– The 2018 WWE Hall of Fame Red Carpet special opens up from the Smoothie King Center. Hosts Byron Saxton and Maria Menounos welcome us. We see Samoa Joe, WWE Hall of Famer Kevin Nash and others on the red carpet with their significant others. They send us to Renee Young, who is with Joe. Joe says he’s recovering from his injury. Joe says he has a date tonight but he heard Renee’s date couldn’t make it, referring to Dean Ambrose. Joe talks about being happy to be here and says he’s looking forward to Mark Henry, Jeff Jarrett and The Dudley Boyz getting inducted. Renee sends us to Charly Caruso, who is with The New Day in matching suits. They talk about feeling good going into Sunday’s SmackDown Tag Team Title Triple Threat at WrestleMania 34. We go back to Maria and Byron, who are with RAW Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss. She’s ready and pumped for Sunday.
Renee is with Bayley and her fiance, Aaron Solow. Fans chant Rusev Day as Bayley talks about the WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal and Sasha Banks. Byron and Maria send us to a break. We come back and Charly is with Naomi and SmackDown Tag Team Champion Jimmy Uso. Naomi says she’s super excited to see D-Von Dudley get inducted. Jimmy talks about also wanting to see The Dudley Boyz get inducted. Jimmy also feels good but nervous about Sunday’s big match. Maria and Byron are with Rusev and Lana next. Fans chant for them. Rusev talks about Sunday’s United States Title Fatal 4 Way while Lana looks forward to being the first Ravishing Winner of the Women’s Battle Royal. Lana goes in and out of her accent, noting that she has a big plan for Sunday. They all sing “Lana is the best, Lana is #1” before we go to Renee with Corey Graves and his wife Amy. Graves jokes about no longer drinking liquids to prepare for 7 hours of commentary on Sunday. Charly is with Matt Hardy and Rebecca Hardy now. Matt talks about The Dudley Boyz getting inducted tonight. Byron and Maria are with WWE Champion AJ Styles and his wife Wendy. They’re both looking forward to Jarrett’s induction. Renee is with Nia Jax and The Rock’s mother, Ata Johnson. Ata comments on how proud she is of Jax. We go to another break.
Back from the break and Byron plugs tonight’s inductees. Renee is with WWE Hall of Famer Lita. She’s happy to see Ivory get inducted tonight. Byron and Maria are with Jeff Hardy now, who confirms he’s cleared to wrestle and just waiting on the right idea to return. He’s most looking forward to seeing The Dudleyz get inducted tonight, and Jarrett’s induction. Jeff also mentions there will be another Deletion match and he hopes to be involved. We go back to Charly, who is with Carmella and her sister Brie. Carmella is looking forward to seeing Ivory get inducted as well. She says she didn’t bring her briefcase to the red carpet because it didn’t go with her dress but it is backstage. Renee is with Sonya Deville now, who is overwhelmed at her first Hall of Fame experience. Dolph Ziggler interrupts but they tell him to go check out Charly instead. Sonya talks about looking forward to Bill Goldberg’s induction. She also talks about the battle royal on Sunday and says she’s just blessed to be here. Byron and Maria are with Bobby Roode and his girlfriend Deneane. Roode talks about being excited for Sunday, a moment he has waited 2 decades for. Roode says it will be surreal to hear 70,000 fans chanting “glorious” on Sunday. Renee is with WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle and his wife Gianna. Angle talks about Ronda Rousey’s training and how she’s going to surprise everyone on Sunday. Charly is with Seth Rollins and his girlfriend Sarah. Rollins has a lot of pressure on him for Sunday but he’s looking forward to being in the ring with two top class athletes. Rollins believes they will steal the show. We go to another break.
Byron and Maria are with Randy Orton and his wife Kim now. Orton is most looking forward to hearing what The Dudleyz have to say tonight. He’s also looking forward to hearing what Big Show and Mark Henry have to say. Orton says it’s nice to be here and enjoy the atmosphere, stress free. He admits the nerves will kick in for WrestleMania on Sunday but he’s done enough of these events that he knows how to handle the stress. Renee is with WWE Intercontinental Champion The Miz, who has his parents with him. He calls them the stars of the upcoming “Miz & Mrs.” show on USA Network. Miz talks about how hard it was to leave Maryse and their new daughter last night. Miz says Sunday is probably the biggest match of his career because the IC Title is everything to him. Miz is looking forward to Mark Henry’s induction tonight. Charly is with Dana Warrior and her daughters. Dana talks about being back in New Orleans for the first time since her late husband The Ultimate Warrior was inducted. She also talks about presenting the Warrior Award tonight. Byron and Maria are with Ronda Rousey and her husband Travis Browne. Rousey mentions how the WWE fans have accepted her and how it touches her heart daily. She says she didn’t expect to be accepted by the fans this soon. Rousey also talks about how amazing Kurt Angle has been. We come back from a break and Charly is with Baron Corbin and his wife Rochelle. Corbin is looking forward to winning the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal for the second time on Sunday. Renee is with JBL and two WWE Hall of Famers – The Godfather and Ron Simmons. Simmons says he’s like a proud uncle with Henry going in tonight. Godfather says it’s a big deal to him for Henry to go in. JBL says he’s here to celebrate the inductions of The Dudleyz, Henry and Jarrett. Charly is with WWE Hall of Famer Beth Phoenix, who is excited about being the guest commentator for the Women’s Battle Royal on Sunday. Beth says this WrestleMania feels like it’s for the ladies and she’s just excited to be a part of it. Byron and Maria are with Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella now. Bryan talks about Sunday’s big return to the ring and that’s it for the red carpet special.
