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Let's Discuss the WON Hall of Fame

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On 6/28/2018 at 11:04 PM, username said:

I mostly avoid Hall of Fame talk, particularly Observer Hall of Fame talk, but I think there is a flaw in asking the same questions of wrestlers in different eras.  This is probably sacrilege but I almost think the drawing ability question is overstated now that there is one major US promotion that is a juggernaut.  Unless you are John Cena a huge portion of the biggest names in the industry will get no credit for drawing anything and will have it held against them because they happen to work for the biggest promotion the industry has ever seen as opposed to a much smaller one.  We could adapt it to focus on merch more but that feels like a flawed metric to over-rely on (it is probably worth noting as a supporting consideration in a few cases). 

Basically if the way both the industry and the hall of fame are currently organized means that working in the top promotion does more to hurt your candidacy than help it that feels like a situation where reality is not being properly reflected.  If you want to rely on drawing power when looking at people who wrestled in a given era than so be it, but I think for this millennia once WCW and I guess ECW went under it feels less relevant for those working in the US.

This is the way I've felt reading this thread.  Is the Gordy list even relevant anymore, at least in the US?  There are no more draws and everyone being forced to work the same style might mean that arguing talent becomes tougher.  WWE reminds me of the Vonnegut story "Harrison Bergeron."   They're succeeding in making all wrestlers equal.  Boringly, unremarkably equal.

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Firstly, it's somewhat sad that we've spent more time on a racist twat than we have on this subject, but whatever...

The Gordy List or a variation of same is always relevant as a good way to organize your thoughts about a particular wrestler. Very easy to adapt it to the essentially 4 way brand split we have now. RAW, SDL, NXT, & 205 Live. Granted, there is some degree of inter-action, but if you frame the questions regarding the division that a given wrestler is in, it begins to make sense. 

Yeah, the business about who id draw, is a tough one, but we can look at merch sales as an example. Despite the WWE's insane push of Brock Lesnar, I have never, ever seen anyone wearing a Brock t-shirt, and I live in MMA-crazy NM. I would have to say that his merch sales are shit and despite being pushed as a special attraction, no one is really attracted.

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John, on wrestlingclassics, I opened the poll where I compare wrestlers with WON HOF criteria.

 

In particular I'd like to know what do you think about the comparison between Toshiaki Kawada and AJ Styles

Who do you think is better second WON HOF criteria?

 

 

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Francesco, that's just fucking evil. Kawada had arguably the two other best wrestlers in the world to work with and Taue and Akiyama, while not at that level are hardly chopped liver. 

AJ has also had a wonderful group of people to work with. Neither has ever been "the guy" as far as drawing power, but both were extremely important components of the overall product wherever they worked. You can make the case that people bought tickets to see AJ in the US, but those were indy feds that hardly counted for much. Did people in Japan buy tickets to see AJ? Likely not, he was just another gaijin for the locals to work with.

Did people in either country buy merchandise? AJ was a big part of the BC rising to the top, but with such a cool logo, we can't credit him with the Bullet Club popularity. Did people in Japan buy Kawada merch? Probably, though I've no way of knowing. 

As far as ringwork, I don't think you could find two guys of the modern era so totally different, yet both so good at what they do. Both are without a doubt HOF wrestlers.

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Kawada's selling alone is better than anything AJ Styles has ever done or will ever do. Dangerous K could tell more of a story in the ring with one or two facial gestures than AJ could ever on the mic or through like the first three-quarters of his career in-ring. Unless you're completely against Japanese style of stiff strikes and dangerous suplexes, I honestly don't see an argument for AJ when it comes to the wrestling aspect of HOF merits. 

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1 hour ago, OSJ said:

 

Did people in either country buy merchandise? AJ was a big part of the BC rising to the top, but with such a cool logo, we can't credit him with the Bullet Club popularity. Did people in Japan buy Kawada merch? Probably, though I've no way of knowing. 

 

I would argue that AJ Styles WAS a big part of the BC popularity.

Something was happening with Prince Devitt's Bullet Club, but I would argue AJ Styles taking over made them click and go from "pretty cool stable in Japan" to "a white-hot enough stable in Japan that they could start to draw in America", which paved the way for Bullet Club to grow further than that and get up to what they are now. Even if BC had a cool logo, I doubt BC's shirts make it into Hot Topic, and thus get New Japan shirts getting into Hot Topic, if they went from Devitt to Omega.

