After a wrestler has captured championship gold, toured the world, evoked emotion from millions of fans, and has their face plastered on questionable merch, for many, the only thing left for the final act of a wrestling career is a place in WWE’s Hall of Fame.
It has been a gripe of fans and industry insiders outside of the WWE machine that the Hall of Fame does not have a physical location. Some argue that this somewhat cheapens the honour and reduces it to the evening of the ceremony and a HOF tag on a wrestler’s convention sign. Even if it is imaginary, many of wrestling’s most desired trinkets are (see Vince McMahon’s brass ring), it remains the end goal for many a performer.
A Hall of Fame induction has become a rite of passage for countless wrestlers, cementing them as legends. The ceremony itself allows for the honoured to thank their colleagues and fans, and for them in turn to show their appreciation.
However, some wrestlers have more personal reasons why they refused a Hall of Fame nomination, turning down an opportunity that countless others would jump through hoops for...
6. Honky Tonk Man
Though Honky Tonk Man was eventually inducted into the Hall of Fame (class of 2019), he rejected the honour of a place in 2010’s class.
Honky was involved in the 2009 ceremony, inducting his former training partner Koko B. Ware. However, he was keen to state afterwards that he was there purely for Ware and “didn't care about being around the rest of the people”. He also pointed out he made no money from the appearance due to being “screwed on the rent-a-car and several other things”.
Honky declined the 2010 induction due to already being booked and contracted to appear at Wizard World Comic Book Convention.
In a 2018 interview, Honky was critical of the Hall of Fame concept referring to it as a “TV show” rather than a Hall of Fame. He compared it critically to Super Bowl honours, commenting “it's not like you get a big $35,000 diamond ring”.
Honky’s personal concern was that if inducted they would make him appear in gimmick, and go out in his jumpsuit gear, rather than be himself. However, when inducted he would somewhat relent, appearing in an iconic jumpsuit.