Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame (2015)

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BoxingRobes
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Re: Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame (2015)

Post by BoxingRobes » Thu Oct 08, 2015 2:13 pm

Hobbes wrote:
BoxingRobes wrote:That isn't how it reads. I don't see the Dog as a GREAT, as in all-time great draw for YEARS.
I don't want to argue Dylan's points for him too much, but here is a quote from his post.

"1980-84 was the last period in North America where you had ten or more territories that could accurately be categorized as "hot," and in many cases "hot" meant "record setting" hot. During this period JYD was in the upper tier of drawing cards on Earth, perhaps the biggest, and almost certainly no worse than top 5... He took over in struggling and weak places and made them huge. New Orleans went from being perhaps the worst drawing metro area in the South of any size, to a city that was drawing around seven figures a year to wrestling events for a single promotion. The only other city on Earth that may have been doing a number like that during the period for a single promotion was NYC which has obvious advantages NO didn't and doesn't have. This is to say nothing of records Dog did in other towns."

So he said that during a half decade period JYD was a top five draw and maybe number one, that he turned a dead market into a market that rivaled NYC, and did record setting business in other towns. Again, you can debate those individual points, but if what Dylan is saying is true, that is a very good case as a draw.
That "half decade period" is more like 2.5 to 3 years...but I'm not here to split hairs.

With that said, its about context...his peers that were considered draws were draws for so long it makes Dog's run insignificant when relative to his peers. All of wrestling was hot. He was hot, too. But he wasn't hot for long enough for me (and again, this is all opinion anyway) for me to actually consider him more than what I think he is...which is a pretty famous guy that had a short run as a hot draw, but was an absolutely terrible worker without much influence. Like I said in a previous post...he's Terrell Davis at best...Ickey Woods at worst. Either way, not a Hall of Famer. For a short period of time, he was near the top as a draw...but relative to his peers, peers that are rattling off 10+ year careers as legit top draws, contemporaries that popped gates for decades...Dog's brief run is very nice, notable, and with context, impressive...but it doesn't fully check the box for me.
I can prove it rather easily. Its common sense.

Daniel Bryan main evented WrestleMania wrestling twice.
Seth Rollins closed WrestleMania with the top title in North America.

The roster is littered with Indie guys that were signed post-Punk like Cesaro, Ambrose, Neville, Owens, Generico, etc etc etc.

Is there another wrestler in North America more qualified to check off the influence box? I would qualify the last two finishes to Mania as the feather in his cap to breaking the glass ceiling.
CM Punk broke the CM Punk ceiling. It's possible in doing so that he made WWE a little more amenable to signing US indie talent and pushing them to a certain level. If you are an undersize indie star that doesn't fit WWE's definition of a future star, the door may be open a little wider thanks to Punk. You still face considerable challenges to get a job, make it to the main roster, and then get a strong push. That is influence but is that a hall of fame level of influence? Guys from the indies did get signed before Punk. Undersized wrestlers with incredible talent did sometimes get significant pushes before Punk.

If Punk is such a huge influence, how come he couldn't get his best friend Colt Cabana a fair shake? If Punk broke the glass ceiling how come indie guys like Cesaro who are ultra talented get jobbed out once they get a grass roots following? How come guys like Braun Strowman are rumoured to possibly be getting big WrestleMania matches instead of him? How come indie kings like Ricohet don't get contracts off WWE tryouts? How come Joe is still in NXT?

How come Daniel Bryan languished in the upper midcard for years until a combination of the fans completely rejecting WWE's plans and Punk quitting the company forced their hand? WWE's original plan for Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania was a rematch with fucking Sheamus, with Batista/Orton and HHH/Punk being two of the top matches. The fans and Punk quitting forced them into pushing Bryan, and nothing else.

