Wrestling View’s Hall of Fame 2019

Its time for the 6th annual Wrestling View Hall of Fame!!! As WWE puts on their shame of a HOF tonight, I give fans a REAL wrestling Hall of Fame they can be proud of! Maybe! So lets get going, shall we? (Also, check out previous HOF posts here)

Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat

Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat might very well be the purest babyface to ever step foot inside a wrestling ring. From his debut in 1976 in the AWA, to his (second) retirement in 2009, he remained a classic good guy, one of very, very few individuals to accomplish such a feat (so few in fact I am struggling to think of anyone else, but I’m sure they exist!). He began his career in the AWA, then moved to Florida where he was given the name “Ricky Steamboat” by legendary promoter Eddie Graham, but it wasn’t until he moved to the Carolina’s with Jim Crockett Promotions in 1977 that his career really got going. It was here he made a name for himself as a great babyface and a great in ring performer, feuding on and off again with another young up and coming star named Ric Flair, producing classic match after classic match as they battled over the United States championship and eventually the World Heavyweight belt. He also had numerous runs as one half of the tag team champions, with Paul Jones and Jay Youngblood. One feud in particular with Jay Youngblood against Sgt Slaughter and Don Kernodle would culminate inside of a steel cage at a big show that would inspire Dusty Rhodes and Jim Crockett to create “Starrcade”; the NWA/JCP’s first attempt at a PPV and the forerunner to WrestleMania. In 1985, Steamboat would leave the NWA/JCP and join the WWF, and even competed in the first WrestleMania show. It wasn’t until a year later that Steamboat’s WWF career would really kick into high gear, when he started to feud with Jake “The Snake” Roberts, which is one of his more memorable feuds for sure. A particular DDT on the concrete floor is still remembered to this day, in which Jake hit his finisher and Steamboat was unable to properly protect himself, smashing his head onto the concrete floor and knocking himself out. They would go on to have a number of great matches, and even included their “signature” animals; a snake from Jake, and a “komodo dragon” (which is just a crocodile) from Steamboat. Steamboat would continue his climb in the company with a feud against Randy Savage over the Intercontinental championship. Savage attacked Steamboat, injuring his larynx with the ring bell, and they were off and running from there. While they had many matches around the country at house shows, their big blow off for TV was at WrestleMania III in front of 93,000 fans, and is remembered by many fans as one of the greatest matches ever. Winning the IC title at WM 3 was definitely a highlight of his career, but it would be short lived as Ricky asked for time off to be with his wife as they were expecting the birth of their first son. The WWF seemingly didn’t like this, and despite giving him the time off, they punished him by using him sparingly upon his return, giving him no meaningful feuds or matches outside of a series with Rick Rude. In 1989, Steamboat returned to JCP, which was now WCW, and jumped straight into a feud with old rival Ric Flair, as they battled over the WCW championship. They would have 3 PPV/TV matches which are considered amongst most fans today as being some of the best of all time, with 2 house show matches that have shown up online over the years that are just as good. Steamboat finally won the world title during this series, but dropped it back to Flair in their 3rd match. He once again left WCW at the end of 1989, wrestling in small promotions and even in Japan, before returning to