Seriously. I could stop this piece right there and it would have enough merit to stand on its own. A few days ago, it was announced 80’s star Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake would be inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame this year. I immediately had to question the decision about this one in particular, because it simply seems out of place. Brutus made several appearances throughout the then WWF’s golden age. The problem with his induction is whether or not he is actually worthy of it. After all, the Hall Of Fame usually speaks to the legendary performers of WWE’s past. When I think of Brutus, I could use several terms to describe his presence, but “legendary” is definitely not one of them.
Personally known as Edward Leslie, Brutus began his WWF as a heel and was given the gimmick of a male stripper. He and Greg Valentine formed a team that went by the moniker ‘The Dream Team” and would soon be thrust into the Tag Team title picture. Valentine and Brutus would soon unseat the current tag champs the US Express and go on an 8 month run with the titles. After losing the titles, the Dream Team broke up and Brutus would eventually turn face, helping Roddy Piper defeat Adrian Adonis. After Piper won, Brutus shaved Adonis’ head, thus earning him the nickname “The Barber.”
This is pretty much his highlight reel. For the rest of his career, he appeared in singles titles matches, and always stayed near the top / middle of the card. For most, this would be considered a massively successful run in the then STACKED WWF, but his card position would have more to do with his alliance with Hulk Hogan, than his in ring acumen. Brutus was never known as an elite worker, but instead, he was “Hogan’s Boy” and as such, his best friend would be known to use his influence to help Brutus stay afloat within the company.
Zero King Of The Ring victories. Zero Royal Rumble victories. Zero singles titles. ZERO. So what earns Brutus his Hall Of Fame status? Your guess is just as good as ours.
Championship victories aside, Vader also had top drawing programs with some of the best in the business consistently throughout his career. Before his time in WCW, he wrestled in New Japan Pro Wrestling where he would go on to have one of the most brutal rivalries with Stan Hansen. It is within this rivalry that Vader endured one of pro wrestling’s most gruesome injuries. During a match with Hansen, Vader was inadvertently poked in the eye, popping it right out of the socket. Instead of stopping the match, Vader simply popped it back into place and kept going. Bad. Ass.
While in WCW Vader got the opportunity to again show his worth, working a main event program with the red hot babyface, Sting. The two would go on to have three classic matches that fully showed how good of a worker Vader was, while also displaying his athletic ability. Vader would also work feuds with The Nature Boy Ric Flair, The British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith, Cactus Jack, and WCW’s new golden boy Hulk Hogan.
Comparatively speaking, it makes almost no sense as to why we’re getting another Hall Of Fame ceremony that isn’t headlined by Vader. His resume speaks for itself, the man is a legend in the industry, Period. So why not induct him? The short answer could very well be, simply because Vader is not, and was not a Vincent McMahon creation. Because Vader was already a big name before he came to the WWF and continued to be after his stint, could be one glaring reason why. After all, we know how Vince feels about WCW stars, especially after watching Sting lose his only WWE match to Triple H at Wrestlemania 31.
We all know that at the end of the day, the WWE Hall Of Fame will continue to feature stars hand picked by Vince himself. At the end of the day, any sports related Hall Of Fame inductee will always be debated amongst fans. Athletes and personalities “deservingness” will always be subjective, based on their contributions to their respective sport. It’s not always that I disagree with WWE on their nominees, but this time around there’s no way on God’s green earth Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake should be going in before Vader.