Here is a look at the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2017.
The 48-year-old made his pro wrestling debut in 1998, signing an 8-year deal with the WWE. Initially, Angle was sent to a developmental territory before making his full in-ring debut on WWE television at the 1999 Survivor Series.
Angle’s rise in the WWE ranks was quick and he won the WWE title in his first year, defeating The Rock. He continued to be one of the main eventers in the company, having epic feuds with the likes of Triple H, Steve Austin, Brock Lesnar, Eddie Guerrero, Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker, and many others.
Things turned for the worst in 2006 and after he was drafted to the ECW brand, Angle was fired from the company due to health issues, mainly addiction.
After leaving WWE, Angle quickly signed on with TNA where he had some of his best matches in his career. He was inducted in the TNA Hall of Fame in 2013 and had his farewell tour with the company in January 2016.
Throughout his WWE career, he won the WWE title 4 times, the World Heavyweight title, the WCW title once, and the WCW United States title once, the WWE European, Hardcore and Intercontinental title once, and the WWE Tag Team title once with Chris Benoit.
In TNA, he won the TNA World title six times, the X Division title once, and the TNA World Tag Team title twice with Sting and AJ Styles.
Kurt Angle becomes the second person to be inducted in both the WWE and TNA Hall of Fames. The first one was Sting.
ROCK ‘N’ ROLL EXPRESS
Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson – the duo who make up the legendary tag team – had a fantastic career that spanned over several years in different promotions, including NWA, WCW, ECW, SMW, USWA, AWA, WWF and others.
Their WWE stint in 1998 was short, but they managed to appear at that year’s WrestleMania and also at the Unforgiven pay-per-view, facing the New Midnight Express.
Throughout their careers, Morton and Gibson had different legendary feuds, including against the Midnight Express, the Four Horsemen, the Heavenly Bodies, and others.
The Rock ’n’ Roll Express join Kurt Angle, the only other inductee announced so far, for the 2017 Hall of Fame ceremony.
Long, now 69 years old, started his professional wrestling debut in 1985 as a referee in NWA’s Jim Crockett Promotions before moving to World Championship Wrestling, where he managed Doom, Johnny B. Badd, One Man Gang, The Skyscrapers, 2 Cold Scorpio, and many others.
In 1998 he went to WWE where he started out as a referee and then in 2002 moved to a managerial role for Superstars such as Mark Henry, D’Lo Brown, and Jazz. In 2004, he was promoted to Smackdown General Manager, then ECW General Manager in 2008, before returning to Smackdown’s GM role a year later. He was released from his WWE contract in mid-2014 and last appeared on WWE television in 2016 when he tried to get another General Manager job before the draft.
Teddy Long is mostly known – and made fun of – for making six and eight-man tag team matches on Smackdown, and that happened pretty much every week during his tenure.
DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE
The 60-year-old started his professional wrestling career late, making his pro wrestling career in 1991 in World Championship Wrestling as a manager of The Freebirds. To get ready to step in the ring, DDP enlisted the help of Jake “The Snake” Roberts and the rest, as they say, is history. Page went on to have a very successful WCW career, wrestling in main events with the likes of Macho Man Randy Savage, the nWo, Hulk Hogan, and many others. During his time in WCW, he won the WCW title three times, the United States title twice, the TV title once, and the Tag Team titles four times.
DDP then moved to WWE after the company purchased WCW, debuting in June 2001, three months after the sale. He was revealed as the stalker of The Undertaker’s then-wife Sara and spent a few months feuding with Taker and Kane. His character was then changed to an optimistic motivator and his catchphrase, “That’s not a bad thing…that’s a good thing” caught on with WWE fans. He stayed in WWE for a year and won the European and Tag Team titles once during his short reign.
But perhaps his most impressive achievement is DDP Yoga, a fitness program that has helped many, many people achieve what they were told was impossible. Page’s generosity also reached his former teacher, Jake Roberts, and Scott Hall, two individuals who were on the verge of death due to their addictions only to be given a new clean start by DDP who welcomed them into his home and rehabilitated them. Against all odds, both Jake Roberts and Scott Hall eventually returned for cameo appearances in WWE and both were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
The 36-year-old New York native had a seven-year career in the WWE which started in 2004 as a developmental wrestler assigned to Ohio Valley Wrestling. Her main roster debut came in May 2006 on an episode of Raw, attacking Mickie James and coming to the rescue of Trish Stratus. A year later she was given the moniker of The Glamazon and returned on TV as a heel after a couple of months out injured. Phoenix, considered one of the best female wrestlers in the company at the time, then had an angle with Santino Marella, and feuded with the popular duo LayCool before making a run for the Divas title in the Summer of 2011.