– The 2018 WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony opens with a graphic in memory of Hall of Famer Johnny Valiant, who passed away on Wednesday at the age of 71. We go to an opening video package for tonight’s ceremony.
– We’re live from the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. WWE Hall of Famer Jerry Lawler is introduced as tonight’s host. Lawler welcomes us and talks about tonight’s class. Lawler leads us to a video package on tonight’s first inductees, The Dudley Boyz.
Lawler introduces Christian and WWE Hall of Famer Edge. Christian starts talking about the Hall of Fame and Edge accuses him of making a case for his own induction. Edge reminds Christian he’s here to induct, not be inducted. Christian says they came out to Edge’s music and now he has to embarrass him in front of all their friends. Fans chant “you deserve it” to Christian. Christian says they’re here to induct the greatest tag team in the history of the business. Edge mocks stereotypical internet fans complaining about Paul Heyman not inducting The Dudley Boyz. Edge also takes a shot at Heyman, saying one reason they’re doing the induction is because they don’t owe The Dudleyz any money. Edge mentions ECW and gets a chant going. They talk about what The Dudleyz did in ECW, creating a groundswell. Edge and Christian were trying to do the same thing in WWE with two guys named Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy. We see The Hardys sitting together in the crowd as a “delete!” chant breaks out. Edge says they always knew The Dudleyz would end up in WWE. They talk about how The Dudleyz passed their first test, The APA. We see Ron Simmons and JBL in the crowd. Ron takes a mic and stands up for his trademark “Damn!” line. Edge says The Dudleyz soon joined them and The Hardys to help take their groundswell into a tsunami. Edge says there is no E&C and there is no Hardys as we know them without The Dudleyz. Edge jokes that there were 5 fearless wrestlers and D-Von. Christian talks about how they created a match that became legendary – TLC. They go on and Edge points out how The Dudleyz have won more tag team titles than any other tag team in the history of the entire industry. They turn around with their backs to the crowd, and turn back around with Dudley glasses on. Edge says, “Christian! Get The Dudleyz!” Christian calls on everyone to help them welcome Bubba Ray Dudley and D-Von Dudley, The Dudley Boyz. The music hits and out they come to a standing ovation.
D-Von says The Dudleyz have arrived to the Hall of Fame. D-Von goes n about this being an honor but Bubba interrupts him. Bubba jokes that after 25 years, D-Von still doesn’t get it – all he has to say is “testify!” and that’s it. D-Von says he’s not sure if Bubba got the memo but he’s office now. D-Von says he may have got the tables for years but now he tells Bubba what to do. D-Von tells Bubba to get his ass behind him because he’s going first, he’s about to testify. Fans pop. Bubba jokes that he sometimes gets texts from “the boys” that says, “D-Von is my producer… LOL!” They joke more about D-Von working as a WWE producer and who was responsible for their own matches getting over. D-Von talks about growing up as a kid and watching WWE, seeing Hulk Hogan and wanting to be like him. Fans popped at Hogan’s name. Bubba pokes at D-Von for actually saying something funny and D-Von threatens to kick him off the stage. D-Von also names WWE Hall of Famers Roddy Piper, Randy Savage, Ricky Steamboat and Andre the Giant as guys he watched growing up. He knew he wanted to be like them so he went to train under Hall of Famer Johnny Rodz. D-Von then looked into the eyes of his sons, who are in the crowd, and told them that he didn’t have a dad growing up but he will be there for them and make them proud to have him as their father. D-Von says he could go on about his mother raising him and pokes fun at the lengthy speech Mr. T did when he was inducted. D-Von says he loves his mother and thanks her, he also shouts out his sons and they stand up in the crowd. He mentioned how they are wrestling now. He also thanks his significant other for being his ride or die. D-Von also thanks Bubba and says he could have only made history with him. D-Von is proud to say Bubba was his brother in the wrestling business and in real life. D-Von gives Bubba permission to talk now. Bubba jokes that he’s not sure if he can follow D-Von for once. Bubba talks about how they always discussed family on the road. He wishes his parents were here to see him but they’re no longer here so he brought two small photos of them. Bubba also talks about watching WWE as a kid at Madison Square Garden and other venues, and being a big fan of WWF/E. D-Von reminds Bubba that he can’t say “the F word” and Bubba apologizes, sir. Bubba recalls his father asking him how he liked a show as a kid and Bubba promised that would be him one day. Bubba shouts out his uncle in the crowd, who was also there at the shows with him as a kid. Bubba says they have done so much in their careers and tonight is the icing on the cake, the validation. Bubba says they are most proud of being the first original ECW acts to get inducted. Bubba tells everyone to say hello to Tommy Dreamer, who is also in the crowd. Bubba thanks the entire ECW roster, every man and woman who stepped in the ring with them. He also thanks Paul Heyman for listening to them when they came to him with the idea of being a tag team. They thank Spike Dudley next and give him props for being the toughest 150 pounder in the ECW locker room. D-Von says he cannot express the gratitude for Spike and he is their brother. They love him and thank him for what he put his body through to help make The Dudley Boyz. Bubba says when they thank Spike they’re really thanking everyone else who stepped in the ring with them because we all know that you can’t get yourself over in the ring without an opponent. They go on and Bubba says all they ever needed was their chemistry and one hell of a finisher, the 3D. D-Von talks more about Dreamer and what he did for them over the years. D-Von thanks Dreamer from the bottom of his heart and says there are many wrestlers here tonight who Dreamer did the same thing for and he did it because he cared. Bubba agrees with D-Von and says Dreamer is his best friend, he loves him. Bubba also gives a shout out to the future Mrs. Dudley, Velvet Sky. Bubba goes on and says you never forget the first time you meet Vince McMahon. Bubba recalls meeting Vince and Linda McMahon at an airport in New York City years ago. Bubba jokes that he couldn’t believe Vince was flying commercial. D-Von says The Dudleyz were tested by The APA when they came to WWE. He jokes about how Simmons always called him Devon. He also talks about how JBL and Simmons gave