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Author Topic: 2017 WON Ballot
Steve Yohe
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It's time for the 2017 Hall of Fame elections.

This ballot is being sent out to major wrestling stars, past and present, major management figures in the industry, writers and historians.

If you are getting this, you are being asked your opinion on who should be inducted into this year's Hall of Fame class. The criteria for the Hall of Fame is a combination of drawing power, being a great in-ring performer or excelling in ones field in pro wrestling, as well as having historical significance in a positive manner. A candidate should either have something to offer in all three categories, or be someone so outstanding in one or two of those categories that they deserve inclusion.

The names listed below are those under consideration for this year. To be eligible, a performer must have reached their 35th birthday and completed ten years since their debut as a full-time performer, or be someone who has been a full-time pro wrestler for at least 15 years.

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.

The election is broken down into a number of categories. You should check each category for wrestlers that you feel you are familiar enough with based on geography that you've either traveled or are familiar with, and based on the time you have followed pro wrestling. You do not have to vote for a wrestler in every category you've checked.

The ballot is also broken down to wrestlers and those who are not pro wrestlers but have been valuable parts of the industry.

The maximum number of wrestlers that you can vote for all the categories is ten. You can pick as few as zero if you don't believe anyone on this list deserves inclusion.

For wrestling executives, managers, announcers and other outside the ring performers, you can vote for them and they are not counted against the ten. You can vote for as many as five of them.

All responses are confidential. There is nothing to worry about politically about any involvement in this process. Your selections will not be revealed unless you choose to do so yourself.

Anyone who receives mention on 60% of the ballots from the geographical region and time frame (broken down as Continental United States & Canada; Mexico; Japan; and the rest of the world) will be added to the Hall of Fame in the class of 2017.

If you are unfamiliar with any of the candidates due to geography of having never seen them, that is fine. Ballots are sent to many people from all over the world and from different wrestling cultures so that everyone has as fair a shot at possible.

The breakdown for modern and historical performers is 30 years ago, or 1987. So if the last year the person was a headliner, or was a key figure in the industry, was prior to 1987, they would be in the historical class.

All performers who receive mention on 10% to 59.9% of the ballots from their geographical region or era will remain on the ballot for consideration next year. All those who receive less than 10% of the vote will be dropped from next year's ballot. They can return in two years based on if there is significant feedback from voters who say they will vote for them. This is mostly for wrestlers who are still active who may improve their career legacy, but can be for retired wrestlers if voters believe they should be put on or returned to the ballot.

In addition, in following the lead of the baseball Hall of Fame, which is the model here, starting this year we have a 15-year-rule. The following candidates have been on the ballot since 2003. In baseball, this would be their last year of eligibility. Here, if they don't get at least 50% of the votes in this year's election they will be removed from the ballot. If they are modern candidates, they can be brought back in the historical performers era in two years if it is more than 30 years since their career as a Hall Fame level performer is up:

The following candidates will be dropped from next year's ballot unless they are elected in or garner 50% of the vote:

Curt Hennig
Yuji Nagata
Don Owen
Tim Woods

Please return this ballot by November 1st. You can e-mail the ballot back to dave@wrestlingobserver.com or fax it to 408-244-3402 or mail (please do so by November 1st) to Wrestling Observer, P.O. Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228.

Please check by every category you are familiar with

I FOLLOWED THE HISTORICAL PERFORMERS ERA CANDIDATES
Red Bastien
June Byers
Wild Bull Curry
Cowboy Bob Ellis
Don Fargo
Pepper Gomez
Archie "Mongolian Stomper" Gouldie
Chavo Guerrero Sr.
Dick Hutton
Rocky Johnson
Sputnik Monroe
Pedro Morales
Blackjack Mulligan
George Steele
John Tolos
Enrique Torres
Von Brauners & Saul Weingeroff
Johnny "Mr. Wrestling II" Walker
Tim "Mr. Wrestling" Woods
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
Curt Hennig
Randy Orton
C.M. Punk
Sgt. Slaughter
Trish Stratus
A.J. Styles
Kerry Von Erich
Ultimate Warrior

I FOLLOWED WRESTLING IN JAPAN CANDIDATES
Jun Akiyama
Cima
Yoshiaki Fujiwara
Hayabusa
Kota Ibushi
Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan
Yuji Nagata
Tetsuya Naito
Mike & Ben Sharpe
Minoru Suzuki
Kiyoshi Tamura
Akira Taue

I FOLLOWED WRESTLING IN MEXICO CANDIDATES
Brazo de Oro & Brazo de Plata & El Brazo
Caristico/Mistico
Sangre Chicana
Cien Caras
Ultimo Guerrero
Ruben Juarez
Karloff Lagarde
Blue Panther
L.A. Park
Huracan Ramirez
El Signo & El Texano & Negro Navarro
Vampiro
Villano III
Dr. Wagner Jr.

I FOLLOWED WRESTLING IN AUSTRALIA/NEW ZEALAND/PACIFIC ISLANDS/AFRICA CANDIDATES
Spyros Arion
Johnny Barend
Domenic DeNucci
Killer Karl Kox
Mark Lewin
Mario Milano
Steve Rickard
Otto Wanz

I FOLLOWED WRESTLING IN EUROPE
Big Daddy
Horst Hoffman
Billy Joyce
Kendo Nagasaki
Rollerball Mark Rocco
Johny Saint
Ricky Starr
Otto Wanz

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

[ 09-30-2017, 02:59 AM: Message edited by: Steve Yohe ]

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Steve Ogilvie
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Have pretty much completed my ballot. Won't post that here, but I will post the list of wrestlers i'll be nominating to go on the ballot for next year.

