Coming off the back of an extremely impressive Hall of Fame class, I’d like to discuss an interesting concept. At the Oscars they honour everyone from the main star, to the supporting performers, to the costume people. Have you ever wondered why that happens so rarely in the WWE? I have. With the exception of legendary announcers Jim Ross, Howard Finkel, Jerry Lawler and Gene Okerlund, I’m struggling to think of any occasions when a Hall of Fame class has included anyone other than wrestlers, or sometimes managers. I’m not saying that this is a terrible problem. I just feel that there are some guys who occupy other roles in the business who deserve recognition for their contributions.
I’m not saying we need to be inducting every Tom, Dick or Referee, but there are a select few people who could make interesting additions to a class. It could add a little bit of spice to things, and if it’s a particularly memorable person it could be a real treat the fans. I’ve had a little think and listed a few people, who for different reasons could be (in my opinion) solid candidates for a place in the Hall of Fame. They all have one thing in common and that is that they have (and in most cases still do) serve the WWE. I’m a firm believer that every little thing can make a difference to the product, and all of the roles that these men play or have played are vitally important and under-celebrated.
We all heard the chants break out on that legendary episode of Raw the night after Wrestlemania. It got me thinking. Referees play such an important role in the story of wrestling. They can be influenced, hurt or sometimes even bribed. A lot of compelling storylines and matches have been heavily influenced by the man in stripes. Perhaps Earl Hebner is the most instantly recognisable name when it comes to referees over the past couple of decades, but a close second would be Mike Chioda.
He has been active in the company for over twenty years and (unlike Hebner) is now a senior official in the WWE, taking part in the biggest matches alongside some of the biggest stars in the business. When you see someone on your screen every week and hear a name for so long, you get a bit attached to that person. I’ve seen Mike take charge of some incredible matches now since I was a kid, and I think a lot of people have a soft spot for the guy. I think he would be cheered a lot more than Donald Trump if he went out on that stage and got recognised for his achievements.
Now this man should maybe go into the Hall of Fame on the back of both of his roles in the company. He had a solid career in WCW and WWE as one of the most exciting cruiserweights in the history of the business. He took out many a star name with his shooting star press and inspired a lot of the acrobatics you can see these days from the likes of Tyson Kidd and Evan Bourne. These days you can find him in Gorilla Position talking control of Monday Night Raw in his new role as Producer.
He has been doing this since 2010 and I hope he will still be there doing his thing ten years from now. There may be more notable producers in WWE that I am unaware of. This goes for them too. The men and women who make live programming tick and keep us getting three hours of top quality television every week should be recognised because their input is surely invaluable. I just think that Kidman could be a good figurehead for their role. His place in the Hall of Fame would be a nod to all of those guys, if it was presented properly and respectfully.
Jim Johnston has acted as the composer for WWE for over twenty five years. He has composer and produced music for all the different elements of music. Theme music for every wrestler, theme music for the shows, content for video games, movies, and online. You name it, he did it, and still does. I recently saw somewhere online the idea of inducting this man into the Hall of Fame one day, and I think it would be a great idea.
The contribution that he has made to the WWE in the last quarter of a century is indescribable. All the memorable and iconic theme songs he created for superstars like The Undertaker, Steve Austin and everyone else you can think of. All of the other work he has done to enhance the product. Over the last few weeks, his impact couldn’t be more evident. The theme music he devised and created for the character of Fandango has taken social media by storm, and the iTunes release looks set to help make another addition to the millions of records sold under his name. He should surely be considered important enough for the Hall of Fame. If Koko B. Ware can go in, then Jim Johnston definitely can!
As a writer, I may be a little biased on this, but I think it’s a fair point. Despite the controversy they sometimes create and despite the fact that you may not agree with everything they do, writers play a pivotal role in keeping the product enthralling, They create intrigue, suspense and connections between fans and characters. Without their creativity, wrestling would be a lot more dull.
I’m a big believer in improvisation and letting the guys go out there and experiment, but I’m an even bigger fan of structure and sense. Everyone and their Mum thinks they can book, and wishes they were in the creative team, but very few take into account how difficult it would be to write hours of television for multiple separate weekly shows and monthly PPVs. For all of this hard work, some of the most important writers and creative personnel should be properly recognised.
Maybe this one is a bit out there, but it could be a cool way to mix things up a bit. A particular crowd attendance from an especially memorable event, or an arena which has played host to some of the most famous matches in history would be a good addition to the Hall of Fame, I don’t really expect this one to ever happen but it would be cool.
Which wildcard inductees would you honour in the WWE Hall of Fame? Leave a comment and let me know what you think!
Thanks for reading.