the WWF in 1991. This run was uneventful, with rumours that Steamboat quit rather than be squashed by The Undertaker, and even rumours of him asking to work as a heel but being refused by Pat Patterson. Once again he would show up in WCW, having perhaps THE run of his career thanks to an incredibly stacked roster at the time. He teamed with a couple of partners to face the likes of Arn Anderson, Larry Zbyszko, Bobby Eaton, Brian Pillman, Steve Austin and Barry Windham, producing some of the most fun tag matches I have personally witnessed. Like most of the top babyfaces in the company at the time, he faced off against the Dangerous Alliance faction throughout most of 1992, leading to an incredible WarGames match, and a 30 minute Iron Man Challenge against Rick Rude, both of which are classics as far as I’m concerned. The next couple of years were filled with numerous title victories for THE DRAGON, including the TV, US and Tag Team belts. His TV title run included an incredible feud/series of matches with Lord Steven Regal, adding even more classics to an already huge list of matches from Steamboat. He even faced off with Ric Flair a couple more times over the WHC, and while not on the level of previous matches, still showed that the two had amazing chemistry no matter the year. One final feud with Steve Austin over the US title would be the last of Steamboat in WCW, and the last of Steamboat anywhere for 15 years, as a back injury forced him to retire in 1994. Like many greats, despite being retired from in ring action, he would show up in promotions like TNA and ROH in on screen roles, and eventually returned to the WWE to be an Agent working backstage, with the occasional referee’s job during big matches on house shows. When it seemed Steamboat had wrestled his last match in 1994, a feud between Chris Jericho and a group of Legends brought The Dragon back inside the squared circle once again. It was WrestleMania 25 in 2009 that saw Jericho face off in a handicap match against Jimmy Snuka, Roddy Piper and Ricky Steamboat. Jericho would quickly dispatch of Snuka, and then Piper… but The Dragon proved to be far more of a challenge than anyone expected. Time seemingly stood still as Ricky Steamboat landed his legendary arm drags, flew off the ropes for a crossbody and even hit a plancha! Jericho ended with the win, but Steamboat left the biggest impression out of anyone in the match. The next night on Raw he took part in a huge tag team match, and then went on to Backlash to face Jericho one on one, again showing that age means nothing, and having an incredible match. His last official match, as far as I can tell, took place in WWC (Puerto Rico) when he teamed with his son Richie to take on Hiram Tau and Orlando Colon. An angle on WWE TV in 2010 saw Steamboat beaten down by The Nexus, and while the company tried to play up an injury angle, it seems that Steamboat was legitimately injured and hospitalised, ending any potential angle and likely the possibility of another return to the ring. Since then he has made occasional appearances for the WWE and is in the role of Ambassador for the company. An incredible career, and an even more incredible return. Ricky Steamboat remains one of my all-time favourites to watch inside the ring; to the point where if I’m down on wrestling, I can watch a random Steamboat match and instantly be back in a “wrestling mood” again. Singles matches or tag matches, odds are you got something special when watching The Dragon. His legendary series of matches with Flair, and stealing the show at WM III with Savage will go down in history, but even that is just scratching the surface of one of the greatest in ring careers of all time. So welcome to Wrestling View’s Hall of Fame class of 2019, Rocky “The Dragon” Steamboat!!!