Phoenix left the company in 2012, having her last match against AJ Lee on an episode of Monday Night Raw in October. In 2014, she welcomed her first daughter with WWE Hall of Famer Adam “Edge” Copeland and then had another baby girl in 2016. The couple married in October of last year.
Edge and Beth Phoenix become the first married couple to be in the WWE Hall of Fame. During her time in WWE, she won the Women’s title three times and the Divas title once along with a Slammy Award for Diva of the Year in 2008.
“RAVISHING” RICK RUDE
Rude, who passed away in 1999 at the age of 40, was one of the most gifted wrestlers and wrestled for the NWA, WCCW, Jim Crockett, WWE, WCW, and ECW.
Trained under Eddie Sharkey, Rude made his professional wrestling debut in 1982 in the NWA, before moving to Championship Wrestling from Florida two years later. He was managed by Percy Pringle, the man later known as Paul Bearer, while down in Florida. In 1985, along with Pringle, he moved to World Class Championship Wrestling and then jumped ship again to Jim Crockett Promotions in 1986.
In 1987, Rude’s big break in pro wrestling came when he joined the WWE and quickly aligned himself with Bobby Heenan and became part of the Heenan Family. Rude had some epic feuds in WWE, including two famous ones with Jake “The Snake” Roberts and The Ultimate Warrior.
Rude’s WWE journey was not long and in 1991 he joined WCW, making his debut as the masked Phantom at Halloween Havoc. Rude joined The Dangerous Alliance and had feuds with Sting, Nikita Koloff, Ron Simmons, and many others. In 1993, he defeated Ric Flair to become the new NWA champion, which is probably one of the best highlights of his career.
After a short stint in ECW in 1997, Rude joined the WWE again that same year and aligned himself with D-Generation X. He made history in November of that year by appearing on Raw and WCW Nitro at the same time, made possible due to Raw being pre-taped and Nitro being live, starting his second stint with WCW which ran till 1999.
While in WWE, he won the Intercontinental title once and in WCW he won the International World Heavyweight title three times and the United States title once.
Rick Rude died on April 20, 1999 after suffering form a heart failure which was caused from an overdose of mixed drugs. He has three children, but his youngest son, Colton, died in September of last year at the age of 19 in a motorcycle accident.
ERIC LEGRAND (WARRIOR AWARD)
The 26-year-old played football until the year 2010 when on October 16 he suffered a severe spinal cord injury during a game against the Army Black Knights in East Rutherford, New Jersey, at MetLife Stadium. Today, the life-long WWE fan is paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. Since his horrible injury, LeGrand has become a renowned motivational speaker.
Speaking to ESPN.COM, who broke the original story about LeGrand getting the Warrior Award, he said that he was in complete shock when he found out. He recalled how Triple H’s assistant sent him an e-mail last week saying he wanted to talk to him in a few days via telephone. “So I’m sitting here for two days wondering what Triple H wants to say to me. My heart was racing for two days wondering what this was all about,” LeGrand said. After receiving the call, LeGrand said, “I didn’t know how to react. This was incredible as someone who grew up as a fan since I was a little kid.”
LeGrand becomes the third recipient of the Warrior Award after Connor Michalek and Joan Lunden. Dana Warrior will be presenting the award to LeGrand during the Hall of Fame ceremony.
“When you talk to Eric and when you’re around him, it’s really hard not to be blown away by his positivity and his demeanor as a human being; it’s just inspiring,” Triple H told ESPN.com. “Here’s a guy who has every reason in the world to be bitter and angry and yet he’s the most positive dude you’ve ever met. You can’t help walking away from him and just being inspired.”
In addition to honoring him with the Warrior Award, the WWE will be making a $25,000 donation to Team LeGrand. “The Warrior Award is reserved for someone who lives life with courage and compassion, and Eric is more than deserving. He is a great example for us all,” the former WWE champ added.
But LeGrand now can’t wait for Hall of Fame day to arrive. “I honestly can’t put it into words yet. It has not sunk in that I’m going to be a part of the WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony with all these great Superstars. It’s going to be truly amazing. WrestleMania is one of the biggest events in the world and to have my name attached to it and be a part of it as a small kid from Avenel, New Jersey, is a true blessing and a true honor. It just shows you if you do right in the world, good things do happen to you.”