– The 2017 WWE Hall of Fame Red Carpet pre-show opens with Byron Saxton. We’re live from the Amway Center in Orlando. We see various WWE Superstars hanging out on the red carpet, including Mick Foley and Noelle Foley. Saxton is joined by Maria Menounos for her 4th straight Red Carpet pre-show appearance. Saxton sends us to Renee Young on the red carpet. She’s with WWE Hall of Famer Booker T and Sharmell. They talk about tonight’s ceremony before sending us to Cathy Kelley. She’s with SmackDown Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss. She says it’s hard to prepare for Sunday’s title defense because it’s open to women on the roster. She gives props to the division and says there’s no weak link. Bliss says she’s been working on her cardio and won’t be going down without a fight. Cathy confirms that the match has been moved to the main card. Bliss says it’s going to be awesome. We go back to Saxton and Maria. They’re with WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair and Wendy (Fifi The Maid). Flair gives props to tonight’s class and comments on Charlotte getting the job done on Sunday.
Renee is with Noelle and Mick. Cesaro and Sheamus interrupt the interview and joke around with Foley. Foley is looking forward to seeing Kurt Angle’s speech, Diamond Dallas Page because he’s been a close friend for 25 years. Foley is also looking forward to Jim Cornette’s appearance. Cathy is with Kelly Kelly next. Her main reason for being here is to see Beth Phoenix. She confirms she filmed a hilarious “Table For 3” with Eve Torres and Maryse this week. Saxton and Maria send us to a break. We come back and Renee is with WWE Hall of Famer Gene Okerlund. Gene is really excited for Rick Rude’s induction tonight. He comments on Rude’s family members being here. Cathy is with Baron Corbin now. He has a lady friend with him. Corbin is confident that he will take the WWE Intercontinental Title from Dean Ambrose on Sunday but he’s going to enjoy the rest of the week for now. Corbin looks at Braun Strowman to win the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal this year. Saxton and Maria are with WWE Hall of Famer Sting and his wife now. Sting talks about tonight’s ceremony and says Eric Bischoff appearing is interesting. Sting does his signature yell and gets a pop from the crowd. Renee is with Mojo Rawley and he’s wearing a Zubaz suit. This is his first Hall of Fame ceremony and Sunday will be his first WrestleMania. He says he’s been dreaming of this since he was a kid. Cathy is with Nia Jax and her aunt Ata Johnson, The Rock’s mother. Nia says the week has been surreal and amazing. Ata says she misses being around, so she tries to make the event every year. Her son isn’t here but she’s looking forward to seeing Nia and Roman Reigns lay the smack down. Renee is trying to get a word with Austin Aries but he’s tied up. Maria and Saxton are with The Miz and Maryse now. They talk fashion and Sunday’s big match against John Cena and Nikki Bella. Miz says it’s a given that they will make easy work of Cena and Nikki. Maryse chimes in and Miz promises their match will be the one everyone wants to see.
Cathy is with Big Show now. He’s hoping to become a two-time Andre Battle Royal winner but he believes there’s a lot of tough competition this year. He knows there will be a target on his back because he’s the 20 year veteran. Show says it’s fantastic that The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express is being honored tonight. He’s also looking forward to Jim Cornette and his friend Diamond Dallas Page. Saxton sends us to another break. We come back and Renee is with Austin Aries and Thea Trinidad. This is his first ceremony as well. He’s just looking forward to taking everything in. He has a game plan for WWE Cruiserweight Champion Neville on Sunday but is sure the nerves will hit when he makes his way out. Thea says she’s excited to see him get the chance and is happy to finally see him where he belongs, doing what he does best. Saxton and Maria are with Eve Torres-Gracie now. Maria and Eve talk about their previous WrestleMania moment together and give each other props. Eve is excited to see Teddy Long get inducted tonight. Renee is with WWE Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose now. He’s covered in glitter because he’s had to say hello to all these ladies. Ambrose feels like a real lady killer walking the red carpet tonight. Renee jokes that he’s not supposed to say that to her. Ambrose goes on and she says he’s ridiculous. Ambrose is looking forward to seeing The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express get inducted tonight because they wrote the book on tag team wrestling with The Midnight Express. Renee ends up sending Dean off to their seats. Cathy is with Charlotte Flair. She’s excited for the Fatal 4 Way on Sunday and talks about her ties to Orlando. She’s also excited to continue her father’s legacy in Orlando. Saxton and Maria are with Roman Reigns and his wife now. Reigns cuts a promo on how he’s made WWE his yard. He says The Undertaker is a different level but he’s ready for the next level. Reigns says this is who he is and he was born for this business. Renee is with John Cena and Nikki Bella now. Cena says he’s tired and it’s been a long week but as we hear in the background, we have an enthusiastic crowd tonight. Cena praises Kurt Angle and is very excited about inducting him tonight. They are both excited about teaming together on Sunday. Nikki says they will always have that huge moment. Cathy is with Samoa Joe now. Joe says he’s looking to make his own impact at WrestleMania on Sunday. He talks about tonight’s ceremony and mentions having a history with Angle. It means a lot to be here to see Angle be honored. Maria and Saxton send us to another break.
