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2021 Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame

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Ballots are out. Okada is a no-brainer, and Taue is long overdue. Charlotte is eligible already? What the fuck

Spoiler
The following candidates will be dropped from next year's ballot unless they are elected in or garner 50% of the vote: 
Don Owen
Sgt. Slaughter
Jim Crockett Jr.
Enrique Torres
Johnny "Wrestling II" Walker
 
I FOLLOWED THE HISTORICAL PERFORMERS ERA CANDIDATES
Ole Anderson
Bob Armstrong
Hollywood Blonds (Buddy Roberts & Jerry Brown w/Sir Oliver Humperdink)
Jerry Brisco
June Byers
Buddy Colt
Wild Bull Curry
Cowboy Bob Ellis
The Fabulous Ones (Stan Lane & Steve Keirn)
Pampero Firpo
Black Gordman & Great Goliath
Archie "Mongolian Stomper" Gouldie
Rocky Johnson
Sputnik Monroe
Blackjack Mulligan
Johnny Rougeau
Enrique Torres
Von Brauners & Saul Weingeroff
Johnny "Mr.Wrestling II" Walker
 
I FOLLOWED THE MODERN PERFORMERS IN U.S/CANADA CANDIDATES
Tully Blanchard & Arn Anderson w/J.J. Dillon
Nikki Bella
Junkyard Dog
Bill Dundee
Edge
Charlotte Flair
Bill Goldberg
Matt & Jeff Hardy 
Kamala
Rick Martel
Jon Moxley/Dean Ambrose
Paul Orndorff
Randy Orton
C.M. Punk
Seth Rollins
Sgt. Slaughter
Trish Stratus
Rick & Scott Steiner
Ultimate Warrior 
 
I FOLLOWED WRESTLING IN JAPAN CANDIDATES
Cima
Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan
Yoshiaki Fujiwara
Hayabusa
Kota Ibushi
Kyoko Inoue
Tomohiro Ishii
Naomichi Marufuji
Tetsuya Naito
Kazuchika Okada
Meiko Satomura
Katsuyori Shibata
Takashi Sugiura
Akira Taue
 
I FOLLOWED WRESTLING IN MEXICO CANDIDATES
Los Brazos (Brazo de Oro & Brazo de Plata & El Brazo)
Sangre Chicana
Psycho Clown
Los Hermanos Dinamita (Cien Caras & Mascara Ano 2000 & Universo 2000)
Dorrell Dixon
Pirata Morgan
Mistico/Caristico
Octagon
La Parka AAA
Huracan Ramirez
Rito Romero
 
I FOLLOWED WRESTLING IN EUROPE/AUSTRALIA/NEW ZEALAND/PACIFIC ISLANDS/AFRICA
Sypros Arion
L'Ange Blanc (Francisco Pino)
Big Daddy
John Da Silva
Roger Delaporte & Andre Bollet
Dominic DeNucci
Billy Joyce
George Kidd
Killer Karl Kox
Kendo Nagasaki
Jackie Pallo
Rollerball Mark Rocco
Johnny Saint
Ricki Starr
Adrian Street
Jose Tarres
Otto Wanz
 
NON-WRESTLERS
Lord James Blears
Dave Brown
Bobby Bruns
Bob Caudle
Jim Crockett Jr.
Bobby Davis
Joe Higuchi
Jim Johnston
Takaaki Kidani
Larry Matysik
Stephanie McMahon
James Melby
Don Owen 
Reggie Parks
Morris Sigel
Tony Schiavone
George Scott
Mike Tenay
Ted Turner
Stanley Weston
Grand Wizard

 

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Man, it just seems like it's almost impossible to get in as a non wrestler unless it's a no-doubter manager situation like Bobby Heenan. You could probably make a convincing case for everyone on that part of the list, and a few stand out as "how are they not already in?"  level omissions, yet they probably will never get in. 

