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WWE Hall Of Fame Results : Full Details

 

Honky Tonk Man shakes, rattles and rolls his way into the Hall of Fame

"You deserve it" chants leave The Honky Tonk Man speechless: WWE Hall of Fame 2019 (WWE Network Exclusive)

The WWE Universe reminds The Honky Tonk Man why he belongs in the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2019. Courtesy of WWE Network.

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — 1,103 miles from Graceland, Tenn., The Honky Tonk Man rolled into the Barclays Center in a pink Cadillac, a bopping young lady at his side and sequins covering every square inch of his jumpsuit. But that was about as cool, cocky and bad as the legendary Intercontinental Champion’s WWE Hall of Fame induction got; Honky seemed somewhat surprised to have gotten the nod in the first place, so his speech was a marked contrast to the hip-swiveling scoundrel that hoarded the Intercontinental Title for 400 some-odd days. “Never say never in WWE because you never know what’s going to happen,” he said. “I am living proof of that for sure.”

In fact, Honky’s induction was more of a showcase for the man beneath the jumpsuit instead of the character that launched him to stardom, from Jimmy Hart’s induction speech to the story that made up the bulk of his turn on the mic: The tale of how The Honky Tonk Man character was created. In short, the look came from him, the name from Johnny Horton’s 1956 hit, and the good word that got him to WWE came via an assist from a slyly unnamed Hulk Hogan.

From there, his thanks were reserved for WWE, as Honky gave the company credit for shining up the character he had created and turning it into a household name. “For all this, I will be forever grateful to WWE,” Honky said. “It really is, truly an honor to be part of such an incredible family.” Because he couldn’t leave without singing his big hit, he serenaded the audience with a final rendition of “Cool, Cocky, Bad” while taking a lap around the arena. From there, it was back behind the curtain and onto whatever life awaits a hit singer, record-setting champion and certified WWE Hall of Famer. Whatever it is, it’s a safe bet that the cars are fast, the girls are pretty, and everyone’s always up for a song.

 

Torrie Wilson brings her mission to inspire to the WWE Hall of Fame

How WWE taught Torrie Wilson to face her fears: WWE Hall of Fame 2019 (WWE Network Exclusive)

Torrie Wilson revealed how she developed the confident persona that ultimately led her to the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2019. Courtesy of WWE Network.

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — What does it mean to be a strong woman? Do you need a championship title? A movement behind you? A main-event position at WrestleMania? Those certainly help, but if you ask Torrie Wilson, those are the spoils, not the qualifications, of a powerful female in complete control of her “inner bada**”. As Stacy Keibler said in her surprise appearance as Torrie’s inductor, “The All-American Girl” is the poster child for working to make yourself, and the world, a better place. And as Torrie herself admitted in her charming, candid speech, even if her wrestling skills didn’t occasionally fit the bill of a Hall of Famer, she worked hard to “[maintain] the courage to keep coming back for more, even if I wasn’t the best.” Who could be more deserving than that?

Wilson’s speech was a lesson in self-improvement, as she took the WWE Universe from an embarrassing grade-school interaction with her fourth-grade boyfriend to the unlikely Superstar who motivated herself to the Hall of Fame with three simple rules. Rule No. 1: “Realize that permission is for pansies. We don’t need anyone’s permission to be who they are.” Rule No. 2: “Gotta forget the failure. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t hired based on my wrestling skills. I had none.” And Rule No. 3: “Summon your swagger. Even if your swagger is dorky as hell, your swagger is the first thing that people see.”

There was a series of thank you’s to the people who helped push Torrie to be her best self — Fit Finlay, Billy Kidman, Victoria, Michelle McCool, Candice Michelle, just to name a few — a word for her late, beloved father Al, the WWE Universe who always says it like it is, and even her old classmate for motivating her to find her confidence, The All-American Girl swaggered her way into the WWE Hall of Fame. Her work to make the world a better place continues. But her speech left WWE at least a little bit better than it had been just moments before.

