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WWE Hall of Fame live coverage: Goldberg headlines the 2018 class

Preshow notes:

Matt Hardy appeared with his wife Rebecca and they were completely out of character. Jeff Hardy appeared later and announced that he'd been cleared to return but was just waiting for ideas for a return. 

Dolph Ziggler crashed a Sonja Deville interview in a very ackward moment. Both Renee Young and Deville completely brushed him off. 

Ronda Rousey and her husband Travis Browne (only called Travis by Byron Saxton) were interviewed as well. Rousey looked terribly nervous and was thrown off by the crowd chanting for her. 

Beth Phoenix announced that she would be calling the Women's Battle Royal on the WrestleMania preshow Sunday afternoon. 

Daniel Bryan said that he's looking forward to coming down the ramp in his "spandex battle jammies" on Sunday. 


Jerry Lawler is hosting the show once again. He opened by introducting the Dudley Boyz as the first inductees tonight. 

The Dudley Boyz Bubba Ray and D-Von (inducted by Edge and Christian)

Edge and Christian did some comedy where Christian was trying to induct himself and the fans seemed into it. They chanted "YOU DESERVE IT" at Christian. Edge mocked people who said that Heyman should've inducted them, basically calling them geeks who live in their parents' basements. Christian said it's because they're the only two guys that like Bubba. Ron Simmons did a cameo with his "DAMN" catchphrase after E and C said that the Dudleys beat the APA from pillar to post. They closed off the intro by doing a pretty bad impression of the Dudleyz with Edge saying "Christian....get the Dudleyz"

The Dudleyz put on their goofy glasses to start their acceptance speech. They had a tense start as Bubba talked about how "the boys" will text him, joking that D-Von is their producer. D-Von said they're just happy that Bubba isn't the producer to which Bubba replied "If I was the producer, their match might get over". D-Von said that when he started, he tried to look like Hulk Hogan, joking that he had the tan and Hogan's hairdo. D-Von put over his momma but promised he wouldn't go on about her like Mr T did. 

Bubba referred to he and D-Von as WWF fans as kids and D-Von interrupted him, saying "we talked about this, you can't say the F-word". Bubba said that he's most proud of the fact that they are the first original ECW act to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. D-Von took exception to the fact that Bubba said they weren't as pretty as Ricky and Robert, saying he's a fine looking black man. Bubba especially thanked Velvet Sky, referring to her by that name and calling her the future Mrs Dudley. D-Von told a story about how when he was Reverend D-Von, the money that was collected for the "Reverend D-Von Building Fund" actually went to the APA drinking fund. Bubba put over Mae Young, calling her the "toughest man" he ever faced in his life. They called up Matt and Jeff and Edge and Christian to join them on stage. Bubba said that without the four of them, they wouldn't be Hall of Famers today. They got played off stage at the 22 minute mark but that was a setup for the Dudley to put a production guy through a table. Crowd loved every second of this. 

Next up, Jerry Lawler introduced Hillbilly Jim, to be inducted by Jimmy Hart. Notable that in the video package they reference "The Immortal" Hulk Hogan, perhaps softening the waters for an eventual return. 

Hillbilly Jim (inducted by Jimmy Hart)

Jimmy came out to "Eat Your Heart Out Rick Springfield", which has not aged well. Hart told a story about how Hillbilly Jim wrecked his knew and the doctors said it would be a miracle if he ever wrestled again and he was back in the ring at WrestleMania 3 to wrestle King Kong Bundy. He also put over Jim as the guy that got him into the WWF right before the first WrestleMania. 

I guess they don't have the rights to play his original theme cause Jim came out to generic dosey-do music that sounded a bit like the original. The crowd gave a polite response but it seemed like they weren't all that familiar with Jim. He told some stories about how he got into the business that got no reaction at all except for when he'd ocassionaly reference Jim Ross and a speech he made at the Hall of Fame a couple years ago about opportunity. He did a Stu Hart impression which got a little reaction when talking about starting out wrestling for Stampede Wrestling in Calgary. 

