The WWE Hall of Fame has become synonymous with WrestleMania weekend, as the annual induction ceremony has become a huge success the night before the WWE’s biggest show of the year. NXT’s increased popularity forced one minor change in the WrestleMania calendar going forward, but it will remain a fixture in the itinerary. The Hall of Fame ceremony will now take place that Friday, while NXT’s Takeover special slides into the Saturday time slot.
Each year when the calendar turns, the rumor mill heats up in regards to projecting the WrestleMania card. And the same can be said for filling out that year’s class that will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Traditionally, the WWE begins announcing the inductees right before or right after the Royal Rumble as the build begins to WrestleMania.
However, last year’s headliner, Sting, was announced on RAW’s second show of 2016, a little less than three months prior to WrestleMania 32. The WWE couldn’t control the news from leaking to the public as websites and blogs picked up on it well before it was expected to be unveiled. And it appears the same has happened here in 2017.
According to a report from Daily Wrestling News, the first inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2017 will be none other than Diamond Dallas Page. Page, also commonly referred to as DDP, spent the majority of his professional wrestling career in WCW before a short run in WWE in 2001-02 after WWE bought out his former employer.
DDP also had a stint with TNA in the early 2000’s, but hasn’t been an active wrestler for over a decade. He’s made several surprise appearances for the WWE, including several themed episodes of RAW, the 2015 Royal Rumble and an entrant into last year’s Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 32 in Dallas.
A rarity among professional wrestlers, DDP’s impact in his post-wrestling career may even be bigger than that of his days inside the squared circle. Page launched DDP Yoga, a fitness program designed to help people improve their lifestyles. Page has famously helped Scott Hall and Jake Roberts, as well as Mick Foley, Vader, and many others in and out of the professional wrestling business.
As it pertains to the WWE Hall of Fame, DDP has been intimately involved in past ceremonies, no stranger to the event. In 2014, he inducted Roberts into the Hall of Fame during the weekend of WrestleMania 30 in New Orleans. Roberts expressed eternal gratitude to Page for getting his life back on track and taking him into his own home for more than a year. Page was blunt in an interview with WWE shortly after the ceremony.
“I wanted Jake to see that there was light at the end of the tunnel. At the beginning, I said, ‘Imagine. You’re at the Hall of Fame. You should have been inducted 10 years ago, but they’re not going to induct you. Not where your head’s at. Not where your life’s at.’”
Diamond Dallas Page appears to be the first inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2017, but he’s not expected to be the headliner as of this moment. Other early rumored names for the induction have included Goldberg, Daniel Bryan and perhaps legendary tag team Demolition.
Goldberg, who also has a close relationship with Page, was originally expected to return to the WWE in the fall for a one-off match, retire and then be inducted into the Hall of Fame. The success upon his return changed those plans as he’s now expected to wrestle another match against Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania, which may delay his induction, at least another year. However, Ric Flair wrestled on the same weekend he was enshrined so it’s not entirely out of the question.
Also, no word yet on who might induct Page, but it’d certainly be fitting if WWE Hall of Famer Jake Roberts returned the favor.
[Featured Image by WWE]