Connor "The Crusher" Michalek was the darling of fans (and wrestlers) in the WWE community. This year, he will be the first-ever recipient of "The Warrior Award" as well as the first fan ever to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Last year, Connor passed away after finally succumbing to pediatric brain cancer. He was just 8 years old.
On March 9th, WWE made the official announcement of Connor's award during their Monday Night Raw broadcast.
The award is named after the Ultimate Warrior, a legendary wrestler who passed away in 2014 just days after his own induction into the Hall of Fame.
Stephanie McMahon, chief brand officer for WWE, explains "Ultimate Warrior is an icon in our business, [... his] beliefs were to always believe in yourself and that’s why Connor Michalek is absolutely the correct person to receive this award."
Warrior's widow, Dana Warrior, and WWE superstar Daniel Bryan (who was Connor's favorite wrestler) will present the award to Connor's father, Steve Michalek, at the Hall of Fame ceremony on March 28th.
Dana released the following statement: "Connor displayed all of the positive traits that Warrior stood for, and he is the perfect recipient for this inaugural award. I am sure that Warrior is smiling today, knowing that this award is being given to a true warrior."
Connor was in the front row at WrestleMania XXX last year when his idol Daniel Bryan won it all to become the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, and was there to help Bryan celebrate.
McMahon says that that touching moment was "one of the most profound moments in WWE history."
When Connor passed away in the spring of last year, WWE started Connor’s Cure through the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh to raise money for pediatric cancer research. According to McMahon, the fund has raised over $200,000 so far.
"My family is forever grateful for the gift that WWE, its Superstars, Divas and executives gave to Connor," Steve Michalek said in a statement. "They made him smile and encouraged him to continue fighting."
"His visits backstage, and his time in the ring with Daniel Bryan, brought Connor true joy and undoubtedly extended his life, giving us more time with him,” Michalek added. “Now, with this award and Connor’s Cure, Connor’s legacy will live on."
The WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be held on March 28th in San Jose, California, and will be aired live on the WWE Network. There will also be a one-hour special after Monday Night Raw on March 30th.