He then talked about Jerry Lawler giving him a break in Memphis. That led him to the WWF when they did a big show in Nashville. He met Pat Patterson, who got him hired into the WWF at the time. Jim put over Hulk Hogan for taking him under his wing and making him a bigger star. He told a story about how Pat Patterson gave him a merchandise cheque for $87,000, which was a ton of money at the time. He told an Andre the Giant drinking story, saying they drank 57 bottles of liquor in a Miami airport and that he drank 8 of them and was drunk. He talked about Wes Strater, a good friend who was a sportscaster that died last year. He said he was asked by a writer how he would like to be remember and his answer was "I would like to be remembered". He also mentioned "Luscious" Johnny Valiant, who just passed away as well as Andre, Lord Alfred Hayes, Bobby Heenan, Gorilla Monsson, Freddie Blassie, Lou Albano, Jimmy Snuka, Randy Savage and Roddy Piper, who had all passed on previously. In total he went 34 minutes and it was probably at least 15 minutes too long. 

:Lawer introduced a video package honoring the 2018 Legacy inductees including Lord Alfred Hayes, Hiro Matsuda, Stan Stasiak, Rufus R Jones, Boris Malenko, El Santo, Cora Combs, Jim Londos and Sputnik Munroe. 

Ivory (inducted by Molly Holly)

Molly told the story of how Ivory helped her get through the 9/11 tragedy and how she competed twice on the first show in Houston after the attacks. She said that Ivory invited Lillian Garcia to ride with them from Houston after that show. Garcia took the attacks hard since he's a New York City native but Ivory helped her as well. She then brought out Lillian to officially introduce Ivory. 

Ivory talked about how Molly was her driving partner and that Molly would just shut up and drive, which kind of forced her to be quiet as well. She said her wrestling career started by attending a TV convention in New Orleans to introduce GLOW and it concludes in the same city by her being inducted into the Hall of Fame. She talked about how much the women in WWE and wrestling in general has progressed since her day and how much she was looking forward to seeing all the women compete on Sunday. She said that getting inducted into the Hall of Fame is a once in a lifetime opportunity, unless you're Ric Flair. She said it's like the one time you get married, unless you're Ric Flair. She then said he's never been married and no one has even proposed to her...even Ric Flair. Some in the crowd chanted MARRY ME after that. 

She then said that she had to buy a gown, just like a wedding. Molly Holly was like her maid of honor and her GLOW castmates were like the bridesmaids. Her groomsmen included Jim Cornette, Jim Ross and Howard Brody, who all helped her along the way in her career. Her speech was interrupted by the annoying Right to Censor music at one point. Her something old was herself. Her something new was the Hall of Fame ring. Her something borrowed was a couple of minutes from the next inductee's time. And for something blue, she said purple suits her better and pulled out a purple scarf. And Lillian Garcia is the wedding singer. She then gave her closing vows and said "with this ring, I thee wed", holding up her Hall of Fame ring. Very nice speech that went 18 minutes. 

Jerry Lawler sounded like he was introducing Jeff Jarrett next but the intro was actually for Kid Rock. 

Kid Rock (inducted by Triple H)

Triple H was rushing through his speech, kind of like he was trying to stop the fans from chanting at him to derail the speech. He talked about how important music is in taking you back to a time and place and how important Kid Rock was to the Attitude Era. He said that this weekend is full of memories and the sountrack to those memories will be the American Bad Ass, Kid Rock. 

Rock said being put in the Hall of Fame was better than winning a Grammy. He said there was no politics involved, which has to be a first in wrestling. He said he was told not to thank Vince and not to talk about politics in his speech. He then proceed to thank Vince and put him over as changing the landscape of American entertainment. He went on to say he wants to bodyslam some Democrats, which got some boos from the crowd. Crowd popped when he mentioned Undertaker, The Rock, Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan as friends of his in the business. 

He talked about his former bandmate Joe C, who passed away many years ago and was a huge wrestling fan that was in some angles on RAW during the Attitude era. Quick speech that was only 6 minutes long but you could tell he was genuinely happy to be honored. 

A commercial for new shows on the WWE Network included the announcement of a 2nd Mae Young Classic, a WWE UK King of the Ring tournament and the Bruce Pritchard podcast coming to the Network, "Something Else to Wrestle With"

Jeff Jarrett (inducted by Road Dogg)

Road Dogg said that there were a lot of stories he could tell but they weren't PG, which drew some boos. The crowd laughed when he advised them not to do drugs. He said that Jeff Jarrett is one of the few men he has a special relationship with. His speech was short and he even reference how long this evening had been so far. 