Ricky Steamboat Recommended Matches

Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood Vs Sgt Slaughter & Don Kernodle – NWA The Final Conflict 03/12/1983

Ricky Steamboat Vs Randy Savage – WWF WrestleMania III 29/03/1987

Ricky Steamboat Vs Ric Flair – WCW Clash of the Champions VI 02/04/1989

Ricky Steamboat Vs Vader – WCW Saturday Night 16/10/1993

Ricky Steamboat Vs Steven Regal – WCW Fall Brawl 19/09/1993

Ricky Steamboat Vs Rick Rude – WCW Beach Blast 20/06/1992

Ricky Steamboat & Shane Douglas Vs Brian Pillman & Barry Windham – WCW Starrcade 28/12/1992

Ricky Steamboat Vs Chris Jericho – WWE Backlash 26/04/2009

Mick Foley

Mrs Foley’s baby boy is officially in Wrestling View’s Hall of Fame, right here, on Big Cal’s World! From hitchhiking to MSG to see Jimmy Snuka leap off the top of a steel cage, to diving off a roof onto mattresses, all the way to main eventing WrestleMania, Mick Foley had a unique start in the wrestling business and soon became one of its top stars. Training under Dominic DeNucci, Foley had the opportunity to be an enhancement talent for the WWF in the mid 80’s, where he would face established talent, and mainly take a beating and lose. During one of these matches, a stiff clothesline from the Dynamite Kid would break his jaw. Despite the long drives from his home in New York to Pennsylvania to Dominic DeNucci’s training centre, and getting hurt at the hands of Dynamite Kid, Mick Foley never gave up on his dream of becoming a professional wrestler. By the late 80’s, Foley had wrestled in the UWF and CWA, but it was his run in WCCW in Texas that got him noticed by WCW, the then second largest wrestling promotion in the US behind WWF. His initial run in WCW was nothing special, but after going back to the UWF and then returning to WCW, Mick Foley, as Cactus Jack, was launched into the main event scene with a big feud against Sting, the #1 babyface at the time. From there, he would work with other legends such as Paul Orndorff, Harley Race, and perhaps his most notable feud in the company; Vader. Vader and Foley would work stiff, hard hitting matches, to the point where Foley even asked Vader to legitimately punch him in the face to make his eye swell up. Mick Foley as Cactus Jack had a style unlike any other wrestler in WCW at that point. Foley knew he was very much an “average” wrestler and would need to do something different to stand out, and what he did was put his body on the line each and every night with crazy bumps and stunts. Most of his matches saw him taking some sort of bump on the concrete floor, either taking a move from his opponent or delivering one. With Vader, he would take a Powerbomb on the concrete floor, causing a concussion. However, this was second to another infamous spot that happened in Germany. A favourite spot of Foley’s was to get caught up in the ropes neck first, but unbeknownst to him, on this night someone complained that the ring ropes were too loose, and so they were tightened. Foley went ahead with the spot, but because the ropes were so tight, he couldn’t escape and was being choked to death. With the help of the referee, he eventually got free, but lost an ear in the process. WCW decided not to run with a program centring on the loss of his ear, and combined with other issues Foley had towards head booker Ric Flair at the time, Mick Foley departed WCW, leaving behind a large guaranteed contract, to work for Paul Heyman and ECW. It was here that Mick Foley produced some of his best work OUTSIDE of the ring, cutting a series of anti-hardcore promos that are still remembered today as some of the best promos of all time. His style in the ring seemingly fit perfectly with the more Extreme promotion, but Mick Foley, always being one to try and stand out, decided to go in a different direction and wrestle matches without the blood and violence and weapons, making him an incredible heel. During this same time he would also go to Japan, and along with his mentor Terry Funk, competed in numerous bloody death matches that furthered his “hardcore legend” moniker and also likely help towards shortening his full time career. Finally, in 1996, Mick Foley would sign with WWF; his dream job. The night following WrestleMania 12, Mankind would make his debut, winning a squash match earlier in the show, and then attacking The Undertaker in the main event, kickstarting a program between the two that would last for 2 years and produce some of the best work of both me. Singles matches, Falls Count Anywhere, Boiler Room Brawls, Buried Alive and Hell in a Cell stipulations where all utilised in that 2 year period, putting Mankind on the map as a true main event superstar in the biggest wrestling company of all time, and also giving The Undertaker a chance to show off his skills beyond the slow paced, no selling Deadman he had been in the years prior. Everyone