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WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony 2016 live coverage

WWE's annual hall of fame ceremony is upon us, with a mix of all-time greats, memorable acts, celebrities, and the debut of the Legacy Award. This year sees Sting and the Fabulous Freebird act as headliners, while Stan Hansen adds credibility, The Big Bossman finally joins the hall of fame, while The Godfather adds levity, Jacqueline provides the female entrant, and Snoop Dogg enters the celebrity wing. Something called the Legacy Award will also make its debut here, while Joan Lunden will be honored with the Warrior Award for her fight with breast cancer. The pre-show features a slew of interviews, and concluded with a touching tribute to Dusty Rhodes before the end of it. Byron also wore a ridiculous suit. Booker T is a smart man and says that his wife makes him wish that every night was a hall of fame night.

The hall of fame broadcast begins with a video package recapping how all-time greats are in the hall of fame...and also Jacqueline and Godfather. Jerry Lawler is the emcee, and says that this is favorite night of the year - and he truly means it. Like he does when that's used for WrestleMania, or Tribute to the Troops. Godfather is the opening act, and he was now "a conductor of a train". We see Godfather's IC Title win and Ice T intro to show the heights that the character reached. The APA induct The Godfather and put him over as one of the toughest guys in history. JBL says that Godfather had to dumb his character down for TV and they say they still have the munchies from riding with him. They do an amusing  bit where they can't tell their whole stories on a family show, and then tell their wives that they actually don't know him and are making this up on the fly. Godfather comes out looking trim and brings out one more ho train. Godfather gives a shout-out to his kids and has his grandson get a round of applause. Godfather says he's not really a pimp...but he ran Cheetah's, so he'll leave that alone. Godfather tells the young guys to have fun, enjoy the time you have now, and go visit him and "chop it up". I'm sure he's just a really big salad fan.

Stan Hansen follows up Godfather, and we finally get to see his full hall of fame video recapping his career. Seeing Stan with bleach blonde hair in the '70s is bizarre. Paul Heyman tells us that as a kid, he didn't fear Godzilla or the boogeyman - he feared Stan Hansen for breaking Bruno's neck. Stan's highlight reel is amazing - even focusing just on his mannerisms and promos. Vader comes out and says he met Stan in a "small regional company called the AWA" - well, it was certainly down from its peak, but it wasn't small in '86. Vader admires Stan Hansen almost as much as Mr. T loves his mama. Vader talks about Stan breaking his nose before the match with Stan where his eye came out. After what might have been several decades, Stan comes out after Vader puts on googly eye glasses.

Stan looks pretty much the same as he ever did, but with grey hair instead of brunette. Stan thanks God for giving him a strong set of legs, and forgives him for getting shortchanged when it came to looks. He thanks JBL for keeping his name alive in the modern era and talks about Brody telling him if you have two ugly guys like them, if you find pretty ladies that love you, you've got it made. He's proud of his kids for paving their own way in life, and thanks Terry Funk for breaking him into wrestling. Hansen puts over Bob Backlund as the best athlete in wreslting history, and talks about how they each had to sleep in their cars at times. Stan puts over Red Bastien and Frtz Von Erich for helping him out a lot in Texas. He enjoyed working against Rick Martel a lot as well and shares a memory of Rick Martel beating him in 9 seconds - and then gets in a little jab at himself for that being proof he's done a few jobs. Stan talks about how much he admires Bruno for that rivalry and gets a big grin on his face.

Stan says he got caught in the middle of a wrestling war and left New Japan for All Japan - but worked for 26 years for Baba in All Japan on a handshake deal. He loved hooking up with Brody, and says that no one could keep up with them. He assures us he isn't bragging, but hey, maybe he is with a bit of a wink. He loved working Jumbo and Tenryu, as well as the younger guys like Kobashi and Misawa. Stan thanks "the carpenters" in pro wrestling who built a foundation for him to stand on a main eventer. He thanks Texas and lets out one big "YOU!" with the horns. Stan's speech was outstanding, even if Vader's did drag on. Taker-Shane video package serves as an ad break.

