For the second consecutive year, WWE will welcome a host of "legacy" inductees into the company's Hall of Fame - stars from the '60s and earlier whose contributions are often overlooked today. The 2017 legacy inductees, announced on the induction ceremony's official t-shirt include:
Luther Lindsay - One of the first major African-American stars in wrestling, Lindsay worked in the Northwestern and Mid-Atlantic territories, and also competed internationally for All Japan Pro Wrestling, Joint Promotions, and Stampede Wrestling. In the 1950s, he took on Lou Thesz for the NWA World Heavyweight Title in a series of bouts.
Rikidozan - A former sumo wrestler, Rikidozan joined the sport of pro wrestling in 1951 and would soon become a national hero. His matches against foreign heels drew record numbers on television, and he set a template for the Japanese version of pro wrestling that lasts to this day.
Other inductees include 19th century world champion Farmer Burns, WWWF promoter Toots Mondt, women grapplers June Byers and Betty Grable, and television-era stars Dr. Jerry Graham and Haystacks Calhoun.
The WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony airs live on the WWE Network on Friday, March 31, at 8:00 PM ET.
Scott Fried is a Slammy Award-winning* writer living and working in New York City. He has been following/writing about professional wrestling for many years and is a graduate of Lance Storm's Storm Wrestling Academy. Follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/scottfried.
*Best Crowd of the Year, 2013