We come back to Saxton and Maria with Corey Graves and his wife. Graves is super excited to see Angle’s induction tonight. He grew up in the Pittsburgh area and knew of Angle as a star before his WWE days. We get other appearances by Dana Warrior and her daughters, The Godfather and others. RAW Tag Team Champions Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson acknowledge a loud AJ Styles chant. Saxton and Maria are with AJ and his wife now. AJ mentions “doing a few years” in Orlando and says he has a few fans here. Saxton reminds him he debuted in Orlando with WWE. AJ says he and Shane McMahon are going to tear the house down on Sunday. We take another break and come back to Randy Orton and wife Kim with Renee. Orton also says he and WWE Champion Bray Wyatt will tear the house down on Sunday. Orton talks about looking forward to seeing Kurt Angle get inducted because they have history. He also names DDP and looks forward to hearing Jim Cornette with a live mic. We also get appearances by Shane McMahon and RAW Women’s Champion Bayley. Renee and Cathy join Saxton and Maria to close the pre-show.
– The 2017 WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony opens with a video package on tonight’s inductees.
– We’re live from the Amway Center in Orlando as host WWE Hall of Famer Jerry Lawler makes his way out. Lawler welcomes us and praises the inductees. Lawler sends us to a video package for Diamond Dallas Page.
Lawler introduces Eric Bischoff to do the induction and out he comes to a pop. Bischoff goes to speak and a “welcome back” chant starts up. Bischoff talks about the definition of a heart. From the bottom of his heart, he wishes he was out in the crowd watching as Dusty Rhodes did this. Bischoff pays quick tribute to Dusty and continues with the induction. Bischoff talks about how he and Page had some issues while in AWA so Bischoff wasn’t broken-hearted when Page went to WCW. He talks about how Page had success in WCW while AWA was closing down and Bischoff needed a job. Bischoff went in for an interview with WCW and Page was there as the color commentator. Bischoff says Page didn’t bring their baggage to the table, he worked with him and Page is the reason Bischoff got the job. Bischoff goes back to Page being obnoxious and says they had fun. He talks about Page going to the WCW Power Plant to train as an in-ring performer because he knew he had to make himself more valuable. When he wasn’t doing a handful of other duties, he was in the Power Plant training at the age of 35. Bischoff says Page was relentless. Bischoff goes on and brings up Page’s work with Jake Roberts and Scott Hall, who are in the crowd. Bischoff calls on everyone to help him welcome the first inductee into the 2017 Class. Page comes out with his four daughters. He greets Bischoff and says he used to have Diamond Dolls but now he has Diamond Daughters. A “you deserve it” chant starts.
