WWE Hall of Fame 2013: Maria Menounos to induct Bob Backlund on April 6 in New York

Tom Pennington

WWE has officially announced that Maria Menounos will induct Bob Backlund into the WWE Hall of Fame on April 6, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Extra host Maria Menounos participated in WrestleMania 28 in a Diva's match and now she's back again this coming year for WrestleMania 29 albeit in a much different role. This time, she'll be at the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony to induct her good friend Bob Backlund on Sat., April 6, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Here's the official press release announcing as much:

WWE (NYSE:WWE) announced today that Extra Host Maria Menounos will induct Bob Backlund into the WWE Hall of Fame. The ceremony will be held at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, April 6, 2013 as part of WrestleMania® Week.

Maria Menounos competed at WrestleMania 28 in Miami, FL on April 1, 2012. She will induct Bob Backlund into the WWE Hall Of Fame Class of 2013 at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, April 6, 2013. (Photo: Business Wire)

Menounos has made multiple appearances on WWE programming dating back to 2009 when she made her in-ring debut and co-hosted Monday Night Raw with Nancy O'Dell. In 2011, Menounos appeared at WWE Tribute to the Troops where she teamed with Eve Torres, Kelly Kelly and Alicia Fox to defeat the team of The Bella Twins and WWE Divas Natalya and Beth Phoenix. Menounos continued her feud after Phoenix and Eve Torres interrupted an interview segment with Kelly Kelly on Extra. This led to a tag team match at WrestleMania 28 where she teamed with Kelly Kelly to defeat Torres and Phoenix.

Menounos, a lifelong WWE fan, idolized Backlund while growing up and met him through partner Keven Undergaro, who as Head Writer of MTV's Singled Out, cast Backlund to guest star alongside Jenny McCarthy and Chris Hardwick. Menounos then worked with Backlund on the comedy feature, In the Land of Merry Misfits, and the two have been close ever since. Backlund was present at Menounos Miss Massachusetts USA competition and ran alongside her at the Nike Celebrity Road Race.

"It is an honor to induct my good friend Bob Backlund into the WWE Hall of Fame," said Maria Menounos. "Watching him carry the title for a since unmatched five years and then stage such an incredible comeback with a reinvented persona puts him in a class all his own. Add in his incredible work ethic and high moral caliber, and you have everything that defines the word champion. And astonishingly, he can still wrestle with guys a third his age! He's my hero and my friend. I can't wait for the ceremony on April 6."

"I am truly humbled to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame," said Bob Backlund. "Maria has been a friend for years and I can't think of someone I would rather have induct me at Madison Square Garden."

A one-hour Hall of Fame special will air on Tuesday, April 9 at 10:00 p.m. ET on USA Network. WrestleMania 29 airs live on pay-per-view Sunday, April 7 at 7:00 p.m. ET from MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ.

Here's the list of WWE Hall of Fame 2013 class inductees and who will be inducting them:

- Bruno Sammartino (Arnold Schwarzenegger)
- Mick Foley (Terry Funk)
- Bob Backlund (Maria Menounos)
- Trish Stratus (Lita)
- Booker T (not announced)
- Donald Trump (not announced)

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