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

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

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


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

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?

So Did The Muppets Survive Monday Night Raw?

Stretching is an old timey style of pro wrestling where your goal is to literally pull your opponent apart. Here poor Gonzo gets stretched by Jack Swagger, Vickie Guerrero and Dolph Ziggler on the October 21, 2011 episode of Monday Night Raw.

So last night as my long-awaited episode of WWE’s Monday Night Raw, where the wrestling show was invaded by the Muppets. This was one of the most fun episodes of any professional wrestling show that I can remember. I wish we could see more team-ups with the Muppets in the WWE in the future.

This was one of the best segments involving the Muppets, with poor Beaker being bullied by Christian. Our favorite meep-ing lab assistant was rescued by Sheamus in a moment of sheer hilariousness. I love how they made the two be related. Genius.

Most of the Muppet involvement last night revolved around a storyline with them feuding with manager Vickie Guerrero and her charges, Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler. The three did not take to kindly to the Muppets being on their show, and with the help of Santino Marella, the Muppets were able to get their comeuppance.

Cody Rhodes didn't take too kindly to Kermit the Frog.

The episode had the Muppets making appearances throughout the rest of the episode. Miss Piggy kept flirting with the wrestlers and would get upset that the WWE divas would flirt with Kermit.

Even Statler and Waldorf were around, hanging out in their own luxury skybox; having been to the Phillips Arena in Atlanta where last night’s episode was taped, I can vouch for there not being a balcony for them. The two old bitter Muppets would pop up from time to time with their own sarcastic commentary.

I enjoyed this whole episode very much. It was just as silly and fun as I thought it could be, and this gets two thumbs up. You can find more clips of the Muppets on Raw on the WWE’s YouTube or on their website.

Mick Foley’s Countdown to Lockdown


Mick Foley may be the Hardcore Legend, but I'm the Awesome Legend!

One of the joys of the inclement weather this weekend was that I finally had a chance to read Mick Foley’s Countdown to Lockdown. See that picture? That was taken at an author event just a few days after the book debuted.

So what took me so long to read Countdown? I do consider myself a huge Mick Foley fan. The excuse, if you want to call it that, is that his books are rather conversational and read better in one sitting, rather than picking it up and reading a bit here and there. And unfortunately, I’ve been way too busy to devote the proper time to reading this.

This past Sunday–hurricane and all–was Countdown‘s turn to be looked at. The book tells the story of Mick getting back in the ring to fight a one-time rival from the early 1990s in Sting. Except this time, it was for the TNA (now Impact) Wrestling World Championship in a cage match at their Lockdown pay-per-view in 2009.

You can tell that having seen Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler plays a lot in Mick’s mind, as he’s afraid that returning for yet another match will propel him into the sad category of being a Randy the Ram type character. It’s less in the vein of him needing to wrestler for the financial aspects, but more so that he doesn’t want to embarrass himself. So the story of the buildup to the match is very compelling, and all the combined whackiness of professional wrestling and his family life definitely weigh on his mind through all of this, whether it be the humiliating process of him finding tights to wear for the match (and winding up getting them in the women’s section of Target) or that his sons think the other wrestlers in TNA are cooler than him.

The best parts of Countdown are his side stories, whether he’s talking about vacations with his family or all of the various charities he supports and is involved with. The sections on his helping the youth of Sierra Leone show how much he really cares about the world around him, and how he actively wants to help.

The story is also framed with his obsession and love of the Tori Amos song “Winter”, and how its influenced his life. In the book, he describes the two times he spoke in person with Tori and you can just tell how excited and how much of a fan he is.

Anyway, Countdown is a fun read and a great look into what makes Mick Foley tick outside the wrestling world. And what makes him tick? His family and making a positive impact on the world around him, both of which are cool with me.

Mick has been keeping up a blog, and it is worth reading. You can also check out some pictures from the previously mentioned author visit here.

WWE and Comics: Perfect Together

Let’s face it; professional wrestling and comic books are very thematically similar. Pro wrestling is a lot like comics coming to life, filled with heroes and villains (clad in over the top costumes) battling for supremacy. Even their fanbases overlap; they’re both constantly criticized for liking something many disregard as something you should have given up by the time you turn seven.

Over the years, comics and wrestlers have crossed over many times. Some of today’s best grapplers, guys like AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, Samoa Joe and Shane Helms, are all devoted comic readers. Wrestlers like Rey Mysterio and Nova have worn many comic inspired outfits to the ring. ECW’s Raven and the Sandman spent the majority of the 1990s wearing t-shirts featuring art from Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman. Even Hulk Hogan’s name is a reference to a certain gamma powered monster…

Anyway, it’s no surprise that the professional wrestling world would be represented at Comic Con last week. Both WWE and Impact Wrestling were out in full force. But WWE took it one step further, expanding one of their angles (wrestling speak for “storyline”) during one of their panel presentations.

During the presentation, wrestler HHH (who now runs the WWE in story) gets interrupted by WWE champion CM Punk, who himself is an avid comic book fan.

In the WWE storyline, Punk won their championship on his last night wrestling for the company and is keeping the title high-jacked. The question is when—or will—he return to the WWE, and by having him harass it’s on-screen chairman only keeps this moving. It was a nice little way to make those in attendance feel like they’re part of the story.