 

Natalya honors Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart at WWE Hall of Fame induction

Natalya recalls her final text messages with Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart: WWE Hall of Fame 2019 (WWE Network Exclusive)

Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart, Natalya's father and a WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2019 inductee, revealed what he's most proud of in his final exchange with his Superstar daughter. Courtesy of WWE Network.

BROOKYLN, N.Y. — Only one member of The Hart Foundation took the stage at the 2019 WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony, but that isn’t to say they weren’t both there. The late Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart was represented on stage, both in spirit and in body by his daughter Natalya, who joined Bret Hart to accept the induction in her father’s place.

The Queen of Harts aimed to deliver the speech her father would have given, thanking her mother, Bret, the WWE Universe for their “unconditional love since 1985,” The British Bulldogs, New York City (Anvil’s favorite town) and the teams inspired by The Pink and Black Attack. She also revealed that Anvil had been approached to write a book late in his life, and declined the opportunity to relive his days as a world-class shotputter and NFL player: “At the end of the day, I was a wrestler, and that’s what I loved most.”

Bret took the mic after Natalya and regaled the audience with tales of The Hart Foundation’s inception — basically, he came up with the idea and didn’t tell Anvil — and their misadventures with King Kong Bundy. Thank you’s followed to Jimmy Hart for their entrance music, infamous referee “Dangerous” Danny Davis for getting The Hart Foundation the Tag Team Titles and the various teams who helped make The Hart Foundation as good as they were. He closed the induction by paying homage to Anvil as the kind of friend with whom he never had a cross word or disagreement. “When I cross over,” Hart said, “I pray God will lead me straight to The Anvil.”

It was a fitting farewell to the new WWE Hall of Famer. But perhaps the “Hitman’s” best tribute to his former partner came in a backstage interview all those years ago: “Individually or together, The Hart Foundation will live forever.”

 

Sue Aitchison takes center stage as the 2019 Warrior Award recipient

Warrior Award recipient Sue Aitchison reveals her inspiration: WWE Hall of Fame 2019 (WWE Network Exclusive)

WWE Hall of Fame 2019 Warrior Award recipient Sue Aitchison describes how she draws inspiration from her tireless work with Make-A-Wish. Courtesy of WWE Network.

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — You might not have heard Sue Aitchison’s name before the 2019 WWE Hall of Fame ceremony. That, perhaps, is part and parcel with being a behind-the-scenes cog in the WWE machine. But few people employed by or associated with the company have left the kind of mark Sue has, and few are as worthy of enshrinement in the WWE Hall of Fame as the 2019 Warrior Award recipient.

As a key organizer of WWE’s Make-A-Wish partnership, “unsung hero” doesn’t quite begin to describe Sue, suffice it to say she is the type of individual the late Ultimate Warrior singled out as the ideal recipient of his eponymous award during his 2014 Hall of Fame induction. His widow, Dana Warrior, agreed as much in her introduction speech — as did John Cena, who introduced Sue and spoke to her crucial involvement with Make-A-Wish and the life philosophy that had made her WWE’s secret weapon: “How can I help?”

In that case, it was true to form that very little of Sue’s induction speech was about herself. Instead, she took her time to shine a light on the children she works with at Make-A-Wish, from the first visit she organized — a young man who wanted to meet Hulk Hogan — to the meeting between Daniel Bryan and first-ever Warrior Award recipient Connor “The Crusher” Michalek. She even brought up Jody Phillips, a former Wish child who had met The Rock and since recovered, started a family and now calls her “Grandma.”

“These children have a bigger impact on this world that some of us will never know or even see,” Sue said of the kids she worked with, also sparing a good word for the Superstars, refs, merch crew and social media team who help make the wishes themselves such a special moment. “How blessed I am,” she said, “To have a job that puts smiles on faces with a great team that makes it so easy.” The blessing is mutual. Sue Aitchison is now in the WWE Hall of Fame. Her name will live forever. She deserves nothing less.

