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WON Wrestler of the Year 1901 - present
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gusmahler



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 6:55 pm    Post subject: WON Wrestler of the Year 1901 - present Reply with quote

Back on the old board, either jdw or Frank had a very detailed post where they went through each year, starting from 1900 or 1901, and opined who would have been WON Wrestler of the Year had WON been in existence. It was great reading of history and I read it several times.

I can't seem to find that post anymore. Can anyone help me locate it?
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jdw
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eighties Board - Wrestler of the Year (Yohe, Idol, Old School John, Dan, jdw)

---------------------------------------------
Wrestlers of the Year
Posted by Steve Yohe

Eighties Messages
April 08, 2001
21:38:33 U.S. CST

This is a list of the wrestlers I think would have been voted Wrestler
of the Year if some American sheet such as THE OBSERVER had existed
since the beginning of the century. I thought this would be a good
exercise because it would tell us something about the longevity of
the stars of today compared with the other greats throughout the
twentieth century. John Williams and I are hoping this list will lead
to interesting discussion or even some of those heated arguments that
tOA is famous for. I've spent the last few years studying the early
part of the century and I feel comfortable I can defend my choices
in those years against anyone, though around 1970 I become just one
of the boys with an opinion. So in those years I welcome help and
expect to be corrected. The original list was just the names but
John has asked me to write something about each selection, so I'll
try.


1901. George Hackenschmidt

This was the year Hack won his World Graeco-Roman championship
Tournaments in Vienna (over Hali Adali) and Paris (Constant Le Boucher)
to become the world's first international superstar. Easy pick. Hack
would have won in 1900 also.


1902. George Hackenschmidt (2)

Hack increased his fame by performing in England and settling weight
lifting records. The dominant wrestler in America was Tom Jenkins but
he lost his American title late in the year to Dan McLeod.


1903. Tom Jenkins

Hack stayed in England most of the year. He was unable to compete
in the Paris World Championship tournament due to rheumatism. (It
was won by Jess Pedersen.) Frank Gotch had developed into a major
star but was defeated by Tom Jenkins in a major match for the
American title, so I think a American sheet would vote for Jenkins
over Hack.


1904. Frank Gotch

Gotch became one of America's biggest sports star by beating Jenkins
in a great match in January and remained undefeated the rest of the
year. Hack defeated Jenkins in London later in the year, also beat
the Turk Ahmed Madrali and traveled to Australia for a tour. None
of this seemed as dramatic as Gotch's year. Hack also had his first
knee surgery in Sept. I think Americans would have voted for Gotch
who was getting the super push.


1905. George Hackenschmidt (3)

Hack came to America and easily won the first true world title by
beating Jenkins in MSG. Gotch was beaten twice by Jenkins in NYC.
Hack seemed unbeatable.


1906. Frank Gotch (2)

Gotch re-won the American title from Jenkins (5-23-06), then
dropped and regained it from Fred Beell (12-17-06). The big push
had begun and he would be unbeatable for the rest of his career.
Hack's only major match was against Ahmed Madrali and he toured
England most of the year.


1907. Frank Gotch (3)

Hack had a injured knee and returned to Russia to rest out the
year. Physically Hack was finished. Gotch was undefeated. The new
superstar and major wrestler in Europe was Stanislaus Zbyszko.


1908. Frank Gotch (4)

Gotch defeats Hackenschmidt in NYC (4-3-08) to win World Championship
and reconfirm Americas superiority over Europe. In this year Gotch
would have won SPORTS ILLUSTRATED"S "Sportsman of the Year award.
Let alone the OBSERVER Wrestler of the Year.


1909. Frank Gotch (5)

Defeated Yussiff Mahmout, B. F. Roller, Tom Jenkins, and Jess
Westergaard.


Last edited by jdw on Sat Nov 08, 2008 5:45 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wrestlers of the Year
Posted by Steve Yohe

Eighties Messages
April 08, 2001
21:38:33 U.S. CST

1910. Frank Gotch (6)

Defeated Stanislaus Zbyszko in super bout (6-1-10) in Chicago.


1911. Frank Gotch (7)

Gotch won rematch with Hackenschmidt (9-4-11), which would be enough
to win him wrestler of the Year award but also killed wrestling in
many parts of the country such as Chicago.


1912. Frank Gotch (8)

Weak choice in a bad year but I have no other choice. Gotch was
semi-retired but was always willing to step on any contender before
their push challenged him. He did refuse to give rematch to Stanislaus
Zbyszko.


1913. Stanislaus Zbyszko

Stanislaus was dominate wrestler during year (although he didn't seem
to draw at the box-office, as nothing did) and Gotch refused to grant
him a rematch. Gotch only came out of retirement to defend title vs.
George Lurich (4-1-13). George Lurich had a big year also getting a
victory over Zbyszko in MSG (5-28-13), before losing a rematch at
Vienna, Austria (7-2-13).


1914. Joe Stecher (1)

This is a very hard pick. In 1914 wrestling was at one of it's lowest
points with Gotch in retirement. Without Gotch wrestling during the
whole year, I picked Stecher over Charles Cutler. Stecher's push was
just starting with wins over Marin Plestira and Pat Connolly. He was
being build up as unbeatable, taking everyone in straight falls and in
a few minutes. Charles Cutler was getting a good push around the
mid-west and had Gotch's old American title. In Feb of 1915, he would
claim the world title in Chicago, but I feel they were just setting
him up to be knocked over by Stecher. Maybe something was going on in
Europe with Alex Aberg or Lurich but we have no record of it. Zbyszko
had some good wins early in the year (and probably should have been
first choice to be world champ) but he didn't wrestle after June,
returning to Russia. So I pick Stecher.


1915. Joe Stecher (2)

Stecher dominates pro wrestling winning world title easily from
Charles Cutler (7-5-15) and defeats Ad Santel, Jess Westergaard,
Americus, and anyone else put in against him in short matches. The
only person to last any time was Strangler Lewis, who Stecher beat in
2 hours at Evansville (10-21-15). Promoters build to a supermatch
between Stecher and Gotch but Frank breaks his leg in training.


1916. Joe Stecher (3)

Stecher remains champion through out the year. Dominates Lewis in
famous 5 hour draw at Omaha on July 4. Does lose match to John Olin
on Dec. 12 at Springfield when he is injured and UTC after 2 hrs and
40 minutes, but continues to be accepted as champion by the public.


1917. Earl Caddock

Caddock wins World title from Stecher April 9 who is injured and
looking for a rest. In match Caddock becomes first man to ever win
a clean fall over Stecher. Ed Lewis defeats John Olin on May 2 to
claim Title. Wladek Zbyszko also claim title when wins tournament in
NYC over Lewis on Dec. 22. Caddock's big win gives him the year.


1918. Earl Caddock (2)

While serving in the US Army, Caddock wrestles out of Camp Dodge
and defenses title vs. Wladek Zbyszko and Ed Lewis. He defeats both
via decision, but they both continue to claim the "Olin Line" title.
Caddock is set to defend title in a return with Stecher but is stopped
by the Army who sends him to Europe and WWI. Stecher is undefeated
but Caddock dominates year.


1919. Joe Stecher (4)

After losing two matches to Lewis and Wladek Zbyszko early in year,
Stecher comes back to beat both in major tournament for the world
title shot against Caddock. Caddock is busy with WWI most of the year
and in poor health.


