed extremely moved by the honor.
– His speech put over Shawn Michaels big time.
– Told Owen Hart stories, including a time he and Owen put on clown noses. Later, Edge & Christian showed up on stage and put a clown nose on Jeff.
– Jerry Jarrett was shown in the crowd after Jeff acknowledged him, saying they had ups and downs.
– Road Dogg reappeared and the two sung With My Baby Tonight. It went on an incredibly long amount of time. Most of the crowd, and Road Dogg, appeared to not know the words several times.
– Wade says it was the best promo he’s ever seen Jarrett cut, since it came from the heart. It’s the version of Jeff Wade has gotten to know over the years. Wade wishes he could have done this more during his career instead of going into “wrestler mode.”

Dana Warrior/JJ Robertson
– Dana came out to bestow the Warrior award to Jarrius “JJ” Robertson, who has been battling a chronic liver disease. She instead spoke primarily of the Ultimate Warrior for approximately fifteen minutes.
– JJ came out and owned the room, was completely at ease in front of the crowd. He mentioned his heroes, including Roman Reigns, who received boos.
– Made a joke about having a better chance of going to WrestleMania than John Cena.
– His speech was far shorter than Dana Warrior.

Wade talks for a minute about how dreadfully long the speeches ran. Several wrestlers were shown in the crowd looking bored (Bob Backlund) or even angry (Dean Malenko).

Mark Henry
– Introduced by Big Show.
– Talked about the inclusive environment of WWE, Regardless of race, sexual beliefs, etc, we’re all wrestling fans. He seemed genuine and if you’re the McMahon’s, even though this by default seemed to have a liberal slant, you would approve of it.
– Told a story about Ernie Ladd telling him “Come to the learning tree. You are now representing all African Americans in professional wrestling.”
– Went into the Sexual Chocolate routine for a bit, thanking Mae Young and Chyna for helping get it over.
– Joked that the Rock owed him money since he let him stay at his apartment in the 90’s.
– Put on the salmon-colored sports coat that he wore during his fake retirement speech on Raw a few years ago. He then proceeded to cut a promo of how he wasn’t done yet before announcing he was actually done.
– Extremely likable and relatable. A very nice, but extremely long speech.

Wade speaks for a moment again on the length of this show and the need for inductees to reduce their speeches. It should be a two hour and forty minute show, not double that length as this was.

– Introduced by Paul Heyman. Heyman says he aspires to be half the father to his child as Goldberg is to him. Wade feels he was speaking from the heart.
– Heyman and Goldberg shared a long, meaningful embrace on stage.
– Wade notes that, in spite of Goldberg’s many flaws as a member of the wrestling business, he is one of the nicest guys in the business. He cares for animal rights and is an incredible father. The dynamic between Goldberg and his son was arguably the highlight of the night for Wade.
– Acknowledged that not only an injury cut his NFL career short, but also not having the ability to play at that level.
– Things got uncomfortable at times, as Goldberg admitted he had some axes to grind.
– Described himself as a combination of Nikita Koloff (green and muscular with a limited move set who got over with his charisma and intensity, Bruiser Brody (kind of pushing it there), and Road Warrior Hawk (intense promo style).
– Said he found out watching Thunder that he would be facing Hulk Hogan at the Georgia Dome a few days later. He told Hogan “I owe you one.” Wade wasn’t sure what he meant by this. Did he mean Hogan did him a favor, or that he saw the savvy political move Hogan pulled on him there and that he would return the favor one day?
– He also noted he owed Kevin Nash one too for ending “the Streak” on Goldberg’s birthday.
– He made mention of DDP’s lengthy match layouts.
– Talked about how miserable his time in the company was from 2002-2003. Said he didn’t want to talk about it before talking about it at length.
– Thanked Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan, Arn Anderson, Kevin Sullivan, Curt Hennig, Rick Rude and others.
– Acknowledged he was spoiled in WCW and had to learn lessons in WWE.
– Thanked Steve Austin for helping him out. Wade believes they communicated with one another even while wrestling in competing companies. He says they still talk regularly to this day.
– Having his son see him compete was one of the greatest experiences in his life. Wade then recites the touching things Goldberg said to his son.
– At the top, Goldberg noted the speech would be like his matches, not very long. This was not true as the speech went on quite a while.
– Says “at one point” he looked at wrestling as a business, but has learned to love it and the fans.

Wade says, at the very least, the long speeches were good. He recommends watching the show in small chunks over the course of a couple weeks.

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1 Comment

  1. During Hillbilly Jim speech, when he was talking about opportunity and a few times that they showed to Jim Ross he looked really sick, not old. SICK.

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