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2019 Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame

jushin muta liger

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Since I didn't see any discussion here for it, I wanted to make a thread about this year's Hall of Fame ballot for people who actually care about it and ballots are due on October 20th. As a joshi fan, I'm happy and surprised that Meiko Satomura is finally on the ballot and maybe opens up for other workers like Kyoko Inoue to maybe get on the ballot.

Here is the ballot for people that haven't seen it. I basically took this from Steve Yohe's post Wrestling Classics.


t's time for the 2019 Hall of Fame elections.

This ballot is being sent out to major wrestling stars, past and present, major management figures in the industry, writers and historians.

If you are getting this, you are being asked your opinion on who should be inducted into this year's Hall of Fame class. The criteria for the Hall of Fame is a combination of drawing power, being a great in-ring performer or excelling in ones field in pro wrestling, as well as having historical significance in a positive manner. A candidate should either have something to offer in all three categories, or be someone so outstanding in one or two of those categories that they deserve inclusion.

The names listed below are those under consideration for this year. To be eligible, a performer must have reached their 35th birthday and completed ten years since their debut as a full-time performer, or be someone who has been a full-time pro wrestler for at least 15 years.

Longevity should be a prime consideration rather than a hot two or three year run, unless someone is so significant as a trend-setter or a historical figure in the business, or valuable to the industry, that they need to be included. However, just longevity without being either a long-term main eventer, a top draw and/or a top caliber in-ring performer should be seen as relatively meaningless.

The election is broken down into a number of categories. You should check each category for wrestlers that you feel you are familiar enough with based on geography that you've either traveled or are familiar with, and based on the time you have followed pro wrestling. You do not have to vote for a wrestler in every category you've checked.

The ballot is also broken down to wrestlers and those who are not pro wrestlers but have been valuable parts of the industry.

The maximum number of wrestlers that you can vote for all the categories is ten. You can pick as few as zero if you don't believe anyone on this list deserves inclusion.

For wrestling executives, managers, announcers and other outside the ring performers, you can vote for them and they are not counted against the ten. You can vote for as many as five of them.

All responses are confidential. There is nothing to worry about politically about any involvement in this process. Your selections will not be revealed unless you choose to do so yourself.

Anyone who receives mention on 60% of the ballots from the geographical region and time frame (broken down as Continental United States & Canada; Mexico; Japan; and the rest of the world) will be added to the Hall of Fame in the class of 2019.

If you are unfamiliar with any of the candidates due to geography of having never seen them, that is fine. Ballots are sent to many people from all over the world and from different wrestling cultures so that everyone has as fair a shot at possible.

The breakdown for modern and historical performers is 30 years ago, or 1989. So if the last year the person was a headliner, or was a key figure in the industry, was prior to 1989, they would be in the historical class.

All performers who receive mention on 10% to 59.9% of the ballots from their geographical region or era will remain on the ballot for consideration next year. All those who receive less than 10% of the vote will be dropped from next year's ballot. They can return in two years based on if there is significant feedback from voters who say they will vote for them. This is mostly for wrestlers who are still active who may improve their career legacy, but can be for retired wrestlers if voters believe they should be put on or returned to the ballot.

In addition, in following the lead of the baseball Hall of Fame, which is the model here, we have a 15-year-rule. The following candidates have been on the ballot since 2005. In baseball, this would be their last year of eligibility. Here, if they don't get at least 50% of the votes in this year's election they will be removed from the ballot. If they are modern candidates, they can be brought back in the historical performers era in two years if it is more than 30 years since their career as a Hall Fame level performer is up:

The following candidates will be dropped from next year's ballot unless they are elected in or garner 50% of the vote:

Jun Akiyama
Don Owen
Villano III

Please return this ballot by October 20th. You can e-mail the ballot back to [email protected] or mail (please do so by October 15th) to Wrestling Observer, P.O. Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228.

