Very detailed exclusive WrestleZone.com recap of the WWE Hall Of Fame 2009 induction class.
Sorry, my connection to WWE.com didn’t work so I had to use some rigging to play it in VLC Media Player via the direct stream URL.
When I tuned in, Dusty Rhodes was just introducing Terry Funk and Dory Funk Jr. Terry said for an introduction like that, he won’t call Dusty bad names again.
DORY FUNK JR. INDUCTION SPEECH:
Dory is up first, talking about how wrestling has been his life. He said his dad Dory Funk Sr. was his trainer. He said in 1969 his dad told him he accomplished the best a man can do, when he won the NWA world title. He said he’s been slammed 10,000 times. He said he’s drown 2 million miles to make shows, and flown even more. He goes on way too fast for me to keep up, listing accomplishments and sacrifices he’s made during his career. He thanks his family, the Guerrero family, the Hart family and the man he beat for the World championship – Gene Kiniski. He thanks his children and family for showing up tonight. He says WrestleMania tomorrow night has six wrestlers he coached: Edge, Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy, Mark Henry, Christian and Mickie James. He thanks his brother, the Brisco Brothers, Keji Muto and the WWE for holding WrestleMania 25 in the great state of Texas. He plugs his website Dory-Funk.com.
TERRY FUNK INDUCTION:
Terry says he wants to thank his family and his wife Vickie. He thanks his daughters Brandy and Stacy. He thanks his grandchildren and says they want to be wrestlers but they have to go to school first. He says there’s no room for dummies in the WWE. Terry thanks ECW. He thanks the guys who helped him in the ring. He reads a speech from the former U.S. president Teddy Rosevelt, who was a former wrestler. He said he wished he could have wrestled him. He says they say you’re as old as you feel and he feels 105 years old and ready to go. He says he wants to go to heaven in a wrestling ring, parked just beyond the moon – half way to the stars, and they’ll have a universal battle royal that goes for eternity. He invites all the wrestlers and wrestling fans to meet him up there. He says in heaven every seat is front-row, ringside. He says in heaven it’s "BYOB". Music semi-interupts Terry, who thanks everyone one more time.
-A video package for KoKo B. Ware airs. He’s up next.
Honky Tonk Man is out to induct Koko B. Ware. He’s not wearing a suit of any kind, other than his sequin covered jumpsuit from his Honky Tonk Man character. He comes out dancing. He talks about how he met Koko. He talks about how he had the characteristics it takes to be a superstar. He says he’s heard about JBL and his "clothesline from hell". Honky says Koko B. Ware has a "dropkick from hell". He says he thought he had it bad carrying a guitar around for years until he saw Koko with a bird on his shoulder. He tells a story about the bird "Frankie" and introduces Koko B. Ware into the 2009 class of the WWE Hall Of Fame. So far you can tell they heavily shortened the amount of time people have at the podium this year.
His music hits and out he comes with Frankie the bird. Koko is trying to do his arm-shaking like a bird routine but the bird is going crazy. So he sets the bird on the podium and does it some more without the bird. Koko says it’s good to be back in the WWE one more time. He thanks Honky for the kind words. Koko wants to thank some people, and god is up first. He says it’s good to be able to walk on the ground, instead of the ground walking on him. He says he was born in Tennessee. He grew up playing baseball and football in high school. And the bird chirps loudly, Koko quickly says "that’s right Frankie." The bird chirps loudly again – right into the microphone. While still doing his speech, the camera’s do a close-up of Frankie’s head and the crowd laughs. The bird chirps again as Koko is trying to continue his speech. He talks about a friend who introduced him to Jerry "The King" Lawler, which was the start of his wrestling career. Another chirp from Frankie. Koko says he spent 5 years in Memphis before he wrestled anywhere else. He says until Howard Finkel of the WWE called him. He says he was told Vince McMahon wanted to talk with him about becoming a part of the WWE. He said he accepted the request while the bird is pawing at Frankie. Frankie is going after Koko’s speech on paper, as Koko is losing the crowd horribly to Frankie. Koko thanks the fans, his wife, his kids, all the wrestlers and managers and promoters who helped him during his career. He said his last "thanks" goes to the WWE for giving him the opportunity to share his wrestling talent with all the fans all over the world. "Thank you and god bless the world" as Koko’s music ends to wrap up another short segment.
