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2026 Nomination Thread


Grimmas

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Here it is, the thread you use to request a new nominee.

If someone is not nominated and you want to consider voting for them, you will reply to this thread with two things.

1) A small paragraph (3-5 sentences) that lay out their basic case.

2) A list of three recommended matches (with links if possible).

A new nomination thread will be created, if one doesn't exist, with that info provided. The matches will be added to the Google Docs of Recommended Matches.

Enjoy.

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Kairi Hojo/Sane

To me, one of the best babyface wrestlers of the last decade. Tremendously sympathetic, but also very charismatic and fun plus a killer in the ring with some vicious offense. She turned heel and ruled at that as well! Although she has only been great for 5 years and she may or may not be retired, that peak was so great she will make my list.

Matches: 

Kairi Hojo vs Meiko Satomura (Stardom, 2015-06-14)

Kairi Hojo vs Io Shirai (Stardom, 2017-03-20)

Kairi Sane vs Shayna Basler (WWE Evolution, 2018-10-28)

 

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HARASHIMA

The face of DDT, best worker in company history  and still arguably the best worker in the company. One of the best and most consistent wrestlers in Japan for at least 10-11 years that we have proof of. In the top tier of title match workers of the last decade along with fitting in great in any situation you want to plug him in to. Whether that’s having to be adept at comedy stuff, working young, spot heavier guys like Endo and Speedball, grappling with Sakaguchi and Shinya Aoki, or carrying someone like Soma Takao to a career match and at 46, shows no strong signs of slowing down. Didn’t get nominated last time but someone I had pegged for my 100 before realizing he didn’t have a thread.
 

HARASHIMA vs Shinya Aoki: DDT Judgement 2/17/19

HARASHIMA vs KUDO: DDT Audience 5/31/15

HARASHIMA vs Kenny Omega: DDT Into The Fight 2/17/13

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Takako Inoue

Supremely underrated performer. Was part of a legendary tag team with Kyoko, but I would highly encourage her singles work in the late 90s-early 00s as she was consistently a high level performer. Excellent at working the breakneck style people associate with Joshi. But knew how to sell, work the mat and would hit spinning backfists every bit as violent as Aja Kong. There is no chance I put together a top 100 without Takako Inoue. I still need to fill in gaps for 2003-Present. But based on the strength of 1993-2003 she's a no brainer. 

Takako Inoue & Kyoko Inoue vs Mayumi Ozaki & Cutie Suzuki (AJW DreamSlam - 4/2/93)

Takako Inoue vs Mayumi Ozaki (JWP - 5/18/96)

Takako Inoue vs Mariko Yoshida (ARISON - 12/17/02)

 

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Becky Lynch

Extremely short run, but she deserves consideration just for what she did in terms of forcing her way into a Wrestlemania main event, and becoming the first woman in WWE to be the top star of the company. She is not very athletic or fluid, but she is a very good ring general; she knows exactly where to be and how to keep the parts moving. She is also excellent at showing fire and wrestling like she is in the fight of her life. She is one of the best modern wrestlers at incorporating her character into her matches, which keeps the crowd with her. She has a special connection with the fans, which helps elevate her matches into being more memorable, something that stands out in current WWE. 

Becky Lynch v. Sasha Banks - NXT Unstoppable 2015

 

Becky Lynch v. Charlotte Flair Last Person Standing - Evolution 2018 

Becky Lynch v. Sasha Banks Hell in a Cell - HitC 2019 

Becky Lynch v. Asuka - Royal Rumble 2020 

  

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Ronda Rousey

Admittedly, she has a very small pool of matches and this nomination is based on the assumption that she’s going to eventually come back and pick up where she left off. But for that year, every one of her big matches was appointment viewing; she had one of the best modern Mania tag matches where she already looked like a natural and then came the title run; staring down the assembly line of WWEs women and delivering every time. Was able to work matches underneath (Bayley, Nikki Bella) with great selling and attention to detail, she could work as the superior grappler who gave just enough to her opponent (Sasha, Alexa) and when she had to bring it in hot angles in the build to Mania, she did. A lot of her matches felt like the Brock template of 12-15 taken one further as she added more vulnerability, fantastic bumping along with a great mix of strikes, submissions and an almost unnatural understanding of how to construct a main event match. I really hope she comes back since, even as good as her one year is, I don’t think it’s enough for her to get on but the prospect of her coming back and working the likes of Io, Asuka, Shayna, Bianca and even Mercedes Martinez feels like she could have a top tier run before 2026. 

