The official 2023 Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame ballot

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 2023 ballot is officially out as of this weekend!
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.

Dave Meltzer began the Hall of Fame by choosing a list of 122 inaugural inductees in 1996. Since then, wrestlers from past and present, others employed in the professional wrestling industry, and wrestling journalists and historians have been selected by Meltzer to cast secret ballots to determine annual groups of inductees. Voting criteria include the length of time spent in wrestling, historical significance, ability to attract viewers, and wrestling ability. 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. To gain membership in the hall, potential inductees must receive 60% support on the ballots from their geographic region. Any person that gets less than 10% of the vote is eliminated from the ballot. If a person fails to get inducted 15 years after being put on the ballot, they must get 50% of the vote or be eliminated.

Here is the official ballot now released courtesy of @WONHOFTracker on X:


Ole Anderson
Bob Armstrong
Tully Blanchard & Arn Anderson w/J.J. Dillon
Jack & Jerry Brisco
British Bulldogs (Dynamite Kid & Davey Boy Smith)
June Byers
Wild Bull Curry
Cowboy Bob Ellis
Pampero Firpo
Black Gordman & Great Goliath
Archie “Mongolian Stomper” Gouldie
Hart Foundation (Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart)
Sputnik Monroe
Dusty Rhodes & Dick Murdoch
Argentina Rocca & Miguel Perez
Johnny Rougeau
Iron Sheik
Tiger Jeet Singh
Sgt. Slaughter
Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood
Mad Dog & Butcher Vachon
Von Brauners & Saul Weingeroff
Kevin & Kerry & David Von Erich


Mark & Jay Briscoe
Young Bucks
Bill Goldberg
Matt & Jeff Hardy
Becky Lynch
Jon Moxley
Kevin Nash & Scott Hall
Paul Orndorff
Randy Orton
Seth Rollins
C.M. Punk
Roman Reigns
Trish Stratus
Rick & Scott Steiner


The Beauty Pair (Jackie Sato & Maki Ueda)
Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan
Yoshiaki Fujiwara
Antonio Inoki & Seiji Sakaguchi
Tomohiro Ishii
Meiko Satomura
Shingo Takagi
Manami Toyota & Toshiyo Yamada


Angel Blanco & Dr.Wagner
Sangre Chicana
Los Hermanos Dinamita (Cien Caras & Mascara Ano 2000 & Universo 2000)
Dorrell Dixon
Pirata Morgan
Blue Panther
El Hijo del Santo & Octagon
La Parka AAA
Huracan Ramirez


Spyros Arion
Big Daddy
Dominic DeNucci
Billy Joyce
George Kidd
Killer Karl Kox
Mike Marino
Kendo Nagasaki
Jackie Pallo
The Royal Brothers (Bert Royal & Vic Faulkner)
Johnny Saint
Adrian Street
Jose Tarres
Otto Wanz


Dave Brown (U.S. & Canada modern)
Bobby Bruns (Japan)
Bob Caudle (U.S. & Canada historical)
Bobby Davis (U.S. & Canada historical)
Joe Higuchi (Japan)
Jim Johnston (U.S. & Canada modern)
Larry Matysik (U.S.& Canada historical)
Rossy Ogawa (Japan)
Reggie Parks (U.S. & Canada modern)
Morris Sigel (U.S. & Canada historical)
Tony Schiavone (U.S. & Canada modern)
George Scott (U.S. & Canada historical)
Sanshiro Takagi (Japan)
Mike Tenay (U.S. & Canada modern)
Ted Turner (U.S. & Canada modern)
Roy Welch (U.S. & Canada historical)
Stanley Weston (U.S. & Canada historical)
Grand Wizard (U.S & Canada historical)

I don’t get a ballot of my own but if I had to vote in it, this would be my picks:

CM Punk
Mark & Jay Briscoe
Roman Reigns

The Von Erichs
Iron Sheik
June Byers
Tully Blanchard & Arn Anderson w/ J.J. Dillon

Tomohiro Ishii

Dave Brown (if Lance Russell is in it, then he should be in it as an amazing commentary team)
Jim Johnston
Tony Schiavone
Mike Tenay
Bob Caudle
George Scott
Stanley Weston

I’m not sure how many picks voters with ballots get. But I guess here would be my picks:

Trish Stratus
CM Punk
Kevin Nash & Scott Hall
Bill Goldberg
Matt & Jeff Hardy

The Von Erich’s
Iron Sheik
Tully Blanchard & Arn Anderson w/ JJ Dillon
Sgt Slaughter
June Byers

Jim Johnston
Tony Schiavone
Mike Tenay

I don’t feel like I know enough about the International candidates to comment on them.

