Earlier today, WWE announced Wayne Farris – better known as the Honky Tonk Man – as the next inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame. Here’s WWE’s press release concerning this latest induction:
The Honky Tonk Man, the longest-reigning Intercontinental Champion in WWE history, is the latest inductee in the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2019. The news was first reported by CBS Sports. The 2019 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony takes place on Saturday, April 6, the eve of WrestleMania 35, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. Tickets for the ceremony are available now.
With slicked-back hair and long sideburns reminiscent of a certain rock ‘n’ roll icon, The Honky Tonk Man first arrived on the scene in WWE in 1986 with a wide-eyed smile on his face, trying to earn the adulation of the WWE Universe. But WWE fans didn’t quite take to the Elvis lookalike, despite the stamp of approval from Hulk Hogan, as they jeered the newcomer relentlessly. A frustrated Honky Tonk Man called for a vote of confidence from the WWE Universe, and when the results came back overwhelmingly negative, the rockabilly wrestler snapped.
Enlisting the managerial services of fellow WWE Hall of Famer Jimmy Hart, The Honky Tonk Man unleashed his evil side, setting out to make his opponents twist and shout in agony. And if the damage he inflicted on his opponents wasn’t enough, he subjected the WWE Universe to his unique talents as a singer, facetiously thanking fans and telling them they were “a wonderful audience” as he belted out his own entrance music.
The new attitude was apparently just what the crooner needed, as he racked up victory after victory on his way to becoming Intercontinental Champion in June 1987 with a shocking victory over Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat. Following his big win, The Honky Tonk Man went on to claim that he was the greatest Intercontinental Champion of all time. At first, that boast may have rang a little hollow, but his claims began to hold a little more water as his reign continued.
By hook or by crook, The Honky Tonk Man held onto the Intercontinental Championship for nearly 13 months before his reign ended in lightning-quick fashion at the hands of Ultimate Warrior at SummerSlam 1988. His record-breaking 454 days as Intercontinental Champion is a feat that has stood the test of time, as no Superstar has come close to eclipsing his unprecedented championship reign.
Botch Take: This makes all the sense in the world. He was an absolutely fantastic heel in that he was immediately hate-able as soon as he came to the ring. The way he was dressed, the arrogant theme song (written by manager Jimmy Hart) and his cocksure attitude made him instantly memorable and disliked. He didn’t even have to speak. He was a lot of fun and I think his acceptance speech will be too. If there’s any justice, Jimmy Hart will be his inductor.