remembers the Hell in a Cell match between the two, where Foley took 2 massive bumps that will forever be etched in the history of the company, but their entire series together was full of classic matches that deserve to be remembered just as, if not more, fondly than the infamous HIAC. As well as that classic feud with The Undertaker, Foley would also wrestle Shawn Michaels for the WWF championship on PPV, giving Shawn Michaels one of his best matches of all time and, similar to the Undertaker matches, giving Shawn a chance to show more of his ability in the ring. In 1997, he spend most of the year going head to head with Triple H, helping to establish HHH as a future main eventer at the time. This feud is probably most known for Mick Foley going through the “3 faces of Foley” characters; Mankind, Dude Love and Cactus Jack. Each persona had a different style, giving their series of matches a variety not often seen without the use of multiple match stipulations. The most famous of their matches is from MSG, where Cactus Jack made his official WWF debut in a street fight. Less than 3 years later, Cactus Jack would again show up in MSG for a street fight against Triple H with the WWF championship on the line. A nice “full circle” moment for the two wrestlers who helped establish each other in 1997 and were now facing off for the richest prize in the game at one of the biggest PPV’s of the year. 1999 would see a vastly different Mankind emerge, as he slowly began to change from a crazy, sadistic character who enjoyed inflicting pain on his opponents, to a comedy character. This would culminate in a tag team with one of his main rivals from late 1998 and early 1999; The Rock. Together they formed The Rock N Sock Connection (oh yeah, did I even mention MR SOCKO yet? A face drawn on a dirty sock got over more than most of the roster!), and together would have one of the most memorable, and highly rated, segments in the history of wrestling with “This is your life” for The Rock. Foley’s career looked to be finished in late 1999 when he revealed he was having problems with his memory, but an injured Stone Cold left a wide void in the company, and ever the company man, Mick Foley stuck around a little longer to help further establish HHH as a main event talent with the aforementioned street fight at the 2000 Royal Rumble. Another Hell in a Cell match a month later would seemingly be the end of his career, until he was brought back for one more match at WrestleMania, pitting him against HHH, The Rock and The Big Show for the WWF championship in the main event, fulfilling perhaps the last dream Foley had in the business. After his “retirement”, he continued with the WWF on TV as a Commissioner character, and was one of the best parts of the shows throughout 2000. With his in ring career seemingly done, Foley also concentrated on writing, releasing a total of THREE autobiographies, and the first 2 reached number 1 on the New York Times best sellers list! He would make sporadic appearances in the next couple of years on TV, before returning to the ring at WrestleMania XX with The Rock to face Evolution. A month later he would wrestle Randy Orton in a street fight, putting over Orton in similar fashion to Undertaker, Triple H, The Rock and other big stars. In 2006 he did the same for Edge at WrestleMania, then teamed with him against long time mentor Terry Funk and Tommy Dreamer at the ECW One Night Stand 2006 event. This time Mick was a heel, allowing him to do things differently from all his other returns over the years. 2006 would also feature a feud with legendary Ric Flair, which was built off their real life heat. Foley would continue to make one off match appearances over the years, be it at the Royal Rumble or other events before being forced to retire for good due to all the head injuries he had received in his career. He even had a run with TNA in between WWE runs in the latter part of his career, winning their World title, but overall it was a forgettable part of his otherwise amazing career. For me, Mick Foley is one of the all-time greats, who could make his opponents look better than ever by taking crazy bumps and sacrificing himself physically. His promo work is almost unmatched, and his abilities in the ring are often underrated when it comes to having less insane bump-fest matches. His work with Undertaker is probably my favourite series of matches he ever had, with Revenge of the Taker being my absolute favourite. I highly, highly recommend fans of Foley to make sure they have his “Greatest Hits & Misses” DVD in their collection, especially the 3 disc version if possible, as it features some of his absolute greatest matches, and is a ton of fun to sit through. With that all said, I would like to officially welcome Mick Foley into the 2019 Wrestling View’s Hall of Fame class! Have a nice day!

