Edge retired from professional wrestling in 2011 and was inducted into WWE’s Hall of Fame the year after he left the business. It was a fitting tribute for a man who had won 31 company titles over the years. You will never hear me knock the career of the “Rated R” superstar. Edge’s character, and his ability in the ring made him one of the most underrated athletes in this business. I do question, however, the company’s decision to bestow such an honor on a performer so quickly.
The Undertaker took his last ride Sunday night at WrestleMania 33. The Dead Man gave 27 years of blood, sweat, and determination to this company and is recognized as one of the greatest performers of all time. While his retirement wasn’t as celebrated upon the announcement in the ring, his impact on WWE through different decades and eras may define him as the greatest performer to ever work for the McMahon family.
And for that reason, this company needs to induct Mark Calaway into its fraternity of wrestling greats.
WWE’s Hall of Fame is as controversial and political as any other celebration of achievement in any “sport”. There’s no denying performers who have received an invitation for such an honor or deserving in every way. Time, circumstance, agenda, and favoritism figuring in each class. There should be no reason for holding up the man whose “streak” is on par with Ric Flair’s 16 world championships. If Undertaker’s name is not amongst those being inducted in New Orleans in 2018, then a major crime has been committed.
As a fan and somebody who has covered the business off and on for the past 20 years, I feel there are performers who are deserving who have not been selected yet. Ray Stevens should have been part of the class in San Francisco. Ivan Koloff scored the biggest win in the company’s history when he defeated Bruno Sammartino in 1971. His name is nowhere to be found. Demolition still has not received a call. And we all are waiting to see whether name is like Vader, Honkytonk Man and Chyna make it there in the next five years.
I’m often critical when a class is finalized. Luckily in 2017 the company got it right. I suspect going back to the Big Easy there will be another star-studded lineup of inductees. Undertaker better be part of that class.
The character Calaway portrayed what as close to a performer embedded in the traditions of kayfabe and territorial wrestling. He is one of the last vessels that connects the past to the present. And when somebody like Flair talks about his greatness and his place in wrestling history, you know his importance to the business.
I guess I’m starting the bandwagon. As a fan of his work which started out in Dallas in World Class Championship Wrestler to his movement to WCW and then to Vince McMahon’s circus, there should be no abstention or refusal of admittance. He’s never going to lobby for his place in immortality, because that’s not his style. Undertaker would prefer to slowly fade into the background while others who are more dynamic in personalities live in the moment and take center stage.
If the 2018 WWE Hall of Fame does not include everybody’s favorite man from the underworld then a travesty of justice has been committed. It also would prove WWE and its cronies are more worried about politics then doing the right thing.