The night before WrestleMania XXIX, WWE will enshrine several legends into the WWE Hall of Fame. The ceremony will take place on April 6, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
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Fifty years ago, Bruno Sammartino won the WWE Championship at Madison Square Garden. That title reign lasted almost eight years and put WWE on the wrestling map. He would go onto win the title again in 1973 and held the belt for over three years. He is the longest reigning champion in WWE history and his 4,040 days holding the title are almost twice as long as the man that is number two on the list, Hulk Hogan, who "only" held the title for 2,185 days. For the past two decades, Bruno has been an outspoken critic of the company which explains why it has taken him so long to get inducted. Bruno's induction adds a gigantic level of credibility to the Hall of Fame which it was sorely missing due to his absence.
Bruno wasn't the only former champion whose absence from the WWE Hall of Fame made it hard for fans to take seriously. Bob Backlund is the third longest reigning WWE Champion in the company's history. His first title reign, which began at Madison Square Garden in 1978, lasted until 1983. Bob returned to the company almost a decade after losing the title and went on to beat Bret Hart for the WWE Championship in 1995. That title reign only lasted a couple of days.
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Booker T began his career as a tag team specialist. Along with his brother Stevie Ray, Harlem Heat won the WCW Tag Team Championship 10 times. Booker T then found success as a singles wrestler and became a 5-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion, including being the final champion when the company closed their doors. Unlike many other former WCW stars, Booker T continued to be successful in the WWE. His WWE highlight was winning the King of the Ring in 2006 and then parlaying that into a World Heavyweight Championship reign as King Booker.
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Mick Foley also has a famous history at Madison Square Garden as he famously hitch hiked to a show there to see Jimmy Snuka battle Don Muraco inside of a steel cage. That match featured Jimmy hit Muraco with a Superfly from the top of the cage. Mick is also known for a famous move off a cage as he was tossed off of, and moments later, through the Hell in a Cell at the hands of the Undertaker. Mick, who suffered from a case of multiple personality disorder in the '90s also wrestled as Mankind, Cactus Jack and Dude Love during his WWE tenure. In addition to bringing a hardcore style to the company in the '90s, he also had a comedic side which resulted in the birth of Mr. Socko. Outside of the ring, Mick single handedly created the market for wrestling autobiographies when his first book, Have a Nice Day shot to number one on the New York Time's Best Seller list.
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Trish Stratus is unquestionably the most popular and successful Diva of the current century. She began her tenure in the company as a manager but would go onto become one of the greatest female competitors in WWE history. Trish won the WWE Women's Championship on seven occasions. Her last title victory took place in her retirement match against Lita back in 2006. She still occasionally steps into the ring. Her most famous match since retiring saw her team with Snooki and John Morrison at WrestleMania XXVII
to beat Michlle McCool, Layla and Dolph Ziggler.
Donald Trump (Celebrity Wing)
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The rise of both WWE and Donald Trump began at around the same time in the '80s. By the end of the decade, the two finally joined forces as Trump Plaza was the home for both WrestleMania IV
and WrestleMania V
. At WrestleMania 23
, Trump finally got involved in the action when he put his hair on the line against the hair of Vince McMahon in the Battle of the Billionaires
. Trump got to shave Vince's head when his wrestler, Bobby Lashley, defeated Vince's wrestler, Umaga. A few years later, Donald Trump got involved in the business again when he became the owner of Monday Night RAW
. While he only lasted one week as the owner of the show, his announcement that week led to the era of the RAW Guest Host