A big part of WrestleMania weekend is the Hall of Fame induction ceremony. While its legitimacy has been questioned in the past thanks to some dubious names having been inducted, it’s hard to argue that this year’s first-announced inductee – The Undertaker – doesn’t truly deserve the honor. The same can be said for the second member of the 2022 class, Big Van Vader, whose induction was announced this past week.

With other names rumored to be going in, such as Sid Vicious, and more names expected to be confirmed between now and the ceremony – which will take place immediately after Friday night’s Smackdown on the eve of WrestleMania – we thought we’d pick some other members to round out this year’s class of inductees.

For our picks, we chose a member in each of the following categories: Male wrestler, Female wrestler, and Tag Team or Faction, and a Celebrity Wing inductee. We didn’t take a stab at predicting who should win the Warrior Award, since that has mainly gone to outsiders and non-TV personalities.

Here are our picks:

Male Wrestler

A couple of our writers were prescient in picking Vader (these picks were made before he was confirmed) and one also picked Sid who is heavily-rumored to be the next one. In picking the Mastadon, Matt Bishop felt that the choice was simple. “This pick is as easy as it comes. Vader was such a dominant force in the 1990s that it’s a farce he’s not in.”  Jason Clevett noted that the timing of Vader’s induction is unfortunate. ” The fact that Vader was in ill health, actively tweeted that he wanted to be in before he died, and wasn’t inducted is a tragedy.”

Jonathan Schwartz, meanwhile, was ahead of the internet speculation in picking Sid Vicious. Other choices came from across the spectrum of current talent to various Legends, both active and retired.

Sid might have to miss a softball game to go into the WWE Hall of Fame.

Name Pick Comments
Greg Oliver – Producer Ivan Koloff We have ranted in the past about Ivan Koloff not being in, and will do so again now.
Matthew Byer – Senior Reporter Goldust This is probably unlikely since he is still with AEW, but he certainly should be included.
John Powell – Editor-in-Chief Rey Mysterio He is a living legend, changed professional wrestling as a whole and inspired generations of wrestlers and fans alike.
Jason Clevett – Contributor Vader He deserves to be in the Hall for his WCW work alone, never mind being a headliner in WWE and his work in Japan.
Matt Bishop – Senior Reporter Vader He could do it all. Yes, his WWF run was lackluster, but everything he accomplished before (and after!) makes him a surefire pick.
Jonathan Schwartz – Contributor Sid Vicious
Bob Kapur – Senior Editor Rick Martel, Lex Luger Unless there is some bad blood between these two and WWE of which I’m not aware, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be inducted. Beyond their great WWE runs, their accomplishments elsewhere (Luger in NWA/WCW and Martel in AWA) are definitely HoF-worthy.


Female Wrestler

Although she was posthumously inducted as part of the D-X faction, a couple of our writers make the case that the “Ninth Wonder of the World” Chyna should be in the WWE Hall of Fame as a singles star as well. It’s hard to argue that her accomplishments in the ring don’t warrant it, as she was indeed a pioneer. During the Attitude Era, Chyna was able to break barriers, becoming the first woman to compete in a Royal Rumble, and also to win a men’s title, earning the Intercontinental Championship at one point.

Chyna should stand alone.

Surprisingly, Sable was only chosen by one of our staffers. While her in-ring skills may have been marginal at best, she certainly had other ample assets to offer, and those helped her become another game-changing pillar of the Attitude Era. As the wife of current WWE Champion Brock Lesnar, she still has familial ties to the company, and that could help her cause.

Name Pick Comments
Greg Oliver – Producer Leilani Kai Not only was she on WrestleManias a decade apart (including the first one!), she is among the best and most respected female wrestlers ever.
Matthew Byer – Senior Reporter Victoria She should have been inducted years ago.
John Powell – Editor-in-Chief Chyna Back in the day she broke the mold, preconceptions and set a new standard for what female talent could accomplish and do in the wrestling business. Without her there would be no Beth Phoenix, no Nicole Bass, etc.
Jason Clevett – Contributor Sable As much of a problem as she may have been backstage, there is no denying the impact Sable had on the business.
Matt Bishop – Senior Reporter Chyna
Jonathan Schwartz – Contributor Vickie Guerrero
Bob Kapur – Senior Editor Elizabeth Okay, technically she wasn’t a wrestler. But she was indeed the “First Lady of Wrestling.” She was instrumental in Randy “Macho Man” Savage’s career and was part of some of the most memorable moments of the 1980s heydays.


Tag Team / Faction

While WWE isn’t necessarily focused on tag teams anymore, there are plenty of teams from yesteryear that surely deserve recognition.

Slam’s Producer Greg Oliver is also our in-house historian, so no wonder he went way back for his pick, the Kangaroos. Even if WWE wants to save the TV time to induct more modern tag teams, Oliver suggests they could easily be included in the Legacy Wing; those inductions are generally made without much fanfare on the WWE Hall of Fame telecast, but even perfunctory recognition is better than anything.

A few others want to see Demolition – arguably one of WWE’s best ever creations (or copies, for those who consider them the Road Warriors Lite) – march onto the HOF stage to their rocking theme song. It’s something to say about their legacy, noted Matthew Byer, that their record for lengthiest championship reign lasted for nearly 30 years. Jason Clevett agrees, and especially would like to see them get the chance to accept the honor in person, as opposed to waiting until they can only be inducted posthumously like Vader. This assumes, of course, that the induction would include only the best-known pairing of Bill “Ax” Eadie and Barry “Smash” Darsow; since original Smash portrayer Randy “Moondox Rex” Colley and third member Brian “Crush” Adams have now passed away.

