Every day from March 1 until WWE Wrestlemania 33 on April 2, Fightful will be bringing you the Countdown To WWE Wrestlemania 33. Each day, you will be getting a top 10 list or an event preview or statistics/figures from past ‘Mania events and everything in between.
In today’s column, we will be looking at my WWE 2017 Hall Of Fame Class Memories. I will be giving brief personal memories of each person being inducted into the 2017 WWE Hall Of Fame class.
Eric LeGrand (Warrior Award Winner), being inducted by Dana Warrior
The Warrior Award is quickly becoming one of my favorite parts of the WWE Hall Of Fame each year and this year is no different. Eric LeGrand, who was paralyzed from the neck down after getting hit during a Rutgers University football game, is a worthy recipient of the award. I am a Michigan Wolverines fan, not a Rutgers Scarlett Knights fan, so I do not recall LeGrand’s playing days.
However, while I have not seen LeGrand play much, what he has done following his injury and paralysis is something worth admiring. Also, if you have not checked out his autobiography, I would recommend checking it out because it’s worth your time to read.
Diamond Dallas Page, being inducted by Eric Bischoff
When WCW was becoming a truly painful thing to watch each week, one of the highlights was usually a good to great match from DDP. All you have to do is check out the series of matches DDP had with the late “Macho Man” Randy Savage to see how good DDP is. That’s not to say that everything DDP was involved in was pure gold, because he was involved in some crap as well, including defending then wife Kimberly from having to wrestle by taking out her opponents with Diamond Cutters.
DDP had a few great runs with the WCW World Title as well and he had a classic match with Bret Hart at a WCW World War 3 pay-per-view. Although his run with the WWE didn’t work out the way anybody hoped it would--just remember him losing clean to The Undertaker’s wife--DDP probably made his biggest impact in the sport after he retired, as he helped save the life of Jake “The Snake” Roberts and Scott Hall through a rehabilitation process he put together, with some DDP Yoga thrown in as well.
Teddy Long, being inducted by the APA
Teddy Long has done it all in the pro wrestling world, from being a backstage assistant to being a referee to being a manager to being a general manager to even stepping into the ring a few times. There are a lot of African American personalities in the pro wrestling world that have made a great impact, but Long’s impact may be close to the top. The first time I took notice of Long was during the time he managed Doom (Butch Reed & Ron Simmons) against the Steiner Brothers and the Four Horseman.
Also, out of all the general managers on Raw, Smackdown or any other promotion, I personally consider Long to be the greatest of them all. Long did step into the ring as a wrestler a few times, but there really isn’t much memorable stuff to remember there. Long still has a great mind for the business and I would be shocked if he doesn’t pop up in a backstage role somewhere down the line.
Beth Phoenix, being inducted by Natalya
In an era of women’s wrestling where big breasts and bad wrestling ruled the day, Beth Phoenix got into the squared circle and showed what a talented female wrestler could do. Which is amazing when you think about it, especially after she broke her jaw in her first ever WWE match against Victoria. Phoenix is one of the few women who competed during that terrible time immediately preceding the Women's Revolution that can would have belonged today.
Phoenix had great matches with women who didn’t know a headlock from a wrist watch, because outside of a small group of women (Mickie James, Melina & Natalya) at the time, great female matches were few and far between. Phoenix also left the business before her time was up and she was too hurt to live a quality post-wrestling life, she could probably come back now and be one of the best competitors on the roster. Phoenix now joins her husband Edge as the only married couple to be inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame.