Wow, the hits just keep coming this year. With only nine days into the new year, Two of the biggest events for any true wrestling fan have taken place in WWE. The first was the return of Chris Jericho last week (which I discussed in a great blog last week so PLEASE READ it), but WWE one-upped themselves last night on Raw when they announced the first two inductees into its 2012 class of the Hall of Fame: Edge and the Four Horsemen.
Edge, who retired last year at 37, is one of the biggest stars in the history of the company. He’s a rare case of a modern guy who did it all. He was one of the most consistently good in-ring performers of his era. He was a superb ring psychologist, great at carrying all kinds of opponents, great at pacing a match and was one of the best talkers. Whether he was a member of the goth-inspired Brood, goofing off with his longtime best friend Christian, or doing all kinds of underhanded exploits as the “Rated R Superstar,” Edge always gave the fans their maximum entertainment value every night he stepped through the ropes. He also holds the unique distinction of having held more titles (including 11 world titles) than any wrestler in WWE history.
The collective unit of the Four Horsemen being inducted includes Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Barry Windham and manager J.J. Dillon. Though there were several incarnations of the Horsemen over the years in the NWA/WCW, this version is universally considered as the best. Flair, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008, is generally considered as the single greatest pro wrestler of all time. Nothing else needs to be said about his legendary career and the influence he’s had on a multitude of wrestlers. Anderson is one of the true underrated guys in wrestling history. WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels summed it up perfectly in their induction video last night when he said “Arn never quite got credit for the amazing talent that he was in this industry.” If Michaels says that about anyone then, rest assured, they deserve it.
Blanchard was one of the top stars of the 1980s and was the frequent partner of Arn Anderson. His “I Quit” match against Magnum T.A. from Starrcade ‘86 is routinely listed as one of the best matches ever held at the former WCW/NWA spectacular. He and Anderson were also one of the few teams to hold both the WWE & NWA tag titles. Windham, similar to Anderson, is one of the most unsung (well, not quite since people from that era do say he was one of the greatest) performers in all of wrestling. If any wrestler of the 1980s and early 90s appeared to be the second coming of Flair inside the ring then it was Windham. The second-generation star (his father is WWE Hall of Famer Blackjack Mulligan) is right up there with Flair and fellow Hall of Famers Ricky Steamboat, Ted Dibiase, and Curt Hennig as far as being the best in-ring performer of his heyday. Trust me, that’s some serious praise to be listed amongst those guys. Dillon completed the package as their manager. Though he wasn’t a wrestler like the other four, his impact in the group was just as vital to them getting over as the biggest attraction of their promotion in that era. Though he didn’t have the longevity at the top of a manager like Bobby Heenan or Jim Cornette, he still did more than enough to be recognized as one of the all-time greats.
It seems that this year’s Hall of Fame class is shaping up to be one of the best in history. Below are the induction videos for each which aired last night.