James Dudley

Washington, D.C.
1994 WWE Hall of Fame Inductee
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James DudleyBio

Although he was rarely seen by the fans, James Dudley is one of the most important and influential men in sports-entertainment history. In the 1950s and ‘60s, when fans tuned into WWE's weekly TV show, few realized the enormous role Dudley was playing behind the scenes.

Dudley began working in sports-entertainment for Jess McMahon, grandfather of Vincent K. McMahon. Later, Dudley became a close confidant of Vincent James McMahon -- known as Vince, Sr. to his associates. When Vince, Sr. asked Dudley to manage the site of WWE's broadcasts, Washington, D.C.'s Turner Arena, history was made as Dudley became the first African-American to run a major arena in the United States.

In the nation's capital, Dudley became a pseudo-celebrity. Before fellow Hall of Famer Bobo Brazil's matches there, Dudley would excite crowds by running to the ring and waving a towel.

In 1994, Dudley became a member of the first full WWE Hall of Fame class, with WWE Chairman Vincent K. McMahon inducting him into the Hall. When Dudley sadly passed away in June 2004, a touching video tribute was aired on all WWE programming in his honor.