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"Mr 100%"

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OSJ from NM by way of WA
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Well, as I've been thinking about it for several months, I'm pretty sure that unless one of my selections turns out to be an anti-semitic piece of crap (which has happened before), or is revealed to be a kid diddler, my ballot will look pretty much much like this (with comments as needed):

Updated:

Here's what's actually going in... I ended up dropping A.J. Styles (who shouldn't need my help) and my three British selections (who also shouldn't: (Nagasakai, Rocco, & Saint)


I FOLLOWED THE HISTORICAL PERFORMERS ERA CANDIDATES

Sputnik Monroe

Enrique Torres

Bearcat Wright

Please note, Matt, not a one is listed purely for ringwork. Not to say that any of these guys were stiffs, but no one is ever going to respond with"Oh, yeah... the God of work-rate when you bring up Sputnik Monroe..

I FOLLOWED WRESTLING IN JAPAN CANDIDATES

Tetsuya Naito... I've said before that I hate the concept of inducting active wrestlers, so perhaps I'm a Naito fanboy and a bit prejudiced... Be tranquillo, my brothers and sisters!

Akira Taue... I've gone on record before as saying that Taue gets on the list based on the company he kept, (such as Misawa, Kawada, Willliams, Akiyama, etc. and made the musical comparison that in a group of four, someone has to be Ringo. But ya know what? Unless you're name happens to be Bonham, Moon, Baker, or Keltner, being "Ringo" ain't such a bad thing after all,

I FOLLOWED WRESTLING IN MEXICO CANDIDATES

Cien Caras

Karloff Lagarde

Blue Panther

Villano III

These four guys touch all the bases and they do so in spectacular fashion.


I FOLLOWED WRESTLING IN AUSTRALIA/NEW ZEALAND/PACIFIC ISLANDS/AFRICA CANDIDATES

Mark Lewin... Leaving aside that 50% of his best work was done in the States and voters were too obtuse to see it, the main thing is that he gets in!


NON-WRESTLERS

Bill Apter & Stanley Weston (On da bubble)

Gary Hart

That's it for the non-wrestlers, and I wouldn't be upset if none of them got in.

[ 10-06-2017, 11:44 AM: Message edited by: OSJ from NM by way of WA ]

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"What you say sounds reasonable enough," said the man, "but I refuse to be bribed. I am here to whip people, and whip them I shall!")
-Franz Kafka - The Trial

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Matt Farmer from WA
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I haven't really had a chance to look at it yet. I plan to do that this weekend.

Again, judging from last year I predict most of my votes will go to wrestlers from Mexico.

In regards to Japan. I really feel that for the most part all the wrestlers that should be in, and those that are eligible are in. There may be a few exceptions.

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follow me on twitter at: @mattfarmer93
www.defywrestling.com
http://mlwradio.com/

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OSJ from NM by way of WA
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quote:
Originally posted by Matt Farmer from WA:
I haven't really had a chance to look at it yet. I plan to do that this weekend.

Again, judging from last year I predict most of my votes will go to wrestlers from Mexico.

In regards to Japan. I really feel that for the most part all the wrestlers that should be in, and those that are eligible are in. There may be a few exceptions.

I think that the next couple of years will see quite the influx of luchadores as Mexico remains under-researched and often lacking in hard data. I agree that Japan is pretty much played out, with the exception of currently the best performer in the world (Naito) and the two lesser of All Japan's big four in the 1990s, Akiyama and Taue. There really isn't anyone major to add and it's probably high time to have the definitive conversation about Taue and Akiyama.

England still has several major figures to discuss and then we drift into the area where lack of real historical research and hard data just don't seem to exist, Europe and Asia from circa 1920-1960. We know wrestling was big, we know some of the stars, but there are huge, gaping holes in the narrative that may never be properly filled in.

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"What you say sounds reasonable enough," said the man, "but I refuse to be bribed. I am here to whip people, and whip them I shall!")
-Franz Kafka - The Trial

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Steve Yohe
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Steve Yohe's ballot:

I FOLLOWED THE HISTORICAL PERFORMERS ERA CANDIDATES
Pedro Morales
John Tolos
Enrique Torres
Bearcat Wright

I FOLLOWED WRESTLING IN JAPAN CANDIDATES
Mike & Ben Sharpe (altho they belong in the historical section)
Akira Taue

I FOLLOWED WRESTLING IN MEXICO CANDIDATES
Cien Caras

I FOLLOWED WRESTLING IN EUROPE
Horst Hoffman
Billy Joyce
Johnny Saint

NON-WRESTLERS
Lord James Blears
Jim Crockett Jr.
Jim Crockett Sr.
Howard Finkel
Stanley Weston (master of fake wrestling news)

[ 10-19-2017, 03:43 PM: Message edited by: Steve Yohe ]

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Steve Yohe
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It will be strange to see A.J. Styles go from being left off the ballot.. to being voted in. If it happens, that's the news story.--Steve Yohe
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OSJ from NM by way of WA
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Yohe:
It will be strange to see A.J. Styles go from being left off the ballot.. to being voted in. If it happens, that's the news story.--Steve Yohe

A.J. is a fascinating case, obviously listed too soon and rightly dropped off. Then he padded his resume by holding nearly every single important title in wrestling at some point. It's said that Japan is really the microscope that shows off flaws as well as it highlights greatness, A.J. was HOF-worthy after his stint with NJPW, his trip to WWE just cemented his importance as a candidate. We've all been privileged to see something truly special the last few years with A.J. Styles, there won't be another guy like this for a long time...