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I’m interested to see what the comeback does for CM Punk. Also note L’ange Blanc on the ballot. Curious to see what his vote total is.

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It seems weird to say, but it's almost like it's too early for Punk since it sounds like he's about to go on the run of his career right now.

Also the Steiners seem like a non brainer just for being influential in two different countries, but influence seems to be one of those things that is applied only as a tiebreaker for someone on the fence. 

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Great to see some new names added to the European side of the ballot. This shakes things up a bit. I was the one who suggested Jose Tarres and L'Ange Blanc to Dave so I'm really glad to see them being put on the ballot. I don't know how much support they would get as I get a feeling most voters are not well aware of them, but they're both definitely deserving of being on the ballot. Dave also took my suggestion to put Roger Delaporte and Andre Bollet on as a team, which I'm a bit surprised he decided to do. While Tarres and Blanc I'm a big supporter of, Delaporte and Bollet are borderline guys for me, but still there is a case to be made for them and they make for an interesting discussion if nothing else. I had also suggested Gilbert Leduc, but he didn't make the cut, which I'm totally fine with. He's a harder guy to make a case for.

Also, this is as a good a time as any to re-post the (slightly updated) short write-ups I did on them a while back:

Jose Tarres
Career: mid 1940s through late 1960s
Pros: One of the biggest, if not the biggest, stars in the history of Spanish pro wrestling. Had a super quick rise to fame. Three weeks into his pro career he was already headlining the weekly "B" shows in his native Barcelona (the second biggest Spanish city), by the fifth month he was headlining the weekly "A" shows, and by year and a half in he drew his first (known) crowd of 20,000+ fans. Was a top star in Spain from the beginning of his career all the way to its end 20 years later, and that was the golden age of Spanish pro wrestling when every summer there would be a lot of open-air shows at big bullrings and stadiums throughout the country. Was one of the keys stars who helped take the business in Spain into its golden age. Drew at least three 20,000+ crowds that we know of for title matches in Valencia, as well as a lot of big crowds in his home town of Barcelona (he headlined 80+ shows there in arenas for 10,000+ people) and elsewhere in Spain. Held a ton of championships in Spain, more so than anyone else in the history of the country. He held championships in three different weight classes and when you add them all together he was a one-time World champion, 7-time European champion and 4-time Spanish champion. On a couple of occasions he held three titles at the same time - one of only a handful of wrestlers to do so in the history of Spanish wrestling. Was popular in France too, where he worked quite a bit, and had some television exposure there, and this was during a time when wrestling was doing quite well on national TV in France. When he passed away the most popular sports newspaper in Barcelona, Mundo Deportivo, compared his popularity in his heyday to that of the most famous football (soccer) players, which really says a lot given how popular football is in Spain.
Cons: He did wrestle a little bit elsewhere in Europe too (England, Germany, etc.), but didn't have a lot of success outside of Spain and to a lesser extent France. Other Spanish stars like Francisco Pino and Hercules Cortez (and Eugenio Gonzalez in the early 1950s) were a bigger deal than him in France so he was probably the number four or five Spanish star in the history of France. While he did work quite a few main events and semi-main events in France he never worked the really big shows there. Had a minimalistic in-ring style in a sense that usually his matches were built around him trying to knock his opponents out with his famous headbutts. It worked for him back in his era, but I could see someone looking at him today and thinking this isn't very exciting to watch and that plenty of other European wrestlers were better in-ring workers than him because of this.

