“It’s time for the 2019 Hall of Fame elections.”

And we’re off! Just a few days ago, I and the other voters for the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame received our 2019 ballots. While many hand-wave and actively roll their eyes at the process of “fake” Hall of Fame voted on by wrestling media members and wrestlers, those of us who do vote and do care are very passionate about the pseudo Hall of Fame.

At the end of the day, who actually goes in doesn’t matter as much as the entire exercise of discussing, voting and reacting. All told, it’s nothing more than a fun way to discuss pro wrestling greatness past and present. 

As a primer for those who haven’t followed our coverage on the WON HOF over the last 5-6 years, the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame is a pro wrestling hall of fame voted on by “major wrestling stars, major management figured in the industry, writers and historians.” 

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. 

To be eligible for entry into the WON HOF, a performer must have reached their 35th birthday and complete ten years since their debut as a full-time performer, or be someone who has been a full-time pro wrestling for at least 15 years. 

Voters are encouraged to vote in several categories including Modern US/Canada, Europe, Japan, Mexico, Historical and finally Non-Wrestlers. Voters do not need to vote in every single category and are encouraged only to vote in the ones they feel comfortable with. As such, I only vote Modern US/Canada, Japan and non-wrestlers while leaving Europe, Mexico and Historical to the experts in those fields. 

The maximum number of wrestlers voters can choose are ten. There is no minimum. For non-wrestlers, voters can select as many as five and those are not counted against the ten for wrestlers. 

Anyone who receives a mention on 60% of the ballots from the geographical region and time frame will be entering the WON HOF in 2019. 

All performers who received a mention on 10-59.9% will remain on the ballot for consideration next year. All those who received less will be dropped from the ballot only to return with significant feedback from voters. 

Years ago the WON HOF added a 15-year-rule where candidates that have been on the ballot for 15 years had to received 50% or more votes to remain on the ballot. This year Meltzer listed Jun Akiyama, Don Owen and Villano III as wrestlers who will be dropped due to the 15-year rule. 

Got all that? Good! In this piece, we will simply look at the candidates eligible in each category but this will only be the beginning of our 2019 WON HOF coverage. 

John Carroll has already written a great piece about the Japan region and there will be many more columns to follow in the coming months (ballots are due October 20).

Additionally, both Joe Lanza and I will be provided additional WON HOF audio on our Patreon at voicesofwrestling.com/patreon. We’ll be providing exclusive shows on each category featuring guests from across the world of wrestling. All shows will be available on our $5 premium tier. 

For now though, let’s look at the candidates for inclusion in the 2019 WON HOF. If you’re interested in historical data on the WON HOF, our old pal Chris Harrington has historical voting totals, inductees and more


  • June Byers
  • Wild Bull Curry
  • Cowboy Bob Ellis
  • Don Fargo
  • Archie “Mongolian Stomper” Gouldie
  • Chavo Guerrero Sr.
  • Rocky Johnson
  • Jose Lothario
  • Sputnik Monroe
  • Blackjack Mulligan
  • Johnny Rougeau
  • Dick Slater
  • George Steele
  • Enrique Torres
  • Jimmy & Johnny Valiant
  • Von Brauners & Saul Weingeroff
  • Bearcat Wright


  • Tully Blanchard & Arn Anderson w/J.J. Dillon
  • Junkyard Dog
  • Edge
  • Bill Goldberg
  • Matt & Jeff Hardy 
  • Rick Martel
  • Randy Orton
  • C.M.Punk
  • Sgt. Slaughter
  • Trish Stratus
  • Kerry Von Erich
  • Ultimate Warrior 


  • Jun Akiyama
  • Cima
  • Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan
  • Yoshiaki Fujiwara
  • Hayabusa
  • Kota Ibushi
  • Tomohiro Ishii
  • Tetsuya Naito
  • Kenny Omega
  • Meiko Satomura
  • Akira Taue


  • Los Brazos (Brazo de Oro & Brazo de Plata & El Brazo)
  • Caristico
  • Ultimo Guerrero
  • Karloff Lagarde
  • Los Misioneros de la Muerte (El Signo & El Texano & Negro Navarro) 
  • Huracan Ramirez
  • Villano III
  • Volador Jr.
  • Dr. Wagner Jr.


  • Sypros Arion
  • Big Daddy
  • Dominic DeNucci
  • Billy Joyce
  • George Kidd
  • Killer Karl Kox
  • Mario Milano
  • Kendo Nagasaki
  • Jackie Pallo
  • Rollerball Mark Rocco
  • Johnny Saint
  • Ricki Starr
  • Otto Wanz


  • Lord James Blears
  • Dave Brown
  • Bob Caudle
  • Jim Crockett Jr.
  • Jim Crockett Sr.
  • Gedo
  • Jim Johnston
  • Larry Matysik
  • Stephanie McMahon
  • James Melby
  • Don Owen 
  • Morris Sigel
  • George Scott
  • Naoki Sugabayashi
  • Ted Turner
  • Stanley Weston
  • Grand Wizard