COMMENTARY – Once again, WWE has stirred up a bit of controversy with its latest Hall of Fame honoree.
News broke Monday afternoon that Beth Phoenix would be joining a star-studded class that includes Kurt Angle, Diamond Dallas Page, The Rock and Roll Express and Teddy Long. Phoenix is certainly worthy of such distinction, but as a fan and writer, I question decision based on other women who are just as worthy and are still awaiting the call to the hallowed hall.
Don’t misconstrue what I am saying about Phoenix and her honor. It is well deserved. However, I think there are other females who came before her aren’t part of the fraternity, most notably Chyna, Velvet McIntyre, Miss Elizabeth, and Sable. While Phoenix was the most dominant performer of her time in the business, these other women are more than worthy.
WWE’s Hall of Fame selection process is as political as any invitation to Cooperstown or Canton. And so it would seem that anyone who put on a pair of boots and won a title or two is given a key to the golden city, past performers are shuffled to the back of the line as recently retired stars are getting the accolades.
The 36-year-old Phoenix (now married to Edge in real life), is a three-time Women’s Champion and a one-time Diva’s Champion and only the second woman to compete in the Royal Rumble match. She was a woman amongst girls in a time when parading around in bras and panties was more important than holding a title.
She would be a perfect veteran for today’s women’s division along with Natalya, Mickie James, and Nikki Bella.
If WWE wants to be taken seriously in terms of the importance of the Hall of Fame invitation, it has to not only move to push the aforementioned women into the fraternity, but it also must work to blend the past with the most recent superstars. As I said upon his passing, Ivan Koloff is not a member. Wrestling authority Mike Mooneyham has made the case the company has dropped the ball on his inclusion.
The same can be said for Rick Rude, Ray Stevens, Vader, and Demolition.
I have always been a believer in honoring the past so the present can be well represented and the future knows who paved the way for their success. WWE has bypassed that and made this a bit of a sham. Would it have been wrong to hold off on Phoenix’s inclusion for a year or two while Chyna, McIntyre, and Sable were welcomed in? The longer it takes for Chyna to be honored posthumously, the less likely it will happen. Where is the decency in that?
WWE has to change its path to the Hall. Plain and simple. There must be an understanding of how to treat past performers with respect. Any other way or the way the selection process is handled now just isn’t fair.
I think it’s great Phoenix is one of the greatest to ever step inside a WWE ring. I just wish the company had decided to wait a couple of years to make it happen. There are a few others who are just as worthy and should have taken her spot this year and others in years past.