Wrestlers are different than most of us. Most people don’t have the discipline or mental and physical toughness to live the life of a professional wrestler. It is also tough to measure greatness in this sport.
But we all know the great ones. They have that sometimes indefinable mix of charisma, talent, in-ring ability and usually the gift of gab. The PWHF has sought to honor these unique people. The great ones came from families in all walks of life and all parts of this country, Canada and indeed the whole world. And many of the great ones have come when called to be honored at the PWHF – The Destroyer, Nick Bockwinkel, The Fabulous Moolah, Killer Kowalski, Verne Gagne, Terry Funk, Harley Race, Angelo Savoldi, Mae Young, Penny Banner, Jack Brisco, George Steele, Don Leo Jonathan, Pat Patterson, Ted Dibiase, Cora Combs, Danny Hodge, Roddy Piper, Gene Kiniski, Lou Albano, Donna Christantello, Jay Strongbow, Paul Orndorff and many more have visited The Hall.
The wrestling business is just that – a business. If you are in the business, you are in it to make money … but the truly great ones, besides wanting to earn a living, truly love the wrestling business. So when a legitimate Hall of Fame … a not for profit establishment with no salaried employees … and a selection committee comprised of veteran wrestlers, writers and historians votes you into this Hall of Fame, the truly great ones are honored. They are honored because they have been voted in by their peers … similar to the way baseball, football, boxing, basketball and hockey players are voted into their halls. Unfortunately, some of the seemingly great ones see this honor as no more than an “appearance” along the same line as a compensated wrestling show or autograph session. That is truly unfortunate.
The names I listed above, along with all the others who have visited like J.J. Dillon, Johnny Rodz, Mick Foley, Davey O’Hannon, Pete Sanchez, Dom Denucci, Baron Scicluna, Ida May Martinez, Ray Stern, Jimmy & Johnny Valiant, Bill Eadie, Ivan Putski and so many more … truly love the wrestling business … truly love what they did … and are truly honored to walk into a building where the sole purpose is to honor them and the business they earned a living in.
And that is how I define “The Great Ones”.
- John Pantozzi