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NintendoLogic

2020 Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame

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Just now, The Thread Killer said:

Cornette usually adds a lot to the conversation due to his encyclopedic knowledge of Pro Wrestling history but obviously thanks to his falling out with Meltzer he didn't even vote this year, so he didn't appear on the Superpodcast HOF episode...and despite what you might think of Jim Cornette, it really could have used him.

I've not listened to the podcast (and don't really have much interest to at the moment) but even though Meltzer sent him a ballot (confirmed by Dave on WOR) Cornette didn't vote because he fell out with Dave?  I know he can be stubborn, but I didn't think he'd be that petty.

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On 12/5/2020 at 8:25 PM, FMKK said:

It's the package of the New Japan, the work, DDT and AEW presumably. Because of DDT is the main factor then I'd love to hear from the people who voted Kenny but didn't vote Kota. 

I personally don't think Kenny should be in, yet. Same with Ibushi. I feel as though they are both just starting the back 9 of their careers and putting them in a Hall of Fame now would be premature.  I also don't understand the argument of Omega's in ring work being a deciding factor. He isn't a guy whose in ring work is universally loved by everyone like Danielson or Eddie Guerrero. He's more along the lines of a John Cena or RVD or Kurt Angle. Omega is somebody who a large portion of wrestling fandom has hyped as GOAT contender in ring and an equally large portion of wrestling fandom was able to sit back and nitpick and exaggerate his flaws. I don't think a body of work that is that divisive should really count either way. 

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I think the grand scheme of things the people who are down on Omega's work are outliers. It's definitely not some sort of 50/50 thing. He's always incredibly well represented in any match of the year or wrestler of the year type poll over the last five years. He's certainly less divisive than Cena or RVD. Angle might be a more apt comparison because they're both offence and cardio monsters and enough people are down on that style for them to have detractors. But honestly, the only place I've ever seen people not like Kurt Angle is here.

But that's besides the point. I think you can easily make the argument for Omega and Ibushi right now but considering that both are going to spend a significant amount of 2021 as world champions in major promotions, I understand why you'd want to wait as well.

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PWO is great for wrestling discussion, but it's pretty useless for giving a sense of the broader consensus. If you were around back in the day, you might be fooled into thinking that Taue being a better worker than Kobashi was a widely held viewpoint.

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8 hours ago, NintendoLogic said:

PWO is great for wrestling discussion, but it's pretty useless for giving a sense of the broader consensus. If you were around back in the day, you might be fooled into thinking that Taue being a better worker than Kobashi was a widely held viewpoint.

Like was the opinion that Taue was a better worker period because that's fucking insane. Or was the opinion that Taue had been the better worker at a given point in 2006ish to 2012ish. Because that's very much open for debate as the last few years of Taue's career he aged like a fine wine where as Kobashi turned to vinegar. 

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IIRC the opinion was Taue was overshadowed by being contemporaries with some of the greatest wrestlers of all time and that he was pretty good in his own right. I think some folks championing his cause got tired of him being downplayed and ended up taking up the extreme opposite viewpoint that he was better than those guys, which....yeah I don't see that. 

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It was one of those "Mark Henry is a better worker than Shawn Micheals" hot takes... I mean, I love Taue, but for fuck's sake.  The funny thing is that Taue really was never downplayed at all, honestly.

 

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My big regret in my GWE ballot was tying Henry and Michaels together kind of as a gag so I could put Henry one spot better than him.

If I could do it again, I would have put Henry where he deserved, about twenty spots better than Michaels.

As for Taue, one big reason I'm not submitting a ballot for 2021 is that I feel most big AJPW matches past 92 go about 5 (10, more) minutes then they need to and it gets frustrating for me to watch so I have no desire to revisit them, but even I probably couldn't rationalize putting Taue higher just because he didn't have the physical ability to go to the same level of excess as the other three pillars and thus was better able to avoid doing so. It's not all about output after all

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Taue has always been an interesting candidate to me because, on the face of it, proving he's a HOFer isn't that difficult.

We know he ticks the historical significance box - they call it the four pillars for a reason. We know proving he, alone, was a real draw is impossible. So it comes down to in-ring ability. Calculate his Observer star rating average in the 90s, minus the matches that included the other pillars, what do you get? And how does it compare to everyone else in that era? An easy way to see if the "you could've put anyone else in his position and they would've done just as well" take has any validity to it. 

And yes, I know the star rating system isn't exactly objective but you've got start somewhere with this type of comparison. I was tempted to do the analysis myself this year but got too caught up in nerdy Bob Ellis research.

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Honestly don't see an argument for Shawn being better than Mark Henry in the late-2000s to be honest, but that is neither here nor there. Shawn might have had higher highs in that period, but he never had a consistent week-to-week run that Henry had in, say, early 2006. And there were plenty of days when he was really bad. This is despite him getting the benefit of all the bells and whistles in the world in his feud with Vince. 

