Joan Lunden to Receive Warrior Award at WWE Hall of Fame 2016
Joan Lunden, an award-winning journalist and breast cancer survivor, will be honored as the second annual recipient of the Warrior Award at the 2016 WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony. The announcement was made earlier this morning by former WWE champion John Cena on NBC’s TODAY.
Lunden made headlines when she took her battle with breast cancer public in June 2014. Suffering from triple-negative breast cancer, Lunden endured chemotherapy, surgery and radiation en route to not only becoming a breast cancer survivor, but an outspoken voice in the community.
“It is truly humbling to be honored by WWE and receive this year’s Warrior Award at the 2016 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony,” Lunden said in a statement. “After being diagnosed with cancer, my first thought was to survive, but soon after, I changed my focus from my cancer to the fight against cancer and my life took on a whole new purpose. WWE has welcomed me into their family, offering me warmth and support, as have so many of the WWE fans from around the world. It is a privilege to receive this honor.”
Named after the late WWE Hall of Famer The Ultimate Warrior, The Warrior Award is given to someone “who has exhibited unwavering strength and perseverance, and who lives life with the courage and compassion that embodies the indomitable spirit” of the Warrior himself. The award will be presented by Warrior’s widow, Dana Warrior.
On the one hand, Lunden is a deserving honoree for the perseverance she showed throughout her battle, and for how she’s inspired others with her strength. On the other hand, this is exactly the polar opposite of what Warrior reportedly wanted this award to be. When he initially suggested creating this award, he intended for it to honor the behind-the-scenes WWE employees who don’t get recognized on-screen. Guys like entrance music songwriter Jim Johnston, or any number of ring crew technicians, cameramen and sound engineers who make the show run from one week to the next. WWE has essentially turned the award into a glorified PR honor, which wouldn’t be such a big deal if Lunden had a significant presence in WWE than a single guest spot. Then again, this is a Hall of Fame that has Drew Carey in it, solely for one brief appearance in a Royal Rumble. So I guess it’s not exactly a huge surprise that the company would head in this direction. With all that having been said, if the goal of the award is to inspire, then Lunden certainly fits the bill as an inspiring figure, between her tenacity in the face of her circumstances, and the hope she represents for others in her situation.
The 2016 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place live this Saturday, April 2 from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. It will air live on WWE Network at 8 ET/5 PT.
But what do you think of Joan Lunden receiving the Warrior Award at the 2016 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony? Sound off in the comments!