During his career, he worked as Bolo Mongol, Demolition Axe and as Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame Class of 2014 inductee The Masked Superstar, but during the induction banquet, it was all Bill Eadie.
Unlike others in attendance who were in their “gimmick” — Ray Apollo was in Doink the Clown paint, The Destroyer and Mr. Wrestling II had their masks on, and even Johnny Mantell had his requisite cowboy hat on — Eadie did not pretend it was 20 years ago.
Instead, his speech was from the heart and was truly a fitting conclusion to the 13th induction ceremony.
Eadie was introduced by Ray Apollo.
“You couldn’t get a better guy,” began Doink the Clown. “Two things about him: It was never a night off when you had to get into the ring and wrestle against him; you were either going to work really hard or he’s going to beat the hell out of you. But, you were guaranteed to have if not the best, then one of the best matches of the night. You worked hard every time, there was no laying back with him, whether 50 people or 50,000 in the audience.”
Apollo added that Eadie was a “man’s man” who “always had your back.”
“I’ve been on every continent I think there is with him, and I wish I could do it one more time, Billy.”
Dressed in a dark suit, Eadie was appropriately more teacher than performer, fitting given his current profession: working with at-risk youths and Inner Harbour, a non-profit facility that treats troubled kids for a return to mainstream society.
“Like Don [Fargo], I thought this was a rib when I got the notice,” he began.
“First thing I want to do is to apologize to anybody who was in the ring with me. I was told to [hit hard] by the promoters. I took lessons from Stan [Hansen]. But you never get into this wrestling business with the idea that you’re going to be standing here. Wrestling has always been very popular, and it’s probably even more popular. Millions of people around the world watch wrestling. I was fortunate enough to go all over the world. I went to places that people pay thousands of dollars to go to, and I got paid to go because of this business. Millions of people wanted to do what very few of us got to do. This is a close-knit fraternity, guys and girls as well. When you first get into the wrestling business, all you want to do is get that first match. Then you want to work on a regular basis. Then you want to work important matches and move up the card and hopefully get to the main event. Being inducted into the Hall of Fame is the main event.
“I want to thank Tony, and all the members of the committee. It’s humbling. I never thought I’d be here. I’m proud to be here. But there’s a lot of people, you can’t get any success in this business without help. And it’s not corny, it’s not a cliché, but the fans that are here, you’re a part of this business. Without you, there’s no drive for us. You’re important. Without you, we can’t make a living. And you know more about us than we do. If I forgot things, some good fan is going to tell me something. I’ll say, ‘My God, I didn’t remember that.’ It’s very humbling to see that I made an impression, he made an impression, we all made an impression on your life and it was important to remember.
“I’ve got some good mentors. I’ve got some terrific friends I’ve made. It’s funny, you sit, because you haven’t seen guys in 10, 15, 20 years, and it’s just like yesterday. That’s amazing.
“Guys that gave me instruction, Geeto Mongol, George Scott. I was young and green and wasn’t well-versed in this business … George Scott was the booker, and he gave me the character Masked Superstar. ‘I’d better latch onto it, because I want to make some money.’ Boris Malenko. Tag team partners. Opponents. Referees … People behind the camera. People setting up the ring. They’re all involved in your production. You can’t do it by yourself.
“I went to the Hall of Fame last night. Tony [Vellano] was nice enough to open it for us. I was here a couple of years ago — I thought it was a couple of years ago, but it was 2003. My God, it’s grown. My daughter and son-in-law were with me. I was looking at the pictures, the articles, and it brought back so many good memories.
“I was fortunate in this business because I worked with a lot of great guys. I started off with Geeto Mongol. I was working in main events and I shouldn’t have been in those main events. I beat up a lot of people, I’ll attest to that. But they stuck with me. I’ve had a lot of good mentors, like I said. And I’ve had a lot of good tag team partners.
“This is a bittersweet. It’s very sweet because I’m getting inducted into the Hall of Fame. Today, my grandson graduated from high school, so my wife was torn about coming, so my daughter and son-in-law came. But they’re here in spirit.
“I’ve had a lot of good partners. Scott Irwin. Most recently was Barry Darsow. And I know I’m forgetting a lot of people. Please forgive me. But I’ll say that the best tag team partner that I had was my wife. She sacrificed when I was on the road. I was seeing things, experiencing things, and she was taking care of my daughters. She did a good job.
“I want to thank everybody, thank the committee. I looked the website a number of times and I took JJ [Dillon]’s advice. This means a lot because it’s not a sideshow, it’s not garnering money, it’s not what can this guy do, what can that guy do. It’s the guys and the girls in the business saying, ‘You’re pretty damn good.’
“I closing, I want to reference the Hall of Fame, the award, the recognition, one guy that everybody knows — Forrest Gump — and say, ‘I like it, I like it a lot.'”