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"What you say sounds reasonable enough," said the man, "but I refuse to be bribed. I am here to whip people, and whip them I shall!")
-Franz Kafka - The Trial

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Steve Yohe
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I voted for Stanley Weston this year & I usually don't. It's the fake news thing. Why should he go in? Was he a Journalist? No. Was he a writer? Kind of, but it wasn't very good. Was he publisher? Yeah...of crap wrestling magazines, and he didn't try to elevate them into anything important. I think Norman Kietzer's WRESTLING NEWS in 1972 was a good try to do that...but I don't know if Weston had a hand in that. Those wrestling magazines were made for the money...and not at the level of the Sheet world that followed. This year I voted for Weston because I don't believe Apter should go in before him. So I now I feel like crap for voting for him after reading something I got this AM. There are a lot of reporters from Newspapers who were great before 1937 or even after that should go in....but that will never happen. This was sent to me:

POPMATTERS
June 9, 2017

All True!

Weston Magazines and Wrestling's "Creative Journalism"

By Jon Langmead

Why Interview a Fake Person?

As long as they stayed within the current storyline that the wrestler was involved in and didn’t invent anything that the wrestler might not really say, anything went. “I’ve been asked that question about making up quotes,” says Rosenbaum, “and people say it’s horrible and I say, no, it’s not. I’m interviewing Ric Flair the character, not Ric Flair the person, okay? So if I know who Ric Flair the character is and the way he speaks and what [promoters] might be doing with Ric Flair the character, what’s the difference between me making up the quote and speaking to Ric Flair the character directly? Why would I want to interview a fake person? It would be like saying, ‘Go interview some character on a TV show.’ What does that mean?”

Stories were conceived with all of the writers gathered around a desk, pouring through the most current photos. Once sets of pictures were collected, headlines would be brainstormed to fit each set. Once they had the photos and the headlines, each writer broke off to write the copy to fit the headline. “It was a very loose, very collaborative atmosphere,” says Peters. “Bill [Apter] would pull out his manila envelope full of photos; ‘Well, we have eight photos of Hulk Hogan versus Superstar Graham.’ ‘Alright, what are we going to do?’ And people just start throwing out ideas, ‘Well, how about if Hogan got pissed at Graham for this reason?’ ‘Well, maybe Graham pissed off his mother,’ or something like that. ‘Alright, that’s good!’ Then people start throwing out headlines; ‘The Maternal Insult That Enraged Hulk Hogan.’ You can go back and look at the headlines and reverse engineer how we might have come to that.” “You look at these people and you think, ‘What would be fascinating about them?’” says Rosenbaum. “And the great thing about writing for wrestling is that you can make it happen. Let’s face it, it’s the only area of journalism, or writing, where you write the headline first and then you write the article.”

Characters already exaggerated and larger than real life, with their bleached hair, massive arms, or barrel chests and names like The Bruiser, The Destroyer, and the Road Warriors, were given inner fears, secret shames, and regrets that haunted them. Many articles featured them alone with their thoughts, or in hilariously mundane settings. There was Larry Zbyszko, abandoned by his friends, preparing food for a dinner party no one would attend. There was the Masked Superstar going to his therapist’s office (“Without warmth, without a reason to awaken, a man can slowly die. Inside, Superstar is wasting away. His torment is unnerving.”) “Hatred In My Heart,” a 1981 article on Harley Race, found the tattooed world champion reflecting on his decision to live the life of a rulebreaker; “I’ll never forget the nights I spent alone on the road, pondering my existence. I turned to philosophy. I turned to astrology. I couldn’t find the answer. I knew deep in my heart that hurting people was wrong. But I also knew I wanted to be somebody in this life. I wanted to be a champion.” “You had to humanize them,” says Morgenstein. “The whole drama of [wrestling] was that there were good guys and there were bad guys and they had their feuds. So, the question if you’re a writer is, ‘What’s their motivation?’ “

Stocked in supermarkets, newspaper stands, pharmacies, convenience stores, truck stops, and bookstores, Weston’s magazines served as free publicity for the wrestlers. Through the magazines, they gained national exposure at a time when that would have otherwise been impossible. Fans in New York or the Carolinas could read about what was happening in California and Oregon, areas they would otherwise have never been exposed to. “I had no idea there was any wrestling going on anywhere else,” says wrestling historian Mark James. “There was no cable. It was whatever you saw local on the antennas was what you got. [The wrestling magazines were] the cable TV of the time.” Young fans collected them like other kids collected comic books and baseball cards. And by the early ‘80s, new issues of the growing line of Weston wrestling titles would appear in the magazine racks almost weekly. “At our height, we had a deadline every single week,” says Saks. “We were churning out a lot.”

