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Ask 411 Wrestling: Does Logan Paul Belong in the Celebrity Wing of the Hall of Fame?

June 21, 2024 | Posted by Ryan Byers
WWE Royal Rumble Logan Paul Image Credit: WWE

Welcome guys, gals, and gender non-binary pals, to Ask 411 . . . the last surviving weekly column on 411 Wrestling.

I am your party host, Ryan Byers, and I am here to answer some of your burning inquiries about professional wrestling. If you have one of those queries searing a hole in your brain, feel free to send it along to me at [email protected]. Don’t be shy about shooting those over – the more, the merrier.

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MNMNB is all hopped up on Prime:

In your opinion – since WWE is an entertainment company that makes and changes the rules as they see fit – when Logan Paul eventually goes in to the Hall of Fame, should he be in the celebrity wing? He wrestles, but I don’t think anyone would say he’s (currently) working in wrestling on a full-time basis unless they have a bad-faith definition of “full-time basis.”

If you assume that Logan Paul will be going into the WWE Hall of Fame at some point, then I would put him into the mainline HOF as opposed to the celebrity wing. Though admittedly he has worked nothing like what we would consider a full-time schedule, we are still talking about somebody who has wrestled thirteen matches over the course of two years thusfar, has had a relatively long championship reign, has competed in most of the company’s major gimmick matches, and has headlined two different PLEs in world title matches.

That resume strikes me as being significantly different than just about any other “celebrity” inductee – a list that by the way currently consists of Muhammad Ali, Andy Kaufman, Ozzy Osbourne, William Shatner, Kid Rock, Snoop Dogg, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mr. T, Donald Trump, Mike Tyson, Drew Carey, Bob Uecker, William Perry, and Pete Rose.

Of that group, Kaufman probably had the most consistent involvement in wrestling, as he regularly appeared in the Memphis territory over the course of a couple of years and probably would have done even more if not for his declining health and his death just six months after his last in-ring participation. However, Logan Paul has even more of a claim to being a “real” wrestling personality than Kaufman did, because he is having real, high level athletic matches whereas the matches that Andy had were basically the sort of schtick you would see a heel manager like Jimmy Hart or Jim Cornette doing when they would occasionally get in the ring to receive their comeuppance from a babyface.

Plus, it’s not as though Logan Paul is going to be receiving this hypothetical Hall of Fame induction in the next couple of months. He signed what was described as a “multi-year” contract with WWE shortly after Wrestlemania in 2023, which means that he will be involved with the company through at least April 2025 if not longer. In all likelihood, his bona fides to eventually go into the Hall of Fame as a wrestler rather than a celebrity will only grow substantially from where they are at right now.

Nobody is gonna Ava Raine on Damion‘s parade:

With the Rock’s daughter running NXT, do you think there should be an occasional Bloodline appearance whenever someone on the roster pisses her off? Not saying full heel. She acts fairly most of the time but guys who act up suddenly get smacked around backstage by Tama Tonga or something.

I don’t know if a random, unannounced backstage attack would help all that much, but if you wanted to pop a rating on a particularly big episode of NXT (perhaps their CW debut), I think there are much worse ideas than Ava calling on her family members to come in and have a match against a wrestler or wrestlers that have been giving her grief.

Steve asks the first of several questions that I’m sure were brought on by the fact that The Iron Claw is now streaming on Max:

I just watched The Iron Claw, and while I’m sure there were many details that were changed or invented for the movie, only one stood out to me as obviously false. On their first date, Kevin tells his future wife that his family is said to be cursed due to his father changing his name to Von Erich, the birth name of Kevin’s grandmother, whose family suffered repeated misfortunes.

“Von Erich” being an actual family name of the former Jack Adkisson strikes me as extremely unlikely. The “Von” prefix usually indicates German aristocracy, and while it’s not impossible that German nobility would wind up in rural North Texas, I doubt it. And then “Erich” is a common German first name, not surname; it is apparently not unheard of as a surname, but it’s rare and seems especially strange in combination with “von,” which means “of,” indicating that someone’s ancestors were “from Erich.”

Sources I could find suggest that Jack Adkisson was given the Von Erich name by Stu Hart in the 1950s, when Nazi heels would have been good business. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t inspired by an actual family name.

So is the cursed Grandma Von Erich story wholly fictional?