 

Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake achieves his destiny as a WWE Hall of Famer

Brutus Beefcake surprises Baron Corbin with a sick burn: WWE Hall of Fame 2019 (WWE Network Exclusive)

WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2019 inductee Brutus Beefcake describes the origin of his name, much to the chagrin of Baron Corbin. Courtesy of WWE Network.

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Everybody in the WWE Universe started out as a fan. That includes Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake, the new WWE Hall of Famer inducted by Hulk Hogan and idolized as a man who has “wrestling in his blood.” His passion for the industry runs so bone-deep, Hogan said, that his place in the WWE Hall of Fame is “only fitting.”

As Brutus himself somewhat countered, it isn’t just a fitting end to his career, it’s a wild development for a Florida kid who dreamed of glory in the ring to receive the highest honor that profession can bestow. He wasn’t lying: Beefcake’s career was as serendipitous as it gets — he was recruited by Hogan, who had quit the industry previously and asked ten people to be his partner before he landed on Beefcake himself; the original pitch for his character was a butler-type fellow named “Baron Beefcake,” and the “Barber” aspect of his career came by happenstance in the middle of a match.

But if Beefcake owes much of his success to chance, his WWE Hall of Fame induction is a mark of his ability to capitalize on those opportunities. He was given a chance. He made the most of it. He found his niche and made it work. A fan should be so lucky.

 

Booker T cedes the spotlight to Stevie Ray at Harlem Heat’s WWE Hall of Fame induction

Booker T on Stevie Ray: "My brother always had my back": WWE Hall of Fame 2019 (WWE Network Exclusive)

Booker T describes how his brotherly bond with Stevie Ray helped make Harlem Heat a combination deserving of WWE Hall of Fame induction. Courtesy of WWE Network.

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — “We did it!” Booker T yelled as he and his brother Stevie Ray took center stage during Harlem Heat’s WWE Hall of Fame induction. And, to be sure, the former WCW Tag Team Champions’ enshrinement in the WWE Hall of Famer is an unlikely turn of events: It’s not often that stars on the other side of the Monday Night Wars are enshrined into the WWE Hall of Fame. But few teams are more deserving of the honor, and few Superstars are more unsung than Stevie Ray, to whom Booker credited the inspiration for his career and ceded the bulk of the speech. “I’ve been living my brother’s dream,” said the two-time Hall of Famer, “And I think it’s time for me to wake up.”

Stevie’s speech was a heartfelt recap of Harlem Heat’s unlikely journey to the top, and the various close calls with failure the multi-time champions brushed up against on their way to WCW — “looks like this is over before it even got started” was a common refrain. And while the new Hall of Famer had plenty of praise for the individuals who took chances on them over the years — “Hot Stuff” Eddie Gilbert, Hulk Hogan and Ole Anderson among them — the final lesson he imparted was one taught to him by Arn Anderson upon his arrival to WCW: “Respect for the business, and respect for your peers.”

As if to make his point, Booker T closed things out with a shout-out to young tag teams carrying on Harlem Heat’s legacy, from The Usos to The Revival to NXT’s Street Profits and, of course, The New Day. But it was something Stevie said earlier that summed things up nicely, after Ole had sent them out to refine their craft and return when they were ready: “Don’t let me down.”

“We’re here,” Stevie said, to a round of applause. We can dig that.

 

D-Generation X honor Chyna and “apologize” at WWE Hall of Fame induction

D-Generation X celebrates Chyna's trailblazing career: WWE Hall of Fame 2019 (WWE Network Exclusive)

Shawn Michaels explains why D-Generation X's induction into the WWE Hall of Fame would not be possible without the contributions of Chyna. Courtesy of WWE Network.

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — The men of D-Generation X are a little older. Their hair is grayer, if it’s still there at all. They need glasses to get through their notes. And they’re down one trailblazer in “The Ninth Wonder of the World,” Chyna, who passed away in 2016. But just because they’ve grown old, does not mean they’ve gone so far as to grow up.

