Maria Menounos Addresses The Negative Reaction She Got At The WWE HOF Ceremony

Television personality Maria Menounos issued the following open letter regarding the negative crowd reaction she got while introducing Bob Backlund at the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony, as well as her full speech:

Dear fellow WWE fans and members of the wrestling press,

As you know, I had the honor of inducting my friend, Bob Backlund, into the WWE Hall of Fame. The fans were a little rough as another inductee and friend, Donald Trump, would likewise experience. It’s understandable as we are not pro wrestlers and the honesty of the WWE fans is what makes it fun. However, I did the speech mainly to tell the world all the amazing things about Bob and I fear some of those things were not heard.

Below is my speech. I’m hoping you’ll print it for a good friend, a great champion and one of the most incredible human beings I know.

Thanks and God Bless,
Maria Menounos

To induct anyone into the WWE Hall of Fame puts you in the company of the greatest artists, athletes and performers in the entire world. I CHALLENGE ANYONE who disagrees to show me another kind of entertainer who can recite monologues, in character, without the use of teleprompters and before world audiences, performing improv drama and comedy while flying through the air and taking bumps, 300 nights a year.

But for me tonight is even more special for I am not just inducting anyone into the WWE Hall of Fame. I’m inducting someone who encapsulates the word champion. Someone whom I’m a great fan of…Someone whom is my friend.

Growing up Greek and not speaking English, wrestling was one of the few things on TV I’d watch and be able to understand. I was five when Bob Backlund lost his title to the Sheik. I was fourteen when “Mr. Backlund” returned. I was eighteen when I met Bob in person and I remember being in awe. It was on the set of my first movie and Bob was literally the most positive and striking force I have ever encountered. He was funny when we needed laughter – the man has an incredible and underrated sense of comedic timing – strong when we needed support and sensitive when we needed a friend.

While Working on Bob’s congressional campaign, a story came up about the Iron Shiek and his Persian Clubs. the Iron Shiek apparently had an exercise where he would swing these heavy wooden “Persian Clubs”behind his back. He had toured the nation’s gyms with the clubs and, apparently, no other strong man in the country could perform the exercise, nor could anyone on the WWF roster – except Bob, who did it….on his FIRST TRY. When I asked Bob how, he told me ‘when you believe you can do something…you can.’ The very next day, bob said he was going to perform an exercise of his own-the harvard step test in front of city hall on his election day. Twenty years earlier bob set a personal record doing the step test for two straight hours. The goal was to match that. we all thought he was crazy as he was well into his 50’s by that time. Bob was not able to match that record. He made a new one. It wasn’t 3 hours. It wasn’t four hours. He did his harvard step test for 8 hours straight!!! Once again reminding us all, if you believe you can do something, you can.

Speaking of Hollywood, one of the first days I was hosting the Today Show, John Cena and Vince McMahon happened to be guests. Of course, I’m huge fans of theirs, too, but I couldn’t help but threaten John that Bob would one day come back to put him in the chicken wing! They both had great things to say about Bob but I’m sure they thought I was a little nuts, as people have thought Bob was a little nuts. But along with everything else Bob taught me, its okay to be a little nuts.

I’m sure people thought Bob was more than a little nuts, when after an unprecedented 5 year run with the title, he refused to turn heel. He
believed it would let down his fans which included many troubled youth who had looked up to him and in those days, it would have. In so doing he surrendered millions of dollars from the new age of rock and wrestling as well as the career he loved most.

Not only did Bob Backlund hold the title for almost 6 consecutive years – he did something perhaps even greater when he came back a
decade later. He completely reinvented himself and his character. When you think of performers who’ve been able to successfully reinvent
their characters , even in Hollywood, few names come to mind. Bob not only created an entire new persona he also went on to become wrestling’s number one heel and regained his title in one of the most successful comebacks in sports entertainment history.

But most people know that. Like the greatest champions Bob Backlund carries himself with humility – which is why many of the facts I’m about to reveal are not known.