Page got emotional early on when talking about Dusty Rhodes. The WWE Network is experiencing some freezing but comes back to Page talking about how his career took off like a rocket when he attacked the nWo, leading to PWI Feud of the Year for his war with Randy Savage. He’s thanked others, including Eric Bischoff, Buddy Lee Parker, Dusty’s wife, Terry Taylor, Jake Roberts, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, but I keep losing the stream. He talks more about Savage and thanks him “wherever you are.” Page also thanks Hulk Hogan, referring to him as The Hulkster. Hogan told Page years before that if he kept doing what he was doing he could make big money with Hogan one day. Years later they did the major WCW angle with Karl Malone. He also thanks is ex-wife Kimberly for always having his back, especially when he was out of his mind. He thanks his wife Brenda and calls her his strength. He talks about how she’s a breast cancer survivor and how they did it the holistic way. She is his super hero and makes him want to be the best possible. Page says he’s constantly evolving. He thanks a ton of current and former WWE Superstars who have used DDP Yoga, especially Chris Jericho. Fans chant for Jericho and Page talks about how it helped Jericho after he blew his back out. He thanks those Superstars for supporting his program. He thanks his family for putting up with his insane schedule. He thanks his friends and all the DDP Yoga people from around the world for believing him. He thanks his crew at the DDP Yoga Performance Center. He thanks Bill Goldberg for their match. Page also thanks his mom, for always letting him believe he could do anything. Page tells another story about how Dusty called him after he won the World Heavyweight Title. Page says his friend Jim Ross has called him one of the most over-achievers ever and he takes that as a compliment. Page says to be an over-achiever, you must have to be an over-believer. He goes on about never giving up on yourself and thanks everyone for helping him live the dream. He raises the Diamond Cutter sign and does a “Bang!” to end it.
– We come back from a break and the crowd boos as Roman Reigns is shown in his seat.
– Jerry Lawler is back out to lead us to the video package for The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express.
We come back and Lawler introduces Jim Cornette to a pop. Cornette says here I go. He’s Jim Cornette with a live mic and the sound guy is on Xanax tonight. He starts talking about Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson and how they came to be when MTV was taking off. Cornette says they were Justin Bieber before Justin Bieber was born. Cornette says he witnessed this – they had more sex on the way to the ring than most people have in a year. Cornette says it wasn’t just the women, young and old admiring them, it was the men because they had guts and wouldn’t give up. He goes on about how the fans would help them. Cornette jokes how he was beat up by their fans more often. He talks about how they would hit the double dropkick, get the big win and jokes that their fans would “toss their babies in the air.” He talks about how they had and needed The Midnight Express. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express were clean cut and a team you could respect but The Midnight Express were dirty rule-breakers. When The Express fought The Express, the matches were magic. Cornette goes on and says he owes them more than he can ever describe. He talks about how they made their WWE debuts and showed another side of the world what rock ‘n’ roll was all about. He says they always delivered and gave the people what they came to see, no matter where they were at. Cornette has heard from more than one WWE Superstar over the years how they were inspired to get into the business after watching Express vs. Express. Cornette talks about how the feud continued into the 2000s. The Express vs. Express rivalry lasted 27 years with the last match in 2011. He talks about how they continue to wrestle and train others these days. Cornette says with 34 years as a team, they should be in the Smithsonian, not the Hall of Fame. It’s because of the passion they have had, they are a national treasure now. He goes on and asks everyone to join in welcoming The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express. Out comes Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson to a pop. They greet Cornette.
Ricky jokes they didn’t know Cornette would come out and say such good things about them. They put Cornette over and says him being here is proof anything can happen in WWE. They talk about how big their families are. Gibson says the WWE Hall of Fame call he got was the best call of his life but right after that he got the call that he had grandkids on the way. Gibson jokes how all of Ricky’s grandkids look like him. Ricky jokes about how their indie rates just went up. Ricky talks about how pro wrestling has evolved into the global sports entertainment empire it is now, which he’s proud to be a part of. No matter what, Ricky stood up for the boys. He talks about how important the talents are and fans boo again when Reigns is shown on the big screen. They talk about their early days. Ricky thanks Bill Dundee and Jim Ross for believing in them. The feed comes back to Ricky giving a shout-out to Ric Flair as the greatest world champion ever. They point out Michael “PS” Hayes as well. Ricky says they wrestled a lot of guys and it’s a great honor to be here tonight but they made history with The Midnight Express. Gibson gives final thanks to family members. Ricky talks about his wife and says he met a woman as crazy as he is, they have 7 kids and grandkids together. Ricky says he and Robert have been through the good and bad, they have shared tragedies of life. Ricky says he has 4 brothers at home but in his heart he has 5. Ricky says Robert is the greatest person he’s met in his life. Ricky gets emotional and thanks Gibson for everything. Ricky gives it up for The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express and they get a standing ovation before beginning the celebration together.
