Wednesday night, Dave Meltzer announced seven newest entrants into his hallowed Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame: Brock Lesnar, Shinsuke Nakamura, Perro Aguayo Jr., The Masked Assassins (Jody Hamilton & Tom Renesto), Ivan Koloff, Carlos Colon and Eddie Quinn.
— Brandon Howard (@adecorativedrop) November 5, 2015
Brock Lesnar, the leading vote getter, received a 20% bump from last year where he just missed out on candidacy at 56%. Lesnar’s recent work on WWE including main eventing WrestleMania and being a focal point of numerous WWE Network ventures bumped him into the Hall.
Lesnar placed in the top 30 for all voter types including third among historians, sixth among reporters, ninth with active wrestlers and 29th with former wrestlers.
New Japan Pro Wrestling Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura joined a super rare class of first ballot Wrestling Observer Hall of Famers in the last decade joining The Rock in 2007 and John Cena in 2012.
Nakamura received 73% of the votes in his region, largely on the back of his recent history with NJPW, a run that’s seen him dominate over the NJPW Intercontinental Title division while being one of New Japan’s biggest worldwide stars with popularity stretching far beyond Japan.
While the inclusion seems rather early for Nakamura, you can argue with the results. The King of Strong Style placed in the top 10 of all voter categories: 3rd for reporters, 4th for historians, 7th for former wrestlers and 9th for active wrestlers.
The recently deceased Perro Aguayo Jr. received 72% of the votes in his region, good enough for inclusion after falling off the ballot with very little fanfare a few years ago. It’s hard to argue that his death played a huge role in the uptick of votes as many likely went back and studied his career more thoroughly.
— Brandon Howard (@adecorativedrop) November 5, 2015
The Masked Assassins (Jody Hamilton & Tom Renesto) jumped from 48% in 2014 to 65% this year getting the historic duo into the Hall. The Assassins, who began their tag careers in 1961, surprisingly only placed 22nd among historians and 24th among former wrestlers. Their biggest support coming from active wrestlers (third) and reporters (first).
Ivan Koloff, the man famous for ending Bruno Sammartino’s famed undefeated streak and multi-year WWWF Title reign finally punches his ticket into the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame jumping from 48% in last year’s ballot to just barely above water (61% in 2015).
Unlike The Assassins, Koloff received tremendous support from historians, placing 2nd in their category. Among reports Koloff came in 12th with former and active wrestlers placing him 12th and 22nd respectively.
The much-discussed Puerto Rican legend Carlos Colon finally made his way into the Hall of Fame receiving a 4% jump (56% to 60%) just barely getting him into the Hall. Two years ago, Colon was mere votes away from inclusion, fell last year but thankfully is back above the threshold for 2015. Colon was an interesting case over the last few years as Meltzer attempted to find ways to give him his due, even creating an “OTHER” region with which to place Colon who didn’t fit the traditional US/Mexico/Japan mold.
Much of Colon’s support came from active wrestlers who placed him second in their category. Elsewhere, Colon was 9th for reporters, 14th for historians and 15th among former wrestlers.
Lastly, a new entry into the Historical wing — famed Montreal promoter Eddie Quinn. I can’t possibly do Quinn justice so I will recommend reading the lengthy bio written by Montreal’s leading wrestling historian, Patric Laprade (published in the Observer this week). If you’re interested in learning more about Montreal wrestling, I highly recommend reading Laprade’s book “Mad Dog, Screw Jobs and Midgets”.
Four men received less than 10% of the votes in their region and will be dropped from next year’s ballot. Joining the aforementioned Styles will be Bob Geigel, Hector Garza and The Big Show.
Nobody was a victim of the new 15-year/50% rule that aimed to remove clutter from the ballot by eliminating any candidate who is 15 years into their candidacy and still doesn’t received 50%. Next year, however, Cien Caras, Villano III, Volk Han and Blue Panther are on the chopping block and must meet the 50% threshold to stay on the ballot.
Next year will see the inclusion of five additional names on the Hall of Fame ballot as Caristico (the former Mistico & Sin Cara), Texas legend Kerry Von Erich, Fishman, Bearcat Wright and the returning (now in the historical region) Pedro Morales.
We’ll have continuing coverage on the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame over the next few weeks including discussion on those who didn’t make it into this year’s list and what they can do to have a better chance in 2015. To stay updated on our coverage as well as our archives, visit our Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame category page at https://www.voicesofwrestling.com/category/columns-2/2015-won-hall-of-fame/.
As a personal note, I’d like to thank Meltzer and everyone involved with the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame for their support. This year Voices of Wrestling had four staff members: Joe Lanza, Rob McCarron, Bryan Rose and myself involved in voting. We hope to increase that number next year and beyond as this Hall of Fame is something we take very seriously at this site, not because we care ALL that much who makes it to the Hall but it’s a way to educate yourself on wrestling past and present and understand it better.