Seth Rollins is an ultra athletic six foot plus talented ass wrestler. There were guys that fit that bill that were pushed in WWE before Punk.
It's also worth asking if the influx of indie talent is due to Punk, or due to the success of NXT, the failure of WWE to train very many compelling talents themselves, and their need/desire to turn NXT into a touring brand that can steal ROH's audience. Punk doesn't have a lot to do with any of those things.
All of this is conjecture and kind of silly. We're dealing with facts here. Punk broke through, then a flood of Indy talent also broke through and was signed. I guess we can argue causation or correlation...but to me, the story is pretty obvious...I'm not sure there are many debating his influence, just when they want to reward it...now...or to "wait and see"...
None of those things happen without Punk succeeding.
So without Punk no US indie talent ever gets signed, WWE is magically able to train talented wrestlers, and WWE loses all desire to try and run ROH out of business to grab another sliver of the wrestling pie? Did Punk invent the WWE Network too? How about the Cotton Gin? A cure for smallpox?
[/quote]

Without Punk, there isn't a flood of Indy talent in the WWE today...I'm not sure what the rest of this is about...silliness.

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Re: Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame (2015)

Post by SammyJ_D » Thu Oct 08, 2015 2:40 pm

I don't understand the criteria most of the time. Is the influence box for POSITIVE influence or just general influence? Punk breaking through leading to indie talent coming in is some sort of influence I'd say but can it necessarily be categorized as positive yet?

EDIT: If the general idea of influence is all that matters I guess it isn't important whether it helped, hurt, or did nothing for the largest wrestling promotion on the planet.

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Re: Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame (2015)

Post by Rich Kraetsch » Thu Oct 08, 2015 3:15 pm

SammyJ_D wrote:I don't understand the criteria most of the time. Is the influence box for POSITIVE influence or just general influence? Punk breaking through leading to indie talent coming in is some sort of influence I'd say but can it necessarily be categorized as positive yet?

EDIT: If the general idea of influence is all that matters I guess it isn't important whether it helped, hurt, or did nothing for the largest wrestling promotion on the planet.
Hate to dig up the UFC/MMA/Brock Lesnar stuff but that's where the influence category has always had me a bit irked. It's never truly been defined as positive or negative influence...just INFLUENCE. In which case, did anyone has more influence in the 2000s on wrestling than Brock Lesnar? He literally put millions of wrestling fans on his back, traveled to UFC and never came back with them. Of course, that's not positive but it's supremely influential.

Again, I don't use "any" influence to vote a guy (or else you could almost make a legit case for Russo which is...ewww) but it's an interesting question for sure.

Now as far as it relates to Punk, I can't imagine anyone who'd say him or the influx of indie guys to make the main roster over the last 5 years is negative. I mean, maybe you can but I'd think you're nuts. Without the influx of that type of talent, what the hell does that WWE main roster look like? Plus, it's opened up the doors for more talent to get jobs and has led WWE developmental to be a legit spot for talent to go and make money — can't see that as being a negative influence in anyway.

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Re: Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame (2015)

Post by BoxingRobes » Thu Oct 08, 2015 3:31 pm

SammyJ_D wrote:I don't understand the criteria most of the time. Is the influence box for POSITIVE influence or just general influence? Punk breaking through leading to indie talent coming in is some sort of influence I'd say but can it necessarily be categorized as positive yet?

EDIT: If the general idea of influence is all that matters I guess it isn't important whether it helped, hurt, or did nothing for the largest wrestling promotion on the planet.
The two highest grossing Manias of all-time closed the show with Indie guys standing tall over pretty big deals...I'd say its a positive already or at least it has tangible results as a positive...but I do understand those that say they want to wait a little bit before fully judging his influence.

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Re: Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame (2015)

Post by BoxingRobes » Thu Oct 08, 2015 3:33 pm

Hate to dig up the UFC/MMA/Brock Lesnar stuff but that's where the influence category has always had me a bit irked. It's never truly been defined as positive or negative influence...just INFLUENCE. In which case, did anyone has more influence in the 2000s on wrestling than Brock Lesnar? He literally put millions of wrestling fans on his back, traveled to UFC and never came back with them. Of course, that's not positive but it's supremely influential.

I know you're not an MMA guy, Rich...but this isn't completely accurate.

