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Open Letter From Maria Menounos about WWE HOF



filed to GERWECK.NET:

Below is an open letter from Maria Menounos about the WWE HOF as well as her full speech inducting Bob Backlund:

Dear fellow WWE fans and members of the wrestling press,
As you know, I had the honor of inducting my friend, Bob Backlund, into the WWE Hall of Fame. The fans were a little rough as another inductee and friend, Donald Trump, would likewise experience. It’s understandable as we are not pro wrestlers and the honesty of the WWE fans is what makes it fun. However, I did the speech mainly to tell the world all the amazing things about Bob and I fear some of those things were not heard.

Below is my speech. I’m hoping you’ll print it for a good friend, a great champion and one of the most incredible human beings I know.

Thanks and God Bless,
Maria Menounos

To induct anyone into the WWE Hall of Fame puts you in the company of the greatest artists, athletes and performers in the entire world. I CHALLENGE ANYONE who disagrees to show me another kind of entertainer who can recite monologues, in character, without the use of teleprompters and before world audiences, performing improv drama and comedy while flying through the air and taking bumps, 300 nights a year.

But for me tonight is even more special for I am not just inducting anyone into the WWE Hall of Fame. I’m inducting someone who encapsulates the word champion. Someone whom I’m a great fan of…Someone whom is my friend.

Growing up Greek and not speaking English, wrestling was one of the few things on TV I’d watch and be able to understand. I was five when Bob Backlund lost his title to the Sheik. I was fourteen when “Mr. Backlund” returned. I was eighteen when I met Bob in person and I remember being in awe. It was on the set of my first movie and Bob was literally the most positive and striking force I have ever encountered. He was funny when we needed laughter – the man has an incredible and underrated sense of comedic timing – strong when we needed support and sensitive when we needed a friend.

While Working on Bob’s congressional campaign, a story came up about the Iron Shiek and his Persian Clubs. the Iron Shiek apparently had an exercise where he would swing these heavy wooden “Persian Clubs”behind his back. He had toured the nation’s gyms with the clubs and, apparently, no other strong man in the country could perform the exercise, nor could anyone on the WWF roster – except Bob, who did it….on his FIRST TRY. When I asked Bob how, he told me ‘when you believe you can do something…you can.’ The very next day, bob said he was going to perform an exercise of his own-the harvard step test in front of city hall on his election day. Twenty years earlier bob set a personal record doing the step test for two straight hours. The goal was to match that. we all thought he was crazy as he was well into his 50′s by that time. Bob was not able to match that record. He made a new one. It wasn’t 3 hours. It wasn’t four hours. He did his harvard step test for 8 hours straight!!! Once again reminding us all, if you believe you can do something, you can.

Speaking of Hollywood, one of the first days I was hosting the Today Show, John Cena and Vince McMahon happened to be guests. Of course, I’m huge fans of theirs, too, but I couldn’t help but threaten John that Bob would one day come back to put him in the chicken wing! They both had great things to say about Bob but I’m sure they thought I was a little nuts, as people have thought Bob was a little nuts. But along with everything else Bob taught me, its okay to be a little nuts.

I’m sure people thought Bob was more than a little nuts, when after an unprecedented 5 year run with the title, he refused to turn heel. He
believed it would let down his fans which included many troubled youth who had looked up to him and in those days, it would have. In so doing he surrendered millions of dollars from the new age of rock and wrestling as well as the career he loved most.

Not only did Bob Backlund hold the title for almost 6 consecutive years – he did something perhaps even greater when he came back a
decade later. He completely reinvented himself and his character. When you think of performers who’ve been able to successfully reinvent
their characters , even in Hollywood, few names come to mind. Bob not only created an entire new persona he also went on to become wrestling’s number one heel and regained his title in one of the most successful comebacks in sports entertainment history.

But most people know that. Like the greatest champions Bob Backlund carries himself with humility – which is why many of the facts I’m about to reveal are not known.

In a Pennsylvania match against Hulk Hogan, whom he pinned on several occasions, Bob Backlund picked Hulk up over his head with one arm.
It’s a feat Hulk, and his own late father, often reflected on in astonishment.