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1 hour ago, Oyaji said:

Kawada's selling alone is better than anything AJ Styles has ever done or will ever do. Dangerous K could tell more of a story in the ring with one or two facial gestures than AJ could ever on the mic or through like the first three-quarters of his career in-ring. Unless you're completely against Japanese style of stiff strikes and dangerous suplexes, I honestly don't see an argument for AJ when it comes to the wrestling aspect of HOF merits. 

Oh, c'mon... We're usually in pretty close agreement on this stuff, and you won't find too many people with greater appreciation for the AJPW stuff than me.; but to completely dismiss AJ's ringwork is a pretty big blindspot. No, he has never been THE BEST in the world IMO, but he's been in the discussion for a decade and that's pretty special.

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11 hours ago, SorceressKnight said:

I would argue that AJ Styles WAS a big part of the BC popularity.

Something was happening with Prince Devitt's Bullet Club, but I would argue AJ Styles taking over made them click and go from "pretty cool stable in Japan" to "a white-hot enough stable in Japan that they could start to draw in America", which paved the way for Bullet Club to grow further than that and get up to what they are now. Even if BC had a cool logo, I doubt BC's shirts make it into Hot Topic, and thus get New Japan shirts getting into Hot Topic, if they went from Devitt to Omega.

Agree with all of this, and one small moment I'd add that, to me, suggest Styles is remembered in Japan as more than just another foreigner: There's a spot in their last title match where Okada attempts to 'rana out of a powerbomb, Kenny catches him, glances around, and hits the Styles Clash. Deep, deep into a huge match between huge stars, there's a relatively brief but basically arena-wide "AJ Styles" chant. Of course it's an on-the-head reference by Omega, and one he's made before; but the impressive thing isn't that the fans get the nod, but that they choose to acknowledge it. Japanese fans basically never engage in digressive chants, and chanting for someone who isn't in the match they're watching... I can't remember seeing it any other time, off the top of my head. And again, this was during an IWGP title match they were totally submerged in, between two stars they're wholly invested in. It was only a few seconds, but I think it said quite a bit.

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@Beech27:

A very good point! I should have said "another gaijin star" as opposed to the implication that he was something less than that. 

I still think that the Bullet Club momentum started with Devitt and took on a life of its own. AJ was an important part of it, but you could have put someone like Sabre jr. in the same spot and they still would have been hugely over. But this all detracts from the inarguable fact that A.J. Styles is a HOFr by any measuring stick you care to use. 

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Well, didn't get much traction on discussing Bearcat Wright, but he was before my time, so likely all anoyone has seen is the few matches on youtube.

Okay, let me toss out two names that we may consider both separately and together and see what we come up with:

Arn Anderson

Tully Blanchard

I will withhold my thoughts until I see what some of you guys think.

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24 minutes ago, OSJ said:

Arn Anderson

Tully Blanchard

As was discussed earlier, Arn Anderson absolutely deserves it because he's probably the best of the midcard hands out there.

Blanchard, on the other hand? I'd argue he didn't belong in the HOF. Arn Anderson's run as a credible star was both longer than Blanchard's, and Arn proved he could be a national standout without Ric Flair or the Four Horsemen.

Blanchard, on the other hand, was really only a credible threat on a national scale only as a Horseman, and when he left the Horsemen, he was basically never seen again. 

From the baseball HOF comparison- maybe, at worst, Arn Anderson would have been a Frankie Frisch special due to never being a main eventer- but at least Arn Anderson would be "he played 15 years, made a good amount of All-Star teams, and all his fellow players wax poetic about him" Frisch HOFer. Tully Blanchard, on the other hand, would be the "he played 10 seasons, and spent 1-2 years on one of Frisch's teams as a regular player before getting traded...but Frisch owed him a favor or two, so he got him in the Hall."

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Not disagreeing, but you need to look backwards, not forwards. Tully gets more much more credit for Southwest/Houston than Arn gets for Georgia.

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Matt D speaks truth, and I would argue (correctly) that Georgia was far more important than Joe Blanchard's glorified backyard fed.

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About AJ Styles in Japan: in recent TOP 100 popularity pool AJ got 32th place (31th if Mutoh wasn't placed twice) , which might not look great at first glance, but he is only non-Japanese WWE guy to even be there. Balor for example didn't make it. In fact, from Bullet Club related people only AJ and Omega make it. I think that AJ was just another gaijin in first year and NJPW bombing in Yokahoma could probably be attributed to him, but towards the end of his run he got over and most likely would have been first gaijin to win G1 instead of Omaga if he didn't leave.

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I forgets how the voting system works, but if there is almost no footage of Bearcat Wright, even if the vet worker bloc votes for him 100% BUT no one else votes for him (his alleged bad rep and lack of visibility) is it even possible for him to get in?

