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The Underrated Files: WWE Hall Of Fame Candidates



With WrestleMania and the biggest weekend of the wrestling year upon us, the debate over the WWE’s “opening pitch” of WrestleMania weekend programming is the annual Hall Of Fame ceremony. Every year brings much debate and discussion among the fans on who should be in, who should be out, who should have gone in before this guy, so on and so forth. You always get the common names like Owen Hart, British Bulldog, Chyna and I’ve even seen a lot of push recently for Brutus Beefcake.

I started pondering who else is deserving of getting “the call”, but might be forgotten about when it comes to the conversation. Superstars who could be getting passed over for one reason or another by both the company, as well as fans in debates and conversations alike. I was able to come up with four names that I feel had broken ground in the business, left a legacy or just plain deserve it.

Let’s be honest here, we know the WWE Hall Of Fame is seen as a joke by most, so I see no reason why my choices couldn’t get in some day. Are they headliners of a Hall Of Fame ceremony? Certainly not, but their contributions to wrestling speak for themselves and at the end of the day, you always need more than just a headliner to fill any given class. Anybody can come up with an argument against someone, so here are my arguments FOR these stars.

‘The Loose Cannon’ Brian Pillman

Following a one year stint in the NFL with the Cincinnati Bengals, Brian Pillman stepped into the wrestling business by way of the famed Hart Family Dungeon, opening his career in Calgary with Stampede Wrestling. After two years and a small run in New Japan Pro Wresting, Pillman moved on to World Championship Wrestling and became ‘Flyin’ Brian due to his aerial assault on opponents. It was a style that was seldom seen in the USA, especially in WCW as Brian led the way for the company in its earliest incarnation of a Cruiserweight Division, becoming a two-time Light-Heavyweight Champion.

From there, Pillman would join forces with and become one of the earliest tandems to be known as “cool heels”, The Hollywood Blonds, alongside ‘Stunning’ Steve Austin. The Blonds became one of the most over teams in the business in only a five month pairing. Think about that. Only FIVE MONTHS! Pillman would again seemingly stay ahead of his time as he would begin to change his character, adopting the “Loose Cannon” moniker (By the way, this was after he was a member of The Four Horsemen, so he’s also got that notch in his belt).

He seemed to be living his life as a work, whether it was the fans or even the boys in the back, at a time in 1995 when people just didn’t go so over the top. Again, just think about that now. Two years before ‘Stone Cold’ became ‘Stone Cold’. Pillman’s departure from WCW in 1996 would see him arrive in ECW, continuing to work the world before a devastating car crash left him in a coma for a week. He would also need major ankle surgery, having his left foot fused back together and taking a devastating toll on his psyche.

His days as ‘Flyin’ Brian would be over as he would no longer be able to employ his in-ring style from WCW, but it didn’t stop the WWF from signing him. Unfortunately, Pillman’s ankle would continually cause him issues, Brian being forced to undergo a second surgery in the midst of a feud with his former partner, Austin. This would give us arguably the most controversial moment in WWE history, as ‘Stone Cold’ would break into Pillman’s house while he was laid-up, only to find Brian waiting for him with a gun. The angle got everybody talking, for better or worse, during a period when the WWF was getting their backsides handed to them by WCW. Brian would go on to join The Hart Foundation as the only member who was not related to the family, but would pass away abruptly at the age of 35 from a heart attack caused by a previously undetected heart condition.

‘The Iceman’ Dean Malenko

I have to admit that I was totally unaware, but as a kid how many of you realized that Dean Malenko was actually as old as he was? The son of the legendary Boris Malenko, Dean began performing in 1979 as a referee in Florida, spending the entirety of his career traveling around the world to places like Mexico and Japan before ever making major noise in America. It wasn’t until 1994 when ‘The Shooter’ began making a big name for himself when he joined up with Extreme Championship Wrestling, which is where an appreciation for his technical skill blossomed.

A two-time ECW Television and one-time ECW Tag Champion, Malenko would continually impress the hardcore fans in matches against the likes of Eddie Guerrero and he was even a founding member of the original Triple Threat faction with Chris Benoit and Shane Douglas. WCW would quickly take notice, bringing Dean into the fold and having him lead the way with its new Cruiserweight Division. ‘The Iceman’ was at the forefront of the exciting new venture, earning more monikers like ‘The Man of 1,000 Holds’ and titles alike. Like Pillman, Malenko would also become a member of The Four Horsemen and would win the Cruiserweight Title four times, as well as the United States and Tag Team Championships once each during a near four year span with WCW.