In a Pennsylvania match against Hulk Hogan, whom he pinned on several occasions, Bob Backlund picked Hulk up over his head with one arm.
It’s a feat Hulk, and his own late father, often reflected on in astonishment.

Bob Backlund has only been to the doctor twice since 1973

Bob Backlund has never done a drug. As he says and I quote “I wouldn’t know what to do with them.”

Bob Backlund, within a three month span, won the NCAA wrestling championship and the National college football championship. He is
perhaps the only man in history to hold that distinction.

In that championship football game, Bob Backlund recorded 22 tackles and 2 fumble recoveries. To give perspective, a team averages about 65 plays in an entire game.

Bob Backlund was a top shoot fighter if not THE top shoot fighter in the world of professional wrestling.

Bob Backlund intentionally NEVER squashed his opponents as he believed it would harm their future earnings.

Bob Backlund is in better condition than 99% of men…a third his age.

Bob Backlund has a diverse portfolio of stocks and real estate and has NEVER IN HIS LIFE PAID A DIME OF INTEREST!

Bob Backlund has a beautiful wife and daughter

And at the end of the day, Bob Backlund justs want to help others in need

Bob Backlund is simply one of, if not, THE greatest personal success stories for wrestlers, fans and people in general.

I know it wasn’t always easy in your career, Bob. But, in the face of shortcomings and disappointments, you never gave up or succumbed like so many of us understandably would. Instead, you continued working out, educating yourself and, always, helping others and donating your time to charity. Through it all you kept your faith and your resolve and here you are on the greatest stage being honored by your greatest peers. I’m excited for tonight, your book being published and all the amazing things you remain to accomplish in your journey. And, I believe there’s one more WWE run in that journey for you Bob, because ‘When u believe you can do something, you can.’

Some know you as Bob Backlund. Others as Mr. Backlund. I just know you as my champion, my hero and my friend. Thank you to the WWE Universe for allowing me to welcome to the stage, Mr. Bob Backlund!

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  • SOBI

    Still dont get the connection b/w
    Backlund and Menounos
    but thats wwe logic for you

  • TrueFan

    I feel that some wrestling fans have the comprehension capability of a goldfish, the ignorance of a high school drop out, and the bad attitude of a spoiled 5 year old. To boo anyone at an award show is just so far from classy… each fan that has to boo at an award show (which is not solely entertainment/script aspect) has to be a bigger douche than Kanye West trying to take Taylor Swift’s grammy away.

    Maybe Backlund WANTED Maria to induct her? Maybe he was 1000% cool with that? Every think of what the inductee wants? Or is it ALWAYS about you? lol

    • Reality

      And I think the booings, even if it wasn’t “classy”, made it super fun.

      • TrueFan

        From what I’ve read, the booing always went past being ‘fun”, I agree, if its fun, go for it.. but when its pure disrespect over something as stupid as someone you don’t like presenting something.. and then that goes above and beyond then a few boos here and there. like, come on…

    • The Guest

      Maybe Backlund DID(actually, he did) want to be inducted by Maria. Hell, people want shit all the time, doesn’t make it a good idea. Thousands of people did not want this. I don’t care either way but those people all paid to be there so they have every right to cheer or boo. You telling people what they should and should not cheer or boo, what gives you the right? Your heart seems to be in the right place, but your post is full of commie/hippie talk.

      Oh, and what was that about class? Hahaha! Hey guys, let’s all tune into Monday Night Raw tonight, the classiest show on television!

      • FOLEY_is_GOD

        It’s about respect. You should learn about it…

  • SavageBomber

    Well, maybe you need to read. She’s watched him ever since she was a child, got to meet him, and they’ve been friends ever since. Just because you didn’t see them on WWE TV as friends doesn’t mean she didn’t “deserve” to induct him into the HOF. They were legit real life friends and if Bob Backlund was okay with Maria doing his induction, who are we to say otherwise? It has nothing to do with “WWE logic” and everything to do with these real life friends sharing a moment together that probably means the world to not only Backlund, but Maria as well.

