With WrestleMania 33 on the horizon, we’ve entered that time of year again when the WWE honours its past. Many legends have made it into WWE’s prestigious Hall of Fame in previous years, including Stone Cold Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan, and Randy Savage. However, there are still a host of alumni who have yet to be inducted and receive their official Hall of Fame ring. With this in mind, who should we expect to see enter the Hall of Fame in 2017, alongside Olympic Gold Medalist Kurt Angle?
The current favourite to enter the Hall of Fame this year is the People’s Champion, the Great One, the Most Electrifying Man In All of Entertainment; The Rock, at 1/49 odds. This would make the most sense, as Dwayne Johnson, who is billed from (and played football for) Miami, was a great all-rounder, according to ESPN. As a jack-of-all-trades on the pitch, in the ring, and on the big screen, if there’s ever a time to induct The Rock into the Hall of Fame, it would be in his “home state”.
Interestingly, the oddsmakers’ second pick for the Class of 2017 is The Undertaker, sharing the Rock’s odds at 1/49. With rumours that the Deadman will be retiring at WrestleMania this year, it seems only logical that he would be given the same treatment that Ric Flair received before his retirement in 2008: an induction into the WWE Hall of Fame, in front of his family, friends, and myriad of fans. The Undertaker’s career is unrivalled to any other superstar in WWE history, and that’s going by his WrestleMania win-loss record alone. So, if Mark Calaway decides to hang up his boots, this year would be the best opportunity to induct the Phenom.
For all of the Impact Wrestling fans out there: if you’re expecting Jeff Jarrett to be inducted this year, prepare to be slightly disappointed; at 100/1 odds, there’s more chance of Captain Kirk himself, William Shatner, going into the Hall of Fame, with induction odds for the actor at 10/1. Of course, Shatner’s involvement with WWE started all the way back in the 80’s, so an induction for the current narrator of Breaking Ground wouldn’t be a surprise to many. Jarrett, on the other hand, was a mainstay in the midcard of the Attitude Era, feuding with Chyna for the Intercontinental Championship at the tail-end of his time in WWE. An induction for Double J would also be welcomed – however, his ties with the company we call TNA, along with his rocky departure from the promotion in ‘99, could mean we are still in for a wait.
There are also a couple of stables and tag teams that could be inducted this year alongside the Midnight Express. D-Generation X is the odds-on favourite of the groups to be inducted at 1/49, with the nWo tailing just behind them at 1/9. Both teams would make ideal candidates for the Hall, based on what they had done for the business as a whole, essentially changing the world of sports entertainment forever, something no group can claim to have done since the 90’s. The nWo’s influence can still be felt in the current pro-wrestling landscape, with New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Bullet Club stable taking inspiration from the WCW group, decades after the formation of the nWo in ‘95.
Of course, we can’t forget that WWE has the tendency to induct a celebrity each year – that being said, the surprising odds-on favourite is retired basketball player Shaquille O’Neil, with 3/2 odds of an induction. This would be a strange choice, as he hasn’t made much of an impact on the wrestling industry compared to other celebrities being considered, such as Cyndi Lauper (at 2/1 odds), and Andy Kaufman (with 3/1 odds). Lauper was a key figure in the “Rock’n’Wrestling era” of the WWE, acting as a focal point of the first WrestleMania (alongside Mr. T, who was himself induced to the Hall of Fame in 2014). Kaufman took part in one of the most infamous angles of all time, feuding with Jerry “The King” Lawler, and blending the lines between kayfabe and reality, during a time when the separation between the two was far more established than today.
Wagers also say that famed police officer Robocop has a chance at an induction (yes, that Robocop), with odds at 200/1. Robocop, of course, appeared in WCW at the Capital Combat PPV in 1990, saving Sting from captivity by the Four Horsemen. It seems almost impossible that the cop would be inducted to the Hall of Fame… but, it’s still no more likely than seeing the greatest WCW World Champion of all time; David Arquette, receive an induction, with his odds at 250/1. If he were to be inducted, you would seriously be making some major dollar.
With all of this in mind, nobody thought that Leicester City would win the Premier League, that Brexit would become a new reality, or that Donald Trump would be the 45th President of the United States, so who knows? Far more unlikely scenarios have unfolded in the ever-changing world of pro-wrestling. So, if you make these bets, you might be onto a winner. It all depends… do you feel lucky?