L'Ange Blanc (Francisco Pino)
Career: early 1950s through mid 1970s
Pros: Probably the biggest mainstream star in the history of French pro wrestling. I would say bigger than guys like Paul Pons and Henri Deglane on a mainstream level, because L'Ange was a star in the television era when millions of people could actually watch him perform live on TV. From the little information that we know, his TV appearances seem to have done double what the usual TV audience for wrestling would be so that right there tells you how big of a TV star he was. His first television appearance drew a reported audience of 4 million viewers, which was a very big number for 1959 France. He also made appearances on other French television shows and was very much a mainstream celebrity in France. His two-year run as a masked wrestler was huge in France and this was a time when business in France seems to have been at one of its highest levels in history. Big TV audiences for his appearances, packed weekly venues and reportedly several crowds of 10,000+ in Paris. His appearance ushered in a new wave of masked wrestlers not only in France, but in Europe too, so he was very influential in that sense. In France alone 25+ new masked wrestlers were introduced in the year after L'Ange's debut and there were a number of L'Ange Blanc imposters working throughout the country just because the demand for the masked hero L'Ange Blanc was so big. Not too long after England, Spain, Greece and other places introduced their own versions of L'Ange Blanc and in general masked characters became more prominent in Europe, which was largely inspired by L'Ange Blanc and his success in France. He wasn't as big a star in France after 1961 when he removed his mask, but he continued being a headline star there for another decade. Was also a star in his native Spain. Perhaps not as big as Tarres, Cortez, Bengoechea and some of the other local stars, but was certainly a popular name in Spain for 10+ years, especially in the capital Madrid. Was European champion in Spain and headlined some big shows in Madrid and elsewhere. Also had a solid run in England as well as a run as a headline star in Mexico in 1967, where he drew some big crowds at Arena Mexico.
Cons: His run as a masked wrestler in France was huge, but it was only a little over two years. A few months into his run the big 18,000 capacity venue in Paris that had hosted all the major Paris shows since 1933 got demolished so he got to headline only a few shows there. Because of this in terms of drawing big crowds in Paris he's not anywhere close to the previous two generations of French stars (Henri Deglane, Charles Rigoulot, Yvar Martinson, Felix Miquet). He was a big television star, but in reality as a masked wrestler he only had three, four at most, matches on TV. He doesn't seem to have been as big in his native Spain as you may think an internationally renowned Spanish star would be. He was a solid in-ring technician and had a very clean style, but wasn't overly exciting to watch. There were plenty of better and more exciting European workers than him back then.

Roger Delaporte & Andre Bollet
Career: early 1950s through early 1970s
Pros: The most high profile team in French pro wrestling history. French tag team champions and I would say the top heels of the TV era in France. Big stars of the early French television era. In fact, probably the biggest mainstream stars of the era after L'Ange Blanc. Much like him, they were two of the few French stars who crossed into the mainstream, but in a different way. Not only were they mainstays of French wrestling TV, when the TV was at its strongest, but they also made appearances on other television variety shows, did some acting (including starring in their own feature film) and also released a music album. Very entertaining characters with an in-ring style that really resonated with the French audiences. The definition of heels you love to hate. Great at stooging, cheating and drawing heat, but at the same time always bringing the comedy and bumping big time for the babyfaces to make them look good. Headlined some shows at the 18,000-capacity Palais des Sports in Paris. Both wrestled elsewhere in Europe (England, Spain, Italy, etc.) and were held in good regard as headlining stars, but overall Bollet is ahead of Delaporte on that front. If we are to look at them individually, for Bollet you could say he had a decent little run in Texas, a good one in Canada (where he headlined in front of some big crowds tagging with Edouard Carpentier) and a tour of Japan with IWE where he was in some main events. Delaporte didn't travel that much and at first he was a bigger singles star than Bollet in France, but Bollet caught up to him in later years. It's also good to point out Delaporte had a long run as promoter at Elysee Montmartre in Paris.
Cons: They didn't headline a lot of big shows in France - a few, but not a lot. Again, like with L'Ange Blanc, as they were beginning to hit their stride as stars the big Paris venue got demolished. While they did have some success outside of their native France, Bollet especially, they weren't overly successful outside of France. Their in-ring style could be seen as too much clowning around by some.

