WWE has confirmed today the long-overdue news that the Honky Tonk Man will be inducted into the 2019 Hall of Fame.
Honky was a major star for WWE in the 1980s and early 90s, capturing the Intercontinental Title from Ricky Steamboat in a shock upset in 1987 and holding onto the title for a record 454 days until he was dethroned by the Ultimate Warrior in a memorable squash at SummerSlam ’88.
Honky was tremendous in his role as a cocky and brash upper midcard heel, popularising the use of his trusty guitar as a weapon when it looked like his title might be in jeopardy.
Honky left the promotion in 1991 following a spell teaming with Greg Valentine as Rhythm and Blues but returned in 1997 as an occasional onscreen performer, usually in a managerial capacity. He has returned in cameo appearances several times since, although the last time he was seen in the promotion was in 2013.
WWE had wanted to induct Honky into the Hall of Fame in 2013 but he turned them down because he was contacted just two weeks prior to the event and already had commitments with Wizard World Conventions that he did not want to cancel.
The former IC champ has been critical about the Hall of Fame in the past, saying the following to Andy Malnoske of Wrestling Inc. when asked about a potential induction early last year:
“The Hall of Fame, if it comes, it comes. It’s not something I pander for or I wait on. I’ve been critical of the Hall of Fame and some of the things they’ve done and how they do it. To the fans, I know that you’re gonna say I’m bitter, I’m hateful and all those things, but I’m not. It’s a TV show right now, it’s not a Hall of Fame.
It’s not like you get a big $35,000 diamond ring like you see the Super Bowl guys wear… If you’re gonna do it, make it that kind of a thing. Don’t have the gimmicks go out and be the gimmick on TV. If they ask me to go out and say we want you to wear a jumpsuit I would just say, ‘If that’s what you want me to do, forget about it,’ because I’m not that character anymore. If you want me to be that character, put me on TV, give me a contract, use me full-time and I’ll do that.”
Nevertheless, he is going in this year so evidently he has changed his tune. He joins six members of D-Generation X in the 2019 class thus far, with The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart, Jim Neidhart and Jimmy Hart) also announced but unconfirmed and Taz’s name also doing the rounds.
What do you think about the Honky Tonk Man going into the WWE Hall of Fmae