Bob Backlund has only been to the doctor twice since 1973

Bob Backlund has never done a drug. As he says and I quote “I wouldn’t know what to do with them.”

Bob Backlund, within a three month span, won the NCAA wrestling championship and the National college football championship. He is
perhaps the only man in history to hold that distinction.

In that championship football game, Bob Backlund recorded 22 tackles and 2 fumble recoveries. To give perspective, a team averages about 65 plays in an entire game.

Bob Backlund was a top shoot fighter if not THE top shoot fighter in the world of professional wrestling.

Bob Backlund intentionally NEVER squashed his opponents as he believed it would harm their future earnings.

Bob Backlund is in better condition than 99% of men…a third his age.

Bob Backlund has a diverse portfolio of stocks and real estate and has NEVER IN HIS LIFE PAID A DIME OF INTEREST!

Bob Backlund has a beautiful wife and daughter

And at the end of the day, Bob Backlund justs want to help others in need

Bob Backlund is simply one of, if not, THE greatest personal success stories for wrestlers, fans and people in general.

I know it wasn’t always easy in your career, Bob. But, in the face of shortcomings and disappointments, you never gave up or succumbed like so many of us understandably would. Instead, you continued working out, educating yourself and, always, helping others and donating your time to charity. Through it all you kept your faith and your resolve and here you are on the greatest stage being honored by your greatest peers. I’m excited for tonight, your book being published and all the amazing things you remain to accomplish in your journey. And, I believe there’s one more WWE run in that journey for you Bob, because ‘When u believe you can do something, you can.’

Some know you as Bob Backlund. Others as Mr. Backlund. I just know you as my champion, my hero and my friend. Thank you to the WWE Universe for allowing me to welcome to the stage, Mr. Bob Backlund!



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9 Responses

  1. -J- says:

    well she’s dedicated to getting that message out…bob backlund should be the new GM of RAW.

  2. Martel Loomis says:

    not a big fan of Maria, but I do like her speech.

  3. StunningSteve says:

    Maria Menounos did not deserve the disrespect that was apparently heaped on her. I have read reports that fans were chanting vulgar things. I wish they would throw people out of the HOF ceremonies if they can’t be respectful. It isn’t a wrestling match. It is a celebration of real life people and not characters. I don’t care for bringing in quasi-celebrities to do inductions, but that is what the WWE chose. If you choose to go you should be prepared to accept that and act like a adult. When I went to the HOF in Atlanta Drew Carey got booed. I am fine with that. However, nobody threw horrible slurs and insults at him. Really, there were no children at our ceremony. That means these acts are being done by so-called adults. I think some people need to grow the hell up.

  4. Nathan says:

    Say what you will about her but she is definately dedicated, I myself thought that Bob Backlund being inducted By Maria Menounos was a bit weird but I heard that they were close personal friends and after reading her speech I am glad that she was the one to induct him. Reading it the speech came off with true class and I am sure that it will do the same thing when I see it on the DVD.

    I understand people booing her because she’s not a wrestler or in the wrestling industry but to those who were chanting vulgar things at her grow the hell up.

  5. david says:

    Thanks marks for ruining it. It amazes me how stupid marks are. It’s well known Bob and Maria are great friends which is why she inducted him. Marks are just as stupid as WWE is.

  6. Drew says:

    I can’t imagine any wrestler doing a better job. Congrats to them both.

  7. Swayze says:

    That was an amazing speech, and hats off to her for making sure to get it out even with everyone yelling over it.

  8. Alicia says:

    I was there and the people around me was HORRIBLE. I was ashamed to be siting there listening to the remarks. One man yelled out STOP! Your Voice Litterally Hurts! I just couldnt believe how rude they were being. I am glad she sent this out and i loved her Speech and thought she did a great job. It wasnt her speech though that upset them, it was how long it was and all the “facts” they started getting bored and wanted to move on and she kept talking. Thats what upset them but It is no excuse. I was upset about it as well. I couldnt believe the disrespect.

  9. dave says:

    Big respect to her, she’s gone above and beyond to affirm her love and respect for the business, and to ensure her voice is far resounding instead of a few marks’.

    Have fun at the show but not during the “serious” recognition of a legendary talent.

    I only use “” for serious because the HoF gets more and more farcical by the year.

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