KELLER’S WWE HALL OF FAME SEGMENT REPORT 4/6: Honky Tonk Man tells story of his gimmick’s creation, journey to WWE, and then sings himself to the back as New Day and Slater dance


APRIL 6 2019

HOSTS: Corey Graves & Renee Young

-Graves and Young introduced the show from the stage. They explained the new set, with a stage and a ring in the middle of the arena. Graves joked that they had to switch stages because Hillbilly Jim was still talking at the old podium from last year’s ceremony.

-Jimmy Hart cruised to the ring like a 30 year old. He got right to it and told the story of Honky Tonk Man, whom he met in 1979. He said he was part of Wrestling’s First Family for four years, then they went their separate ways. He he went to New York City and when he was there, he was managing King Kong Bundy, Greg Valentine, and Jim Neidhart. He said he got a call from the office that they had someone else for him to manage. He said he went to Memphis to shoot some video footage with Honky Tonk Man. He said they cut the Honky Tonk Man song and two others while down there. He said then they put a rocket on him and in 1987 he beat Ricky Steamboat for the IC Title and they never looked back. He said Diamond Dallas Page drove his pink Cadillac from Tampa, Fla. to Toronto, Ontario just so he could drive HTM to the ring at WrestleMania 6. He then introduced HTM.

-Honky Tonk Man drove into the arena in a pink Cadillac. He said it’s a real honor to be inducted into the Hall of Fame with such a great class. He said he never thought it would happen, “and none of you out there ever thought it would, either.” Fans chanted “You deserve it!” He said they have a saying, “Never say never in WWE because you never know what’s going to happen. I am living proof of that, for sure.” (I’m not sure how many people understood why he was saying that, because he has said so many harsh things about WWE and top personnel over the years.)

He said it’s been a great ride and he’d do it all over again. He thanked Jimmy Hart. He gave a shout out to his son and daughter and his wife. He said he had a vision for this character in his mind with black hair, side burns, a greaseball type of character that might catch on somewhere and maybe give his career a boost. He said he needed a name to accompany the look. He said while driving the Gulf Coast one day, a song from the ’60s came on: “I’m a honky tonk man.” He said the words in the song described the character he was trying to create. He said he presented the gimmick to a local promoter. The promoter asked him if he could play a guitar. He admitted he couldn’t at all. “He said that will make it even better,” he said. Laughs from the crowd. He said the promoter told him to hit his opponent with the guitar. He did it, and his character was off and running. They showed Sting on the big screen. Fans cheered.

Honky said he went to Calgary and learned how to stand, what to say, how to say it, so that he could present this character. He said WWE was selling out arenas all across North America. He jumped at the chance to join WWE. He said without a certain recommendation, he likely wouldn’t have had his career. He said they’ve been friends for many years and still are today. He then revealed it was Hulk Hogan by saying, “I love you, brother.” He said WWE shined his character up and put the finishing touches on it. He sid they did something he couldn’t do with the character – they gave it life. “No promises, no guarantees, just opportunity,” he said. “They made this character a household name.” He said because of WWE, the character will never die. “This character will live forever,” he said. “That is the power of WWE.” He said it’s truly an honor to be part of such an incredible family. His music played.

Jimmy said he can’t leave until he singing his record hit song. HTM said, “Let’s make this a legendary 2019 Hall of Fame! Make some noise, put your hands together, turn the music on!” HTM sang his theme song. Heath Slater was really into it. Kane stood frozen. Travis Browne was really into it, too. They cut to New Day who were 100 percent into it, especially Big E. HTM went to ringside and circled the front row and continued singing the whole way up the ramp to the back.


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