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Re: 2016 WON HOF Ballot & Discussion

Posted: Fri Sep 16, 2016 7:47 pm
by Rich Kraetsch













Re: 2016 WON HOF Ballot & Discussion

Posted: Fri Sep 16, 2016 8:23 pm
by DylanWaco
GOTNW wrote:
DylanWaco wrote: Fujiwara finally appearing on the ballot is fascinating as Dave has rejected multiple requests by voters to include him for several years. I'll vote for him for many of the same reasons I supported Hamada (plus I think Fujiwara is an even better worker), but I do concede that he's a complicated candidate.
Why? Hugely influential all time great worker. If Akiyama, Taue, Tamura and Volk Han (among others) managed to hang on forever I see no reason why Fujiwara is "complicated" when he was a star when japanese wrestling was actually popular. Sure-not the biggest star, but he was positioned on Fujinami's level and was cheered over Choshu and Hashimoto when facing off against them. Hamada's peak was what, jobbing to Tiger Mask a couple of times during the only time in history that junior wrestling mattered? That's solid but Fujiwara was a player for much longer.
Very influential yes, but so was Hamada and Hamada's influence spawned a style that for better or worse has outlived shootsyle in promotional relevancy. Hamada was also an international star of some note. Not that he was an all timer in Mexico, but his run there was probably at least as strong as Fujiwara's was in NJPW in terms of top feuds/big matches. Hamada's case in Japan is less impressive than Fujiwara's, but I also wouldn't hang my hat on pops received even if I do agree that Fujiwara was innately charismatic and always more over than his push accounted for.

In a sense Fujiwara strikes me as the the best gatekeeper of all time in a major promotion, though I'm not sure that fully works, and I'm not sure I could completely defend it. It's just an instinct and a vibe you get watching him, that is buttressed by the fact that he never really was THE top guy or even one of the top guys in a major promotion.

He is one of the best in ring wrestlers of all time in my estimation. He was 13th on my GWE ballot. But I had Tamura at 18 and Akiyama at 8 and I can't see myself voting for either of them at this point. Being a top twenty all time guy is something that strongly adds to a case for me, but with Fujiwara it's the influence that sets him a part from those two, and what really links him with Hamada in my mind.

I'm not sure if it was Will or Phil or whoever, but for while they were was a sort of genre specific sub-categorization of non-AJPW/NJPW Japanese wrestling that broke down as Sons of Tenryu, Sons of Onita, Sons of Hamada, Sons of Fujiwara. It's arbitrary admittedly, but I think that fits and I think all of them should be in the Hall of Fame.

Having said that I do think the fact that Fujiwara was never a top guy during his NJPW run, his shootstyle promotion was clearly the least successful of any of the shoot organizations of any note, and the fact that shootstyle itself has largely fizzled out do make him a more complicated candidate than others. I advocated for him on the ballot and will vote for him without hesitation (it's likely he will be the only Japanese candidate I vote for this year in fact, though it's feasible I could vote for one other), but he's a guy where I feel that immersion in the footage and an understanding of how his influence was felt even beyond just shootstyle itself is necessary to fully get the case. I'm not sure that's true with most other videotape/present era performers.

Re: 2016 WON HOF Ballot & Discussion

Posted: Fri Sep 16, 2016 9:40 pm
by wac
The Japan category is tough, a lot of guys who feel like they're right there on the border of the Hall of Fame.

Re: 2016 WON HOF Ballot & Discussion

Posted: Fri Sep 16, 2016 10:00 pm
by GOTNW
DylanWaco wrote:
GOTNW wrote:
DylanWaco wrote: Fujiwara finally appearing on the ballot is fascinating as Dave has rejected multiple requests by voters to include him for several years. I'll vote for him for many of the same reasons I supported Hamada (plus I think Fujiwara is an even better worker), but I do concede that he's a complicated candidate.
Why? Hugely influential all time great worker. If Akiyama, Taue, Tamura and Volk Han (among others) managed to hang on forever I see no reason why Fujiwara is "complicated" when he was a star when japanese wrestling was actually popular. Sure-not the biggest star, but he was positioned on Fujinami's level and was cheered over Choshu and Hashimoto when facing off against them. Hamada's peak was what, jobbing to Tiger Mask a couple of times during the only time in history that junior wrestling mattered? That's solid but Fujiwara was a player for much longer.
Very influential yes, but so was Hamada and Hamada's influence spawned a style that for better or worse has outlived shootsyle in promotional relevancy. Hamada was also an international star of some note. Not that he was an all timer in Mexico, but his run there was probably at least as strong as Fujiwara's was in NJPW in terms of top feuds/big matches. Hamada's case in Japan is less impressive than Fujiwara's, but I also wouldn't hang my hat on pops received even if I do agree that Fujiwara was innately charismatic and always more over than his push accounted for.

