Well hello there!
Before I get into Part 2, I would like to thank all of you who checked out Part 1. Despite the fact that I have only started contributing more, it means the world and the bonus is that I have seen many of you across social media comment on it as well as give your own opinions as to who should be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
I mentioned in a Tweet on Wednesday that today’s list was going to include some surprising names, maybe you have thought of them too but I guess maybe that is today’s topic, potential inductees that never get mentioned despite how much they may have contributed to professional wrestling.
Let’s get cracking, shall we?
People I hear a HUGE ‘Who?’ I will have to highlight who Tommy Young is. The best way to describe him would be to say he was to JCP (Jim Crockett Promotions) what Earl Hebner was to the WWF / WWE. He was that good and he was their Senior Official. Tommy got his start in the world of professional wrestling alongside Ed Farhat aka The Sheik back in 1971 and was the man in the middle for some of the biggest matches in the history of the sport. Unfortunately during a match in 1989 between Mike Rotunda and ‘Wildfire’ Tommy Rich, Young suffered a career ending injury which resulted in a broken neck and thus he had to retire.
Referees / Officials tend to be forgotten and under appreciated for what they do and to date there is still not one single Referee / Official in the WWE Hall of Fame, I definitely feel that Mr Young is worthy of an induction and I hope I am not the only one in thinking this.
I am certain that die hard fans of the WWE will agree with this one and I hope it is for the right reasons. Harvey is mostly known for his WWE run, but it was in the Memphis territory under the name Downtown Bruno where he made his mark on the sport. Whilst in the south, he managed Lord Humongous aka Sid Vicious. It was in 1991 where the pair were reunited in the WWE, however that was shortlived as Sid would leave the WWE by April 1992. He went on to manage Kamala, Adam Bomb, Kwang, among others. I dare say that one of the biggest highlights of his career was his feud with Howard Finkel. Their feud ran for years and it wasn’t until January 1995 where they squared off in a Tuxedo Match on an episode of RAW that ended the feud. He was also in the corner of Bertha Faye and guided her to the Women’s Championship by defeating then Champion Alundra Blayze.
Wippleman later became a referee but it is his role and responsibilities behind the scenes that have left many in awe over the years. It was his good hearted nature that assisted The Rock very early in his career and provided him with a place to stay. A few months ago, The Rock was able to repay his debt and bought this generous man a brand new truck.
I don’t know how many of you are going to agree with this one, but I genuinely feel that Harvey has earned his spot and should be rewarded for his endless contributions behind the scenes.
Here is one that perhaps is mentioned by the more old school fan of the WWE. New Zealander Tony Garea made his WWE debut as far back as 1972 when it was still known as the WWWF! A year later Garea would win his first of five WWE Tag Team Championships as he paired up with Haystacks Calhoun to defeat Mr. Fuji and Professor Toru Tanaka. He won his four other Tag Team Championships with Dean Ho, WWE Hall of Famer Larry Zbyszko and Rick Martel.
He would retire from in-ring competition in 1986. He is currently one of the WWE’s longest serving employees and for that and his accomplishments, Tony Garea rightfully deserves to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. The fact that he hasn’t been inducted yet is quite a surprise.
Gory Guerrero is one that leaves me wondering why he isn’t in the Hall yet and like the theme of today’s column he is one whose name isn’t mentioned as often.
His accomplishments as both a promoter and a wrestler are second to none and if we were to highlight some of Mexico’s biggest exports, Gory is definitely on my list. In 1954 he even challenged WWE Hall of Famer Lou Thesz for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship!
His sons Chavo, Mando, Hector and of course Eddie followed in his footsteps and in my eyes, Gory is worthy of such an honour. Gory was the inventor of the Camel Clutch, Gory Special as well as the Widow’s Peak.
Jose wasn’t a great wrestler and his accomplishments aren’t really worthy of such an honour I suppose but maybe I’m slightly biased because he trained my all time favourite wrestler in Shawn Michaels.
Jose went on to manage Shawn throughout his first run as WWE Champion and made his final appearance in that role in his hometown of San Antonio, Texas at the 1997 Royal Rumble. Jose was even used in a storyline when Sid controversially won the WWE Championship from HBK at Survivor Series 1996.
Okay here is one that is LONG overdue and I’ll have you know that I wasn’t in any way shape or form bribed to include Mr Apter on this list (Bill I’ll send you my PayPal details later) Jokes aside, Bill Apter is a household name and his endless drive and passion for the sport is outstanding. From his photography, his interviews, stellar reporting and all around fun persona, Mr Apter should definitely be acknowledged for allowing many readers across the world to discover new professional wrestlers, among other things. A TRUE journalist and someone who I am very proud to consider a friend.
Before Paul Heyman took over ECW, that post was held by Tod Gordon. Tod founded the company, a post he held till 1995. Despite being the President of a jewelry store, he got the business and was one of the brains behind the famous Shane Douglas promo where he disrespected the entire legacy of the NWA. Paul E may have been the one that took ECW to new heights but it was Tod Gordon who was able to make ECW the #3 promotion in the United States.
For those who know me well enough, I love Memphis Wrestling. Memphis Wrestling if you have never given it a go is worth watching, some great angles, matches and even feuds were incredibly entertaining. Austin Idol was one of those talents in Memphis who was superb and his feud with WWE Hall of Famer Jerry “The King” Lawler is probably up there with one of the best things to emerge from that territory.
I will let you readers decide whether you feel Mr Idol is worthy or not 😉
“HOT STUFF” EDDIE GILBERT
Eddie Gilbert was special, at least my eyes and my ears thought he was. He was before my time and keep in mind that I didn’t get to see a lot of Memphis growing up as it wasn’t aired on TV over here BUT as the years went on, I have been able to witness what a special talent he was. He was a part of the WWE in 1982 and rose up the ranks quite heavily until he was heavily injured in a car accident.
From there, he wrestled all across the US and had stints with JCP, CWF, USWA and even ECW as their Head Booker. Unfortunately he passed away on February 18th 1995, he was 33 years old.
So that’s it for this week’s edition of The Great Debate. Part 3 will follow next week and I will focus on who else I feel should be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Thanks for reading! Please let me know in the comments of any names I haven’t mentioned.
*David J Diaz has been a fan of professional wrestling since 1991 and can be followed on Twitter @DJDiaz88.