 

RECOMMENDED MATCHES:

Ronda Rousey vs Bayley 28/01/2019

Ronda Rousey vs Nikki Bella 28/10/2018

Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle vs HHH and Stephanie McMahon 08/04/2018

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WALTER

Was a relatively obscure indie name who exploded over the last four years. Fantastic juggernaut and final boss type with some of the most physical matches in recent years. Might be the greatest chopper ever and his overall offensive game is among the best in the world today. Every WALTER match is a brutal spectacle.

WALTER vs. Timothy Thatcher: Progess Chapter 62 1/28/2018

WALTER vs. Darby Allin: Evolve 106 6/23/2018

WALTER vs. Ilja Dragunov: NXT UK 10/29/2020

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Junkyard Dog

 I was reminded recently that he didn't even get nominated last time, and that is just a bit of a travesty. He was one of the most transcendent stars of the 1980s, especially in Mid South and had an undeniable charisma in the ring, and out. There's some great matches sprinkled in there, too. 

 - Junkyard Dog & Mr. Olympia vs. Ted DiBiase & Matt Borne (10/17/82 Mid-South) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTbycOcZpuk

- Junkyard Dog & Mr Olympia vs Ted DiBiase & Jim Duggan (8/18/82 Mid-South) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lli90bGBfHw

 

- Junkyard Dog & Tito Santana vs. The Funk Brothers (4/7/86 WWF Wrestlemania 2)

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5 hours ago, Jetlag said:

Nominating Masao Orihara, Tanomusaku Toba, Koichiro Kimura, MIKAMI, and Keisuke Yamada/Black Buffalo via the blog and Dr. Adolf Kaiser, Inca Peruano, Andre Bollet, Bert Royal, and Lino Di Santo via. segundacaida.

These are match reviews and recs, which are great, but if I could have a little paragraph about why each of these are worth voting for?

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Johnny Valentine

We don't have a ton of footage of Valentine, but every time he shows up, I can't help but think he's one of the best wrestlers I've ever seen. He's physical and can convincingly brutalize people like in the 1972 tag below, but when he has to sell, he's great at that too, stumbling around in a mad daze. The best matches we have from him, he's in his 40's and he's out there with guys like Wild Bill Curry basically inventing BattlArts in 1969.

Matches:

vs Wild Bull Curry - Houston 6/20/69

with Gene Kiniski vs Giant Baba/Antonio Inoki - JWA 2/1/70

with Dan Kroffat vs Kintaro Oki/Michiaki Yoshimura - JWA 5/29/1972

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Shane Strickland

When it comes to a cool babyface who simply has "it" Strickland is one of the best of his generation. More than capable as a heel as well. Extremely versatile with the styles he can work while still having his own style that's uniquely Swerve. I can't recommend his run as the Ace of DEFY highly enough.

VS Brody King - DEFY 11/10/2017

VS Darius Lockhart - PWX 3/25/2018

VS Matt Riddle - EVOLVE 5/19/2018

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5 hours ago, Grimmas said:

These are match reviews and recs, which are great, but if I could have a little paragraph about why each of these are worth voting for?

Alright:

Masao Orihara - the more I watch him, the more great matches of his I find. His 1994 singles against Otani is an absolute superclassic that I had never heard of until I started going through random WAR handhelds. Really good at getting great stuff out of mediocre indy juniors like The Great Takeru. Excellent base with a knack for cool athletic spots that you won't see anyone else do. Long career where he shows up in great matches from 1992 to ca. 2011. He has some great scrappy matches in the WAR/NJ feud. Finally, one of the coolest wrestlers ever with his unique singlets, mohawks and face paint. He worked so many different offshoot feds I'm sure there's a still a few hidden gems to find.

