And welcome to this week’s installment of Yay Or Nay For The Hall Of Fame
Today’s case is more of a question of Why isn’t this person already in the WWE Hall of Fame… The Honky Tonk Man!
Getting his start in the mid 70s under the name ‘Wayne Farris’, he was a star in numerous territories, such as the AWA, Mid-Atlantic Wrestling, The WWC in Puerto Rico, Stampede Wrestling out of of Calgary among others. While winning numerous championships and working primarily as a heel, this phase of his career is probably best remembered during his time in Memphis, teaming with Larry Latham as the Blond Bombers and having the famous ‘Tupelo Concession Stand Brawl’ with Jerry Lawler and Bill Dundee, which lead to the eventual rise of Hardcore / Gabrage Wrestling in the United States… but that’s a subject that you can read more about at www.jimcornette.com under the subject ‘The Slippery Slope Of Hardcore Wrestling’, but the point is, prior to going to the WWF in 1986, the man that would be Honky Tonk had a pretty damn good career.
Of course, like many stars, he did end up in the WWF… where he was miscast as a babyface, with his famous Elvis impersonator gimmick. To say this was not exactly well received was an understatement, to the point a ‘vote of confidence’ was held, asking the fans what they thought of him. This was actually a stroke of genius, as the negative response from the fans, allowed the Honky Tonk Man to cut loose verbally on the fans, leading to El Kabong’ing Jake The Snake Roberts with a solid as all hell guitar, getting a win at WrestleMania III and then being in the right place at the right time for the highest level of success in his career.
It’s said, that Ricky Steamboat wanted some time off from the WWF to be with his family, but the problem was that he had the Intercontinental Championship, so the Honky Tonk Man was put in a position to capture the title in order to transition it to Jake Roberts, but due to the still being effected from being cracked over the head with the guitar several months prior, Honky Tonk kept the title and would hold onto it for 454 days. For championship reigns that started in the WWE after 1985, that is the third longest reigning time (Behind Demolition’s 478 title reign as the Tag Team Champions and CM Punk’s 462 run as the WWE Champion), and the longest reign by any Intercontinental Champion of all time.
Because he was seen as beatable champion, more often than not Honky Tonk would get himself counter out, disqualified or out right cheat to retain his title, and because of this it helped fueled him as a hot heel that the people hated so much that they were paying with the hope of seeing him lose the title. Which he eventually did to the Ultimate Warrior at SummerSlam 1988.
What followed was Honky Tonk trying to get the title back and forming a tag team with Greg Valentine called Rhythm and Blues, and a brief stint on commentary before leaving the WWF in 1991. The Honky Tonk Man would resurface a few years later in WCW that saw him win the Television title, but he was out of that company over some dispute. In the years since then he has returned to the WWE numerous times, as a broadcaster and mananger, appearing in the 1998 and 2001 Royal Rumbles and getting a shot at the Intercontinental Title in 2008. Beyond that he has been a part of the indy wrestling scene, working for numerous independent promotions
Reason For Him Going Into The Hall Of Fame: Quite frankly, the Honky Tonk Man’s career speaks for himself, he had great success prior to joining the WWF and of course during his run with the company. There is no logical reason for him not to be already inducted as far as I’m concerned.
The Reason He’s Not In: Which brings me to the actual reason why he’s not already in, but it has nothing to do with his career, it’s more of a ‘bad timing’… see when WrestleMania was in Arizona a few years ago, he was asked to join the Hall of Fame, however because he had prior commitments, he wasn’t going to break them. The Honky Tonk Man is quoted as saying ‘When you say no that makes them very upset with you, so I don’t know if that particular invitation will ever come around again, if it does, it does, it doesn’t, it doesn’t, it’s one of those things I have no control over’.
The Verdict: The WWE needs to get the Honky Tonk Man into the Hall of Fame ASAP, find out well in advance, not ‘two weeks before’ to see he’s not booked anywhere and make the arrangements. His run in the world of professional wrestling certainly needs to be acknowledged on the biggest possible stage sooner rather than later!
So that will wrap it up for this week… next week… we’ll go from one Intercontinental Champion to another… except this one’s name, well I’ll spell it out for ya… it’s J-E-Double F, J-A-Double R, E, Double T… Double J himself Jeff Jarrett.
Till next time everybody!