Taue really should be in the Hall of Fame. The way I see it, even if you consider him the 4th best wrestler of the 4 Pillars, the 4th best guy of most successful national promotions is in. Whether it is 80s WWF, 90s WWF, hell, even WCW. 

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Also, on one of the latest WOR, Meltzer and Laprade put over Ronda really strong (something I completely agree with), and they basically implied that Ronda was the only star and becky got over cuz she waas along for the ride, and the only reason she was there was because "Nia Jax broke her nose." 

I would actually like to publicly apologise to @rovert here. I argued with him publicly and very nastily about how Becky would be treated in the HoF discussions, and I definitely think I miscalculated here. II think Meltzer is being really unfair to Becky in this regard. I don't want to take anything away from Ronda who is absolutely a big superstar, but this is so dismissive of Becky's appeal and her connection with the fans, and I didn't really think he would imply this. Maybe it is me misunderstanding Meltzer and I am getting it wrong. However, in my opinion, it most definitely felt very dismissive of Becky, in a way which felt disrespectful of her and her accomplishments. 

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2 hours ago, MoS said:

II think Meltzer is being really unfair to Becky in this regard. I don't want to take anything away from Ronda who is absolutely a big superstar, but this is so dismissive of Becky's appeal and her connection with the fans, and I didn't really think he would imply this. Maybe it is me misunderstanding Meltzer and I am getting it wrong

You are. There was absolutely nothing dismissive about Becky, he only has Rousey higher because of her unique status (no Rousey, no women main-eventing Mania, that's a fact not even Becky can change), but he put Becky over super strong as a surefire HoF in the future because of her being the key person in the promotion last year and getting over at the level no one was then. I have no idea where this "Meltz is disrespectful to Becky" stuff comes from. It's juts not the case.

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Dave was basically saying that Ronda elevated the women's division as a whole and that Vince probably wouldn't have gone with them as a Mania main event if she hadn't been there. That seems fair to me.

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10 hours ago, MoS said:

Taue really should be in the Hall of Fame. The way I see it, even if you consider him the 4th best wrestler of the 4 Pillars, the 4th best guy of most successful national promotions is in. Whether it is 80s WWF, 90s WWF, hell, even WCW. 

Is Taue the number 4 (in a mixture of star power / push and in ring performance) of 90ies All Japan though? I would think Hansen and Tsuruta would be above him.

Regarding Taue vs. Kobashi: my feeling always has been that Taue was the smartest wrestler of the the four pillars. Look how broken down he was post 2000 but still was able to have one or two great matches a year until 2006 or so, when he was reaching 90ies Giant Baba levels of being broken down). Going by physical talent, he was dealt the worst cards of the four pillars but was still able to hang on.

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35 minutes ago, Robert S said:

Look how broken down he was post 2000 but still was able to have one or two great matches a year until 2006 or so, when he was reaching 90ies Giant Baba levels of being broken down). 

To me that is where the vast overstatement about Taue begins. I can think of maybe two or three great singles match Taue had in NOAH period, one of which against Kobashi when he was the Ace of the World while being actually way more physically broken down than Taue. Taue had his way of working around his own limited physical abilities, but to say he was smarter than Misawa, Kawada and late Kobashi (who was fucking brillant), no way in hell. If he's not thrown in with these three again and again and again, he's not having even close to the same career. He was the smartest Taue ever, for sure, and one of the best awkward looking workers ever.

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The thing I question with Taue is there is already about 17 wrestlers whose peak was 1990s Japan. It's a highly represented group. Two questions I would have, and these are honest questions. I don't have a predetermined opinion.

1. Is Akira Taue the best Japanese candidate from any era (excepting Kazuchika Okada)?

2. How does Taue rate among Kensuke Sasaki, Ultimo Dragon, Hiroshi Hase, Steve Williams?

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3 minutes ago, Al said:

2. How does Taue rate among Kensuke Sasaki, Ultimo Dragon, Hiroshi Hase, Steve Williams?

I would put him higher than all of them. Maybe not Hase... not sure though. Probably higher than Hase too actually, if I think about it for more than ten seconds.

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15 hours ago, MoS said:

Also, on one of the latest WOR, Meltzer and Laprade put over Ronda really strong (something I completely agree with), and they basically implied that Ronda was the only star and becky got over cuz she waas along for the ride, and the only reason she was there was because "Nia Jax broke her nose." 

I would actually like to publicly apologise to @rovert here. I argued with him publicly and very nastily about how Becky would be treated in the HoF discussions, and I definitely think I miscalculated here. II think Meltzer is being really unfair to Becky in this regard. I don't want to take anything away from Ronda who is absolutely a big superstar, but this is so dismissive of Becky's appeal and her connection with the fans, and I didn't really think he would imply this. Maybe it is me misunderstanding Meltzer and I am getting it wrong. However, in my opinion, it most definitely felt very dismissive of Becky, in a way which felt disrespectful of her and her accomplishments. 