Please check by every category you are familiar with

June Byers
Wild Bull Curry
Cowboy Bob Ellis
Don Fargo
Archie "Mongolian Stomper" Gouldie
Chavo Guerrero Sr.
Rocky Johnson
Jose Lothario
Sputnik Monroe
Blackjack Mulligan
Johnny Rougeau
Dick Slater
George Steele
Enrique Torres
Jimmy & Johnny Valiant
Von Brauners & Saul Weingeroff
Bearcat Wright

Tully Blanchard & Arn Anderson w/J.J. Dillon
Junkyard Dog
Bill Goldberg
Matt & Jeff Hardy
Rick Martel
Randy Orton
Sgt. Slaughter
Trish Stratus
Kerry Von Erich
Ultimate Warrior

Jun Akiyama
Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan
Yoshiaki Fujiwara
Kota Ibushi
Tomohiro Ishii
Tetsuya Naito
Kenny Omega
Meiko Satomura
Akira Taue

Los Brazos (Brazo de Oro & Brazo de Plata & El Brazo)
Ultimo Guerrero
Karloff Lagarde
Los Misioneros de la Muerte (El Signo & El Texano & Negro Navarro)
Huracan Ramirez
Villano III
Volador Jr.
Dr. Wagner Jr.

Sypros Arion
Big Daddy
Dominic DeNucci
Billy Joyce
George Kidd
Killer Karl Kox
Mario Milano
Kendo Nagasaki
Jackie Pallo
Rollerball Mark Rocco
Johnny Saint
Ricki Starr
Otto Wanz

Lord James Blears
Dave Brown
Bob Caudle
Jim Crockett Jr.
Jim Crockett Sr.
Jim Johnston
Larry Matysik
Stephanie McMahon
James Melby
Don Owen
Morris Sigel
George Scott
Naoki Sugabayashi
Ted Turner
Stanley Weston
Grand Wizard


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Slater looks weird as part of the "historical candidates" section. He debuted the same year as Slaughter and was even three years younger than him. I suppose he is their because his breakthrough happened earlier, but still. I suppose you have to draw the line somewhere, but Slater and to a lesser degree Chavo Sr. fit the "modern candidates" section better.

Besides that, add here the usual "why are wrestlers under 40 on the ballot" and "the Europe/Australia/... section is ridiculous, you are either well versed in Austrialian wrestling, in English wrestling ... but are you cannot be an expert in all regions at the same time" rants.

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Just now, Ricky Jackson said:

Times sure have changed on this board, as this was practically a year round debate earlier in the decade.

I did a search and the 2014 Hall of Fame thread generated twenty two pages of discussion.  I'd be amazed if this one does even a fifth of that.

I think part of it is to do with the decline of message boards in general.  The handful or so other Wrestling ones that I still visit (Classics, Sports & Wrestling, KayfabeMemories) get so little traffic compared to the early part of the decade, people having moved to social media instead.

In addition if you look at previous threads ion the HoF there was always a ton of discussion from voters; outside of Bix and John Lister, is there anyone who still posts here who has a vote?  The likes of Zellner, Dylan, Snowden, jdw, pantherwagner, Allan Blackstock and probably others I missed (kjh?) no longer post on the board (although several of them are still very active on Twitter), so there's not going to be cases plead, lists posted from voters trying to convince others.

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It kinda boggles my mind that Akiyama hasn't made it in. The guy has been a top 5 worker in the world for the last 20 years AND main evented the Tokyo Dome TWICE back when puroresu was popular enough to sell the Dome out. Is there anybody else who sold out the Tokyo Dome and didn't make it in? 

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Also Villano III being potentially on the chopping block is a god damned tragedy. The lucha logjam is one of the more ridiculous things about the WON HOF.  Sometimes it seems like people such as cubsfan are just yelling into the wind trying to build cases why not only should the entire lucha category be in,  but that they should have been in years ago already. 

Imagine having a pro wrestling HOF where say, Randy Savage and Jushin Liger continually get passed over year after year and no one other than a small handful of people even seem pressed by it. It's pretty much what we have here only with Villano III and Dr. Wagner Jr still waiting to get in.

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I say this every year these days, but Dave needs to ditch the categories. Half the voters don't understand how it works (especially that non-wrestlers are counted in a regional category) and it creates logjams (Mexico overall, UK with Daddy vs everyone else).

The best way to do it is that voters have no limits and simply say "Yes", "No" or "Abstain" on every candidate, with a clear understanding that it's fine to abstain on somebody you don't know much about. Entry threshold is 60 percent (or increase it if needed) of people who voted Yes or No on the candidate, ignoring abstentions.

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Re: the topic about Slater & Chavo Sr. in historical, it's based on 30 years since they were last active in a big league capacity.  So this year's cut off is 1989.  Did either of these do much noteworthy after that year?  I guess Slater's time in the Hardliners was early 90s, so maybe he should be in Modern (seems to me that Meltzer counted some years for Ivan Koloff that really weren't major years).  Not sure about Chavo's career around that time.

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I've listened to a couple podcasts about this topic and wanted to post some thoughts.