In a sense Fujiwara strikes me as the the best gatekeeper of all time in a major promotion, though I'm not sure that fully works, and I'm not sure I could completely defend it. It's just an instinct and a vibe you get watching him, that is buttressed by the fact that he never really was THE top guy or even one of the top guys in a major promotion.

He is one of the best in ring wrestlers of all time in my estimation. He was 13th on my GWE ballot. But I had Tamura at 18 and Akiyama at 8 and I can't see myself voting for either of them at this point. Being a top twenty all time guy is something that strongly adds to a case for me, but with Fujiwara it's the influence that sets him a part from those two, and what really links him with Hamada in my mind.

I'm not sure if it was Will or Phil or whoever, but for while they were was a sort of genre specific sub-categorization of non-AJPW/NJPW Japanese wrestling that broke down as Sons of Tenryu, Sons of Onita, Sons of Hamada, Sons of Fujiwara. It's arbitrary admittedly, but I think that fits and I think all of them should be in the Hall of Fame.

Having said that I do think the fact that Fujiwara was never a top guy during his NJPW run, his shootstyle promotion was clearly the least successful of any of the shoot organizations of any note, and the fact that shootstyle itself has largely fizzled out do make him a more complicated candidate than others. I advocated for him on the ballot and will vote for him without hesitation (it's likely he will be the only Japanese candidate I vote for this year in fact, though it's feasible I could vote for one other), but he's a guy where I feel that immersion in the footage and an understanding of how his influence was felt even beyond just shootstyle itself is necessary to fully get the case. I'm not sure that's true with most other videotape/present era performers.
You bring up what Hamada did in Mexico and then I look at who's in the lucha class and think that if Dave liked lucha as much as he does japanese wrestling pretty much everyone there would already be in. :)

I'm not sure Hamada's style survived any more than 90s junior or shoot style did-people appropriated what they liked from every one and created creoles. Not to say his influence shouldn't be recognized but the case of "Dragon Gate still does lucharesu today" is more one for CIMA's and Ultimo Dragon's HOF cases. Similarly that is why I am wary of giving much credit for junior wrestling (historically it's been mostly irrelevant outside of Mexico where there never was *junior wrestling* as we know it now).

Anyway I don't really want to bring Hamada down as I like him a lot and have nothing against him in the HOF (it would make more sense than a lot of the picks that have been made over the years) but I think it's pretty clear that it's easier to sell voters on Fujiwara's influence when you have Asuka and Minoru Suzuki posting photos shaking hands with him and talking about how important their teacher was than on a guy that played a part in shaping junior wrestling that isn't known as a big draw and doesn't have a big following even in the most hardcore circles. I mean really the only case you have to make for Fujiwara is "check his wikipedia page, look whom he trained and tell me how the hell this guy isn't a hall of famer".






The problem with the Japan category is that Dave's stuck between pleasing the japanese magazine writers that feed him info and the audience he's cultivated. One HOF has Masa Saito, Seiji Sakaguchi, Kantaro Hoshino, Masakatsu Funaki, Kazushi Sakuraba and probably even someone like Bob Sapp-the other has Ultimo Dragon, Great Sasuke, Hiroshi Hase, Hayabusa and Taue.

Re: 2016 WON HOF Ballot & Discussion

Posted: Sat Sep 17, 2016 12:43 am
by jeremysexton
I'm a huge mark for Hayabusa and Sting, so they'd probably both get my votes. I can't be objective about that at all.

Man, you go back to 2010-2011 and it seemed like Mistico was going to be a no-brainer. What a difference 5 years can make.

Re: 2016 WON HOF Ballot & Discussion

Posted: Sat Sep 17, 2016 2:29 am
by mlev76
Since I began paying attention to the HOF, I've always been perplexed by Sting and Slaughter's omissions. Sting I've come to see the naysayers point, but Slaughter really remains something that eludes me in terms of why he wasn't in. He had a decent run of good matches (including some of the best matches in the 80s between the matches with Steamboat/Youngblood, Patterson and Sheik) for the first part of 80s, drew well in Mid Atlantic and WWWF/WWF, had a main event run with Hogan and was a crossover star and one of the top 5/10 most well known wrestlers of the 80s because of his GI Joe affiliation. That last part alone is something I feel like voters give little credence to which is a shame because, and I think I've made this point here or on the F4W board, it's a hall of FAME.