It’s . . . partially fictional. According to this Vulture article by entertainment journalist Siddhant Adlakha, Jack Adkisson’s mother’s maiden name truly was “Erich,” albeit without the “Von.”

Though I’ve not found a source to directly support this, my strong suspicion is that the “Von” was added because it is something that immediately made the name read as German to an American audience in a way that “Erich” would not on its own. After all, there’s a reason that the stereotypical German guy in Mike Tyson’s Punch Out is named “Von Kaiser” and why Richard O’Brien added “Von” to Dr. Scott’s name in The Rocky Horror Show to make everybody think he had a past as a Nazi.

Bryan is seeing double:

Was there ever any confusion with promoters in the 1980s when BOTH Sione Vailahi, AND John “Berserker” Nord were going by the name Barbarian? Sometimes I’ll read match results from long ago and not know which one they were referring to. You think matches ever advertised one, and people came thinking it was the other guy, and did either one of them have a problem with it?

There would not have been a ton of confusion among fans or promoters, because we are talking about pro wrestling circa 1985, when things were still very regional, despite the fact that the WWF was beginning its national expansion. Sione was mostly wrestling in Mid-Atlantic at this time whereas Nord was mostly wrestling in Mid-South. The vast majority of fans in each of those territories would have no idea what was going on in the other, because they were simply watching the television of their local promotion and attending the shows of their local promotion. There would have been some early “smart” fans in those days who were reading the earliest pro wrestling newsletters and even a handful of people trading tapes of show from across the country. However, those fans were die-hard enough that they were probably not going to be confused by two entirely different men who just happened to be using the same name.

There was one place where a distinction had to be made, though: Wrestling magazines. Though wrestling was mostly regional, there were nationally published magazines that included stories from across the country. In the Apter mags, Sione was referred to as “Konga the Barbarian” to distinguish him from Nord. This was because, prior to becoming the Barbarian in Mid-Atlantic, he wrestled in other territories as “King Konga” and still had “Konga” printed on some of the gear that he wore when he showed up in Mid-Atlantic.

Interestingly, it was after the two men toured New Japan Pro Wrestling within a month of each other (Sione in October 1985 and Nord in November 1985) that they appear to have started distinguishing their ring names more in the U.S., with Nord becoming “Nord the Barbarian” full time as opposed to just “The Barbarian.” It’s possible that this is just a coincidence, because I can’t find anything explicitly stating that these to occurrences have anything to do with each other, but the timing is rather interesting.

Finally, if you’re curious as to whether these two men ever faced each other, they certainly did. I found at least two singles matches between them, one taking place on WWF Prime Time Wrestling on December 3, 1991 (aired January 6, 1992) and the other taking place on WCW Monday Nitro on January 5, 1998 in the Georgia Dome.

Tyler from Winnipeg is moving down to the relatively warm, relatively balmy climate of Minneapolis:

How did Ric Flair do under Verne Gange?

You have to keep in mind that, when Ric Flair was wrestling for Verne Gagne’s AWA, he was a true rookie. The future Nature Boy attended Gagne’s training camp to learn the ropes as a pro wrestling in 1971, and then he completed in the AWA between December ’72 and May ’74. During that time, he obviously had quite a bit of talent for a young wrestler, but it’s not as though Gagne strapped a rocket to his backside and immediately shot him to the top of the card. He was booked as an underneath guy and, frankly, he lost a fair amount more than he won, though it’s not like he was treated as a jobber. In fact, one of Flair’s regular opponents during his first year as a wrestler was Greg Gagne, and Greg regularly defeated Flair, which many fans today would probably consider a travesty if they saw it on paper. However, they were both just young guys earning their stripes at that point.

Of course, halfway through 1974, Naitch went to Mid-Atlantic, and the rest is history.

It’s worth noting that Ric Flair did make a few guest appearances in the AWA after he became a superstar, including NWA World Heavyweight Title defenses against Billy Robinson on August 18, 1985, Magnum TA on September 28, 1985 for Superclash (actually a co-promoted show), Nick Bockwinkel on January 16, 1986, Curt Hennig on June 27, 1986, and finally Brian Pillman on May 5, 1990.

Big Al is down to the last seven bucks in his pocket:

Just how truly close was WWF to bankruptcy in the mid 90’s? Was it truly as bad as some wrestlers/executives make it out to be?

