If you don’t like professional wrestling, you might want to take a break. Every year, the Wrestling Observer (the New York Times of the wrestling world) has its annual Hall of Fame issue, where WO founder Dave Meltzer surveys people in the wrestling industry, as well as journalists, historians and writers for their choices. If I was given a ballot, how would I vote?
The criteria are simple; candidates have to be 35 or older and judged on the criteria of how good they were as a performer, how much of a box office success they were and their impact. You can pick up to ten candidates; to be successfully nominated, a candidate has to receive at least 60% of the votes in that category. If you want to see who already is included, check here. Anyway, for my choices
HISTORICAL PERFORMERS ERA CANDIDATES
Gene & Ole Anderson, The Masked Assassins (Jody Hamilton & Tom Renesto), Johnny Barend, Red Bastien, Pepper Gomez, Dick Hutton, Hans Schmidt, Kinji Shibuya, Wilbur Snyder, John Tolos, Enrique Torres, Kurt & Karl Von Brauner w/Saul Weingeroff, Tim “Mr. Wrestling” Woods
MODERN PERFORMERS ERA CANDIDATES (1983 – current)
Batista, John Cena, Edge, Owen Hart, Curt Hennig, Ivan Koloff, Brock Lesnar, Fabulous Moolah, Pedro Morales, Dick Murdoch, Rock & Roll Express (Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson), Buddy Rose, Sgt. Slaughter, Jimmy Snuka, Sting, Mr. Wrestling II
Sting was the face of WCW, the second largest promotion in the United States for almost a decade, and he was at the top when the company was the biggest. There’s two people synonymous with that company: him and Ric Flair.
Slaughter was a pretty big draw in his pre-WWF career, and although it may have cost him his WWF career at the time getting associated with the GI Joe toy line made him a superstar. Hart and Hennig get my vote, as growing up I really enjoyed how awesome they were and stuck out at the time.
George Gordienko, Gran Hamada, Volk Han, Masahiko Kimura, Seiji Sakaguchi, Kensuke Sasaki, Mike & Ben Sharpe, Kiyoshi Tamura, Hiroshi Tanahashi
Sasaki was a huge draw in the 1990s. Hamada was the first Japanese worker to really incorporate lucha style into his work. This Japanese/Mexican fusion spread like wildfire; it’s the basis of modern American independent wrestling.
Perro Aguayo Jr., Atlantis, Cien Caras, Karloff Lagarde, Blue Panther, L.A. Park, Huracan Ramirez, Vampiro, Villano III, Dr. Wagner Jr., Dr. Wagner Sr.
L.A. Park was a star in Mexico. And even though he was pretty much a lower level guy in WCW during his big United States run, he was more popular due to his charisma than anyone anticipated. He came back to Mexico and picked up right where he left off, and having an awesome feud with the man who took his place as La Parka.
Vampiro was a mega-star in the 1990s and was huge. After his stint in WCW, he went back and is still tearing it up.
Big Daddy, Henri DeGlane, Horst Hoffman, Mick McManus, Kendo Nagasaki, Jackie Pallo, Rollerball Mark Rocco, Johnny Saint
AUSTRALIA/PACIFIC/PUERTO RICO CANDIDATES
Spyros Arion, Carlos Colon, Domenic DeNucci, Mark Lewin, Mario Milano
Carlos Colon was the biggest star in Puerto Rico/the Caribbean ever. You can’t argue that.
Lou Albano, Bill Apter, Jim Crockett Jr., Gary Hart, Jerry Jarrett, Gorilla Monsoon, Dr. Alfonso Morales, Don Owen, Jesse Ventura
Apter was the editor of Pro Wrestling Illustrated and about a million other wrestling magazines from the mid 1970s-1990s. Before the internet, the Apter mags were the way to learn about wrestling. Every kid in my generation would check these out at grocery store newsstands.
So those are my picks. Who would you vote for?