SUPLEX, USA – This past week Hollywood lost one of its longest tenured performers, Mickey Rooney. Another actor/entertainer/sports star, James Hellwig, passed away as well. Known better as The Ultimate Warrior of wrestling fame, Hellwig was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame just days prior to his death. Hall of Fame? There’s a wrestling Hall of Fame? I had to research this and came across the likely names of Backlund, Monsoon, and Hogan. Of further surprise were the names of non-wrestlers who somehow, someway, found themselves among the stratosphere of elite grapplers. Apparently, the WWE Hall of Fame Aint Just for Wrestlers:
Donald Trump: The man who has become an entertainer by firing people on his “Apprentice” television franchise and single-handedly caused the death knell to the fledgling USFL back in the 1980’s, found enshrinement with the WWE class of 2013 honorees. The Donald was actually owner of Monday Night Raw but in the world of wrestling who knows if this is true or can be verified through intelligent means. WrestleMania IV and V were held at Trump Plaza in Atlantic City.
Bob Uecker: A career MLB batting average of .200 couldn’t even keep Mr. Baseball/Mr. Belvedere from wrestling’s front-row of greatness during 2010 ceremonies. Uecker was part of Wrestle Mania III and IV as ring announcer for Hogan v. Andre the Giant and as the Giant’s choking dummy, respectively.
Drew Carey: A 2011 enshrine, Carey holds the distinction of being the only celebrity to participate in a Royal Rumble (2001)– if you want to call getting choked and then running out of the squared-circle, participating. Unconfirmed reports say Drew was heard to scream “Who’s life is it anyway?” upon running out of the arena.
Mike Tyson: Not Iron Mike Sharp, but owing back taxes to Uncle Sam forced Tyson to stoop to new lows in accepting a paying gig as part of Vince McMahon’s travelling circus. The former champ actually found himself fighting in the ring with wrestlers as part of script that paved the way to future acting exploits in The Hangover. Inducted in 2012.
Mr. T: Don’t pity this fool who turned acting into wrestling stardom by parlaying an A-Team and Rocky III role into WWF appearances during the infancy of Saturday Night’s Main Event and Wrestle Mania. The bedazzled Mr.T backed Hulk Hogan against the likes of Roddy Piper, Bob Orton, and Paul Orndorf. Inducted along with the Ultimate Warrior this past year.
Pete Rose: Here’s another guy who will sell his soul for a buck or two and it seems Vince McMahon is well-versed in preying upon these types. While he won’t get into Cooperstown any time soon, by appearing at three Wrestle Manias, Charlie Hustle graced the WWE HOF in 2004 with 2,000 more hits than the unpredictable Johnny Rodz.
William Perry: The Refrigerator earned 2006 induction by owning the distinction of eliminating two wrestling heavyweights during the Royal Rumble at Wrestle Mania II. Tony Atlas was Perry’s first victim and then The Fridge suckered Big John Studd into a pulled handshake over the top rope.
Come back tomorrow for a man who is wrestling with what to write about while hiking The Grand Canyon, West Coast Craig.