In his latest piece for PWP Nation, the legendary Bruce Hart takes a look at early 2018 WWE Hall of Fame picks and examines their worthiness.
It’s been widely speculated that the first three inductees to the WWE Hall of Fame, class of 2018, will be the Undertaker, Batista and Goldberg and I’d like to take the opportunity to weigh in on those choices, here and now.
The Undertaker (Mark Callaway) is, in my estimation, a slam dunk first ballot Hall of Fame candidate. His long and glorious career in the WWF/WWE – highlighted by his legendary unbeaten streak at WrestleMania and his assortment of epic matches over a span of two decades with the likes of Shawn Michaels, Kurt Angle, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Mick Foley and Brock Lesnar is the stuff of legend. What really seemed to set him apart from so many others was his innate ability to bring out the best in his opponents –usually on the biggest stage, which is the hallmark of all the truly great workers.
Beyond his stellar in-ring accomplishments, ‘Taker is also one of the most universally respected and admired team players in the business – always putting the business ahead of his own agenda – which is saying a lot, because so many of other so-called “superstars” tend to be self-serving egomaniacs who are more concerned with “what’s in it for me” than “what’s best for business”. Having said that, I have absolutely no equivocation in endorsing Undertaker as a most worthy candidate for the Hall. In fact, if he doesn’t prove to be a first round inductee, there should be an investigation.
(Dave) Batista’s body of work in the WWF/WWE doesn’t come close to Undertaker’s, but, when you stop and think about it, not many others do, either. Some consider Batista to have been a marginally talented performer, who was pushed more for his physique than his physical acumen. There might be some truth in that, but I’d still rate him a lot better than other prototypical bodybuilder types, such as the Ultimate Warrior, Bracchus, Tony Atlas and Chris Masters.
It’s also been suggested that Batista’s being inducted into the Hall because of his friendship with Triple H and the fact that the induction, next spring, happens to coincide with the release of his new Guardians of the Galaxy movie. While that could well be the case, I’d still be inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt, as he still compiled an impressive body of work in the WWE, including some decent matches with the likes of Triple H, Undertaker, Edge, Shawn Michaels, Chris Jericho and CM Punk, among others.
Dave was also respected by his peers for having been a stand-up individual outside of the ring – which is a lot more than I can say for many of the other charlatans, ass-kissers and stooges who have already been elected into the Hall.
As for (Bill) Goldberg, virtually all of his relatively short career was spent in the WCW, not the WWF/WWE. He was initially given a huge push back in the days of the so-called Monday Night Wars, between the WCW and the WWE because WCW creative director, the ubiquitous Eric Bischoff, was determined to promote him as the WCW’s anti-establishment, ass-kicking answer to Stone Cold Steve Austin – who was the big ticket in the WWF at that time. While very few have ever accused him of having been a great worker, he nonetheless played his somewhat stereotypical role well enough to become a bona fide attraction in the WCW before it went out of business.
After the demise of the WCW though, Goldberg pretty much disappeared from the wrestling scene, until his brief, not particularly earth shattering return against Brock Lesnar, last year. All things considered, in my humble estimation, Goldberg’s body of work doesn’t really justify him being touted as a first round Hall of Fame candidate – certainly not as much as Taker, or even Batista.
On the other hand though, when you take into consideration that the WWE has already seen fit to induct other even more marginal candidates, such as the Godfather, Koko B. Ware, Jimmy Garvin, Michael Hayes, Chris Von Erich, Madusa and Jacqueline, Goldberg should be welcomed with open arms.
On that somewhat disingenuous note, I’ll call this a wrap but will look forward to catching up with you next week for more wrestling ruminations.
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