Karl Stern is voting for both Edge and CM Punk. He said he's not a Punk fan but feels that these guys are comparable and if he's voting for Edge, he feels he has to vote for Punk since he sees him as slightly above him.  I don't think either one should necessarily be in but I agree with him that Punk is a stronger candidate simply because Edge had so many gaps in his career.

Fumi Saito didn't totally lay out his whole ballot but for someone so well informed on wrestling, it seems his standard of HOF is much lower than most voters.  Listening to him talk, if he could he would vote for a majority of candidates in Modern and Historical US, feeling most should be in already.  I do agree with him though that there are quite a few candidates who should be revisited 10 years from now.  I think Meltzer has painted himself into a corner though now and won't go back on the 35-year-old rule but it does seem ridiculous that guys are on here like Omega whose stories are still being told.

I'm curious to see how Satomura does.  To me she's a work candidate and probably does belong in based on that.  But given DM's resistance to put on US indy super workers, I don't see how Satomura's any different.  The joshi scene in totality and the promotions she's worked for are probably even more obscure and less "major league" than US indies that guys like Daniels, Hero, etc. worked for.  To me if she goes in on work, those types should at least be on the ballot despite the level of promotions they worked for.

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Meiko's a little bit more than just a work candidate. Even if it's a way smaller pond than it was in previous eras, she's still possibly the biggest draw in Joshi from the last 20 years. Stardom would always do a big number whenever they brought Meiko in for a big show, I just looked at Cagematch and she's wrestled in Europe 31 times the last two years, historically remarkable for a Joshi worker to build up a foreign fanbase like she has. Plus she's trained quite a lot of wrestlers now.

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15 hours ago, Kadaveri said:

Meiko's a little bit more than just a work candidate. Even if it's a way smaller pond than it was in previous eras, she's still possibly the biggest draw in Joshi from the last 20 years. Stardom would always do a big number whenever they brought Meiko in for a big show, I just looked at Cagematch and she's wrestled in Europe 31 times the last two years, historically remarkable for a Joshi worker to build up a foreign fanbase like she has. Plus she's trained quite a lot of wrestlers now.

I've been scraping attendance numbers from WrestlingData and eventually I put up with what I found but she doesn't look like a big draw per say but a difference maker whenever a company needed a boost. That 2000s Japan era was down as a whole and now we're seeing the effects of it in terms of talking about how workers stack up in a historical sense whether it's Satomura, Akiyama, Nagata, etc. I lean towards her being a work candidate which should be enough as she's in the discussion of whether she's the greatest women's wrestler of all time. Only other ones that I can think of that would have claims to that are Jaguar, Toyota, Bull, Aja, Devil, Hokuto and Chigusa - all of them are the Observer Hall of Fame.

I think Tim's point of Meiko working more obscure promotions are valid as Dave stopped covering joshi once everybody splintered off into their own promotions but your point about the European fanbase is valid too. As more younger Europeans get more ballots,  I think they will see her as a legend type not just cause her recent stuff but also seeing her on The Wrestling Channel as a lot of her high profile matches in GAEA used to be shown there. Plus the Mae Young Classic run helped a lot too as the WWE fans got to see her the first time and she might have another run with them too.

Edited by jushin muta liger
Forgot to mention Hokuto
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Thanks for that on Meiko, I haven't followed Japan all that closely for 10 years or more.  I largely wasn't aware of her Europe stuff.  To me it seemed like she dropped out of sight there for a while between when Sendai Girls started and when she started coming to the US.  My wheelhouse is more late 90s-mid 2000s since I went over there several times.  I always thought Gaea was criminally underrated by the Observer, especially when they seemed to be the one promotion that could still draw in arenas for their annual April show.  I know virtually nothing about Stardom and its stature.

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  • 4 weeks later...
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Have Kandori or Megumi Kudo ever been on the ballot? If Hayabusa is on the ballot, Kudo really seems like someone who needs to be considered and looked at.

Arn & Tully "w/ JJ Dillon" specifically is weird. So should the Brainbusters run not be considered? Just put the 4 Horsemen on the ballot and be done with it. Wouldn't Tully be a better candidate on his own?

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  • 4 weeks later...

If Arn & Tully  get in then IMO all the Horsemen that are HOF worthy would be in. The fourth spot was always more based on angles anyway. 

I hope we get some Mexico folks in, Villano III being on the "needs 50% or he's off the ballot" is goddamned ridiculous. 

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