them their stamp of approval to the locker room, which was everything back then. D-Von goes to talk about The Reverend gimmick but Bubba tells him to wrap it up. He tells a story about money from the collection plate going to The APA Drinking Fund each night. Bubba also thanks WWE Hall of Famer Mae Young and says they miss her. He talks about how Mae put her body on the line to help get them over. They joke about D-Von giving her the “What’s Up?” headbutt for the first time. Mae came up to Bubba later on and told her to slam her like one of the boys. Bubba says Mae was the toughest man he’s ever met. Bubba talks about the TLC matches and says we need to have a moment that hasn’t happened in more than 15 years. He calls Edge, Christian, Matt and Jeff to the stage. Bubba says it meant a lot to he and D-Von for the six of them to be up here together because the six of them created their history together. Bubba says sometimes the business can be selfish but they didn’t want to be selfish tonight, they wanted to share this with the two teams who helped them stand here today. The three teams stand tall with their arms up in the air. D-Von jokes to Edge about another TLC match happening on Sunday. The Hardys, Edge and Christian leave as D-Von jokes some more. The Dudleyz music hits and interrupts them, signaling the end of the speech. A staffer comes out in a headset and motions for them to wrap it up but it feels like a set up. Fans boo. Bubba grabs the staffer by his collar and asks him if he’s out of his mind. Bubba calls on D-Von to get the tables and a chant breaks out. D-Von grabs the table and stands it up. They raise the staffer up and put him through the table as their music resumes. D-Von does the “testify!” gimmick one more time and they celebrate the induction to end it.
– Back from a break and Lawler introduces the video package for Hillbilly Jim. Lawler then introduces WWE Hall of Famer Jimmy Hart to do the induction. Hart talks about how music was a part of Jim’s life before he got into wrestling. He got into wrestling and finally got the phone call from WWE, who were looking for the next big thing. Hart talks about some of Jim’s music singles, his appearances on Hee-Haw and the success of his first action figure. Hart says Jim was on his way to the top when he suffered a bad knee injury in San Diego. Doctors told him it would be a miracle if he ever wrestled again but he did at WrestleMania 3. Hart also talks about the role Jim played in him coming to WWE and says they have been friends for more than 3 decades. Hart calls on the crowd to help him welcome Hillbilly Jim and out he comes.
Jim and Hart do-si-do a bit as the music plays. Jim gets everyone to give it up for Hart and Hart leaves. Jim mentions how he will try to keep it short tonight but he has some important things to talk about, about some names we know and some we don’t know. He talks about being approached by a wrestler named “Beautiful” Bruce Swayze, who suggested he get into the business. Hillbilly also talks about how words from WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross resonated with him, and one word summing Hillbilly up – opportunity. Jim tells everyone to take opportunities serious because they knock at your door and don’t come back if you don’t answer. Jim goes on about getting into the business and becoming good friends with Bruce Hart early on. Hillbilly also talks about Jerry Lawler and Jerry Jarrett wanting him to come work for them in Memphis. He talks about working there with Jimmy Hart, Rick Rude, Koko B. Ware, Dutch Mantel, Jim Neidhart, saying it was a great time. He got to tag team with a guy named Roger Smith, who gave him training and schooling on a lot of things he needed to be schooled on. He also talks about meeting WWE Hall of Famer Pat Patterson, who helped him get into WWE. Jim says he never left WWE, we never saw him work any other territories after that. Jim says he’s a country boy but he knows the difference between a limousine and a Volkswagen. Jim knew WWE was where his bread was buttered. He recalls getting to brush up against the biggest star at that time, WWE Hall of Famer Hulk Hogan, who took Jim under his wing. Jim calls it an amazing time. He says this business took an ‘ol boy from Kentucky, who didn’t have a lot of anything to begin with, and made it possible for him to have a whole lot of everything, for his family as well. Jim goes on and talks more about Andre, having great tag team matches with him, traveling and drinking together. Jim goes on and says he’s accepting this honor on behalf of his mother, who loved the business, and on behalf of his family, some of who are in attendance tonight. Jim talks about how the business can be tough on families and he’s glad his survived it. He talks more about family being proud of their dad being in the business. He also wants to accept this honor on behalf of his state of Kentucky. Jim says he always did the best he could to represent Kentucky honorably and respectably, and he’s always carried a little piece of Kentucky with him. He hopes he did a good job for the people of his state. He hopes he did the state proud because he was proud to get the chance to represent it, and it meant a lot to him. He thanks the friends he met, ones he would never met. He talks about the opportunities and getting to see the world. He talks more about his friends from the business and hopes they share the induction with him. Finally and foremost, Jim accepts this induction on behalf of the fans. Jim says the fans accepted him from day one and they never left him. You couldn’t write that story, he says. Jim doesn’t care if the fans are in Scotland, Australia, Canada, South America, Japan or Malaysia, the people made him feel at home no matter where he went because they loved him so much. Jim says the past few weeks and months have been intense for him. WWE’s Mark Carrano called him… he mentions how he doesn’t have a cell phone or a computer. Jim says he’s all about living in the now, which is why he doesn’t rush to run off when talking to someone. He says he was asked by a writer how he wants to be remembered when he leaves the Earth. He immediately answered – it’s not about how I want to be remembered, it’s that I was remembered. Jim says he often thinks about the people that aren’t here, including Hall of Famer Johnny Valiant, who just passed away on Wednesday. He often thinks of Andre, Lord Alfred Hayes, Gorilla Monsoon, Bobby Heenan, Freddie Blassie, Captain Lou Albano, Jimmy Snuka, Randy Savage and others. Jim says he’s never gotten over losing his buddy and his Legends House partner, Roddy Piper. Fans chant “Roddy” now. Jim goes on and tells everyone to please enjoy the wonderful WrestleMania Weekend. Jim ends his speech with, “From New Orleans, good evening to ya.”