Jarrett started off by doing his old JE-DOUBLE J speech but Road Dogg stopped him, saying it's not 1995 anymore. Jarrett was crying just a few words in, 32 years to the day after his first match as he said. That brought a YOU DESERVE IT chant and more tears from Jarrett. He said his match with Shawn Michaels in 1995 in Memphis was his best of all time, comparing HBK to Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Lebron James rolled up into one. He said that Miz is making the IC title proud and the crowd applauded that and Miz seemed generally surprised by that. 

He talked about how he's been a Horseman, in the nWo and the Bullet Club. He joked about the angle with David Arquette and talked about losing to Stephanie McMahon in her very first match. He put over Road Dogg for his military service and thanked him for helping through his recent battle with addiction, bringing more tears. And of course he talked about Owen Hart, which brought everyone to tears. He told some stories of Owen Hart legendary ribs. He talked about how he and Owen put on clown noses in the middle of a match with Edge and Christian which cracked up the crowd. Edge and Christian came out and put a clown nose on him at that point. He put over his grandmother saying that without her taking out a second job to support the wrestling, there would be no Jerry Jarrett and there would be no Jeff Jarrett. He closed by reading from a poem that he read in his first promo. Speech went 17 minutes but just breezed by. 

As expected, he and Road Dogg sang "With My Baby Tonight". Jarrett went into the crowd and got Zack Ryder to sing. He was better than Jarrett. They then went to Lillian Garcia for a bit and then Jeff's daughters. Road Dogg got blown up by the end of the song. 

They showed a commercial for Mania featuring the mixed tag match and then the camera panned to HHH and Stephanie, they booed and H was laughing and pointing at Steph, saying they're booing you. 

Warrior Award:

Jarrius "JJ" Robertson (inducted by Dana Warrior)

Dana talked about how Warrior was inducted into the Hall of Fame in this city four years ago. He of course died three days later so this was obviously very emotional for her and her daughters to return to this city. She broke down when they put up a picture of Warrior being accomponied by his daughters at the 2014 Hall of Fame ceremony. The speech was all about her husband, as it probably should've been given when and where he passed away. She did talk about the life threatening conditions he was born with and how he was in a medically induced coma for over a year and after they finally decided to pull the plug, he breathed on his own. He later had a second liver transplant from someone who passed away, which saved his life. 

Jarrius is a fountain of charisma, dancing to the podium like Teddy Long in his prime. He cracked up the crowd when complaining about the microphone being too high. Dude is like a miniature Big E. He mentioned past Warrior Award winners Conor the Crusher, Joan London and Jason LaGrange. JJ put over Stephanie McMahon, Roman Reigns, Randy Orton and Zack Ryder and when the crowd booed Reigns, JJ scolded them. He joked that he has a better chance of getting a Mania match than John Cena. 

He talked about his cause "One Donor Can Save a Live". He said that two donors saved his. One month ago he was in the hospital getting his 2nd liver transplant and now he's here in the Hall of Fame. He closed the segment by dancing with Dana Warrior. This was fantastic. 

Mark Henry (inducted by Big Show)

Show said that Henry is his brother from another mother. He told a funny story about how he noticed Mark was upset and he couldn't figure out why. When he asked him, he said it was because spent the last half hour trying to rip a quarter in half and he could only bend it. He told a story about how someone backstage tried to take a picture without asking Mark first. Henry grabbed the camera and crushed it with one hand. 

Henry warned everyone that it would take an act of God to prevent him from crying. The fans chanted "Sexual Chocolate", which made him laugh, so it worked. He started crying a couple minutes in when talking about his grandmother bringing him to a show when he was 9 and seeing his favorite wrestler, Andre the Giant. He said the kids behind him knocked him down when he ran to the barricade and Andre picked him up and that's why he's here today. 

