The Biggest Omissions From The WWE Hall Of Fame, Ranked
Historically, the start of WWE dates back to the 1950s, and the institution that we know as the World Wrestling Entertainment corporation delights millions of fans each year with its over-the-top antics and larger-than-life personalities showing up on the mat.
WWE has promoted some of the most successful wrestlers and their stories throughout history, although many have contributed to the world of wrestling that have gone virtually unnoticed. With a significant Hall of Fame ceremony coming up on April 1st, we need to remember those who have been left out of the mix, and rally support for putting them where they deserve recognition.
#25 – Scott and Rick Steiner
Who says wrestling can’t be a family affair? Amateur wrestling record-setter Rick Steiner recruited his brother Scott to form one of the most successful tag teams in wrestling history. Rick honed his skills as a single before mentoring his brother as they rose to WWE infamy.
During their time in the ring, the Steiner Brothers acquired WCW Tag Team Titles seven times and the United States Tag Team Title once, returning to WCW in 1996 and battling Harlem Heat and The Outsiders for WCW Tag Team gold. Sadly, Scott turned on Rick during their ascent, choosing to join the NWO.
#24 – Earthquake (John Tenta)
John Tenta, otherwise known as “The Earthquake”, was a professional sumo wrestler before he even began his career with WWE. He earned the attention of execs after squashing Ultimate Warrior and joining forces with Dino Bravo and Jimmy Hart.
Squashing nearly every competitor the organization threw at him, the 500-pound giant set his sights on Hulk Hogan. He did crush Hogan’s ribs during an episode of The Brother Love Show, nearly defeating the Hulkster at SummerSlam in 1990.
#23 – Nancy Benoit* new image
Nancy Benoit was an American professional wrestling model and manager. She rose to fame in the 90s, making appearances with Extreme Championship Wrestling and World Championship Wrestling under the guise, “Woman” and “Fallen Angel”.
Benoit worked with wrestling greats such as Rick Steiner, Doom, and the Four Horsemen. It was during her association with The Four Horsemen that she met and began an “in-ring” affair that turned into a real-life relationship with Chris Benoit. The two had plenty of drama to present to wrestling fans until their untimely death in 2007, which is still shrouded in mystery.
Today’s WWE woman owes Sable a debt of gratitude. The trailblazer defined what it meant to embrace sex appeal and sheer grit inside the WWE ring. Sable debuted in 1996, accompanying Triple H to the ring at WrestleMania XII.
Sable was married to The Wildman, and after he was benched due to a knee injury in 1997, she took center stage, becoming much more popular than her husband. Sable went on to win the Women’s Championship at the Survivor Series in 1998.
#21 – Mickie James
Mickie James may look and act like the peppy and vivacious cheerleader next door, but getting into the WWE ring with her was another thing entirely. This dangerous pint-sized package has taken down competitors twice her size.
James spent years honing her skills in and out of the ring, intent on becoming one of the greatest female wrestlers in history. She’s done battle with the likes of Lita, Trish Stratus, Gail Kim, and Alicia Fox, using innovative and legendary moves to capture six Women’s Championships.
#20 – Bull Nakano
Fitting into the snug and tiny costumes of other female WWE competitors would not have suited Bull Nakano. Her warrior stature and demeanor have left several lasting scars on her adversaries, and her reputation for being a formidable female force precedes her.
She debuted as a competitor in the All-Japan Women’s Pro-Wrestling competition when only a teenager, terrorizing Alundra Blayze in 1994. Doing some damage to WWE personnel as well, she established herself as a cold-hearted villain who could double as a scream queen.
#19 – Brian Pillman
Brian Pillman had aspirations of becoming a football star before he made his way into the world of wrestling. Partnering with Stu Hart, he felt he had found his calling. His career began in Stampede Wrestling, where he honed his skills and earned two tag team championships before joining WCW.
Pillman’s unique spin on ring antics included some incredible aerial talent that hadn’t previously been seen or experienced by competitors. His out-of-the-ring antics were equally as volatile as his championship behavior, leading to his untimely death in 1997.
#18 -Michelle McCool
Michelle McCool was first introduced to the world of WWE as a contestant in the 2004 Diva Search. Although she didn’t win the competition, she earned the attention of execs who called her back to SmackDown later that year.
Although she got a slow start in the ring, she battled her way straight to the top of the Division, taking a 2008 title of Divas Champion and defeating Natalya. This taste of victory made her so hungry for more, she resorted to fighting dirty to stay at the top, and fans sucked up the drama and resulting storyline that put her on the map.