Dave laid out that you get ten free slots for wrestlers to vote on, so you got the right amount. Non-wrestlers you can pick as much as you want. I actually considered picking Trish too as she was so influential in the women’s scene but I got so much flak for that on the Voices of Wrestling Discord. :joy:

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The fact that Trish isn’t in and that the WON Hall of Fame has not inducted a female wrestler since 2006 is in my opinion the biggest blemish on the WON HoF. It shows a lack of diversity across the voters and that there are too many within an echo chamber to see the huge gaps in the inductees.

Trish, Lita, Miss Elizabeth, Alundra Blaze, Sable, Chyna, Lisa Marie Varon and many others deserve a lot better recognition than Dave gives them. It’s at least something the WWE Hall of Fame does recognize.

Now that the current generation of women (Becky, Charlotte, Asuka, Sasha, Bailey, etc) are about to become eligible the impact these women have had is undisputable that they meet every one of Dave’s criteria. If they continue to be ignored then all Dave is publishing is a NJPW hall of fame.

Another VOW supporter! I never use discord but I absolutely know they’re opinion on this with Trish lol

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They’re not seeing reality. lol. I wouldn’t be surprised however on Trish falling off the ballot this year with more new ones in each region.

Pretty sure I’ve said this last year. But based on the criteria and who is in, the biggest omissions (North America) are Reigns, Orton and Edge. Consistent main eventers in a successful global promotion for a decade or longer.

But seeing how long it took Sting to get in, I apparently have no idea how it works.

And re: Trish. I think she has a better case when she moves to the “historical“ category. She wasn’t a draw or main eventer in her time. But she’s one of the people who made it so women could be seen as draws and main inventors going forward.

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I think the argument against Edge and Orton has always been that they don’t really have that many memorable matches or feuds. Yes they were top guys but the argument as always been it’s not top guys necessarily apart from a few that draw in the WWE, it’s just the name WWE that does. So she can put an ly idiot in that role and it was still draw. As long as you have the biggest stars around in Cena and Roman etc the other guys don’t matter as much.

For instance how many people have actually paid to see a Randy Orton or Edge match strictly for them versus wanting to see the spectacle or one of the other top guys?

As for Trish - I think Becky has a stronger case. Becky was the biggest star (man or women) for a while and fans willed her to headline and win at WM. Not sure Trish was ever close to that

I think you’re right that that is what the people who don’t vote for those guys would tell you. But I always come back to two things:

  • Regardless of how wrestling “purists” like to romanticize the past, being a legit “third from the top” guy in a national/global promotion is more Hall of Fame worthy than being the most over guy in a territory in 1974.

  • Triple H was inducted in 2006 for being reliable while working with guys who were more over than him (HBK, Austin, Rock) and much better workers than him (HBK again, Jericho, Benoit). If that’s the standard, then Reigns, Edge, Orton, and others are no-brainers.

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I know one big flaw in the hall of fame is everyone’s compared to each other instead of comparing people by positions. Took a long time for Shawn Michaels to go in and a lot of people with better careers than Trish aren’t in or have dropped off the ballot. It’s mainly Shawn’s backstage behavior for so many years that gave a stench for a long time before getting in.

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I think this is another flaw in this HOF. I understand not putting someone if they committed a heinous act (ie. Benoit). But I dont think a guy should be not voted in because he was kind of a prick.

I remember Jeff Marek in the early 2000s saying that Shawn didn’t deserve to be voted in at the time because of like you said, was a bit of a prick and that in someway disqualified him, he believed. So he would refuse to vote for him. Again, that was the year before he made his full-time return in the ring.

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I do remember that actually, that’s old school LAW lol.

By the track record of the WON Hall of Fame, if HBK’s career truly ended in 1998, he was not a definite Hall of Famer. If Sting’s WCW run didn’t qualify, Shawn’s 1988-1998 WWF run isn’t a no-brainer.

And yet the WON voting community VOTED to keep Benoit in AFTER murdering his wife and son.

Again, there are a lot of problems in the voting body of the WON HOF. Until those are addressed I barely consider it more valid than the WWE HOF.

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The WON HOF is such a polarized HOF than the WWE HOF even in who deserves a spot! Roman may get a spot in the WON HOF in 2023 because Uncle Dave & Bryan “love” him because Roman is the face of the tribalism between AEW & WWE and Roman could break Hogan’s record in 2024 which could split old-school and new-school WWE fans!

John Pollock, Brandon Thurston and Alan4L are going over the ballot and their cases now live on YouTube. Check it out! Great history class to attend IMO.

There was a recall vote in 2008 and 53.6% of voters did vote for Benoit to be taken off it but Dave placed the threshold at 60% so it’s fallen short of the number requires. Personally I have no problem with him still being in it despite the obvious elephant in the room.

The 2023 Hall of Fame class is now out! Very glad to see Jack & Jerry Brisco and Sgt. Slaughter going in!