The WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony is here once again, and the new norm has been fully established. Indeed, this year will once again see the ceremony take place immediately following Friday Night SmackDown at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, California, just one night before the start of WrestleMania 39, which will span two nights just down the road in Inglewood. It will air on Peacock in the U.S. and WWE Network everywhere else.
Here is the 2023 class of inductees:
- Rey Mysterio
- The Great Muta
- Stacy Keibler
- Andy Kaufman
- Tim White
A class of five also seems to have become the new norm. The word going around the past few weeks centered around keeping the ceremony a reasonable length and only doing this many inductees would seem in line with that.
Come on back here to hang out and chat along with your favorite Cagesiders while it’s all going down.
Enjoy the show!
We get kicked off with Byron Saxton and Maria Menounos back again for another year interviewing Corey Graves and Carmella backstage. Corey is a big fan of The Great Muta and he put him over big. Maria made sure to put over how good Carmella looks.
Michael Cole and Wade Barrett had to kill some more time because, as they showed on the broadcast, they were changing the ring out from SmackDown to the Hall of Fame setup.
Cathy Kelley got the next backstage interview, this one with Booker T and Queen Sharmell. Kelley gave Booker the chance to promote NXT’s big Stand & Deliver show tomorrow afternoon, which he’ll be doing commentary for. Sharmell said she’s excited to celebrate everyone being inducted tonight, including fellow former Nitro girl Stacy Keibler.
They tried to kick it back for another interview with a “hardcore legend” but Saxton told us said hardcore legend was called away.
Then Kurt Angle showed up.
WWE Hall of Famer @RealKurtAngle is here on the #WWEHOF Red Carpet and he has nothing but kind words for tonight's WWE Hall of Fame headliner and longtime friend, @reymysterio. #WWEHOF pic.twitter.com/yNiErL5DKH— WWE (@WWE) April 1, 2023
He’s kind of a hardcore legend!
He called Rey Mysterio the best luchador he ever wrestled and talked about how excited he is to see him go into the Hall of Fame. He’s just surprised he’s going in while still an active wrestler. Then again, they did that to him too.
More stories were told before they kicked it back to ringside, where we again saw they were finished getting set up.
Back for another interview, this time with Kelley talking to SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair. She makes sure to let us know she’s matching with her husband, just in case we see him on the red carpet. That would be AEW’s Andrade El Idolo. He wasn’t shown here. She then talked about stealing the show with Rhea Ripley tomorrow.
On to the next interview, back to Saxton and Menounos. They’re with The Miz and Maryse, who tell us to expect the unexpected at WrestleMania. Miz promised to “create moments that last a lifetime” at the big show, because that’s his job as host. Maryse claimed to be a talented singer, so they tried to get her to sing. She did not.
Wrestlers were shown filing out to the stage to take their seats for the ceremony.
Hey, another interview!
Saxton and Menounos were with Sami Zayn and his wife. Sami talked about LA being a home base for many years and that adding to the significance of WrestleMania this year for him. It’s been a special year for him but it still feels weird to go into the big show with so much momentum. That’s a first for him since he’s been in WWE. He mentioned being moderately concerned about shenanigans with Dominik during Rey Mysterio’s induction tonight.
Rob Van Dam is in the building, something we learned because the crowd was doing his gimmick behind Cole and Barrett as they were killing more time.
Hey, another interview!
Kelley was backstage with The Street Profits. They spoke of being sharp dressed men. Saxton and Menounos showed up and Montez Ford was wearing the same jacket as Byron. Angelo Dawkins wore a green tie.
It’s finally time for the ceremony!
Up first is Stacy Keibler.
They played a video package that repeatedly got in references to her legs, saying things like “her career really had legs!”
Torrie Wilson and Mick Foley were there to induct her. Foley said he was as surprised as everyone else to be asked to be here. She texted him a couple weeks back and asked him to do it alongside Torrie, and he instantly accepted. He called her one of the nicest wrestlers in WWE history. He told a story of meeting her, and how special it is to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
“It gives me so much pride and so much happiness ... that she allowed me to share this night with her.”
He gave way to Torrie.
She said she would do her best not to cry but she just loves Stacy so much. She told a story of Stacy changing in front of the Nitro Girls and everyone being shocked at how perfect she was. But they weren’t the only ones to recognize how great she is, but many others as well. She quickly moved from being a Nitro Girl to the main roster. She put over Stacy’s tenacity, and how hard she worked to be a wrestler. She revealed Stacy got her legs insured at one point. But she also loved that while she had so many offers to do so much, she chose to step out of the limelight to be the best mom she could be. Finally, she introduced the lady of the hour.
She was smiling huge as she walked down. Thankfully, she didn’t fall, as she appeared to trip at the bottom of the ramp.
She put over the fans being the greatest in the world. She got her first job when she was seven years old and couldn’t ever imagine that she would get to a place like this. Fans rewarded her with “Stacy” chants.