#17 – Victoria (Lisa Marie Varon)
Victoria first debuted in 2002 at the Women’s Championship against reigning queen Trish Stratus, losing her first match against the power diva. While this would have set other competitors back, Victoria continued to target Stratus with reckless abandon, vowing to get her win.
After besting her adversary once and for all, she joined forces with partner-in-crime Stevie Richards. The crazy pair helped redefine the nature of women’s wrestling, transforming it from feminine and flashy to barbaric and filled with drama. Fans, of course, adored the change, and they continue to follow Victoria and her various pursuits to this day.
#16 — Terri Runnels
Terri Runnels began her career with WWE as a manager, being one of the first to use technology to predict a competitor’s skills. She became notorious upon partnering with WWE odd duck Goldust. No stranger to the ring herself, she debuted opposite The Bizarre One at the ’96 Royal Rumble and distracted the referee for the win.
Goldust couldn’t stand sharing the spotlight with his flame, so he kicked Runnels to the curb. She emerged meaner and stronger than ever, trading her manager persona for some serious attitude that lit up any ring she stepped into.
#15 – Chyna
Chyna is known affectionately in the wrestling world as “The Ninth Wonder Of The World”. Famous for her sculpted physique and her Amazonian feats of strength, she blazed a trail that few have followed in female WWE history.
While some female wrestlers are in it for the glitz and glamor, Chyna emerged ready to throw down. She served as bodyguard to several other competitors before taking center stage herself, breaking bodies and leaving devastated competitors in her wake.
#14 – Mabel
Nelson Frazier Jr, otherwise known as Mabel, was an American professional wrestler known for his over-the-top appearances with WWF and WWE in the 1990s and early 2000s. He began his professional career using the ring name Nelson Knight, one half of the team Harlem Knights with partner and fellow storyline character Bobby.
Knight’s entrance into the world of WWF and WWE resulted in him being branded as Mabel, and a new storyline ensued. Adopting a rough-and-tumble persona, Mabel branched out on his own to acquire titles at King Of The Ring and SummerSlam. He was awarded a championship belt for his unique and terrifying contributions to the sport.
#13 – Big Show
Paul Wright, otherwise known as Big Show, has a pending place in Hall of Fame history. The man formerly known as The Giant transformed himself into Big Show and took home several championship titles as a result of his newfound confidence.
Big Show’s intimidating frame and 64-inch chest was no picnic to come up against, so when he took home the WCW World Championship against Hulk Hogan, his place in the world of wrestling was firmly established. He went on to dominate the entire WWE roster, ripping through titles like no other.
15) #12–Chris Jericho* (need him a picture of him in his prime)
A wrestling fan from a very early age, Chris Jericho trained at Hart Brothers School of Wrestling, making his debut when he was just 19. Starting his career in the frigid rings of Canada, Jericho went on to perform across the globe, cutting his teeth on the competitors of the international wrestling scene.
He arrived on the WWE scene in 1999, debuting on Raw with a thrilling and slightly cocky arrival that gained him an instant following. Jericho reveled in all the attention, going on to earn an impressive six World Title Reigns and WWE’s first Undisputed Champion title.
#11 – Dean Malenko
Dean Malenko is known as The Iceman, particularly for his cold, calculating manner that drives adversaries crazy as they try to stare him down. He is known as one of the most technically gifted wrestlers to ever enter the ring.
Malenko is no stranger to the ring. He grew up around the sport, learning the game from his talented father. He refereed matches as a teen, picking up new techniques and tricks that eventually earned him a WCW and WWE contract in 1995.
As we head into the top ten–the cream of the crop, let’s take a look at those who had Hall of Fame love, as well as what they did on the mat to put themselves on the map. Here are recent inductees to WWE Hall of Fame in the past few years.
NWO (Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Sean Waltman) – Inducted 2020
The New World Order of wrestling is every bit as scandalous as the nWo movement that is currently shaping our global government today, being one of the pivotal moments in the history of the sport. This storyline changed Monday Night Wars to favor WCW.
With Hulk Hogan pulling a surprise betrayal of longtime friend Randy Savage, he branded the troublemaking faction the “New World Order” of wrestling. While many other members came and went, the original four that branded the storyline should be given credit for boosting ratings.
Bella Twins (Nikki and Brie Bella) – Inducted 2020
Nikki and Brie Bella sashayed into pro-wresting with their signing of a developmental contract in 2007. They made a name for themselves in promotion, doing their part to whip crowds into a frenzy before more notable names faced off in the ring.
A short year later, the twins were called upon to become main players of the women’s WWE division. They continued establishing a solid presence with the franchise until 2015, both winning several Divas Championship titles.