Tanomusaku Toba - extremely unique with a surprising number of epic matches under his belt. Excellent ragdoll bumper, always forces his opponents to snap out of their usual routine, and of course, spectacular with the constant barrage of stiff punches and kicks on his opponents. I imagine boxing purists won't like him, since some of his punches are obviously showy, but his stuff works for me. Great tag worker who has a cool dynamic with MIKAMI, has a handful of really cool singles. I hope to unearth more under the radar DDT to showcase him.

Koichiro Kimura  - very interesting worker who would serve as a pillar of DDT while working shootstyle. Great with the violent kicks and submission holds. His work as Super Uchu Power is stellar as he is the perfect combination of baffling sleazebag and violent psychotic asskicker. Footage is a bit of an issue as I need to dig up more DDT handhelds and what not. Had some good matches in RINGS and FUTEN too.

 

MIKAMI - he looks really good in early DDT. Great combination of a shootstyle grappler, an innovative junior, and a surprisingly stiff worker. He formed a great team with Toba. His 1999 singles match against Takashi Sasaki is kind of the beginning and end of Japan indy singles. I've checked out some recent work of his and he still looks like a good worker. I want to watch more of him but from ca. 1998 - 2002 I'd say he was great.

Keisuke Yamada/Black Buffalo - super interesting worker. He looked good in the early 90s working as a shootstylist. Then he became the hope of IWA Japan and kind of started wrestling like Tomoaki Honma. Spunky young fired up guy who is willing to bleed and has a knack for unique violent spots, and can do actual wrestling too. I need to watch more Black Buffalo but I've seen good stuff from him in that role as well.

Dr. Adolf Kaiser - one of the most unique TV wrestlers in history. This man performed the evil, vaguely naziesque, arrogant, effeminate Doctor of Philosophy to a tee. His strategic approach in matches reminds me of Billy Robinson and the choke finish is very unique for its time. He wasn't afraid to eat serious punishment too.

Jose Tarres - I just now noticed he has only 2 whole matches on tape so I should probably take back this nomination.

Inca Peruano - a truely unique wrestling genius, like if Negro Casas was a stoic 50s grappler. Both excellent technician as well as a tremendous heel worker. He also has a really strong rudo cases in his team with Anton Tejero.

Andre Bollet - outrageous heel character who could do both stiff heated brawling as well as really graceful wrestling, all while looking like a balding dumpy car salesman. If this list was about heat seeking heel shtick alone he would be a lock for the top 10. Still have a few matches of his to go through, but people should be aware of this French star.

Bert Royal - he had some strong matches in World of Sport, but the French footage gave us him in his physical prime working an all time classic match against Tony Oliver and another really heated match teaming with his father. Both a tremendous technician and a tremendous fired up brawler.

Lino Di Santo - Italian worker who I think is easily slept on but has shown up in the French footage with insane consistency. Good technician, but also a good storyteller.

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Axel Dieter

One of the legends of European wrestling. From what I've seen, a classic fiery babyface with strong technique and great selling. Not a lot of footage is available but his veteran stuff from 1980s Hannover is more than solid and includes the Morowski epic.

Matches:

vs. Moose Morowski (Hannover, 10/5/1980)

vs. Pat Roach (Hannover, 1981)

vs. Bull Power (Hannover, 1986)

 

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Al Costello

One of the standouts from the 1950s-60s era, even with very limited footage. Great heel, proficient in both technical wrestling and underhanded roughhousing. The Jesse James match is a classic.

Matches:

vs. Jesse James (Los Angeles, 6/8/1960)

& Roy Heffernan vs. Moose Cholak and The Mighty Atlas (1950s?)

& Roy Heffernan vs. Dr. Bill Miller & Ed Miller (Buffalo, 1/24/1958)

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Jim Londos

Weird that he wasn't nominated last time though I'm assuming lack of footage was the primary barrier. Arguably the biggest draw of all time and a compact technician to boot. There are a few Londos matches out there, the notable being the famous, world-class Nagurski match.

