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2020 Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame

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This year's ballot got posted on the F4W board. New additions for 2020 are in bold.

Spoiler

THE HISTORICAL PERFORMERS ERA CANDIDATES
Ole Anderson
Bob Armstrong
Jerry Brisco

June Byers
Haystacks Calhoun
Wild Bull Curry
Cowboy Bob Ellis
The Fabulous Ones (Stan Lane & Steve Keirn)
Don Fargo
Pampero Firpo
Black Gordman & Great Goliath

Archie "Mongolian Stomper" Gouldie
Chavo Guerrero Sr.
Rocky Johnson
The Masked Interns (Jerry Hester & Billy Garrett & Tom Anderson) w/Dr. Ken Ramey
Sputnik Monroe
Blackjack Mulligan
Miguel Perez Sr.
Johnny Rougeau
Enrique Torres
Jimmy & Johnny Valiant
Von Brauners & Saul Weingeroff
Johnny "Mr.Wrestling II" Walker

THE MODERN PERFORMERS IN U.S/CANADA CANDIDATES
Tully Blanchard & Arn Anderson w/J.J. Dillon
Junkyard Dog
Edge
Bill Goldberg
Scott Hall
Matt & Jeff Hardy
Kamala
Rick Martel
Kevin Nash
Randy Orton
Brian Pillman
C.M.Punk
Roman Reigns
Sgt. Slaughter
Trish Stratus
Rick & Scott Steiner
Kevin Von Erich

Kerry Von Erich
Ultimate Warrior

WRESTLING IN JAPAN CANDIDATES
Jun Akiyama
Cima
Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan
Yoshiaki Fujiwara
Hayabusa
Kota Ibushi
Kyoko Inoue
Tomohiro Ishii
Tetsuya Naito
Kenny Omega
Meiko Satomura
Akira Taue

I FOLLOWED WRESTLING IN MEXICO CANDIDATES
Medico Asesino
Los Brazos (Brazo de Oro & Brazo de Plata & El Brazo)
Caristico
Sangre Chicana
Jerry Estrada
La Fiera

Karloff Lagarde
Pirata Morgan
Alberto Munoz

Huracan Ramirez
Rito Romero

WRESTLING IN EUROPE/AUSTRALIA/NEW ZEALAND/PACIFIC ISLANDS/AFRICA
Sypros Arion
Wayne Bridges
Big Daddy
Dominic DeNucci
Billy Joyce
George Kidd
Killer Karl Kox
Mario Milano
Kendo Nagasaki
Jackie Pallo
Rollerball Mark Rocco
Johnny Saint
Ricki Starr
Adrian Street
Otto Wanz

NON-WRESTLERS
Lord James Blears
Dave Brown
Bobby Bruns
Bob Caudle
Jim Crockett Jr.
Joe Higuchi
Jim Johnston
Takaaki Kidani
Larry Matysik
Stephanie McMahon
James Melby
Don Owen
Morris Sigel
Tony Schiavone
George Scott
Kevin Sullivan
Mike Tenay

Ted Turner
Stanley Weston
Grand Wizard

 

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I'm following this thread in case some of the voters have an answer to the Stan Lane problem. It's super weird to see him on the ballot again while the decision was made to put Perez on as a single. Rocca & Perez outdrew  practically everyone in 58-59, single or tag, and should get in easily while Perez as a single was just another mid-card guy. 

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Quick initial thoughts.

HISTORICAL ERA: First, weird to see the Fabs listed here. A lot of candidates I look at and say "sure, they could be a Hall of Famer." But none of them really stand out. If you HAD to induct one (and only one), who would it be?

MODERN ERA: Some intriguing candidates. I wonder if Goldberg, Edge will get boosts from being in high profile spots over the past year. Nash is long overdue for a look. He dropped off the ballot before he even won the WCW World title. Yes or no, it seems silly that candidates like him, Luger, etc. never even got their entire careers voted on. Which is a problem of combining the RnR style eligibility rules with the Baseball drop off the ballot rule. You can be ineligible while still building your resume.

One thing I note in general. There are about 31 wrestlers born in the '50s who are in, 30-31 from the '60s. There are nine from the '70s, two from the '80s. So I tend to grade candidates like CM Punk, Edge, Randy Orton higher than others on this board. I'm grading on a curve.

JAPAN: The sentiment here is Jun Akiyama. It seems early yet for Kenny Omega and Tetsuya Naito.

MEXICO: Huracan Ramirez should've gone in years ago.

EUROPE, ETC: Curious to see what Adrian Street pulls.

NON WRESTLERS: When you can pick five and there's 20 on the ballot, how do you form a consensus around anyone on this list. Go back to the historical era question. If you had to pick one, who?

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Taue and Akiyama both should have been in years ago.

Looking at his drawing power at his peak, Caristico should be a no-brainer or close to it. But the WWE run killed him. Looks like we'll have to wait for that run to fade from voters' memories for him to be given a fair shake.

I've been skeptical of Owen's candidacy, but if Crockett Sr. is in, he should be too.