Jacqueline is up next, and we get a career retrospective of her winning in the USWA, and then being a "trailblazer" in WCW by having a match with Disco. She joined WWE in '98 and became the first African-American women's champion. She is put over more in the video as being a pioneer and someone who opened doors for future generations. Bubba and Devon come out to induct her and Bubba says that they were excited to induct her because it was her choice and she chose them immediately. Bubba and Devon have one of the best parts of the show so far, with Devon starting to talk and Bubba saying "nah, just say testify" and Devon telling him to get his own damn tables. Devon talks about how Jackie would feign falling asleep to avoid a toll, and then "forgetting her wallet" when it came to pay her share of the rental car. Devon told a great story about Jackie "dabbing", failing, but accepting a bet to do that tonight. She does it while coming out just to get it over with. The thanks Skandar Akbar for training her, talks briefly about going in the USWA, skips over WCW, and runs down her WWE career in Wikipedia-like fashion. She thanks Lita, Trish, Sable, and Terri - we see Nidia for a second here when Lita was shown.

The legacy award members of the hall of fame are introduced. Pat O'Connor, Frank Gotch, George Hackenschmidt, Mildred Burke, "Sailor" Art Thomas, Ed "The Strangler" Lewis, and Lou Thesz each get a video package showcasing some beautiful photos of each person's career. It's a shame that at least Gotch, Thesz, and O'Connor couldn't go into the hall of fame formally - but at least they're in somewhat, and it adds a small amount of on-paper credibility to things. The Fabulous Freebirds Hall of Fame video airs, and shows a slew of Von Erich stuff alongside "Freebird" playing. WWE did right by actually paying for the song, and the clips they showed allowed you to see how big a deal they were. New Day comes out in some amazing suits.

They get in some amazing lines about the Freebirds being a well-oiled machine working as a unit, while Big E talks about his unit being oiled while Woods loves blowing on his girl Franchesca II. Big E talks about the Freebirds paint showing that they were big...fans of the USA!  In a perfect move once again, we get "Freebird" once again playing the Birds out to a sold-out arena in Texas. Hayes and Garvin come out looking ridiculous in a glorious way. Garvin is out looking like a high school chemistry teacher dancing to "Freebird" while Michael is out in a glittery pimp suit , a white and red "Badstreet USA" shirt, and a fanny pack while also sporting his Freebirds-era beard. Hayes is slightly blown up, while Garvin joked about needing oxygen and may in fact need it because he cannot say three words without breathing hard.

Garvin thanks Chief Jay Strongbow for training him, and then talks about drinking moonshine with Hayes and Tommy Rich at a barbecue. Garvin says that the attendance records will be smashed tomorrow, and Hayes says that "speaking of smashed, Buddy, Terry, Jimmy and I got an apartment...". They can't find the key, so Terry just kicks it down and they all just prop the door up and party. Terry tosses a table up through the ceiling, and then they got pissed at Buddy because they always did - so he took a big bump through it and said "well, we never drank coffee anyway". Michael brings out Ray Gordy and Buddy Roberts Jr. Ray says he always joked that as a kid, his favorite wrestler was always Kevin Von Erich. He thanks WWE for this honor. Buddy Jr. thanks WWE for this and Ray says he'd sure love to hear more Freebirds stories. Garvin says it's a family show, so they're a bit restricted - but they'll push the limit because the worst that can happen is Hayes getting fired. Jimmy Garvin says he was taking a shower and was given a golden shower by Buddy Jack. Hayes talks about getting some good advice on a strip club, but he knows that him going to a strip club wouldn't be a good idea to avoid getting in trouble. David, Kerry, and Terry force him to go into the club. It's not your average strip club - it's a place where you'll hear "Here's Aunt Rosie after her third kid!".

Michael Hayes was just minding his business playing Pac-Man before a biker talks smack to Michael, so Terry smacks him and they beat him up. Terry tells him "Michael...he's got a wodden leg", and Michael says he doesn't care about that, he's more concerned with leaving without getting stabbed. They try to make a deal with the bikers, but as one gets up, they see him reaching into his vest and they haul ass - but get to a back door that is locked. They go to the front door and the guy shoots, but luckily they got a head start since the guy's got a wodden leg. He missed them and Terry laughs. Michael asks what the hell he was laughing at and he says "CUZ HE MISSED!" This got a huge roar of approval from the crowd and was eaily the best part of the show so far.