Matches:

vs. Dick Shikat (Philadelphia, 6/6/1930)

vs. Bronco Nagurski (Philadelphia, 11/18/1938)

vs. Primo Carnera (Chicago, 2/3/1950)

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Two nominations:

Pete Dunne

i've been watching Pete Dunne for a decade now, and even as a youthful flashy babyface fresh of a Michinoku Pro tour, he was a standout on most cards he was on. By 2014, he had developed enough that he was able to look comfortable as a mat worker against the likes of ZSJ and Doug Williams, and spent the next few years becoming one of the main faces of the burgeoning BritWres scene. By the time he broke out with a MOTY contender against Tyler Bate in Chicago, winning over a crowd who barely knew them, he became one of the most "must-see" guys in the WWE developmental leagues. He's one of the best "big match" workers on NXT, always good value on Takeovers, and at 27yrs old I can see him adding to his resume in the next 5 years.

Matches:

vs Tyler Bate (NXT Takeover Chicago 2017)

vs WALTER (NXT Takeover New York 2019)

vs Finn Balor (NXT Takeover Vengeance Day 2021)

 

Bayley

I think Grimmas's strong advocacy of Sasha Banks is going to see a lot of people do a deep dive on her, and it's very hard to do that without watching a bunch of very good-great Bayley matches. The thing is, I very much believe Bayley is the best wrestler of the Horsewomen, and I think if any of them are going to make my list, it'll be her. For years, the big thing with Bayley was that she was the arguably the best babyface in wrestling. She was so likable that the idea of her turning heel was preposterous, like trying to turn Rey Mysterio heel. Then she DID turn heel...and she was bloody great at it to the point now where I look at her and wonder how she was ever such a great face. I think that versatility gives her the edge over most of her peers, she's proven to excel in any role. 

Matches:

vs Asuka (NXT Takeover Dallas)

vs Sasha Banks (NXT Takeover Respect)

vs Sasha Banks (WWE Hell In A Cell 2020)

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Konosuke Takeshita

Since making his debut at 17 Year's old in the Nippon Budokan against El Generico in 2012, in a really good match btw, Takeshita has been tipped for the top of the card. And 9 years later, Takeshita has grew into a great offensive wrestler who is both agile and strong, making him one of the more unique wrestlers in Japan. His German suplexes are killer as he just launches them. It didn't take him a while to really get to that point as his body has grown in size and muscle (remember he started when he was 17), and his style has evolved since then. But regardless of style, Takeshita has always had good-great matches in his career. Takeshita's rookie year won't be compared to Akiyama's or Ronda Rousey's but he had a good set of matches against the likes of Kota Ibushi, Yukio Sakaguchi, Kenny Omega, Hikaru Sato at such a young age. The matches only got better as he matured and grew into the Future of DDT spot that DDT trusted him in as Kota Ibushi was doing more New Japan work and eventually left out-right. And in 2016, he won his first KO-D Openweight and hasn't look back since. Since doing that, Takeshita has had a great series with a plethora opponents such as Daisuke Sasaki, Tetsuya Endo, HARASHIMA, Shuji Ishikawa while growing into the ace spot as he went along. 2018 was when the pieces began to really come together when it comes to the ring-work where he started deliver some of the best performances in the company's history - a company that had Dick Togo vs Antonio Honda, remember. So this isn't Takeshita out performing indie scrubs. One thing I'd admire about Takeshita is how much he works outside of the main events. When you look at other modern Ace's like Hiroshi Tanahashi an Kazuchika Okada, they have a natural tendency to take it easy in tag matches or matches against lower card guys, but I never get that sense with Takeshita. He'll work hard with anyone he's working against, whether it be a comedy ddt act (Kazuki Hirata), a generational rival (HARASHIMA) or an out of the box outsider (Meiko Satomura, Chris Brookes) and he's more than likely going to have the MOTN with them. I'm not sure where I rank him as I don't want to work myself into placing him extremely high as I'm writing but he's a lock for me. Definitely one of the modern Puro guys that people should check out, regardless of your notions about DDT as a promotion. 