Roman Reigns is an interesting case. Unless WWE business collapses or he ends up in the doghouse (both very real possibilities), he'll likely end his career having headlined more events that drew in excess of 50,000 fans in history by a wide margin. You can say that he's a beneficiary of the WWE machine and plenty of guys could be plugged into his spot and do just as well, but the same could be said for Bob Backlund and his MSG sellouts as WWF champion. At the end of the day, they're the ones who did it and that can't be taken away from them.

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Just now, paul sosnowski said:

Everyone needs to vote for Enrique Torres. Seriously overlooked historical figure!!!

Does anyone who has a vote even post here any more though?

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I can see Ole getting in now that he's not part of The Andersons. 

Which people were on before, dropped off, and added again?  Were the Steiners, Hall and Nash on before?

Also, LOF'NL at Roman Reigns being on a HOF ballot in 2020.  If dude doesn't go hollywood he's got another decade as a top guy

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He's eligible to be voted in now because he's 35 years old and has been wrestling 10+ years. It's been remarked on before that Dave's criteria for eligibility is a bit outdated as wrestlers are older than they used to be.

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2 hours ago, cm funk said:

Which people were on before, dropped off, and added again?  Were the Steiners, Hall and Nash on before?

This is the 3rd time on the ballot for the Steiners. They dropped off in 1998 and 2007. 2nd time for both Nash & Hall who also dropped off in 98. 

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2 hours ago, ethantyler said:

This is the 3rd time on the ballot for the Steiners. They dropped off in 1998 and 2007. 2nd time for both Nash & Hall who also dropped off in 98. 

Thanks

Not sure what has changed, with Hall/Nash especially, other than the dearth of modern candidates

Edited by cm funk

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The weirdest addition to the ballot is Kevin von Erich as a single candidate. There must have actually been people petitioning Dave to put Kevin there, which seems to strange.

Also Joe Higuchi seems to be a weird candidate. What is the draw here? Being a long-time referee or being the liaison for gaijins? Either way, there is nothing about him that screams "Hall of Fame" in the slightest.

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According to Higuchi's Observer obit, he was universally regarded in Japan as the GOAT referee. He was especially great at things that a typical fan wouldn't notice like not obstructing ringside photographers (a huge deal given how important wrestling magazines were back then). But even given all that, having him on the ballot for the first time well after when he would have benefited from a death bump is rather bizarre.

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One thing I've seen mentioned that I tend to agree with: if we're going to hold folks to the same standards of drawing ability, then no one from the post PPV WWE era can ever be elected to the WON HOF ever again. We're lucky if we know the non Mania PPV numbers anymore, so who's to know if anyone is ever a draw anymore? I suppose you can look at week to week TV bumps, but it's not like you can look at buyrates anymore and clearly show that wrestler X added this many buys to the show. 

In a company where the directive is the BRAND is the draw rather than any one person, how can anyone be considered a Hall of Famer by the standards set by the Observer?

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Isn't that basically the same argument used against Akira Taue as as worker? That just about anybody could have had great main events working with Misawa and Kawada and Kobashi? Again, the closest historical parallel is Bob Backlund. The WWF title was strong enough, and the MSG cards were loaded enough, that they could've put the belt on any number of guys and drawn well. And he virtually fell off the face of the Earth while the WWF kept going strong after they let him go, which pretty well indicates that the brand was the main draw. But 41 MSG sellouts is 41 MSG sellouts. Maybe WWE's stadium business would be exactly the same with R-Truth in main events, but any guesses would be pure speculation. Wrestlers can only be evaluated on what they did, not what they hypothetically would have done on Earth-Prime.

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Right, but now more than ever WWE is built specifically to make sure no one particular person is a large enough draw they can't be replaced. I feel like modern WWE wrestlers get graded on standards that no longer exist. How can we determine if, say Drew or Keith Lee, are draws anymore? 

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Slightly off-topic, but an odd thought I had: which wrestler in the HOF (inducted primarily as a wrestler) had the fewest main events during their career? I wonder if it's Liger given he spent the bulk of his career in one promotion where he maybe only had a handful of main events.

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Hiroshi Hase might be a candidate. I am sure he had his number of tag team / six man tag main events but apart from that? In New Japan he was not far enough up the card to get lots of main events, I suppose, and afterwards he did not wrestle that much (he has no year with more than 30 matches after he left NJPW). There are other guys who did not main event much during their more prolific eras, but had main event runs early on in their careers in territories (e.g. Dynamite Kid or Bobby Eaton). How much did Mildred Burke main event?

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I know CIMA worked primarily in promotions where stables were the key as opposed to one or two performers, but can you talk a little about the biggest shows CIMA worked as a headliner? I'd love some match recs too. I really want someone to drop like 150 Dragon Gate recs for the GME Project. 

Have you ever done a Gordy list for cima? 

Kyoko Inoue on the ballot is crazy. Megumi Kudo, Shinobu Kandori, Dynamite Kansai and Mayumi Ozaki from the same era are all considerably better candidates.

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