My 2012 Wrestling Observer Hall Of Fame Ballot

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.

Sgt. Slaughter

JAPAN CANDIDATES

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.

MEXICO CANDIDATES

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.

UROPE CANDIDATES

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.

NON-WRESTLERS
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?

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2 thoughts on “My 2012 Wrestling Observer Hall Of Fame Ballot

  1. If I had a ballot it would go something like this.

    Modern performers: John Cena, Edge, Sting and R&R. Cena has been the biggest star in WWE for the last decade. Edge was argubably the #2 star of the decade in WWE behind the Cena/HHH level. Was an awesome peformer and one of the best all around guys of the last 15 years in wrestling. Was also a 2x first runner up to Wrestler of the Year award (2006 and 2008) and has several match of the year candidates to his credit (including winning in 2002 for his tag team match with Mysterio vs. Angle & Benoit). Sting was the face of WCW, the #2 promotion of the 90s and the only company to seriously rivial WWE in terms of popularity. He is undoubtedly the biggest and most respected star from that era not in. Many of today’s biggest names grew up watching him. R&R’s were one of the most influential teams of all time period. Many of the top teams of the 90s and 00s grew up studying their tapes in order to learn tag team psychology. Ricky Morton was one of the best sellers ever.

    Japan: Hiroshi Tanahashi. He’s the face of New Japan and an excellent performer. Has the most complete package of world championship-level aura and working ability of anyone in the game today. Excellent ring psychologist and never has anything less than an excellent match when in the main event position. He hols a record for longest IWGP championship reigns in history right underneath Antonio Inoki, Shinya Hashimoto and Keiji Muto. His run on top has also led to a revival of New Japan’s business.

    Mexico: LA Park, Atlantis and Villano III. From what I’ve studied, all three are more than worthy of inclusion.

    Non Wrestlers: Don Owen and Jim Crockett Jr. Owen promoted wrestling in Oregon for 60 years. To the best of my knowledge that is longer than any one person ever did during the territorial era. Oregon was a successful territory for most of that period. Crockett turned Mid-Atlantic from a regional tag team territory into a national powerhouse. For the 15 years he ran Mid Atlantic, it was one of the top territories.

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