February 4, 2005
WWE anounced HOF Class of 2005
By JON WALDMAN – SLAM! Wrestling
|"Cowboy" Bob Orton Jr. at the Cauliflower Alley Club reunion in Las Vegas in April 2004.
-- photo by Rose Diamond
On Thursday night's broadcast of Smackdown, World Wrestling Entertainment
announced five entries into its Hall of Fame, all of which were heels in the promotion in the 1980s.
Among those that were named are The Iron Sheik, Nikolai Volkoff, Bob Orton Jr., Paul Orndorff and Jimmy Hart. These five competitors will be officially
inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on April 2nd, 2005 at a ceremony in the
Universal Amphitheatre in Universal City, California. The induction is part of
Wrestlemania 21 weekend.
During the broadcast, it was announced that the five wrestlers were only a
partial list of the class of 2005. Speculation on Internet newsboards is
that Hulk Hogan and Gordon Solie will be added to the list of inductees.
WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2005
The Iron Sheik was one of the most hated wrestlers of the 1980s. Hailing
from Iran, Shiek was best known for his pointed wrestling boots, proudly
carrying the Iranian flag to ringside and his devastating submission hold,
the Camel Clutch. Shiek held the WWF Heavyweight championship and is a
former Tag Team Champion. Along with his WWE career, Sheik had a brief stint
in WCW, and also appeared in the WWF as Col. Mustafa.
"Cowboy" Bob Orton Jr.
While he will be best remembered for his insistence of singing the Russian
national anthem before his matches, Volkoff was actually a part of the Fed
long before the '80s boom era. Volkoff first entered a WWWF ring in the late
1960s and would become a Tag Team Champion as part of the Mongols. Volkoff
also held the tag titles with The Iron Sheik, capturing the bells at
Wrestlemania I. Volkoff would later become a U.S. sympathizer in 1990, and
would later re-emerge as part of Ted Dibiase's Million Dollar Corporation.
While he may be known now as "Randy's father", Bob Orton Jr. was a
tremendous talent in his own right. A second-generation wrestler himself, Orton
had a great run in many territories over the years. His tag team work with Dick Slater stands among his greatest stints. In the WWF, he will
always be remembered for his trademark cast, which he claimed to need so his
arm could heal over several years. Of course, Orton would utilize the cast
whenever possible to score a victory in the squared circle. Orton is also
credited as being one of the first superstars to use the superplex in North
Orndroff, the self-professed "Mr. Wonderful", became one of the biggest
heels in WWE history when he turned on Hulk Hogan in a spectacular moment in
the 1980s. The feud between the two included a steel cage match that ended
when both men were able to reach the outside of the ring at the exact same
time and was part of the inspiration for the tag team main event at
Wrestlemania I. While Orndorff never held a WWF title belt, he wore the gold
in WCW as its Television Champion and as one half of the tag title
holders with Paul Roma.
While fellow Hall of Famer "Captain" Lou Albano is known as the manager of
champions, that moniker could also easily apply to Hart. Best remembered for
his trademark megaphone, "The Mouth of the South" came out of the music business into the wrestling world in Memphis. In the WWF, he guided several wrestlers
to the gold, including Intercontinental Champions Greg Valentine and Honky
Tonk Man and tag Team Champions such as The Hart Foundation, The Dream Team,
The Natural Disasters and the Nasty Boys. Hart would also lead Hulk Hogan to
the WCW Heavyweight title, and was instrumental (literally) behind the
scenes in WCW, composing entrance music for several wrestlers.
Jon Waldman has been with SLAM! since 2000.