Garvin talks about renting an apartment to the rest of them and Percy, and Percy almost burning it down by throwing a fire-lit chair into the pool. Garvin talks about loving being valet for the day for Kevin, then facing Chris Adams and loving Patty - his wife of 47 years. Garvin thanks her, their kids, and grandkids. He says he was honored to be a Freebird before officially being in it, and without them, he wouldn't have had the ability to be what he was in wrestling. Or be able to party with Michael, Buddy, and Terry - and he'll cherish those memories forever. Hayes makes sure that the WCCW roster gets some love, with Garvin being shown in his WCW getup during this portion. Hayes thanks his mom, even though when he was a kid, he was trying to mack on a girl and she killed it by asking for dungarees in the husky department. "Hollywood" John Tatum gets a pop, and a caemo while Hayes thanks the writers of WWE - who get huge boos. Hayes says he was disgusted when he first heard "smiles on faces", but he went to a house show, and realized just how true it was. Hayes says to prove how crazy he is, he thanks his ex-wives. Claire believed in him, while Lory gave him some of the craziest times he could've ever had. Michael thanks the McMahons for helping him out in dark times, and says that Linda is the only one who isn't crazy - but she did only let him sing one song at Hunter and Steph's wedding, and almost accidentally peed on her on a plane. Hayes says that if you don't believe in yourself, you should because he never thought he'd be standing on-stage as a WWE hall of famer. Michael gives a tribute to his dog Jojo, who he lost two years ago. Hayes talks about being told years ago that you should cherish the time you have, and not worry about the time you've wasted.

He brings Kevin Von Erich out and says that the Freebirds were brothers because they loved each other, but calls New Day the "New Gay Guys" in an amusing little bit. He talks about loving and missing his brothers. He now has his sons Marshall and Ross, and after they got a chance to steal the show at Slammiversary, they get a nice cameo at the Hall of Fame too. He said they had a lot of fun beating each other up, it made for great TV, and God bless Texas. Hayes gives a shoutout to Badstreet USA and we hear that classic theme one more time on WWE TV before Hayes dances and then sings the song. Oh my God, this is glorious. Hayes is out to steal the show and keep his job at the same time. WWE gave Hayes 15 more minutes of fame tonight, and he took 90 - God bless him.

The Big Bossman hall of fame video features some great clips of him in the WWF while Miz talks about how fans in the Attitude era paid to see his hardcore matches. And I guess that Austin fella helped a bit too. Slick rattled off a slew of cliches about Bossman and said that his pockets are full of green thanks to him. He says that while his family lost a father and husband, heaven gained a Guardian Angel. Bossman's theme hits and his family comes out to accept the award in his honor. One of his daughters says that it was a bit tough watching him wrestle when he was getting beaten up by Rikishi and having his face shoved into his backside. Al Snow gets a brief shoutout as "some dude" - which seems like the punchline to a Mick Foley standup joke. Angela, Ray's wife shows the night stick and says that Ray loved his family before tearing up. She gets in a great line with "When you have Rick Steiner as your roommate for a few years, you learn a lot!"

Snoop Dogg highlight video sets up him going into the hall of fame. John Cena comes out to induct Snoop and gets a chorus of boos. He says that saying hi to Snoop doesn't always mean hello. Cena says that Snoop's WWE career began two years than his did, and he made more WM appearances than 10 of the wrestlers tomorrow. Cena says that WWE is Snoop's home, which means that there could be some interesting results for tomorrow's drug tests. He talks about calling himself the Doctor of Thuganomics years ago, and Snoop invited him into his studio and he got to make music with him. Snoop come sout looking amazing and saying he's got to keep it hood and get a selfie with the crowd. Snoop says that "WWE is the number one sport in the world - not just America, but the world!" and puts over Cena for letting him live the WWE life when he visits. Snoop gives his cousin Sasha Banks a nice shoutout. He took her to WrestleMania in 2008 and she lit up. I bet he did too. Snoop was overjoyed to see her face on the side of AT&T Stadium. Her journey is something else, and he grew up seeing Gorilla and Andre live, and tells the crowd to give themselves a round of applause for being fans. Tony Atlas was an inspiration for Snoop, as were Rocky Johnson, JYD, Dusty Rhodes, and Ric Flair. Snoops raps about the hall of fame while reading lyrics off of his iPhone.