Last edited by jdw on Sat Nov 08, 2008 5:45 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wrestlers of the Year
Posted by Steve Yohe

Eighties Messages
April 08, 2001
21:38:33 U.S. CST

1920. Joe Stecher (5)

Stecher has a great year re-winning title from Caddock in classic
match (Jan. 29) and then defended it over Lewis (April 16), John
Pesek, Wladek Zbyszko, Jim Londos, Olin, Joe Malcewicz, Renato Gardini
and Tom Draak, before losing title to Ed Lewis on Dec. 13. I picked
Joe over Ed because of the wins over the total year. Some may be
thinking that perhaps there was some wrestler with great work rate
and popularity that might have gotten more votes over the guys
winning the Championships. If there were a Kobashi or Benoit during
this time it would have been Jim Londos. He was the first sex symbol
in sports and the biggest draw where ever he appeared but he only
weighted 190 lbs. and the promoters didn't feel it would be
believable for him to be able to defeat big wrestlers like Lewis,
Stecher, and the Zbyszko brothers.


1921. Stanislaus Zbyszko (2)

Five months after defeating Stecher, Lewis drops World Title to
Stan Zbyszko. Then seems to take a vacation. This was the period
supposedly control (although it seems to me that NYC promoter Jack
Curley remained the real power up to this year) by the trio of Toots
Mondt, Sandow, and Lewis. I've always wondered about this short
reign. Perhaps Lewis wanted to spend time with his new wife and baby
in S. F. On Oct. 4 Lewis wrestled his old friend Joe Stecher in SF
and lost a close decision. Anyway Stan Zbyszko, who hadn't really
lost since being tricked by Frank Gotch in 1910, defeated Lewis
for the title and defended it with wins vs. Lewis on two other
occasions. He also defeated Stecher (twice), Ad Santel, John Pesek,
Caddock, Clarence Ekland, and Renato Gardini. Londos lost to Lewis
and Caddock and then sat out the end of the year with eye problems.
The only trouble with this selection is that he was weak at the
box-office.


1922. Ed "Strangler" Lewis

Lewis regains title from Stan on March 3 and then dominates everyone
he meets.


1923. Ed "Strangler" Lewis (2)

Lewis continues to dominate, wrestling same contenders over and
over. Doesn't seem like much of a year.


1924. Ed "Strangler" Lewis (3)

Lewis again was champion the whole year but he had pretty much
run through all the contenders in his company, mainly Stan Zbyszko,
Toots Mondt, Dick Daviscourt, and Renato Gardini. So during the
year the Golddust Trio spent a lot of their energy building up
footballer Wayne Munn as a wrestling monster. It seemed to working
on minor level, but 1924 wasn't a great year for wrestling.


1925. Joe Stecher (6)

Lewis lost his championship to Wayne Munn on Jan. 8 in order to set
up a supermatch on May 30, but the plan falls apart when Stanislaus
Zbyszko shoots on the non-wrestler Munn and takes title on April 5.
May 30 turns out to be the day Joe Stecher regains control of his
World Title as he beats Zbyszko in straight falls in St. Louis.
Lewis does beat Munn in the rematch but is recognized only in
Illinois and Michigan. Stecher's group grows in power while Lewis
gains weight. Many of the wrestlers switch sides. Joe defeats
Daviscourt, Dan Koloff, Gardini, Londos, and Stan Zbyszko in at
least 3 rematches. Stecher defeats Gardni in the first wrestling
main event at LA's new Olympic Auditorium.


1926. Joe Stecher (7)

Stecher controls title the entire year and tours throughout the
country. Defends vs. John Pesek, Ivan Podulany, Londos, Zbyszko,
George Calza, Daviscourt, Nick Lutze, and Giovanni Raicevich. Ed
Lewis drops out of a title unification match set up by the Calif.
Athletic commission and forfeits $5,000 to Stecher (Oct. 9). Jim
Londos is biggest draw in the sport outside of the champions but
is unable to beat Stecher.


1927. Joe Stecher (8)

Stecher tours NY, the East Coast, and the South as champion. Lewis
still refuses to wrestle Stecher, but the match between the two is
probably being shopped around. Londos remains big box-office.


1928. Ed Lewis (4)

The Supermatch between Stecher and Lewis happens in St. Louis
(Feb. 20), with Lewis winning. Lewis weights 227 lbs for the match.
Three weeks later, he's gained 20 lbs. Stecher retires after the
match to his farm and grain business. Londos sets up shop in NYC,
who Athletic Commission refuses to recognize Lewis until he
wrestles Hans Steinke.


1929. Gus Sonnenberg

With Lewis aging and losing interest, the Sandow boys once again
give the title to a non-wrestling type football player. This time
though the player is Gus Sonnenberg, who is a solid worker with
star power and is credited with changing the style of the sport.
He introduces flying tackles and stand up moves off the ropes.
Sonnenberg wins title over Lewis on Jan. 4 and beats everyone he
meets including Lewis in rematches. Also beats the returning Stecher
twice. Londos is the big draw on East Coast but Dick Shikat, a
legitimate wrestler, is picked to be their first world champ by
beating the Greek star on Aug. 23.


Last edited by jdw on Sat Nov 08, 2008 5:45 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wrestlers of the Year
Posted by Steve Yohe

Eighties Messages
April 08, 2001
21:38:33 U.S. CST

1930. Jim Londos

Londos wins NY World Title from Dick Shikat (June 6) when his bosses
quit worrying about legitimate wrestlers and realize it's money that
counts. Londos establishes himself as the greatest draw in the
history of the sport. Also becomes the first wrestler to be recognized
by a national (well almost) organization the NBA. (No... boxing,
not basketball). Sonnenberg continues to draw but drops his title in
a big upset to Ed Don George in LA on Dec. 10. It might have had
something to do with the fact he didn't drive well when drunk.


1931. Jim Londos (2)

Londos has one of the greatest years in history filling up MSG and
Yankee Stadium etc. George lost his title to Lewis (April 13), who
lost it to Henri Deglane (May 4).


1932. Jim Londos (3)

Londos is driven out of NYC for being too hard to handle, with Old
Ed Lewis being brought in and made the new world champ in New York.
Fans hate Lewis and the bottom falls out of the territory without
Jimmy. Londos continues to pack in the crowds all over the country.
In Dec. he loses one fall in a 2/3 fall match to George Zaharias
in LA, (which Londos won). It may have been the first fall he had
lost since losing to Shikat in Aug. 1929.


1933. Jim Londos (4)

The Londos story continues as he dominates another year. He is
doublecrossed in match vs. Joe Savoldi on April 7, but story is
revealed and he continues to be recognized as World Champ. Tours
Europe for 6 weeks in Aug. and Sept. Ed Don George beats Henri
Deglane on Feb. 10 and does well as AWA Champion in Boston. Jim
Browning takes NY world title from Lewis (Feb. 20) and does well
in the ring but NYC market remains in a depression.


1934. Jim Londos (5)

Londos screws over a few people and jumps back to the NY promotion.
He wins a rematch vs. Savoldi in Chicago on Jan. 31 drawing 20,206.
He then wins the NY version of the world title from Jim Browning
on June 25 in title unification match at the MSG Bowl which draws
25,000. Londos wrestles to a 4 hr draw in a title unification match
with Ed Don George in Boston on July 18, drawing 30,000 fans. Londos
and George would wrestler another draw on August 1 in Buffalo. He
finally beats Lewis in Chicago on Sept. 20, drawing a record-breaking
35,265 fans. Then he draws a real 23,765 fans (which the newspapers
would report as 37,700) in LA on Oct. 10 to see him defeat Man
Mountain Dean. A huge year.


1935. Danno O'Mahoney

O'Mahoney, one of the creations of Boston promoter Paul Bowser,
become the last truly undisputed World Champion (if you don't count
Vincent Lopez's claim that year in Calif.) by beating Londos and
Ed Don George. He drew huge in Boston. He was the last man ever
to defeat Londos. Jimmy, who received one of the largest payoffs in
wrestling history to do the job, retired for the rest of the year.


