Other News Hall of Fame Inductions Report: Bret Hart, Larrry Hennig, Mike DiBiase, Dory Funk Sr., Bop Roop
Jul 19, 2006 - 4:55:00 PM
PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT TO BOOKMARK US & VISIT US DAILY
Ryan Droste of WrestleView.com sent along the following the report on his attending the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame inductions at the International Wrestling Institute and Museum this past Saturday in Newton, Iowa.
One of the hottest days of the year to date helped ring in the most star-studded George Tragos / Lou Thesz Hall of Fame Ceremony ever, Saturday in Newton, Iowa.
Well over 100 people packed the small pro wrestling wing of the International Wrestling Institute and Museum, with many more outside the door, for the 11:00 am inductions of Bob Roop, Larry Hennig, Mike DiBiase (accepted by Ted DiBiase), Dory Funk Sr. (accepted by Terry Funk), Tom Jenkins (accepted by a relative) and Bret Hart. Nikita Koloff was also in attendance to be awarded the Frank Gotch Award for 2006.
The room was the only in the museum which did not have air conditioning, so the induction speeches were short as the temperature reached almost unbearable levels and the sweat poured off all in attendance. All of the inductees, and those accepting the induction for their deceased relatives, expressed their gratitude and explained how much the honors meant to them.
Larry Hennig gave the most emotional speech of the day, breaking down crying when mentioning his son Curt Hennig at the end of his speech. The crowd reacted with the longest sustained applause of any of the inductees in honor of Larry and Curt.
Hart took his induction plaque last, much to the delight of numerous fans in attendance who were clad in "Hitman" apparel. As compared to his WWE Hall of Fame induction earlier this year, Hart told the audience, "This is a much bigger honor for me."
For those unaware of the qualifications that must be met for induction into the Tragos/Thesz Pro Hall of Fame (the first pro wrestling hall of fame to have a facility to honor its inductees), the wrestler inducted must have a strong amateur or "real" wrestling background. Exceptions are made at times in order to honor someone whom the board deems "very special." The Frank Gotch Award, which was awarded to Koloff this year, is given to a pro wrestler who "has brought recognition and honor to the sport either by his work as a wrestler or by his work outside of the ring."
Later on Sunday evening, a banquet was held for the inductees at a nearby hotel (which interestingly enough, also failed to have working air conditioning). All of the inductees again spoke, and other pro and amateur wrestling legends were in attendance including Dan Hodge, Verne Gagne, Baron Von Raschke, Gene LeBell, Tom Drake, Mad Dog Vachon and Dan Gable (whom the museum will be renamed after when it moves to the much larger city of Waterloo, Iowa this fall).
DiBiase, the only current regular WWE employee in attendance, noted again what a huge honor it was to be in attendance for his step-fathers induction, and he remarked that he felt like he was "at home."
Harley Race gave a warm and humorous speech, introducing his long time friend Larry Hennig. Before Hennig could come to the microphone following that, one of his daughters also gave a very heartfelt and emotional speech to introduce him. Hennig, who brought 40 members of his family down from Minnesota for the weekend in a tour bus, had one of the more memorable quotes when he looked over at Gagne during his speech and joked, "I thought Verne (Gagne) was in Washington for a gay rights parade." He followed that up by leading the crowd in a sing-along to the song "He's Got the Whole World In His Hands."
Hart capped off the evening with his speech. He again remarked that this hall of fame induction meant much more to him than the WWE induction earlier this year, and he told a couple of stories about his late father Stu which the crowd really enjoyed. An emotional Hart remarked (looking at the Hennig family directly in front of him) that he felt as though he was standing here for some of the wrestlers whom had passed away and couldn't do so.
The evening was capped off by director Mike Chapman announcing a few of the inductees for next year (the rest will soon be announced on the museum's website, wrestlingmuseum.org). Chapman announced that both Stu Hart and Curt Hennig will be inducted into the hall of fame next year in Waterloo, which drew loud applause from the crowd. He also announced that Ted DiBiase would be receiving the Frank Gotch Award next year.
It was a memorable day in Iowa that is for sure. The banquet in particular was a great experience with past inductees, current inductees and other legends of the business all in attendance. It seems as though this yearly event is going to turn into a reunion of sorts (similar to the Cauliflower Alley banquet) for many of the legends of the professional wrestling business to all get together in one place. Maybe next year for Curt's induction, Larry Hennig will bring 80 members of the Hennig family down. One thing is for certain, all of them would be more than welcome.
(Exclusive photographs from the induction ceremony, as well as the banquet, can be viewed by CLICKING HERE)
THE TORCH REACHES MORE COMBAT ENTERTAINMENT FANS THAN ANY OTHER SOURCE
PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. PWTorch.com launched in 1999 and the PWTorch Apps launched in 2008.
He has conducted "Torch Talk" insider interviews with Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Steve Austin, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Eric Bischoff, Jesse Ventura, Lou Thesz, Jerry Lawler, Mick Foley, Jim Ross, Paul Heyman, Bruno Sammartino, Goldberg, more.
He has interviewed big-name players in person incluiding Vince McMahon (at WWE Headquarters), Dana White (in Las Vegas), Eric Bischoff (at the first Nitro at Mall of America), Brock Lesnar (after his first UFC win).
He hosted the weekly Pro Wrestling Focus radio show on KFAN in the early 1990s and hosted the Ultimate Insiders DVD series distributed in retail stories internationally in the mid-2000s including interviews filmed in Los Angeles with Vince Russo & Ed Ferrara and Matt & Jeff Hardy. He currently hosts the most listened to pro wrestling audio show in the world, (the PWTorch Livecast, top ranked in iTunes)
REACHING 1 MILLION+ UNIQUE USERS PER MONTH
500 MILLION CLICKS & LISTENS PER YEAR
MILLIONS OF PWTORCH NEWSLETTERS SOLD
PWTorch offers a VIP membership for $10 a month (or less with an annual sub). It includes nearly 25 years worth of archives from our coverage of pro wrestling dating back to PWTorch Newsletters from the late-'80s filled with insider secrets from every era that are available to VIPers in digital PDF format and Keller's radio show from the early 1990s.
Also, new exclusive top-shelf content every day including a new VIP-exclusive weekly 16 page digital magazine-style (PC and iPad compatible) PDF newsletter packed with exclusive articles and news.
The following features come with a VIP membership which tens of thousands of fans worldwide have enjoyed for many years...
-New Digital PWTorch Newsletter every week
-3 New Digital PDF Back Issues from 5, 10, 20 years ago
-Over 60 new VIP Audio Shows each week
-Ad-free access to all PWTorch.com free articles
-VIP Forum access with daily interaction with PWTorch staff and well-informed fellow wrestling fans
-Tons of archived audio and text articles
-Decades of Torch Talk insider interviews in transcript and audio formats with big name stars. **SIGN UP FOR VIP ACCESS HERE**