– Back from a break and Lawler leads us to a video package on this year’s inductees to the Legacy Wing. This year’s Legacy inductees are Stan Stasiak, El Santo, Jim Londos, Sputnik Monroe, Boris Malenko, Dara Singh, Hiro Matsuda, Rufus R. Jones, Cora Combs and Lord Alfred Hayes.
– Lawler leads us to the induction video package for Ivory next. Lawler then introduces Molly Holly to do the honors.
Molly says she’s honored to induct a woman with a career that lasted more than 20 years. She talks about how Ivory did things for women in the ring and outside of the ring. She also talks about being friends with Ivory when the 9/11 attacks happened. Superstars were given the option to compete at SmackDown that week or not but Ivory chose to compete twice that night to put needed smiles on people’s faces. Molly talks about how Ivory recently got a Twitter account to do nothing but connect with fans to prepare for tonight, she had nothing to promote or rant about, she just wanted to connect with fans. Molly introduces Lilian Garcia to help her induct Ivory. Lilian comes out and says it is her distinct honor to introduce a true trailblazer, an amazing humanitarian and a three-time WWE Women’s Champion, and now a WWE Hall of Famer. Lilian introduces Ivory and out she comes.
Ivory says it’s good to have friends like Molly and Lilian. She talks a bit about both and thanks them again. Ivory talks about how Molly was a great travel partner. Ivory sings to New Orleans next and says they were meant to be, and tonight she comes full circle. She talks about coming to New Orleans in the 1980s to a gathering of TV executives, trying to sell the GLOW TV show, and she’s back in the city to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. She says she and New Orleans have been through good times & bad times together. She talks about Hurricane Katrina in 2005. She was booked on an indie show and used that show that night to raise money for animals that were caught up in the floods. She then drove that night with a family member to work with animals that were hurt by the storm. She says that changed her life and she’s still working with animals these days. She thanks New Orleans for hosting WrestleMania and says she’s so excited about the action on Sunday. She’s waiting to see the female Superstars tear the house down. She says NOLA has come a long way but the female Superstars of WWE have really came a long way. She says things were really different back in the territory days as women worked a rough life with little pay, competing for spots in a male-dominated sport. She goes on talking more about GLOW and the WWE women’s division, naming stars like WWE Hall of Famer Trish Stratus, Lita, Jazz, Stephanie McMahon, Terri Runnels, Gail Kim and others, who she says worked hard to inspire the next generation of female Superstars. She says the division keeps glowing and growing, and she’s proud to be their sister. She thanks them and thanks WWE for the revolution that led to an evolution. She applauds WWE and calls it awesome. She goes on and thanks the fans again and says she wouldn’t have the guts to be here tonight if it weren’t for the fans helping her out over the past few months. Ivory likens this to getting married and says she’s never been married, no one has asked her to get married. We hear some fans yell out for her to marry them. Ivory says in a lot of ways this is like her wedding experience. She was proposed to when Mark Carrano called her to be inducted. She was then sent a contract, where WWE told to go buy herself an evening gown. So she did, but there was this little red flag in the back of her head because “evening gown” meant something different in the Attitude Era, she jokes. She says Molly would be her maid of honor. She goes on joking about the Hall of Fame or wrestling career equivalents to a bachelorette party and her bridesmaids and groomsmen. She’s suddenly interrupted by the Right To Censor alarms going off. She goes on about some of the wrestlers who taught her in her early days and some of the wrestlers who are no longer here, including Luna Vachon, Chyna, Mae Young and The Fabulous Moolah. The wedding comparisons continue. She talks about some of her family being here tonight as her brothers wanted to be acknowledged as her first wrestling trainers from when they were kids. Her father is here in spirit and her mother is watching at home on the WWE Network. Ivory says she’s ready for her final vows now. She takes the fans, colleagues, moments, memories to have and to hold until she taps out, for better, for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part… with this Hall of Fame ring, she weds. She thanks everyone for being her witness. Ivory blows everyone a kiss and thanks them again as her music plays.
– Back from a break and Lawler leads us to the video package for Kid Rock’s induction into the Celebrity Wing. Lawler then introduces Triple H to do the induction.