Along with his friends Benoit, Guerrero and Perry Saturn, Dean would make an almost immediate jump to the WWF in January of 2000, quickly making an impact on an already star-studded roster. By this time, Malenko was wearing down physically given that he was already 40 years old when he debuted with The Radicalz. His success in the ring would be limited with two Light-Heavyweight title reigns before retiring in 2001, but his fingerprint on the company has remained ever since with his work as a road agent.

‘The Taskmaster’ Kevin Sullivan

I’m wondering if this man may ever get consideration for the Hall Of Fame just by association, being that he is Nancy Benoit’s ex-husband. I tend to think that shouldn’t affect Kevin Sullivan, but with WWE wanting to be as far away from that as possible, who knows.

Sullivan got his start in the early 1970’s coming from Boston as an amateur that was not professionally trained. Like many wrestlers of the era, he spent a majority of his time hopping from territory-to-territory, including a stint in the WWWF, before settling down a bit with Championship Wrestling From Florida. During this time, Sullivan really started to make noise with his gimmick of being a Satanist, a character that was much darker than anything else that had been tried in the wrestling business (or at least the only one that worked).

His feuds in Florida with the likes of Dusty Rhodes and Barry Windham would catch the eye of Jim Crockett Promotions, signing on with the company and again undergoing a change by forming The Varsity Club upon his arrival. It was a gimmick that fit Sullivan with his amateur wrestling background, garnering success alongside fellow grapplers Mike Rotunda and Rick Steiner. The Varsity Club became the tops of the company’s Tag Team Division through its purchase by Ted Turner and renaming into WCW.

He also became very involved behind-the-scenes with the creative team and booking, two of the most difficult positions to hold in any wrestling organization, especially WCW. After departing and spending some time with Smoky Mountain Wrestling and ECW, Sullivan would return to the company and take back on his demonic character. I know some will pass due to the participants, but if you’d like to see some hard-hitting matches then any encounter between Chris Benoit and Kevin Sullivan before ‘The Taskmaster’ retired in 1997 are must-see. After stepping away from the ring, Sullivan would again focus on a backstage role, trying to keep the company afloat until it was ultimately sold to the WWF in 2001.

Hall Of Fame
‘The Model’ Rick Martel

In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, there was no man I hated more as a child than ‘The Model’ Rick Martel. Going back before he would spray his opponents with “Arrogance” however, Martel had already grabbed loads of success in the wrestling business, coming from a wrestling family and traveling all over the globe before his arrival in the WWF in 1980. He would form a popular tandem with Tony Garea, winning the Tag Team Titles twice over a two year run, then made his way into Verne Gagne’s American Wrestling Association.

Martel would ascend the ranks of the promotion over the next two years, winning the coveted AWA World Heavyweight Championship and holding it for an astounding 19 months. In 1986 he would return to the WWF, forming a team this time with Tom Zenk known as The Can-Am Connection, which only had moderate success and conflicting reports between the partners as to why it failed. His next venture would be highly successful though, pairing up with Tito Santana as the wildly popular Strike Force.

The tandem would earn tag team gold during a two year stint together, ultimately doing what all teams inevitably must and splitting up with Martel turning on Santana. This is where he would adopt his moniker of ‘The Model’, often using an atomizer to spray his opponents with his trademark fragrance, “Arrogance”. Martel became a mainstay in the mid-card for the next 6 years, notably feuding with Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts and Shawn Michaels while contending for the Intercontinental Championship. He would leave the company in 1995 and take some time off to pursue real estate, but would wind-up returning to the ring in 1997 for WCW, immediately heading into a feud with Booker T over the WCW Television Championship (which he’d win once). Ultimately, injuries would force him out of the ring entirely after a 25-year career.

Agree? Disagree? Have any underrated Hall Of Fame candidates of your own? Hit the comments section below or follow me on Twitter, @E_Ames323!

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AJ’s Thoughts: Five Potential Returns

With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?



With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?

With everything going on with WWE, the one thing we have all been hyped about are all of these returns. Dakota Kai made her return at SummerSlam alongside Io and Bayley and now on last SmackDown, Karrion Kross and Scarlett made their returns in a big way against Drew McIntyre and showed the Hourglass to The Bloodline.

