WWE will welcome another group of WWE Hall of Famers tonight at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. Here’s a look at the class of 2018.
The 51-year-old recently returned to the WWE after an absence of 12 years, feuded with Brock Lesnar, won the Universal title, and then lost it to Lesnar in one of the main events of WrestleMania 33 in Orlando.
The Oklahoma native began training for wrestling in 1996 after he was persuaded by Sting and Lex Luger to try out for wrestling after his professional football career did not take off. After undergoing training at the WCW Power Plant, he started appearing on WCW Nitro, quickly eliminating his opponents and staying undefeated for a very long time.
One of his greatest moments in WCW came in July 1998 when he defeated Hulk Hogan for the WCW World title at the Georgia Dome during Nitro in front of 40,000 fans. Goldberg’s undefeated streak came to an end at Starrcade that same year when he lost the title to Kevin Nash. WCW considered his streak of being 173-0 at that time.
After WWE bought WCW, Goldberg held back and got paid for the remainder of his contract until it ran out. In March 2003, Goldberg arrived in WWE and interrupted a Rock concert the day after WrestleMania XIX. No words were spoken but Goldberg delivered his trademark spear to The Rock to announce his arrival in the company.
At WrestleMania XX, Goldberg fought Brock Lesnar, a match which was the last one for both considering they were quitting the business. The match, officiated by Steve Austin, turned into a big mess as the fans turned on both Superstars. In the end, it was Goldberg who had his hand raised after defeating Lesnar at WrestleMania.
In May 2017, Goldberg was announced as the WWE 2K17 cover Superstar. This was his first affiliation with WWE ever since that disastrous night in Madison Square Garden in 2004. In mid-October, Goldberg appeared on Raw for the very first time in 12 years to accept Paul Heyman’s challenge to meet Lesnar at the Survivor Series. That match headlined the Survivor Series and lasted only one minute and twenty six seconds when Goldberg hit the spear and the Jackhammer for the quick win.
Goldberg was part of the Royal Rumble, entering at number 28. He quickly eliminated Brock Lesnar, Rusev, and Luke Harper, but The Undertaker eliminated him. At Fastlane, Goldberg challenged Kevin Owens for the Universal title, winning it quickly as well, before dropping the title to Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 33.
The night after WrestleMania 33 on Raw, Goldberg appeared after the show to thank the fans for the amazing journey and said that you never know who’s going to be next!
Throughout his career, Goldberg won the WCW title once, the WCW United States title twice, the WCW Tag Team title once, the World Heavyweight title once, and the WWE Universal title once.
THE DUDLEY BOYZ
Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley made their debut together in ECW in 1996 and positioned themselves as the dominant tag team in the promotion, a run that lasted till 1999 when the duo went to the WWE.
The Dudleys achieved a ton of success in WWE as well and wrestled in several firsts, such as the TLC match with Edge and Christian and Matt and Jeff Hardy. The feud between the three teams was one of the highlights of the Attitude Era, a feud which created several “Holy sh!t” moments.
In 2005, the two left WWE and started wrestling in TNA Wrestling where once again, success came along in the form of titles and even a Hall of Fame induction in 2014.
After a short stint in WWE in 2015, D-Von eventually got a backstage job while Bubba Ray moved to Ring of Honor.
During their illustrious career, The Dudley Boyz won the ECW Tag Team titles six times, the WWE World Tag Team titles 8 times, the WWE Tag Team titles once, the WCW Tag Team titles once, the NWA Tag Team titles once, and TNA Tag Team titles twice.
Former WWE Women’s champion Ivory will be this year’s women inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2018.
“I liken it to almost getting married, it’s my wedding day, which I’ve never had one, so, this is probably as close to a wedding production as I’ll ever get,” Ivory told ESPN. “Hair and makeup, I will be speaking my vows – with regards to my wrestling career – to all these people I adore and love and we want it to all happen without a hitch.”
The 56-year-old Ivory, real name Lisa Moretti, made her professional wrestling debut back in 1986 and was part of the original cast of GLOW: Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling.
In 1999 she signed a WWE deal and made her television debut in February of that year and was part of the first-ever women’s hardcore match against Tori. In that year, Ivory won the WWE Women’s title twice before transitioning to a conservative gimmick and eventually joining the Right to Censor faction.
In 2002, Ivory joined the Tough Enough coaching team, coming on board for the second and third season while also doing commentary and other coaching gigs at Ohio Valley Wrestling. She left WWE in 2005 and then made her first WWE appearance in a decade at the WrestleMania Axxess convention at WrestleMania 31.
During her WWE career, she won the Women’s title a total of three times.
Jeff Jarrett started his WWE career in August 1992 where he had a run of four years, including winning the Intercontinental title. In 1996 he left WWE to go to WCW but his first run there only lasted a year and returned to WWE in October 1997.
His second WWE run was more successful than his first, winning different titles including the Tag Team ones with the late Owen Hart. He left in 1999 to join WCW again but his departure from the company turned ugly. Jarrett was supposed to drop his IC title to Chyna at No Mercy that year but his contract expired a day before the pay-per-view and extorted Vince McMahon for $300,000 in order to wrestle and drop the title.
Jarrett returned to WCW in October 1999 and stayed there until the company was bought by WWE in 2001. His contract was not picked up by WWE and on the simulcast episode of Raw and Nitro, Vince McMahon mocked Jarrett on live television, saying that Jarrett would be gone.
In June 2002, Jeff Jarrett launched Total Nonstop Action Wrestling with his father to compete with WWE. He eventually sold the company to Dixie Carter and in December 2013, he resigned from his position within the company but remained a minority shareholder.
Jarrett created Global Force Wrestling in 2014 but the company failed to gain traction and he returned to TNA in 2015, selling his minority stake in return for some promotion for his GFW company.
