Jerry Lawler talked about celebrities in wrestling and said the next man is
just as important as any of them. He brought out Dick Ebersol.
Ebersol said 25 years ago tonight he was producing one of his last Saturday Night Live episodes and had Hulk Hogan and Mr. T doing a sketch on the show. He said Hogan got so carried away, he laughed and couldn't read his cue cards.
That was the night before Wrestlemania 1 and it led to the launch of Saturday Night's Main Event. He said that he's never had more fun than he did when working to produce WWE programming for NBC.
Ebersol said that Bob Uecker has had the most extraordinary career of any sports personality. He said Bob had a ten year career, only batted .200 and yet is still in the Cooperstown Hall of Fame.
Ebersol introduced a video on Uecker.
Ebersol told the story that brought Bob Uecker to Wrestlemania 3. They
had gone to Detroit six weeks before the PPV to survey the site and figure out
how to get everyone into the building.
He said Vince McMahon was trying to get Uecker, who didn't "get it" to appear. Ebersol said they would go visit Uecker to convince him. Ebersol sent for Jesse Ventura to come help.
They arrived and called Uecker and told him they were at his hotel. They needed two hours and a "lot of beer" to get Uecker to agree. He said Uecker had the time of his life but didn't know it was coming when Andre the Giant put his arms around him and he was scared to death.
He introduced Bob Uecker.
Bob Uecker said he had a lot to say but "Inoki stole his speech." Uecker said he wasn't always a great player and his father didn't know a lot about sports but wanted him to do everything the other kids did. His dad got him a football and they didn't know how to throw it, so they kicked it around until a nice neighbor filled it with air for him and "What a difference that made!"
Uecker said that he was interested in wrestling when he was 75 or 80 pounds. He told a story about being so poor his mother made him an athletic supporter from a flour sack "and the flour would fall out."
He told some funny baseball stories and showed off his Hall of Fame ring. He joked that "everyone else got a diamond," but he got a zircum. He talked about dreaming of a world championship ring... and his was tossed into the field and he had to find it during the fifth inning.
Uecker said that he met Dick Ebersol years ago and mentioned some of the shows he was involved in. When he was called to do Wrestlemania, he said he initially said no because it was during Spring Training but it turned out to be one of the best things he ever did in his life.
He told a story of Jake Roberts asking him to take a picture with Damian. He asked who Damian was and Jake said, "He's in the bag." Uecker said, "So am I. Pass me another beer."
When they got to Detroit, he got to meet everyone and was having the time of his life. He said he had spent time with Andre the Giant but had no idea it was coming. Uecker said if the camera had stayed on them we'd have seen him on top of Andre with Vince yelling for him to let Andre go because he had a match.
Uecker said when he was a kid, his grandma did wrestler's laundry and told a story of putting on Dick the Bruiser's tights. He talked about watching Milwaukee wrestling in the Rendezvous Ballroom.
Uecker continued his self deprecating lines and joked a lot. It was hilarious.
Uecker said that all of the things he's had the chance to do in his life, some of the best times he's had were with WWE. He said he was amazed by how jam packed the place is tonight and is amazed by the body punishment the wrestlers put themselves through.
He thanked everyone for their time and laughter.
Jerry Lawler introduced a video of Gorgeous George.
Lawler then introduced 'the only man here who can say he wrestled George three times' - The Destroyer Dick Beyer - who came out wearing his mask.
Destroyer said he is extremely excited and pleased to honor Gorgeous George with the WWE Hall of Fame. He said in college he watched George when George was big, made money and brought entertainment to pro wrestling.
Destroyer talked about George's Bobby Pins and wishes he had 2,000 to sell on Ebay. He told the story of wrestling George for the first time and learned that George could indeed wrestle.
Going forward, a Los Angeles promoter wanted to put a mask on Destroyer and
he thought he was crazy. 16 months later the promoter wanted to take it
off and Destroyer said 'not tonight'. This led to Destroyer's next story.
George owned a bar in the area and invited Destroyer to visit. The bar would have been the equivalent of the best sports bar today and had tons of photos of celebrities, but the bar was empty. George said he needed a payday and pitched Destroyer's mask against George's hair. Destroyer didn't want to lose his mask. George said not to worry and wanted to do all the pomp and circumstance. The promoter, Jules Strongow, agreed to do it and George submitted to a figure four. As they cut George's hair, Destroyer felt bad that he helped ruin the first image that brought entertainment to pro wrestling.
Destroyer said George was 'the living orchid' and had a mask for George's widow Betty. He said he was proud to have inducted George into the Hall of Fame.
Jerry Lawler introduced Betty Wagner, Gorgeous George's former wife, to
accept on his behalf.
She said George was gorgeous. Her mother told George he was gorgeous, and they decided that was it for his name. Betty said she made all of George's robes. She told stories of her kids running around in the wrestling robes.
Betty was asked if there was anything else she wanted to say about George and she said she didn't want to 'tell everything' and thinks it was time she should go.
A short but funny and sweet induction.
Coverage continued on the next page.