It is the time of the year that the so-called ProfessionalWrestling Hall of Fame (PWHF) releases its inductees for the next year. I had several posts, one about the move to Texas, the other about when the PWHF had its induction weekend, stating how it is currently being run.
Although, I had definitely been against its clandestine move from NY to Texas, where the plans to move were done behind everyone’s back, and information was withheld from the public until the last minute; there was still some hope that the hall of fame would show improvement; this hope is now shattered.
Let us look at the founding of the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame; it was established to promote wrestling and to be INDEPENDENT, and not to show favoritism to one federation over another. Looking at their current website (really, you should just ignore it), there are now links to support the sponsors of the PWHF: this includes the World WrestlingEntertainment (WWE). Not only is there one, but two links (the other is listed as a link to WrestleMania, but takes you to the WWE site) on the front page.
Furthermore, on May 31 of this year, the President of the PWHF, Johnny Mantell, was on the Steve Austin Podcast, which is a show broadcasted on the WWE Network. On the PWHF website, there is a prominent picture of him shaking hands with Steve Austin, with the WWE symbols proudly displayed behind them.
You will also notice on the PWHF website, there are wrestler’s photos when they were inducted into the Hall of Fame. These photos are not the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame; these photos are from when they were inducted into the WWE HALL OF FAME!
How can an organization that is supposedly independent, has sponsorship from the WWE, and also displays links to that federation? As we all know “money means influence”, does this mean more and more WWE stars will be inducted while ignoring other federations that were, or are currently, its competition? Does a wrestler’s career mean nothing, because they never worked for, or had a falling out with WWE, or with its owner Vince McMahon? These questions must be looked at; each and every time there is an induction into the so-called Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame.
It will be noteworthy that wrestlers, whose careers were not previously considered worthy of the PWHF, might now be inducted there (PWHF) because of their appearance as a wrestler in the WWE.
When the PWHF was in Amsterdam, NY, it made sure it could be accessed by as many people as possible. Bringing the history of professional wrestling to the public was part of why this hall of fame was formed. I had in a previous post that an entrance fee had now replaced the once free admission. What is more troubling than the admission fee is the price of the induction weekend. I had attended numerous dinners and meet and greets at the PWHF when it was in Amsterdam. The prices then were very reasonable and allowed many people from different economic backgrounds to attend. Now, many fans have accused that the prices have skyrocketed. Adding the price of admission, and their merchandise, it appears that the PWHF is more concerned with monetary gain than trying to fulfill the purpose of why it was created; I should remind the PWHF that its purpose is to promote the sport of wrestling, not to make profits or just promote the WWE.
Before I conclude, I want to make more editorial comment about the PWHF and the WWE. The WWE has a hall of fame, but no physical location; there is no building to display the memorabilia. This now close financial relationship that has seemed to flourish between the PWHF and WWE bothers me.
Could the WWE “assume” control over the PWHF, taking it over in a sense? The PWHF memorabilia and other wrestling artifacts would then become the property of the WWE. What about those items that were donated by fans dealing with wrestlers not associated with the WWE? Do you think they would indeed be displayed by the WWE? Worse is the WWE could do this take over behind the scenes; keeping a fake neutral board of directors that says they represent the PWHF, while they are using the museum to promote the WWE and induct its wrestlers.
Also, if the WWE did create their own brick and mortar museum, would there be a sharing of the memorabilia, and artifacts? Could the PWHF then become nothing more than a minor holding facility? Its purpose delegated to collect memorabilia, so it could provide them to the WWE museum? These are questions, which must be examined about the PWHF in the years to come. We must be vigilante, and complain, or criticize when the PWHF fails to follow its path for which it was created (and it appears it is already down that path).
W.A.Rusho is a professional wrestler, martial artist and author. You may read more about him on his website, or send him an email.