It’s that time of the year again, ladies and gentlemen! Wrestling communities, journalists, historians are now voting for the annual Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame and the 2022 ballot is officially out!
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.
Here’s the official ballot:
MODERN PERFORMERS IN U.S./CANADA CANDIDATES
Tully Blanchard & Arn Anderson w JJ Dillon
Jerry Lawler & Bill Dundee
Matt & Jeff Hardy
Kevin Nash & Scott Hall
New Age Outlaws (Billy Gunn & Road Dogg)
Rick & Scott Steiner
Kevin, Kerry & David Von Erich
HISTORICAL PERFORMERS ERA CANDIDATES
Adrian Adonis & Jesse Ventura
Jack & Jerry Brisco
Wild Bull Curry
British Bulldogs (Dynamite Kid & Davey Boy Smith)
Cowboy Bob Ellis
Black Gordman & Great Goliath
Archie “Mongolian Stomper” Goldie
Hart Foundation (Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart)
The Rockers (Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty)
Harley Race & Larry Henning
Dusty Rhodes & Dick Murdoch
Argentina Rocca & Miguel Perez
Kinji Shibuya & Masa Saito
Tiger Jeet Singh
Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood
Mad Dog & Butcher Vachon
Von Brauners & Saul Weingeroff
Mr. Wrestling I & II
Angel Blanco & Dr. Wagner
Los Hermanos Dinamita (Cien Caras, Mascara Ano 2000 & Universo 2000)
El Hijo Del Santo & Octagon
La Parka AAA
L’Ange Blanc (Francisco Pino)
Killer Karl Kox
Rollerball Mark Rocco
The Royal Brothers (Bert Royal & Vic Faulkner)
Lord James Blears
Dave’s reasoning I’ve heard recently is that “no one really retires in wrestling” and it would just be a waste to not give candidates their proper due at some point. And it’s not a legit sport where there is a concrete point to retire.
You can laugh at the WWE hall of fame but I don’t hold the WON in much higher esteem either. The WWE HoF lets too many people in. The WON doesn’t let enough in.
Not a single woman inducted in 16 years? The most legendary groups in pro-wrestling not inducted? Some of the biggest draws in wrestling history not inducted? Because of the arbitrary rules put in place neither do a particularly good job of celebrating or examining pro-wrestling’s history.
Coming back here, I don’t think it’s fair to say a wrestling hall of fame means nothing. A lot of people take huge pride in having their work being recognized. I’d say both the WON HOF and the George Tragos/Lou Thesz wrestling hall of fames carry a ton of weight. @RedRaider07
And if the WON HOF mean nothing, why do prominent wrestlers and journalists participate in the voting like John Pollock, Brian Solomon, Mike Tenay, etc?
I believe my mindset was that Meltzer just arbitrarily assigns who can vote vs who can’t vote. I remember I was listening to a podcast years ago (I want to say Between the Ropes, but I could be wrong) and one of the hosts made a joke about how Meltzer just randomly out of nowhere sent them a vote. There were no credentials, no overseeing body, just Meltzer picks who he wants to have a vote. Doesnt mean some voters aren’t credible, but it seems very arbitrary.
There isn’t a place for the wrestlers to be enshrined like a normal HOF, there is no physical ceremony, and they don’t get paid.
Does that mean I don’t respect the voters? Of course not. I have a lot of respect for John and Dave and many others.
If there was a wrestlers union or a wrestling journalist association where some level of credentials are assigned by a governing board that would be one thing, but it’s one man deciding the rules and picking who votes. That’s why I said it means nothing.
To clarify, this is based on what I read years ago, maybe it changed. And for the record, I’m actually a fan of Dave, but I don’t think his HOF means much. Maybe I shouldnt have said it means “nothing”, but I think it means very little.
I know you are a Hockey fan, it would be like if Elliot Friedman just decided to create a Hockey Hall of Fame and picked and chose which other reporters were able to vote and just made up the rules as he saw fit. He has every right in the world to do it, but for me, it wouldn’t mean anything. And like Dave, I have a ton of respect for Elliot Friedman.
Now if it matters to you, thats cool. To each their own. I can only speak for me.
I don’t have any issue with the premise or the process but according to Wikipedia, the criteria is that:
Inductees must have at least 15 years of experience in the wrestling business or be over 35 years old and have 10 years of experience.
Kurt Angle was elected in 2004 (that’s 6 years from his first pro match and less than 5 years after his WWF debut. Would he get there? Yes. But 60% of the voters thought he had done enough after less than 5 years to get in? It baffles the mind.
To add to that, on the other end of the spectrum Shawn Michaels didn’t get in after his first retirement based on the fact that he was a prick. At that point he had wrestled from 1984-1998 and in 2000 turned 35 (ie. met the criteria). In I believe 2001 and in 2002 he didn’t get enough votes to get in despite clearly having a HOF career.
It wasn’t until he came back in 2002 and changed his attitude that he got into the HOF in 2003.