– Back from a break and Jerry Lawler says if our next inductee was here tonight, he would ask for all you sweathogs to stand and watch what a real man looks like. Lawler leads us to the video package for Rick Rude’s induction.
WWE Hall of Famer Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat is out to induct Rude. He talks about how Rude was a true heel. He goes on about how strong Rude was and how he was one of the great ring psychologists. Steamboat introduces Rude’s wife and daughter, Michelle and Marissa, and his son Rick. Rude’s son has the music cut like his father used to. Rick talks about accepting the honor for his father and goes into a quick “all you fat Orlando sweathogs…” promo that gets a big pop. Rick says most of the fans know more about his stats but what he’s here to do is tell us about Richard Erwin Rood. He talks about how Rude had a tough upbringing. He goes on and talks about his father getting into pro wrestling. He says his father did great work because he truly loved what he did. He was constantly pushing to make the industry and himself better, for the fans. His father also enjoyed hunting, fishing and as Steve Austin would say, trying to hunt. Rude always said he worked as hard as he did so his kids wouldn’t have to struggle like he did, so they would have more opportunities than he did. Rick says he did just that. He married the strongest woman, who raised them after Rude was gone. He points to his sister who is about to graduate college, and says he himself is a small business owner. He also talks about his late brother Colton and we see a photo of him on the big screen. Rick thanks WWE and the fans one more time to wrap the speech.
– Back from a break and we get the video package for Beth Phoenix’s induction. Jerry Lawler introduces Natalya to do the induction.
Natalya says she gets to induct her best friend into the WWE Hall of Fame tonight. She doesn’t know what magic made this happen but this was meant to be. She tells a story of her first look at Beth and how they could pass as sisters. Beth reached out on MySpace one day and said she wanted to become a WWE Superstar because of two people – Natalya’s uncles, Bret Hart and Owen Hart. Fans chant for Owen. Owen was Beth’s inspiration. Natalya’s future best friend was inspired by her family. Natalya says she finally met this amazing woman and Beth showed up wearing the same outfit. Natalya says Beth became her sister, her partner in crime. They did their best to impress Fit Finlay and Arn Anderson because if you’ve done that, you’ve made it in this industry. She goes on and talks about the first women’s tag team table match in WWE and how Beth wanted the spotlight to be on Natalya. Beth was like that, she always wanted to lift others up. Beth believed in Natalya when she sometimes didn’t believe in herself. She talks more about their time on the road together and mentions Beth being one of 3 women to compete in the Royal Rumble. Natalya jokes that she is still jealous of Beth getting to kiss The Great Khali and she didn’t. Natalya still believes that Beth is her Uncle Owen’s gift to her from heaven. Natalya gets emotional. She believes in fate because of Beth. Natalya asks everyone to give it up for her best friend, her sister, her soul mate and her destiny. The familiar music hits and out comes Beth Phoenix. They embrace.
