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Ask 411 Wrestling: Should Bray Wyatt Go Into the Hall of Fame This Year?

March 18, 2024 | Posted by Ryan Byers
Bray Wyatt Raw 62016 Image Credit: WWE

Welcome guys, gals, and gender non-binary pals, to Ask 411 Wrestling. I am your party host, Ryan Byers, and I am here to answer some of your burning inquiries about professional wrestling.
If you have one of those queries searing a hole in your brain, feel free to send it along to me at [email protected]. Don’t be shy about shooting those over – the more, the merrier.

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RobDaBank seems like a natural opponent for Mercedes Mone:

I.R.S – Mike Rotunda – couple of things regarding him in the WWE Hall of Fame.

(1) I think he should have already been in the hall, but is this the year to do it?

(2) Could he go in separately from Bray, or should they consider putting him at the same time as Windham (which I think should definitely happen this year).

Well, I received this question before the announcement that the U.S. Express would be inducted into the Hall of Fame this year. In that respect, question number one is a bit moot, but I’ll still walk through the exercise.

Anytime I answer a question about whether and when somebody should go into the WWE Hall of Fame, I feel like I’m actually answering two different questions. First, the question is whether I think that this person actually belongs in a pro wrestling hall of fame. Second, the question is whether I think the person belongs in the WWE Hall of Fame, which has a significantly different selection process and criteria than any legitimate sports hall of fame that has ever been established.

Regarding Mike Rotunda, if I were creating my own pro wrestling hall of fame, he would not make the cut. It has long been my belief that a hall of fame is meant to be for the true elites, not the very good. Rotunda in my estimation was very good, but he wasn’t an elite level great like an Inoki, a Baba, a Santo, a Hogan, a Sammartino, a Flair, or so on. Those guys are hall of famers. IRS falls short of that mark. However, I have also been criticized over my time writing this column for saying that I wouldn’t put a Curt Hennig or an Eddy Guerrero into a pro wrestling hall of fame, so obviously my criteria are different than many of the people who read these articles.

Does Rotunda belong in the WWE Hall of Fame as it has been established over the years? Yes, absolutely he does. Vince McMahon Sr.’s limo driver was in the first full class, so yes a multi-time tag team champion makes the cut. After all, the WWE Hall is more about making people feel good and selling tickets than it is about making sure only the biggest legends of the sport are honored, so almost anyone can go in.

Regarding Bray Wyatt, you’ve got a guy who died a tragic death just a year or two away from being a major star in the promotion. Putting him into the WWE Hall of Fame as it has been established would help bring some closure to fans of his and would be a feel good moment. That being said, whether he goes into the Hall should come down to one thing and one thing only:

Whether the family wants it.

Though it might be a feel good moment for fans, if his family is not mentally or emotionally ready for this induction, then screw the fans. The wishes of two or three of Bray’s family members outweigh what the WWE audience may want to see, even if they number in the millions. I have zero insight into how those closest to the man behind the Fiend feel about a prospective induction, but they should be the one who pull the trigger.

I strongly suspect that, when they do, WWE will gladly put the guy in. However, until then, we can expect him to remain on the sidelines . . .

For what it’s worth, if I were king of the world, I would not induct Bray and Rotunda in the same year. I would split the two up. They were never acknowledged as being related on WWE television (or it was very fleeting if it happened), and their careers are different enough that I don’t see them meshing together in any cohesive way. If you felt the need to induct them in the same year, I would at the very least make sure that they got their own segments on the show, for the reasons mentioned above.

Craig takes us from a hall of fame that exists to a hall of fame that doesn’t:

Do you think it’s too early for AEW to start having a Hall of Fame of their own? I’m thinking Sting could be the first inductee since he had his last match there. Even if they started off having 1 person join every year. Perhaps Jim Ross or Bryan Danielson (if he doesn’t go back to WWE once his contract is up) could be future inductees.

Yes, it’s too early for AEW to have a hall of fame. They’ve been in existence for five years at this point, which is not nearly enough time to build the sort of history that one is supposed to be celebrating in a hall of fame. Let’s not forget that the WWF Hall of Fame was formed when that company was THIRTY years old and arguably even older if you go back into its roots in the Capitol Wrestling Corporation and the shows promoted by Vince McMahon’s grandfather Jess.