1936. Yvon Robert

The undisputed world champion's reign lasted seven months. On
March 2 Dick Shikat shot on Danno O'Mahoney in MSG and relieved
of his title. Chaos followed. By the end of the year at least 10
men had laid claim to the "World" Title (Shikat, O'Mahoney, Ali Baba,
Daniel Boone Savage, David Levin, Everett Marshall, Yvon Robert,
Dean Detton, Vincent Lopez and Cliff Olsen.) and three major title
lines had been formed. I picked Yvon Robert over Everett Marshall
and Dean Detton.. Robert, who had one of the greatest wrestling
careers in history, defeated Danno O'Mahoney (still recognized by
the AWA and Paul Bowser) on July 13 and was a big star in Northeast
including Boston and Montreal. Marshall defeated Ali Baba June 26,
but even with wrestling talent and good looks he lacked color and was
a poor draw in the East. He wrestled most of the year in the weaker
Ohio area. Detton was recognized by RING MAGAZINE as the true champ
after his win over Levin on Sept. 28 and drew big through out the US
and in Calif. Lopez and Levin also drew large in LA. The Daniel Boone
Savage hillbilly was a major draw in Texas. I would say it was very
close but I'm going with Robert over Detton. Robert did defeat
Detton March 9 in Philadelphia, before Detton would be Levin.


1937. Bronko Nagurski

Nagurski was football's best player and a cross over star. He defeated
Dean Detton on June 29 and had the strongest claim to the title. Jim
Londos was back and was still a major draw, but also wrestled in
Europe and Africa. Tom Pack, promoter in St. Louis tried to develop
a new star in Lou Thesz and he was given the MWA world title after
a COR victory over Everett Marshall on Dec. 29. Paul Bowser was
pushing another Irishman Steve Casey and running Boston cards with
Robert, Marshall, Casey, and Thesz promising one World champion.


1938. Steve Casey

On Feb. 11 Casey defeated Lou Thesz for the AWA and MWA World title and
then defended them in Northeast (Boston) and St. Louis. Jim Londos
returned full time to the U.S. in 1938 and established his old drawing
power on the East Coast (NYC) and LA. On Nov. 18 he took his old
World Title from Bronko Nagurski to complete the comeback. I had a
hard time deciding between the two but went with Casey who beat Marshall
and Thesz. I've seen the Londos/Nagurski match on film and I feel
Jimmy was living off his reputation and power from being the top star
for 20 years.


1939. Bronko Nagurski (2)

Still a major crossover star, Nagurski was given Lou Thesz's NWA Title
on June 23 in Houston. Thesz was having a great year, establishing
himself as St. Louis' biggest star with a NWA Title win over Everett
Marshall (Feb. 23) and Steve Casey (March 10) in a rematch, but was
injured in the Nagurski match. Londos continued being Londos in Philly
and LA, but nothing memorable seemed to be going on. Londos spent the
last part of the year in Hawaii, New Zealand and Australia.


Last edited by jdw on Sat Nov 08, 2008 5:46 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wrestlers of the Year
Posted by Steve Yohe

Eighties Messages
April 08, 2001
21:38:33 U.S. CST

1940. Ray Steele

Originally I had this year a tie but John tells me that that's a cop
out, and I have to pick only one for each year. Maurice Tillet, The
French Angel, was a 5' 9'' 280 lbs. strongman-freak who was the Andre
the Giant of the early 40's. Working out of Boston he was famed as
the ugliest wrestler in the world. He had one of the most remarkable
records in the game's History. In 1940 he beat Robert, Longson, Rudy
Dusek, Gino Garibaldi, Sonnenberg, O'Mahoney, Golden Terror, Dean
Detton, and won the AWA World Title from Steve Casey on May 13. He
would hold the AWA title for 2 years. The success of the French Angel
may have represented 1940 better but I'm picking Ray Steele, who had
been one of wrestling's best workers and shooters for 22 years. In
1940 Steele stepped out of the shadow of Jim Londos to win the NWA
title from Nagurski on March 7 in St. Louis. He defended it the rest
of the year vs. Thesz, Bronko, Marshall, etc throughout the mid-West,
The South and the West Coast. My feeling are that Observer-type voters
would have voted for the worker over the freak. Some other contenders
would have been: Londos, Orville Brown (who was setting up shop in
the Mid-West by beating Dick Shikat for the MWA Title on June 27.),
Nagurski, Robert, and Lou Thesz.


1941. Yvon Robert (2)

Robert was Montreal World champ for most of the year, losing and
winning the belt from Lou Thesz. Sandor Szabo won the NWA Title
from Nagurski (June 5) by DQ and defended it throughout Calif. Jim
Londos was still a big attraction in Calif. and The French Angel
(AWA Champ) toured the country as a great gimmick performer. I like
Robert over the rest but it's not a clear choice.


1942. Bill Longson

Bill Longson won the NWA Title from Sandor Szabo Feb. 19 and seems
to have been the first true heel world champ. Those who saw him say
he was a great performer who's style resembled Bruiser Brody. In 1942
he began his dominance of the St Louis market defeating Szabo,
Everett Marshall, Ray Steele, Chief Little Wolf, O'Mahoney and Thesz.
Longson also won a Title unification match from Yvon Robert on Aug. 19
in Montreal. Ed Lewis had a minor comeback drawing 12,986 in a loss
to Longson in St Louis. The Strangler also won the MWA title from
Orville Brown during Nov. Robert had another good year regaining his
Montreal World Title from The French Angel (June 25) and then winning
the NWA title from Longson (Oct. 7). Fifty days later(Nov. 27) he
dropped the NWA title to Bobby Managoff , who is one of the most
underrated champions in history. Steve Casey regained his AWA Title
from The French Angel (May 14).I think Longson was special. He would
draw better in other years but it was the first year of WWII.


1943. Bill Longson (2)

Dominated year re-winning NWA title from Bobby Managoff (Feb. 19).
Probably averaged between 9,000 and 10,000 in St. Louis. Defeated
Robert at least twice. Nagurski returned to football and won NFL
world title.


1944. Bill Longson (3)

Retained NWA title all year and averaged around 10,000 in St. Louis.


1945. Bill Longson (4)

Longson still gets my pick, didn't seem to lose a thing. Frank Sexton
wins AWA title from Sandor Szabo, loses it and then regains it from
Steve Casey. Sexton ends Casey's control over Boston by beating him
all year to become the East Coast version of Lou Thesz. Buddy Rogers
begins gaining popularity working in Texas.


1946. Frank Sexton

In my original paper I had this year a draw between Longson and Sexton
but big John Williams made the no draw rule so I'm going with Sexton.
On Jan. 10 the two world champs met in a title unification match at
Toronto and the result was a draw. Sexton also had a unification match
with Babe Sharkey who had a piece of Jim Londos' claim in Baltimore
and parts of the East Coast since the Greek was striped in March
1944. Sexton won that match to hold two titles that had a stronger
in ring claim to a world title than Longson's NWA title. Buddy Rogers
became very popular in St. Louis drawing 17,621 in a match with Longson,
but Buddy was kept in his place by doing jobs to Longson and Thesz.
Primo Carnera, the first worked World Heavyweight Boxing Champion
(that we know about), turned wrestler in 1946 and toured as wrestling
biggest box office attraction. I think Sexton would have won this year
because he had more votes on the East Coast.