Re: 2016 WON HOF Ballot & Discussion

Posted: Sat Sep 17, 2016 5:29 am
by Joe Lanza
dave emailed this earlier today:

"Due to a mistake in deleting, on the ballot sent last night, in the Japan category, Shinsuke Nakamura was left on and Seiji Sakaguchi was deleted. Nakamura was already inducted and Sakaguchi should be on the ballot"

Re: 2016 WON HOF Ballot & Discussion

Posted: Sat Sep 17, 2016 9:05 am
by kjharris
cheapshot wrote:He was absolutely a draw, considering FMW had no TV. FMW were still doing big houses, with him on top after Onita's retirement in 1995.
I'm not sure anyone could have followed Onita as a draw, but Hayabusa was really a worse failure in that regard than Jun Akiyama in following Misawa/Kobashi.

He did sellout the Kawasaki Stadium vs. Onita in May '95, but that was for Onita's "retirement match" and that show likely would have sold out with any credible opponent.

FMW's attendance at house shows outside of Tokyo (Korakuen Hall shows still seemed to sell out, but during that period every major promotion could still sell out there with relative ease) slumped after Onita's retirement. Here's a quote from Dave Meltzer in early 1996:

"FMW's claimed figures for 1995 were 153 shows and 401,094 for a 2,622 per show average, a drop from 3,294 average last year. However, FMW began greatly inflating its announced attendance publicly after Atsushi Onita retired in May because the decline was so drastic, so there is little accuracy in the announced average and the decline was far more severe."

Big shows struggled too:

- The 1994 FMW Year End Sensation card drew a sellout of 11,085 for Onita vs. Pogo, whilst in 1995 they ran the much smaller Yokohama Bunka Gym (capacity is around 5,000, but they claimed a sellout of 5,500).

- Even though 33,231 fans is an impressive figure, particularly with 2016 eyes, the Anniversary Kawasaki stadium in 1996 was still 16,000+ fans down from the prior year, despite support from Cactus Jack, Terry Funk and the first ever woman's No Rope Explosive Barbed Wire Death Match.

It should also be noted that Hayabusa wasn't always in the main event during this period. He had a lot of time off due to injury in 1996. Indeed, Funk vs. Pogo headlined FMW's biggest show of the summer 1996, which drew an SRO crowd of 3,580 paying $250,000, instead of Hayabusa's comeback from injury match against Koji Nakagawa. Meltzer, who was at that event live noted how Hayabusa "got almost no reaction coming out which was scary" and gave him a DUD rating.

Big show attendance bounced back when Onita returned in late '96, and the company started struggling more again after Onita left. Probably the most impressive houses Hayabusa drew was in this second post Onita era, as the 10th Anniversary show at the Yokohama Arena drew 11,000 fans for a main event of H vs. Fake Hayabusa with Shawn Michaels as special guest referee and Kawasaki Legend 2001 at Kawasaki Stadium parking lot drew 10,500 fans for a main event of Hayabusa & Great Sasuke vs. Tetsuhiro Kuroda & Mr. Gannosuke in an "octagon cage electric bomb death" match, but such mega events were much rarer in this era, as FMW's largest shows were largely held in Korakuen Hall or mid-sized arenas like Komazawa Olympic Gym and Yokohama Bunka Gym. I need to check if those were legit numbers though.

Re: 2016 WON HOF Ballot & Discussion

Posted: Sat Sep 17, 2016 1:56 pm
by Brandon Howard
Hayabusa was strongly influential with weaker cases as an in-ring performer and a draw. He essentially had a 6 year career of any note, from 1995 to 2001, so longevity is not in his favor. Had Onita put him over on 5/5/1995, his record as a draw might be different, but we can't turn back time. Great, one of my favorites, a character who introduced me and many others to Japanese wrestling, but not quite a HOFer.

