PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Connor Michalek was diminutive in stature, but like his WWE wrestling heroes, he was as tough as they come with the heart of a champion.
“He represented strength, perseverance and believing in yourself,” said WWE Executive Stephanie McMahon.
Conner, 8, of Hampton, became a national wrestling hero. Thanks to a YouTube and social media campaign by his family, Connor “The Crusher” Michalek was able to pin WWE champ Daniel Bryan.
“He was so full of life,” said McMahon. “You would have never known Connor was sick.”
But he was.
The crusher was in a battle with pediatric brain cancer. His story captured the heart of WWE Exec. McMahon and the entire wrestling world.
“There were 6,000 likes calling for Connor to be inducted into the Hall of Fame,” said McMahon. “Two-thousand people signed an online petition, there were 50,000 tweets with hashtags.”
April of 2014, Connor passed away. His heart and spirit, however, earned him wrestling’s highest honor.
“It’s very fitting that Connor Michalek is announced as being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as the first winner of the Warrior Award,” said McMahon.
The little giant garnering the award named after wrestling legend The Ultimate Warrior. Connor Michalek’s name will join wrestling immortality, including another Pittsburgher: the great Bruno Sammartino.
“This 8-year-old boy whose heart was so big that he captured an entire universe,” said McMahon. “It’s akin to Bruno Sammartino’s, heart compassion and courage doing the same thing. They did it in different ways.”
People in his hometown chanted “Connor, Connor, Connor” as they watched.