Yes, it’s as bad as people make it out to be. The entire reason that Bret Hart left the company was that the WWF could not afford to pay him anymore. If you literally cannot afford to pay one of your two top stars what you previously agreed to pay him, you’re in some pretty dire straits . . . and I don’t mean getting your money for nothin’ and your chicks for free.

Redmond is gonna come and knock on your door:

I see a lot of similarities in the facial expressions and physical comedy of Roddy Piper and John Ritter – is there any known connection there? Like, if Jack Tripper had become a pro wrestling bad guy, it would look an awful lot like Rowdy Roddy Piper. This is something I can no longer unsee, and I hope to infect others in the same way.

I’m not aware of Roddy Piper actively taking inspiration from John Ritter or vice versa, but I have certainly seen people comment previously on the fact that there is somewhat of a physical resemblance between the two men and they sported the same haircut for a period of time.

Also, in an odd John Ritter/pro wrestling crossover, Ritter once appeared in a movie also starring Buff Bagwell. Specifically, in the year 2000, Ritter starred in Terror Tract, an anthology horror movie that pieced together three short films with framing scenes in which Ritter appeared. Bagwell appeared in one of the short films, playing a murder victim of a psychotic monkey. (No, really.) Because they were in different parts of the anthology, Bagwell and Ritter probably would not have worked together directly, but they are credited in the same film.

CaseyDub is finishing us off with a hall of fame question after we began on a hall of fame question:

Who has faced more recognized Hall of Fame wrestlers – Chris Jericho or Hulk Hogan? And does anyone beat either of those guys?

This is going to involve two of our readers favorite features of this column: laying out criteria for my answer followed by big lists of names.

As far as the rules are concerned, I am assuming that by “recognized Hall of Fame wrestlers,” Casey is talking about the WWE Hall of Fame, because otherwise he would have specified the HOF that he was talking about. So, that’s what I analyzed. I also want to note that I took the most expansive definition of “WWE Hall of Famer” possible. That means I counted mainline inductees, Warrior Award winners, Legacy Wing indcutees, and I even took a look at the Celebrity Wing, even though none of them ultimately qualified. Finally, when determining which wrestlers faced Hogan and Jericho in the ring, I included matches of any type, so battles royale, tags, and other matches involving more grapplers than your standard one-on-one affair are all fair game. I did make sure that the wrestlers were opponents, though, so they didn’t get credit if they only teamed with Hogan or Jericho. (For example, I learned that though Ricky Steamboat and the Hulkster were partners in a handful of matches, they never wrestled against each other, so you won’t see the Dragon on Hogan’s list.)

That being said, when it comes to counting up the Hall of Fame competitors of Hulk Hogan and Chris Jericho, the Immortal One absolutely wipes the floor with the Learning Tree. Hogan has wrestled 109 members of the Hall of Fame, while Jericho has only wrestled 62.

What accounts for the difference? I think it comes down to age. The two men have had careers of similar lengths, as Hogan wrestled for 33 years while Jericho is at 34 years and counting. However, Hulk’s 33 years reach back to 1977 whereas Y2J debuted in 1990. This means Hogan has roots in a completely different era of wrestling, and that older era of wrestling is naturally going to have more hall of famers in it simply because halls of fame typically focus on those individuals whose careers are totally or at least mostly behind them. Plus, when Hulk Hogan was inducted into the HOF, they basically themed the entire ceremony around him and simultaneously inducted many of his greatest career rivals, which is another leg up he has on Jericho in this area.

With that, let’s take a look at the names both of these men faced . . .