Triple H says Kid Rock is going into the Celebrity Wing because he’s had a big impact on what we all love. Triple H talks about what music does to people. He mentions the Attitude Era and says Kid Rock was a part of that. He praises Rock for being a successful Superstar that can do everything from a country ballad to a hip-hop track to rock & roll. He calls Rock a true artist that can do anything, saying his music is hard-hitting and larger than life, they make everyone stand on their feet, just like WWE. He brings up Rock’s “Celebrate” single being one of the WrestleMania 34 theme songs and says it’s appropriate as thousands of people are coming to New Orleans to do just that. He goes on about how this week is all about making memories and how everyone will have the same soundtrack, from The American Badass, the 2018 WWE Hall of Famer… Kiiiid, Kid Rock.
Rock says a mentor, Rev Run, told him years ago when he was having a hard time that he should go where he’s wanted, not where he’s tolerated. Rock says this is better than any Grammy any day of the week and that is saying a lot. Rock says this was first and there are no politics here, no butt kissing. He talks about WWE calling him for the induction. Some of the footnotes were not to talk about Vince McMahon because he doesn’t like getting praise and to stay away from politics. Rock says if he’s getting props tonight, so is Vince. Rock gives Vince a big shout out and says he changed the face of entertainment. Rock jokes that being around all this testosterone makes him want to slam a bunch of Democrats and this is a lot considering he actually is in a testosterone treatment with the Health Care Guys. We see Kurt Angle and AJ Styles laughing and clapping. Some fans boo. Rock says enough of that, he has Republican and Democrat friends, and we just all need to find common ground. He talks some about The Undertaker, The Rock, WWE Hall of Famers Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan. Rock mentions the WWE lifestyle being rough and says he can relate as he’s on the road a lot. He calls for a big round of applause for the WWE Superstars making sacrifices to entertain people around the world. Rock guarantees he will be the shortest speech tonight. He thanks his family, his son and granddaughter, his fiancee, his extended New Orleans family, his band, his current manager and previous managers, and of course the fans, the fans, the fans. Rock thanks the fans for being there for him and for WWE, for spending their hard-earned money on the people that have entertained them for many years. Rock thanks Jesus too. He’d like to accept the induction on behalf of Joe C., his hype man who passed away a few years back, and was a big wrestling fan. Rock goes on and thanks everyone again to end the speech.
– Back from another break and Lawler leads us to the video package for Jeff Jarrett. Out comes “Road Dogg” Brian James to do the honors.
James talks about first getting up with Jarrett and says he has a million stories he could tell but he won’t because WWE is PG now, which gets boos from fans, and because his kids are in the audience. Plus, most of those stories happened in the 90’s and he doesn’t remember a lot from them. James says this is where he tells us to not do drugs. James says he has a lot of special relationships in his life and he’s proud to say one of them is with this next man. James calls on the fans to help him induct Jeff Jarrett into the WWE Hall of Fame and out comes Double J.
Jeff comes out in a cowboy hat, spelling his name like he did years ago. James jokes that this isn’t the 90’s and takes the hat. Jarrett goes to the podium and comments on standing here to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. A “you deserve it” chant breaks out. Jarrett talks about the early days of his career and gives huge praise to WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels for being the best ever. Jeff thanks Shawn for what he did for him and for the industry. Jarrett mentions the WWE Intercontinental Title and gives props to The Miz for how he’s carrying it these days. Jarrett says he’s done everything from be in the nWo, a Four Horsemen, go into a certain “Club” in Japan, lose his hair at Madison Square Garden, superkick Beetlejuice, and then that thing with David Arquette… what the hell was that? Jarrett says he even got beat by Stephanie McMahon in her first match. Jarrett says it will be a different story on Sunday. He wishes good luck to Kurt Angle and Ronda Rousey. Jeff says there have been a number of guys who truly affected him over the years. BG James. Owen Hart, which gets an “Owen” chant from the crowd. Jeff tells a few Owen stories and we get a quick appearance from Edge and Christian. Jeff says he could talk a lot more about his 20+ year career but he has just a few more thank you’s left. Jeff thanks his wife Karen and the family, his father Jerry Jarrett, who he’s on the up & up with these days, and his grandmother Christine Jarrett. She took an extra job selling wrestling tickets and without her there would be no Jerry or Jeff Jarrett. Jarrett says he wants to close his speech with a poem, one he read on Memphis Wrestling TV at age 18. Jeff wraps his speech but out comes Road Dogg again. Road Dogg says he can’t leave without doing that thing. Not the strut, they’re going to sing. They put on cowboy hats and start singing the “With My Baby Tonight” single as Dogg has the lyrics put up on the big screen. Jarrett goes to the crowd and sings with Karen Jarrett and their children, among others in the crowd, including Heath Slater. Road Dogg & Double J return to the stage to finish the performance and leave together.
– Back from a break and the cameras show Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle sitting together, then Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.
– Lawler comes back out to talk about The Warrior Award. Lawler leads us to the video package for this year’s recipient, Jarrius “JJ” Robertson. Lawler introduces WWE Ambassador Dana Warrior next and out she comes to The Ultimate Warrior’s theme song.
Dana talks about how her husband was in New Orleans a few years back to be inducted and this is like a homecoming for her and her daughters. She gets emotional when remembering Warrior and her daughters walking through the airport. She recalls Warrior being honored by his brothers and sisters, escorted by his daughters, to take his place in “then, now and forever” as a WWE Hall of Famer. She also talks about his final words on RAW that week, which she says launched a new Warrior that allowed him to rocket into the heavens. She goes on about Warrior, the award and then this year’s recipient, Jarrius. Dana talks about JJ’s health issues and how he helped save a life. Dana introduces JJ and out comes the 15 year old.
