WWE Hall of Fame inductees react to epic Madison Square
BY MIKE MCAVENNIE, BOBBY MELOK AND ZACH LINDER - 7th
Hall of Fame Wrestling
Square Garden New
YORK CITY On the night before WrestleMania
29, where legacy is a prevailing theme, Superstars
and Legends gathered in Madison Square Garden to watch
the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2013 cement their own.
WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony saw New York City
sports-entertainment legends Bruno Sammartino and
Bob Backlund come home, joined by Trish Stratus, Booker
T, Mick Foley and millionaire mogul Donald Trump.
visibly appreciative Sammartino was humbled by the
rousing standing ovation he received at nights
end, as well as the chance to once again main-event
inside the building that made him famous.
very grateful for the opportunity to appear in Madison
Square Garden one more time, he said. I
headlined this building more times than anyone in
history. To have the opportunity to come here one
more time at this stage of my life is a thrill that
will stay with me forever.
ceremonious evening kicked off with Mick Foley taking
his place in WWE history. The Hardcore Legend was
inducted by his close friend and former tag team partner,
WWE Hall of Famer Terry Funk.
of the 2013 WWE Hall of Fame Class
and I went down the road a lot when he first got into
the profession, Funk told WWE.com after his
speech. I know he feels the same way about it
as I do. He has a tremendous amount of respect for
the business, as I do. Thats our real connection.
Funk speak on Foley's induction
addressing the WWE Universe form the podium, Foley
took time to thank many of the important people in
his career , including his trainer, Dominic DeNucci,
Jim Ross and Jimmy Superfly Snuka, the
WWE Legend whose leap off
the top of a steel cage in MSG, no less
inspired him to become a future Hardcore Legend.
wrapping up his speech, Foley wanted to right one
wrong from his in-ring career: never defeating Chris
Jericho. Y2J obliged, climbing on stage and laying
down on the floor. Foley showed his appreciation by
dropping an elbow and covering Jericho, with the pin
counted by an intervening CM Punk. Then, when it appeared
all was said and done, Foley was surprised by Santa
and Mrs. Claus, who presented him with a flannel print
coat, just like Jolly Old Saint Nicks.
pins Jericho | The
Hardcore Legend speaks
Stratus then took the stage, introduced by WWE Executive
Vice President of Creative Stephanie McMahon. The
trailblazing Diva regaled the WWE Universe in attendance
with tales of her incredible journey from medical
student to fitness model to perhaps the greatest Diva
in WWE history. Her list of thank-yous was so long,
she had to bring a scroll.
reveals pregnancy | Classic
came the induction of six-time World Champion Booker
T. Introduced by his brother, Stevie Ray, it was an
emotional reunion for Harlem Heat, a team that held
WCWs tag team titles on 10 occasions. Stevie
Ray recalled how they endured a tough upbringing and
the passing of their father, and that developing a
bond over professional wrestling enabled the brothers
to embark on an incredible journey together.
never thought about the Hall of Fame, Stevie
Ray told WWE.com after his speech. I used to
tell him, no matter the job, do your best.
induction sealed with a Spinaroonie
Menounos then made her way into The Worlds Most
Famous Arena to present her close friend, the legendary
Bob Backlund. The former two-time WWE Champion then
brought the Garden down with a passionate speech.
When he was finished, he urged Mr. H
WWE COO Triple H onto the stage to do some
calisthenics. The Game politely declined Ive
got a big match tomorrow, he quipped, which
battles Billy Graham | Mr.
Backlund goes to the Hall
McMahon inducted his friend and rival, Donald Trump,
next and provided a quick refresher of the tycoons
long history with WWE, dating back to WrestleMania
IV in 1988.
told WWE.com afterward how excited he was to become
part of WWE and WrestleMania history once again, 25
years after he hosted the first of two consecutive
Show of Shows in Atlantic City.
IV photos | The
Show of Shows returns to Trump's house
been amazing, absolutely amazing, he said. Its
a great honor for me to be in the WWE Hall of Fame.
Its been just an amazing experience.
Donald also appreciated being inducted by Mr.
McMahon, six years removed from their epic involvement
in WrestleMania 23s Battle of the Billionaires
Match. The contest resulted in the WWE Chairman having
his precious pompadour shaved off
outcome, as Trump recalled, nearly cost him his own
would not have been a happy camper, Trump said
about the near hostile makeover he endured inside
Detroits Ford Field in 2007. Fortunately,
Bobby [Lashley] came
through, because I would not have been happy.
good mood quickly returned as he again expressed gratitude
for his Hall of Fame nod. This is one of the
greatest things for me, he expressed. Its
really a great honor.
close out the night, action movie star and former
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger presented
The Living Legend that sold out the Garden 187 times
during an illustrious career that was capped with
the longest WWE Championship reign in history at 4,040
days: Bruno Sammartino.
thanked the WWE Universe for their support and cheers
including those, he joked, who werent
even born when he first wrestled.
success Ive had, Sammartino summarized,
I owe it all to you.