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2026 Nomination Thread

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Yoshiko Tamura

I was going to nominate her for the last list but there were a few YouTube channels that had quite a few matches of her were all deleted and that nuked my motivation. There's a bit more of her out there now but not a lot so hopefully more stuff pops up over the next few years, especially early '00 NEO. 

Early in her career, she felt like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole while in AJW as she was a more methodical, mat-based wrestler than the typical worker in that company. Things picked up for her in the rebooted NEO, where she was someone who was influenced by the AJ Classics that were airing at the time as she took the 70's NWA style that was used in AJPW but modernized the moveset and picked up the pace. She also faced pretty much everyone who was any sort of name in the 00's which should be enough for anyone to make up his/her mind about her.

vs. Toshie Uematsu - 7/19/97

vs. Azumi Hyuga - 12/24/06

vs. Ayumi Kurihara - 12/31/10

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Drew McIntyre

Feels like someone worthy of discussion. Has been good at the very least since The Chosen One days, working in a smart, calculating heel manner. Was decent at comedy in his 3MB nadir, then totally revived his career on the indies, working well in PWG and Evolve, looking good in UK indies like ICW and WCPW and being one of the best things in TNA during his run. Came back to WWE and has been one of the highlights of the Covid era, he felt like a real main event star. He's shown he can work well with wrestlers his size and those considerably smaller, and he's going to be given 5 more years of big matches to add to his candidacy.

Matches

Vs Andrade NXT Takeover Wargames 17

Vs Roman Reigns Survivor Series 20

Vs Sheamus Fastlane 21

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KUSHIDA

I think he has a claim of being the best Junior Heavyweight in Japan of the 2010s.  I don't think anyone of his generation was equally reliable in both the singles and tag divisions as he was in multiple BOSJ and title reigns.  Timesplitters were probably underappreciated at the time because they were often always a first hour act on shows, but I'd take their matches over what the Jr tag division has served up for the past 3-4 years.  I think he has the best Jr title run of anyone in the 2010s in his 2016 reign and he helps establish Will Ospreay and Hiromu Takahashi as new stars of the division with the series of rivalries he had with them.  His final night with New Japan facing Tanahashi in a great match is a glimpse at what could of been if KUSHIDA was able to escape from the confines of being a Junior Heavyweight.  The NXT move hasn't worked out too well for him yet, but now he's Cruiserweight Champion there might be a chance to showcase the best of his abilities.  

Recommended Matches:

Vs HIromu Takahashi (Dominion 2017 11/6/17)

Vs Kyle O'Reilly (BOSJ 2016 21/5/16)

Vs Will Ospreay (Invasion Attack 10/4/16)

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Jack Gallagher

He's been really good to great since at least 2011. Probably the best WoS worshipper of the modern era, as he comes across actually authentic doing his stuff and he just executes it amazingly well. Also adopt at shootstyle grappling and hybrid matches. Very charismatic and translated his charisma and style well into a WWE setting. Very good working both technical matches, comedy and lengthy RoH style indy main events. We probably won't be seeing him wrestling again, but hell, he is in the running for the best junior workers of the modern era.

Recommended matches:

vs. Oney Lorcan, 205 Live 4/10/2020

vs. Chad Gable, 205 Live 6/11/2019

vs. Takuya Sugawara, Zero1 3/21/2013

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Gilbert Leduc

Maybe the picture of the stoic French baby face wrestler. Generally understood to be "The Man" of French catch, and he is quite the ace character. Both excellent technician and really great at slugging it out, with a knack for matches that build up neatly. Shows up from 1957 - 1977 and looks good against a wide variety of opponents, from typical heels to giant masked monsters. We've yet to dive into the second half of that period but I have a feeling he'll be excellent from beginning to end.