Mick Foley Recommended Matches

Cactus Jack Vs Sting – WCW Beach Blast 20/06/1992

Cactus Jack Vs Vader – WCW Main Event 07/03/1993

Mankind Vs Shawn Michaels – WWF In Your House 10: Mind Games 22/09/1996

Mankind Vs The Undertaker – WWF In Your House 14: Revenge of the ‘Taker 20/04/1997

Dude Love Vs Stone Cold – WWF Over the Edge 31/05/1998

Mankind Vs The Undertaker – WWF King of the Ring 28/06/1998

Cactus Jack Vs Triple H – WWF Royal Rumble 23/01/2000

Mick Foley Vs Randy Orton – WWE Backlash 18/04/2004

Chris Benoit

And now for some controversy. Because controversy creates cash! Except I don’t make a penny from any of this. So controversy creates… clicks? Maybe. Anyway. Firstly let me get this out of the way. Chris Benoit murdered his wife, his son, and then killed himself. It was a horrific event. Reports afterwards showed that his brain was, well, fucked up. Steroid abuse, numerous concussions and the wear and tear of 22 years in the wrestling business absolutely affected him and caused the incident. That isn’t to take away from what he did or justify it, I’m just stating the facts. With that out of the way, I want to bring Chris Benoit THE WRESTLER into my Hall of Fame. Why? Because his WRESTLING CAREER was incredible. So from here on out that is all I am going to be concentrating on. If you don’t like it, or it offends you, then feel free to click off this site. Growing up, Chris Benoit idolised Dynamite Kid and Bret Hart, having seem them wrestle in Stampede Wrestling, and so he began training at the legendary Hart Dungeon in order to learn to wrestle like them. He debuted in 1985 for Stampede Wrestling, wrestling a similar style to Dynamite Kid. After a recommendation from Ban News Allen (Bad News Brown in WWF), Benoit went overseas to New Japan Pro Wrestling, and added a new style to his in ring work by training at their dojo. He soon began to wrestle under a mask with the name “The Pegasus Kid”, and got to wrestle big names such as Jushin THUNDER Liger and Black Tiger. It was in Japan that he met lifelong friends Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko and Chris Jericho, wrestling all 3 on numerous occasions. While in Japan he won the Best of the Super Juniors tournament twice, and then the first ever Super J-Cup Tournament when he defeated The Great Sasuke in the finals. In 1992 and 1993 he got a chance to compete for WCW, with his most memorable match from that time period taking place at Superbrawl III against 2 Cold Scorpio. Come 1994 and ECW came calling, and he soon gained the moniker “The Crippler”. One match against Sabu resulted in a broken neck, and “The Crippler” name gained further notoriety, and stuck with him for the rest of his career. While in ECW he won the tag team championships with Dean Malenko, marking his first title win in an American promotion. He returned to WCW in 1995, while still being able to make tours of Japan for a time. During his time in WCW he was brought into the Four Horsemen group alongside Ric Flair, Arn Anderson and a handful of other members over the years such as Malenko and Pillman. He got to continue working with the likes of Eddie and Jericho here too, having many great matches over the years. A wrestling storyline involving Nancy Sullivan and her husband Kevin Sullivan soon turned real as Benoit and Nancy began having an affair, causing the divorce of Nancy and Kevin and the marriage of Chris and Nancy. Their matches were incredibly hard hitting and violent, though Benoit has stated that Kevin was extremely professional in all of their matches and never took liberties with him in the ring. 1998 saw Benoit competing for the WCW TV championship in a feud with Booker T, which would lead to a Best of 7 series between the two, which is highly praised by many fans to this day (though personally I don’t care for most of their matches together). Afterwards he would return to the tag team division again with Malenko, reforming the Four Horsemen again at one point, and then creating a new stable called The Revolution alongside Shane Douglas and Perry Saturn. Benoit would continue to have success, winning the US championship, and finally gaining the WHC at Souled Out in 2000. However, Chris, along with Dean, Eddie and Perry, were fed up with WCW and the new head booker Kevin Sullivan, and quit the company to join the WWF the very next day. Known now as The Radicalz, Benoit, Malenko, Saturn and Guerrero showed up at a Raw show in the audience, and quickly got involved in the action. They would fight for a job against HHH and his men, which they ultimately lost. In order to gain a contract (in kayfabe), they joined forces with HHH, turning heel. Benoit was immediately thrown into the main event scene in the WWF, having