With crisp photography and carefully constructed covers, the Weston titles fit easily in magazine racks alongside Time, Newsweek, Mad, and Rolling Stone. With a growing number of magazines to fill each month, the stories now had to be produced even more quickly than before; lead writers could be responsible for as many as 3,000 words a day, day in and day out. “My personal record was six stories in one day,” says Peters. “You didn’t start a wrestling piece on a Monday and finish it on a Wednesday,” says Farhood. “You worked on it on Monday and finished it on Monday.” And unlike magazines in more traditional genres, Weston’s relied on newsstand sales for survival. Most magazines are supported through advertising sales, with publishers offering subscriptions at a deep discount from the cover price to build a large reader base. But because advertisers largely shied away from being associated with pro wrestling, the money from the ad sales they could attract, like instruction manuals on bodybuilding and dating, vitamins to restore hair color, or books on “The Magic Power of Witchcraft” were “more or less gravy,” says Saks. Newsstand sales regularly accounted for over 90 percent of their overall sales, an almost outrageous percentage.

To add variety to a staff of writers that was almost made-up exclusively of New York guys in their 20s, new writers, like the no-nonsense female journalist Liz Hunter and the seen-it-all barfly Matt Brock, were invented and brought to life. “It was easy to be Liz Hunter,” says Bua. “Liz Hunter was a feminist and she was a ballsy girl. And it was easy to write for her. I don’t know if it was some of my best work but I had the best time writing Liz Hunter.” These fictional writers were so integrated into the magazines that former readers still question which of the writers were real and which were Jo Bob Briggs-type inventions. No writer’s existence is more debated than Dan Shocket, remembered by readers for columns where he adopted a shock jock-like persona to taunt and antagonize fans, calling them illiterate, mindless and ignorant. Good guy wrestlers were dismissed as “wormslime” and accused of paying off referees. Bad guys were celebrated for their integrity and refusal to pander to the crowd.

Shocket was very much a real person and is consistently remembered by the other writers as ambitious, eccentric, and occasionally obnoxious, often smoking cigars in the wall-less writer’s bullpen that they shared. “Probably the closest analogy to Dan that I can think of, in the writing world, is Harlan Ellison,” says Peters. “[A] very opinionated, take no prisoners, no ******** kind of attitude and Dan was a little bit of that type.” While covering wrestling for Weston, Shocket was also a featured writer in Al Goldstein’s Screw magazine, turning-in 1200 word reviews of porn movies along with features on politics, sex, and culture. “You know how Cher called Sonny the most interesting character she’d ever met,” says Bua. “If you could put Bill Apter and Dan Shocket together, that would be the most interesting person I ever met.”

For Weston’s Sports Review Wrestling line, Shocket mixed sex and wrestling together as one of the main writers responsible for a monthly run of sweaty-palmed articles based in a wholly invented underground circuit of woman-on-woman apartment wrestling matches. Theo Ehret, the house photographer at the Grand Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles, contributed the photographs of grappling women. Ehret worked out of his Sunset Boulevard studio, using a rotating supply of local models wearing bikinis that he purchased from Frederick’s of Hollywood. “I made a pin-up board with my pro wrestling photos and had them imitate the moves,” said Ehret in an interview for Exquisite Mayhem, Taschen’s 1991 collection of his work.

“They didn’t know what to do and I’m not an expert either. I picked out some wrestling photos and things started to develop from there. I would tell them to just move around and get into the hold and fall over each other, or do whatever. We would try it once, and if it looked good, I would say, ‘Okay, repeat the same pose,’ and I would shoot it. We went from one hold to the next.” (One of his models turned out to be Lynne Margulies, Andy Kaufman’s partner in the 1980s and director of I’m From Hollywood, which documents Kaufman’s professional wrestling career. “When [the issue] came out, Andy and I were in New York and at the newsstand and he said, ‘Look, there it is!’ and bought up a bunch of them,” Margulies remembers.)

Like his cover features for Screw, Shocket’s apartment wrestling stories ran for thousands of words. Most involved awkward juxtapositions of class and gender, and all happily laughed in the face of moralism and good taste. The pieces typically included elaborate backstories on the women involved in each match. There was Kelley, the harried secretary versus Triana, the struggling actress, both hired to provide the entertainment on the last cruise of “one of the world’s most sumptuous luxury liners.” There was Belinda and Pamela, who brutalized each other in a penthouse on the edge of Central Park for the taboo entertainment of Manhattan’s elite.
“[Apartment wresting] is probably the most outrageous thing that Stanley Weston ever [published],” says Bua. “These events happened in what we call ‘luxury buildings in big cities throughout the world.’ And what was hilarious was when you looked at the photos, the furnishings that these models were in front of were just so pedestrian.” Shocket died in 1985, at the age of 35. In a 1984 editorial in Screw, he wrote about undergoing treatment for the cancer that would eventually kill him and wondered if his illness was God’s payback for an article he’d written satirizing the birth of Jesus.

By the mid-‘80s, wrestling was quickly changing from a regional phenomenon into mainstream entertainment, with most of the public interest focused on Hulk Hogan and Vince McMahon’s WWF (now WWE). McMahon’s promotion had expanded from putting on wrestling shows around New York to cross-country tours, branded toys, ice cream, video games, and Saturday morning cartoons. Through syndication, the increased availability of cable, and pay-per-view technology, he sent his programming nationwide. McMahon’s stars appeared on late night talk shows, MTV, and Saturday Night Live.