-A video package for The Von Erich family airs. They’re up next.
MICHAEL "P.S." HAYES INTRODUCTION SPEECH:
Badstreet U.S.A. plays and out comes Michael Hayes with a cowboy hat and suit on doing the moonwalk. He’s doing his dancing and such. Hayes seems to be crying early. He says the Von Erich’s were the most important family in pro wrestling. He talks about the origin of the Von Erich family – Fritz Von Erich. He said they had five kids – Kevin, David, Kerry, Mike and Chris. He says they all became pro wrestlers when Fritz took a stale show from a cramped TV studio, got a six-camera set-up and in the world famous Sportatorium started World Class Championship Wrestling. He talks about when he and the fellow Fabulous Freebirds came into the promotion and had their rivalry with the Von Erich’s. Hayes says straight from his heart – the Von Erich’s were loved by fans all over the world. He introduces "the surviving member" and one of his best friends – Kevin Von Erich.
KEVIN VON ERICH INDUCTION SPEECH:
Hayes and Kevin hug and Hayes’ hat is knocked off. Hayes overreacts and walks off. Kevin says "god bless Texas". He says if his career looked fun, it’s because it was. He says he remembers making $35 a night to wrestle in Houston. He says he had no idea wrestling would become as big as it is today. He says the WWE is the very best of any kind of entertainment, and he’s so proud to be a part of it. He calls Michael Hayes a great talent. He says let’s face it, he can talk. He says the other Freebirds Terry Gordy and Buddy Roberts were great too. He says he wishes his dad and brothers could be here to soak up this moment with him. He says don’t think he’s alone, wrestlers call each other "brother" and they’re all family. He talks about shortly after Kerry died, when he went to Africa, the guys took care of him just like brothers – even though he had no blood-brothers left. Kevin has had welled up eyes from tears the entire speech. He says everyone says "poor Kevin" but he thinks it’s "lucky Kevin". He says the Von Erich’s aren’t gone, his sons are in there tonight. He asks his son’s Ross and Marshall to stand up and then says the Von Erich’s still live. He thanks his daughters and his wife Pam. He says his wife is what made it all happen. He says he wishes he had more time because he owes so many people so much. He talks a little more about his brothers and father. He thanks Texas one more time and that’s all for another short speech.
-A video package for Howard Finkel airs. He’s next.
"MEAN" GENE OKERLUND INTRODUCTION SPEECH:
Tutti-fruity plays and out comes "Mean" Gene to induct "The Fink". Okerlund lists a bunch of accolades and says "well, enough about me." Crowd laughs. He starts his real speech, putting over Finkel as the oldest employee of the WWE. He says Finkel came up with the term "WrestleMania". He says Finkel is the only man to make an appearance at every single WrestleMania event. He talks about how Finkel does a lot of the work on WWE.com. One of the shorter introduction speeches, even by this shows’ standard.
HOWARD FINKEL INDUCTION SPEECH:
Some goofy music plays and out comes Howard Finkel, who pretends to trip. He puts his glasses on and says "good-evening Houston". He calls tonight the highest milestone since he joined WWE. He sounds like he’s introducing a match the whole time, by the way. He says in 1977 he made his WWWF debut in MSG in NYC. He talks about making appearances on TV regularly in the 1980s and talks about fans who came up to him all the time and told him how great he was. Chris Jericho is shown in the audience tearing up. He says there’s been no greater group of athletes in history than those in front of him now – the WWE Superstars. He spits off a goofy rhyme to wrap up his speech. He says he is the "NEEWWW" inductee into the Hall Of Fame, in his loud announcing voice. Music hits and Fink is done.
-A video package for "Cowboy" Bill Watts airs. He’s next.