He talked a lot about his mom and how she bought him a weight set and that it turned his life around. He said the fame he got from being in the Olympics helped him get into the WWF which was always his dream. He did a pretty impression of Vince calling him to offer him a contract. He joked that he was the "biggest mark" in the history of wrestling. Well, he's not wrong. A funny moment happened in the middle of an Ernie Ladd story when it sounded like his music was playing and Henry looked up and said "Is that God? Ernie?". He talked about how the Hart family mentored him after he got banished to Canada after threatening Shawn Michaels. Would've like to have heard more about THAT story. He talked a little bit about Owen, saying that he brought so much joy to his life. He made a personal, tearfelt, plea to Martha Hart to allow WWE to induct Owen into the Hall of Fame. 

He talked a bit about Sexual Chocolate and that music started playing, which prompted a stagehand to bring out a cape. He started flirting with Stephanie, using the smooth Sexual Chocolate voice. He then pointed out his wife and put over her beauty, before tossing aside the cape. He said that Mae Young and Chyna made that character and thanked them for that. He talked about his time in the Nation, putting over D-Lo, Godfather and Ron Simmons. He also talked about the Rock, saying they go back to 1995 when Rock had no money but an incredible physique. He said he helped him out when he was broke and maybe now that he's retired, he'd like that money back with some interest. He thanked his children for being there for him even when he wasn't there for them, which was touching. He repeated his famous speech from RAW in 2013 where he teased retirement, even putting on the same jacket. He faux-challenged AJ Styles and Roman Reigns but then laughed, saying he was just playing. Speech seemed just a touch long at 27 minutes but that may just be that we're 4 hours in and not done yet. 

Paige introduced a trailer from the upcoming movie about her life, "Fighting With my Family". Rock was in the scene and stole it, cutting a classic Rock promo on the actors playing Paige and her brother. 

Bill Goldberg (inducted by Paul Heyman)

Paul Heyman did his usual introduction of himself. Sounded like there were some boos at the mention of Brock Lesnar. He said how people must think it's weird that the former owner of ECW was inducting the biggest homegrown star of WCW into the WWE Hall of Fame. He said they needed a believable opponent for Brock that could beat Brock's ass and that sure as hell wasn't Roman Reigns. That one hit a little closer to home in a situation like this. 

They did the classic Goldberg entrance from the backstage area with security onto the Hall of Fame stage. Goldberg promised a speech that would be short, just like his matches. He talked about how his sister raised him after his parents split up and how his brothers inspired him to play football. Crowd turned on him a bit when he brought up playing for the Georgia Bulldogs and the Atlanta Falcons. He said that when his football career was failing, Dallas Page was talking to him about getting him into wrestling. He said that Bruiser Brody was his favorite wrestler growing up. He said his character was a mixture of Nikita Koloff, Hawk, Bruiser Brody and Dan Severn. He talked about how his setup move was easy to copy and then said "where's Roman" as a jab at Roman stealing his spear. 

He talked about how Kevin Nash ending his streak on his birthday was a big part of the end of WCW. I don't know why but I never knew that before. He told a story about Dallas Page coming at him with a 15 page writeup of their Halloween Havoc match where he was supposed to spear Page 43 times. Crowd was really not connecting with much of what he was saying in the middle of his speech as a lot of it was a little "inside". He said that during the 2003-2004 run, it sucked, he sucked and he'd rather just move on than talk about it. He said that during his time away he had a chip on his shoulder about the wrestling business and he's not proud of it. 

He talked about his comeback in 2015 and thanked Barry Bloom for setting it up, He said he worked his ass off to get back in shape so that he could perform up to his standards when he came back. He talked to his son, saying he came back for him. He said the comeback was the greatest run of his career but he was miserable every day because he had to work so hard. The speech was really very personal and more meant for himself and his family than for the audience at home or in the arena. He told a story about how Stephanie told him that he couldn't be banging his head on the door anymore. So instead of headbutting the door, he punched it and broke his hand. Later that night he did a beer back with Steve Austin and drank 13 beers because he hurt so bad. 

Goldberg talked about Sting as a man of integrity to inspire him to do this and to be the man he became. He said that Sting, as well as Diamond Dallas Page, made him. He said that his dream was to be in the NFL Hall of Fame but being in this Hall of Fame was a better payoff and where he belongs. He said that as long as he's 2-1 over Brock Lesnar and has the strength to jackhammer anyone in this room that you should never say never. And then he closed by asking "Who's Next", obviously teasing a potential return. After promising a short speech, he came in at 35 minutes and it definitely dragged at points but he finished strong.