Beth gets emotional as she begins her speech. We see Eve crying in the crowd too. Fans chant for “one more match” and she says she’s a mom now but will totally put everyone in time out. She mentions wrestling being her first love and thanks her grandmother for that. Everything changed for her with Bret vs. Owen at WrestleMania 10 and that’s when she knew she wanted to be a pro wrestler. She talks about a college friend named Janet who encouraged her to pursue her dream and stood by her through the years. She thanks her trainer Ron Hutchison. She carried his experience and wisdom every day of her career. She thanks others from the early days of her career, including WWE Hall of Famer Afa The Wild Samoan and his family. She says there’s nothing like Samoan hospitality. She talks about her first WWE tryout and seeing all the wrestlers she admired on TV, including Eddie Guerrero, get in the ring and work with her. Fans chant for Eddie. She talks about becoming great friends with Molly Holly and learning from her. She also talks about some of the people in WWE developmental who believed in her and helped her. She praised Tommy Dreamer big time for being a fighter for the little guy. She thanks all the female Superstars she worked with on the main roster, every opponent who helped make The Glamazon and helped elevate women in wrestling. She thanks Candice Michelle and her first opponent, Mickie James. She thanks Eve Torres and puts her over big. She also thanks one of her most favorite opponents, Santino Marella. She talks about how she suggested the storyline to Vince McMahon and how it came to be. She also puts over Natalya as one of the best people she’s known. She talks about how close they are, how Natalya picked her up when she was at her lowest. Beth calls her family and truly believes Owen has a small part in bringing them together. She says Natalya is the best there is, was and ever will be as far as a friend goes. Beth thanks the current WWE Superstars for continuing the movement of equality. She thanks a bunch more wrestlers and behind-the-scenes workers. Beth gives big credit and praise to Chyna. She mentions her parents aren’t here tonight because her mother recently underwent open-heart surgery. She thanks her brother and his wife for being there. She thanks her husband Adam, known to WWE fans as Hall of Famer Edge, who gets a big pop from the crowd. She goes to refer to Edge as The Rated R Superstar but Tony Chimel interrupts her and comes out with a mic. Tony introduces Edge like only he can. Edge gets a standing ovation and a big pop as his music plays for a few seconds. Beth says being married to a wrestler has challenges but being a wrestler married to a wrestler is next level. She jokes on married life as wrestlers. She thanks Edge and goes on about how he’s an amazing father. She mentions their two kids Ruby and Lyric, one who is asleep at the hotel with their friend and the other sitting with Edge in the crowd. Beth goes on and thanks everyone to end it. Her music hits as she trades kisses with Edge and their daughter.
– Lawler leads us to the video package for the Warrior Award recipient, former Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand. Dana Warrior comes out next to induct LeGrand. She gives a speech on how WWE’s cast of characters come together, what the Warrior Award means and how LeGrand embodies the spirit of her husband. She talks about LeGrand’s accident and how he’s helping others now. She believes him when he vows to walk again. Dana goes on and also praises Eric’s mother for helping her son. Dana introduces Eric LeGrand and out he comes to an ovation.
LeGrand comes out and thanks God. He also thanks Triple H for bringing him into the WWE family. He talks about how he got to know Triple H. He tells the story of how he was paralyzed on the football field. He decided to always believe and never give up. LeGrand talks about some of the obstacles he has cleared and the progress he has made since the injury. LeGrand says it’s his time to give back, which is why he’s created the Team LeGrand of the Reeve Foundation. He talks about Christopher Reeve, the life he led before passing away and calls him a true Ultimate Warrior. LeGrand says it’s his goal to carry on what Reeve was doing. LeGrand also talks for a few minutes about being a big WWE fan through the Attitude Era. He thanks his mother for giving up her life for taking care of him, some of his friends and Team LeGrand in the crowd. Eric promises to live up to the Warrior’s spirit and vows to walk again.
– Lawler leads us to the video package for Teddy Long.
JBL and WWE Hall of Famer Ron Simmons are out next to do the induction. They joke how he was the cheapest person ever. They have a bill for more than $72,000 for unpaid tolls and other expenses from the years on the road together. They talk about how Teddy drove them. They talk about Teddy’s success in various areas of the business before talking about his personal journey, coming up during the Civil Rights era. It’s their honor to induct their good friend and the cheapest human being on Earth. Out comes Teddy Long to a pop as his music plays.
