Jerry Lawler introduced a Four Horsemen video. The video was off the charts. I literally had chills.
Dusty Rhodes came out to introduce them. How strange it is for a fan that loved the NWA in the 80s to see this. Rhodes said that the Beatles were a faction and they laid the foundation for the music industry. In the movies, The Rat Pack did the same. He said that wrestling has seen different groups blaze up and fade away, until the Four Horsemen rode the lightning bolt known as professional wrestling.
He said that this is the first time someone has been inducted into the Hall of Fame twice. He said he have loved and hated and partied and been tired with him, but no one in the business can accomplish what he has. He said Ric Flair is a national treasure.
Rhodes called JJ Dillon was a master strategist. He said today wrestlers want to get their bus but the Horsemen rode in limos and housed themselves in fancy hotels. Dillon was the man behind all that. He talked about Dillon breaking his shoulder in the War Games.
Dusty called Barry Windham was the best natural athlete who ever walked into the business. He said Barry is and was a Horsemen and a gift to the industry.
Dusty said that Tully Blanchard was a master powerhouse and never made a mistake. He truly believed he was the best and was the glue of the Horsemen.
Dusty said that Arn Anderson was the heart of the Horsemen who did anything and everything that needed to get done no matter the act, the beating or the time it took to do it right.
Dusty talked about how Arn Anderson has the heart for pro wrestling. He said that all Arn is and was is a pro wrestler but tonight he's something more...a Horseman and a Hall of Famer.
The Horsemen came out to a looooong standing ovation. There was a huge "Thank you Horsemen" chant.
JJ Dillon said there was a day 25 years ago where all the exceptional athletes carried all the major championships. He said that all the planets and the stars were in the right position that day because something magical really happened. He said they never thought that it was something that would last the way that it has. He thanked Dusty Rhodes for being the catalyst. Dillon said that he is proud to wear his Hall of Fame ring and to have run with these guys. He said tonight is special because his three daughters and his son are here.
Ric Flair took the mic. He said this is emotional and is going to tell a story. He said that his ex- wife once asked him when he was going to grow up when he told her he was going to have a few drinks with John Cena and how could he have anything in common with someone 30 years younger. Flair responded you won't find out tonight and slammed the phone down. He said once a Horsemen, always a Horsemen.
Flair said that he's had the most wonderful career that any athlete could possibly have. He said that for the years this group ran together it was the best time of his life. They couldn't wait to get to the Arena and wanted to show it. He broke down as he said they loved being the best at what they were doing.
Flair started crying as he began talking about Arn, Tully and Windham. He said Windham was the only person who could match him in a lot of ways. He said they were all JJ Dillon's kids in a lot of ways.
Flair told a story of his ex-wife Beth trying to make him go home and Flair refusing so his wife threatened to take their daughter and leave. Flair told JJ to stake out his house only for JJ to fall asleep and miss her being taken. Flair thanked his children. No TNA mention.
Barry Windham said it all began for him in Florida and he said this honor means so much to him and is something he cant even begin to imagine. He met Ric when he was 14 years old driving him around and ripped the car up. He met Tully about the same time and then met JJ when he was refereeing in Texas. JJ's car broke down while Barry was driving the ring truck and Barry thought he saw a ghost but it was JJ and he got to find out later. He said he had some of his best matches ever with and against Arn Anderson. They were the utility crew for Jim Crockett Promotions doing long matches to close the shows so others could shower and leave. He said his father is a Hall of Famer and is at home doing fine. He thanked everyone.
Tully took the podium and said he has stood behind this group every Saturday morning for years as they talked about the symbol of excellence and being the best at what they do. He said they used to have an internal competition to see which of them could steal the show and who could follow that. He said there is not anyone on the planet that the Horsemen cannot follow. He said they can talk about the way they all interacted but he remembers something his father told him. The wrestling business is the entertainment business and the job is to make everyone scream. He said to be in limos and jets every night and twice on Sundays to entertain you was amazing so fans could get what used to be ten dollars of entertainment. He said that he went on a different path and his children who are here did not know this part of his life. He said that they are the four people he loved the most in the world and he didn't know what love was until they were born.
Blanchard thanked Pat Patterson and told a story of Patterson running into him and handing him a business card, opening the door for the Brainbusters to come to the WWF. He said it was a great thrill for them to win the WWF titles while he and Arn were working with Bobby Heenan. Blanchard said he was told a few months ago about the Hall of Fame but his children didn't find out until the official announcement. He joked that his son wasn't impressed until he found out that his dad was getting a ring.
Blanchard talked about his father passing away. He said he was best friends with his dad. He said that a week ago Thursday his father passed away and now he's here accepting this award. He said having the lowest low and the highest high in six days will take him a long time to process.
Blanchard said he wakes up with all sort of twinges in his back and doesnt want anything for it because he loved every second of it. He said the fans deserve every ounce of energy when they go into the ring. His speech was awesome.
Arn Anderson closed and received a standing ovation before he even spoke a word. The fans began chanting Double A. Arn said he was asked a few times about writing a speech but he's just going to talk to the fans if that's OK. It was.
Anderson talked about watching Nick Gulas when he was seven years old and became hooked on wrestling. He said his passion and desire to be in the industry drove him. He said Dick Slater and Bob Orton were his idols. He praised his grandparents for instilling the work ethic he had. He told a story about his grandmother asking if he was wrestling with his glasses on...and how she thought Michael Hayes was the sexiest thing she had ever seen.
Anderson talked of breaking in under Ted Allen and working with the Armstrongs and doing TV for Bill Watts. He said he drove himself to death to learn the industry and got his break when Junkyard Dog suggested he be sent to Atlanta. Anderson asked how many people can say he was managed by Dillon, Heyman and Paul Ellering.
Arn said that everyone tonight will praise their family and said that their families give them the power to go out through the curtain and entertain. Anderson talked about his children and how proud he is to be their father.
He said that his career ended very suddenly in WCW. He said that he was told it was surgery or losing his left hand. He had the surgery and that put him on another career path. He praised the other WWE Producers by name for all their hard work. He said their job is to take the younger guys and to make them better so they can entertain the fans.
Anderson said he looks at CM Punk. Three years ago, did you ever think Punk and team leader would be in the same sentence? He did. Anderson praised Big Show and Rey Mysterio and Randy Orton for their work. He said Orton is just as good as Arn's idol, Randy's father. Arn praised names like Edge, Kane and Undertaker saying they were the golden circle the likes of which will never be seen again.
Anderson praised John Cena saying he makes everyone's lives in the industry better. He said that everyone in the room is a caretaker of the industry and its up to them to make sure there is an industry to have for their children to enjoy. He praised Chris Jericho.
Arn said that as much as he thinks he chose this path, its nicer to think this industry chose him.
Just awesome. A speech fitting of the Horsemen.
Click on Page Four to read the recap on Mike Tyson.
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