1947. Bill Longson (5)

Longson ends four years as NWA champ by losing to Billy Watson by
DQ. (Feb 21). Comes back later in the year to defeat Watson and regain
Title over Lou Thesz (Nov. 21). Thesz holds belt most of year and
is becoming the real power in St. Louis. Sexton defeats Minneapolis
NWA champ Sandor Szabo in LA and draws with Calif. World champ
Enrique Torres while defending his AWA title on both coasts and
St. Louis. Buddy Roger spends year doing jobs for Thesz and Primo
Carnera but is developing into wrestling's greatest performer. I would
like to make this year a draw between Longson and Thesz, but Williams
will get upset so I'm going to pick Longson.


1948. Frank Sexton (2)

Wrestling greatest year mainly due to TV and the development of major
stars such as Rogers, Gorgeous George, and Antonio Rocca. The National
Wrestling Alliance is formed and recognizes MWA ruler, Orville Brown,
as their first champion. Sam Muchnick uses Brown and Buddy Rogers
in his promotional war with the Thesz/Pack company in St. Louis.
Thesz takes control of the old Pack promotion and it's title when
he defeats Longson on July 20. Rocca shows up in Texas and is a big
hit. Of course many will want to pick Gorgeous George because it
was in 48 that he became the greatest crossover star in the history
of the game. I feel that George gets more credit than he deserves.
It's probably true that he sold out (10,000) the Olympic Auditorium
every time he appeared but on the cards he wasn't booked The Dusek
Brothers were doing 9,000. I see George as a creation of TV and an
agent who also controlled Bob Hope. You couldn't really work a program
with him and the LA promoters refused to put him over their World
Champ Enrique Torres. I think the non-casual fans of a sheet like
THE OBSERVER would resent him as another Freak Attraction like Wayne
Munn, Maurice Tillet, and Primo Carnera and not vote for him. In June
Buddy Rogers showed up in LA's secondary promotion at The Hollywood
Legion Stadium claiming a Jack Pfefer world title and catches fire.
Later that year he is used by Muchnick in St. Louis and does so well
it worry's Thesz. Frank Sexton continues to control the East Coast and
SF. On Oct. 20 he and Thesz wrestle to a draw in LA. In Nov. Sexton
defeats Minneapolis World champ Cliff Gustafson. Sexton also has wins
over Rogers. I wanted to have a four-way tie but in having to pick I
take Sexton over Thesz, George, and Brown.


1949. Lou Thesz

Thesz defends title all year beating George, Longson, Rocca etc. In
Nov. Orville Brown is injured in a car wreck before a big title
unification match between both NWA title and Thesz ends up with both.
He and Muchnick join forces in St. Louis after Sam gains ground using
Buddy Rogers. Decision is made by promoters that because of national
TV there should be just one World Champion and Thesz will be that
person. Rogers is over in LA, St. Louis, Ohio and anywhere he appears.
Rocca screws promoters in Texas and moves to NY and LA (for TV). For
this he has his head handed to him in a match with Thesz. The Gorgeous
George tour continues but bombs in NYC when he is used to reopen MSG
(Feb. 22). Frank Sexton and Orville Brown have a title unification
match in Cleveland March 15 that results in a 1 hr and 45 minutes
draw.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 8:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wrestlers of the Year
Posted by Steve Yohe

Eighties Messages
April 08, 2001
21:38:33 U.S. CST

1950. Lou Thesz (2)

Thesz continues to book himself as unbeatable champ. Sexton works in
Europe and then returns to drop AWA title to Don Eagle(May 23). Three
days later Eagle is double crossed by a referee and title is given
to Gorgeous George. George then loses to Thesz at Chicago in front of
7,675 via COR (July 27) before dropping AWA title back to Don Eagle
(Aug. 31). The AWA Title remains intact but the NWA succeeded in
taking its credibility. Rogers and Thesz battle with Lou ending up on
top. Baron Michele Leone wins Calif. World title after win over Enrique
Torres (Nov. 22) with the idea of a super match with Thesz. Rocca drew
well in MSG and kept the arena open for wrestling.


1951. Lou Thesz (3)

The Rogers/Thesz feud draw well all year and I picked Thesz because he
got the wins as champ. The fans seemed to have been draw by Buddy.
Rocca's star grew bigger in NY, Calif. and the rest of the country.


1952. Lou Thesz (4)

Thesz defeats Baron Michele Leone in title unification match in LA and
draws 25,256 and $103,256. All time records.


1953. Lou Thesz (5)

Thesz beat all the contenders - Rogers, Verne Gagne, Pat O'Connor,
Rikidozan, and Rocca - during the year. Thesz and Leo Nomellini drew
16,487 and $52,000 to the Cow Palace on June 16. On Jan. 5 Thesz
defeated Antonio Rocca at MSG. Rocca then beat Buddy Rogers for the
AWA title in Cleveland on March. On March 24, Thesz and Rocca again
met in MSG in a draw and no one even mentioned that both were title
holders. Rogers took the AWA title back from Rocca on April 9. Thesz
and the NWA title did not seem to draw well in MSG and Rocca did.
This hurt Lou's rep in the future.


1954. Lou Thesz (6)

More of the same.


1955. Lou Thesz (7)

More of the same.


1956. Antonino Rocca

Thesz took parts of the year off; dropping the title to Billy Watson
via COR (March 15) and taking it back (Nov. 9). Watson was a safe
person to hold the belt but he was a regional star and only drew in
the US because he had the title. Rocca had become a crossover star
and toured all over making money. Rogers, with Killer Kowalski, were
the top heels. Rogers, you would think, would get tons of votes every
year. If Ric Flair had a cult following I'd hate to think what Buddy
would have had. Edward Carpentier was a great performer who was
getting built up in Montreal, beat Kowalski and had three draws with
Rocca.. Verne Gagne and Wilbur Snyder drew 20,000 fans to a match
in Milwaukee on Aug. 4. I'm taking Rocca (Hogan of 56) over Buddy
(Flair of 56).


1957. Edward Carpentier

Carpentier had developed into a sensational performer and star in
Montreal, and a decision was reached by at least some of the members
of the NWA to have him replace Thesz as champ. So he defeated Lou on
June 14 in Chicago to win the NWA Title when Thesz couldn't continue
due to an injured back. After that, fights took place between various
promoters and the whole thing was forgotten by history. Carpentier
was undefeated the rest of the year, becoming a big star everywhere.
He wrestled many draws with Rocca (Boston, Chicago and MSG), had a
great feud with Killer Kowalski and beat Rogers, The Bruiser Fred
Blassie and Fritz Von Erich. Rikidozan had taken over in Japan and
Thesz had a famous tour. Lou then returned to the US and gave the
title to Dick Hutton (Nov. 14), who no one but Thesz wanted as
champion. I picked Carpentier. I don't think anyone in America knew
about Rikidozan and Japan at the time and you would have to say he
was regional. Stars like Rogers, Rocca, Thesz, Carpentier, Bruiser,
O'Connor, Kowalski, Gagne etc could draw anywhere and did. Could
Rikidozan?


1958. Buddy Rogers

Rogers had been #2 for so long that I have to believe, that with
Thesz gone and Hutton a weak champion, he would have won. This would
have been a year where workrate would play a big part in the victory
because Buddy was still doing jobs for Thesz. We know Lou hated
Rogers. I wonder how Buddy felt about Lou, considering how he was held
back. Carpentier lost his title to Kowalski (May 3), Gagne (Aug. 9),
and did a job for NWA champ Hutton (Dec. 26). Gagne was probably a
strong contender also.