Arn/Tully is interesting as each one's strengths are different but there is a lot of career overlap. I am certainly on the AA Bandwagon all the way, but man, Tully was a great great storyteller and genius heel, so good at getting his opponent over while keeping his heat. He made moves and punches look effective and could do some genius cartoony and/or serious selling. His size worked against him in that  era, but nothing would have prevented him from have runs at the top now. He could sell tickets with his promos as well. His shortened career really hurts him HoF-wise. And he decided to make moneys off of Jeebus instead, and that always irks me.

= RAF

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On 7/20/2018 at 10:26 AM, SorceressKnight said:

As was discussed earlier, Arn Anderson absolutely deserves it because he's probably the best of the midcard hands out there.

Blanchard, on the other hand? I'd argue he didn't belong in the HOF. Arn Anderson's run as a credible star was both longer than Blanchard's, and Arn proved he could be a national standout without Ric Flair or the Four Horsemen.

Blanchard, on the other hand, was really only a credible threat on a national scale only as a Horseman, and when he left the Horsemen, he was basically never seen again. 

From the baseball HOF comparison- maybe, at worst, Arn Anderson would have been a Frankie Frisch special due to never being a main eventer- but at least Arn Anderson would be "he played 15 years, made a good amount of All-Star teams, and all his fellow players wax poetic about him" Frisch HOFer. Tully Blanchard, on the other hand, would be the "he played 10 seasons, and spent 1-2 years on one of Frisch's teams as a regular player before getting traded...but Frisch owed him a favor or two, so he got him in the Hall."

Tully Blanchard to me is Steve Sax.

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@RAF: The way the voting works is those of us that do vote on the historical bunch can put him in. Yohe and I are banging the drum, we'll see what happens. I don't buy old white guys badmouthing a black man who obviously got over where ever he went. Yeah, maybe he had an attitude, but it was probably justified.

WS: Tully may not be a HOFr, but he was way better than Sax ever dreamed of being. I watched the dude play, (granted, I hate the Dodgers, but still...)

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Well he's just as unlikeable and would have totally stuffed an All Star Ballot in his favor! 

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I don't know nuthin' about how other HoFs work but the WON HoF voting system is very elegant from what I recall. Almost all of what I know of Bearcat Wright is from Meltzer, WrestlingClassics and the Blassie book (which is a fun read). Is an element of his induction based on his possibility/potentiality of headlining more places than he did but he was held back? Because then, as unfair as that is (to put it mildly) would that not open up the "what if" factor? - as say, in the example of Tully Blanchard "well he would have gone farther if he was taller". 

TB's run (w/JJDillion) as TV Champ is a textbook series of ring psychology and heel workmanship. Given a few more years together the Dynamic Duo (TB & Gino Hernandez) would have been an elite tag team on the level of the best. Again, Arn Anderson was no slouch but Blanchard's highs were better than his (not a yeyo joke).

- RAF

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13 hours ago, thee Reverend Axl Future said:

I don't know nuthin' about how other HoFs work but the WON HoF voting system is very elegant from what I recall. Almost all of what I know of Bearcat Wright is from Meltzer, WrestlingClassics and the Blassie book (which is a fun read). Is an element of his induction based on his possibility/potentiality of headlining more places than he did but he was held back? Because then, as unfair as that is (to put it mildly) would that not open up the "what if" factor? - as say, in the example of Tully Blanchard "well he would have gone farther if he was taller". 

Honestly, the big problem there is that the "what if" game is so widespread in pro wrestling that it doesn't work with pro sports.

With sports, you can ask a "What if?"- What if Bo Jackson didn't play football, What if Arvydas Sabonis chose the NBA when the USSR allowed him to negotiate with them, and things like that to make a possible answer for a HOF career. and other things like that. 

With wrestling, there's so many changes that What If games don't work, because it's the "fake sport"- so pretty much anyone in the sport could have a What If? game played about them simply because it is a fake sport, and "Well, what if Vince McMahon decided to go all-in on Raja Lion instead of Hulk Hogan in 1984? Lion could have been the star Hogan was too, so he deserves HOF consideration"- and arguments like that go past "who deserves to be in the Hall" into outright fantasy booking claiming anyone's a HOFer.

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2 hours ago, Wyld Samurai said:

Barry Horowitz could've been Bret Hart!

He wasn't that good, but he was one hell of a worker when given the chance to show what he could do.

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4 hours ago, Wyld Samurai said:

Barry Horowitz could've been Bret Hart!

XS5LK.gif

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