JJ approaches the podium and can barely see over it. He asks twice if we got the memo that he was coming. Stagehands bring a structure out for JJ to stand on and we can see him now. He says this is one of the best days of his life. He talks about the other Warrior Award recipients and joining them. He talks about meeting some of his heroes – Roman Reigns, Zack Ryder and WWE United States Champion Randy Orton. Fans booed Reigns’ name but JJ told them to relax because Reigns is still his friend. JJ jokes about also meeting his least favorite Superstar, WWE Intercontinental Champion The Miz. He also jokes about having a better chance at this point in getting a WrestleMania match than John Cena, poking fun at Cena’s rumored match with The Undertaker on Sunday. He talks about his health issues, how donors save lives, and how a miracle from God kept him alive after being removed from a ventilator. JJ says he stands before us today with a new liver and as a WWE Hall of Famer. JJ wraps his speech and dances some with Dana as the music plays. JJ grabs his Warrior Award and heads to the back with Dana right behind him.
– Back from a break and Lawler returns to the stage to lead us to the induction video for Mark Henry. Lawler introduces Big Show next and out comes The World’s Largest Athlete to do the honors for The World’s Strongest Man.
Show talks about how Henry became family to him while traveling on the road over the years. Show says he always jokes that Henry is his brother from another mother. Show goes on and says Henry is also one of WWE’s best recruiters. He says some of the guys in the audience tonight are here in WWE because of Henry. Show says Henry is also the kind of guy you don’t want to test. He recalls signs saying “no photos” being posted backstage at a WWE show in Spain. Show and Henry were talking when a guy popped up with one of those cameras that had the pop-out lens. Henry covered 15 feet in one step and crushed the camera like you or I would crush a paper cup. Show says Henry basically knocked the cool out of the guy’s walk as he was walking away in a hurry, talking trash to Henry over his shoulder. Show goes on and says he can’t express how humble and honored he is to induct his friend, his brother from another mother, the man & the myth, Mark Henry. The music hits and out comes Henry.
Henry asks how everyone is doing and wants to give glory to God before beginning because it’s going to take God to get him through this without crying. Fans chant “Sexual Chocolate” and Henry thanks them because they’re saving him from being up here in tears. Henry thanks Show for being like a brother to him in this business, saying it’s been a great ride. Henry says he respects everyone who loves this business because he knows how difficult it is to travel, to wait for them to get back home because they miss a lot of stuff. But today, Henry says he is humbled. Henry says he’s also shocked he was able to make it 20 years. Fans chant “you deserve it” now. Henry starts getting emotional before talking about his grandmother taking him to watch wrestling at 9 years old. It just so happened that his favorite wrestler was on the card – Andre the Giant. Henry recalls running up the aisle with other kids but “these fools” behind him knocked him down. Henry says Andre picked him up off the ground and that’s why he’s here today. Henry says he wasn’t the strongest man in the world at that time, he was just the happiest kid. Henry says like the turtle sitting on top of the fence, he did not get here by himself. Henry talks about his mother Barbara Jean and how she bought him a weight set when he was a kid. He knows she’s looking down at him smiling now. They put the weight set on the front porch and that’s where all the neighborhood kids hung out, mostly because his mother fed them. He says his mother was a legendary cook and he jokes about his own size. He needed that weight set, because he wasn’t the best kid in the family, and his mother used it to keep an eye on the kids as they were at home instead of out running around. Henry also thanks his coaches and trainers from the bottom of his heart because he could not have done this by himself. He thanks Jim and Terry Todd, who helped him get into weightlifting. Henry talks about media attention he was getting and says it was his mentions of being a wrestling fan that got him more attention. He talks about watching wrestling matches with his grandmother and that helped get him through. Henry used the weight training in his downtime and that’s what made him who he is today. He says he closely followed pro wrestling and his idols were The Junkyard Dog, The Iron Sheik and of course, Andre. Henry says he was a ‘rasslin fan. He recalls getting the phone call from Vince McMahon one day. He recognized the voice but he paused and hung the phone up, thinking it was one of his friends picking on him. He then got another call from Terry Todd, who asked him if he hung up on Vince. Vince did call Henry back and Henry says Vince probably thought he was the biggest mark. Henry says a lot of people hate when you use that world but he loves it. Henry says half of the conversation was him asking Vince if he could meet Yokozuna or possibly wrestle The Undertaker. Henry says the business gave him a lot. He was fixed on meeting Bret Hart and other guys he saw on TV, so of course he signed with WWE and never looked back. Henry knew from his first few weeks in the business that this would be like nothing he’s ever seen before. His first coach was Dr. Tom Prichard, who knew Henry was a great athlete but still a young kid that wasn’t focused. Henry says he didn’t train like he did as he was still caught up in the world of sports, checking box scores and following the NFL, things like that. Henry says he didn’t have the in-ring success that he should have because he wasn’t focused, which