Teddy does some dancing around before beginning his speech. He says we aren’t loud enough for him tonight, playas. Teddy gets a few “hollas” from the crowd and thanks them. A “Teddy” chant starts now. Teddy agrees with JBL and Simmons, saying he is cheap. Teddy tells his version of a story they told and says he’s not going to keep us out here all night, he knows what time it is. Teddy starts talking about his career, how he started out doing what he could do to stay busy backstage. He was called on to referee one night and had never called a match before. Teddy talks about how he got into managing and how Jim Ross helped him manage in WCW. Teddy talks about managing Doom, Johnny B. Badd, Ice Train, Scott Norton and others. Teddy says there are a lot of guys he had a great career with. He talks about coming to work for WWE and thanks JR again. Teddy started as a referee for WWE and did that for a year before he was recommended to be a manager. Teddy came to a TV event in Providence, Rhode Island and came out with D-Lo Brown, who was the first WWE guy he started managing. Teddy says he cut a promo and came back to praise from Vince McMahon. Teddy mentions managing others like Mark Henry, Rodney Mack, Mark Jindrak, Christopher Nowinski and others. Teddy says the list goes on and on but we’re not going to take up a lot of time tonight. Teddy talks about how he got the General Manager job and just didn’t want to let the McMahons down. He thanks God, his family, especially his wife. He also thanks the McMahon family a few more times. Teddy jokes that he will put JBL and Ron in a tag team match or JBL in a one-on-one match with The Undertaker. Teddy goes on before wrapping up his speech to a pop.
– Lawler leads us to a video package for this year’s Legacy Wing inductees – Haystacks Calhoun, Judy Grable, Farmer Burns, Rikidozan, June Byers, Toots Mondt, Dr. Jerry Graham, Toots Mondt, Bearcat Wright and Luther Lindsay.
– Lawler introduces the video package for Kurt Angle’s induction.
John Cena is out next to induct Kurt Angle into the WWE Hall of Fame. Fans sing their own version of Cena’s theme song and he says it’s good to see them too. Fans chant for The Miz next. Cena says the moment we’re about to see is long overdue. Cena says Angle is in a class by himself. He doesn’t believe we will see anyone ever like Angle again. Cena says Angle lived up to the expectations he had coming in and exceeded them. Angle became the measuring stick for any and all WWE Superstars within 2 years. Cena goes on with props for Angle and asks everyone to help him welcome home the one and only Kurt Angle. The familiar music hits and out comes Angle to a pop, apparently with his daughter. The “you suck” chant starts up and Angle takes it in.
The crowd pops big for Angle before he speaks. He says it’s great to be back home. He thanks Cena for the wonderful speech. A “welcome back” or “one more match” chant starts up. Angle jokes that he just got here, give him some time. Angle thanks Cena again and says he has so much respect for him. Angle talks about how he got into WWE after winning the gold medal with a broken freakin’ neck. He goes on and credits his progress to working with guys like Chris Jericho, Edge, Christian, The Hardys, Steve Austin, and even Rikishi, among many others he named. Fans chanted “Delete!” when he mentioned The Hardys. He recalls matches with guys like Shawn Michaels, Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton, Cena and Shane McMahon. Angle says he can’t wait to see AJ vs. Shane on Sunday. Angle says he’s here tonight to give advice to the sports entertainers in the crowd. Angle tells them to limit their mistakes, follow the protocol, follow the rules and use common sense. Don’t be the guy or girl who could’ve been the greatest of all time if they would have stayed out of trouble. Angle tells them to take chances with their personalities and characters, he did. Angle gets a “little cowboy hat” brought out for a pop. Angle starts a “Jimmy Crack Corn” rendition for another pop. Angle also has the headgear and hair piece brought out. Angle recalls riding a moped to the ring to face “American Bad Ass” The Undertaker and battle rapping with Cena. Angle calls for a beat from the crowd before rapping a bit. He says “I’m just a sexy Kurt” was his favorite of all time. Angle gets the crowd to clap as he breaks into his version of Shawn Michaels’ theme song as HBK looks on. He also recalls the milk truck. Angle thanks WWE for always making it fun. He thanks his brothers, his mom and dad. His parents were a little rough on him but it worked. He thanks his 5 children and says they are his life. Angle thanks the one person that saved his life – she was there at his worst and is now here for his best. He thanks his wife Giovanna. Angle says now he’s going to celebrate this Hall of Fame induction the only way he knows how. Angle has two bottles of milk brought out. He does the “it’s true” line before giving himself a milk bath. Angle’s music hits as the “you suck” chant starts up again. Angle thanks everyone, covered in milk, and makes his way across the stage as everyone cheers him on. The Hall of Fame ceremony goes off the air with the “you suck!” chants continuing.
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