Let’s allow these things some time to breathe instead of forcing them just because they’re what the other guys are doing.

Tyler from Winnipeg wouldn’t hit a guy who looks like this:

Who are the top three wrestlers who wore some type of glasses during matches?

Honorable Mention – The Dudley Boys – The Dudleys wore glasses in promos and to the ring. For the most part, they came off when they wrestled. However, I’m still giving them an honorable mention because I have a vague recollection of maybe a Big Dick Dudley squash that was so brief he never got the specs off.

Honorable Mention – Brian Christopher – Christopher manages an HM because he only pulled his goggles down for his finisher, the Hip Hop Drop, as opposed to wearing them throughout his bouts.

3. Percy Watson – He was called up to WWE television pretty early so he never got to be any great shakes in the ring, but I also had a soft spot for NXT rookie Percy Watson because he had a unique charisma and a unique look, largely due to his brightly colored frames, worn with no lenses.

2. Super Calo – 1990s luchador Super Calo, who had runs in AAA and WCW, wore a mask that had both sunglasses and a backwards cap built into it. This was his attempt to do a hip hop gimmick. It may have lost something in translation, but nerdy high school me always thought Calo looked cool. Also, it’s worth noting that in the 2010s we saw Super Calo Jr. wrestling regularly, with the same design of mask as his father.

1. Mr. Hughes – I cannot think of another wrestler more associated with wearing glasses in the ring. In fact, Hughes’ sunglasses lead to both kayfabe and legitimate injuries. In WCW, his glasses were broken by a Junkyard Dog headbutt (which was a work) causing an injury that was the impetus of turning him babyface. Then, in the WWF, he was legitimately cut during a match when his glasses broke. Some sources claim that incident lead to his parting ways with the company in August or September of 1993, but I’ve not seen it anywhere reputable enough for me to say unequivocally that it is true.

I haven’t heard from MNMNB in a while, and then he brings me . . . this:

WWE stands for World Wrestling Entertainment.
AEW stands for All Elite Wrestling.

TNA stands for Total Nonstop Action.

NWA stands for National Wrestling Alliance.

RoH stands for Ring of Honor.

What does NXT stand for?

(Wrong answers only)

Neatly Xeroxed Trainees

You know, because 90% of the people who are produced by the Performance Center look and wrestle exactly the same . . .

Night Wolf the Wise is bleeping and blooping:

What would be your Mount Rushmore of wrestling video games and why?

I don’t feel like I am knowledgeable enough about wrestling video games to answer this question. I haven’t owned a console wrestling game since the Nintendo 64 generation which coincides with a period of my life where I fell out of playing games altogether. I didn’t really start playing regularly again until the COVID-19 lockdown when I was looking for things to do, and even then I never picked wrestling games back up again for whatever reason.

Thus, I don’t believe I can put together a true “Mount Rushmore,” because in my mind when you assemble a Mount Rushmore list, you’re supposed to be including the greatest and most influential items in a particular genre, and I have no idea what those are here.

However, that makes for a very boring answer, so rather than a true Mount Rushmore of wrestling video games, let me just give you the wrestling video games that I have probably sunk the most time into playing during my life.

WWF Wrestlemania: Steel Cage Challenge (NES): Though I went back and played some of the others later, the first wrestling game that I can remember putting my hands on is this barely-remembered 8-bit title, which was perhaps the most basic of basic wrestling carts. In fact, I would actually say that the original Wrestlemania game, which was three years older, did better at capturing the fun of pro wrestling in video game form much better than this did. However, it’s what I had to work with, and I enjoyed to the ability to play as the Mountie, who was one of my favorites. For reasons that I totally fail to understand, this was re-released in 2018 as one of those cheap games that plugs directly into your TV, and one of my friends bought it for me. It was unchanged in terms of gameplay, thought they did oddly add Razor Ramon to the roster, who would’ve debuted on WWF TV only about a month before the original game came out.