To drive sales of his branded magazine, McMahon began restricting access to his contracted wrestlers and banning photographers from other wrestling magazines from shooting pictures at WWF matches. To survive, Weston’s writers had to be even more creative. Denied access to McMahon’s wrestlers, a new character, “noted psychologist” Sydney M. Basil was invented to comment on them. Banned from photographing matches at ringside and sometimes shut out of entire arenas, photographers adjusted. “There is a story that sounds apocryphal, I believe it’s not, of one of our photographers smuggling the camera into Madison Square Garden like it was a hero sandwich,” says Peters. “Like the lens was inside the bread of the sandwich and then the body of the camera was stuffed down his pants. Then he went in, got his seat, he had the long lens, and he sat up and got the pictures from the stands.”

As McMahon’s business grew, the wrestling world itself seemed to become almost deadly serious. Long-standing regional promotions were driven out of business, and a string of wrestlers and promoters died violent deaths. Weston’s magazines were one of the few national outlets to cover the deaths of Frank Goodish, who wrestled as Bruiser Brody and died after being stabbed by a fellow wrestler in San Juan, and the Von Erich family, who endured the deaths of brothers David, Mike, Chris, and Kerry between 1984 and 1993. “We were a kayfabe magazine, and we definitely had a lot of fun with things, but there was a reality aspect too,” says Rosenbaum. “When a major figure in wrestling dies, you just can’t ignore it. There were moments where you go, ‘Okay, we’re dealing with real life here.’ ”

The writers ran an in-depth interview with David Schultz, the wrestler who struck John Stossel during a taping of 20/20 after the reporter asked him on-camera if wrestling was fake, and interviewed executives with Turner Broadcasting following Ted Turner’s purchase of Jim Crockett Promotions, a North Carolina-based wrestling company. “I think reality was starting to force itself into this fantasy world of pro wrestling,” says Peters. “It was all fun and games and great angles and then reality started creeping in. It was an interesting dynamic at the magazine, where things were happening in the business and the magazines themselves had to necessarily grow up and change because of it. For certain stories we couldn’t just make up the quotes anymore.”
A 1987 piece written by Eddie Ellner beautifully blended the kayfabe sensibility of the Weston magazines with a real-time commentary on the changing state of wrestling. Ellner placed himself and the fictional Matt Brock in the last row of the Pontiac Silverdome during Wrestlemania III, the largest professional wrestling event ever held in the United States; “The nostalgia of pro wrestling conjures seedy visions of smoke-filled arenas, crooked promoters, and fat, unsightly participants,” he wrote. “Today, the sport is streamlined: conditioned athletes, modern travel, generous promoters ... yeah right! Remarkably, little has changed about the sport since Matt Brock’s prime. Wrestlers are still abused, without benefits or pensions. Except today the slice of the pie that they are denied is much bigger than it used to be.”

By the end of the ‘80s, the WWF was successfully in the mainstream. In order to free itself from the regulatory oversight of state athletic commissions, WWF officials openly admitted in court that wrestling was much more entertainment than competition. Adherence to kayfabe slowly dwindled as fans increasingly became as aware of the business of wrestling, the contract negotiations, ratings, and buy rates, as what they saw in the ring. “It wasn’t a sudden thing, like I recall,” says Peters. “The breaking of kayfabe was happening gradually. It wasn’t like, ‘Holy crap, he broke kayfabe. Everything’s different now.’ There was none of that. It was sort of like, ‘Well, we can talk a little more about this stuff now.’ We, as a magazine, kept kayfabe longer than anybody else.”

In 1992, after a lifetime spent in magazine publishing, Weston sold his company to Kappa Publishing, a Pennsylvania-based company that made its fortune in crossword puzzles and word games. The staff willing to make the move were relocated to Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, a small town 45 minutes outside of Philadelphia. Weston died in 2002. His papers are now part of the Joyce Sports Research Collection at Notre Dame’s Hesburgh Library.

Individual magazine titles slowly went out of print but Pro Wrestling Illustrated, a title begun in 1979, still remains in production and new issues can still be found on newsstands every other month. “Today it’s totally different than it was,” says Saks, who became editor-in-chief in 1987. “Most of the stuff we do today is direct reporting. We speak to the wrestlers all of the time. Most of the stories are done as if they were being done by any other publication, because we’re not angle-oriented as much as we were. Now we get much more into life stories, and stories about them as performers and as people, so it would be counter-productive to do the stories now like we did them then. Everybody has a story, including the wrestlers. And they know what their life story is, and they can tell it a lot more interestingly than anything we can come up with.”
Saks is in his third decade of publishing magazines, and he’s kept Pro Wrestling Illustrated in print through seismic shifts in the businesses of both publishing and wrestling. The magazine’s offices now sit on the top floor of a two-story brick professional building. Stacked floor to air vents with binders, boxes, books, and photos, its storage closet holds what is likely the only complete archive of the Weston line of wrestling magazines. In the filing cabinets, there are folders that have the same typewritten labels that were created by Bill Apter when he first organized Weston’s files back in 1970. Taken together, it’s over 70 years of professional wrestling and magazine history.
“I think wrestling was looked down on, so the magazines that were part and parcel in making wrestling popular and bringing it to a wider audience would also be discounted a little bit,” says Morgenstein. “But we didn’t care. We knew we weren’t Sports Illustrated. But yet, we had high standards. We didn’t write down. We didn’t say, ‘Well, the fans don’t read New Yorker magazine so they’re not going to know the difference. We would write intelligently. We would make intelligent references, sometimes. If people didn’t get it, they didn’t get it. We didn’t reference Kierkegard. We’d pull ourselves in, to a point.