1959. Buddy Rogers (2)

I had this a three way tie between Rogers, Rocca, and O' Connor, on
my original paper but was forced by John to pick one. This didn't
seem like a good year outside of NYC where Rocca was filling MSG. The
year sees the power in the NWA moving East. I think Rogers was the main
man and he was only being held back by the people in St. Louis. Pat
O'Connor won the NWA Title from Dick Hutton on Jan. 9. He was a very
good worker and had experience drawing in every territory. Verne Gagne
was powerful in the mid-west and probably had visions of a new AWA
in his head. Rogers worked Columbus and Montreal working programs
with Kowalski and Carpentier. Dr. X (Bill Miller) was having a good
run in the Omaha area. Carpentier moved to Calif. and claimed the
new WWA world title. Fred Blassie ruled parts of the South. Rikidozan
was also a consideration but in picking one, I take Rogers.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 8:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wrestlers of the Year
Posted by Steve Yohe

Eighties Messages
April 08, 2001
21:38:33 U.S. CST

1960. Buddy Rogers (3)

More of the same. Another major contender would be Ray Stevens who
was becoming a legend in SF.


1961. Buddy Rogers (4)

Rogers won NWA World Title from Pat O' Connor on June 30 in front of
38,000 fans. Other contenders are Fred Blassie who defeated Ed
Carpentier for the WWA Title in LA (June 12) and had wins over Thesz,
Ricky Star, George, Hutton, Carnera, and Rocca. The only major
babyface Blassie seemed to miss was Gagne. Ray Stevens continued
in SF.


1962. Buddy Rogers (5)

Rikidozan had two matches vs. Blassie in LA and beat Thesz and Kowalski
in Tokyo, but had title all year and he was king even as he was reaching
the end of the road. Ray Stevens was having a great year but broke his
ankle in July in the middle of a great series with Pepper Gomez. The
Destroyer won WWA Title from Blassie and became one of wrestling best
draws and workers. The Williams guy once again forces me to make a
decision and I took Rogers.


1963. Lou Thesz (8)

The NWA brings back Lou Thesz and the old killjoy takes the NWA title
back from Rogers (Jan. 24) and beats other title claimants like Kowalski,
Bruno Sammartino ,Tarzan Tyler, and Karl Gotch. Bruno Sammartino gets
pushed as the new East Coast king with a WWWF Title win over Buddy
Rogers (May 17), the surprise is that it works as the Italian plays his
part well. He is helped by programs with Kowalski and Gorilla Monsoon.
Stevens and Blassie return to their areas in Calif. and regain their
box office prowess. Rikidozan continues as a wrestling god in Japan but
is knifed in Dec. and dies. The Destroyer sells out The Olympic
Auditorium with matches vs. Shohei Baba and Blassie and is a sensation
in Japan being the last man to defeat the great Rikidozan. Verne Gagne
unifies the AWA and Omaha world titles with victory over Fritz Von
Erich. Rogers retires. The longevity of Thesz career is amazing. He had
out lasted Everett Marshall, Steve Casey, Frank Sexton, Bronko
Nagurski, Bill Longson, Gorgeous George, and now his greatest rival
Buddy Rogers. Now 25 years after his first title reign, he was ask to
return by the NWA. No other career ever had such big compliment.


1964. Bruno Sammartino

Thesz toured all year as NWA champ but Sammartino became the true power
with 11 MSG cards with attendance around 15,000 or better. This also
was a draw on my first draft but the Williams rule forces me to side
with Sammartino.


1965. Lou Thesz (9)

Looking at this year it's very close between Thesz and Sammartino
again. Sammartino still drew more but Thesz was the legitimate champion
and had better traditional wrestling matches. I would rather watch
Thesz wrestle Pat O' Connor than Bruno wrestle Bill Watts. I'm picking
Thesz one more time.


1966. Bruno Sammartino (2)

Gene Kiniski defeated Thesz on Jan. 7 for the NWA belt. Kiniski was a
great wrestler and a good champion but his selection made Sammartino
look more like the legitimate champion sense the two had worked a
long program with Bruno winning. Baba took control of JWA when
Toyonobori (successor to Rikidozan) self destructed due to gambling
debts. Bobo Brazil, #2 face in the East to Sammartino, was drawing
big in LA. Sammartino sticks out.


1967. Shohei Baba

JWA with Shohei Baba as it's leader crushes rival Japanese promotion
IWE (with Antonio Inoki and Toyonobori). Baba defends International
Title twice vs. Bruno Sammartino and twice vs. Gene Kiniski. All
four matches are draws. Baba also has memorable matches with Buddy
Austin, Fritz Von Erich and The Destroyer. Kiniski has big match
with Fritz Von Erich and Thesz and averages around 11,000 in St Louis.
Nothing much going on in WWWF. Bruno only draws 6,612 in MSG on
Oct. 23. and doesn't sell out all year. On July 15 Sammartino loses
match to Ray Stevens in S. F. via COR and gets bad reviews from all the
smart fans of the day. Giant Baba wins.


1968. Shohei Baba (2)

JWA had great wrestling all year with Baba defending International
Title with wins over The Crusher, Ray Stevens, Curtis Iaukea, Pat
Patterson, The Bruiser, Kowalski, and Brazil. Baba wrestles
Sammartino twice: a DCOR on Aug. 2 and then defeats the WWWF champ
on Aug. 7 via COR in a Int. Title defense. Baba also wrestled NWA
champion Kiniski twice: a draw on Dec. 1 and a win via DQ in a Int.
Title defense on Dec. 6. Seems the Americans would have sold JWA
Frank Gotch's grave if the price was right. Nothing special happened
in the WWWF with Bruno forced to meet people like The Kentucky Butcher
George Steele, and Rocky Fitzpatrick. Bruno's big feud was with The
Sheik the last 3 months of the years. The 3 MSQ shows drew 10,443,
11,122, and 10,943. Bruno had no MSG sell out in 68. The series did
help The Sheik become one of the biggest box office stars in
wrestling. Bruno did not pin The Sheik.


1969. Dory Funk Jr.

Dory Funk Jr. won NWA title from Kiniski on Feb. 11. Funk and the
other wrestlers trained on his father's ranch changed the style of
pro wrestling in the 70's introducing many of the suplex moves common
today. Dory did well in his first year as champ wrestling draws with
Baba and Antonio Inoki in Japanese title defenses. Baba continued on
top in JWA, but nothing special happened for him during year. Inoki
won JWA world tournament. Other contenders: Brazil, Jack Brisco,
Blassie, Mil Mascaras, and The Sheik. Sammartino still couldn't sell
out MSG. On May 14 he drew 7,670 for a tag match and on June 30 drew
5,527 vs. George Steele.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 8:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wrestlers of the Year
Posted by Steve Yohe

Eighties Messages
April 08, 2001
21:38:33 U.S. CST

1970. Dory Funk Jr. (2)

Sammartino did sell out MSG a least twice (vs. Crusher Verdu) and maybe
two other times also. But I think smart fans would vote for Funk
because of his work and the brother who could get heal heat.
Other contenders: Baba, Inoki, Blassie, John Tolos, The Sheik, Jack
Brisco, Pat Patterson, and Mil Mascaras. Verne Gagne is supposed to
have drawn 30,000 to a AWA title defense against Baron Von Raschke
in Chicago. Andre the Giant works first match in Japan and then is
moved to Montreal.


1971. Pedro Morales

Sammartino drops WWWF Title to Ivan Koloff clean (class way to go out),
who hands it to Pedro Morales on Feb. 8. Morales draws better in MSG
than Bruno ever did. Sellouts become common. Funk continues as NWA
champion and has feud with Jack Brisco. Fred Blassie and John Tolos
draw 25,847 and $142,158.50 to The LA Coliseum. Some historians think
it's the largest unworked figure in to that point in history. Mil
Mascaras is also a huge draw in LA Antonio Inoki popularity in JWA
becomes a problem. He becomes more of a rival than a tag partner to
Giant Baba. When he plans a coup, Inoki is expelled from company. Andre
the Giant works IWE Tournament in Japan and gets win over Karl Gotch
and losses finial to Strong Kobayashi via COR.