is needed because you have the life of someone else in your hands. Henry talks about how “Big Cat” Ernie Ladd invited him to come sit under the learning tree. Ladd warned Henry that Vince doesn’t do this for everyone and that he shouldn’t mess it up for other wrestlers that look like Henry that would come after him. Henry says he heard Ladd loud and clear, and he knows Ladd is here in spirit with us today. Henry says he’s a very proud man. He says some of his biggest influences came from our neighbors in Canada, recalling how he was banned from Canada for threatening Shawn Michaels. Henry says hello to Shawn. Henry says he spent a year being mentored by The Hart Family and that was big for him. He even learned one very important skill – how to babysit the Hart kids, which helped because he can now take care of his own. He thanks the Hart family and talks about Owen Hart bringing a lot of joy to his life. Henry wishes Owen could be with us tonight and he misses him dearly. Henry asks the camera to focus on him as he has a message for Owen’s widow, Martha. Henry gets emotional again and says this is not from the company or from other wrestlers, it’s from his other brother – Owen needs to be here. Henry hates he hasn’t kept up like he should have. He hopes he can look down one day and them among us as it’s Owen’s birthright. Henry says he’s mostly known as The World’s Strongest Man but he has to mention his alter ego, Sexual Chocolate. Henry hasn’t seen him in a while but he hopes he’s doing well. The Sexual Chocolate music hits as a cape is brought out for Henry to put on. Henry transforms into Sexual Chocolate and asks Stephanie if she remembers the time they danced. He asks her if she’s married now, not that it matters, and Triple H laughs. Henry also has his wife show off in the crowd. Henry drops the cape and says that was fun but don’t get any ideas because Sexual Chocolate isn’t coming back. Henry also thanks Mae Young and Chyna for making Sexual Chocolate a success, saying he misses both of them. Henry mentions D-Lo Brown and The Nation of Domination, saying that was fun. He also thanks Ron Simmons and The Godfather. Henry gets emotional and thanks Ron for being a role model for him and his kids. Henry also thanks and praises The Rock, saying he was the offspring of wrestling and bred for this. Henry looks back at being ECW Champion and World Heavyweight Champion. He won the ECW Title in a match with 2 of the best big men in the business, Kane and Big Show. Henry thanks everyone that led to his World Title win, from Big Show to Randy Orton to Daniel Bryan. He says these people are special to him. Being the fifth African American to hold that title was his highlight. Henry has had the pleasure of being in the ring with great wrestlers and even better people. He apologizes if he left anyone out. He’s been a fan and has been living this wrestling dream forever. Henry says he’s participated in close to 8,000 matches and he’d be doing the business a disservice if he tried to thank everybody here tonight. Henry tanks his brother Patrick and his family, and his other family members that came here, those that couldn’t make the trip, and those that are here in spirit. He thanks his wife Jana and says without her this wouldn’t be possible. She’s been beside him for the journey. Henry jokes that she’s been his Dwayne Johnson, his rock. Henry thanks his son Jacob, who stands up and is wearing the infamous salmon color jacket from the fake RAW retirement angle. Henry says Jacob already thinks he’s a WWE Superstar. He also has his daughter Joanna stand up and thanks them both for being there even when he wasn’t there for them. Henry says they are his heart and he wasn’t there at times but he was working so they could have more than he had. Henry gives more love to his family and talks about diversity in the business. Henry says this planet is a melting pot and the future will be brighter, depending on everyone living as one. Before he goes, there’s just one more thing Henry needs to do. He turns his back to the crowd and takes off his suit coat. Staffers bring out the salmon colored jacket from the fake RAW retirement angle and help him put it on. Henry says he’s a small town boy from Silsby, Texas that has done proud. Henry says some may think this isn’t easy and some may think he has a lot left in the tank and… you’re right! Henry brings up deserving a WWE Title shot. He calls out WWE Champion AJ Styles and says he has a title he can take. He also says Roman Reigns doesn’t have a title but he can get one took. Henry changes his mind and says he was just playing. He takes off the jacket and says a friend of his calls it the “lying ass” jacket. Henry talks more about being honored to stand with the other greats and to take his place in the WWE Hall of Fame. Henry stands tall and gets a standing ovation, turning back to the mic to say, “Because that’s what I do!” Henry raises a fist to the crowd as his music hits.
– We get a video with Paige leading us to a preview of “Fighting With My Family” based on her wrestling family. The clip features The Rock.
– Lawler comes back to the stage to lead us to the video package for Bill Goldberg’s induction. Lawler then introduces Paul Heyman to do the honors. Heyman introduces himself as the advocate for the WrestleMania 34 main event, WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns.
Heyman says we might be wondering why the ECW founder is inducting the biggest star of WCW. It allows him to step out of his role as The Advocate but he strives to be half the father to his kids that Goldberg is to his son. On a professional level, Heyman talks about how it’s hard to find opponents for his client Brock. He takes a shot at Reigns and then goes on with a grand introduction for Bill Goldberg. Fans start chanting Goldberg’s name and out he comes as the music hits.