The raucous induction of the counter-culture icons — represented by Triple H, Shawn Michaels, X-Pac and The New Age Outlaws, with Chyna included as a posthumous inductee — was as much an exercise in genial rule breaking as their in-ring heyday was. They weren’t supposed to thank a certain man behind the curtain, or even mention his name. They did that. They were supposed to refrain from crossing the PG line. They did that. True to form, they went into the ceremony with a set of rules to follow. They broke them all.

But their induction was also an opportunity for the legendary hellions to thank the people in their lives — wives, family and God, mainly — who brought almost all of them all back from the brink, and they certainly took that ball and ran with it as well. Road Dogg was the most passionate, Billy Gunn the most emotional, and X-Pac the most detailed, with a literal list of people to credit not just for his success but for his life. They also did not spare any expense when it came to thanking Chyna, credited as the “biggest and best trailblazer” in the history of the industry, “probably the most impactful woman to ever set foot in this ring,” and someone without whom WrestleMania would not be ending in a women’s main event. “She’s here,” Triple H said to Chyna’s sister in the audience. “The real her. And believe me, the real her would love this.” (X-Pac pointedly suggested renaming the WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal as the Chyna Memorial Battle Royal; the crowd in attendance did not disagree with the idea.)

That said, DX also had some restitution to tend to. As Shawn Michaels said in a strangled voice, they were responsible for corrupting an entire generation. (A hearty cheer went up when Triple H asked how many people got in trouble for imitating the group in school.) So, out came the infamous podium, and one by one the members of DX attempted to take their turn apologizing. Instead, they resurrected the old catchphrases, one after another, and ended the evening with the infamous two words and a Super Soaker shower to anyone close enough to get caught. No, there will be no apology. There never could be. And their induction couldn’t have ended any other way. It would have been an insult to the thousands in attendance, the millions around the world, those who were there, and those who were not.

 

Congratulations to the 2019 WWE Hall of Fame Legacy inductees

2019 WWE Hall of Fame

Bruiser Brody
Bruiser Brody — like many men who die before their time — has been mythologized by those fortunate enough to have witnessed the carnage created by the legendary brawler. The fans who cowered from Brody’s steel chain in Tokyo’s Korakuen Hall or watched in horror as he manhandled Bruno Sammartino in Madison Square Garden will say they never saw a competitor as unpredictable, as dangerous and as ruthless as Bruiser Brody. And they will be telling the truth.

What made Brody so threatening? It may have been the fact that no one was safe when the madman was in action. Adopting a wild, freewheeling, brawling style long before the dawn of hardcore wrestling, Brody attacked opponents, referees and fans with equal disregard. But Brody’s tangled hair, feral beard and furred boots often — and intentionally — belied the bright, talented family man underneath the animal exterior.

A college football player at the fabled West Texas State University, Brody struggled to break into the NFL before stumbling into professional wrestling under the name Frank “The Hammer” Goodish. His 6-foot-8, 300-pound frame made him a star from the very beginning, but the big man’s career began to build steam in 1976 when he arrived in WWE and was rechristened Bruiser Brody. Finding his persona as an intelligent monster, Brody took his show on the road, becoming the top independent wrestler in the world during the 1980s.

Fiercely self-reliant, Brody refused to stay in one territory for long, preferring to rampage across the globe in search of bigger paydays and tougher competition. He battled Dick the Bruiser in Indianapolis over the rights to the name “Bruiser,” terrified Lex Luger in an infamous Steel Cage Match in Florida and fought Abdullah the Butcher in every corner of the globe in one of wrestling’s goriest rivalries. But it was in Japan that Brody became a cult icon.

In Giant Baba’s All Japan Pro Wrestling, the beast formed a tag team with Stan “The Lariat” Hansen that was rivaled only by The Road Warriors in terms of pure power and dominance. Also teaming with Jimmy Snuka on occasion, Brody tore the house down against opponents like Jumbo Tsuruta and The Funks while becoming a mainstream star with the wrestling-obsessed Japanese. When he jumped from All Japan to New Japan to battle WWE Hall of Famer Antonio Inoki, he established himself as the country’s most sought-after performer.

