LaBar: Forgiveness the theme of WWE Hall of Fame class
By Justin LaBar
Published: Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, 10:33 p.m.
This year's theme for the WWE Hall of Fame is forgiveness.
Forgiveness and wrestling are like peanut butter and jelly. If there wasn't forgiveness, nobody would make any money. Just ask The Ultimate Warrior and Jake “The Snake” Roberts.
Both men have been officially announced as inductees into the WWE Hall of Fame. I'm also learning it's likely Scott Hall will go in this year despite his public denial on Twitter.
These guys had to forgive. WWE had to forgive. The fans had to forgive.
You can't come up with a better trio of names in the modern era of professional wrestling who are known for their legacies of extreme popularity in the ring and negativity on the other side of the curtain.
Warrior is the only wrestler WWE ever took the time to produce an entire DVD about to reveal how difficult he was to work with and the downfall of his career. It was titled “The Self-Destruction of The Ultimate Warrior.” No hiding from what you're trying to say with that two hours.
Roberts became a star for the wrong reasons in the most famous documentary ever produced on professional wrestling known as “Beyond The Mat.” It showed Roberts living town to town working small wrestling shows while having a dysfunctional relationship with his children and being addicted to drugs.
Hall always was viewed as the coolest of these three with his wrestling persona and place in history. He's become famously documented, notably by ESPN, for his unflattering appearance and dangerous drug abuse. WWE spent more money on his rehabilitation attempts than any other wrestler ever.
All three have resurrected themselves in some way. Warrior has started to work with WWE again on projects. Roberts has lost a ton of weight and improved his health by carrying the DDP Yoga flag. Hall also took part in DDP Yoga, shaping up his appearance and health while mentoring his son Cody, who has broken into the business.
Forgiveness is necessary because that allows the true agenda to be served and satisfied. In wrestling, the agenda is to make money. Some of the best hustlers in the world are those who work in professional wrestling, and they don't hide it.
This year's class theme is forgiveness, but the entire theme of the Hall of Fame is profit.
Major League Baseball wouldn't induct Pete Rose, but WWE did. He sits proudly in the celebrity wing for his many encounters with Kane over the years.
A Hall of Fame for a predetermined genre of sports and entertainment — everything is forgivable, minus the Chris Benoit tragedy.
When Warrior, Roberts and probably Hall take the stage, a lot of shoot comments and mug shots from the past will be treated like a bad dream. It will be because everyone profits. WWE profits. The wrestlers profit. The fans get to pop and chant “one more match,” which to them is a profit.
Lita also is officially announced and being inducted as one of the greatest females to step in the ring. That's a tag line I agree with.
All positive surrounds her, if you forget that she abandoned a lengthy relationship with Matt Hardy to begin an affair with Edge while all three were with WWE. This triangle eventually was used for television and made everyone money. All parties have moved on, remain friends and kept making money.
Warrior, Roberts, Hall, even Lita's one notable discretion in her image, they did things that others did. They just survived whatever vice or mistake(s) and lived to tell.
They also have been able to rebuild bridges and improve the last images some may have had for them. Time heals all. They're still around and fans will still want to see them. Vince McMahon knows this. They still have money on the table, for themselves and WWE. You don't leave money on the table, especially not in wrestling.
WWE has never given a criteria, or rules, for when someone can or can't be inducted. There is no quota of titles needed to be won or years we have to wait after they retire so they can be inducted.
No statistics and no clauses. This is certainly true with Koko B. Ware. He got inducted before so many other deserving guys. Never mind who he got inducted before, just the fact he got inducted. Somebody important in Stamford at the time felt there was a profit to be made. I'm not sure what, but WWE stayed true to the model.
You can't put a statistic or clause on what the people want. Would Edge have been inducted in the Hall of Fame as the head of the class if a neck injury hadn't ended his career early?
WWE was sympathetic for Edge. So it gave fans what they wanted. I appreciate this about wrestling.
It's all for show. Get people to watch. Sell some tickets. Sell some DVDs. Or, in this year's case, watch the Hall of Fame live on the brand new WWE Network.
I'll bet anyone any amount of money that Santino Marella eventually will be in WWE's Hall of Fame. He's funny and people are entertained by him. If he eventually retires from being seen on national television every week, WWE will wait a few years and induct him. After a couple years of absence, he'll be a draw to hear him do his shtick, and he'll get put into the Hall of Fame. That's reality.
In 2004, the Iron Sheik became interesting to a whole new generation after his controversial comments and personality were showcased ripping on Hulk Hogan, Brian Blair and more in the first formal shoot interview he ever did. What happened in 2005? He got inducted to the WWE Hall of Fame. Not saying he didn't have a deserving legacy, but timing is everything to make the money.
I think most would agree that everyone announced this year is deserving of an induction. It makes a good story to reward their careers and resurrected lives. All the while making a everyone a little money.
It's ironic the genre built on secrets and pre-determined winners is straight to the point of the operation.
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