With all of that, there have been things in the pipeline saying Triple H’s foot isn’t off the pedal so these are 5 returns from either NXT, main roster or even Try-Outs that I would love to see happen with the new regime.

1. Johnny Gargano

Now this is a name that people have been saying, “Maybe Impact or MLW” but, what about a return? Gargano didn’t renew his contract, most likely to be with his family which is a valid and amazing reason, will never disrespect that. If he were to return, there would be a handful of great reasons. Maybe a singles run with the Intercontinental or United States but with Ciampa getting limelight in the main roster from RAW, what if we get a tag team reunion?

WWE is hurting for Tag Teams and what better than to scare off The Bloodline, loosen  the stranglehold of championships with some Do It Yourself action. DIY reunion could be amazing, especially with newer faces showing up to get championship aspirations like Kross and Ciampa. Want to break the hierarchy? Do It Yourself.

2. James Storm

This one is a little bit weird and off. On one hand, who doesn’t love the Tennessee Cowboy, Jimmy James Storm? On the other, he is 45 and getting some nagging injuries as of late. So why would I say Triple H should bring James Storm back and give him something for the main roster? One of the things I said for Gargano, we have a lack of something and The Usos might need to watch two things in the rearview.

Watch your Money and your Alcohol.

Beer Money showing up in WWE would be amazing in my personal opinion. The Bloodline jump Roode, someone in a hoodie or jacket comes up and jumps them to even the fight and as soon as one Uso remained in the ring, the figure goes down and the old stomping goes off and we hear “BEER…” and Roode looks around and gets hyped up and shouts, “…MONEY!”

3. Big Cass

Since his departure from WWE, he has done something I have said since they split him off from Enzo. Take him through the Kevin Nash School of How To Big Man. ROH and Impact are great examples that he actually cleaned up and worked on what he has to do to be good in the ring. He can work the microphone, he can work the ring so we got a new big boy to take on the WWE once again.

Now I could have said Enzo and Cass to rejoin but, I’m sure the antics of Enzo will get Cass in deep water along with the fact that I already made two tag team predictions, we don’t need another. Cass brings a lot to the table and was kind of unproven in WWE because he was just the big enforcer to the more charismatic Enzo. Give this man about six months in the ring and you have your next MASSIVE problem in the IC or US Championship scene or even more.

4. Bronson Reed

The big man from down under is a former NXT North American Champion. He looked to have a good push going with that championship but he got release. If you wonder where he went… he actually made a pit stop in Impact Wrestling as JONAH with the most fire theme song in recent history I swear… I will link the theme song and Trips… please. Get rights to this theme song. I will be a bigger Bronson Reed fan.

Bronson to me is the weird man in all of this but, I think with Triple H involved, he could get something going for him with a good singles champion run or a big threat to go through like a gatekeeper of sorts. Big boy with a great amount of athleticism? Can’t really hate on that considering the last time we saw athletic bigger people were Keith Lee and… what was that one guy? Sherman Tank with a Ferrari Engine…?

5. Bray Wyatt

And the last one is the obvious one in all of this. Yes… we have Judgment Day as the somewhat supernatural dark group but we know the true successor of the supernatural and that is “The Eater of Worlds”, “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt. This time around, I don’t think we will get the Jekyl and Hyde, Mister Rogers gimmick. I believe this time around we get full darkness and mayhem. We get the darkness and the theory of reverting back to your prime.

To make a refresher… Miz went back to being the cocky narcissist after fighting The Fiend. Finn turned back to the Prince and much more. With guys like Edge returning, maybe we see the return of the Heel Ultimate Opportunist, maybe a Fiend fight with AJ Styles to get the TN-AJ perhaps. Possibilities are endless and with a great mind like Wyatt for character and execution, I think Hunter will pick up the phone and Let Him In.

– There are clearly others that I could say, or maybe even didn’t think about, but hey, that’s the Chairshot way of Always Using Your Head. Those are just five returns that could happen and hopefully you read this before RAW or SmackDown and who knows if I get any of these right, maybe I missed an obvious one or maybe we get a giant signing that nobody thought possible. Let me and all of Chairshot know!

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King’s Greatest Hits Of Jeff Hardy

As he battles his demons, Chris King looks at some more positive moments in Jeff Hardy’s career!



Jeff Hardy WWE Smackdown

I’m sure by now you’ve heard the disturbing news that former WWE superstar and recent AEW signee Jeff Hardy, was arrested again for multiple charges including a DUI.  Hardy has had a hard and tragic road of recovery throughout the years in multiple wrestling promotions.