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Re: Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame (2015)

Post by SammyJ_D » Thu Oct 08, 2015 4:04 pm

I'm not the most knowledgable cat on the block but points that stand out I guess

1. The two highest grossing WMs have indie guys on top!
-You can have Daniel Bryan, even if that leans into "WELL HE MIGHT NOT HAVE BEEN BROUGHT IN WITHOUT PUNK" but Rollins winning this year doesn't really work for me. He gets no points for it being high grossing. Does Punk get points for someone like Seth Rollins who wins on a big stage then leads into low ratings? That's up to you I guess.

2. Brock going to UFC
-Is that "influence"? How is influence described for WON? With the line of thought it sounds like he effected the industry but wouldn't say influenced. But maybe I'm getting caught up on semantics.

3.What does the WWE look like without Punk?
-Kinda the same it did before Punk probably. Saying the influence wasn't wholly positive doesn't make it negative. I think we are too close to this NXT period to call Punk the influencer. That seems bold to me even if we can end up saying, "You know what? Yeah that's on him."

I think I'd end up being in the "wait and see camp". We haven't come close to seeing the end result of things. NXT has become a viable place for performers to make money but how much does NXT pay versus an ROH, NJPW, ect. It is another place to work but does it give a place for work for anyone who wouldn't be in one of those places without it? Does it matter? I sincerely don't know so rovert should come help me here

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Re: Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame (2015)

Post by Rich Kraetsch » Thu Oct 08, 2015 4:07 pm

BoxingRobes wrote:Hate to dig up the UFC/MMA/Brock Lesnar stuff but that's where the influence category has always had me a bit irked. It's never truly been defined as positive or negative influence...just INFLUENCE. In which case, did anyone has more influence in the 2000s on wrestling than Brock Lesnar? He literally put millions of wrestling fans on his back, traveled to UFC and never came back with them. Of course, that's not positive but it's supremely influential.

I know you're not an MMA guy, Rich...but this isn't completely accurate.
I'm not. Please enlighten me.

Ultimate Fighter obviously helped grab a lot of the wrestling fans attention on Spike but isn't there a fairly strong correlation between the top UFC buys (both being Brock) and a downtick in pro wrestling buys around the time when Brock was bringing in those heavy UFC buys?

Image

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Re: Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame (2015)

Post by BoxingRobes » Thu Oct 08, 2015 4:33 pm

Rich Kraetsch wrote:
BoxingRobes wrote:Hate to dig up the UFC/MMA/Brock Lesnar stuff but that's where the influence category has always had me a bit irked. It's never truly been defined as positive or negative influence...just INFLUENCE. In which case, did anyone has more influence in the 2000s on wrestling than Brock Lesnar? He literally put millions of wrestling fans on his back, traveled to UFC and never came back with them. Of course, that's not positive but it's supremely influential.

I know you're not an MMA guy, Rich...but this isn't completely accurate.
I'm not. Please enlighten me.

Ultimate Fighter obviously helped grab a lot of the wrestling fans attention on Spike but isn't there a fairly strong correlation between the top UFC buys (both being Brock) and a downtick in pro wrestling buys around the time when Brock was bringing in those heavy UFC buys?

Image
Another causation or correlation question that can't really be quantified one way or another...UFC's rise was kind of a mix of a lot of different factors.

Ultimate Fighter is probably near the top...the entire show and finale was a big deal...which was 2005. 2006 was a big year with Matt Hughes v. Royce Gracie popping big buys...Tito Ortiz, Ken Shamrock, Chuck Liddell, and the emergence of GSP. Iceman v. Tito did the UFC's first million buy event late 06. First Lesnar fight was strong, but not overwhelming in regards to a flood of fans joining MMA. Lesnar v. Couture popped Lesnar's first million buy event, but Couture was an MMA draw in his own right, drawing 500K buys against Big Tim and Big Nose Gonzaga.

Then UFC 100 happened, and while it popped a monster buy number that no one has come close to in MMA/Wrestling since, lets not forget the card also had GSP on it as well who was one of the top draws in the business all-time as well.

