‘The Crusher’ To Be Inducted Into WWE Hall
As a former professional wrestler, I generally take inductions into the WWE Hall of Fame with a grain of salt. A honor based on success, in a profession where success is often awarded and not earned.
Except for Connor "The Crusher" Michalek.
Each year, at its Wrestlemania event, their version of the Super Bowl, the WWE inducts a new "class" of wrestlers and celebrities into its Hall Of Fame. This year, alongside the likes of Randy "Macho Man Savage" Poffo and Debra "Madusa" Micelli, the WWE is set to induct "The Crusher" into it's "hallowed halls." Most fans, let alone the non-initiated, have never heard of Michalek. But those who were at last year's Wrestlemania XXX event know all about Connor and his story.
Connor, like many others, was a huge fan of the WWE. Connor got to live his dream at last year's event in New Orleans, when he got to meet the superstars that he admired and then met, and climbed into the ring with his hero, WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan.
But this isn't an honor just given, this is an honor he earned. In his 8 brief years, Connor fought a battle that would have brought even the biggest, toughest grappler to his knees. Connor waged a non-stop battle with Medulloblastoma, a highly malignant primary brain tumor, that originates in the part of the brain that is towards the back and the bottom, on the floor of the skull, in the cerebellum or posterior fossa. After his diagnosis, he underwent several surgeries and many rounds of chemotherapy.
But through it all, Connor had a dream. And that dream came true, thanks to the WWE on April 6th, 2014. Accompanied to the ring by his hero, Bryan, Connor "defeated" WWE Chief Operating Officer Paul "Triple H" Levesque, gaining the three count on the 12 time WWE champion clean, in the middle of the ring. Later in the evening, Connor would watch Bryan defeat Dave Batista in the main event of Wrestlemania, to win the WWE World Championship. The first person he looked for after the match was Connor, sitting ringside. Bryan would then award his young protege the title belt.
It would be a short lived victory for Michalek. 19 days later, on April 25th, he would succumb to the disease he had so valiantly battled. His father Michael would later thank the WWE for helping to extend Connor's life by giving him something to look forward to and extending his son's life. On June of last year, Levesque and his wife Stephanie McMahon-Levesque, CEO of the WWE, announced the foundation of Connor's Cure, a non-profit charitable organization, which they have personally funded through Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation.
Connor Michalek touched the heart of millions of fans. His story was that of fighting with everything his 8 year old body had. He touched the hearts of many whose job it is to act as if they don't have a heart. And this month the WWE announced that Connor will be inducted into their Hall of Fame. He is being inducted into the hall posthumously, receiving the inaugural Warrior Award, named after former WWE wrestler, The Ultimate Warrior, and will be inducted by Daniel Bryan and The Warrior's wife, Dana.
The Warrior Award will be given to those who have "exhibited unwavering strength and perseverance, and who lives life with the courage and compassion that embodies the indomitable spirit of The Ultimate Warrior." The Ultimate Warrior was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2014. He passed away two days later while returning home to Phoenix.