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2018 WON Hall of Fame Ballot

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Putting aside issues with Halls of Fame in general and the way the WON one works - for those who are curious, here is this year's ballot (as it appears folks have started to receive them)

And in text form (taking form mookie's tweets)

Spoiler

HISTORICAL US/CANADA
Johnny Barend
Red Bastien
June Byers
Bull Curry
Bob Ellis
Don Fargo
Mongolian Stomper
Chavo Sr
Rocky Johnson
Paul Jones
Sputnik Monroe
Blackjack Mulligan
Johnny Rougeau
George Steele
John Tolos
Enrique Torres
VonBrauners w/SaulW
Johnny Walker
Bearcat Wright

I FOLLOWED THE MODERN PERFORMERS IN U.S/CANADA CANDIDATES
Tully Blanchard & Arn Anderson w/J.J. Dillon
Junkyard Dog
Edge
Bill Goldberg
Samoa Joe
Rick Martel
Randy Orton
C.M.Punk
Sgt. Slaughter
Trish Stratus
Kerry Von Erich
Ultimate Warrior

I FOLLOWED WRESTLING IN JAPAN CANDIDATES
Jun Akiyama
Cima
Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan
Yoshiaki Fujiwara
Hayabusa
Kota Ibushi
Yuji Nagata
Tetsuya Naito
Kenny Omega
Kiyoshi Tamura
Akira Taue

MEXICO
Los Brazos (Brazo de Oro/Brazo de Plata/El Brazo)
Cien Caras
Caristico
Ultimo Guerrero
Ruben Juarez
Karloff Lagarde
Los Misioneros de la Muerte (El Signo/El Texano/Negro Navarro) 
Blue Panther
L.A. Park
Huracan Ramirez
Universo 2000
Vampiro
Villano III
Dr. Wagner Jr

I FOLLOWED WRESTLING IN EUROPE/AUSTRALIA/NEW ZEALAND/PACIFIC ISLANDS/AFRICA
Sypros Arion
Big Daddy
Dominic DeNucci
Horst Hoffman
Billy Joyce
Killer Karl Kox
Mario Milano
Kendo Nagasaki
Jackie Pallo
Rollerball Mark Rocco
Johnny Saint
Ricki Starr
Otto Wanz

NON-WRESTLERS
Bill Apter
Lord James Blears
Dave Brown
Jim Crockett Jr.
Jim Crockett Sr.
Howard Finkel
Ed Francis
Gary Hart
Jimmy Hart
Jerry Jarrett
Larry Matysik
Don Owen 
Steve Rickard
George Scott
Stanley Weston

 

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Clarification around the non-wrestlers

 

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Yep, just got mine. I'll post after a bit, looks like I'll be able to go heavy on the European and Lucha guys this time.

 

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Okay, obviously I have lots of time to change my mind, but I'm pretty comfortable with my initial selections. I threw a couple of defensive votes out there in the case of the lucha guys as while I doubt that the majority of voters are hip to how great Los Misineros de la Muerte (That's Missionaries of Death to you, probably the best name after Miracle Violence Connection) were as a trios combo. Lots of folks still have a problem grasping how important trios are in lucha. 

I FOLLOWED THE HISTORICAL PERFORMERS ERA CANDIDATES
Enrique Torres
Bearcat Wright

If you don't know these guys, read what Yohe and I have written about them (mainly Yohe).
 
I FOLLOWED THE MODERN PERFORMERS IN U.S/CANADA CANDIDATES
Samoa Joe
 
I FOLLOWED WRESTLING IN JAPAN CANDIDATES
Tetsuya Naito

I normally have a problem voting for active performers as there is always the possibility that they change course radically and become an embarrassment. That said, Joe and Naito could wear dresses and play the ukulele for the rest of their careers and they still would be HOFrs. LA Park deserves it, but he'll have his chance later. I had to toss up a defensive vote to try and keep Cien Caras on the ballot. Largarde should actually be in the non-wrestler cat as anyone that's voting for him is doing so because of his legacy as a trainer. I'm not normally sold on voting in trainers, but when you train everybody who is anybody in lucha over a forty-year period, that's pretty hard to argue with. Still, he should be in "non-wrestlers" as I don't think there's even any footage of him wrestling and I can think of no one (including my late buddy Vic Short who worked with him) saying he was anything special in the ring. Remember, those who can't do, teach.
 
