An in-depth look at the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2019

 
 

WWE will induct several new members into its Hall of Fame tonight. 13 WWE Superstars, three of which will be 2-time Hall of Famers, will be inducted while a long-time employee will get the Warrior Award.

Below we take a look at all of them getting honored tonight.

D-GENERATION X (Triple H, Shawn Michaels, X-Pac, Billy Gunn, Road Dogg, and Chyna)

The group was formed in 1997 with original members Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Chyna, and Ric Rude. After Bret Hart labeled HBK as a “degenerate,” the name of D-Generation X was officially given to the faction in October of that year.

In 1998, after Shawn Michaels left following his loss to Steve Austin at WrestleMania, Triple H took over running the group and was joined by The New Age Outlaws and X-Pac, who was just fired from WCW.

While DX had a few other members come in and out of the group, it’s most famous for those five, who throughout the Attitude Era, raised hell with outrageous skits, in-ring promos, and some excellent feuds such as with The Hart Foundation, The Nation of Domination, Steve Austin, The Rock, Mankind, and many others.

In the later years, DX reunited with just Shawn Michaels and Triple H but all of them reunited on the 1000th episode of Raw and the Raw 25th anniversary episode as well.

The inclusion of Chyna is a breakthrough so to speak as WWE had for years refused to acknowledge her due to her transition in the adult industry and the bad breakup with Triple H and her animosity towards Stephanie McMahon. Chyna tried to patch things up before she sadly passed away and WWE the company softened their stance on her after her passing.

HONKY TONK MAN

orn Wayne Farris on June 25, 1953, he started his wrestling career in 1977 with Koko B. Ware. He moved to Memphis Wrestling in 1978 and also had stints with the AWA, Jim Crockett Promotions, Puerto Rico’s WWC, and Stampede Wrestling before hitting the big time in WWE.

Farris joined the WWE in 1986 and was given The Honky Tonk Man gimmick. He teamed up with Jimmy Hart to solidify his turn as a heel and the move paid dividends as less than a year later, he won the Intercontinental title from Ricky Steamboat. After feuds with George “The Animal” Steele, Macho Man, Brutus Beefcake, and even Hulk Hogan, Honky’s time as Intercontinental champion came to a close at SummerSlam 88 after The Ultimate Warrior beat him in just 31 seconds, ending his 454-day reign. To this day it remains the longest Intercontinental title reign in the history of the WWE.

HTM later teamed up with Greg Valentine to form Rhythm and Blues in 1989 but in 1991 he left WWE and resurfaced in WCW in 1994 for a very short period until he was fired by Eric Bischoff. Honky Tonk returned to WWE in 1997 as a color commentator and a manager but left again in 2001. He made sporadic appearances on WWE television throughout the past several years including showing up on Old School Raws and other programming. He inducted his friend Koko B. Ware into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2009.

TORRIE WILSON

Now 43, the model and fitness competitor from Boise, Idaho, rose to fame after she joined WCW in 1999 where she spent a year before she was released in December 2000. But in 2001 after WWE bought out WCW, Wilson joined The Alliance and remained on WWE television till her retirement in 2008.

Despite never winning the Divas title, Wilson was an integral part of the women’s division back then and was one of the most popular figures throughout her WWE stay. After leaving WWE she made sporadic appearances and last appeared on WWE television at the Evolution pay-per-view where she was part of the battle royal. She was also part of the first-ever women’s Royal Rumble last year.

Wilson told espnW that her induction feels like “a sweet closure” since she never won a title. “But being inducted into the Hall of Fame feels like a championship belt to me, because it really makes me feel appreciated,” Wilson said.

HARLEM HEAT (Booker T and Stevie Ray)

The duo are largely known for their impressive run in WCW, making their debut for the Turner-owned company in 1993. A few months after they joined the company, they enlisted the services of Sherri Martel to be their manager and by the end of that year, they won the WCW Tag Team titles.

The Harlem Heat had several memorable feuds while in WCW, including the Steiner Brothers, the nWo, Lex Luger and Sting, Faces of Fear, and others. Throughout their time in WCW, the Harlem Heat won the WCW Tag Team titles for an impressive 10 times.

The Harlem Heat broke up as a tag team in late 1999 and Booker T went on to have another good run as a solo wrestler in both WCW and WWE. Booker was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013 by his brother.

Booker t will now join Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels as two-time Hall of Famer with HBK also being inducted this year as part of D-Generation X.

