As noted, it was announced today that The Honky Tonk Man has been confirmed for the 2019 WWE Hall of Fame Class. He joins DX (Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Chyna, Sean "X-Pac" Waltman, Billy Gunn, "Road Dogg" BG James) as confirmed inductees for the 2019 Class, which will be inducted during WrestleMania 35 Weekend in Brooklyn. Taz and The Hart Foundation (Jim Neidhart, Bret Hart, Jimmy Hart) are also rumored.
The self-proclaimed Greatest Intercontinental Champion of all-time spoke with CBS Sports and recalled the babyface pop he received during the 2013 Old School RAW appearance he made, where he broke a guitar over Heath Slater's head and then danced with Tensai and Brodus Clay. Honky Tonk said he misses everything about WWE.
"After all these times of being such a bad guy, I was cheered like I had never been cheered before," he said. "After being booed out of all these buildings for so long, they loved me and it was great seeing that. It was exhilarating and fun and I carry that with me. Someone asked me not too long ago what I missed most about WWE, and I said, 'Everything.' There is nothing like having that championship and going out and doing radio and TV talking about it. And I was a good bad guy. Some of these kids who are now 40 said they were watching when they were 8 and they thought they could beat me. People wanted me to lose and they didn't care who I lost to."
Honky Tonk said he considers it an honor and a tribute to see wrestlers like Elias and WWE Hall of Famer Jeff Jarrett carry on his gimmick of breaking guitars on opponents. He revealed that he knows nothing about actually playing the guitar, despite his character.
"I have to be like brutally honest: I know nothing about playing the guitar, absolutely nothing," he said. "Hillbilly Jim, who could play a million songs and has been playing guitar since before he could walk, tried to teach me how to play a couple of chords, and I just couldn't do it. I've had a couple of really good guitar players come up to me and say, 'You have to know how to play guitar because no one could play that bad.'"
The Honky Tonk Man is best-known for holding the WWE Intercontinental Title from the June 13, 1987 WWE Superstars episode that saw him capture the title from WWE Hall of Famer Ricky Steamboat, to SummerSlam 1988 when he dropped the title to WWE Hall of Famer The Ultimate Warrior in just 31 seconds. He said the pop for that finish remains the loudest pop he has heard inside an arena. He talked to CBS Sports about the run with the title and said it was grueling.
"I'm not going to sugarcoat it and say that everything came easy and [being champion] was a lovely walk because it was grueling," Honky Tonk said. "It was fantastic but it was grueling. We put a lot of time and effort into it to entertain the fans the best we could as WWE wanted us to do it. It was exhilarating. To be out there every night, there was electricity in the air."
Honky Tonk has not always seen eye-to-eye with WWE and has rarely appeared for the company over the past 20 years, but he believes the timing is right for him to come home. He has previously knocked the Hall of Fame in interviews and turned down an offer to be inducted in 2010, due to what he says was a prior commitment. He told CBS Sports that WWE is the only place he's ever wanted to be.
"WWE is the place to be. For me, it's the only place I have ever wanted to be," he said. "It's the place that if I'm ready to finish up, that's where I want to be. It's home for me because I have so many fond memories of everything that has been accomplished by WWE and from what I've accomplished myself. It wasn't me alone, it was a huge team effort. That is what's amazing and what is so great about being part of the WWE. The door is open to you and it's up to you if you want to walk through it. I look back on everything and for some unknown reason, everything has a meaning. The timing, everything about this year in the 2019 Hall of Fame, everything was lining up perfectly. I never dreamed it was going to happen and would tell people that it's something I don't think about every day of my life. But to be able to be part of this, it's hard to explain."
Source: CBS Sports