Bruiser Brody’s life came to a heartbreaking end in July 1988. The victim of a killer never brought to justice, Brody passed under terrible circumstances, but the legend of sports-entertainment’s last great outlaw has only grown since that tragic day.

2019 WWE Hall of Fame

Luna Vachon
Sports-entertainment is filled with second and even third-generation Superstars, but it's very rare that females are part of multiple generations -- unless, of course, your family name is Vachon.

Luna Vachon is one of the few females to follow in her father's footsteps and climb into the squared circle. But the daughter of famed Canadian grappler Paul "Butcher" Vachon didn't just have role models in her own home; they're all over her family. Her uncle, Maurice "Mad Dog" Vachon, was a five-time AWA World Champion, and aunt Vivian Vachon was one of the most successful female Superstars of the 1970s.

As a youngster, Luna would often climb into the ring with her father, aunt or uncle before or after their matches. After making it clear that she wouldn't be dissuaded of a career in the ring, Luna officially trained under Vivian and The Fabulous Moolah in the mid-1980s and made her professional debut in 1986. Competing in Championship Wrestling from Florida as a member of Kevin Sullivan's clan, she struck fear into her opponents based on her physical presence alone: A half-shaven mane of blond hair, freaky face paint and a sneer that never seemed to leave her face.

After leaving Florida, Luna spent time as a competitor and a manager in various independents and Puerto Rico. In 1993, she finally came to WWE for the first time, replacing Hall of Famer "Sensational" Sherri as Shawn Michaels' manager. She later moved on to managing Bam Bam Bigelow, eventually falling in love with the "Beast from the East" and becoming his "main squeeze." The duo warred with Doink the Clown and his pint-size prankster sidekick, Dink, for months, leading to a match where Bam Bam & Luna defeated Doink & Dink at WrestleMania X.

Later in 1994, Luna sold Bam Bam's contract to Ted DiBiase and concentrated on winning the revived Women's Championship. While she was unable to win the title from then-champion Alundra Blayze before leaving WWE late in 1994, her hand-picked henchwoman -- Japanese Superstar Bull Nakano -- eventually did claim the gold.

Short stints in both ECW and WCW followed before Luna returned to WWE in 1997 to stand by the side of The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust. Luna quickly developed a rivalry with Sable, leading to another WrestleMania Mixed Tag Team Match. This time, however, Luna & Goldust were defeated by Sable & Marc Mero. The following year, however, the two Divas would patch up their differences, and for the first time, Luna heard the cheers of our fans.

Paired with Sable and The Oddities -- a collection of Superstars who were all slightly bizarre in some way -- Luna became quite popular. It wouldn't last, however, as Luna would later attack Sable and rekindle their rivalry. Throughout 1999, she continued to chase the Women's Championship and also managed Gangrel before leaving WWE for good in early-2000. Thereafter, she had been semi-retired, occasionally returning to the ring from time to time for various independent promotions.

Even though she never captured the Women's Championship, Luna was one of the most feared and respected competitors of the 1990s. At a time when the word "Diva" was being redefined in WWE, Luna Vachon was one of those who used her talents and unique look to help rewrite the lexicon.

2019 WWE Hall of Fame

Buddy Rose
In the early 1970s, Buddy Rose began his wrestling career in Minneapolis. From there, he moved on to the Pacific Northwest where he blossomed into a top-caliber performer. Two of his most notable rivalries from that area were against WWE Hall of Famers Rowdy Roddy Piper and Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka.

It was in 1982 that the Playboy entered WWE. He painted the picture that he had money to burn, and lived a lavish lifestyle that he flaunted, saying the fans could only dream that they were him. Despite his husky physical appearance, Rose was surprisingly quick and agile when in action, saying that he was "heavy in the seat, but light on the feet." He pushed WWE Champion Bob Backlund to the limit in the series of matches they had during the 1982-83 time frame.