HART FOUNDATION (Bret “Hit Man” Hart and Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart)

The Hart Foundation was formed in 1985 and it was Bret who joined the other two as Jimmy Hart was already managing Jim Neidhart. It was Bret’s idea to form the tag team and was about to quit the company before he was eventually given what he wanted.

Over the course of the years, Bret and Jim went on to have big feuds with The Brain Busters, Powers of Pain, Demolition, Strike Force, The British Bulldogs, and Power and Glory among others.

The two went on to become one of the most successful tag teams in the history of professional wrestling, winning the WWF Tag Team titles twice, beating The British Bulldogs and Demolition. Bret and Jim split after WrestleMania 7 with Bret concentrating on his solo career.

“Grit. Determination. Passion. That’s what builds a foundation. Congratulations daddy & Bret Hart. You. Deserve. It,” wrote Jim’s daughter and WWE Superstar Natalya.

Bret added, “On March 1985 in Brantford, Ontario, Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart and I officially became the Hart Foundation. On April 6, 2019, we take our place in the WWE Hall of Fame. I wish Jim was still with us to celebrate this moment, but I know he’ll be on stage with me in spirit. To our fans around the world, thank you. See you in Brooklyn!”

BRUTUS “THE BARBER” BEEFCAKE

The 61-year-old Florida native made his wrestling debut in 1977 and was one of the most popular wrestlers in the WWE in the late 80s and early 90s.

Beefcake, real name Ed Leslie, started his wrestling career with Hulk Hogan, with the two teaming up together throughout the years before moving their separate ways. In 1984, Beefcake joined the WWF as a heel and was managed by Johnny Valiant. He was soon paired up with Greg Valentine and assumed the name of The Dream Team, winning the WWF Tag Team titles and defended them for eight months.

In 1987, Beefcake went solo after The Dream Team broke up at WrestleMania III and after Roddy Piper defeated Adrian Adonis, he came out to shave his head. Brutus went on to have feuds with Honky Tonk Man, Ron Bass, Randy Savage, and many others before in 1989 he found himself in the main event of SummerSlam with Hulk Hogan taking on Macho Man and Zeus.

In 1990, Beefcake suffered a serious parasailing accident where he broke his face, requiring over 100 metal plates to piece it back together. He was out of action for two years until he returned as the host of The Barber Shop, the segment mostly known for Shawn Michaels super kicking Marty Jannetty and throwing him through the glass window.

In 1993, Beefcake teamed up with Hulk Hogan again as the two feuded with Money Inc, the team of Ted DiBiase and IRS. They had a match at WrestleMania IX for the titles but lost via DQ. It was his final wrestling match on WWE television and later that year, Beefcake left WWE to join WCW.

In WCW, Beefcake wrestled under quite a few different names including Brother Bruti, The Butcher, The Man with No Name, The Zodiac, The Booty Man, and The Disciple…all in the span of five years. He was mainly in mid-card territory in WCW except for one WCW title match against Hogan at Starrcade.

Beefcake had a big fallout with Hulk Hogan over the past few years over a book where he said he was going to expose Hogan. Eventually, the two hashed it out and are now back as friends, with Brutus appearing regularly at Hogan’s Beach Shop in Clearwater for pictures and autographs.

WARRIOR AWARD: SUE AITCHISON

Having worked so far for over 30 years with WWE, Aitchison is often credited with being the one who created the WWE community outreach programs and is the main person behind WWE’s relationship with Make-A-Wish. She is also one of the most-liked people at WWE corporate, making her a very well-deserved recipient of the honor.

“Sue has dedicated her entire career to helping Wish kids fulfill their dreams and putting smiles on countless families’ faces. Her heart and character epitomize the essence of the Warrior Award,” said Stephanie McMahon, WWE Chief Brand Officer. “She is an unsung hero who deserves to be recognized and immortalized in the WWE Hall of Fame.”

When he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2014, the Ultimate Warrior remarked that those unsung heroes at WWE should be recognized at such events and while the WWE created the Warrior Award loosely based on Warrior’s wish, Aitchison is the first WWE employee to be receiving this in five years.

“I am humbled to receive this prestigious award,” Sue Aitchison said. “I look forward to continuing WWE’s efforts with Make-A-Wish and other organizations to make a positive impact on children and their families around the world.”

Dana Warrior will be presenting Aitchison with the Warrior Award on the eve of WrestleMania 35.