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Halls of history
The 2007 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is in the books, and there were many special moments on a special night. For fans, family and Superstars alike, the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony was a roller coaster of remembrance, celebration and most of all, adulation.
"The highlight for me was Mr. Fuji," said longtime WWE fan Thomas Hixon. "He was a very influential manager; my dad used to take me to shows when he was managing Demolition. It's important for newer fans to know who laid the foundation for the WWE Superstars of today. Fuji, Dusty Rhodes, Mr. Perfect…they were all very influential. I love the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony every year, and this year was no different."
"We're in a beautiful theatre, and it's been a very nice night," added Taryn Hetrick. "It must mean a lot for the new Hall of Famers; it's a culmination of their career, being able to say that they are in the Hall of Fame. It's important for the fans to be here too, because we are what make the Superstars what they are, and it's really cool to be here after watching for all these years."
Chuck Grandmason, who WWE.com caught up with before last night's premiere of The Condemned, was even happier after the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.
"What was great about tonight? Everything!" Grandmason exclaimed. "Dusty Rhodes, Mr. Perfect…they all deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. Dusty, he sacrificed so much, he's had a lot of great battles with the Four Horsemen and Harley Race; he is the true definition of a Legend. And just like everything else with WWE, they sent him into the Hall in top-notch fashion."
For Joe Hennig, son of 2007 inductee "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig, the fans' adoration tonight was proof of the indelible mark his father left on the world of sports-entertainment. Clad in one of his dad's signature jackets with "Mr. Perfect" emblazoned on the back, Joe was almost at a loss for words following the ceremony.
"It's a great honor to be here, I'm very proud," Joe beamed. It was a great atmosphere, a great way to show everybody what he busted his butt for. His legacy is there for the whole world to see."
Joe paused before emotionally continuing, saying "to hear the crowd erupt before we got out there, to hear them chanting his name and yelling they missed him…a lot of people didn't like him during his career, but they showed a lot of respect for his talent and his legacy. It was great to hear the roar of the people, it was overwhelming."
The Superstars themselves are fans in their own right, as the WWE Superstars of today grew up watching the men and women who are enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Growing up in Jacksonville, Fla., Elijah Burke was a huge fan of Dusty Rhodes, and to see him inducted into the Hall is a moment he'll never forget.
"Dusty is more than a Legend, he's my father figure if you will in this business," an emotional Burke revealed. "He is THE Legend in this business; when it comes to walking the walk and talking the talk, no one did it better."
Elijah paused for a moment, remembering back to the days of watching Florida Championship Wrestling as a child.
"In Jacksonville, it was religion, sitting on my father's lap every Saturday morning watching on the Sunshine Network," Burke continued. "Florida was a stronghold of the ‘American Dream.' I can relate to Dusty when he talks about where he came from, we both have a similar story that I'll be able to tell someday on a bigger stage, hopefully one as great as the Hall of Fame."
No matter who you are, the WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is always one of the most emotional events on the WWE calendar. There were only nine men called to walk with the elite this year, but their legacy will forever reach millions around the world.