Hey Mitt, at least your good friend John Cena won a prestigious award this week! - Chris Graythen
John Cena joins Kurt Angle and The Rock in being one of the few first ballot Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall Of Famers in the last decade. A no-brainer, right, Cagesiders?
Despite not having a glitzy award ceremony or a historical building to hold it in, Dave Meltzer's Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall Of Fame is the most credible one in the industry, as the inductees aren't chosen by one man's whims, but are elected by a combination of over 250 active and retired wrestlers, historians and reporters. The main criteria are in ring ability, drawing power and historical impact, though voters are left to judge for themselves which of these are the most important. Candidates are chosen based on discussions with voters, but to be eligible a wrestling figure has to be at least 35 years old and had 10 years in the business, or their career must have lasted over 15 years.
The results came out in yesterday's Observer and unsurprisingly in his first time on the ballot John Cena was elected after receiving 71% of his region's vote (60% is the threshold for induction). The only other performers to be first ballot Hall Of Famers in recent years were Kurt Angle and Kazushi Sakuraba in 2004 and The Rock in 2007, showing how difficult it is to get in at the first attempt. But if Cena couldn't, then almost no-one should, given how he's been the top star in the whole business for over seven years.
Also elected this year were Mick McManus, the UK's most famous wrestler in the 1960s and 1970s, Dr. Alfonso Morales, Mexico's long established lead wrestling announcer, the Gordon Solie / Jim Ross of his country, Hans Schmidt, a huge drawing Nazi heel in the early 1950s thanks to exposure on the Dumont Network and went on to have a long successful career in numerous territories, and Lou Albano, the manager who New York revolved around in the 1970s and early 1980s.
How did other modern North American candidates fare, you might be wondering? Jesse "The Body" Ventura, the WWF's hip heel colour commentator of the late 1980s came just two votes of induction, the only one to come close. The Rock & Roll Express got 49%, Sting 38%, Edge 37%, Brock Lesnar 24%, Curt Hennig 22%, Owen Hart 15% and Batista 13%, while Jeff Hardy and Kane dropped straight off the ballot after receiving less than 10% support.
What do you think, Cagesiders, any glaring mistakes there by the voters?