“But we’d reference current events, history, or pop culture things happening,” Morgenstein continues. “We tried to challenge them a little bit. We always wanted quality. We always wanted the best. And I think that’s what’s hard for people to grasp. They go, ‘Oh, well wrestling is dumb.’ But the people who wrestled worked very hard and were very skilled. And the people who produced the shows were, also. And the people who did the magazines, it was the same way.”
“I think that the Weston wrestling magazines in the glory years were something really unique in publishing history and they probably don’t get the credit that they deserve for being that,” says Peters. “The way that they were produced, the way that they approached and treated wrestling, the way they respected the readers, respected the wrestlers, and the gumbo of sensibilities that came together for a bunch of years in those magazines, they were just great. They were fun to write, fun to read. There was supreme magazine entertainment going on there for a decade or more.”

Jon Langmead has been writing about music, film, and pro wrestling for PopMatters since 2003.

http://www.popmatters.com/feature/its-all-true-weston-magazines-and-wrestlings-creative-journalism/P1/

[ 10-17-2017, 01:55 PM: Message edited by: Steve Yohe ]

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Steve Yohe
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Wade Keller should be on the ballot. The sheet writers were & are the true wrestling journalist, & if we can't vote for Dave (& I believe we can't)...then put Wade on. For 30 years (I think) he has been #2 and he reports the news. And I don't think it matters if he doesn't like it. Tough.

Mike Tenay has been around long enough too. Let the voters decide.

Dave should also put up a section at his wet site listing all the WON HOF members & have the years they made it. Reprint the bios. Make it his official WON HOF area.

We have something like that here but we don't keep it up to date & it should be on his site for people to refer to.---Steve Yohe

[ 10-17-2017, 02:16 PM: Message edited by: Steve Yohe ]

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FantasyWrestlerDrew
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There are a lot of international names I am shocked haven't been voted in yet. Wish I was on the selection process but I see some names and I'm like wow, they aren't in?
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quote:
Originally posted by FantasyWrestlerDrew:
There are a lot of international names I am shocked haven't been voted in yet. Wish I was on the selection process but I see some names and I'm like wow, they aren't in?

Examples?

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Yes---Name them & make an argument.---Yohe
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OSJ from NM by way of WA
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@FantasyWrestlerDrew:

Trying to anticipate the "shocking" omissions and having rather a hard time of it, by "International" I assume that you mean just that, anywhere other than North America? Okay, let's see what we have here...
Japan: There are some of us that will bang the drum for Akiyama and Taue. The Sharpes are in the wrong category, (should be 'historical"), but they merit discussion. I'm the biggest Naito fan in the world, but I'm very cautious about inducting active performers. He's well on the way, no need to rush things (I did vote for him anyway). Besides which, if it was a tangible award, he's just flush it down the toilet or something. No one else on the Japan list really merits serious discussion.

Mexico: Now we're getting somewhere. IMO roughly 50% of the list belongs in. Matt Farmer has articulated great arguments for all but the one candidate that we disagree on, (I think Blue Panther belongs, he doesn't). Mr. Searchy is your friend here.

Australia etc.: Maybe I'm being too harsh, but I only see one candidate that I really think belongs in and over half of his best work was in other areas, (Mark Lewin). Other than that, I think we've done a pretty good job in this area.

Europe: I mentioned leaving off three Brits from my ballot (Rocco, Saint, & Nagasaki) and there are people that would make arguments for Hoffmann, Big Daddy, and Wanz. I wouldn't be one of those people, but there are folks whose opinions I respect that would.

So in toto, I'm seeing about twenty wrestlers that at least merit serious discussion. I don't really see anybody that's such a slam-dunk no-brainer that it's "shocking" that they aren't in. The strongest candidates still have some negatives or gray areas that might give one pause before saying "yes". Personally, I think Villano III should have gone in a long time ago, he's like Terry Funk in that everything he was going to do that's worth talking about he'd done twenty years ago and nothing he's done since has any bearing on his worthiness one way or another.

The international candidates have a tougher row to hoe than the NA group. For one, you may be talking about entirely different business models where measuring drawing power becomes difficult if not impossible. One thing that I feel a lot of voters overlook is that there may be a different structure or hierarchy in another country that doesn't really compare to what the voter is familiar with. I don't think anyone in their right mind is going to say that Johnny Saint was anything but the best of his weight class for a very long time. However, it took a long time for the lighter weight classes to be understood by the NA fans, even with Tiger Mask and Dynamite putting on classics, it wasn't really until the days of high-volume tape trading and exposure to the New Japan juniors that Westerners started paying attention. Much of Johnny Saint's career was just met with indifference by NA fans who didn't get it.

This is especially true of the lucha guys, as here was style so radically different that lots of NA fans dismissed it out of hand as being too cartoonish and choreographed.

And the biggest problem? In some areas it's being corrected (props to the Aussie Posse), but we don't yet have a Yohe of Europe, doing meticulous research on the history of the sport. Well, maybe we do and we just haven't made contact with him, for all I know maybe there's a guy in San Marino who has detailed match listings for over a dozen countries and estimated box office for big events. However, until such a person comes forward we have to contend with a huge area where we know wrestling was extremely popular that just has huge gaps in its known history.

[ 10-18-2017, 03:49 AM: Message edited by: OSJ from NM by way of WA ]

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"What you say sounds reasonable enough," said the man, "but I refuse to be bribed. I am here to whip people, and whip them I shall!")
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Seriously? IMO too much is put on being absolute technical wizards in the ring. Drawing power has to be considered as well as well as historical significance. Just off the top of my head:


Jun Akiyama

Hayabusa - Like Onita a outlaw (not NJ or AJ) that drew over 50,000 multiple times.