JIM ROSS INTRODUCTION SPEECH:
"Boomer Sooner" plays and out comes Jim Ross. He gets some heat on himself putting over Oklahoma football in Texas. He tells a joke about Michael Hayes’ hair looking like Dog The Bounty Hunter’s. He goes on to say it’s an honor to induct Bill Watts into the Hall Of Fame. He puts over Watts’ past in wrestling and football. He puts over Watts as a wrestler and promoter. He talks about the Mid-South promotion. He puts over Watts for being a tough promoter, fining people all the time. JR talks about his limited time for his speech, saying he had a list to say and how he doesn’t have time. He tells a quick Watts story and introduces him into the Hall Of Fame.
"COWBOY" BILL WATTS INDUCTION SPEECH:
Some country music plays and out comes "Cowboy". He takes to the microphone and says he doesn’t have much left to say – JR read his script. He talks about bringing Jim Ross into the business and says he’s so damn proud of him. He says he’ll be 70 in May and says "this ring" is a good birthday present. He says the ring is so big that back in the day it could be used as a "foreign object". He introduces his family one-by-one. He puts over today’s current crop of WWE performers. Watts talks about the Oklahoma-Texas football rivalry. He tells the story of how he first broke into pro wrestling. He talked about how he came up with his "Cowboy" character. He puts over Killer Kowalski for making him a star. He puts over Bruno Sammartino to a weird reaction from the audience. He talks about his friendship and working relationship with "The Big Cat" Ernie Ladd. He puts over Ron Simmons and Junkyard Dog. He lists every other black wrestler you can think of, not quite sure why. He mentions promoter Paul Bausch and the crowd has a weird reaction. He puts over Dusty Rhodes, Gordon Solie and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. Crowd has a wild reaction for Austin. He talks about how he had to fine Shawn Michaels his first week into the business. He puts over the late Dick Murdoch. He says he had a great run and a great career and wraps up his speech.
Ric Flair comes out to a loud "Woooo!" response from the crowd. He points to his gold watch and to Shawn Michaels, who in the crowd, also points to his gold watch. Flair gets started. He talks about Ricky Steamboat. He says the two have had 2,000 matches, legitimately – and not one of them were bad. He says people rave about their matches in the late-80s, but they had matches in the 1970s that weren’t on film, that only the live audience saw, that were much better. He says Ricky Steamboat was as popular with the female audience as the Von Erich’s ever were, and you could quote him on that. He’s choked up but introduces Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat into the WWE Hall Of Fame 2009 class.
RICKY "THE DRAGON" STEAMBOAT INDUCTION SPEECH:
VINCE MCMAHON INTRODUCTION SPEECH:
"No chance" music plays and out comes Vince McMahon. The crowd immediately treats him like the character, and somewhat takes some of the HOF ceremony experience out of the situation for a moment or two. Eventually McMahon continues to talk over them, talking about a lot of the storyline-stuff the Austin character did to the McMahon character, to the crowd’s delight. He calls Austin the biggest superstar in the history of the WWE. We go to commercial after a video package and come back to McMahon introducing "Stone Cold" Steve Austin into the HOF.
The glass breaks and out comes Austin in a suit. The crowd goes ballistic. They refuse to stop cheering and chanting "Austin". As Austin reacts to the overwhelming response, a thunderous "thank you Austin" chant breaks out from the entire crowd. Austin lets the chanting and applauding go on for a minute or so, and finally takes control and gets his speech underway. He talks about his love for pro wrestling. Austin is doing the typical thank-you’s and the crowd chants "one more match", as Austin basically says "yeah right" to. He continues on with his speech and is interupted a few more times with "one more match" chants, which he pretty much ignores. He says his time in the ring is done and he’s moving onto movies now. He says he thanks the WWE fans for accepting him everytime he came back from injury or other hiatuses from WWE television. He says in case his speech isn’t what the fans were hoping for tonight, he still hopes the fans know how much he has appreciated them throughout his career. Austin wraps up his speech as the crowd applauds. He calls for some beers and is doing the Austin post-show beer-fest, spilling beer all over his suit, which he noted in the beginning of his speech had a button break off his jacket so he couldn’t close it. He drinks his beers as the confetti falls and calls for two more. He takes one, gives it to John Cena in the front row and they show Cena drinking and Austin on stage drinking with the confetti still pouring down as the WWE copyright logo hits and the show concludes.
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