 

Match Recommendations: 

Konosuke Takeshita & Tetsuya Endo vs Yankee Two Kenju (Yuko Miyamoto & Isami Kodaka) vs Golden Lovers (Kenny Omega & Kota Ibushi) - DDT 2014 26/01/2014

Konosuke Takeshita vs Tetsuya Endo - DDT 15/07/2019

Konosuke Takeshita vs HARASHIMA - DDT 03/11/2019

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Matt Tremont

The best deathmatch wrestler of his generation, although capable of much more than that. He was essential in revitalizing a deathmatch scene in the US that I wasn't sure was salvageable. A leader and teacher in and out of the ring, a standard bearer, and a great pro wrestler. One of those wild men that makes you want to see against a variety of opponents as a novelty but delivers a good match on top of that.

VS Biff Busick - Beyond 6/22/2014

VS Nick Gage - GCW 9/16/2017

VS Markus Crane - GCW 10/28/2017

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Jonathan Gresham

One of the best technicians in the world with a deceptively deep career. Works around his size exceptionally well. He's the type of wrestler that will make me tune into a show I had little to no interest in otherwise. He also only seems to get better with age and could still have some of his best stuff to come.

VS Ikuto Hidaka - Zero 1 9/17/2012

VS Masashi Takeda - Bloodsport 4/4/2019

VS Lee Moriarty - GCW 10/10/2020

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10 hours ago, Microstatistics said:

Al Costello

One of the standouts from the 1950s-60s era, even with very limited footage. Great heel, proficient in both technical wrestling and underhanded roughhousing. The Jesse James match is a classic.

Matches:

vs. Jesse James (Los Angeles, 6/8/1960)

& Roy Heffernan vs. Moose Cholak and The Mighty Atlas (1950s?)

a third match?

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Darby Allin

The best underdog of this generation. Amazing seller and lunatic bumper. One of the few guys working today who can make high-flying offense look dangerous, like he's flinging his body at opponents like a missile. Excels at spots that are creative without feeling contrived. Also excels at making it look like he's genuinely catching his opponents off-guard with his dives. Spectacular, violent, and logical-he's the total package.

Matches:

vs. WALTER (EVOLVE, 6/23/2018)

vs. PAC (AEW, 1/15/2020)

vs. Brian Cage (AEW, 1/13/2021)

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Mercedes Martinez

From 2017-19 (when I started to really focus on women's indies) Mercedes was the best wrestler in the world (any gender/promotion). A great technician, who can have a technical match, but also with deadly strikes and brutal suplexes. She can brawl, be a heel, be a babyface, or whatever you need. Going through Shimmer she rules in 2005-06 before the injury, that was 15 years ago. She's still really great when chances arise in the WWE. I have some gaps to fill outside of Shimmer and before 2017, but she's making herself a top ten case in my view.

Recommended Matches:

Mercedes Martinez vs Kyle Rae (RISE Legendary, No Ropes Submission)

Mercedes Martinez vs Kris Statlander (Beyond, 2019-11-14)

Mercedes Martinez vs Tessa Blanchard (RISE 10, 75 minute Iron Man)

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Killer Kowalski

Possibly the greatest heel of all-time who could also work face depending on the opponent.  Career that stretched across four decades from 1947 to 1977, main-eventing all over the world. Was the number one heel wherever he was and drew huge money with everyone he performed with, and he faced them all, and beat most of them - Rogers, Watson, O'Connor, Carpentier, Sammartino et al. One of the fittest wrestlers of all-time, (after an hour broadway with Bruno, made it back to the dressing room first and although knackered, made sure he was doing push-ups when Bruno walked in) and incredibly strong. Helped launch Andre in the States and Baba in Japan, as well as making Bruno look a million bucks. Trained Triple H, Eddie Edwards, Chyna, Kofi, Matt Bloom, Perry Saturn and possibly Sasha Banks, amongst others.

I won't single any wrestlers out, but some of the nominees for Greatest Wrestler Ever are fuggen ridiculous. Even without the context that Kowalski hasn't yet been nominated. 

Matches? Well, if you need matches to consider Kowalski one of the greatest wrestlers of all-time, I'll humour you:
vs Hans Schmidt https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0z8wWloESE
vs Nature Boy Rogers https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEva5YFP-H0
vs Antonino Rocca https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g99KvprPGxc

Regardless of the quality of the matches available, if you can make a list of the greatest wrestlers of all-time and leave out Killer Fucking Kowalski, you're a better different man than me.

 

 
 
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