1972. Pedro Morales (2)

More of the same. Morales and Sammartino draw 22,508 and $140.923 to
Shea Stadium on Sept. 30. Inoki's NJW has first card on March 6 and
has series of matches with Karl Gotch. Baba breaks away from JWA on
Aug. 18 and forms AJ on Oct. 21. Andre and Don Leo Jonathan draw 20,000
fans to a match in Montreal.


1973. Andre The Giant

Andre The Giant signs with the WWWF and begins tours to just about
every territory, breaking attendance records beating two to three
major stars each night. The Giant, who was a good athlete and worker
for his size, becomes bigger that the world title. Shohei Baba wins
PWF world by beating 8 major stars, one of which is Bruno Sammartino
who he pins. Harley Race defeats Dory Funk for NWA title (May 24)when
Jr. is allegedly threaten with a shoot. Race drops it to Jack Brisco
on July 20. Brisco is a great wrestler and worker. In Dec, the WWWF
title is switched from Morales to Stan Stasiak to old reliable
Bruno Sammartino.


1974. Jack Brisco

Sammartino and Andre are huge draws during year but Jack Brisco was
one of the best working NWA champions. I think the smart fans would
give him their votes. Jack lost the title to Shohei Baba Dec. 2,
lost a rematch Dec. 5, then re-won the belt Dec. 9. The Japanese
show no class by not filming Baba losing match. Inoki rivals Baba;
beating Kintaro Oki and Strong Kobayashi


1975. Bruno Sammartino (3)

I was going to make this a 3 way tie but Mr. Go-by-the-Rules, The
Mil Mascaras of Smart Fans - John D. Williams - says no. Andre,
Brisco, Baba, Inoki continued strong. On Dec. 10, Terry Funk takes
NWA Title from Brisco. I saw this as a come down for the NWA. Terry
is known as a great worker but he wasn't the classic wrestler that
Thesz, Funk Jr or Brisco were. He was also very beatable in my eyes.
I liked him but not as NWA champion. Nick Bockwinkle defeated old
Verne Gagne for the AWA world title on Nov. 8. It was really nice
of Verne to give some young guy a chance since he had held on to
his belt through much inactivity sense Aug. 31, 1968. I think the
idea was he wanted to beat Thesz's record. I refuse to count it up
to tell you whether he did or did not. Bockwinkle was a good heal
champion and had good matches vs. Billy Robinson during the year.
Jumbo Tsuruta was the work horse of AJ. Sammartino was doing very
well in NYC. Not only selling out MSG but also the Felt Forum. I
think he also would have a big block of votes on the East Coast. I'm
giving it to Bruno. No, I'm not Italian.


1976. Bruno Sammartino (4)

This was the year of Antonio Inoki vs. Muhammad Ali and Sammartino's
broken neck. If Inoki had been able to pull it of, he would have won...
but he didn't. Sammartino injured his neck in a match with young Stan
Hansen and sucked it up to return to draw 40,000 for a rematch on
the undercard of the close circuit showing of Ali/Inoki. Nowhere in
the US did the Ali match draw beans, so I feel the Shea Stadium can
be credited to Bruno. He also drew big in match with Billy Graham,
Ernie Ladd and Bruiser Brody. Terry Funk, Andre, Dusty Rhodes, Jumbo
Tsuruta Mil Mascaras, and Terry Funk would have some votes. Mid-Atlantic
was having great matches with stars like Ric Flair and Wahoo McDaniel.


1977. Billy Graham

Superstar Billy Graham took the WWWF Title from Sammartino and did so
well that the company kept the belt on him for the rest of the year.
He had fun interviews and a great body but was a weak worker. Graham
and Dusty Rhodes drew 30,000 to MSG and the Felt Forum on Oct. 24.
Sammartino was still a moneymaker. Harley Race won the NWA Title from
Terry Funk and would prove himself a great champion. Nick Bockwinkle
was a good champion with AWA. Tatsumi Fujinami, one of wrestling's
greatest workers, was a hit in Japan and WWWF. Inoki rebuilt himself.


1978. Harley Race

The Williams rule stops me from making this a tie. I took Race over
Bob Backlund. Race was an ideal champ while Bob was drawing crowds
near 30,000 in MSG. I took Race. Billy Robinson had a great year with
AJ.


1979. Harley Race (2)

Race did title switches with Rhodes and Baba, while Backlund switched
with Inoki although the dummies in the US WWWF didn't know it. (Some
still don't.) Inoki had a strong year, appearing in MSG but not
really getting over in America. The WWWF Title no longer was considered
a "World" Title and Race appeared in MSG. I'll let others worry about
1979. I'm worn out.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 8:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wrestlers of the Year
Posted by Steve Yohe

Eighties Messages
April 08, 2001
21:38:33 U.S. CST

The following are actual awards given by THE OBSERVER

1980. Harley Race (3)
1981. Ric Flair
1982. Ric Flair (2)
1983. Ric Flair (3)
1984. Ric Flair (4)
1985. Ric Flair (5)
1986. Ric Flair (6)
1987. Riki Choshu
1988. Akira Maeda
1989. Ric Flair (7)
1990. Ric Flair (8)
1991. Jumbo Tsuruta
1992. Ric Flair (9)
1993. Vader
1994. Toshiaki Kawada
1995. Mitsuharu Misawa
1996. Kenta Kobashi
1997. Mitsuharu Misawa (2)
1998. Steve Austin
1999. Mitsuharu Misawa (3)
2000. HHH

So now that that's over, let's add them up:

Wrestlers of the Year Winners
- In (parenthesis) are years won.
- In [brackets] are other years a wrestler came very close to winning.

9-Time Winners
* Lou Thesz (1949-50-51-52-53-54-55, 63, 65) [1947-48, 56-57, 64]
* Ric Flair (1981-82-83-84-85-86, 89-90, 92)

8-Time Winners
* Frank Gotch (1904, 06-07-08-09-10-11-12)
* Joe Stecher (1914-15-16, 19-20, 25-26-27)

5-Time Winners
* Jim Londos (1930-31-32-33-34) [1928-29, 38-39-40-41]
* Bill Longson (1942-43-44-45, 47) [1946]
* Buddy Rogers (1958-59-60-61-62) [1949-50-51, 53-54-55-56-57]

4-Time Winners
* Ed Lewis (1922-23-24, 28) [1920]
* Bruno Sammartino (1964-65, 75-76) [1965, 67-68-69-70, 74]

3-Time Winners
* George Hackenschmidt (1901-02, 05) [1904, 06]
* Harley Race (1978-79-80)
* Mitsuharu Misawa (1995, 97, 99)

2-Time Winners
* Stanislaus Zbyszko (1913, 21)
* Earl Caddock (1917-18)
* Yvon Robert (1936, 41)
* Bronko Nagurski (1937, 39)
* Frank Sexton (1946, 48) [1947]
* Shohei Baba (1967-68) [1969]
* Dory Funk Jr. (1969-70)
* Pedro Morales (1971-72)

1-Time Winners
* Tom Jenkins (1903)
* Gus Sonnenberg (1929)
* Danno O'Mahoney (1935)
* Steve Casey (1938)
* Ray Steele (1940)
* Antonio Rocca (1956) [1957-58-59]
* Edward Carpentier (1957)
* Andre The Giant (1973) [1974-75-76-77-78-79]
* Jack Brisco (1974) [1975]
* Billy Graham (1977)
* Riki Choshu (1987)
* Akira Maeda (1988)
* Jumbo Tsuruta (1991)
* Vader (1993)
* Toshiaki Kawada (1994)
* Steve Austin (1998)
* HHH (2000)

Wrestlers left off that will upset some people: Rikidozan, Gorgeous
George, The Sheik, Mil Mascaras, Pat O'Connor, Ray Stevens, Billy Watson,
Gene Kiniski, Fred Blassie, The Destroyer (Dr. X), Dick Shikat, El Santo,
Verne Gagne.