After Anthem bought Impact Wrestling in 2017, Jarrett returned to the fold to run the day-to-day operations in the company but his stint lasted less than a year and was fired in October due to several personal issues.
Jarrett was admitted to a rehab clinic shortly thereafter and WWE picked up the tab for his stay after his wife Karen, the ex-wife of Kurt Angle, reached out to the WWE for help.
During his long career, Jarrett won the WWE Intercontinental title six times, the WWE European title once, the WWE Tag Team titles once, the WCW World title four times, the WCW United States title three times, the TNA World title six times, and the TNA King of the Mountain title once, apart from several other titles in AAA, CWA, and USWA.
The 65-year-old made his professional wrestling debut in 1975 and wrestled for the Continental Wrestling Association before joining the WWE in 1984. While in WWE, he was aligned with Hulk Hogan however his career never took off as a singles wrestler and was mostly used as a feel-good character. Perhaps his biggest moment came at WrestleMania III where he teamed up with midget wrestlers to take on King Kong Bundy.
Hillbilly Jim then transitioned to a television host and presented Prime Time Wrestling until the show was canceled in favor of Monday Night Raw in early 1993.
He returned to WWE in 1995 managing Henry and Phineas Godwinn but that only lasted a couple of years until the duo turned heel. While his on-screen career came to an end, Hillbilly Jim worked for WWE and did a lot of the promotion tours, especially WrestleManias and home video events.
Hillbilly Jim was one of those chosen to appear in WWE Legends House which was shopped for network television but ultimately ended up on the WWE Network.
The 46-year-old Olympian weightlifter is one of the longest-serving WWE employees, having joined the company in 1996. He signed a 10-year deal upon arrival at the age of just 24 and made his debut at SummerSlam that year, starting a feud with Jerry “The King” Lawler.
In 1998, Henry joined the Nation of Domination along with Farooq, The Rock, D’Lo Brown, and Kama and went on to have a memorable feud with D-Generation X. Unfortunately for him, after the Nation disbanded, Henry was given a sex addict gimmick and was referred to as the Sexual Chocolate. Henry had a hilarious program with the late Mae Young where Young gave birth to a hand.
Henry disappeared from WWE television as he returned to OVW for training and to participate in more strongman competitions. In 2002, he returned to the main roster but an injury quickly forced him out again, returning in 2003, before yet another injury kept him for a long time.
Mark Henry returned in January 2006 and engaged in a feud with The Undertaker and had a casket match with him at WrestleMania 22. After going through most of the Superstars on the roster, Henry was injured again, tearing off his patella tendon off his bone, putting him on the sidelines again for a whole year.
In 2008, Henry was drafted to ECW and he was joined by Tony Atlas as his manager. He won the ECW title in a triple threat match against Kane and Big Show at Night of Champions but he lost the title to Matt Hardy at the Unforgiven pay-per-view.
In 2011, Henry started his path to the World Heavyweight title, winning a 20-man battle royal to become the number one contender. He defeated Randy Orton at Night of Champions, marking his first world championship in WWE after 15 years. He lost it at TLC to the Big Show in a chairs match. The Olympian then had to leave WWE again for nearly a year to undergo another surgery.
Perhaps one of his greatest moments came in June 2013 when he teased his retirement on Raw while wearing the infamous peach-looking jacket. Henry cried in front of the fans and John Cena joined in…only for the whole thing to be a swerve as Henry viciously attacked Cena and challenged him for the only title that he never won: the WWE title. Henry never won the title and after that he engaged in different feuds and took more hiatuses due to injuries.
His final match in a WWE ring came at the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 33. He appeared at the Raw 25th anniversary special in a backstage segment as well.
The weightlifter won the ECW title, World Heavyweight title, and European title during his WWE career but his weightlifting accomplishments trump pretty much anything he did in WWE, winning several championships and strongman competitions.
“Every time I go to a WWE event I always have a good time; there is nothing like it and no better fans in the world,” Kid Rock told Billboard. “The Hall of Fame ceremony will be a fun night and it will be great to see everyone again. I have so much respect for what those guys and girls do. I’m grateful to WWE for letting me be a part of WrestleMania weekend.”
Kid Rock has been part of the WWE family for a very long time and performed at WrestleMania 25 and at several Tribute to the Troops shows. For WrestleMania XXX, his song “Celebrate” was used as the official theme song for the show. Kid Rock also recorded ZZ Top’s “Legs” for Stacy Keibler’s theme and the song “American Badass” for The Undertaker. Another song of his, “Lonely Road of Faith,” was used as the background song for montage clips as well.
The Michigan native will join other celebrities such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Pete Rose, Snoop Dogg, Mike Tyson, and President Donald Trump in the celebrity wing of the WWE Hall of Fame.
JARRIUS “JJ” ROBERTSON – WARRIOR AWARD
JJ, a New Orleans native, has had anything but a simple life, undergoing 36 surgeries as he battled biliary atresia and liver disease.
“Jarrius has shown immeasurable amounts of courage, strength and positivity during the hardest of times. His infectious smile and personality light up any room, with no one the wiser of the pain he could have been enduring at any given moment,” WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon said. “His determination to help others fight their toughest battles and his work to bring awareness to organ donation make him a true Warrior and the perfect recipient of this year’s award in his hometown of New Orleans.”
McMahon met Jarrius five years ago when she was in town to announce WrestleMania XXX in New Orleans. Their friendship continued to grow over the years and JJ was present at the press conference last year when WWE announced that Mania would be coming back to the city.
JJ said that he feels very blessed to being honored by WWE and this award means the world to him. He will be accompanied by his brother and parents at the ceremony to accept the award.