Make room for the Smash and the Ax!

Name Pick Comments
Greg Oliver – Producer The Kangaroos The Number One tag team of all time in our book, The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Tag Teams, are not in the Legacy Wing. Start there.
Matthew Byer – Senior Reporter Demolition A great tag team, and until The New Day (beat their record), held the longest WWE Tag Team Championship reign.
John Powell – Editor-in-Chief Demolition Not only are they one of my personal favorites of all-time but they both had equally successful solo careers before and after Demolition.
Jason Clevett – Contributor Demolition My favorite tag team as a kid. I really want to see people have the opportunity to be inducted and share speeches while they are alive. One of the top teams of the 1980s should be in the Hall.
Matt Bishop – Senior Reporter The Steiner Brothers A total powerhouse tag team that was as intimidating as they come. They were tag team champs everywhere they went, and Scott broke out to become a multi-time world champion.
Jonathan Schwartz – Contributor The Steiner Brothers
Bob Kapur – Senior Editor The US Express (Barry Windham and Mike Rotunda) One of the most popular tag teams in the early 1980s, they were “real Americans” before Hulk Hogan was. Inducting them would also recognize their stellar individual careers (Windham was inducted as part of the Four Horsemen faction). The fact that Rotunda has no Hall of Fame ring yet is inconceivable.


Celebrity Wing Inductee

Ah yes, the most controversial category of them all. The Celebrity Wing is often derided as being no more than a tool to attract mainstream media coverage of WrestleMania by entertainment outlets that would not do so otherwise. And certainly there is a bit of that involved. But that over-simplifies the situation, as it ignores the fact that some celebrities have made bona-fide significant history with their involvement in WWE, like Mr. T – without whose participation at WrestleMania would likely mean that WWE wouldn’t exist today.

Along with T, another star who should be credited for the success of WrestleMania is Cyndi Lauper, according to a few of our staff. Indeed, it was Lauper who was the “rock” foundation upon which the “Rock ‘n’ Wrestling Connection” was built. As Jason Clevett noted, she is the “last main player in the first WrestleMania to not be inducted.” WWE dropped the ball, by having Lauper appear on an episode of RAW in 2012, only to put her in an embarrassing best-forgotten-about skit with Heath Slater in which she and her legacy were bashed and belittled. Surely she wants to have more fun than that – and an induction would do the trick.

“Hey Albano, why are you in the WWE Hall of Fame, and I’m not?”

Another frequent pick was comedian Andy Kaufman, whose feud with Jerry “The King” Lawler was simply brilliant – and elevated the careers and legends of both men. The fact that they were able to protect the secret of their “work” from the general public for decades is perhaps even more impressive – and unlikely to ever be repeated.

Name Pick Comments
Greg Oliver – Producer Andy Kaufman Exhibit A when showing how celebrity crossovers can be magic.
Matthew Byer – Senior Reporter Dennis Rodman Rodman made a huge difference during the Monday Night Wars and his impact can’t be understated
John Powell – Editor-in-Chief Andy Kaufman His kayfabe rivalry with Jerry Lawler is the stuff of legend.
Jason Clevett – Contributor Cyndi Lauper WWF absolutely benefitted from her association with the company. Long before Snoop Dogg and Kid Rock were inducted, Cyndi should have been.
Matt Bishop – Senior Reporter Cyndi Lauper Duh.
Jonathan Schwartz – Contributor Andy Kaufman, Regis Philbin
Bob Kapur – Senior Editor Muhammad Ali Inspired by a wrestler himself to become a personality in addition to an athlete, Ali in turn inspired countless other wrestlers – including no less than Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. As if that wasn’t enough, his confrontation with Gorilla Monsoon was epic, and he was the guest ref at WrestleMania. Sure his match with Inoki was a bust. But if William Shatner can go in despite his acting, then Ali is a no-brainer.



Name Pick Comments
Matt Bishop Jim Johnston (Theme song composer) His contributions to WWE for decades defined the company, its television presentation and helped make the wrestlers larger than life.
Bob Kapur – Senior Editor “Dangerous” Danny Davis There are no referees in the WWE Hall of Fame yet. Earl Hebner might be the more appropriate choice given that he was instrumental in so many big moments and matches, including the Montreal Screwjob. But Davis’ run as a corrupt referee came first. And in determining HOF inductees, things aren’t always so black and white.


An alternative viewpoint

While we’ve presented a number of names for consideration, SlamWrestling Contributer Alex Podgorski feels that none of them should be inducted this year, arguing that The Undertaker should be the sole inductee in 2022.

“The only other WWE superstar to get an induction all to themselves was Andre the Giant back in 1993. And as good as Andre was, WWE itself have since gone on to say that the Undertaker is the greatest big man in WWE history. That makes Undertaker ‘bigger than Andre,’ so it stands to reason that Undertaker, at the very least, deserves equal treatment to Andre,” he theorizes.

In addition, he feels that the very stature of The Undertaker (and that of his inductor, Vince McMahon) will likely overshadow anyone else. With the ceremony taking place immediately after a two-hour Smackdown show, any other inductions will likely feel underwhelming – and may not be particularly welcomed by the live crowd.

“You’ll have an entire venue of impatient fans sitting there waiting for Undertaker to make his big appearance. Having a bunch of ‘undercarders’ beneath The Undertaker will do those people no favors. They deserve fans’ undivided attention… which they’re not likely to get. The Undertaker is THE ultimate wrestling attraction. Let him have one long ceremony all to himself to really soak in the reality of what he has earned and what his career has led to.”

The Undertaker is destined for the WWE Hall of Fame.


Top photo: A WWE Hall of Fame ring. WWE.com