John Bradshaw Layfield – Inducted 2020
John Bradshaw Layfield first rose to prominence in the WWE franchise during the Attitude Era, taking on the name “Bradshaw” to distinguish himself from other family members. During that time, he became a three-time Tag Team Champion, setting himself up for some over-the-top antics that would make him world-renowned.
Rebranding himself as “JBL,” he portrayed himself as a brawling, bigmouthed Texan who insisted on breaking up fights as he drove into each arena in a limousine. His impressive 280-day WWE Championship title was a great way to go out soon before his retirement in 2009.
British Bulldog (Davey Boy Smith) – Inducted 2020
Davey Boy Smith began his long-shot career as a WWE superstar as a skinny lad in England, competing alongside his cousin, the Dynamite Kid. Smith defied the odds and soon developed his reputation as a formidable presence both in and out of the ring.
Trainer and promoter Stu Hart took both Smith and Dynamite under his tutelage, shaping them into the powerful WWE superstars that they are today. Smith’s return to WWE and his Intercontinental Championship win at SummerSlam ’92 should be enough to give him wrestling notoriety.
Justin “Thunder” Liger – Inducted 2020
Justin “Thunder” Liger is an innovative aerialist and undoubtedly one of the best-dressed competitors in the entire WWE clan. His unique combination of acrobatic skill and ability to best noted names like Brian Pillman gives him a certain superhuman quality.
With one-of-a-kind ring moves that put him on the map, Liger uses maneuvers like the Shooting Star Press to devastate competitors, making them beg for mercy. His top-rope grace and blunt-force martial arts strikes make him one of the most powerful competitors in the business.
Kane – Indcuted 2021
Standing a frightening 7 feet tall and weighing in at more than three bills, Kane is an abomination that seems to leap straight out of our worst nightmares. This red monster’s demented and dastardly deeds have included setting opponents on fire, hitting executives with tombstones, and following every demonic impulse that suits his fancy.
Appearances aside, Kane’s career has been comprised of some brutal conquests in the ring against the likes of The Undertaker, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and many others. Whether he dons a suit and hideous mask or a skull, his fiery desire to win is almost unequaled.
Rob Van Dam – Inducted 2021
Rob Van Dam, martial artist extraordinaire, first burst onto the ECW scene in 1996, making an impact that others have yet to emulate. His laidback personality caught many opponents off guard, as his speed, agility and fierce competitiveness took some surprising ring championships.
The duo of Van Dam and Sabu was legendary, accomplishing feats both inside and outside the ring that changed the sport forever. A stunning performance against The Eliminators at Cyberslam 1997 prove that Van Dam is a trailblazer.
Molly Holly – Inducted 2021
Molly Holly took center stage in the world of wrestling in 1997, gaining recognition as Miss Madness in WCW. After her run as one of Randy Savage’s valets, she re-emerged in WWE as Molly Holly, attaining almost instant notoriety.
Known in the wrestling world for a very public head shaving event at WrestleMania XX, Holly proved that her strength and stamina wasn’t attributed to her blonde locks. She joined forces with The Hurricane, and the duo have entertained fans ever since.
Eric Bischoff – Inducted 2021
Known well for his belief that “controversy creates cash”, Bischoff has used this philosophy to carve out a profitable career for himself in the world of wrestling. He is one of the powerful forces credited with bringing Hulk Hogan to the WCW company and launching Monday Nitro.
After WWE purchased the WCW in 2001, Bischoff continued his unique brand of roughshod leadership, choosing to divide his time between management behind the camera and onscreen antics with the rest of the WWE champions. His philosophy has worked well for him, setting up a franchise worth millions and priming many WWE stars for fame and fortune.
The Great Khali – Elected 2021
You have to look up to a guy like The Great Khali, whether you want to or not. This 7-foot, 347-pound behemoth stands out not just for his overwhelming size, but for being the first pioneer to carve out a place for himself in WWE after leaving his native India.
Khali’s intimidating physical prowess and fierce, fight-ready disposition establish him as a serious threat to any other member of the roster. He’s taken on other giants such as The Undertaker, Kane, Big Show, John Cena, and Shawn Michaels, earning the unique title of World Heavyweight Champion.
The top ten WWE champions who deserve to be recognized for their contributions to the sport may likely surprise you. Some of the biggest names in wrestling for decades have been forgotten, and they deserve to have their achievements recognized.
#10 – Owen Hart
Owen Hart is one of those loyal and legendary performers who literally gave heart and soul to the sport. Born into a wrestling family, he grew up cutting his teeth on eleven older siblings. He entered high school wrestling with dreams of making it a more profitable pursuit.
