There’s still nearly a month of 2019 left to go, but WWE has already started announcing inductees into their 2020 Hall of Fame class. “As first reported by” People and ESPN respectively, Dave Batista and the New World Order will headline next year’s ceremony.
Six-time World Champion and ongoing Guardian of the Galaxy Batista is clearly the biggest name in this year’s class, assuming they don’t also randomly decide to induct The Rock. From his announcement:
Opening up to PEOPLE about the honor, Bautista — who has transitioned to Hollywood and appeared in films like Stuber — says, “Vince [McMahon] called me personally to ask me, I was just … I wasn’t surprised, but I was pretty happy. It’s a good feeling, it’s a really great feeling.”
Bautista says he told the Chairman and CEO of WWE he would “be honored,” but admits, “As soon as I hung up the phone, I was … and excuse my language, I was like, ‘S–t, I gotta give a speech.’ “
“And that is what I’ve been stressing about since,” he laughs.
What he’ll say remains to be determined, with Bautista admitting to PEOPLE he isn’t sure how to put the honor “into words right now.”
“In films like Stuber” is really funny. Maybe when they do induct The Rock they’ll refer to him as having, “starred in films such as Race to Witch Mountain.” No word yet on who will induct him — John Cena, no doubt — but we hear Dana Brooke is available.
Despite the group being inducted as “the nWo,” no, this will not count as inductions for guys like Scott Norton, Scott Steiner, Buff Bagwell, or The Great Muta. Not even for such New World Order luminaries as nWo Sting, Horace Hogan, or Wrestling Legend Soultrain Jones. No, the honor only extends to four men: Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and X-Pac. You’d think if they were extending it to Pac, the “syxxth” member of the team, they’d at least include The Giant (aka The Big Show) and Ted DiBiase. Or Eric Bischoff, if you don’t want people to remember DiBiase was there.
You also may notice that those four men are already WWE Hall of Famers. From ESPN:
It will be the second Hall of Fame honors for each of the four men recognized as part of the nWo. Hogan was inducted as an individual in 2005, followed by Hall in 2014 and Nash in 2015. Waltman was honored as part of D-Generation X in 2019.
There’s a certain irony to the nWo’s enshrinement into the WWE Hall of Fame. Hogan was the WWE’s top star of the 1980s, in the first few years of the WrestleMania era, and Nash, Hall and Waltman made names for themselves in WWE in the early 1990s. They took their star power with them to WCW and gave the promotion legitimacy and buzz, and they were successful enough that WCW temporarily got a leg up in a bitter TV ratings battle.
“You’ve got four guys that were basically going at Vince as a shoot, pushing hard to actually try to take over,” Hogan told ESPN. “Not put him out of business but basically take his spot and be the No. 1 company. All of a sudden, you’re inducting four guys in the Hall of Fame that 20 years ago were trying to stab you in the back. It’s like Vince says: In the WWE, never say never.”
They just can’t stop finding reasons to invite Hogan to these things, can they? Next year I hope they induct the cast of No Holds Barred just to get him another induction. We’re hoping their good friend Sting inducts them, and that it ends badly.
WWE’s Hall of Fame ceremony for 2020 happens on April 2 at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida, as part of the week-long WrestleMania 36 event.