“It was you who shaped my career, you who gave me the strength, who you inspired me, you who are the magic in the show.”
She showed off a picture of her in the crowd holding up a sign for Bret Hart. She said she was a superfan and always would be. She also showed herself in the crowd wearing an nWo Wolfpac shirt. She chose the right side back then.
"I was a superfan first and I will ALWAYS be a superfan!"— WWE (@WWE) April 1, 2023
What an incredible journey it's been for @StacyKeibler! #WWEHOF pic.twitter.com/DuslZukQu0
She again put over the fans. Then she put over what it means to be in the WWE Hall of Fame and all the qualities of those who have made it in. Grit!
She finally got to the thank you’s. Medusa, Trish Stratus, Lita, Gail Kim, among others. Fit Finlay for trying to teach a dancer how to wrestle. The Dudley Boyz for being her greatest teachers. Shout out to Shane Helms too. And, of course, her best friend, Torrie. She also gave a shout out to Mick for how much she’s meant to her.
Then she thanked her family. Her husband seemed super stoked about it and her kids looked happy but a little confused by all this. An adorable looking family.
She finished by again putting over the fans, calling them the heartbeat of the WWE.
“Thank you all for making my dreams come true.”
Up next: Andy Kaufman.
After an introduction video, we got another video of Jerry “The King” Lawler, who said he wished he could be there tonight but he’s still at home recovering. He said he asked his friend, Jimmy Hart, to induct Kaufman.
Lawler looked pretty good!
There was never a rivalry quite like @JerryLawler vs. @ndykaufman!— WWE (@WWE) April 1, 2023
Great to see you King, looking great! #WWEHOF pic.twitter.com/LkZ2Ana0gk
The Mouth of the South was out looking like he hasn’t aged a single day. It’s hard to believe this is a 79-year-old man.
He told stories of Kaufman and Lawler in Memphis. Then he introduced the Kaufman family, who came down to accept the induction.
His brother said that while some may have believed Andy got into wrestling for a gag, that wasn’t true. He got into it because he was a lifelong fan of it. The rest of the family would go on to say that if he could have been here tonight, he would have so thrilled and it would have meant the world to him.
"Andy saw the beauty in this world and that's why he ignored all the people who told him to stop wrestling."— WWE (@WWE) April 1, 2023
The late @ndykaufman's family joins us for his #WWEHOF induction. pic.twitter.com/DzUiiMGxLY
Up next: The Great Muta.
Corey Graves and Kayla Braxton introduced the video package, which focused on his style being so influential and the impact he had on the industry for so long. The mist! Asuka was shown saying she is a wrestler today because of him.
Then, it was time to introduce the man inducting him, “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair.
He cracked some jokes about Kevin Dunn calling him with good news and being worried that maybe Muta would want Sting to induct him. But no, he was good with Flair. He called himself an entertainer but the Japanese wrestlers are different, they’re badasses. He made sure to shout out Asuka, calling her a badass too, no question about it. But everyone in Japan is tough. They do a lot of squats!
He called Muta the best he’s ever been in the ring with from there. He wrestled everyone from over there but none like Muta. Then he joked about going too long and knowing he needed to wrap it up so “Hunter” wouldn’t come up and make him wrap it up.
He put Muta in the same boat as Shawn Michaels and Ricky Steamboat.
And then introduced him.
Muta walked out bowing his head to those on the stage as he went.
He hugged Flair in the ring. Ric took a second to say that 10 years ago he left his son in Muta’s care and he took care of him as if he was one of his own. “I will love you forever.”
Muta said hello and he doesn’t speak English very well.
“I will just say this. Thank you everyone. Thank you, WWE. I am so honored to be in the WWE Hall of Fame.”
He took a bow.
Before leaving the ring, however, he spit out the green mist.
Asuka was shown celebrating with just the biggest smile on her face.
HE DID THE THING!— WWE (@WWE) April 1, 2023
Congratulations to The Great Muta, a much deserved addition into the #WWEHOF! pic.twitter.com/c74Tv7X0hl
Up next: Warrior Award recipient Tim White.
Who else to induct a referee known for being fair than APA?
“Ron, the APA appears to be back together. What do you think about that?”
What does Ron Simmons have to say about the APA getting back together?— WWE (@WWE) April 1, 2023
Can you guess? #WWEHOF pic.twitter.com/XkE7vG0qyD
They told stories about their old friend, including Simmons talking about tearing down some bars back in their day and that started at White’s bar. They talked about being honored to call him a friend.
JBL talked about how he was going in as a referee but he was much more backstage, and filled so many roles. He touched a lot of folks during his time with WWE.
Tom and Pat White, his brothers, came down to accept the award.