After traveling to Japan and touring with New Japan Pro-Wrestling, he earned the attention of WWF and WWE executives. Larger-than-life antics and a passion for winning turned him into a fan favorite. Sadly, Hart’s career was cut short after an entrance stunt went horribly wrong, resulting in his death at the Over The Edge pay-per-view event.
#9 – Vader
“It’s Vader Time” was the resounding cry of fans as this impressive competitor entered the WWE ring. Vader is a Rocky Mountain “mountain”, making a 450-pound dent in the rings of Japan where he proceeded to destroy WWE Hall of Famer Antonio Inoki.
Vader went on to debut in the 1996 Royal Rumble, teaming up with manager Jim Cornette. He battled Shawn Michaels, taking home the WWE Championship at SummerSlam. Soon growing disillusioned with the political side of WWE, Vader returned to Japanese wrestling and teamed up with foe Stan Hansen to destroy the competition.
#8 – Jerry Jarrett
Jerry Jarrett has long since retired from the professional wrestling scene, but his mark on the sport has been significant and long-reaching. Working as a promoter of wrestling events since age 14, he jumped into the ring via a referee uniform and literally learned the “ropes” by watching several matches.
Enjoying consistent success in the ring was not enough for Jarrett. He returned to promoting and consulting for several wrestling institutions, including WWF and WWE. He continued acting as a consultant and investor for these groups while slowly extricating himself from the culture and moving on to operate an international television company.
#7 – Giant Baba
Shohei Baba, otherwise known as Giant Baba, is a Japanese professional wrestler and promoter. He helped co-found All Japan Pro Wrestling along with Mitsuo Momota and Yoshihiro Momota, rising to wrestling fame via this institution.
Japan’s wrestling culture was very closely associated with WWF and WWE, and it wasn’t uncommon for fans to see an occasional match between Baba and famed American wrestlers. Baba’s health quickly deteriorated in the late 90s, and he eventually succumbed to colon cancer in 1999.
#6 – Demolition
With ultimate life goals like “pain” and “destruction”, it was inevitable that a character named Demolition would rise to WWE fame. Emerging complete with black leather and spikes, Demolition makes a strong impression on any opponent, using brute force to pound him into submission.
The Demolition duo consists of tag team Ax and Smash, who managed to capture numerous titles as they simultaneously pulverized their adversaries with sadistic fury. To date, no team has come close to leaving a wide swath of devastation in their wake like Demolition has.
#5 – Ivan Koloff
For every hero there is a villain, and no one was willing to play that part for WWE more enthusiastically than Ivan Koloff. His reign of terror began in the 70s and continued for over a decade, mirroring tensions in the ring that were felt during the Cold War era between the U.S. and Soviet Union.
Hanging up those hammer and sickle boots in the mid 90s, this Russian Bear took with him one of the most celebrated wrestling careers of all time. His reputation as a ring legend is still recognized, with loyal fans still citing his infamous Sammartino defeat.
#4 – The Dynamite Kid
Tom Billington, best known by his ring name, Dynamite Kid, was one half of a wrestling duo called the British Bulldogs. He knew from a very early age that a career in academia was not for him, as he gravitated naturally toward wrestling and gymnastics that helped him sculpt and strengthen his physique.
Making his career debut with WWF in 1984, The Dynamite Kid defeated Iron Mike Sharpe and Troy Alexander. He joined forces with Davey Boy Smith, and the two had a tumultuous career with WWE until clashes with Vince McMahon inspired the duo to move back to the Japanese circuit.
#3 – The Undertaker
The Undertaker has been terrorizing competitors and fans alike for nearly three decades. An imposing force while standing still, his debut at a 1990 Survivor Series was so impressive that he was moved straight to top billing, starring opposite Hulk Hogan and other fan favorites.
This multi-time World Heavyweight and WWE Champion, The Undertaker has the unique distinction of maintaining a winning streak of 21-0 against adversaries like Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Randy Orton, and numerous others. In The end, Brock Lesnar “took” The Undertaker and destroyed this unprecedented win.
#2 – The Rock
One of the most charismatic personalities in wrestling history, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson seemed destined for greatness since the day he was born. Son of WWE Hall of Famer Rocky Johnson, he demonstrated his natural talent with an Intercontinental Championship win within months of setting foot in the ring.
Effectively smacking around rivals like Triple H and “Stone Cold” Steven Austin, the Rock soon became the people’s favorite, and he used this exposure to carve out a unique space for himself in film and television. He remains one of the most successful crossover wrestlers/entertainers of all time.
#1 – Vince McMahon
Vince McMahon may not have personally bested anyone in the ring, but he can be credited for several creations that formed the foundation of the WWE enterprise. He evolved from a play-by-play announcer to promoter and eventual owner of the franchise.