Anyway...Ultimate Fighter, plus rising interest due to a ton of new stars (including but limited to Lesnar) led to their rise, not necessarily it being a cause of...Lesnar wasn't the only one pulling seven figure PPV buys. WWE on the other hand, was already seeing a pretty dramatic decrease in buys that was pretty consistent before Lesnar joined the UFC. Even in his own era, Rashad Evans popped two 1M buy events.

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Re: Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame (2015)

Post by BoxingRobes » Thu Oct 08, 2015 4:38 pm

just quickly looked back on UFC100 in an off-topic moment, but what a ridiculous card.

Lesnar, GSP, Bones Jones, Hendo, Coleman, Bonnar...how ridiculous.

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Re: Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame (2015)

Post by Headbutt Stoppage » Thu Oct 08, 2015 5:53 pm

I see Punk as a Perrito-level candidate. 4 solid years as a #2 level draw after a credible resume, and then a precipitous drop in output from issues of health & promotional politics. Influencial on the presentation of wrestlers to the fans but among a larger crowd of guys on a work/angle level.

Obviously, I wouldn't vote for either while there are better candidates on the ballot. You have to make a major reach to say that CM Punk is the cause of a few extra guys being signed to WWE when UFC's influence pulling dudes away from the industry are a stayed factor in Punk's own words. 30-35 year old dudes like Punk get signed because 20-25 year old dudes are training MMA.

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Re: Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame (2015)

Post by DylanWaco » Thu Oct 08, 2015 7:17 pm

Responding to BoxingRobes on JYD and Punk:

The argument that context is what makes JYD's run seems LESS significant is insane. There is probably no candidate on the ballot who is better helped by an understanding of context than JYD. No black babyface star in the South had ever been put in an ace role like that prior to him. As already noted he took perhaps the least successful metro area in the South for wrestling (if not the entire country), and turned it into the hottest city in the nation. As a virtually untested star he was able to draw one of the biggest houses in wrestling history up to that point, less than a year into his run. He set records in areas of the territory, that had been reasonably hot before he came in (unlike New Orleans). His string of sellouts in the weekly shows in New Orleans is something that may be unparalleled in the history of pro wrestling.

My question is - who are these peers that JYD doesn't compare to? Don't give be vague, I want to know. I picked 80-84 because it was the last hot period for a large number of territories, prior to national expansion, but let's stretch it out - name the wrestler's for the entirety of the 80's who are JYD's alleged "peers," and point to what you believe makes them better/more substantial draws than JYD.

I'll actually help you out by addressing one you mentioned in passing, and a few others that are more contemporaneous than you'd probably like to admit:

Jerry Lawler - Would never argue Dog in an HoF over Lawler, and would not really consider him a peer in the sense that Lawler was made a star in the mid-70s. Of course JYD doesn't match the longevity of Lawler, but as a peak draw Lawler never had the string of sellouts or large shows that Dog did. Lawler also took over from a draw that was as impressive as him, if not more so in many places of the territory, Jackie Fargo. As an absolute drawing card Lawler was essential to the success of Memphis wrestling once he was the top guy as was shown by the dips in attendance during his injury - but he didn't really do what Dog did either in terms of turning a city around.

The Freebirds - Similar comparisons in that they had a short run as meaningful draws, right around the same time period Dog did. Unlike Dog they did this in more than one territory, though also unlike Dog they were heels (traditionally better suited to travel, and never really going to be a promotional anchor in territory era with a handful of exceptions). Made huge money v. Dog, and huge money v. Von Erichs - i.e. their two big money programs were against massive, regional babyface draws. Like Dog they popped a territory dramatically, though not to the degree Dog did, and not without being wedded to a singular consistent opposing babyface force in the Von Erichs. They are in, and while they certainly had other arguments going for them, at the time of the debates surrounding them the biggest focus was their record as drawing cards.