 

Recommended matches:

vs. Warnia de Zarzecki, 5/30/1957

vs. Rocco Lamban, 10/30/1958

w Claude Montourcy vs. Karl von Chenok & Robert Gastel, 5/23/1957

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Rambo

I checked and shame on you people of 2016 for not nominating one of the all time great villains. Despite the name, not a roided action hero in a big budget franchise, but more of a evil but bumbling Central American mercenary drug baron in a straight to video bargain bin. Just a classic brawling, stooging piece of shit rudo.

vs Villano 3 AAA hair vs mask 1993

w/ Blue Panther and Fishman vs Love Machine, Tienblas, Villano 3 AAA 1993

w/The Killer and Fishman vs Pegasus Kid, Villano 3, Dos Caras

 

 

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Orange Cassidy

Started his career as the hot tag in a high flying ant team and was amazing in that role. Later turned into the best comedy wrestler ever, and has transitioned that into some insanely great matches (David Starr, Pac, etc..) .The commitment to character and the different ranges between them is pretty damn impressive.

Recs:

Fire Ant vs Vin Girard (2008-06-15 Chikara)

Orange Cassidy vs David Starr (2018-11-25 Beyond)

Orange Cassidy vs PAC (2020-02-29 AEW)

 

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Dominic Garrini

He is a guy who is at the start of his career, still has stuff to learn and will be adding to his case clearly, but thinking about it he has had a really great list of top matches. There are plenty of people who have been nominated who don't have a match as good as the I Quit match with Bishop or last months war with Eddie Kingston. I also have really enjoyed him doing straight grappling heavy shootstyle stuff in PPW. 

Dominic Garrini vs. Cain Justice CWF Mid Atlantic 2/25/17

Dominic Garrini vs. Joshua Bishop AIW 4/4/19

Dominic Garrini/Kevin Ku vs. To Infinity and Beyond SUP 10/9/20

Dominic Garrini vs. Eddie Kingston AIW 4/3/21

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El Texano

Bullish wrestler who could work tecnico or rudo, one of the most skilled guys of his era. He probably doesn't have the matches (I think there are two Texano one vs one matches on video), so you'd have to vote for him on skill or just how much you enjoy watching him. In the late '80s and early '90s he stands out pretty much every match he's in. The most famous part of his career (Misioneros de la Muerte) is barely represented on tape.

El Texano, El Dandy and Super Muñeco vs Atlantis, Angel Azteca and Blue Demon Jr. (March 24 1989)
El Texano, Apolo Dantes and Mascara Sagrada vs Villano I, Villano IV and Villano V (April 20 1990)
El Texano vs El Signo (January 12 1992)

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Pantera Sureña

I don't have a strong image of Pantera Sureña as a character. What I can tell you is that she was in the two best women's matches in Mexico that I've seen, one a technical match against Jaguar Yokota in El Toreo and the other a bloody hair vs hair match against Lola Gonzalez in Arena Mexico. She's not flashy and she's not going to jump off the screen at you as a personality, but she was a well rounded worker who stood out in a division that I'm not sure has a single nominee yet.

La Galactica vs Jaguar Yokota (May 5 1983)
PS vs Jaguar Yokota (May 12 1985)
PS vs Lola Gonzalez (December 9 1988)

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Serena Deeb

I've come around a bit late on Deeb, honestly since she has come to AEW. I was familiar with her as a strong wrestler before that, but she has blown me away in the past year or so. In turn, my nomination is based on a small sample size, but my gut tells me the past year is not some anomaly. Skimming her cagematch page, I am guessing there are some other strong stretches and maybe even some sort of hidden gems in there and I am hoping others can point out if and when/where else she excels. Deeb is well rounded. Her offense has teeth and is tight. Her selling is top notch, both in the moment and consistently through the match.  Her physical storytelling is great and  has a knack for making you buy into near falls and sucking you into the home stretch. Additionally, in the past year she has working a lot with women who have a lot less experience and are very much in the early stages of their growth.  She is really walking them through good to great TV matches and making them look real real good. 

v Thunder Rosa (11/18/2020)
v Tay Conti (1/13/2021)
v Riho (2/18/2021)

All on DM
 

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Commando Negro/Canis Lupus

I think at least worth considering. He has a long run as a solid midcard rudo in IWRG, and when he has been given a chance to shine in big matches, has been part of some real classics. He made my book twice, with the El Pollo mask match and the Trauma 1 mask match and the Chico Che hair match is also very good.   Feels like a guy with those three big highlights on his resume (and I need to see if the Freelance hair match is on tape as well) should be in the discussion. 