Yuji Nagata - dude literally kept NJPW a float during its down period. One of the greatest in ring workers in my opinion. Only downfall is he got his ass handed to him in MMA.


Minoru Suzuki


Brazo de Oro & Brazo de Plata & El Brazo - if any of the Villano's are in (especially I II and IV) then these guys should be in as well. The blood feud with the Villano's was huge.


Ultimo Guerrero - CMLL overtook AAA again thanks to this man's hard work. Seriously he's a no brainer other than the active wrestler argument.


L.A. Park - part of the original AAA crew. His first feud with Lizmark is legendary. Again, this seems like a no brainer.


Dr. Wagner Jr. - his career is winding down but according to Meltzer himself, this year had the biggest mask vs mask match in the last decade. Guy drew huge numbers and was the main guy in the AAA resurgence.


Spiros Arion - On the fence with Arion but he had several successful runs with Bruno and Backlund as well as with his Australian career. I can get why he'd be a last resort to many but I think there is a good case for his body of work in Australia feuding with Brower and Abdullah.


Mark Lewin - I don't know a whole lot about Australian wrestling compared to others but the one constant draw I always see is Lewin. With Curtis and after. He's like Nagata in Japan imo.


Big Daddy - the fact he's not in is a travesty. May not be a technical wizard but dude is probably the most historically important figure in British wrestling.


Kendo Nagasaki - lesser than Big Daddy but same argument applies.

Rollerball Mark Rocco - one of the best non-heavyweights come on.


Johnny Saint - again come on.


Otto Wanz - really? He brought wrestling to Austria and really watch his matches with Andre and a pre-Vader Bull Power (which is probably first major push) and he drew huge numbers.

[ 10-18-2017, 03:34 PM: Message edited by: FantasyWrestlerDrew ]

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FantasyWrestlerDrew
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The ones I didn't include anything with can go either way and are just my personal opinions. Suzuki was an awesome worker, just saw him live two weeks ago. Tremendous presence and the crowd didn't really know him but was chanting his name at the end. Guy can still go and I think he's near 50.
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And OSJ you really kinda said why I don't really care of any hall of fame. Just because YOU didn't get it, doesn't mean it doesn't warrant a look. Saint was on top of the British scene for many years as a champion. Regardless of you whether you "get" or don't "get" his work, the numbers and longevity speak for themselves. Need more objective minds imo that look at historical presence and draws instead of what you "get."

and I am younger than most everyone here, that is why I wish I was on the ballot because I feel I would look at things more objectively. My time period was the late 80's and early 90's so most of what I know about these guys is through research and well after their careers have ended. it isn't about what I "get" or whom I saw (well except Suzuki but I admit as such) I go based on attendance, title reigns, top guy status, iconic status, historical significance and presence. A lot of these guys that are international seem to be left off because a lot of guys on the ballot didn't see them during their time as fans and therefore are met with indifference. That's not good to openly admit that imo.

[ 10-18-2017, 03:42 PM: Message edited by: FantasyWrestlerDrew ]

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And a final note about Big Daddy. Granted its from Wikipedia but it has source material and a footnote so I gotta believe there is some credibility:

"He continued to make regular appearances into the early 1990s, but he eventually retired from wrestling altogether to spend the remainder of his days in his home town of Halifax. During his career, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Queen Elizabeth II said they were fans of 'Big Daddy'.

I honestly have no idea how you can be more culturally relevant when the MF QUEEN says she is a fan of yours. Gord Downie just passed today and most of you probably never heard of his band The Tragically Hip but I mean they are so culturally significant in Canada when Downie announced his brain cancer and final concert, it was carried on all major Canadian media outlets. Their PM Justin Trudeau attended the concert and wept announcing his death today. They weren't massively popular but I mean you can't deny the significance they had on an entire county.

Another band I just recently got into is Slade. I read how their numbers dropped off after a few hits but Noddy Holder, their lead singer was still recognized by the Queen. Like they were so woven into the fabric of British culture, he was recognized for it. Like sometimes you gotta say "this guy wasn't the greatest guitar player nor looked the prettiest but when I think of (insert country) and music or wrestling or anything, if that name is one of the first to pop in your head, their significance outweighs their ability.

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OSJ from NM by way of WA
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quote:
Originally posted by FantasyWrestlerDrew:
And OSJ you really kinda said why I don't really care of any hall of fame. Just because YOU didn't get it, doesn't mean it doesn't warrant a look. Saint was on top of the British scene for many years as a champion. Regardless of you whether you "get" or don't "get" his work, the numbers and longevity speak for themselves. Need more objective minds imo that look at historical presence and draws instead of what you "get."

and I am younger than most everyone here, that is why I wish I was on the ballot because I feel I would look at things more objectively. My time period was the late 80's and early 90's so most of what I know about these guys is through research and well after their careers have ended. it isn't about what I "get" or whom I saw (well except Suzuki but I admit as such) I go based on attendance, title reigns, top guy status, iconic status, historical significance and presence. A lot of these guys that are international seem to be left off because a lot of guys on the ballot didn't see them during their time as fans and therefore are met with indifference. That's not good to openly admit that imo.

