In a surprising turn of events, numerous members of the first WWE Hall of Fame class of the new decade were already announced on December 9, 2019, months before wrestling fans usually start to see who will be headlining the event during WrestleMania weekend.
The nWo, featuring the specific group of Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and Sean Waltman, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in April, with each member adding a second Hall induction to their respective resumes in the process.
Meanwhile, Dave Bautista, better known as Batista, was announced as the first singles competitor of the 2020 class, adding a new honor to a wide-ranging career that has spanned both the squared circle and the big screen.
While Batista will get a well-deserved moment at the event, the upcoming ceremony has already received some negative attention for a few reasons, with many worried about the added induction for Hogan, and the idea of already giving a second induction to four more people, just a year after Waltman was honored as part of D-Generation X.
As fans debate the topic endlessly on social media, others wondered who needs to join the ranks of the WWE Hall of Fame in the new decade.
To help out the cause, here’s a list of five must-have inductees to the WWE Hall of Fame in the 2020s, in order from who fans could expect to see first to who may take a little more time.
1. The Rock
This one is pretty interesting, as many at a quick glance may expect that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is already a part of the WWE Hall of Fame. Alas, he is not, but fans may not have to wait long for him to get in.
Much like Robbie Fox from Barstool Sports said, it’s obviously a matter of when, not if, for the former WWE champion, and the main reasoning for the omission of “The Great One”‘ may just be his jam-packed schedule in Hollywood.
While the likes of Batista and John Cena are starting to see their acting careers take off, Johnson has already become a household name in his new industry, headlining series like “Fast & Furious” and “Jumanji,” while starring in one-offs like “Moana,” “Skyscraper” and even the new version of “Baywatch.”
At some point in the next decade, it almost has to happen, especially with the dwindling number of headline-worthy singles stars for WWE higher-ups to pick from. It’ll just be a matter of how far in advance they can book “The People’s Champ,” and what they can do to build around it.
2. The Undertaker
Another absolute given as far as the WWE Hall of Fame in the 2020s is The Undertaker, but part of the problem has obviously been his on-again, off-again schedule over the last few years. Is he retired? Is he still sticking around? Once there’s a final answer, it’ll be easier to determine this piece.
I could see ‘Taker landing in the Hall before The Rock, solely based on an empty schedule for the former and a packed schedule for the latter. But, the biggest issue may be how to handle an induction for such an ominous and mysterious character.
Fans have seen The Undertaker appear as Mark Callaway in a lot of places recently, and he has even broken kayfabe on the WWE Network’s own programming over the years. But, in a space where WWE fans will be in attendance and ready to show their appreciation for an all-time great, do you need to give it time for things to die down for Callaway, and to bring back more mystery to The Undertaker’s character?
I still think we see The Undertaker in the Hall of Fame by 2025, and he could even be a headliner in the next year or two depending on how they want to stack classes. No matter what, The Deadman is a given for the honor at some point, so why not make it sooner rather than later?
3. John Cena
Just like The Rock, this one is tricky, but solely from a scheduling standpoint.
John Cena is young, and can definitely still wrestle if the time came for him to make a return to the ring in the near future. He seems set on his new acting career, however, and it may be tough to sway him back into the fray when the money is currently coming in at a much higher rate.
Cena may not want to enter the Hall anytime soon, and may want to leave the opportunity there for a return to full-time action, rather than taking away the spotlight from anyone else who he feels to be more deserving.
And, if you could peer into the 16-time world champion’s mind, you’d likely see that “The Champ” would want The Rock in there before he even decided to wipe his feet off at the door.
The timing on this one could come out of nowhere, given how sudden it seemed for the announcement of Batista’s induction in 2020. WWE obviously isn’t shy when it comes to inducting superstars from Cena’s era, and it’ll be time to officially close the door on the 2000s once he and a few other big names on this list get their time in the spotlight in the 2020s.
4. Triple H
Given the newfound affinity for the inductions of classic stables, I’m unsure how an induction would play out for a guy like Triple H, who’s already a part of the WWE Hall of Fame as a member of D-Generation X. Plus, his potential induction as a singles star is especially difficult to figure out given his status as a big-time decision-maker in WWE.
We know “The Game” hasn’t been a fan of taking the shine away from others in recent memory, given how he decided to stay away from any potential in-ring involvement on Team NXT at Survivor Series in 2019. Now, would he want to throw his own hat in the ring for a singles induction into the Hall at some point in the 10 years?
I don’t think any fans would throw any fits if those in charge decided that Triple H should be in the Hall of Fame for his own accomplishments, and many would likely shed a tear of joy as if their own father had been inducted once his time came. But, from a sheer pride-based standpoint, Triple H may decide that it would be too problematic for him to have his hat thrown in the ring when the Hall of Fame discussion inevitably arises.
But, a 14-time world champion needs to be in the mix when it comes to the WWE Hall of Fame, and if he wasn’t in charge of a large amount of the company’s creative decisions, “The Cerebral Assassin” would probably already be in.
5. Chris Jericho
The true outlier at this point, Chris Jericho’s eventual induction is going to be an intriguing one, specifically due to his role in the newly-formed wrestling company, All Elite Wrestling.
Time may be all that is needed to heal any wounds that Jericho’s recent decisions have created, but who knows how long “Y2J” would have to wait after his wrestling career is officially over to get his well-deserved induction?
He’s the first-ever AEW world champion, he’s trashed WWE’s creative team on the new company’s own television show on TNT, and fans would be hard-pressed to find any mention of him on WWE programming over the last year.
But, despite all of that, Jericho had an unforgettable impact on WWE and its overall product over the last 20 years, and he finds himself in a similar situation as Kurt Angle was in a few years back. Does it seem unlikely to happen anytime soon? Sure, but it only took about 10 years for Angle to leave WWE and go through his run in TNA before he was back in Vince McMahon’s arms before a Hall of Fame induction.
I imagine it’ll be a very similar timeline for Jericho, and it’s just a matter of when he wraps up his career in AEW when it comes to the debate about a potential WWE Hall of Fame induction.