Sgt. Slaughter - Was at his peak as a star at the exact same time Dog was. Had a record setting tag feud in Carolinas, a great run in 84 v. Sheik, and was strong in the challenger of the month club v. Backlund. At no point did he pop a territory, or town to the degree Dog did. Also most of this run was as a heel, with the last portion as a jingoist face, a far more advantaged and standardized position than "black babyface, promotion is built around in South." You are supportive of Slaughter, perhaps in part due to work, but notion that you can't write history of wrestling without him and could without Dog says more about the history you'd write, than it does the impact they had as drawing cards and stars.

Hogan was clearly a bigger draw for the totality of the 80's, but looking at 80-84 it's not at all clear he was a bigger draw than Dog. Backlund was bigger in terms of raw numbers because of the promotion he worked for running bigger markets/buildings, but in terms of being the driving force I don't even think Bob's biggest advocates would put him at the level of Dog. I'm the biggest Buddy Rose fan on Earth, and this was his peak in Portland, but let's be serious. Andre was bigger in terms of the ability to singularly pop houses all over the country, but if Andre is the standard guys like CM Punk are dogshit comedy candidates from that perspective, roughly akin to "you fucked up" era JT Smith. Who else is there? Traveling champs? Let's name names and make the case.

I would note if this is solely about longevity, let's apply it both ways and be more precise. You want to shorten Dog's run (I have newspaper clippings from weekly shows, information from Cornette scrapbook, et. that put's Dog's strong beyond 2.5 years but sure) fine let's do it, but let's also escape the fantasy world where CM Punk was the clear number two to John Cena for "years" and just wasn't quite at Cena's level as a draw. Punk is clearly not at Cena's level as a draw, and the "years" as a clear number two would be what..2.5 maybe? 3 TOPS. The same figure dismissed as relatively insignificant with a guy who's drawing record is clearly stronger. I know, I know, Dog didn't wear kickpads and steal KENTA spots so boo on him.

I see the same sort of talking points about Punk's influence being trotted out as we heard about Shawn Michaels influence during those debates over a decade ago. In both cases I am sympathetic to the argument, but people are projecting to an absurd degree in order to make cases for a favorite (full disclosure: Punk's SES and heel run v. Hardy are probably two of my favorite five or six runs anyone has had in the last ten years). I actually do think Punk had an impact on the perception of indie wrestling and wrestlers within the WWE, and being the first guy to break through does matter, but it's also worth noting that the guy pushing the indie influence on the product was Punk's single biggest backstage adversary for the last four or five years he was with the company. As I've said his influence will be better understood in five or ten years than it is now, and as that is the area where his case looks to be the strongest in theory, I can't see a compelling reason to push him through now. The idea that he's been wronged by not getting in after 1 year is laughable.

With Punk I actually think the Perro Jr. comparison is dead on, the biggest difference being that at his peak as a star Perro was the heel face of a major boom period. Punk was not.

As for Brock, the biggest problem I have with the way Rich framed his statement is that it would lead one to believe Brock took fans with him from the WWE to UFC. Here's the problem - Brock wasn't worth a fuck as a draw in the WWE. It was UFC's marketing of Brock as a former wrestler with that look, that background, et. that brought in more fans. And while many of them were assuredly wrestling fans too, they weren't wrestling fans who had been paying to see Brock Lesnar the wrestler. Hence Brock didn't carry them over with him.

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Re: Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame (2015)

Post by BoxingRobes » Thu Oct 08, 2015 8:29 pm

JYD...

I'm not even arguing what he has done...I just feel it is overstated in regards to his peers. While SOME of his peers may not have burned as hot as the Dog did for a few years, they showed the ability to draw for over a decade, in some cases 15-20 years.

Just for reference, the top draws of the 80's...spitballing...Hogan, Andre, Harley, Flair, Backlund, Savage, Warriors, Piper...I wouldn't call these guys Dogs peers...but if you wanted a reference, there you go.

