Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Could WWE's Hall of Fame Class 2012 provide more attention than nostalgia?

Many industry insiders look more forward to the precursor to WrestleMania than the actual card itself.

The reason for this is simple.  It's a time to reflect, cherish, and celebrate the pioneers and legends of Professional Wrestling.  It's one of the few times of the year that both insiders as well as fans can see many wrestling legends under one roof.

This year is quite different.  The recently retired Edge is an obvious choice for the Hall of Fame, but the next set of inductees carry a little more intrigue with their induction.

The Four Horsemen were established in Jim Crockett Promotions in 1986 and quickly became one of the most innovative ideas in the history of Professional Wrestling.  While teams of multiple members existed in small spurts throughout the years, the Four Horsemen took it to another level as they were far more vicious and sophisticated than any group that came before them.

This group existed off and on for the next 14 years with various members.  The main constants in this group were "Nature Boy" Ric Flair and the "Enforcer" Arn Anderson.  Even with rotating members, this stable of wrestlers were always well recognized by the fans.  Fans to this day hold up four fingers as a tribute to the Horsemen.

With the Hall of Fame induction, comes controversy.  The original members of the Four Horsemen were Ric Flair, Arn and Ole Anderson, and Tully Blanchard with J.J. Dillon as the manager of the team.  The current induction shows that Ole Anderson has been left out and Barry Windham is slotted for the induction.  While many consider this the best incarnation of the team, Ole being shunned from the induction has received some attention.  It is thought that there are some harsh internal feelings within the industry against Anderson that has kept him from being inducted.

Even with the attention Ole Anderson/Barry Windham received early on, it does not really compare to the attention Ric Flair has received.  Flair is currently contracted to Impact Wrestling (TNA) and has been a prior inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame.  Flair has already publicly stated that he will be at the induction ceremony and will conduct a speech for the Four Horsemen's induction.  This may prove to be a legal matter as rumours have begun to circulate that TNA can sue due to the WWE financially benefiting from promoting Flair for this event.  Whether this happens or not remains to be seen, but Flair has confirmed that he will appear.

Time will dictate the resolution to this matter, but one can be certain that this may be one of the most interesting Hall of Fame events of all time.

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