I FOLLOWED WRESTLING IN MEXICO CANDIDATES
Cien Caras
Karloff Lagarde
Los Misioneros de la Muerte (El Signo & El Texano & Negro Navarro) 
Villano III
 
I FOLLOWED WRESTLING IN EUROPE/AUSTRALIA/NEW ZEALAND/PACIFIC ISLANDS/AFRICA
Rollerball Mark Rocco
Johnny Saint

If you haven't watched these guys, do so. Simply sublime.
 
NON-WRESTLERS
Gary Hart
Stanley Weston
 

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When Blue Panther, Jun Akiyama and Akira Taue fall off the ballot - I am blaming you John

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37 minutes ago, OSJ said:


I FOLLOWED THE MODERN PERFORMERS IN U.S/CANADA CANDIDATES
Samoa Joe
 
 

I like Joe as much as the next guy. That said, are you making a workrate argument (which is a high bar generally), an influence one (is he the influence or is Hash, for instance)? I could see drawing to a degree with the idea ROH may not have had a viable business model without him, but would that really make him a HOF-level draw in a world where a guy like JYD is mainly laughed at by Dave? 

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I keep forgetting- is Shadito Cruz in the HOF? Because he REALLY needs to go in just on his training cred.

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15 minutes ago, Pete said:

I keep forgetting- is Shadito Cruz in the HOF? Because he REALLY needs to go in just on his training cred.

No he is not.

And all of you are really trying to get me to break my promise of not ranting again about what a sham it is that Ultimo Dragon is in and not Gran Hamada

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1 hour ago, RIPPA said:

When Blue Panther, Jun Akiyama and Akira Taue fall off the ballot - I am blaming you John

I am so torn on Blue Panther, I've voted for him in the past (like every year), but he doesn't seem to pick up much support. Taue and Akiyama shouldn't need my help. However, if it comes down to Villano III, Cien Caras and Blue Panther, I have to leave BP off as much as I liked him.

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55 minutes ago, Matt D said:

I like Joe as much as the next guy. That said, are you making a workrate argument (which is a high bar generally), an influence one (is he the influence or is Hash, for instance)? I could see drawing to a degree with the idea ROH may not have had a viable business model without him, but would that really make him a HOF-level draw in a world where a guy like JYD is mainly laughed at by Dave? 

I am making the workrate argument along with the ROH argument. When you are in the discussion for top 5 in the world for over 15 years, that speaks well of your ring work. Also, without Joe there very might not BE a ROH. I think that's an important consideration too. 

The myth of JYD being a national draw has been exploded, he was no more a national draw than Brutus Beefcake. He was an incredibly hot act in Mid-South, but I don't think that's enough when you factor in his horrendous ringwork for most of his career. He's a guy that was pretty decent for a few years and bloody awful for a lot longer. That's not a HOFr, that's Jack Clark or Fred Lynn.

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3 minutes ago, OSJ said:

I am making the workrate argument along with the ROH argument. When you are in the discussion for top 5 in the world for over 15 years, that speaks well of your ring work. Also, without Joe there very might not BE a ROH. I think that's an important consideration too. 

The myth of JYD being a national draw has been exploded, he was no more a national draw than Brutus Beefcake. He was an incredibly hot act in Mid-South, but I don't think that's enough when you factor in his horrendous ringwork for most of his career. He's a guy that was pretty decent for a few years and bloody awful for a lot longer. That's not a HOFr, that's Jack Clark or Fred Lynn.

In this moment, I'm primarily going to note that people underrate Brutus Beefcake as a draw in 1989 and not engage in further sophistry. 

(Complete aside, I have a running theory that Rocky Johnson is an highly underrated draw in the late 70s but only anecdotal evidence to back that up).

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1 minute ago, Matt D said:

In this moment, I'm primarily going to note that people underrate Brutus Beefcake as a draw in 1989 and not engage in further sophistry. 

(Complete aside, I have a running theory that Rocky Johnson is an highly underrated draw in the late 70s but only anecdotal evidence to back that up).

You are correct about Rocky. When he was in the PNW he was over like nobody's business. I've no idea what the dollars were like, but Portland and Seattle always had hot crowds (granted, fairly small venues).

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5 minutes ago, OSJ said:

You are correct about Rocky. When he was in the PNW he was over like nobody's business. I've no idea what the dollars were like, but Portland and Seattle always had hot crowds (granted, fairly small venues).

