Thursday, March 12, 2009

She's So Unusual!

Wendi Richter and Cydi Lauper

As of this posting, WWE has officially stated that Steve Austin, Ricky Steamboat, Terry Funk & Dory Funk Jr., Bill Watts and Koko B. Ware will be inducted as members of the WWE Hall of Fame, Class 2009 (with several ‘Net reports that the Von Erich Family will be inducted as a group). However, there hasn’t been an induction into the “Celebrity Wing” since William “The Refrigerator” Perry in 2006. The only other member of the “Celebrity Wing” is Charlie Hustle himself, Pete Rose. There are other deserving celebrities that have made contributions to the WWE and wrestling as a whole that deserve a place in the Hall of Fame. Andy Kauffman comes immediately to mind. So does Muhammad Ali. One would think that the 25th anniversary of Wrestle Mania would be the no-brainer induction of Mr. T… but there was another celebrity who appeared at the inaugural ‘Mania and was responsible for the whole “Rock N’ Wrestling Connection” in the first place. And I ain’t talkin’ Liberace!

It is way past time that the WWE recognizes the contributions of Cyndi Lauper for her role in making the company THE dominant force in the history of Pro Wrestling.

In the early-to-mid 1980’s there was a group of musicians who produced some of the most recognizable Rock and Pop songs in history. People such as Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, Van Halen, Madonna, Prince, Culture Club and Lionel Ritchie ruled the music industry as they swept in and took over the charts after the New Wave invasion had run its course. Cyndi Lauper was a huge part of that era. Whether cranking out catchy kitsch like “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and “She-Bop” or showing just how damn good a singer she was with “Time After Time” and “True Colors”, Lauper was an MtV staple. She was the first artist to have four top-five singles released from one album and has sold more than 25 million albums and singles worldwide.

"What ya gonna do with your life?"

Lauper’s involvement with the WWE began when the hated manager Captain Lou Albano appeared as her father in the music video “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” where the bug-eyed, rubberband-pierced Captain jobbed to the siren. Albano began feuding with Lauper in the WWE as he managed The Fabulous Moolah when her historic World Women’s Championship reign cam to an end at the hands of the Lauper-managed Wendi Richter. Albano, due to his popularity from the ‘Girls” video, began to hear the cheers of the fans more and more in each appearance. Seeing as how the “Attitude” era was still a good decade + away, it just wasn’t proper Pro Wrestling etiquette for the heels to get cheered, so they turned Captain Lou babyface. Moolah fired Albano and he became an ally of Richter and Lauper against Moolah and her crony Lelani Kai. Captain Lou was presented a “humanitarian award” by Lauper and Wolff at Madison Square Garden.

Enter the top WWE heel and all-around a-hole, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper.

The Rowdy Scot interrupted the presentation and unleashed his particular brand of mayhem by smashing the award over Lou’s head, body-slamming Wolff, and shoving Lauper hard to the mat. And who should come to the rescue but none other than your hero and mine, WWE Champion Hulk Hogan.

The footage aired in HEAVY rotation on MtV.

Piper began a war of words against Hogan, Lauper, MtV, Rock music and the human race in general. All of this led to “The War to Settle the Score” wrestling event that aired on MtV, which, in turn, set up the two main events for the very first WrestleMania:

1.) Hulk Hogan and Mr. T (with Jimmy Snuka) vs. Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff (with Bob Orton Jr.) and…
2.) Wendi Richter (with Cyndi Lauper) vs. Lelani Kai (with Moolah)

Yep… the celebrity/wrestler pairing of Lauper and Richter was given just as much hype as the duo of Mr. T and Hogan. Unfortunately, a SEVERE falling out between Richter and Vince McMahon shortly after ‘Mania resulted in Cydi Lauper’s role (and Richter’s) in making the event a huge success has been relegated as nothing more than another “WrestleMania Moment” footnote.

But, never say “never” where the WWE is concerned. There have been reports around the ‘Net that McMahon has extended an olive branch to Wendi Richter and is wanting her to appear in the 25 Diva Battle Royal to take place at ‘Mania’s silver anniversary. Surely if Bret Hart can make nice-nice, so can she. If Richter can finally get the recognition she deserves for helping make the McMahon Family uber-rich then so can Lauper.

Other than Mr. T, there is no other non-wrestler celebrity that deserves to be inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame more than that unusual kid from Queens, Cyndi Lauper.
Lauper now

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