Projecting the Remainder of the 2014 WWE Hall of Fame Class
On January 13, World Wrestling Entertainment announced the induction of the Ultimate Warrior into the 2014 Hall of Fame.
With the former WWE champion's induction now official, talk turns to who else will join the maniacal Superstar come April 5 in New Orleans.
Will there be a heavy Mid-South Wrestling presence, or will the company opt to pay tribute to WrestleManias gone by 30 years after the first one started a tremendous legacy?
Which managers and Divas will take their place in the Hall?
And what about celebrity inductees? With a 30-year history to look back upon, will this be the year that Lawrence Taylor or, maybe, Floyd Mayweather is inducted into the celebrity wing of the Hall of Fame?
With so many questions and so few answers, here is a projection of past Superstars poised to be immortalized the night before WrestleMania XXX.
Jake "The Snake" Roberts
The most devious and twisted mind in the history of professional wrestling made his return to national television during a special "Old School" episode of Raw, receiving a huge pop from the fans. It was a reminder that wrestling fans will always welcome the greats of the industry back with open arms, regardless of the skeletons that plagued their closets in the past.
With WrestleMania XXX emanating from New Orleans, there is no better place for "The Snake" to take his rightful place in the WWE Hall of Fame than in the city where he experienced a great deal of success with Bill Watts' Mid-South Wrestling promotion.
While in the territory, Roberts won both the Mid-South North American Heavyweight and Television Championships. More importantly, he gained a reputation for being one of the up-and-coming wrestlers in the country. His performances in New Orleans led to stints in the National Wrestling Alliance and, ultimately, World Wrestling Entertainment.
It was his time in Vince McMahon's company that Roberts rose to prominence and became one of the most recognizable stars in the sport.
Roberts is one of the most deserving of the Superstars not currently enshrined. Given the fact that he is still fresh in the minds of fans and that the setting could not be more perfect, his time in the spotlight should come on April 5 and not another day later.
Last March, the professional wrestling business lost one of its finest managers when William Moody passed away.
A longtime veteran of the mat business, Moody began his career as Percy Pringle, gaining his greatest exposure in World Class Championship Wrestling. Eventually, he made his debut in World Wrestling Entertainment as the ghastly Paul Bearer, manager for The Undertaker, who has taken the business by storm with his combination of size, speed, agility and presence.
Bearer led the Dead Man into action for six years before turning his back on him and diving his attention among the likes of Mankind, Vader and Kane.
He and Undertaker, as well as he and his on-screen son Kane, would reunite over the years.
Bearer made his final appearance for WWE in 2010.
As the company prepares to pay tribute to the WrestleMania events of years gone by, and with Undertaker's undefeated streak playing such a huge role in event lore, Bearer deserves recognition for being the man to lead him to so many of those early victories.
WrestleMania I Main Event
This one is less difficult to project given recent rumors.
PWInsider Elite reports, by way of WrestlingInc.com, that WWE plans to induct the entire main event from the inaugural WrestleMania event into this year's Hall.
The idea being pitched within WWE would see Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper, Mr. T and Paul Orndorff to be inducted, making it the first time ever that a match itself is inducted into the Hall of Fame. It's possible that Jimmy Snuka and Bob Orton, who also participated in the WrestleMania I main event, could be inducted as well. Inducting a match into the Hall of Fame opens the door for similar inductions in the future.
The idea is an interesting one in that it pays tribute to the first WrestleMania main event some 30 years later and, at the same time, results in second inductions for Hogan, Piper, Orndorff and, potentially, Snuka and Orton.
It would also see Mr. T take his place in the Hall, something that should have happened years ago given his importance to the first two WrestleMania events.
Whether Orndorff, Snuka and Orton deserve second inductions that would put them in the same class as the legendary Ric Flair, Hogan and Piper is arguable, but it is a fresh, original idea from the company as it attempts to preserve some of the remaining big names for future induction ceremonies.
Magnum TA was slated to be the National Wrestling Alliance's next big star when an unfortunate car accident ended his career and nearly his life.
Prior to that tragic night in October of 1986, Magnum (real name Terry Allen) had developed a reputation for being one of the most exciting and most popular stars in all of professional wrestling. He had hung in with NWA World Heavyweight champion Ric Flair on several occasions, defeated Tully Blanchard in one of the most violent and best steel cage matches in wrestling history and regularly dispatched of enhancement talent in mere seconds with his trademark belly-to-belly suplex.
His team with Dusty Rhodes was wildly popular, and the association only helped to elevate the young breakout star in the eyes of the fans.
He was incredibly hot and was poised to capture the NWA title from Flair, but tragedy struck, and fans were left wondering what could have been.
Before he became a star for Jim Crockett Promotions, Magnum competed in the New Orleans territory. It was there that the iconic Andre the Giant suggested that he capitalize on his slight resemblance to TV star Tom Selleck and change his name from "Terry Allen" to "Magnum TA."
He would win the Mid-South North American Heavyweight title and rise to prominence in the Bill Watts-owned promotion.
As is the case with Jake Roberts, Magnum TA laid the foundation for his career in New Orleans, and there is no better way to celebrate his accomplishments by inducting him into the Hall of Fame in the city where it all began.
Yes, his career was shortened by injury, but he accomplished more in a short time than others who are currently enshrined did in their entire careers.
The fiery redhead who soared through the air and revolutionized women's wrestling in North America more than deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame, one year after career-long rival Trish Stratus was enshrined.
Lita brought a high-flying, death-defying offense to women's wrestling that had never been seen before. She captivated audiences across the globe and instantly became one of the most popular stars in all of wrestling, male or female.
She was highly influential and inspired a generation of young stars to follow their dreams, including current WWE Divas champion AJ Lee.
Her heel turn in 2005 was incredibly controversial, thanks to a real life affair with Edge that brought an end to her years-long relationship with Matt Hardy, but saw Lita achieve her highest spot on the card.
Side-by-side with Edge, she made it to the top of the promotion, helping the Rated R Superstar to the WWE title on two separate occasions.
She won four Women's Championships during her WWE career. On April 5, she should take her rightful place among the greatest performers in sports-entertainment history.