Shake, rattle, and roll! Earlier today WWE broke the news along with CBS Sports, that the next inductee for the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2019 is the longest-reigning Intercontinental Champion in WWF/WWE history, The Honky Tonk Man.
The Honky Tonk Man, born Wayne Farris on January 25, 1953, is the cousin of WWE Hall of Famer Jerry “The King” Lawler. In 1977, he began his career working in Malden, Missouri for promoter Henry Rogers. He then proceeded to Memphis Wrestling in 1978.
The Honky Tonk Man arrived at WWE in 1986 as a babyface with determination and confidence. However, Honky Tonk would not be accepted by the WWE Universe. In fact, the feedback would be negative. The audience at the time did not have confidence or understanding of the rockabilly Elvis look-alike wrestler.
Honky Tonk would then be managed by WWE Hall of Famer Jimmy Hart. Hart would assist Honky Tonk to show his malicious dark side. This attitude adjustment would lead him to his victory in the WWE, with the ability to create and keep heat.
In 1987, he would pick up the victory from Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat. This would be the start of the greatest and longest Intercontinental Championship reigns of all time. His Championship run came to an end with The Ultimate Warrior at SummerSlam 1988 after 454 days, 64-week long. His record-breaking run 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.
About his character and Championship reign, The Honky Tonk Man said: “The words that were in this song was about this character that I wanted in my mind. That’s where the name came from and that’s where I started doing it. I had worked on the character [with Southeastern Championship Wrestling and later at Stampede Wrestling in Calgary] and started to perfect it, but then, WWE polished it up and put the finishing touches on it.”
Honky Tonk also told CBS about his exhausting but exciting time as a champion.”I’m not going to sugarcoat it and say that everything came easy and [being champion] was a lovely walk because it was gruelling,” Farris said. “It was fantastic but it was gruelling. 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 would then comment on how he approached his matches and work ethic while being champion. “I approached every day as if it could be my last hurrah because you are only as famous as your last big match anyway. The intercontinental championship is something that I was shocked and surprised about getting the opportunity to have that. Then I put all my time and effort into being the best I can be because that’s just how I want to do stuff. If I can’t do it the right way and I can’t make the people happy that come to see me, then I’m not doing my job.”
The rockabilly wrestler and longest reigning Intercontinental Champion will be honoured, with D-Generation X and more to be announced, on Saturday, April 6, 2019, during WrestleMania 35 week, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
All pics and videos courtesy of WWE.com