If anyone is interested in learning more about L'Ange Blanc's run as a masked wrestler in France I would recommend checking out this article of mine: The masked hero L'Ange Blanc (1959-1961)

For Jose Tarres I haven't done a detailed article, but these two topics should give you somewhat of an idea how big of a star he used to be in Spain: Results: Barcelona (1943-1968)  and Results: Jose Tarres' big title matches in Valencia (1948-1949)

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Okada is a slam dunk no questions needed. It's a shame that JYD isn't already in based on historical significance alone. Punk is going to squeak in because of his current AEW work. Also, I see Charlotte getting the Reigns treatment of last year. It's going to be really interesting when Sasha gets on the ballot. 

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Nintendo, if you could be a good brother and update your OP to include the full ballot please. This is what I got in my inbox: 

The following candidates will be dropped from next year's ballot unless they are elected in or garner 50% of the vote: 
Don Owen
Sgt. Slaughter
Jim Crockett Jr.
Enrique Torres
Johnny "Wrestling II" Walker
 
I FOLLOWED THE HISTORICAL PERFORMERS ERA CANDIDATES
Ole Anderson
Bob Armstrong
Hollywood Blonds (Buddy Roberts & Jerry Brown w/Sir Oliver Humperdink)
Jerry Brisco
June Byers
Buddy Colt
Wild Bull Curry
Cowboy Bob Ellis
The Fabulous Ones (Stan Lane & Steve Keirn)
Pampero Firpo
Black Gordman & Great Goliath
Archie "Mongolian Stomper" Gouldie
Rocky Johnson
Sputnik Monroe
Blackjack Mulligan
Johnny Rougeau
Enrique Torres
Von Brauners & Saul Weingeroff
Johnny "Mr.Wrestling II" Walker
 
I FOLLOWED THE MODERN PERFORMERS IN U.S/CANADA CANDIDATES
Tully Blanchard & Arn Anderson w/J.J. Dillon
Nikki Bella
Junkyard Dog
Bill Dundee
Edge
Charlotte Flair
Bill Goldberg
Matt & Jeff Hardy 
Kamala
Rick Martel
Jon Moxley/Dean Ambrose
Paul Orndorff
Randy Orton
C.M. Punk
Seth Rollins
Sgt. Slaughter
Trish Stratus
Rick & Scott Steiner
Ultimate Warrior 
 
I FOLLOWED WRESTLING IN JAPAN CANDIDATES
Cima
Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan
Yoshiaki Fujiwara
Hayabusa
Kota Ibushi
Kyoko Inoue
Tomohiro Ishii
Naomichi Marufuji
Tetsuya Naito
Kazuchika Okada
Meiko Satomura
Katsuyori Shibata
Takashi Sugiura
Akira Taue
 
I FOLLOWED WRESTLING IN MEXICO CANDIDATES
Los Brazos (Brazo de Oro & Brazo de Plata & El Brazo)
Sangre Chicana
Psycho Clown
Los Hermanos Dinamita (Cien Caras & Mascara Ano 2000 & Universo 2000)
Dorrell Dixon
Pirata Morgan
Mistico/Caristico
Octagon
La Parka AAA
Huracan Ramirez
Rito Romero
 
I FOLLOWED WRESTLING IN EUROPE/AUSTRALIA/NEW ZEALAND/PACIFIC ISLANDS/AFRICA
Sypros Arion
L'Ange Blanc (Francisco Pino)
Big Daddy
John Da Silva
Roger Delaporte & Andre Bollet
Dominic DeNucci
Billy Joyce
George Kidd
Killer Karl Kox
Kendo Nagasaki
Jackie Pallo
Rollerball Mark Rocco
Johnny Saint
Ricki Starr
Adrian Street
Jose Tarres
Otto Wanz
 
NON-WRESTLERS
Lord James Blears
Dave Brown
Bobby Bruns
Bob Caudle
Jim Crockett Jr.
Bobby Davis
Joe Higuchi
Jim Johnston
Takaaki Kidani
Larry Matysik
Stephanie McMahon
James Melby
Don Owen 
Reggie Parks
Morris Sigel
Tony Schiavone
George Scott
Mike Tenay
Ted Turner
Stanley Weston
Grand Wizard

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I'm somewhat amazed that Sgt. Slaughter isn't in.  This was a guy that was probably the third or fourth biggest wrestler in the U.S.A. in the mid-eighties.

