The criteria for entry into the WON HOF is “a combination of drawing power, being a great in-ring performer or excelling in one’s field in pro wrestling, as well as having historical significance in a positive manner.” Candidates should have something to offer in all three of the categories mentioned or be so outstanding in one or two that they deserve inclusion.
Go ahead and make some fantasy picks, guys!
THE HISTORICAL PERFORMERS ERA CANDIDATES
Wild Bull Curry
Cowboy Bob Ellis
The Fabulous Ones (Stan Lane & Steve Keirn)
Black Gordman & Great Goliath
Archie “Mongolian Stomper” Gouldie
Chavo Guerrero Sr.
The Masked Interns (Jerry Hester & Billy Garrett & Tom Anderson) w/Dr. Ken Ramey
Miguel Perez Sr.
Jimmy & Johnny Valiant
Von Brauners & Saul Weingeroff
Johnny “Mr.Wrestling II” Walker
THE MODERN PERFORMERS IN U.S/CANADA CANDIDATES
Tully Blanchard & Arn Anderson w/J.J. Dillon
Matt & Jeff Hardy
Rick & Scott Steiner
Kevin Von Erich
Kerry Von Erich
WRESTLING IN JAPAN CANDIDATES
Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan
WRESTLING IN MEXICO CANDIDATES
Los Brazos (Brazo de Oro & Brazo de Plata & El Brazo)
WRESTLING IN EUROPE/AUSTRALIA/NEW ZEALAND/PACIFIC ISLANDS/AFRICA
Killer Karl Kox
Rollerball Mark Rocco
Lord James Blears
Jim Crockett Jr.
I still find it amazing how every year, Hayabusa isn’t in
D̶a̶v̶e̶ ̶M̶e̶l̶t̶z̶e̶r̶'̶s̶ Wrestling Observer HOF?
It’s weird. Also, my pick is Hayabusa for the "Wrestling Japan Candidates, icymi!
Can someone remind me how many entries the WON hall of fame typically has every year again? Is it one from each category?
Given the choices and that I can pick only what’s available on the list, I would pick Tetsuya Naito. The guy has wrestled all over the world, and still has it in Japan.
Additionally, Naito brought a popular stable over to Japan, and that counts for something.
And he’s in my age group - and still is relevant.
What happened to EVIL, Sanada, or Masahiro Chono? Have they been past nominees?
Always find it weird that there isn’t a retired or inactivity restriction on wrestling HOF. Most sports have a minimum of 5 years of inactivity before being HOF eligible. I think Gretzky is the only player in the major 4 that was inducted in less then 5 years not post-mortem.
With that being said…
Tully Blanchard & Arn Anderson
That’s a very good point. I think Dave shouldn’t put people on the ballot if they’re not retired yet. Even the Waterloo, Iowa museum and Hall of Fame, they still put people on eligibility when still active.
Lemieux was as well in 1997. After Gretzky the NHL said they would never waive the period for anyone again
I don’t think waiting for retirement would work for pro-wrestling because many pro-wrestlers never really retire. Dave would have to wait to induct anybody until they have had a career ending injury or died. How many times has Ric Flair retired and un-retired. I think the 15 years experience works just fine.
I am not a wrestling historian but here would be my picks.
Jerry Brisco - Moreso for his backstage role for almost 40 years with WWE such as recruiting current hall of famers like Angle and Lesnar.
Ole Anderson - The four horseman are still recognized as one of the most well know stables of all time. It’s astonishing that only Flair is already in the WON HoF.
Kerry Von Erich - If you mention pro-wrestling to anyone Gen-x or older in Dallas they mention the Von Erich’s before any other Texas wrestling legends like Austin or Undertaker. They were an institution around here. And Kerry was by far the most well know and successful. Maybe his fame and drawing power wasn’t enough nationally to have been inducted yet. But he would definitely get my vote.
Tully Blanchard & Arn Anderson w/ JJ Dillon - Again let’s induct all four horseman. Arn in particular has had a lasting impact on the industry with his work backstage.
Bill Goldberg - Of everyone else in the “Modern” wrestling list Golberg was the biggest draw. His in-ring skills aren’t great but they fit the character perfectly. He was WCW’s greatest product and absolutely a star at Austin’s level for a little while until WCW and then WWE squandered it.
Jim Crockett Jr - While JCP eventually went bankrupt while he was running it the various promotions and shows he did run in the 80’s helped find a lot of stars and put wrestling on cable.
Tony Schiavone - One of the greatest pro-wrestling commenters ever. It’s especially evident right now with his career resurgence in AEW where you have both JR and Tony on commentary and Tony is by far the superior commentator today.
Ted Turner - I don’t think Ted ever appeared on a wrestling broadcast. But his support of the industry by giving it coveted timeslots and purchasing WCW was massive.
I’ll agree with that, but having guys that are still very much active on the list is just odd to me.
I’m just comparing it to sports and even WWE or the Cauliflower Alley Club.
It would be weird seeing a Randy Orton get inducted in the WWE HOF while wrestling every week with no end in sight.
While I like your list Kota has to be number 1. Unless you just argue to wait until he’s done his career he’s far above KVE and others in every imaginable way
Following the G1 I would vote for Tomohiro Ishii. This man has it all.
For those of you who are Observer subscribers, I would recommend listening to this past week’s Observer radio podcasts with Garrett, Dave and special guest Mike Tenay. They recorded 2 podcasts analyzing this year’s ballot. Gives you a college history class in pro wrestling.
My original post just included my top picks. Your list can look different.
But I agree Kota should be in the WON Hall of Fame. In fact I think just about everybody on the list should be. I’m not a fan of being very exclusive with these things. Many of them destroyed their bodies for our entertainment and should be rewarded with as many accolades as possible.
How is Roman Reigns on the list? He’s only been wrestling for ten years. Out of all the Shield guys I would put Seth and Mox in before him and they have both been doing it the required 15 years.