WWF Raw (SNES): Thanks to the Super Nintendo having more firepower than its predecessor, WWF Raw had more game modes than anything I’d seen before, and that’s what caused me to play it so much. The title included a fairly true-to-life Survivor Series elimination match, a scaled back version of the Royal Rumble, and an elimination tag team match with Texas tornado rules that the game called a “Bedlam” match, even though there was never any such thing on WWF television to my knowledge. In particular, I played a ton of Survivor Series matches, with my go-to team being Owen Hart, Yokozuna, Bam Bam Bigelow, and Luna Vachon, the first playable female character in a WWF video game.

Extreme Warfare Revenge (PC): Moving things in a different direction, Extreme Warfare was and I believe still is a series of text-based games in which the player takes on the role of a booker and promoter of a wrestling company, doing everything from hiring and firing wrestlers to laying out feuds to booking matches for television shows. In other words, you were doing the jobs of what should be 20 different people in a modern national wrestling promotion . . . or the jobs of 1.5 Tony Khans. It got ridiculously detailed, to the point that I had legal pads full of notes that I took to map out my next moves in the game.

WCW/nWo Revenge (N64): Thanks to eBay and purchasing used cartridges cheap, at a certain point in my life I think that I owned almost every wrestling game on the Nintendo 64, or at least those that had a license for a major U.S. promotion. However, I handed them all off to a friend of mine when I was moving away from campus at the end of college, and I’ve never seen them since. Even though I had a wide selection to choose from, the one I kept coming back to was Revenge. The WWF series of games would eventually take over this game’s engine and refine it for their own purposes, making WWF No Mercy what many consider the gold standard for the era. However, I was more into Revenge, which included many of my favorites of the 1990s who didn’t see a lot of other video game appearances, including Scott Norton, La Parka (who in a clever nod to his character started every match in the game with a chair in hand), the entirety of Raven’s Flock, Meng, and Yuji Nagata.

Disqus’s own Voice of Logic is taking us back to some of the origins of wrestling:

Is it known who came up with the idea for blading or who was first to execute it in a match?

As with many things that go back this far into the history of wrestling, there is some ambiguity.

If you run a simple google search on this one, there are plenty of articles that state blading itself was invented by “Dangerous” Danny McShain, a wrestler who started in the late 1930s but had the peak years of his career in the 1940s and 1950s, with many of his matches taking place in California and Texas. Many of those same articles state that McShain may have been inspired by Kirby Watkins, who at various points in his career in the 1930s and 1940s was known as Sailor Watkins, Tex Watkins, and Popeye Watkins. Watkins reportedly did not blade but would draw blood in matches by using other metal objects.

However, here’s the thing about those articles. I saw several making those claims, but none of them I found cited their sources. So, the claims have been made, but I’m not sure where the claims came from.

That being said, there is one source that is generally accurate when it comes to wrestling history which refutes some of those claims: It’s the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. The Observer‘s July 27, 1992 obituary for McShain states that though he is one of the early wrestlers to have bladed regularly, “inventing” the practice is often credited in the United States to a gentleman by the name of Karl “Doc” Sarpolis. Sarpolis started wrestling in the mid-1920s and traveled the country for decades before settling in west Texas. He became the promoter of the Amarillo territory for quite a time and, in an interesting side note, is the one who ultimately sold it to the Funks when they took things over.

Then, a few years later, Sarpolis’s name came up in the Observer again. In the December 5, 2005 issue and specifically in the obituary of Eddy Guerrero, there was some background given about Eddy’s father, luchador Salvador “Gory” Guerrero. That article mentions Sarpolis is often credited with inventing blading among American wrestling historians but that he was likely influenced by none other than Gory Guerrero – which makes sense because the man received the nickname “Gory” due to the violent, bloody nature of his matches.

So, there you have it. We don’t have 100% certainty, but the best information we have is that Doc Sarpolis likely brought blading ot the U.S. after learning some lessons from Gory Guerrero.

We’ll return in seven-ish days, and, as always, you can contribute your questions by emailing [email protected]. You can also leave questions in the comments below, but please note that I do not monitor the comments as closely as I do the email account, so emailing is the better way to get things answered.