The WWE Hall of Fame is met with various responses by wrestling fans and critics. Every sport has a respected Hall of Fame to spotlight the greatest contributors to the game. The HOF for basketball, football and baseball all feature the most successful athletes and coaches to leave a rich legacy. WWE wants to do the same. The problem is wrestling’s worked aspect of the matches being predetermined limits the ability to create credibility. Politics are also a big factor in WWE and makes it difficult to fairly judge which wrestlers get selected without company bias getting in the way.
Many top stars have been snubbed from the Hall of Fame due to certain outstanding wrestlers having an ugly relationship with WWE. In turn, WWE inducts quite a few wrestlers mostly for their loyalty to the company and close relationships with those in charge. There are quite a few names that make little to no sense getting such an accomplishment that should be reserved for the best of the best. No disrespect to anyone that gave their all to the business but lesser names getting the honor just cheapens the HOF’s credibility. We’ll look at some of those names with 15 wrestlers that should have never been inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
This list will only focus on the wrestlers inducted rather than the celebrity wing of questionable inductees.
15. Jim Duggan
Everyone enjoys the shtick of Hacksaw Jim Duggan. The genuine likability of Duggan makes his connect with the fans. Between his silly catch phrase of yelling “Hooooo!” and his patriotism, Duggan always received a good response from the live fans. The problem with inducting him into the 2011 WWE Hall of Fame class is Duggan never stood out as a top talent. No one looks back at Duggan’s work fondly, as much as they appreciate his hard work and likability.
The midcard work of Hacksaw never saw him enter a high profile position. Duggan’s matches weren’t that noteworthy either. Most of his matches were standard and made him rely on his character work. Duggan deserves respect for his career, but he has no place in what should be the elite class of workers in the Hall of Fame. WWE has a good relationship with him and tried to reward him for all the work he put into his time with them.
14. The Godfather
The most recent Hall of Fame in 2016 featured a couple of peculiar decisions. Fans were stunned at the news of The Godfather being selected for the big event. Godfather was NEVER a relevant member of the WWE roster. His debut as Papa Shango gave us a colorful character with silly moments. The stint as Kama Mustafa showed his tough side. Things progressed for the best push of his career as The Godfather.
WWE utilized his background of running an escorting agency by making his character a literal pimp. The Godfather came to the ring with his “hos” and engaged the audience by showing off the ladies. Fans at the time were more edgy in search for adult content with the Attitude Era appealing to them and society in general. Still, he never did anything more than comedic mid-card feuds. Godfather was a likeable guy but should have no place near the Hall of Fame.
13. The Blackjacks
The Blackjacks (Blackjack Mulligan and Blackjack Lanza) had great respect from their fellow wrestlers, but never came off like a true top tag team. WWE inducted them into the 2006 Hall of Fame as the second ever tag team to receive the honor. You would be hard pressed to find any fans sharing their storied memories of watching the Blackjacks. Mulligan and Lanza are extremely tough and fellow wrestlers appreciate the style they worked with to sell the story.
WWE officials held solid relationships with both them and that likely played a role in them being inducted. The problem many have with the Hall of Fame is WWE chooses to induct friends of the company over elite legends they have a rocky relationship with. Fans want to watch the top names give speeches sharing their treasured memories of their careers. Forgettable wrestlers like the Blackjacks just negatively impact the HOF, especially during the earlier years of the ceremonies.
12. Carlos Colon
Carlos Colon entered the 2014 WWE Hall of Fame class. The majority of success for Colon took place in Puerto Rico as the owner and top star of the World Wrestling Council. You can’t argue with his accomplishments but there was always controversy attached to his career. Wrestling legend Bruiser Brody was stabbed to death by fellow wrestler Jose Gonzalez in the shower at one of the WWC shows. Rumors have circulated for years that Colon hid evidence and threatened wrestlers that wanted to testify.
Many of Brody’s friends refused to work with Colon going forward. The stories of wrestlers give the story credence. Colon’s reputation changed with that event and it will be the first thing associated with him forever. WWE should have snubbed him considering most North American fans know very little about him. It’s not like the guy was a legend in WWE and quite frankly, most WWE fans only know him as Carlito and Primo’s dad.