I'm afraid that you're misunderstanding a good deal of what I wrote... I certainly "get" British wrestling, probably moreso than most Yanks. There is no doubt in my mind that Rocco, Saint, and Nagasaki belong in. Where we'll disagree is on Crabtree, to my mind, the negatives outweigh the positives.

I said quite clearly that I felt that over 50% of the lucha candidates should go in. Please don't confuse what I said about a majority of NA fans not "getting" a particular style or business model with what I "get" or don't "get". I didn't "openly admit" anything, what I did do was to suggest what (in my opinion) would seem to be a viable explanation for such seemingly bizarre voting.

As far as the criteria to look at, certainly drawing power is very important, title reigns is a bit dicier as titles meaning and importance mean different things at different times in different places. Certainly in the territory days the NWA Heavyweight title was extremely important, conversely, in Mexico titles were about as meaningful as they are currently in WWE, possibly even less so.

"Top guy status" has a bit of negative baggage attached as what do you do in the case of someone who spends a good portion of their career not being booked as "the top guy" but perhaps anchoring their particular division? I'm thinking Jushin Liger, Johnny Saint, Blue Panther, and Rollerball Rocco are definitely HOF caliber, but in no way could they be considered "the top guy" for their respective promotions. That's not the way that they were booked, but to my mind that doesn't diminish their accomplishments one iota. Let's look at Panther as an example, when he was pushed as a singles star, he rose to the occasion brilliantly. However, most of the time that wasn't his job. His role was to anchor the trios matches and he did a remarkable job of it. Where we run into difficulties is that nowhere else in the world are trios matches given that much attention. Sure, they have them in NA, and to a much greater extent in Japan, but in Mexico they are actually important!

Also, how do we evaluate the effectiveness of a wrestler who spent their entire career working in the UK under the rounds system when it exists nowhere else in the world? These are all factors that need to be considered in order to see the whole picture.

I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "iconic status" or "historical significance" or if these are the same thing. I would take it that "iconic status" means mainstream exposure and "historical significance" means influence? Please correct me if I am misunderstanding you.

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"What you say sounds reasonable enough," said the man, "but I refuse to be bribed. I am here to whip people, and whip them I shall!")
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Yohe:

Dave should also put up a section at his wet site listing all the WON HOF members & have the years they made it. Reprint the bios. Make it his official WON HOF area.

That's a good idea.

PWI has a WON HOF page ... with links to Wikipedia bios.

http://www.pwi-online.com/pages/hallofame.html

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My thinking is that the info should be on the official Observer site. We have it here, it's their livelihood...they should put it up themselves. Make that board interesting for a change.---Yohe
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Yohe:
My thinking is that the info should be on the official Observer site.

No argument here.

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The Masked Knight
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Randy Orton is a 13 time WWE champion and has been in as many ppv main events the last fifteen years as anyone. I know some people don't like him but he deserves to go in

Bill Goldberg was one of the biggest stars in the business.

Edge and CM Punk can wait

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The Masked Knight
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also

1. why is Chyna listed as a non-wrestler when she's a former IC champion?

2. why aren't Slaughter and JYD already in? Those guys were huge stars who were money for the business

[ 10-19-2017, 08:51 PM: Message edited by: The Masked Knight ]

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Phil_Lions
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quote:
Originally posted by OSJ from NM by way of WA:

And the biggest problem? In some areas it's being corrected (props to the Aussie Posse), but we don't yet have a Yohe of Europe, doing meticulous research on the history of the sport. Well, maybe we do and we just haven't made contact with him, for all I know maybe there's a guy in San Marino who has detailed match listings for over a dozen countries and estimated box office for big events. However, until such a person comes forward we have to contend with a huge area where we know wrestling was extremely popular that just has huge gaps in its known history.

There is some information out there if you know where to look for it, but in my opinion in general European stars are a tough bunch to make a case for, because of how different the scene was there. It was all about selling out smaller arenas night after night as opposed to running big events in big arenas. With such a model it's hard to point the finger at a certain wrestler and show definitive proof that he was some major draw. And what makes it even harder is that a lot of the time the European press did not mention concrete numbers when talking about the attendance of the shows.

There's no better example of this than the Central European tournaments. There are reports claiming certain tournaments have sold, for example, 60,000+ tickets over the course of 4 weeks of shows. That's daily shows, night after night in the same arena, packing 2,000+ each night. To me, that's super impressive, but how do you go about proving that such and such was the draw? It's hard. You can tell by the newspaper reports who the most popular guys were, but still there are no huge events to point to and use this as proof that guy #1 was a way bigger draw than guy #2.

Continental Europe in general is just very overlooked when it comes to the WON HOF. And understandably so as the European information is not as readily available as the information for other regions is. And even based on the info that is available it's still hard to make a genuine case for most European stars because of what I was discussing above. For me personally especially some of the earlier European stars like Paul Pons, Jaan Jaago, Ivan Poddubny, Jess Pedersen, etc. are no-brainers, but it's tough to make a case for them because of the way the European scene was set up back then and the way it was covered in the press.

P.S. I'm not a WON voter or a subscriber so I don't have a horse in this race, so to speak, but I just thought I'd chime in with my own two cents since Europe is one of my main areas of research.

[ 10-20-2017, 01:25 PM: Message edited by: Phil_Lions ]

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The Masked Knight
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Still think Mr. Wrestling #2 deserves a vote. I say it every year. He was a nationwide star in the 70's, it was that show on the Superstition that paved the way for what came in the 80's

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