|Established March 22, 1993||Founder WWE|
|Members 105 individuals 11 groups (31 members) 9 celebrities 3 Warrior Awards recipients 16 Legacy inductees (164 total inductees)|
The WWE Hall of Fame is a hall of fame for professional wrestling personalities maintained by WWE. It was announced on the March 22, 1993 episode of Monday Night Raw where André the Giant, who had died nearly two months prior, was announced as the sole inductee. The 1994 and 1995 ceremonies were held in conjunction with the annual King of the Ring pay-per-view events. In 1996, the ceremony was held with the Survivor Series event, for the first time in front of a paying audience as well as the wrestlers, after which, the Hall of Fame went on hiatus.
In 2004, WWE relaunched the Hall of Fame to coincide with WrestleMania XX. This ceremony, like its predecessors, was not broadcast on television. However, it was released on DVD on June 1, 2004. Beginning with the 2005 ceremony, an edited version of the Hall of Fame was broadcast on Spike TV (2005) and on the USA Network (2006–present); these were aired on tape delay. Since 2005, the entire Hall of Fame ceremony has been packaged as part of the annual WrestleMania DVD release, and from 2014, has been broadcast live on the WWE Network. In 2015, historical WWE Hall of Fame ceremonies became available on the WWE Network.
Although a building has never been built to represent the Hall of Fame, WWE has looked into constructing a facility. In 2008, Shane McMahon, then-Executive Vice President of Global Media of WWE, stated that WWE had been storing wrestling memorabilia in a warehouse for years, with all items categorized and dated in case a facility is created.
As of 2017, there have been 164 inductees – with 105 wrestlers inducted individually, 11 group inductions (consisting of 31 wrestlers within those groups), nine celebrities, three Warrior Award recipients, and 16 Legacy Inductees. 36 members were inducted posthumously. Ric Flair is the only Hall of Famer to be inducted twice, first individually in 2008, then as a member of The Four Horsemen in 2012, while Flair, Sting, and Kurt Angle are the only people to be inducted while still active.
The "celebrity wing" of the Hall of Fame is dedicated to celebrities that have made memorable appearances on WWE programming, and/or have had longtime associations with WWE.
In 2015, WWE introduced the Warrior Award for those who have "exhibited unwavering strength and perseverance, and who lives life with the courage and compassion that embodies the indomitable spirit of the Ultimate Warrior."
While WWE promotes Warrior Award recipients as Hall of Fame inductees, they are not included in the Hall of Fame section at WWE.com. and an image gallery which shows "every WWE Hall of Famer ever" does not contain either recipient.
The award was created following The Ultimate Warrior's death. During his April 2014 Hall of Fame speech shortly before his death, he proposed that there be a special category called the "Jimmy Miranda Award" for WWE's behind-the-scenes employees. Miranda, who died in 2002, was part of the WWE merchandise department for more than 20 years. Former WWE ring announcer Justin Roberts expressed disappointment at how WWE used portions of Warrior's Hall of Fame speech to promote the award, but left out Warrior's intentions of honoring WWE's off-screen employees. WWE responded, "It is offensive to suggest that WWE and its executives had anything but altruistic intentions in honoring Connor and his legacy with The Warrior Award", adding that "moving forward the award will be given annually to acknowledge other unsung heroes among WWE's employees and fans."
Traditionally, Dana Warrior (widow of The Ultimate Warrior) will present the award.
In 2016, WWE introduced a new category for the Hall of Fame called the "Legacy" wing. Inductees under this new category feature wrestlers from the early years of professional wrestling, primarily during the early part of the 20th century. All inductees thus far have been inducted posthumously and were recognized with a video package at the ceremony.
In 2012, The Post and Courier noted that the Hall has garnered criticism due to the inductions of questionable performers, and the omissions of major names within the industry. Bob Backlund declined induction multiple times, and The Ultimate Warrior wrote that he refused the honor in 2010; they were eventually inducted in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Randy Savage was recognized as being noticeably absent; Chris Jericho said that the Hall achieved a level of legitimacy by inducting him in 2015. Slam Wrestling questioned how Koko B. Ware, who primarily wrestled in the undercard, was inducted but former WWWF World Heavyweight Champion Ivan Koloff never was before his 2017 death.
Bruno Sammartino, the longest reigning WWWF World Heavyweight Champion, was once critical of the Hall of Fame. Sammartino disapproved of celebrity inductees such as Pete Rose and William Perry, and said of the ceremony: "What's the point to a Hall of Fame? Is it a building I can actually go to? No. Give me a break". Sammartino declined previous induction offers, before accepting in 2013. Paul "Triple H" Levesque said that it was important for Sammartino to be inducted from a "legitimacy standpoint" and ESPN said that his induction is an opportunity to legitimize the Hall of Fame. After being announced as an inductee, Sammartino said he considers the Hall to be legitimate.
Superstar Billy Graham publicly slammed the hall and demanded that WWE remove him from it, due to the 2011 induction of Abdullah the Butcher. Graham wrote: "It is a shameless organization to induct a bloodthirsty animal such as Abdullah the Butcher into their worthless and embarrassing Hall of Fame and I want the name of Superstar Billy Graham to be no part of it". Sabu also criticized the Hall of Fame, saying "I'd only do it because I need the money... I don't consider it a real Hall of Fame."
2015 Hall of Fame headliner Kevin Nash stated that two things in the professional wrestling business are real: "When you win your first championship and when you get inducted into the Hall of Fame." Nash claimed this is a sentiment to which colleague Ric Flair also subscribes. During his 2013 induction, future U.S. president Donald Trump said that the honor meant more than "having the highest ratings in TV, being a best-selling author or getting a spot on the Hollywood Walk of Fame."
Dave Scherer of PWInsider has questioned how WWE can sustain the 2004–present Hall of Fame model, due to legends being rapidly inducted. He wrote: "There are only so many people that they can have headline a class. They really need to make more new stars to ensure that they can keep filling arenas for the ceremony".