Ah, there's no need. Becky's candidacy will be interesting though. Her run as it stands is probably too short but her high highs were really high and pioneering. I don't want to make the WON HOF woke or anything but I think voters should accommodate for female wrestlers having a shorter window career-wise and draws even just slightly. 

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What's funny is one of Dave's favorite periods of time ever is when All Japan Women ruled the world and they almost all had relatively short careers, so you'd think he'd not penalize someone like Becky.

FWIW, I fully expect Becky to be back at some point so hopefully it will end up being a moot point. 

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Charlotte would be another interesting case whenever she becomes eligible. She has all the kayfabe accomplishments, was pushed the strongest out of the big 4, and Meltzer has never been as harsh on her as he could be. But she has never tangibly popped numbers the way Sasha does regularly on Smackdown, she was the distant 3rd wheel in the WM main event, and she never felt like the company ace the way Becky did when she was the champ. BTW, do we know when she is expected to return? She's been gone for what, 6 months now?

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1 hour ago, sek69 said:

FWIW, I fully expect Becky to be back at some point so hopefully it will end up being a moot point. 

It IS a Pro Wrestling. I don't doubt a Wrestlemania or (possibly) a Saudi match is in her future. But she doesn't do things by halves and she's always wanted a child. And isn't someone who would have a nanny or anything like that.

ANYWAYS excited for her to be compared to Danno O'Mahony as draw in the WON HOF debates lol.

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16 hours ago, sek69 said:

What's funny is one of Dave's favorite periods of time ever is when All Japan Women ruled the world and they almost all had relatively short careers, so you'd think he'd not penalize someone like Becky.

FWIW, I fully expect Becky to be back at some point so hopefully it will end up being a moot point. 

Sure, but the only joshi wrestler in the Hall who retired when she was supposed to and stayed retired is Dump Matsumoto. And even she came back eventually.

As for Taue: look, I love the guy, but he was far from a cerebral worker. He was a guy who liked to throw bombs. I'd also dispute the notion that he got a raw deal in physical ability relative to the other Pillars. He may have looked physically awkward, but you don't make it to sekitori rank in sumo without some natural ability. Kobashi, on the other hand, had no sports background at all. Looking at him at the beginning of his career, he had no obvious physical gifts that jump out at you. He was just insanely driven to be the best he could possibly be.

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33 minutes ago, NintendoLogic said:

I'd also dispute the notion that he got a raw deal in physical ability relative to the other Pillars. He may have looked physically awkward, but you don't make it to sekitori rank in sumo without some natural ability. Kobashi, on the other hand, had no sports background at all. Looking at him at the beginning of his career, he had no obvious physical gifts that jump out at you. He was just insanely driven to be the best he could possibly be.

Totally agree. Taue was awkward looking, but so was Kurt Angle, I put them both into the "great awkward looking workers" list. Both were great high level athletes. Glad someone around here gives some sumo love ! When I talked about "limited physical abilities" before, I should have clarified my point, as sumo does not make you an "elegant" pro-wrestler (cf Tenryu), because you're not gonna jump high not do fluid acrobatics and/or matwrestling or great looking running of the ropes.

And yeah, Kobashi was stiff as a rod during his formative years. Which is probably why it really did not ampered him that much when he couldn't move anymore because he would always figure ways to work around that anyway. 

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5 hours ago, El-P said:

And yeah, Kobashi was stiff as a rod during his formative years. 

Dude you've had some hot takes but this. This is the hottest take ever. Not only was Taue more athletic than Kobashi but Kobashi in his early career was stiff as a rod...  When I watch Kobashi matches from 88 and 89 I see a 6'2" 235 pound kid who is built like a brick shit house, jumps over the top rope to enter the ring, gets good height on his dropkick, runs the ropes well, is light on his feet, and is a snapback bumper. I see a fucking natural, a future main eventer. The last thing I see is somebody who is uncoordinated, unathletic, awkward or stiff. I don't understand how somebody could see anything else. 

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Ok, there's some misunderstanding here. By "stiff" I don't mean "stiff" the way we refer (or used to refer) as crappy workers. I meant the way he used to do athletic spots. You could absolutely feel it was not natural for him and that he was putting a lot of effort into it. Compare it with Mutoh for instance, who looked like he was literally sliding in the ring (or Windham, or Owen). But that doesn't mean that he wasn't already excellent as a worker and showed potential as a futur star. He never ever looked like Misawa either in the ring, but then again, Misawa is one of the most fluid wrestler ever.

But yeah, like @NintendoLogic said, Taue was a former pro-sumo, he had to be a great athlete to get to that level. You simply don't make it otherwise.

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