The late Tim White's brothers accept the #WWEHOF Warrior Award on his behalf in an emotional speech celebrating his life and career. pic.twitter.com/PcKwUiqMRN— WWE (@WWE) April 1, 2023
Pat was emotional right away, thanking everyone in WWE for the induction. He said if Tim was still there he would be deeply grateful to everyone in WWE, and all the fans, for all the support and friendships he’d made during his career. He’d say it was one hell of a great ride.
Tom grabbed the award and hoisted it high.
The main event is next: Rey Mysterio.
Konnan was out to induct Rey after an awesome video package.
Arriba la raza!
He said he first met Mysterio when he was 12 years old and he was a hard sell. They put up a picture of him at that age and Konnan said “that’s what I had to work with. Dare I say, he was cute. He was.”
But he vowed to sell the hell out of him anyway, and he did just that, lying his ass off to get him in the door and by the time Rey was done he would have people who didn’t buy in at first taking pictures with him. That’s how Konnan knew he had something with him.
He went on to tell a story of Paul Heyman understanding that talent has no weight, height, or gender. If you’re talented, you’re just talented. So Mysterio tore the house down there too.
Then, it was off to WCW, where the tagline was “where the big boys play.” The first thing said about Rey was that he’s too short. But Konnan sold him hard yet again, as a generational talent and they would regret it forever if they don’t sign him. Thankfully, they gave him a tryout against Dean Malenko and eventually he won them over. In his debut match he got a monitor sellout from the boys and a standing ovation. Weeks later, he would become a champion.
He said lucha libre is now a cultural phenomenon and it was Rey Mysterio who kickstarted that movement.
Then he put over Rey the human being, who was there for him when he was in the hospital and on his deathbed. He’s a great man.
It’s time to give Mysterio his flowers while he’s still active. “He’s an incredible family man. I’ve often asked if I could be adopted — maybe I could replace Dominik.”
Uh oh. @DomMysterio35 didn't like that one from @Konnan5150... #WWEHOF pic.twitter.com/vWJVvi1isR— WWE (@WWE) April 1, 2023
Big pop for that.
He kept heaping praise on Rey before finally bringing him out to a huge ovation.
Rey stopped to hug Kurt Angle, Drew McIntyre, Sami Zayn, Triple H, and Booker T on his way out. He did stop and look at his son, who just sat there, the only one — alongside Rhea Ripley and Damien Priest — who didn’t stand for him.
The crowd, fairly reserved for much of the evening, got really loud for him. He got a big standing ovation and a “you deserve it” chant. He asked them to stop it so they didn’t make him cry more. He always wanted them to see the tough side of him.
He started to thank Konnan for the beautiful introduction. Right then, Dominik, Rhea, and Damian Priest made a show of getting up to leave. The crowd booed heavily.
“Let me just say this — I’ll take care of business tomorrow.”
He talked about his upbringing, being taught by his uncle and wanting to quit due to the training but sticking it out. Meeting Konnan at 12 and hitting it off like they were big brother/little brother. How he proved his pops wrong by sticking it out and making something of himself in pro wrestling. He echoed Konnan’s sentiments that it was really hard for him to get booked.
He spoke about meeting his wife. A great story. The crowd continued being kind and telling Rey how much they love him.
He got emotional talking about Angie sending him money so he could pursue his dream. She was shown getting emotional as well. A powerful moment.
An incredibly emotional moment as @reymysterio recounts the sacrifices his wife made to support him and his dream.— WWE (@WWE) April 1, 2023
Thank you, Angie. ♥️#WWEHOF pic.twitter.com/E7AhMlOwLf
Rey kept going through stories of his career, shouting out Eddie Guerrero and the matches they had that helped put him on the map, notably a match at Halloween Havoc. When WCW was bought out by WWE, he took some time off for the birth of his daughter. He didn’t know if WWE would want someone of his size. But a year later in 2002 he got a call from Jim Ross, who asked if he was ready to sit down and do business.
Now it’s over 20 years later and he’s had an amazing career here. “Thank you, WWE, for letting me break the mold of what a superstar should look like. For letting me represent lucha libre to the world and for allowing me to introduce my family to the WWE Universe.”
He thanked God, his mother and father, his brothers, his uncle, his coaches, all the veterans who broke him into the business in Mexico when he was just a kid. He made sure to let Konnan know he loves him and “without you, none of this would be possible.”
He thanked Paul Heyman for ECW. He thanked Eric Bischoff and Kevin Sullivan for WCW. He thanked all the wrestlers he got to be in the ring with, from Malenko to William Regal to Kevin Nash to Scott Hall. He also thanked the agents who passed on so much knowledge to him. He got to WWE and thanked Batista, Undertaker, Edge, JBL, Kurt Angle, Randy Orton, John Cena, and of course, Eddie Guerrero.
Last but not least, he thanked the fans.
His music played and the credits rolled as he went around hugging everyone along the barricade, signing autographs, and taking pictures with fans.