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We get a rundown of Joan Lunden's broadcasting career and battle with cancer, alongside her current role as a breast cancer advocate. Dana Warrior talks about how much she's learned about life since losing Warrior two years ago. She cuts a great promo in this speech on how Real Housewives just copied WWE with table-flipping. Joan is put over as a mother, grandmother, and ultimate badass fighter for beating cancer and going into "Warrior Mode" to beat cancer. Joan says that due to cancer, she learned about how to become a warrior and overcome odds. She says that "there are no fans like the WWE fans", which I'm sure was meant as a compliment, but could be misconstrued. Ditto "there is no other company like WWE!" She says that WWE has its Rock, but she has hers - it isn't Don Muraco, but her husband.

Sting's TV hall of fame video is shown again for the show - kind of a shame it wasn't expanded upon for the full show since he is the main eventer on it. Ric pays tribute to Roddy Piper and Dusty Rhodes before tearing up, then composing himself to get Dusty's wife to stand up. Ric puts over Charlotte as carrying the family tradition, and chats about Sting for a bit too before cutting a promo on Stan Hansen for losing to Rick Martel in 9 seconds, but he wouldn't even sell for him - and Brody wouldn't either! Flair told Sting to go to WWE years ago and rattles off his Sting-Flair formula. When he was asked to change it up, he said why - it works, and it sure did. It was a great formula for Flair and Bobby Roode replicated it perfectly in TNA. He puts over HHH as being one of the best ever, and loves HBK for carrying him at WrestleMania XXIV - and gets in a little dig at HBK for saying "just shut up and listen to me" for his WWE retirement match. Ric talks about Steamboat and says they're each 0-4 for marriages, while DDP is only 0-2. He's glad Sting finally got a chance to come to WWE because it's the place to be. Ric says that he was sure Sting would get blown up at WrestleMania last year, but he didn't - but HHH beat him then too.

Sting says he made his WWE debut on Raw in this very building, and how he didn't know anything about wrestling until he saw Big John Studd, Andre the Giant, the British Bulldogs, and it was pandemonium when he saw them. Sting talks about not knowing what Waffle House was when he was just getting in, and Warrior having a crazy breakfast with tons of stuff just on top of other things. They pretty much lived in his '83 T-bird and he promised God that he'd give back if he was able to make it in pro wrestling. Sting says that at one time, over 400 companies were making products with his likeness on there. He wonders if anyone still has a Sting air freshener. I bet a Snoop air freshener would sell quickly. He talks about the Seth match and Seth apologizing to him, but Sting telling them to let him talk - and he told him that he dressed as Sting for Halloween and "he had a shootin' look on his face too!". He rattles off some great lines. "One of the highlights of my career was teaming with Robocop and Leon, remember the White Castle of Fear - boy this WWE Network has a lot of good stuff on me..." He shares a tale of an NWO beating resulting in Kevin Nash spooning with him. He talks about Surfer Sting, Crow Sting, and asks if he should mention Joker Sting and does. Sting says that he was a chameleon, and it hurt him because he didn't stand for anything and would fall for anything.

He made bad choices, and while people saw the Sting persona at its peak, in his real life, everything slipped through his fingers. In August of 1998, he was pinned by God. Since that point, his life has been back in order and he's now with the fans, his wife, kids, mother, and daughter. He says he got bragging rights by appearing at WrestleMania and facing a great like HHH. He is proud to be a WWE Hall of Famer and thanks Jim Hellwig. A "one more match" chant breaks out and then an even louder "Undertaker" one happens. He thanks 2K for some advice, and thanks his trainers for getting him in shape for both WrestleMania and Night of Champions. He thanks Jim Ross for his advice over the year, and Michael Hayes.

Sting shows us his family, including his parents, who look fantastic for their age. He thanks his children and stepson for becoming the young men and women they've become. Sting says that without the fans, there wouldn't be a Sting, Stone Cold, or Bruno. He enjoyed entertaining the fans for all the years he has. He announces his official retirement from wrestling tonight - and while it was something that was expected since September, it was still sad. He at least went out in the ring giving everything he had, and main eventing a WWE pay-per-view that wound up doing very well. He puts on some shades, grabs his bat and says "it's not goodbye - just see you later". Sting's speech was excellent, and one of the better ones on the show. It's a shame he didn't mention Lex Luger in his speech - and a little surprising. Whle Michael Hayes stole the show, Sting's speech felt genuine and was something to be remembered. Ditto for Stan Hansen's. Snoop's speech could be edited for a Sasha Banks video and make her a star in one night on Raw - it was that good.

To see all the screens for the show, just click here.