    • SOBI

      My mistake I didn’t know that they were really friends i thought it was just a storyline thing. Thanks for the insight
      also i didnt use “deserve” in my post but i get your point

      • SavageBomber

        I didn’t mean to go on a rant and the whole comment wasn’t directed only to you. I just didn’t want to make separate posts. I’ve been seeing, ever since she was named as his inductee, people pissing and moaning about it like it offends them or something. Like they’re the legends being inducted and WWE just stuck them with a random inductee. This is a classic example of why CM punk gave “smart fans” a nice big “Fuck you” over Wrestlemania weekend. I apologize for making you think it was directed to you. I should have been more clear, but thanks for not calling me any names. I respect you for that.

        • SOBI

          your welcome
          haha no problem

  • gkickperry

    It’s sad all of the people who somehow think she doesn’t “deserve” this. If he really didn’t want her to induct him, I highly doubt she would’ve inducted him. Not to mention she clearly has a huge amount of respect for him. Lest we forget her Backlund shirt from SummerSlam? It was a good decision and really didn’t necessitate any boos.

  • ADementedJim

    I was at the HOF that night and she deserved all the booing we gave her–and more. She knows NOTHING about wrestling, and frankly, Backlund deserved better. It was a diservice to him and his legacy having this brainless twit induct him. As for the criticism that she has “known him” for a long time….I grew up in Pittsburgh, and one of my neighbors (same street) was Bruno Sammartino. So, yes, I KNEW him. We talked frequently, I would see him at Little League games, and I even went to high school with one of his sons. Does that qualify me to induct him? Now she can go back to her entertainment fluff TV show after she learned a valuable lesson: when you pretend to be a smart mark and an “insider” in wrestling, there is no fooling REAL wrestling fans.

    • doobie

      I think you’re full of it.

    • Jess McDonald

      If you believe that she was undeserving of inducting Backlund then you blame him for choosing her.

    • Thomas Wing

      Hey retard….how do you know that she didn’t know him? Have you talked to any of Backlund’s family? Have you talked to Bob Backlund. “Wrestling Fans” like yourself are the piece of shit douchebags that give wrestling a bad name.

  • Real Talk

    Why people bitchin? as fine as she is she can induct me into the HOF 5x.

  • Steve James

    Not sure why she’d get booed… Of all the incompetent celebrities who’ve tried to cross into WWE territory over the years, I’d say she’s definitely not the worst. She’s up for anything, she’s willing to take bumps in the ring, and she looks good doing it. And she’s a fan. So why treat her like that fat little orange whore, Snooki?

    • Weis

      People dont do their research, and dont like outsiders.

  • theERICrichmond

    I thought Bret Hart would have been a better person to induct Mr. Bob Backland because of their rivalry back in the mid 90s.

  • ravn

    if she wore less she would have gotten a better reaction

  • JamieEvsxx

    at first I was a little baffled about Maria Menounos inducting Bob Backlund and I heard about them being friends but I still wasn’t exactly sure about the induction…but I guess after reading all that it seems to make more sense since they seemed close and it actually shows that Maria isn’t just one of those random celebrities that WWE pays to show up on Raw and promote well…whatever the hell they come to promote…like she actually is a fan and obviously close enough to Bob Backlund that he wanted her to induct him…so I actually kind of feel sorry for her tbh…=/

  • Natureboy Kevin Wells

    whoa whoa whoa whoa– Menounos TOOK BUMPS, GOT KELLY KELLY’S TANNER ON HER ASS AND BROKE A RIB …. AT WRESTLEMANIA…… this fucking Demented Jim is way wrong, ignorant to the point of comedy. He says Maria isn’t an insider yet she’s been backstage at WWE events, met with the McMahons …. she’s literally been “inside” places like Titan Towers…. she is an insider. So the haters’ basic point is, SHE’S A PRETTY GIRL GET HER OUT OF OUR CLUBHOUSE.