matches with the likes of HHH and The Rock, winning the IC title at WrestleMania, and main eventing Fully Loaded against The Rock for the WWF title. He also had a long running feud with Chris Jericho over the IC title, leading to a fantastic ladder match at the 2001 Royal Rumble event. Benoit would turn babyface shortly afterwards to feud with Kurt Angle, then teamed up with Jericho to take on Steve Austin and HHH to win the tag titles. During a triple threat with Jericho and Austin at the 2001 King of the Ring PPV, Benoit broke his neck, putting him out of action for a year. Upon his return he joined forces with Eddie Guerrero on Raw, won the IC title from Rob Van Dam, then shortly afterwards moved to Smackdown as part of the brand split. It was on Smackdown that he joined the infamous “Smackdown 6”; a group of wrestlers who week in and week out put on the best matches of the night and helped Smackdown overtake Raw in ratings and become the “A” show. Singles matches and tag matches with Angle, Eddie, Chavo, Edge and Mysterio were a weekly occurrence, giving fans a more “sports” like presentation to the show, as each match was presented as a real competition and winning and losing mattered more than ever before. Throughout 2003, Benoit would challenge for the WWE title, Tag titles and the newly created WWE Us title, facing off against the likes of Angle, Eddie and Brock Lesnar. Towards the end of 2003 it was clear that WWE was intent on giving The Crippler the biggest push of his career, and after being made #1 in the 2004 Royal Rumble, fans had a feeling they were going to see something special. Lasting over an hour and winning the entire thing, Chris Benoit moved back over to Raw in order to face HHH for the WHC in the main event of WrestleMania XX. Shawn Michaels, who was still feuding with HHH, got himself added to the match to make it a triple threat, but not even that could prevent Chris Benoit from winning the gold that night. In an emotional moment, Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero both celebrated in the ring, both of them holding up their respective brand’s world titles. Despite being overshadowed by the HHH/HBK feud, which got to main event PPV’s over the WHC, Benoit was overshadowing them in the ring, getting a classic match out of Kane at the Bad Blood PPV in 2004, and having better matches overall on the TV shows. Coem Summerslam 2004, the company wanted to put over Randy Orton, a 3rd generation star, and so Benoit dropped the title to him in a great match. Following the loss of the WCH, Benoit would never again gain the title, but would continue to feature in the upper-mid card levels, usually holding the US title. 2006 saw him helping Smackdown once again become the A show, with classic matches against Randy Orton, William Regal, Finlay and even Mark Henry. He took some time off during the summer, then returned as good as ever at the No Mercy PPV with another classic match with Regal. 2007 saw him feuding with MVP, a younger talent that the WWE was trying to push as a future star. They had numerous matches on PPV, including WrestleMania, over the US title. In the end, MVP won a 2 out of 3 falls match to gain the belt and end their feud. During another draft, Chris Benoit was moved to ECW, and was thrown into the title mix. He was scheduled to face CM Punk for the vacant ECW title at Vengeance, but he did not show up to the event. It was discovered later that he was dead, along with his son and wife. And so ended the career of Chris Benoit. His in ring style was hard hitting and realistic, making all of his matches look far more intense than anything else on the card. He had classic matches over the years with Eddie, Orton, Regal, Finlay, Austin, Rock and many others, and helped bring out the best in many opponents regardless of how new to the business they were or how bad they were in the ring. Because of what he did in the final days of his life, some fans are unable to watch his matches. Personally I have no problems watching what he does in the ring, and he remains to this day as one of my all-time favourites. Which is why I am inducting him into the Wrestling View Hall of Fame 2019 class!

Chris Benoit Recommended Matches

Chris Benoit Vs 2 Cold Scorpio – WCW Superbrawl III 21/02/1993

Chris Benoit Vs Eddie Guerrero – Nitro 16/10/1995

Chris Benoit Vs Diamond Dallas Page – SuperBrawl VIII 22/02/1998

Chris Benoit Vs Chris Jericho – WWF Royal Rumble 2001 – 21/01/2001

Chris Benoit Vs Steve Austin – WWF Smackdown 31/05/2001

Chris Benoit Vs William Regal – WWE Velocity 16/07/2005

Chris Benoit Vs Randy Orton – WWE Smackdown 13/01/2006

Chris Benoit Vs Finlay – Judgment Day 21/05/2006

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