My WWE Hall of Fame vote goes to ...
I put up a poll last week that posed the following question: If you had just one vote for the WWE Hall of Fame, who would you vote for? The five choices – all significant performers who have yet to be inducted – were Bob Backlund, The Rock, Bruno Sammartino, Randy Savage and Lou Thesz.
Savage ended up winning by a comfortable margin. While the voting was going on, I was asked who I would cast my vote for. Well, it depends on what we’re really voting on.
When WWE started the Hall of Fame in the mid-1990s, it was WWE-centric. The first inductee was Andre The Giant, and subsequent Hall of Fame members included the likes of Chief Jay Strongbow, Bobo Brazil, Gorilla Monsoon and Pedro Morales.
Beginning with the induction of legendary AWA wrestler and promoter Verne Gagne in 2006, however, WWE’s Hall of Fame has morphed into a pro wrestling Hall of Fame. Over the past few years, wrestling figures who had little or no impact in WWE such as Nick Bockwinkel, Eddie Graham and Gordon Solie have been honored.
So here’s my answer: If it was literally a WWE Hall of Fame, my vote would go to Bruno Sammartino. In fact, he – not Andre The Giant – should have been the first person inducted. Sammartino carried the WWWF/WWF on his broad shoulders for about 17 years and was world champion for 11 of those years. Even when Sammartino was in his 50s, WWE would call on him on occasion to spike house show attendance.
However, since WWE’s Hall of Fame is now open to any wrestler regardless of whether they ever worked for the McMahons, Lou Thesz gets my vote. The late Thesz is regarded by wrestling historians as perhaps the greatest world champion of all time. Between 1937 and 1966, Thesz won the NWA world heavyweight title six times and his combined reigns totaled nearly 13 years.
Thesz, by the way, finished next to last in the poll, which really isn’t surprising considering most fans under the age of 50 probably aren’t familiar with him.
To see the final results of the poll, click here