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Slaughter's post-1985 career is usually held against him. He literally became a cartoon with the GI Joe partnership and wrestled sporadically for a dying AWA. Even something that could be looked at as a positive, the Mania headlining run against Hogan, is tainted because the Gulf War angle was derided by many at the time and looked at as a flop in the sense it couldn't move tickets for the LA Coliseum and may or may not have contributed to NBC dropping SNME. It seems like his killer 1980-84 run is seen as too short for HoF consideration

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Just for the hell of it (and I know the list is 20+ years old at this point) I wanted to see the ten highest ranked wrestlers from PWI's "Top 500 of the PWI Years" who weren't in the WON HOF:

1. Lex Luger
2. Kerry Von Erich
3. Jimmy Snuka
4. Sgt. Slaughter
5. Barry Windham
6. Rick Martel
7. Paul Orndorff
8. Magnificent Muraco
9. Junkyard Dog
10. Tully Blanchard

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8 minutes ago, AA484 said:

Just for the hell of it (and I know the list is 20+ years old at this point) I wanted to see the ten highest ranked wrestlers from PWI's "Top 500 of the PWI Years" who weren't in the WON HOF:

1. Lex Luger
2. Kerry Von Erich
3. Jimmy Snuka
4. Sgt. Slaughter
5. Barry Windham
6. Rick Martel
7. Paul Orndorff
8. Magnificent Muraco
9. Junkyard Dog
10. Tully Blanchard

 

Not to take this thread off topic, but I have always wondered about this "Top 500 of the PWI Years" list.

Was this something that was released in magazine form like the other 500's? Was this something done on the PWI website? I always see it quoted on Wikipedia pages and other places, and have just always wondered where this list originated.

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54 minutes ago, Blehschmidt said:

 

Not to take this thread off topic, but I have always wondered about this "Top 500 of the PWI Years" list.

Was this something that was released in magazine form like the other 500's? Was this something done on the PWI website? I always see it quoted on Wikipedia pages and other places, and have just always wondered where this list originated.

I think it was a 30th anniversary issue from 1999.  I remember having it.  In addition to the top 500, they also had a top 100 tag teams list.

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My Quebec bias will speak here but other than Rick Martel, I'd really like for Johnny Rougeau to get in. His significance, not only for professional wrestling but other areas in our province (he was the bodyguard of former Prime Minister René Lévesque and also was the commissioner of the Quebec Junior Major Hockey League - the championship trophy of the league is even named after him) is colossal. He's arguably the most famous name of that historical era here after Yvon Robert.

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8 hours ago, Tenese Sarwieh said:

Also, I see Charlotte getting the Reigns treatment of last year. It's going to be really interesting when Sasha gets on the ballot. 

What is the criteria now for getting nominated? I was under the impression that Sasha's career began years before Charlotte's.

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6 minutes ago, C.S. said:

What is the criteria now for getting nominated? I was under the impression that Sasha's career began years before Charlotte's.

" 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."
Charlotte's 35 and debuted in Dec 2012. That's 9 years, not 10, but whatever - she has no chance on being inducted anyway. 

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4 hours ago, ethantyler said:

" 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."
Charlotte's 35 and debuted in Dec 2012. That's 9 years, not 10, but whatever - she has no chance on being inducted anyway. 

Thanks. Sasha is only 29, so that explains her omission. 

