WWE Hall of Fame: Class of 1994

We’re still back in the days of holding this thing at the Mariott and it isn’t even associated with Wrestlemania yet.

Arnold Skaaland

This is the first entry where you kind of scratch your head.  Skaaland had a nice career but at the end of the day, he’s most famous as the manager of Bob Backlund and the man that threw in the towel to give the WWF Title to the Iron Shiek.  Other than that though, he was kind of just another guy.  The only difference between him and all the other guys: he owned a stake in the Capitol Wrestling Corporation alongside Vince McMahon Sr.  Skaaland in the Hall of Fame is something I can accept, but not in the second class ever.

Bobo Brazil

Now we’re getting somewhere.  Bobo Brazil was the first big time black wrestler in America and was a top star for years.  He was the first black man to “win” the NWA Title although the title change isn’t recognized.  His biggest fame was in Big Time Wrestling in Detroit where he had a legendary feud with the Sheik but he wrestled everywhere, including on the famous Black Saturday show in 1984.  Bobo doesn’t belong in the WWF Hall of Fame, but he does belong in a professional wrestling Hall of Fame for sure.

Buddy Rogers

If you want to talk about someone innovative, look no further than Rogers.  He was basically the original Ric Flair, down to the long time on top, the blonde hair, the strut, and he invented the Figure Four.  Rogers was also the first man to win both the NWA and the WWWF World Title, as he was the first man to win the latter.  Granted he lost the WWWF Title in about 45 seconds, but that’s beyond the point.  Rogers definitely belongs in the Hall of Fame.

Chief Jay Strongbow

This is another questionable one although Strongbow has a better resume than Skaaland.  Jay won titles all over the country and wrestled for the better part of forty years.  He wasn’t the best worker in the world but he was popular for most of his career and had a ton of title matches all over the country.  Strongbow fits into the same mold as Skaaland as he probably has a case for being in the Hall of Fame, but not before a lot of other people.

Classy Freddie Blassie

Blassie is another guy who fits into the category of “take away the WWF part and he’s a lock”.  He was a top heel in Los Angeles as well as other parts of the country and even had mainstream appeal, appearing on the top rated Dick Van Dyke Show in a cameo.  Blassie was a top heel manager in the WWF in the 70s and 80s as well which is where a lot of people probably remember him best.  He was also a legend in Japan and allegedly had a match with Rikidozan (the Hulk Hogan of Japan) that was so intense that fans watching on TV had heart attacks.  This is as much of a layup as we’re getting in this class.

Gorilla Monsoon

I may be incorrect on that last statement on Blassie.  Monsoon is the embodiment of nostalgia for a WWF fan.  Monsoon was by far most famous as a commentator in the 80s where he was the voice of the WWF on the first eight Wrestlemanias.  He and Jesse Ventura and Bobby Heenan were the best commentary teams of all time, bar none.  He later became President of the WWF which was an appointment I don’t think anyone was complaining about.  On top of all that, he was a big star back in the 60s and 70s so he had the credibility to back up his post in ring career stuff.  Also, he was one of the original owners of the CWC along with Skaaland.  Easy yes vote here.

James Dudley

Now for the white (or black in this case) elephant in the room.  This is pretty easily the weakest entry of the early days of the Hall of Fame and probably the lamest member of the Hall of Fame ever.  Dudley is allegedly in the Hall of Fame for being the first black man to run a major arena in America, but the common sense version is that he was Vince Sr.’s personal bodyguard and limo driver.  To the best of my knowledge, his only appearance on camera was as Bobo Brazil’s manager.  There’s no way he belongs in the Hall of Fame.

 

For the early days, this is actually a pretty solid class with one major outlier.

4 comments

  1. Remy says:

    Why it gotta be a buhlack elefant?

  2. james gracie says:

    I remember this class very well. They showed segments of it on Superstars or RAW can’t remember which. I remember it seemed like a really big deal. If I’m not mistaken this was the last one til Wrestlemania 20 where they revived it

    james gracie Reply:

    I quickly looked it up and I stand corrected, they did two more the next year in 95 and 96(which you’ll get to). Don’t know why I don’t remember that. WWE sucked those years but I was still watching.

  3. Jay H says:

    1995 was before KOTR and 1996 was before Survivor Series.