John and I are hoping this with start interesting discussions about
history. I know John will be ripping at things. Please just comment on
sections of this like individual wrestlers or years. I don't want to
read my own stuff over and over. I'm also hoping to learn from all of
you.

Thanks,

Steve Yohe


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[Yohe List] Metoo...
Posted by BostonIdol

Eighties Messages
April 09, 2001
00:16:26 U.S. CST

Responding to Wrestlers of the Year

: This is a list of the wrestlers I think would have been
: voted Wrestler of the Year if some American sheet
: such as THE OBSERVER had existed since the
: beginning of the century.

Great concept. It looks like you tried to consider
drawing ability and quality of work. Did you work
out a rough ratio, or judge each year by feel?

For completeness, we should also take a look at
the wrestlers that Meltzer or his readers selected
as Wrestler of the Year.

: 1980. Harley Race (3)
: 1981. Ric Flair
: 1982. Ric Flair (2)
: 1983. Ric Flair (3)

Race carried the NWA title for about five months
during 1983. I haven't seen enough of Race or
Flair from 1983 to argue against Flair here.

: 1984. Ric Flair (4)
: 1985. Ric Flair (5)

After watching the Choshu invasion, I find it hard
to believe that Choshu wasn't the wrestler of 1985.
His group included several great or good workers,
but Choshu was the focus of the war and his solid
work did not detract from his tremendous charisma.

: 1986. Ric Flair (6)

At what point did the drawing ability of Flair and the
NWA become a bad joke outside of the southeast?
When making his choices, Yohe looked at the quality
of matches and drawing ability. Was Hogan ever
enough of a draw to offset his formulaic matches?
I believe Hogan versus Orndorff set a record here.

: 1987. Riki Choshu
: 1988. Akira Maeda

Was Maeda's monster drawing year in 1988 or 1989?

: 1989. Ric Flair (7)
: 1990. Ric Flair (8)

Jumbo would actually give Flair a run for this
honor in both 1989 and 1990. I'll give Flair
1989 based on it being probably his greatest
year with pinnacle feuds against Steamboat and
Funk, but for the same reason I'd be tempted to
give Jumbo 1990 for his matches with Misawa.

Jumbo's elevation of Misawa into main event
singles status rivals Flair's elevation of Luger
and Sting, neither of which took place in 1990.

: 1991. Jumbo Tsuruta

Lifetime achievement award? A consolation prize
for missing out on Wrestler of the Year in 1989,
1990... and the "Yohe years?" ;)

: 1992. Ric Flair (9)

His last hurrah... or at least it should have been.

: 1993. Vader

Hmm... Kobashi was having one of the hottest
runs of any worker in history around this time.
Hard for me not to give him the award, drawing
ability or main event status notwithstanding.

Vader was a great bumping big man, but many of
his matches from this period had a cookie cutter
feel to them. He seemed to have the same match
with Davey Boy and Simmons that he had with Sting.

: 1994. Toshiaki Kawada

Ah, the height of Williams' influence. ;)

Kawada had a great year, but I would at least
consider the possibility of Takada in 1994.

: 1995. Mitsuharu Misawa

Hmmm... I'm trying to remember all the great
Misawa matches from 1995...

: 1996. Kenta Kobashi

Hmmm... I'm trying to remember all the great
Kobashi matches from 1996...

Again drawing ability rears its head as some guys
named Hashimoto and Takada were doing Dome
show business in 1995 and 1996.

: 1997. Mitsuharu Misawa (2)

Uhhh... Okay, but he was slipping badly in terms
of having "Misawa by numbers" matches and relying
on Foley-esque risk taking to pop the crowd.

: 1998. Steve Austin
: 1999. Mitsuharu Misawa (3)

Must have been a down year for contenders
as Misawa was seriously fading here...

: 2000. HHH

*big laugh*

Pro wrestling's answer to George Seifort in 1989.

Frank

(Looking at the "Yohe Years" in another post.)


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[Yohe List] The seventies...
Posted by BostonIdol

Eighties Messages
April 09, 2001
01:20:38 U.S. CST

Responding to Wrestlers of the Year

Having taken issue with the Meltzer years elsewhere,
I turn my attention on the Yohe years from 1970-1979.

: 1970. Dory Funk Jr. (2)

The more I watch Dory, the more impressed I am by
Billy Robinson. I don't know what Robinson did in
1970, so I can't argue his case, but Dory from 1970
looks awfully dull on videotape.

: 1971. Pedro Morales
: 1972. Pedro Morales (2)

Did Pedro Morales have any quality matches during
this period, or does he mainly win for drawing?

I could be wrong, but I seem to recall a comment,
perhaps by Jeff Amdur, about Morales not being a
good draw in Baltimore. Was Morales drawing power
limited to New York, or was Baltimore the exception?

: 1973. Andre The Giant

If you went strictly by drawing, would Andre retire
this award for the next decade or so? I understand
that he was also a decent worker at this point. I'm
just curious as to whether his drawing power waned.

: 1974. Jack Brisco

: I think the smart fans would give him their votes.

Ahhh... so these are "smart WO fan in general" picks
as opposed to "Steve Yohe in particular" picks? ;)

Are you also attempting to account for the Meltzer
influence? If so, I suspect Dory Funk walks away
with both of Pedro's trophies the way Flair walked
away with the honors during Hogan's monster run. :)

: 1975. Bruno Sammartino (3)

Brisco... channeling WO fans of course.

My pick would be Billy Robinson. He's got to win
one of these sooner or later, and I still haven't
gotten over the spot where he snaps, grabs Inoki,
and belly-to-belly suplexes Inoki over the top rope
to the floor. Total H.G. Wells moment there.

My vote would also be a make-good of sorts since
Billy Robinson carried Verne Gagne to a good match
at Comiskey Park in September, 1974, where Verne
was basically Dusty Rhodes without the charisma.

: 1976. Bruno Sammartino (4)

You also need to consider the Williams influence.
Of course no one knew who the hell John Williams
was in 1976, other than his parents, but if there had
been an El Hijo Del Meltzer in 1976, I think he
would have been pimping Jumbo heavily to Meltzer.

Seriously though, this may have been Jumbo's
greatest year ever. He had the Japanese MOTY
with Rusher Kimura in March, worked a great NWA
title bout with Terry Funk in June, worked a
seventy minute draw with Billy Robinson in July,
and topped all that off by beating recent NWA
champ Jack Brisco for the UN title in August.
Jumbo also had to carry the load in International
tag title matches for most of the year.

: 1977. Billy Graham

Jumbo had another Japanese MOTY, this time with
Mil Mascaras, a series of remembered matches with
Billy Robinson, and an NWA title match with Race,
but I tend to be less impressed with any and all
of these than I was with Jumbo in 1976. That said,
I could see WO voters getting confused and giving
Jumbo the make good here like they did in 1991.

Not that I'm arguing with Graham. I haven't seen
enough from this era to refute him, though the
handful of matches I have seen suggest that Graham
had far more charisma than ability. Well, perhaps
he was the "Stone Cold" Steve Austin of his era.

: 1978. Harley Race

: The Williams rule stops me from making this a tie.
: I took Race over Bob Backlund.

Good call. ;)

: Race was an ideal champ while Bob was drawing
: crowds near 30,000 in MSG. I took Race.