11. Don Muraco
The forgettable career of Don Muraco saw him receive more accolades than most would realize. Muraco was the first ever King of the Ring tournament winner and actually held two Intercontinental Championship reigns. Mick Foley, Tommy Dreamer and the Dudleyz all named the feud between Muraco and Jimmy Snuka as influencing them into wanting to become a wrestler. Snuka’s moment of hitting the splash off of the top of the cage created one of the most memorable moments in wrestling history. Muraco’s claim to fame is being the other guy in that moment.
WWE appreciated the efforts of Muraco working hard and frequently in the 80s. Muraco entered the Hall of Fame in the 2004 class, but is referred to as one of the inductees. The best way to judge the impact of a wrestler is thinking of the memories created by the performer and how entertaining it is to watch them back. Muraco didn’t fit the bill of either criteria, but still managed to get into the HOF.
10. Abdullah the Butcher
Hardcore wrestling adds a different perception in how to rank a wrestler historically. On the surface, anyone can hit another person with weapons or physically harm each other in such a level. Many wrestlers look down on that, but fans enjoy the genre of violence being escalated to another level. Abdullah the Butcher was arguably the first ever hardcore legend with his brutal matches using various weapons and always involving blood.
The Butcher had many classic bouts all over the country with an array of talents. Sadly, he never had a top spot or exuded the star power needed to leave a top legacy in the sport. Abdullah was inducted in the 2011 Hall of Fame for his contributions to the business. Most mainstream fans remember his short stint in WCW, but he never did much of note there. The lack of success on the bigger platforms is a mark against Abdullah when it comes to being a worthy Hall of Famer.
9. The Bushwhackers
The memorable act of the Bushwhackers created a fan favorite tag team due to their silly gimmick. Bushwhacker Luke and Bushwhacker Butch walked to the ring acting out of their minds doing ridiculous acts like licking the heads of fans. Aside from the humor associated with them, the Bushwhackers never really achieved huge success in WWE. They failed to ever win the WWE Tag Team Championship during their tenure in the company.
Wrestling fans voted the Bushwhackers as the “Worst Tag Team of the Year” twice in the highly acclaimed Wrestling Observer Newsletter Awards. The matches and storylines of the Bushwhackers failed to deliver any successful results. Luke and Butch basically were known as the funny dudes who licked fans and made silly facial expressions. The Bushwhackers wouldn’t make the top 25 tag teams in WWE history. That means they don’t belong in the Hall of Fame, but WWE inducted them in the 2015 class.
WWE’s poor booking of the female wrestlers in their history has made it difficult to induct women with credible careers into the Hall of Fame. Jacqueline was one of the toughest women to ever step foot in the ring, but WWE never treated her like a relevant star. During the various forms of the women’s division from the tawdry days to the serious competition, she was always a background player in the Attitude Era.
Jacqueline typically put over the other female talents on the rise and served as a veteran presence in the locker room. WWE thanked Jacqueline for her years of service as a model employee by inducting her in the 2016 Hall of Fame. The event took place in her home state of Texas during the biggest weekend in wrestling history. It was a cool moment but she unfortunately didn’t get the opportunity to have a Hall of Fame career, let alone an actual inductee before many legendary stars.
7. Bob Orton
The history of second generation wrestlers getting a chance in WWE is usually tales of young stars benefiting from their father’s success. Things played out in the opposite direction for the Orton family. “Cowboy” Bob Orton had a solid wrestling career and was mostly known for wearing a cast for his “broken arm.” Orton tagged along with Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff but spent the majority of his career as an afterthought.
His son Randy Orton entered the company with a great deal of hype due to his look and background in the business thanks to his dad. The success of Randy saw him become one of the top stars in the industry. That afforded his father a perception change with WWE respecting him more due to the family presence in the company. Cowboy was inducted in the 2005 Hall of Fame class but no one can really name a time during his career that would have been deemed HOF worthy.
6. Johnny Rodz
Johnny Rodz was one of the many WWE Hall of Fame choices that was due to his relationships rather than his career accolades. The majority of Johnny Rodz’s career was spent serving as a jobber putting over the top talents. Everyone knew Rodz would suffer defeat in quick fashion when he appeared in the ring. Rodz worked very hard and gained respect from his peers and employers which led to him having the door open for his induction.
WWE inducted him into the 1996 Hall of Fame class. Rodz went on to train future stars like Tommy Dreamer, Taz, Bubba Ray Dudley, D-Von Dudley and Big Cass. The training shows the intelligence and importance of what Rodz could offer. That is all well and good, but fans want to see the performers that left the biggest impact during their career on television. An enhancement talent like Rodz getting the Hall of Fame spot just damages the credibility.
