I just want to say how much your heartfelt messages of congratulations have meant to me this week on being inducting in the 2007 class of the WWE Hall of Fame. I also would be remiss in not thanking the great WWE fans of Chicago for their overwhelming response to the announcement Monday night on Raw. Your standing ovation definitely created a special moment in my career that I will never forget. When one thinks of all the amazing events and matches I have been privileged to be a part of in the past 30+ years, Monday night in Chicago is a moment that will forever be etched in my mind. I had been given prior word that I was going to be inducted, but never in my wildest dreams did I expect to see a video package, which was produced by the WWE’s brilliantly talented Adam Pennucci, that moved me to the level of tears. Then the Chicago faithful went well above the call of duty on my behalf. It was a wonderful moment and I would have given anything, even Sooner season tickets, for my Mom and Dad to have been alive to enjoy the moment. My wife Jan was still emotional when I called her 30 minutes or so after the conclusion of Raw.
I expect my HOF speech to be succinct due to time limitations for TV, but I hope I can make it entertaining as we quickly review my career that started out simply as a wrestling fan who was blessed to be able to not just get into the biz but to survive it thru the decades and then eventually be able to earn my “dream job”.
Every Wrestlemania to me has been a diverse set of uniquely memorable events for me personally as Wrestlemania is truly the showcase of the immortals of our business and what everyone with a pulse who is in this line of work wants to be a part of in their career. I was in the business about 20 years before I earned the right to be a part of ‘Mania.
I almost perceive my induction as the first true, non-athletic fan of the business actually being inducted. (I don’t know if Mean Gene was a fan as a kid or not.) I was never a wrestler, those that have seen me in the ring probably just cringed at that brutal memory, or a manager, that was once considered, an antagonist, that too was thought of once upon a time but I couldn’t pull it off, nor was I ushered into wrestling because of a family connection which is not unusual for any business. I was simply a wrestling fan who would not take “no” for an answer, refused to fail and to survive no matter the challenges that came my way, personally or professionally.
The way I look at this weekend’s Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, WE made it. WE made it together and for that I say from the bottom of my heart, thanks to each and every one of my fellow wrestling fans.