Avoiding Lawler...you did address a solid comparison IMO, in Sgt. Slaughter...a guy I did say yes to...Dog ran hotter regionally, but Sarge became a nationally known commodity (and was a good draw in his own right). As I mentioned in my short blurb, I'd wager, all-time, Sarge would be in elite company when it came to how "famous" he was...so, while Sarge doesn't pop higher as a draw, he is a better worker, and I guess I'd file his "famous-ness" in some way under influence (I don't know where else to put it, but it matters to me) making his spiderweb graph bigger than the Dog's...this is a good comparison though...neither guy is in the HoF, nor will get there anyway.

Dog is such a one dimensional candidate to me and in an era where the dimension he represents is represented by so many of his peers, his short run as a draw, doesn't do much for me. Sorry.

I was reading a few months back when the JYD Obit Observer was re-issued and recall Dave throwing around names like Dusty Rhodes, The Bruiser, and The Crusher when talking about the Dog and what company he was in...but again, these guys were draws for much longer periods. IIRC, Ray Stevens was mentioned in regards to importance to an area, but then again, Stevens was a better worker.

I don't really see any great comps otherwise for the Dog...as, I mentioned, he's a one note candidate, and I don't think that note is strong enough based on it being such a brief time all things considered when the top draws of the 80's were top draws for such long periods of time.

Spitballing...all-time...Mistico? White hot for a short period of time, meh worker (better than the Dog, but I digress) and won't be much in the influence tab. eh...just throwing it out there for discussion purposes. If i'm going deep into textbook land...Danno O'Mahoney. who had a short run in the mid-30's and made Boston a hot spot for wrestling. He's not in the Hall either...maybe something to discuss. Whatever.
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Re: Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame (2015)

Post by BoxingRobes » Thu Oct 08, 2015 8:39 pm

Punk...

I'm not sure what you're actually arguing...

Punk was a national #2 draw for three years?...sure...in my opinion, its pretty impressive in an era where there is only one guy in the United States that really draws big enough to be historically relevant to the discussion. The early 80's and even the bulk of the 80's saw at least two handfuls of wrestlers qualify as legitimate draws. I'm not even comparing Dog to Punk...you're comparing apples to oranges.

You dismiss Punk, but as I've said plenty of times, Punk is a complete candidate...he may not have burned as white hot as the Dog, but Punk was still a draw...he was one of the best workers of his era...the absolute best BIG MATCH worker (I've said for two years he should get in on work alone, but w/e)...and his influence is right in front of your eyes every Monday...if you want to dismiss that and wait and see...alright, but despite that, #2 draw for a run, #1 merch seller for a short period usurping one of the biggest merch pushers of all time and one of the best workers of his era with a few historically significant matches under his belt and a long list of good to great matches...

I don't like the Perro comp...but whatever.

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Re: Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame (2015)

Post by Robareid » Sat Oct 10, 2015 5:44 pm

steve wrote:I'm very much enjoying the podcast by Rich, Joe and Rob. Will the British wrestling podcast mention any of these guys? Here are my thoughts for a bunch of wrestlers probably not so familiar to most here.
Honestly both me and Oli are probably just too young to be any real use on the topic of British Wrestling Hall of Famers as they all come from eras long before either of us were born. Arn would be far more use I imagine, but I'm not sure our podcast is the right home for that. I'd imagine he'd be open to talk if somebody wanted his thoughts though, although you'd have to ask him.

That all said, I think Big Daddy should be a slam dunk. His influence alone should easily get him in, for a country of 63 million he's a bigger name than Hulk Hogan. I haven't done a huge amount of research of him as a draw, and his work is definitely not helping him get in, but he should be in on influence alone.

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Re: Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame (2015)

Post by Joe Lanza » Sat Oct 10, 2015 8:16 pm

SammyJ_D wrote:I don't understand the criteria most of the time. Is the influence box for POSITIVE influence or just general influence? Punk breaking through leading to indie talent coming in is some sort of influence I'd say but can it necessarily be categorized as positive yet?

EDIT: If the general idea of influence is all that matters I guess it isn't important whether it helped, hurt, or did nothing for the largest wrestling promotion on the planet.
Actually, the word "influence" never appears as part of the stated criteria:

"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."

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