Another highlight of Rose's WWE career came while wearing a mask. As the Masked Executioner, he battled Tito Santana in the very first match at WrestleMania in 1985.

In 1986, Rose returned to Minneapolis, and while competing anew in the AWA, he and his tag team partner Pretty Boy Doug Somers had an intense rivalry against the young, upstart team of Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty, then known as The Midnight Rockers.

Rose returned for another stint in WWE rings in 1990, and gained even more notoriety by humorously promoting a product known as the "Blow Away Diet." Despite being 317 pounds at that time, Rose would correct the ring announcer on his weight, adamantly saying that he was a "slim, trim 217 pounds."

"Playboy" Buddy Rose was one of the most unique and entertaining characters ever to compete in sports-entertainment.

2019 WWE Hall of Fame

S.D. Jones
S.D. "Special Delivery" Jones was arguably one of WWE's unsung heroes throughout his nearly 20-year career in entertainment.

Although Jones never attained elite Superstar status during his WWE tenure, no one could deny his unparalleled passion, dedication and efforts inside the squared circle. From WWE Legends to top performers, many have cited S.D. as one of their toughest opponents — and a victory over the native Antiguan was no easy feat. A WWE Superstar truly earned their stripes if they were able to score a win over this popular performer.

Included among Jones' more memorable career highlights was his tag team partnership with Tony Atlas, during which the two challenged Mr. Fuji & Mr. Saito for the World Tag Team Championship several times in 1981. In 2006, Jones would pair once more with Atlas — with the honor of inducting his friend into the WWE Hall of Fame.

S.D. Jones, who could truly be considered a "special delivery" to wrestling fans and peers alike, passed away on Oct. 26, 2008 at the age of 63.

2019 WWE Hall of Fame

Wahoo McDaniel
Whether in the ring or on the gridiron, few athletes have ever matched the sheer toughness of “Chief” Wahoo McDaniel. The Native American Superstar, a proud member of the Choctaw-Chickasaw tribe, lettered in football and wrestling at the University of Oklahoma before turning pro in the American Football League. Notorious for his bruising tackles, he played for teams like the Denver Broncos, New York Jets and Miami Dolphins throughout the ’60s and wrestled during the offseason. His popularity in both sports made him a star attraction wherever he went.

Eventually forgoing football in favor of a full-time wrestling career that lasted until 1989, McDaniel became a top rival of WWE Hall of Famers such as Ric Flair, Harley Race and the Funk brothers. His battles with Johnny Valentine were famous for their ferocity, although Valentine was far from the only wrestler whose chest was pummeled into hamburger meat by the Chief’s knife-edge chops. McDaniel’s name will live on in history books, as well as fans’ memories, thanks to his many accolades, which include five reigns as NWA United States Champion.

Professor Toru Tanaka

Professor Toru Tanaka

Professor Toru Tanaka
Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, Professor Toru Tanaka began competing in professional wrestling in 1967. A former Judo instructor, he used every bit of his knowledge of martial arts in the squared circle.

Competing as both a singles and tag team competitor, the no-nonsense Tanaka held many titles in his time, including four Tag Team Championships in what is now WWE, three of them with perhaps his most famous partner-in-crime, Mr. Fuji.

Once characterized as a “ring general, who’d lead everyone else in the match” by former manager, the late, great WWE Hall of Famer Freddie Blassie, Tanaka was always regarded as good-natured and professional, despite the fact that his in-ring persona was notorious for throwing salt into his adversaries’ eyes.

In addition to wrestling, Tanaka served in the United States Army for over 10 years, where he rose to the rank of sergeant and used his tremendous athletic ability in many ways, including as a professional boxer and as a college football player.

Tanaka also made the jump to Hollywood, where he tended to play a slew of seemingly unstoppable henchman and acted in films alongside such action greats as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chuck Norris and yes, even Pee-wee Herman. He even appeared in the David Lee Roth music video for “Just a Gigolo” in the 1980s.