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A few thoughts on the non-wrestling section since I've managed to narrow it down to 5 names surprisingly easily:

Bobby Davis
Managerial pioneer. The first successful TV era manager who worked with Buddy Rogers for a huge chunk of his career (including the early 60s when he was the biggest draw in the business), the Graham Brothers when they were hot in New York, Johnny Valentine, and a whole host of other main event talent. He was the first bump taking manager too thanks to his pro wrestling training (had to switch to managing due to an injury. As for his promo ability, look at the talent he represented. Buddy Rogers and the Grahams were great promos by themselves, yet Davis did it for them because he was better. Speaks volumes. Directly inspired Bobby Heenan (who took his first name), and it is not a stretch to say that he is the start of the managerial lineage to the likes of Jimmy Hart, Jim Cornette, Paul Heyman, etc. That style of manager starts with Bobby Davis.

Along with Okada, this is the guy I consider to be a no-brainer. For his historical significance alone, he should've been an original inductee. Please vote for him.

Dave Brown
In the conversation for best color commentator of them all. I certainly consider him & Lance Russell to be the best commentary team of them all. And..that's good enough for me.

Morris Sigel
The man controlled Texas wrestling for 37 years. He was credited with bringing tag team wrestling to the US (probably from Mexico), inventing an early version of the cage match ("fence match"), and presiding over the rise of blading in pro wrestling (his booker, Doc Sarpolis, apparently invented this). His shows were major - plenty of 10,000+'s in the mix along with historically significant shows (the war bond shows from the 40s, the world title switch from Thesz to Bronko Nagurski in 1939, etc).

The stronger promoter on the ballot. I won't say no-brainer, even if I have in the past, but...man. Skipping over this guy for Don Owen, Crockett Jr etc is a big mistake in my humble opinion.

Stanley Weston
I cannot justify the inclusion of Bill Apter without Stanley Weston. It's both or neither. I personally would've gone with neither but since Apter is already in, I feel obligated to vote for Weston until he's in too. Fairness based on precedent carries a lot of weight with me.

Ted Turner
Without Ted, JCP dies in the late 80s. Without Ted, WCW died in 2001. Without Ted, WCW doesn't overtake the WWF. Without Ted, we don't get the late 90s boom period - arguably the stronger period in pro wrestling history. His historical significance is too strong for me to ignore.

If we have voters who want to know more about some these older candidates (Davis & Sigel in particular), then please ask and I'll do my best to answer the Qs or direct you to someone who can. I'm trying to make sure we don't dismiss candidates out of ignorance and nothing else this year.

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Moolah should be added to the Historical category (which she had yet to be considered for after the 15/50% rule).  Had some good vote totals over the years.  Pretty sure she was listed as an upcoming candidate in a HoF issue at one point the last few years.

At some point, Luger, Jake Roberts and Bischoff deserve another crack.  Been 20+ years since any of them were on.  And their careers are more finalized than in the late 90s.  Perhaps the same for the Dudleys, Booker T and RVD, all possibly premature one-and-dones 15 years ago.

Maybe Finlay (one-and-done in 2008), could go in the Misc. overseas category?

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2 hours ago, shakla said:

Moolah should be added to the Historical category (which she had yet to be considered for after the 15/50% rule).  Had some good vote totals over the years.  Pretty sure she was listed as an upcoming candidate in a HoF issue at one point the last few years.

Moolah is viewed far more negatively today. The feedback Dave gets from voters on her is overwhelmingly negative - which is why she hasn't returned. Anyway, see the conversations about Moolah from last year: https://forums.prowrestlingonly.com/topic/52088-2020-wrestling-observer-hall-of-fame/

Summary: she has no case. At all. Never drew. Has zero longevity on top. Not a good worker. Negative historical significance. That's all the categories the candidates are judged on, and she ticks none of them.

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She stayed on the modern ballot for 17 years and peaked at 56%.  With all the one-and-dones that get added to Historical every year, might as well give her a shot there. Much like I presume Murdoch will before too long.

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