WWE held the induction ceremony for the 2015 class of the WWE Hall Of Fame on Saturday night. Below is a very detailed report written by Jason Powell of ProWrestling.net.
The opening video aired and focussed on each of the inductees… The event is sponsored by the Terminator movie with the weird spelling of the word genesis…
Jerry Lawler was introduced as the host of the show. He entered to a nice round of applause and “Jerry” chants. He welcomes viewers to the show and said it’s by far his favorite night of the year. He set up the first inductee’s video package. A Rikishi video aired…
Rikishi: Presented by Jimmy and Jey Uso
Jimmy and Jey Uso served as the presenters for their father. They said they’ve been asked a lot about growing up the son of Rikishi and they said it was the norm for them. They said they grew up watching him on television. They spoke about him going through various characters until he found the one that stick.
They humorously set up a shot of Rikishi’s ass in the thong on the big screen and said it bought them Christmas presents and other perks. They said they were happy he never gave them the Stinkface. They got serious and spoke about Rikishi’s hard work, passion, and sacrifice for WWE. They introduced their father, who came out wearing a Hawaiian leis.
Rikishi said he was hanging out backstage with Vince McMahon and Triple H. He held up his hand and quoted Iron Sheik by telling the cameraman to zoom in as he held up his Hall of Fame ring. He spoke about coming from the Anoi’a family “known as the Samoan dynasty.”
Rikishi noted that that there has been at least one member of the family on the WWE roster for five decades. The audio cut or he was censored when he said WWF rather than WWE, which is ridiculous if it’s the latter. He ran through the list of those wrestlers. He said Afa and Sika laid roadmaps for him and he is forever grateful.
Rikishi thanked his wife and “the best fans in the entire world.” They responded with a Rikishi chant. He said he feels like his life has become full circle. He mentioned that he’s a trainer with his brother and Gangrel, who was shown sitting in the crowd. He gave a shoutout to “Miro, Rusev.” Rikishi spoke about his passion for the business and said it’s in his DNA and is his entire being.
Rikishi spoke about how he remembers all the shows and the missed birthdays and family events (he looked at his sons who were standing off to the side while saying the last part). He said he remembers all the dance moves, the pyro, and every Stinkface. He said he remembers the face of every fan he’s ever performed in front of.
Rikishi said the thing he will remember most of all is this moment with the fans. He said he is honored and humbled to be inducted into the 2015 WWE Hall of Fame. He said WWE is where he was born and where he was raised. He spoke in Samoan to close out his speech.
“This is my night, right?” he asked. He said he can’t leave his fans like this. He said he’d been stretching and the did a couple moves that he said Mark Henry taught him. One of his sons pulled out his shades and put them on his father. Rikishi and his sons did the Rikishi and Too Cool dance routine…
Lawler set up the video package for Larry Zbyszko…
Larry Zbyszko: Presented by Bruno Sammartino
Bruno cracked that after all they’d been through, “can you believe I’m inducting this guy into the Hall of Fame tonight?” Bruno praised the class of 2015 and specifically mentioned Arnold Schwarzenegger. Bruno recalled meeting Larry when he was just a young man. He said Larry told him he would like to become a pro wrestler someday.
Bruno said Larry kept popping up and telling him he wants to be a wrestler. He said Larry was a terrific amateur wrestler and he told him to stick with that, then told him to get his college degree. Bruno said Larry didn’t want to go to college, but he did and graduated, then called Bruno and told him he hopes he’d keep his word.
Bruno said he used Larry on smaller shows around Pittsburgh and eventually told Vincent J. McMahon about him, who agreed to bring him in. Bruno recalled the angle where Larry turned on him and how successful it was. He spoke about the remainder of Larry’s career and how he went on to become a broadcaster before introducing him.
Zbyszko came out to a nice round of applause and shook hands with Bruno. Larry said standing in the WWE Hall of Fame “truly is a dream come true.” He said he couldn’t help but drive Bruno crazy about getting into the business. He said his dream at age 16 was to be a pro wrestler.
Larry said his mother gave him Bruno’s address. He told a story about climbing through the hedges and then introducing himself to Bruno and telling him he wanted to be a wrestler. “Bruno started me out,” he said. “He started me out on a career that was indescribable.” Larry said he doesn’t know why Bruno took him under his wing. “I don’t know why,” he said. “I really don’t know why. Oh, God, this is amazing.”
Larry said that after all the years of having a reputation for having a big mouth, “…man.” He said Bruno was gracious enough to get in the ring with him. He said maybe it was just meant to me that he didn’t throw him out of his yard when he introduced himself. “I lost my train of thought,” Zbyszko said. “I thought this was going to be easy.”
Larry said that after Bruno took the time to talk to him, “my dream was going to come true come hell or high water.” He said things were great and then “one day came the hell and the high water.” He said destiny threw him around like a leaf in the wind and he drove everyone crazy around him.
Zbyszko said Bruno broke his neck and it shocked the world when he hung up his boots and became a color commentator. He said something wasn’t right and that the old school wasn’t ready to go out yet. “Something wasn’t complete, the old school era wasn’t going out this way, not with Bruno breaking his neck,” he said. “So off we went.”
Larry said so much for a speech, “let’s just tell it like it is.” The fans chanted “thank you, Larry.” Zbyszko thanked Bruno from the bottom of his heart for “letting a young boy’s dream come true when you didn’t have to do it.” Larry said there was another man involved – Vince McMahon Sr.
Larry said that even though he drove Vince Sr. nuts, he believed in Larry’s dream and rented Shea Stadium anyway. He said it gave birth to a new era of national television, nationwide pay-per-view, “and it was awesome.” Larry said that “47 glorious years ago” he dove into the rabbit hole and Bruno was standing there to open the door to a wrestling wonderland. “Still not sure why,” he said.
Larry said he just walked out the other end of that rabbit hole a few minutes ago and Bruno was standing there to open the door to finally let him out. Larry said he’s standing there wearing the same ring as his hero. He said it’s a perfect ending to an outrageous dream he had. He said he gets to go home and become what he was once upon a time – one of the biggest wrestling fans alive.
Larry said there’s something he has wanted to say about the fans for a long time. He said that without each other to share the powers of our imagination with there would be no dreams at all. “I have felt the love of standing in the ring with millions and millions of people chanting my name,” he said.
The fans chanted Larry. “Mean Gene Okerlund announcing me as wrestling’s living legend, and for that glorious moment in time I became like my hero. And my dream was coming true. And I have felt the wrath of fighting my way out of riots night after night.” Larry spoke about having cabs overturned and being stabbed in the ass “by the greatest fans in the world,” he said. He said he hopes all their dreams come true as well…