Jim Barnett

Jim Barnett

Jim Barnett
Coming from humble beginnings as an employee at Fred Kohler’s “Wrestling as You Like It” magazine in Chicago in 1949, Jim Barnett was just six short years away from joining Kohler as part-owner of the National Wrestling Alliance.

But serving as part-owner of the now-legendary wrestling promotion was just the start of Barnett’s decorated, six-decade tenure in sports-entertainment, as he also joined forces with promoter Johnny Doyle to run wrestling shows in cities such as Detroit, Los Angeles and Denver, became the owner of Australia’s World Championship Wrestling and presented several shows inside Sydney Stadium, and helped Georgia Championship Wrestling become the first NWA promotion to be broadcast nationally before selling the promotion to Vince McMahon in 1984.

After doing so, Barnett immediately joined WWE, where he served as a vice president until 1987. He also enjoyed stints with Jim Crockett Promotions and WCW before returning to WWE as a consultant in 2002.

Barnett held a master’s degree in business and was known for paying wrestlers generously, was well-liked by those who wrestled for him and has been renowned for creating the studio wrestling show. The Oklahoma City native has also been credited with playing a major role in the first three WrestleManias and is recognized as one of wrestling’s most influential figures over his storied career.

Barnett now takes his place with the legends of sports-entertainment as part of the Legacy WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2019.

Primo Carnera

Primo Carnera

Primo Carnera
It might be difficult to believe that someone with a career boxing record of 89-14 hadn’t yet peaked inside the squared circle, but that was indeed the case for Primo Carnera, a deadly boxer turned nearly unbeatable pro wrestler who put on a show every time he stepped between the ropes.

Apparently, knocking out 72 opponents inside the boxing ring wasn’t enough for the towering 275-pound athlete, who retired from the sport in 1946, brought his nasty edge to sports-entertainment and immediately started running roughshod over his fellow grapplers, going 119-0-1 before finally tasting defeat.

Carnera, who was one of the top draws in wrestling for several years and highly coveted by promoters, claimed what was arguably his most impressive victory in December of 1947 when the Italy native bested former world heavyweight champion Ed “Strangler” Lewis. Never one to shy away from the bright lights, Carnera turned in some of his most unforgettable boxing and wrestling performances inside a packed house at Madison Square Garden.

In addition to pummeling opponents in the wrestling and boxing rings, Carnera also tried his hand at acting, playing a fictional version of himself in the 1933 film, “The Prizefighter and the Lady,” getting a role in 1949’s “Mighty Joe Young,” and also appearing in several Italian films, including “Prince Valiant” in 1954.

Carnera was also inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990, and “The Ambling Alp” will be forever enshrined in WWE lore as a member of the Legacy WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2019.

2019 WWE Hall of Fame

Hisashi Shinma
Hisashi Shinma was known as the on-show President of WWE in the late 1970s and early 1980s, preceding the administration of Jack Tunney.

Behind the scenes, however, he was known as a master booker. Assisting Antonio Inoki in bringing the legendary New Japan Pro Wrestling to prominence, he is credited with, among other things, giving Satoru Sayama the Tiger Mask gimmick.

As he worked his magic, Shinma eventually developed a relationship with Vincent J. McMahon, father of WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, and served a crucial role when he helped negotiate a talent-sharing arrangement between New Japan and WWE that helped many talented competitors and launched Tatsumi Fujinami as an international Superstar.

Joseph Cohen

Joseph Cohen

Joe Cohen
Joe Cohen was instrumental in the creation of what we now know as the WWE Universe.  A multi-media mogul – as well as a sports and entertainment visionary for over forty years, Mr. Cohen was the driving force behind the creation of the Madison Square Garden Network and the USA Network. Joe Cohen believed in the potential of WWE programming and helped build partnerships that launched Sports Entertainment programming into the mainstream.