Being present for Sammartino's induction last year is a moment that I will remember for the rest of my life. I've already told why it meant so much for me to be there, at Sammartino's 188th sellout of Madison Square Garden, so I can only pass along some advice to anyone attending the events of WrestleMania XXX weekend: get to the Hall of Fame! This year's class is another star-studded list of superstars from a variety of eras. While no class will ever top 2013's in the minds of those who were there (and many who weren't), 2014 is definitely a class without a weak link in the bunch.
The Ultimate Warrior, Jake "The Snake" Roberts, Lita, Paul Bearer, Carlos Colon, and Scott "Razor Ramon" Hall make up the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2014 along with Mr. T for the Celebrity Wing. Each of these names made an undeniable impact on their respective eras (or area in the case of Colon) and therefore spawned multiple pieces of merchandise in their likenesses. In honor of each inductee, we'll take a look at some of the most memorable items to come from these stellar careers.
Another man who likely made his first impression on young wrestling fans of the 1980's was Scott Hall. A solid hand in the AWA among other areas, Hall made his toy debut just as Colon did, in the Remco AWA line. "Big" Scott Hall was another Magnum P.I. lookalike similar to Magnum T.A., but the mustached star would go through several identities until finding his greatest fame in 1992 as Razor Ramon. "The Bad Guy" seems to be the incarnation of Hall that WWE is focusing on for this induction, but there is no doubt in my mind that the man who "Oozes Machismo" will return to the Hall of Fame again as a founding father of the nWo.
Jake Roberts may be as well-remembered for his exploits away from the business as he is for his in-ring work, but there's no denying that he provided countless great memories for fans of the '80s and '90s. Roberts had a fine career before he began carrying bagged pythons to the ring, but it's that image that is best remembered. My favorite Jake "The Snake" Roberts item is one that was featured not long ago in these pages: the Hasbro Jake Roberts "snake" toy. For what could have been several reasons the snake is not named, nor does it closely resemble any of Jake's more infamous pets. Even still it is one of the most unique and fun WWF items from that era.
The "main event" induction of the 2014 WWE Hall of Fame will more than likely be for a man who is no stranger to main event status, The Ultimate Warrior. The Warrior, as controversial a superstar as there ever was, will no doubt provide one of the most memorable induction speeches ever to grace the Hall of Fame stage. Over the years, his action figures have been some of the most memorable as well. Hasbro, Jakks, and Mattel have all provided some great representations of the Warrior, but the LJN version was the first. As part of its final series packaged on black colored cards and released by Grand Toys of Canada, the Warrior is one of the most desirable in the entire line. The figure captures the wild then-futuristic look of the Warrior while still allowing it to fit in with the rest of the line.
Memorable merchandising is only what we focus on here on the blog. There's much more to these men and women than just that, and we'll be reliving so much of that in just a bit over a week from now. With the Hall of Fame ceremony scheduled to be broadcast on the WWE Network, there's no excuse for anyone in the United States to miss my favorite night of the WWE calendar. And if you do? Well, I pity da fool...