 

vs. Chico Che 9/10/10

vs. El Pollo 12/26/10

vs. Trauma 1 9/14/16

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I thought this worth mentioning here:  I could read @KB8 "[insert wrestler name] matches you should watch" for hours.  They make for great "cheat sheets" and reviews for wrestlers, whether you're participating in the GWE poll or not.  Thanks for them!

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Cool, glad they might be useful to somebody!

 

Also, while I'm here:

Herodes

I mentioned this in the #100 thread, but Herodes right now might be mine. In some ways he's a bit of a Mexican Arn Anderson who will go from total stooge to a burly bastard that'll just stomp your head in. At times - at least in the early 90s - he almost comes off as a comedy act as he leans so far into being a complete buffoon, but he always flips it and reminds you that once upon a time this guy might've been the sort of enforcer you would not fuck with. And on that note, Herodes could brawl like a motherfucker and the Salazar match is a bloodthirsty vampire's dream.  

Tony Salazar v Herodes (EMLL, 3/2/84)

Herodes, El Faraon & Mocho Cota v Lizmark, Ringo Mendoza & Tony Salazar (2/24/84)

Herodes, Emilio Charles Jr & Espectro Jr v Ringo Mendoza, Kung Fu & Popitekus (CMLL, 2/4/90)

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Pedro Morales

It was highlighted in tonight's watch party that Pedro doesn't have a nomination, which is nuts when you consider we have a bunch of fun 80s Pedro performances, especially because Baron Mikel Scicluna is nominated, and he was never fun. I don't know how much footage there is of him in his prime, but his 80s stuff and his status as a former WWF champion suggests he's worth investigating. 80s Pedro is still great as a fired-up babyface, his comebacks are amazingly fun and his backbreaker gets huge height, look great. 

W/ Davey Boy Smith & Danny Spivey vs Beefcake, Valentine & Valiant (WWF Prime Time 16/6/86)

Vs Barry O (WWF Prime Time 7/7/86)

Vs The Iron Sheik (WWF Prime Time 23/6/86)

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Mayu Iwatani

Mayu Iwatani is one of the modern Joshi wrestlers that can really hold a candle to some of the older names. What may hold her back is the lack of powerful or innovative offence that you'd get from an Aja Kong or Manami Toyota but her selling and bumping is at a high level. Her small frame and uncanny ability to get slammed on her neck and survive make her a terrific underdog who can garner crowd sympathy, who can turn that into heat for a big comeback at the end of the match. I'd almost compare her to Rey Mysterio in how perfect she is for that role. You can't imagine her as a heel because she is so rootable. Mayu has had plenty of great matches against a lot of different opponents ranging from Meiko Satomura, Takumi Iroha and the Io Shirai series, of course. Plus Mayu is a really good tag team wrestler as well as being a strong singles wrestler. While they are usually short term teams, Mayu had great success with Io Shirai in Thunder Rock, Arisa Hoshiki and Saki Kashima (who isn't very good). And if being able to make small card trios matches worth watching is your thing, Mayu is the one for that also. 

Matches Recommended: 

Vs Io Shirai - Stardom Year End Climax 2016 22/12/2016
Vs Takumi Iroha 2020 (Both the 08/02/2020 & 18/10/2020 matches) 
Vs Momo Watanabe - Stardom True Fight 23/10/2018
 

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17 hours ago, NotJayTabb said:

Pedro Morales

It was highlighted in tonight's watch party that Pedro doesn't have a nomination, which is nuts when you consider we have a bunch of fun 80s Pedro performances, especially because Baron Mikel Scicluna is nominated, and he was never fun. I don't know how much footage there is of him in his prime, but his 80s stuff and his status as a former WWF champion suggests he's worth investigating. 80s Pedro is still great as a fired-up babyface, his comebacks are amazingly fun and his backbreaker gets huge height, look great. 