Re: 2016 WON HOF Ballot & Discussion

Posted: Sat Sep 17, 2016 10:30 pm
by Brandon Howard
Would almost definitely vote for Mistico/Caristico but might not learn enough about the rest of the lucha candidates in time to feel comfortable voting in that category. I think he's clearly one of the biggest stars of his era and one of the few true draws of the 21st century. He's basically the Mexican equivalent of Cena and Tanahashi, albeit with the failed WWE run.

US category: I can only confidently go with Bryan. I would listen to arguments for JYD, Orton, Punk and Sting.

Japan: I will vote and vote for no one unless I can be convinced otherwise. Akiyama, CIMA, Han, Suzuki, Tamura seem like the strongest candidates but none of them quite hit me as HOFers.

Non-wrestlers: I'd strongly consider Gene Okerlund. Interested in arguments for Finkel, either Crockett, Jimmy Hart, Don Owen, Apter.

Re: 2016 WON HOF Ballot & Discussion

Posted: Sat Sep 17, 2016 10:32 pm
by InYourCase
Is there a reason for the Tamura spike in 2012-2013?

Re: 2016 WON HOF Ballot & Discussion

Posted: Sat Sep 17, 2016 11:18 pm
by Garuda
I'd like to hear people's 2016 takes on Mike and Ben Sharpe, if anyone has them to share.

Re: 2016 WON HOF Ballot & Discussion

Posted: Sun Sep 18, 2016 1:02 am
by GOTNW
Brandon Howard wrote:Japan: I will vote and vote for no one unless I can be convinced otherwise. Akiyama, CIMA, Han, Suzuki, Tamura seem like the strongest candidates but none of them quite hit me as HOFers.
What are you basing this on? I love Tamura and Han but that's just not happening. Their cases are too reliant on work. In comparison Fujiwara was as good (if not a better) worker, waaaaaaay more influential and in terms of star power was put in a similar spot in a much bigger company during a period wrestling in Japan was more popular. Suzuki isn't as good of a worker as Fujiwara, isn't as influential (he basically ripped Fujiwara's gimmick and slightly tweaked it when he returned to pro style). Suzuki was never a draw and didn't do do that well when put in a position to do so. Akiyama was never positioned to be a star, did fine when needed to draw but curretly lacks influence/signifigance to be a serious candidate. Sakaguchi and Kimura are the biggest names in terms of star power. CIMA has a solid case but also a bunch of time for his place in history to be discussed. Basically Fujiwara is the only guy as I see as a strong enough candidate for a vote without thinking about it too much. Sakaguchi and Kimura I would heavily lean towards being in. Everyone else is either on the fence or outright not deserving, especially with so many great lucha candidates.

Re: 2016 WON HOF Ballot & Discussion

Posted: Sun Sep 18, 2016 6:40 am
by DylanWaco
Brandon Howard wrote:Would almost definitely vote for Mistico/Caristico but might not learn enough about the rest of the lucha candidates in time to feel comfortable voting in that category. I think he's clearly one of the biggest stars of his era and one of the few true draws of the 21st century. He's basically the Mexican equivalent of Cena and Tanahashi, albeit with the failed WWE run.

US category: I can only confidently go with Bryan. I would listen to arguments for JYD, Orton, Punk and Sting.

Japan: I will vote and vote for no one unless I can be convinced otherwise. Akiyama, CIMA, Han, Suzuki, Tamura seem like the strongest candidates but none of them quite hit me as HOFers.

Non-wrestlers: I'd strongly consider Gene Okerlund. Interested in arguments for Finkel, either Crockett, Jimmy Hart, Don Owen, Apter.
This will sound like I'm picking on Tanahashi, but from a drawing perspective it's pretty clear that Mistico is a superior candidate to him. I'm not voting for Mistico at this point, but if you are someone who sees drawing as a paramount and isn't bothered by voting for someone who still has a long career in front of him, it's hard to dismiss him. He's kind of the opposite of Tanahashi in some ways in that he became eligible for the ballot at the worst time, whereas Tanahashi became eligible at the best time.

Re: 2016 WON HOF Ballot & Discussion

Posted: Sun Sep 18, 2016 12:03 pm
by kjharris
I would be much more likely to take a "wait and see" approach with Mistico if voters had shown similar restraint on other candidates. But we had Lesnar going in last year for runs that combined were shorter than Mistico's run as the top star of CMLL and weren't as successful. If I was 100% confident that voters would show consistency across regions, then I'd probably use that vote on someone else, but as I'm not, I feel compelled to vote for him, especially as I did a podcast with Allan Blackstock putting over his case.