I've always read that Portland was never a big money territory, but guys loved working there because of the weather and because it was almost always an easy drive from town to town.

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21 minutes ago, OSJ said:

I am so torn on Blue Panther, I've voted for him in the past (like every year), but he doesn't seem to pick up much support. Taue and Akiyama shouldn't need my help. However, if it comes down to Villano III, Cien Caras and Blue Panther, I have to leave BP off as much as I liked him.

In a pure Game Theory look - if your logic for not voting for L.A. Park is that “he will get his chance later” then you shouldn’t be spending time on Joe or Naito.

Panther - as has been the case the last few years - needs more than 50% to stay on

Plus voting for Joe and Naito makes you a voter in those two categories and at least in the case of Akiyama and Taue works against them

Naito has the Dave-centric Japan folks who are always gonna put Omega in this year. They however will ignore All Japan from the 90s

A heavier Lucia ballot is always better (again just to work against the hideous voting method)

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Theoretically, Park will end up back on the ballot regardless and get in after he loses his mask with a huge gate. 

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7 minutes ago, Pete said:

I've always read that Portland was never a big money territory, but guys loved working there because of the weather and because it was almost always an easy drive from town to town.

I'd argue that you also have Houston (which we barely even knew about until the NWAonDemand footage came out but he was treated as a big deal there from the textual evidence) and Memphis as supporting pieces, certainly. He definitely had his share of titles in Florida and California too. 

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7 hours ago, RIPPA said:

In a pure Game Theory look - if your logic for not voting for L.A. Park is that “he will get his chance later” then you shouldn’t be spending time on Joe or Naito.

Panther - as has been the case the last few years - needs more than 50% to stay on

Plus voting for Joe and Naito makes you a voter in those two categories and at least in the case of Akiyama and Taue works against them

Naito has the Dave-centric Japan folks who are always gonna put Omega in this year. They however will ignore All Japan from the 90s

A heavier Lucia ballot is always better (again just to work against the hideous voting method)

You are making me re-think this. That is good. Yeah, I wish that the ballot factored in decades as well.  I don't mind admitting that I'm pretty weak on real early lucha, (Dave just took me to the woodshed via e-mail because I commented that most people would be voting for Largarde as a trainer, I forgot all about his tag team work and title runs back when titles meant something in Mexico).

I wouldn't say the system is "hideous" as opposed to "odd". The two guys that I felt were most hurt by the system were AJ and Mark Lewin because they moved around so much and we got them both in anyway. 

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I'm with Rippa. Joe and Naito will have their days in the sun. Blue Panther sounds like he deserves all the help he can get and Taue HAD HIS STOMACH REMOVED this year.

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I think I will probably end up dropping Joe and Naito and possibly LA Park for the reasons that you guys have given. Again, and also for the reason Curt cited, I don't think Taue needs my help, not when Dave is as big a junkie of 1990s AJPW as he is. I fully expect that he'll be banging the drum for both Taue and Akiyama.  Far as I'm concerned, when you're the 3rd and 4th best in a group that includes the two best wrestlers in the world, you have already etched some pretty strong credentials for going in the HOF. Akiyama would be in the lower 35% of HOFrs in my estimation, but he still belongs in. Taue should have gone in long ago. 

Hell, this might be my second ballot where I not only don't vote for anyone working NA, but also the first where I don't vote for anyone currently active. (and no, I don't consider the mummy of Cien Caras being dragged out occasionally to pop a crowd being "active"). 

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I think that the WON is the least flawed HOF in wrestling, however becoming eligible at 35 is just the worst. Omega and Naito shouldn't be on the ballot because there is so much time. AJ Styles and Jericho fell off the ballot before they had their best years. 

That being said...

WRESTLERS: Sputnik Monroe, Enrique Torres, Jun Akiyama, Akira Taue, Cien Caras, Karloff Lagarde, Blue Panther, L.A. Park, Mark Rocco, Johnny Saint

NON WRESTLERS: Bill Apter, Gary Hart, Howard Finkel

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I could probably name 25 60-80s UK guys better than Saint (though not better at BEING Johnny Saint)? I do think his influence argument is on the rise.

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Grey and Breaks run rings around Saint. Blame Cabana for him being consider some "Godfather" of the British Style. 

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