Observer Hall of Fame Q&A: Mexican candidates with thecubsfan

Originally published at Observer Hall of Fame Q&A: Mexican candidates with thecubsfan

The Hall of Fame season has begun and today we look at the Mexican candidates on the ballot.

Earlier this week, we spoke with Alan4L from the PW Torch site about the Japanese candidates for the annual Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame.

Today, thecubsfan from Luchablog is with us to discuss the candidates from Mexico, which has been a difficult category to navigate until the past several years when a logjam had developed with many highly credentialed candidates in the field. Last year saw the election of Los Brazos into the Hall of Fame with 86% of the votes while Caristico/Mistico missed by one vote with 59.7% of the votes in his region.

As a reminder, the criteria for inclusion into the Hall of Fame is 60% or higher votes from the given region, based on the following instructions:

Longevity should be a prime consideration rather than a hot two or three year run, unless someone is so significant as a trend-setter or a historical figure in the business, or valuable to the industry, that they need to be included. However, just longevity without being either a long-term main eventer, a top draw and/or a top caliber in-ring performer should be seen as relatively meaningless.

Below are the candidates in the Mexican section and their percentages from the 2021 voting:

Mistico/Caristico (59.7%)
Cien Caras & Mascara Ano 2000 & Universo 2000 (46%)
Sangre Chicana (33%)
Huracan Ramirez (32%)
Dorrell Dixon (29%)
La Parka AAA (25%)
Pirata Morgan (24%)
Rito Romero (18%)
El Hijo del Santo & Octagon (added to the ballot)
Angel Blanco & Dr.Wagner (added to the ballot)
Los Villanos (added to the ballot)

Here is our Q&A with thecubsfan:

How long have you been voting on the Hall of Fame and how do you view the voting process?

I’ve been voting in the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame since 2011. I found the overall process an interesting thought experiment though some gradual rule changes can be frustrating. I wish there were more public discussions (or maybe easier-to-find discussion) of why people voted for who they did to learn more about the candidates; I find the process of learning about the candidates more interesting than the results themselves.

When assessing the Mexican candidates on the ballot this year, who has the strongest case and why?

Mistico has the strongest case, as he has for the last few years. He was an excellent draw during his peak, and his peak lasted longer than he’s given credit. The influence of the character is just as big. There were small tecnico flying luchadors before, and Rey Mysterio Jr. is a much bigger star, but it was Mistico’s success that caused promoters to decide his style was now the default Mexican wrestler luchador and everyone in the following decade was an exception. He influenced a generation of wrestlers to either wrestle like him or wrestle like the guys who would oppose him. No one’s even been totally able to replace him – not even the other guy who got to use the gimmick for a few years – and Mexican wrestling would look very different if he didn’t hit.

Mistico’s disappointing WWE run will always haunt him, but its impact lessens as time passes. Meanwhile, he’s racking up years atop a less popular but stable CMLL. Mistico will be a top star in Mexico for as long as he wants and will keep racking imaginary hall-of-fame points he can get. He’ll squeak in some year soon and look like an easy choice a decade from now.

For years, there was a logjam in this category, how would you assess the process today, and are the Mexican candidates receiving the adequate spotlight?

The Mexican section is healthier after moving some people into the Hall of Fame and some off the ballot. There are a lot of tough decisions this year, but at least they’re new decisions. It’s still a challenging category for the timespan it covers; Rito Romero’s career started fifty years earlier than Mistico, and wrestling changed a lot.

The Mexican candidates don’t receive a lot of spotlight, but it seems unlikely to change. The voter base largely grew up with some combination of the wrestlers in the Historical/US/Japan candidates, and it’s hard to think of what would have to happen to make them as interested in the Mexican and “Rest of the World” categories. There are plenty of people who are knowledgeable about Mexican wrestling, but there isn’t as much apparent interest in discussing this (or any other) Hall of Fame with that community.

Who are some of the more intriguing candidates on the ballot this year, not limited to Mexico?

I usually limit myself to voting only in Mexico, but I am interested in what the voters make of the many newly added tag teams and if there are any consistent benchmarks for them that can be applied going forward. The Japan region sticks out for having so many candidates who are active & relevant, where the data may tell us more about what age they consider ‘old enough.’ And, like everyone else, I’m interested in finding out what the voters do with CM Punk after the last year.

Finally, any feedback on the changes to this year’s voting process by expanding the number of votes and addition of certain tag teams where one is already in the Hall of Fame?

Limiting votes per category seems a positive change. I prefer knowing I can only vote five in a category than debating the ethics of using ten votes in a way probably not intended.

The criteria for teams have always been confusing to me – are we supposed to take it literally and only consider matches as a team, or are singles matches that come out of tag feuds part of the case? I believe adding so many teams at once will produce some inconsistencies that will leave people confused on results day, but maybe clarify how those teams will be handled going forward.

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