Any Attitude Era fan has fond memories of Rikishi during his time with Too Cool. Massive pops would occur every time Rikishi danced in the ring or delivered the silly Stink Face maneuver of rubbing his rather large backside into his opponent’s face. Rikishi stepped up to be a highly popular midcarder during his best days. Sadly, Rikishi had a short time span as a popular face and failed in chances to move into the main event scene.
WWE tried to push him as a top heel by revealing him as the man to run over Steve Austin with a car in 2000. Rikishi instantly flopped as a “bad man” and WWE had to change the storyline by claiming Rikishi was working for Triple H to remove the big man from the angle. The career of Rikishi was worth celebrating but a midcarder relevant for about a year should not be in the Hall of Fame. WWE has a rich history with his family and that likely played a role in his induction in the 2015 Hall of Fame.
4. Bob Armstrong
Another instance of family ties allowing a forgettable wrestler to get inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. “Bullet” Bob Armstrong had a respectable career working for various territories primarily in the South. The hard work of Armstrong earned him a respected reputation in the business but was appreciated more by his peers than the fans. Most spectators viewed Armstrong as one of the more dull performers in the industry for his bland persona and in-ring style.
The majority of today’s fans know Bullet Bob as being the father of Road Dogg and the other Armstrong kids that entered the business. WWE allowed his sons to induct him into the 2011 Hall of Fame class in one of the less anticipated inductions. Armstrong had a decent career but there’s no way he should be in the WWE HOF. The best barometer for figuring out if someone is a Hall of Famer is giving an instant yes or no. Most people would give a big fat no to the induction of Bullet Bob.
3. Bill Watts
“Cowboy” Bill Watts (yes, another Cowboy on the list) had a forgettable wrestling career but achieved his claim to fame as a booker. The reaction to Watts is polarizing due to his philosophies creating a variety of strong opinions for his work in UWF and WCW. Watts made radical changes like banning top rope moves and wanting the business to revert back to old ways. Let’s not forget he pushed his talentless son Erik Watts and became the laughingstock of the industry.
To be fair, Watts did deliver some good things and has positive memories in creating a few great stories. The main reason for Watts being a no-brainer for this list is his past history of being offensive towards others. Watts said sexist and racist things quite often and once claimed restaurants should be allowed to refuse service to minorities. WCW fired him for his racist comments. The fact that WWE inducted a well-known racist into the 2009 class is an absolute joke.
2. Koko B. Ware
The most questioned Hall of Fame induction in recent memory sparked from WWE adding Koko B. Ware into the 2011 class. Koko was likeable with his parrot Frankie coming to the ring with him. Fans appreciated Frankie more than Ware at times. The colorful personality made him the ideal midcarder. Koko received enough fan support to succeed in forgettable matches but he wasn’t good enough to move into relevant storylines.
Fans enjoyed him in the way they currently enjoy someone like Heath Slater. Everyone enjoys the charm of Slater, but you would get laughed at if you ever suggested he is a future Hall of Famer. Koko had a nice career that deserves to be appreciated for his variety act. That doesn’t correlate to getting inducted into such an elite tier. The record books will show Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan and Koko B. Ware as all equal members of the WWE Hall of Fame. Let that sink in.
WWE’s worst decision of inducting a former talent into the Hall of Fame has to be Tammy “Sunny” Sytch. The argument can be made Sunny opened up the door for attractive women to get spotlighted on WWE television but many negatives came along with her. Sunny had a reputation of being hard to work with. She got involved in backstage romances, cheating on her boyfriend Chris Candido, and was phased out after a couple of years due to poor decisions. The bad attitude saw her career derail following her falling out with WWE.
They welcomed Sunny back in the WWE family by inducting her into the 2011 Hall of Fame Class. WWE has to regret this decision on a weekly basis as the stories continue to pile up. Sunny has basically made prison a second home with her history of drinking while driving and assaulting others. Things would get worse with her making offensive comments on social media about various minority groups. There are even stories about her faking cancer to launch a GoFundMe page for fan donations and attempting to sell her Hall of Fame ring online. WWE should have never inducted the overrated diva but Sunny continues to shame the Hall of Fame.