Hulk Hogan: 1) Andre the Giant, 2) Bobo Brazil, 3) Gorilla Monsoon, 4) George Steele, 5) Ivan Putski, 6) Pedro Morales, 7) Mikel Scicluna, 8) Jimmy Snuka, 9) Johnny Rodz, 10) Pat Patterson, 11) Johnny Valiant, 12) John Studd, 13) Don Muraco, 14) Greg Valentine, 15) Harley Race, 16) Jesse Ventura, 17) Sgt. Slaughter, 18) Billy Graham, 19) Tito Santana, 20) Bobby Heenan, 21) Roddy Piper, 22) Bob Orton Jr., 23) Paul Orndorff, 24) Nikolai Volkoff, 25) Iron Sheik, 26) Bret Hart, 27) Eddie Guerrero, 28) Tony Atlas, 29) Blackjack Mulligan, 30) Blackjack Lanza, 31) Dusty Rhodes, 32) Curt Hennig, 33) Jerry Lawler, 34) Nick Bockwinkel, 35) Mr. Fuji, 36) Afa, 37) Sika, 38) Ric Flair, 39) Rocky Johnson, 40) Jerry Brisco, 41) Jack Brisco, 42) Steve Austin, 43) Koko Ware, 44) Terry Funk, 45) Dory Funk Jr., 46) Kerry Von Erich, 47) Ted DiBiase, 48) Antonio Inoki, 49) Mad Dog Vachon, 50) Shawn Michaels, 51) Jim Duggan, 52) Bob Armstrong, 53) Abdullah the Butcher, 54) Road Warrior Hawk, 55) Road Warrior Animal, 56) Mil Mascaras, 57) Arn Anderson, 58) Barry Windham, 59) Tully Blanchard, 60) Ron Simmons, 61) Yokozuna, 62) Bob Backlund, 63) Booker T, 64) Ultimate Warrior, 65) Jake Roberts, 66) Scott Hall, 67) Randy Savage, 68) Rikishi, 69) Bushwacker Luke, 70) Bushwacker Butch, 71) Madusa, 72) Tatsumi Fujinami, 73) Kevin Nash, 74) Sting, 75) Godfather, 76) Michael Hayes, 77) Terry Gordy, 78) Big Bossman, 79) Stan Hansen, 80) Kurt Angle, 81) Ricky Morton, 82) Diamond Dallas Page, 83) Rick Rude, 84) Goldberg, 85) Bubba Ray Dudley, 86) D-Von Dudley, 87) Hillbilly Jim, 88) Jeff Jarrett, 89) Mark Henry, 90) Honky Tonk Man, 91) Brutus Beefcake, 92) Jim Neidhart, 93) X-Pac, 94) Triple H, 95) Stevie Ray, 96) JBL, 97) British Bulldog, 98) Molly Holly, 99) Undertaker, 100) Vader, 101) Scott Steiner, 102) Rick Steiner, 103) Rey Misterio Jr., 104) Great Muta, 105) Mike Rotunda, 106) Haystacks Calhoun, 107) Wahoo McDaniel, 108) S.D. Jones, 109) Toru Tanaka

Chris Jericho: 1) Jimmy Snuka, 2) Greg Valentine, 3) Hulk Hogan, 4) Roddy Piper, 5) Bret Hart, 6) Eddie Guerrero, 7) Dusty Rhodes, 8) Curt Hennig, 9) Jerry Lawler, 10) Ric Flair, 11) Steve Austin, 12) Ricky Steamboat, 13) Shawn Michaels, 14) Jim Duggan, 15) Mil Mascaras, 16) Edge, 17) Arn Anderson, 18) Ron Simmons, 19) Mick Foley, 20) Bob Backlund, 21) Booker T, 22) Trish Stratus, 23) Lita, 24) Scott Hall, 25) Randy Savage, 26) Rikishi, 27) Kevin Nash, 28) Sting, 29) Godfather, 30) Big Bossman, 31) Kurt Angle, 32) Robert Gibson, 33) Ricky Morton, 34) Diamond Dallas Page, 35) Beth Phoenix, 36) Bubba Ray Dudley, 37) D-Von Dudley, 38) Jeff Jarrett, 39) Mark Henry, 40) Brutus Beefcake, 41) Jim Neidhart, 42) Chyna, 43) Billy Gunn, 44) Road Dogg, 45) X-Pac, 46) Triple H, 47) Stevie Ray, 48) JBL, 49) British Bulldog, 50) Jushin Thunder Liger, 51) Molly Holly, 52) Great Khali, 53) Kane, 54) Rob Van Dam, 55) Undertaker, 56) Scott Steiner, 57) Rick Steiner, 58) Rey Misterio Jr., 59) Stacy Keibler, 60) Mike Rotunda, 61) Titus O’Neil, 62) Shad Gaspard

We’ll return in seven-ish days, and, as always, you can contribute your questions by emailing [email protected]. You can also leave questions in the comments below, but please note that I do not monitor the comments as closely as I do the email account, so emailing is the better way to get things answered.