The camera cuts backstage and we see Goldberg walking through to the stage as people clap for him. Goldberg walks out onto the stage as fans pop for him. The Goldberg chants get louder now. Goldberg asks how the hell this happened. Goldberg tells us not to worry because this will be short. Goldberg says he stands before us in a proud moment as the first. He promises this will be short and sweet. He talks about the values that his parents taught him, which allowed him to be successful. Goldberg goes on and talks about getting into football, and says ultimately he just wanted to be a role model, that was it. Goldberg talks about eventually having to move on from football. He made it for a short time but he failed. He was lost and needed a direction, he had no job and needed money. He says WWE Hall of Famer Diamond Dallas Page knew him in those days and knew his problems. DDP would always invite him to come over and wrestle. He had other ties to the business and watched wrestling in Texas as a kid. Goldberg says with the help of a lot of people they came up with his character – the Mike Tyson of wrestling with a martial arts influence, part Nikita Koloff, part Road Warrior Hawk, part Bruiser Brody, part Dan Severn, with a setup move so awesome and so devastating, and so easy to copy. He asks where Roman Reigns is, taking a shot at Reigns using the Spear. He goes on about WCW and says he owes Hogan one for their big match. Just when things were going so nice, WCW was at its hottest… everything came crashing down. He will spare us the details of the demise but he will mention one – Kevin Nash ending his streak on his birthday. Goldberg thanks Nash and says he owes him one too, it looks like. Goldberg says there were so many guys in WCW that took the time to help him – DDP, Eric Bischoff giving him his shot, Jody Hamilton, Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker, Arn Anderson, Kevin Sullivan, Bobby Heenan, everyone behind the scenes, the trainers, the camera men, Bill Apter, who gets a shout out for being in the crowd. Goldberg says he owes so many people and doesn’t know if there’s ever been a character that had so many moving parts to make it work, whether it was the announcers or the referee. He goes on and names Lex Luger, The Steiner Brothers, the Guerrero family, Ron Simmons. He says Rick Rude and Curt Hennig were a big influence on him in the early days. Big Show. Goldberg says she had unbelievable success in WCW and so many people were responsible for that. He’s so thankful. He also names Jim Ross and says they go way back. He says WCW was a force in The Monday Night Wars and he was caught in the middle of it. He came into the business and was spoiled, and knew there was a price to pay when he finally came to WWE. He recalls yelling at Triple H in front of Stephanie at a toy convention in New York and says he knew that certainly wouldn’t help him. He says he sort of borrowed from a bald guy that looks like him and thanks Steve Austin. Goldberg says he’s realized he owes a lot of people. He doesn’t want to talk about his first WWE run and says it sucked, he sucked, let’s move on. But it could only be so bad when you get to work with The Rock and share a locker room with The Undertaker, work with guys like Dean Malenko and that really cared about the business. Goldberg says he resents it to this day but he must help Austin for helping him out the whole way. Goldberg says he loves Steve and can still smash him but he loves him. He goes on about having a chip on his shoulder after his first WWE run and says he tried to suppress everything. But he always wondered what his son would think about wrestling when he grew up. He says it all started with a phone call for the WWE 2K17 video game. He gives a shout out to his manager, who is currently hospitalized and means a lot to him. He says it seemed like time had healed all wounds. A decision was made and he started training for the comeback to WWE. Goldberg says he worked his ass off because he wanted it again, it meant something to him and it wasn’t just a job. He loves the people and loves being “that guy” for them. He talks more about his wife and son, and thanks them. He did this for his son and hopes he’s happy. Thee two are his world and everyone knows it. He wore it on his sleeve on national TV. He always swore he would not bring his family into the business but they were his storyline this time. He thanks his wife for staying with him during that trainig time because he was miserable. He clarifies and says the run was not miserable, it was the best thing in his life, but he felt miserable every day because he was working his ass off. He says his wife and son pushed him to a level that he didn’t know he could reach, he just wanted them to experience the wrestling world. He thanks them again. Goldberg gets away from the whole “short & sweet” promise and goes on about his wife and son. Goldberg warns his son that he better be a badass because he’s going to have a target on his back. He also thanks his in-laws. He also thanks his friends for sticking with him over the years and says Team Goldberg is tight-knit. He says the fans are the most important part and he will do anything for them. A “one more match” chant tries to start up. Goldberg says he’s not leaving here without one McMahon story. He recalls Stephanie coming up to him one night during his first WWE run and asking if he really headbutts the doors before he goes out to the ring. She said he can’t do that anymore. He offered to pay for the door because that’s how he got into character. He talks about getting the knock on the door to come out but thought he could beat the boss at her own game. He punched the door instead of headbutting it and broke his hand. Goldberg says he hasn’t just been sitting on the couch since he’s been gone, he’s been doing some acting and must have been good at acting then because no one knew about the hand until tonight. He says he later took out 3 Minute Warning and had a beer bath with Steve Austin where he drank 13 beers due to the pain in his hand. He says here was this bald guy that copied him and didn’t drink a drop of beer. He takes another shot at Austin and gets ready to wrap the speech. He apologizes for ragging on Ric Flair and then making his own comeback at 50. He brings up Sting and fans pop as he’s in the crowd. Goldberg says the problem with coming up here and freestyling it is you tend to overlook some things. He goes on about being inspired by Sting, following in his footsteps and hoping he made Sting proud. Goldberg says Sting and DDP were instrumental in his success. He says they made him and he will forever be grateful for that. He originally looked at wrestling as just a business but he was selling himself short. He’s truly acquired a love for what he does here. Love for the fans, love for the dreams that wrestling has made come true for he and others. His original dream was to be inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame ut he stands here going into the WWE Hall of Fame and guarantees this has a better payoff than the NFL Hall of Fame ever would have. Goldberg realizes more so than ever before that this is where he belongs. He says this has been one hell of a journey and as long as he’s 2-1 over Brock Lesnar, has the strength to Jachammer anyone in this room, and has the knowledge & wisdom to know that a Geogia Tech Yellowjacket could never be as badass as a Georgia Bulldog – he never says never. Which leads him to his one final question… who’s next? Goldberg stands tall as his music hits. He makes his exit and the 2018 WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony goes off the air.
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