It was revealed on Monday evening, just before WWE Monday Night RAW went on the air, that Connor “The Crusher” Michalek will be receiving the Warrior Award at this year’s WWE Hall of Fame ceremony during WrestleMania 31 weekend on March 28. WWE revealed the news via their mobile application and website, and the announcement was officially made during the RAW broadcast.
Connor Michalek endeared himself to WWE fans in late 2012, when videos suffered online of the young cancer patient meeting his favorite WWE wrestlers after a successful internet petition. Pittsburgh’s CBS Local reported at the time that the petition started with Connor making a personal YouTube plea to his favorite wrestler.
“It all started with a YouTube video of 7-year-old Connor Michalek making a plea to meet his all-time favorite WWE wrestler, Daniel Bryan.
“The Shaler Township boy was diagnosed with cancer of the brain and spine when he was just 3-years-old. He’s had multiple surgeries and several rounds of chemotherapy.
“Word of Conner’s desire to meet the WWE star spread like wildfire on social media and local radio stations.”
The most memorable portion of that original meeting came when Connor, going by “Stone Crusher” at the time, did indeed meet his favorite wrestler, Daniel Bryan, and put him in the Yes Lock. Bryan was part of a tag team with Kane (Team Hell No) at the time, and Kane also visited Connor that day.
Just over one year later, in October 2013, Connor “The Crusher” was once again able to meet up with Daniel Bryan, this time at a WWE RAW taping in his hometown of Pittsburgh. That night, Daniel Bryan wrestled in the main event, and on his way back to the dressing room following the match, he stopped by to say hello to Connor “The Crusher.”
Miraculously, Connor “The Crusher” and Bryan crossed path two more times following that October 2013 event in Pittsburgh. WWE brought Connor and his family to RAW in Washington D.C., where Connor met the entire WWE roster, got to make an entrance down the RAW entrance ramp, and even wrestled Triple H in the WWE ring itself.
One week later, Connor “The Crusher” and his family traveled to New Orleans for WrestleMania XXX, where Connor was able to see Bryan win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship from the front row. It was surely one of the most memorable moments of Connor’s short and wonderful life. He passed away just a few weeks later.
Monday’s WWE RAW took place from Pittsburgh, Connor “The Crusher’s” hometown, so it made sense for WWE to make the long-rumored announcement at that particular location. Following the announcement by WWE during RAW, the crowd chanted “Connor, Connor” as Michalek’s father and younger brother were shown sitting front row at the show.
Connor will become the first non-celebrity to enter the WWE Hall of Fame, and he will also be the first recipient of the “Warrior Award,” named after legendary WWE superstar The Ultimate Warrior, who tragically passed away just three days after entering the WWE Hall of Fame in 2014. WWE describes the award as one that “will be given to someone who has exhibited unwavering strength and perseverance, and who lives life with the courage and compassion that embodies the indomitable spirit of WWE Hall of Famer, The Ultimate Warrior.”
Stephanie McMahon spoke of how proud WWE is to honor the memory of Connor “The Crusher.”
“Connor Michalek had a profound impact on so many people. His spirit and love of life were so strong, you would have never known he was sick. I can think of no better way to honor Connor, than by recognizing him with our highest honor, the first fan to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, as a Warrior.”
[Image via YouTube]