WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2010: Mad Dog Vachon

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Mad Dog Vachon

Class of 2010

Mutli Time AWA Champion

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Hall of Fame Rating

6 out of 10

Influential

Mad Dog Vachon was the third of the AWA megastars to join the WWE Hall of Fame.

And he may be one of the last, as there aren’t many AWA men who would be referred as that.

Like other territories throughout the 60-80s, only one or two stars remained on top for many years.

Bruno Sammartino dominated as WWWF champion from 1961-1969. That is eight years long. Yet, that amount pales in comparison to the domination of wrestler/promoter Verne Gagne, who held the belt 10 times in 20 years from 1960-1980. (Back when face championship reigns were at least a year)

I got over 10! Douche Cena rules!

I got over 10 in less than 10 years ! Douche Cena rules!

In the 60s, Vachon was AWA’s go to villain, holding the belt 5 times in the mid sixties. And this is when no one beat Verne Gagne.

gagneangry

Beat is a strong word. Verne let him win.

This led to his position as the quintessential company man for the AWA. If AWA had survived, he along with fellow Hall of Famer, Nick Bockwinkel would be remembered as patriarchs of the company and very fondly. He was a staple of his time and that organization.

Yet, Mad Dog could never be a professional wrestler today. His type doesn’t exist anymore. Short, ugly, hairy former Olympians don’t even exist today.

Except for Russians

Except for Russians

 Its a change in times. First, wrestlers today are all pretty. The worst looking successful wrestler today has either got to be The Great Khali due to his giantism….

If you view this as success...

If you view this as success…

Or Kane, who is more of a hold over to the previous generation.

 The top talent of the last ten years all have female fans, as they are good looking men.

Apparently good looking... Really?

Apparently good looking… Really?

Mad Dog is an ugly man. An extremely ugly man. His gimmick was of a horrifying monster of man, squished into the smallest package. In Vachon’s time, the average wrestler looked like Verne Gagne.

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Uncle Verne

Looks are important today but so is ability to act a script. At least today. The old fashioned promo was a thing of beauty. And some could do it. Some could not…without racism

 Vachon had the ability to become his character. His words made no sense, his focus manic and over the top. In the world of 60-80s wrestling it worked. The impression he gave was all that mattered. After all kayfabe said that this was really who this man was.

And George Steele is mentally handicapped.

And George Steele is mentally handicapped.

 Mad Dog was a scary man. His scratchy brambly voice even sounds frightening in French, the most beautiful language.

It literally sounds like Mad Dog created his own language.

And that sums up Mad Dog’s lasting impact. He was the got to company man player who had a unique and memorable character.  Whether he

Why 2010?

Vachon was the third AWA megastar inducted. Verne Gagne joined in 2006, Nick Bockwinkel in 2007, and Vachon in 2010. As the WWE continued to become more and more integrated with wrestling history, it only made sense to include the historically relevant Mad Dog.

2010, although one of the weaker classes in notable star power, did feature some very highly respected ring veterans. Mad Dog’s inclusion made sense and still does today.

Opens Door For?

Other AWA centric inductees. One of the likiest would be Larry Zybysko, who also spent time in the WWE in the early 80s

Reasons this shouldn’t have happened.

None. And with Mad Dog’s passing, it is good it happened when it did, 3 years before his death.

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WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2010: Antonio Inoki

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Antonio Inoki

Class of 2010

Japan’s Vince and Hogan Combo

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Hall of Fame Rating

7 out of 10

Historically Significant

Antonio Inoki was the first international superstar inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. His stature in Japan was that of Vince McMahon and his fame as large as Hulk Hogan. Like Hogan, he hocks some strange items.

inokicondoms

Antonio Inoki Condoms, with more yelling, punching and fire

Better or worse than this.

Hulk Hogan made us pasta....

Hulk Hogan made us pasta….

But Why is he in the WWE Hall of Fame?

Inoki began his career in Japan in the early 1960s. He came from a rich background and in many ways that benefit and attitude permeated in a real way throughout his career. Inoki became a large “regional” Japanese star. Japan’s wrestling scene functioned similarly to the old territory based USA system. Yet even still, the JWA owned and operated by Giant Baba was always considered best.

Giant Baba and Inoki began their own WCW/WWF rivarly when Inoki failed a buy out of the JWA and was fired (again remember Inoki is rich). He then opened up the famous New Japan (again super rich) in 1972. Inoki booked and dominated much for New Japan’s card and he eventually became the godfather of Japanese Wrestling.

 

That was until a political scandal (he’s in politics too, but more on that later) undid Inoki in 1995 and he proceeded to sell the majority share to the video game company Yukes (the same as WWE 12) before eventually retiring, and making his son the figurehead of New Japan.

This would be like McMahon selling to Disney with HHH as CEO.

bryanno

mickey_mouse-1097

Would be mean a raise in pay and health benefits

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All of his bio aside, Inoki is in the Hall of Fame due to his force of personality. WWE began inducting competition and non-WWE wrestlers in 2006 and this was one step further. No one can deny the importance of Antonio Inoki.

Inoki was a big deal but also a tough son of gun. In the “fake” world of professional wrestling, he was known as a pretty straight shooter. And he knew how to promote. Inoki used himself to challenge the odd and the famous. Inoki was also famous for his shoots. He was legitimate as any NCAA champion. He messed up the no selling Great Antonio and shot on Muhammed Ali.

He is also one of the few men to have defeated Ric Flair, Andre the Giant, Hulk Hogan and Bob Backlund. All by pinfall. For real.

Ric Flair vs. Antonio Inoki – Video Dailymotion.

He even won the WWE Championship (not held as official or valid, but technically he did)

http://robschamberger.com/antonio-inoki/

Inoki was also involved with the WWE at one point in the late 70s/early 80s. Vince Sr. attempted to bring in many varied acts for all over the world. Everyone has and always will feel the importance of the garden but this time period it was at its height. Inoki was the first and long running WWF Martial Arts Champion. A title which not only existed but existed until 1989.

shrug

His prestige is a major part of his character and his image. Inoki was the first professional wrestler in history of the entire world to ever run for political office and win. (Jesse Ventura followed) Inoki used his wealth and prestige to build himself an empire around himself.  It collapsed down on top of him when in 1995 he was accussed of bribery and working with the mafia. Inoki was subsequently defeated in the congress.

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And he likes to dress up as Che Guevara for some reason

But most of all, Antonio Inoki is the Hall due to the respect for him. People line up to be slapped BY HIM.

And in wrestling, that’s a man to be celebrated.

Why 2010?

Starting in 2006, WWE generally inducted at least one of their competition into the Hall. Verne Gagne, Stu Hart, Eddie Graham and Bill Watts all went into the Hall. Inoki is similar in his “competition standings, yet for the most part Inoki always had a working/reasonable relationship with the WWE.

This was the beginning of the next layer for the WWE Hall of Fame. Competition was inducted, now begins foriegn stars. Inoki is probably known by 15-20% of wrestling fans in the world. Americans are not familiar with his work or importance. Yet by adding him to the Hall of Fame, the WWE attempted to legitimize the Hall and THE one and only Hall that matters.

Inoki, sadly was part of one of the strangest and weakest classes since the reboot. The lack of marquee names and his own translated speech made this an awkward induction for sure.

Opens Door For?

Directly, Mil Mascaras. Mascaras had a similar history for the organization but mostly flourished outside of the USA.

Potentials for the future include Dos Caras or Justin Liger

Reasons this shouldn’t have happened.

Fear that Inoki would beat somebody up.