W/ Davey Boy Smith & Danny Spivey vs Beefcake, Valentine & Valiant (WWF Prime Time 16/6/86)

Vs Barry O (WWF Prime Time 7/7/86)

Vs The Iron Sheik (WWF Prime Time 23/6/86)

The best Pedro matches I've seen from his later period are two from Boston Garden vs Bob Orton, 11/9 and 12/7 1985. One of them, I think 11/9, is legit great imo. Early 80s Pedro has good stuff from MSG against Patera (10/20/80), Slaughter (6/8/81), and Muraco (11/23/81), but also a lot of boring stuff with long ass front facelock spots (make sure you get the Muraco date right, because they have multiple stinkers vs each other from the same time period) 

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GENTARO

One of the most unique juniors of the last 2 decades. An incredibly athletic wrestler, whose love for new generation era WWF and knack for technical moves makes him stand out. He can do it all, from Bret Hart worshipping technical wrestling, to garbage brawling, to highflying, to working hard hitting puro epics, to being an excellent Anderson bros style heel. Has some of the best broadways of the modern era under his belt, against a variety of unique opponents, and yet to disappoint in any setting. I think a deep dive of him is well worthwhile considering he has worked an incredible number of different places in the last 20 years.

Matches:

2/3 Falls: GENTARO vs. Masamune, VKF 9/23/2008

GENTARO vs. Spark Aoki, Secret Base 1/10/2011

Tanomusaku Toba & MIKAMI vs. GENTARO & YOSHIYA (DDT 11/30/2001)

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Hideki Suzuki

 

One of the brightest spots to ever come from IGF, Hideki's career has spanned from wrestling on BattlArts' last show to BJW champion to now NXT, I absolutely love his work and think he's one of the last to really "get" bridging the gap between real and worked wrestling. We're seeing a bit of a Revival of his style in GLEAT and sadly it's after he was signed to the WWE and gone from the country. That said his matches against a variety of opponents I enjoy not just the way he wrestles and his style but the fact that he makes everything feel earned, a rare trait for a modern wrestler in a pretty cooperative age. I also enjoy his slight differences to his approach depending on the style of his opponent. He still is doing his style but will change how he utilizes it against different opponents from big guys like Strong BJ, to guys not positioned on his level like Nomura & Kamitani to a technical guy like Thatcher to a striker like Nakajima he adjusts well against his different opponents. He just debut as I'm writing this in NXT and on paper he would have a fairly low ceiling in modern WWE but with the in-ring excitement of his virtual mirror Timothy Thatcher I can see a future where he adds to his case, which for me would put him over the top. I encourage everyone to check out his best work, including these matches:

 

vs. Yuji Okabayashi - 5.5.2017 - BJW

vs. Timothy Thatcher - 4.4.2019 - Josh Barnett's Bloodsport

vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima - 2.16.2020 - Pro Wrestling NOAH

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Dax Harwood/Scott Dawson

 

The guy is the modern Bobby Eaton. He's been consistently great these last 5 years in TV tags and multi man tags and has had some all time great matches on PPV. I would consider him the best tag worker today and one of the best workers period. 

Revival vs DIY 8/20/16 and 11/19/16

FTF vs Young Bucks 11/7/20

vs Jungle Boy 1/21/21

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Brett Wayne "Hack" Sawyer

 

I have a longer rant to go on him at some point, but a total diamond in the rough of the Portland footage, who shines on a near constant basis in his available performances. Outstanding Babyface in singes with his matches with Flair and Rose (none of which feels like carry jobs in the slightest), and up with Piper as Buddy's best opponent in tag matches in Portland. Honestly, I'm stunned he has so little rep for someone who was clearly very good in basically all the footage we have of him between Portland and Georgia.

Hack Sawyer vs. Buddy Rose (1/16/82)

Hack Sawyer, Rocky Johnson, and Steve Regal vs. Buddy Rose, Rip Oliver, and Matt Borne (2/20/82)

Hack Sawyer vs. Ric Flair (4/10/82)

Hack Sawyer & Steve Pardee vs. Rip Oliver & The Assassin (9/11/82)

Hack Sawyer vs. Ric Flair (10/2/82)

 

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