Not too long ago, Hardy walked out on WWE after they were rumored to have offered the former world champion to go to treatment for his substance abuse issues. Hardy refused and said that he was better but, as we saw the demons are still lurking and got the best of him again.

I have seen some nasty comments and even some distasteful memes about the AEW superstar and felt compelled to go against the grain. Instead of kicking a man when he’s down, I’m going to put together a greatest hits for the “Charismatic Enigma.”

Jeff Hardy & The TLC Match

Everyone can say that Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon helped innovate the iconic ladder match and you are right, but Jeff Hardy and his death-defying stunts changed the concept of the match forever. The Hardy Boyz vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. Edge & Christian and their iconic TLC match should have their wing in the Hall of Fame. The risks all six superstars took for the adoration of the crowd could have ended all of their illustrious careers. In the words of Vince McMahon, It’s such good shit!

Jeff Hardy Earns The Undertaker’s Respect

On the July 1st, 2002 episode of Monday Night Raw, Hardy delivered the performance of a lifetime nearly winning the WWE Undisputed Championship from The Undertaker in an incredible ladder match. The young up-and-comer was faced with his greatest task yet, challenging for the most prestigious title in sports entertainment. Hardy showed that without a shadow of a doubt he deserved to be in the main event scene, but came within minutes of defeating Taker. At the time of the match, Hardy was still finding his footing as a singles competitor and earned the respect of the champion and legend.

Swanton Bomb From The Heavens

When I think of the daredevil Jeff Hardy, I can’t help but think of this one crazy-as-hell stunt. At WWE One Night Stand 2008, Hardy faced off against the juggernaut Umaga in a falls count anywhere match. This match was so insane as both superstars fought into the parking lot. Hardy is one of the craziest and bravest superstars, hit a Swanton Bomb off a damn stage truck onto Umaga. It’s one of the wildest things you’ll ever see.

Hardy Wins The WWE Championship 

In 2008, Hardy finally made his way to the main event title picture alongside partner Triple H. HHH was Hardy’s mentor in some sort of way which led to the daredevil achieving his lifelong dream of becoming WWE champion. At the 2008 Armageddon pay-per-view, Hardy would face HHH and longtime rival Edge in a triple-threat match for the title. In what was a great match between all three superstars, Hardy delivered a Swanton Bomb to Edge to win the illustrious championship.

Straight Edge Problems For Hardy

The following year, Hardy found himself in the way of young-up-and-comer CM Punk who is looking to make an example out of him. Punk had won the Money in the Bank briefcase for the second year in a row and took advantage of Hardy to win the world title. What started as mutual respect between both superstars changed drastically, when Punk started throwing jabs at Hardy for his drug and substance abuse real-life issues. Punk would form his infamous stable known as the Straight Edge Society. This is a very underrated feud and you should go back and watch it in its entirety. The promos are gold.

The Hardy Boyz Return To WWE

Both Matt and Jeff Hardy found success in multiple other wrestling promotions including Ring of Honor, and TNA during their time away from WWE. Both brothers were struggling with their vices and made poor life choices but straightened up their act over the years. In 2017, the Hardy Boyz would face longtime rivals The Young Bucks in ROH. The following night the adored tag team would make their incredible return to WWE at WrestleMania 33. Matt and Jeff would be named the final team in the Fatal 4-way ladder match for the Raw Tag Team Championships. The pop these two received was insane and very much deserved. They would go on to win the match and win the titles to capitalize on their momentum.

Jeffery Nero Hardy Makes AEW Debut

From 2017-to 2022 Jeff Hardy would find himself pigeonholed in the mid-card title picture. He would have feuds with a plethora of superstars including Samoa Joe, and Randy Orton. Orton and Hardy had a nasty Hell in a Cell match back in 2018. Earlier this year, Hardy was seen running around after the 24/7 Championship, which was disappointing to see. After being genuinely unhappy in WWE, Hardy would make his AEW debut on the March 9th episode of AEW Dynamite. Hardy would come to the aid of his brother and longtime partner.

This week news broke that Hardy had been arrested for multiple charges including a DUI. While it’s easy to beat a man while he’s down, how about we uplift and try to encourage him to get the help he needs.

As a longtime wrestling fan, I have the utmost respect for Hardy and wish him the best of luck in his battle with addiction.

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