I tend to think Backlund was like Steve Young here,
a great talent beginning to emerge in a program
that was already really successful.

: Billy Robinson had a great year with AJ.

Really? I knew of Robinson's battles with Jumbo
in 1977, but I hadn't heard about anything in 1978.
As a developing Robinson mark, I'd like to know
what I should be looking for in 1978.

: 1979. Harley Race (2)

: Race did title switches with Rhodes and Baba,
: while Backlund switched with Inoki although
: the dummies in the US WWWF didn't know it.

Bigger load to carry, Rhodes or Inoki? Both
would bump, but Inoki would bump more. Then
again, Inoki would try moves that he couldn't
execute and mess everything up, too.

: (Some still don't.) Inoki had a strong year,
: appearing in MSG but not really getting over
: in America.

We're dumb but we aren't that dumb. If he's all
that on the mat, how come he's always getting
schooled by the heels? ;)

: The WWWF Title no longer was considered a "World"
: Title and Race appeared in MSG. I'll let others
: worry about 1979. I'm worn out.

My guess would be Race in 1979. I know I'm a Race
mark so I'm likely to favor him more than others,
but if I was ever going to give Backlund the nod
over Race, it would probably be in 1980 or 1981.

Frank

(Yes, I realize Race didn't win the award in 1981.)


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

re: Wrestlers of the Year
Posted by Old School John

Eighties Messages
April 09, 2001
14:37:42 U.S. CST

Responding to Wrestlers of the Year

Steve Yohe wrote:

: This is a list of the wrestlers I think would have been voted
: Wrestler of the Year if some :American sheet such as THE
: OBSERVER had existed since the beginning of the :century.
: I thought this would be a good exercise because it would tell us
: something :about the longevity of the stars of today compared
: with the other greats throughout the :twentieth century. John
: Williams and I are hoping this list will lead to interesting
: discussion or even some of those heated arguments that tOA is
: famous for. I've spent the :last few years studying the early part
: of the century and I feel comfortable I can defend :my choices
: in those years against anyone,


Fair enough... The gauntlet has been laid down... ;-)

The only disturbing element is the caveat that these are the choices
that you postulate would have been made through a vehicle like WON. The
only problem that I see with this is that in the last two decades we've
seen occasions of the readership playing "Follow the Meltz" and lavish
praise on some fairly questionable choices. I'd much rather argue
individual and well-researched choices than trying to extrapolate the
logic of a fictitious readership. That being said, let's have a look:


:1901. George Hackenschmidt
:1902. George Hackenschmidt (2)
:1903. Tom Jenkins
:1904. Frank Gotch
:1905. George Hackenschmidt (3)
:1906. Frank Gotch (2)
:1907. Frank Gotch (3)
:
: Hack had a injured knee and returned to Russia to rest out the
: year. Physically Hack was :finished. Gotch was undefeated. The
: new superstar and major wrestler in Europe was :Stanislaus
: Zbyszko.


Okay, here's where we may disagree slightly. I'll posit that in a fervor
of nationalism, the early 1900's version of Anthony Gancarski counsels
the readership to "lurk and learn" and pimps Zbysko into the top spot.

:1908. Frank Gotch (4)
:
: Gotch defeats Hackenschmidt in NYC (4-3-08) to win World
: Championship and :reconfirm Americas superiority over
: Europe. In this year Gotch would have won :SPORTS
: ILLUSTRATED"S "Sportsman of the Year award. Let alone
: the OBSERVER :Wrestler of the Year.

Damn straight.

:1909. Frank Gotch (5)
:
: Defeated Yussiff Mahmout, B. F. Roller, Tom Jenkins, and Jess
: Westergaard.

:1910. Frank Gotch (6)
:
:Defeated Stanislaus Zbyszko in super bout (6-1-10) in Chicago.

Here's where the Indo-elitists may have their day and the 1900's versions
of certain people on this board whose initials are jdw, fj, and jp will
rail about the virtues of The Great Gama, setting up the great US vs.
Asia debate. The fictitious readership wishing to a avoid a jdw
chronology with detailed coverage of all 4,200 Gama matches to date
caves in and bestows the award on the man who would later beat Zbysko
in thirty seconds. Both Gotch and Gama beat Zbysko this year, but Gama
beat EVERYBODY that year (except Gotch). I'd give the nod to Gama based
on being a huge draw throughout Europe to the point that he received
tremendous press coverage in the States as well.

: 1911. Frank Gotch (7)
:
: Gotch won rematch with Hackenschmidt (9-4-11), which would
: be enough to win him :wrestler of the Year award but also
: killed wrestling in many parts of the country such as Chicago.

I don't like this for the very reasons that you give, but I don't see
any other viable choice. Gama's tour of Europe was over and he was
going into the "I don't wrestle unless you beat my brother mode".

: 1912. Frank Gotch (8)
: Weak choice in a bad year but I have no other choice. Gotch
: was semi-retired but was always willing to step on any
: contender before their push challenged him. He did refuse to
: give rematch to Stanislaus Zbyszko.

Bad year, but what was Roller doing? Touring with Hack? I'm really
grasping at straws here as I hate to see the semi-retired Gotch get the
nod, but I'm really not finding anything to suggest that anyone else
should get it. From 1913 to the mid-twenties I can't really find a
thing to quibble about. I'll be interested in what you have to say
about Gama...

Back with another decade or so later...


Cheers,

OSJ


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

re: Wrestlers of the Year
Posted by Steve Yohe

Eighties Messages
April 11, 2001
23:16:57 U.S. CST

Responding to re: Wrestlers of the Year

: : 1910. Frank Gotch (6)
: : Defeated Stanislaus Zbyszko in super bout (6-1-10)
: : in Chicago.
:
: Here's where the Indo-elitists may have their day and
: the 1900's versions of certain people on this board
: whose initials are jdw, fj, and jp will rail about the virtues
: of The Great Gama, setting up the great US vs. Asia debate.
: The fictitious readership wishing to a avoid a jdw chronology
: with detailed coverage of all 4,200 Gama matches to date caves
: in and bestows the award on the man who would later beat
: Zbysko in thirty seconds. Both Gotch and Gama beat Zbysko
: this year, but Gama beat EVERYBODY that year (except
: Gotch). I'd give the nod to Gama based on being a huge draw
: throughout Europe to the point that he received tremendous
: press coverage in the States as well.

My Gama knowledge is limited but from my info the Sept. 10, 1910 match
with Zbysko was a draw with Stan spending most of the 2 1/2 hours
laying face down on the matt with Gama unable to do anything with him.
From what I can understand Indian style wrestling resembled Sumo more
the American pro wrestling. They wrestled in mud & the man taken down
lost. They may have had to pin one shoulder, IM not sure. In the match
Zbyszko lost(Jan. 28, 1928), Gama just bearhuged Stan, lifted him up
as Zbyszko slid around in the mud, and droped him down for the win. For
that Stan made a huge sum of money ($60,000) during the depression.
I believe wrestling has always been a work & Gama was the protege of
the Maharaja of Patiala, who was one of the richest men on earth. Any
pro wrestler in the world would have been glad to job to Gama...for a
sum like $60,000. Lewis says he did one too. I don't know maybe Gama
was the greatest wrestler, but from my limited info, I don't think
so.--Steve Yohe


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

re: Wrestlers of the Year
Posted by Dan

Eighties Messages
April 09, 2001
19:11:10 U.S. CST

Responding to Wrestlers of the Year

I look forward to reading this list. I printed it out so I can read it
during my commute.

A question in the mean time is, what were your sources?

The follow-up is: where can I get them?
-Dan
(Feeling kinda sorry with just a copy of Fall Guys, a Ben Roller
article, and a copy of Hooker auto'd to "Al")


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