wrestling / News

Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame Finalizes 2021 Class: Mark Henry, Trish Stratus, More

December 31, 2020 | Posted by Joseph Lee
National Wrestling Hall of Fame

The National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum has announced that it has finalized the 2021 class for the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame induction weekend on July 15-17, 2021. This comes after the show was intended for July 23-25, 2020, but was moved due to COVID. Here’s a press release:

Tragos/Thesz Hall of Fame announces 2021 induction class

WATERLOO, Iowa – The National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum announced on December 31, 2020 that it has finalized the Class of 2021 for the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame induction weekend, which will be held on July 15-17.

The Class of 2021 is Adnan Al-Kassie (Living Inductee), Don Kernodle (Living Inductee), Earl Wampler (Posthumous Inductee), Trish Stratus (Lou Thesz World Heavyweight Championship Award), Mark Henry (Frank Gotch Award), and Ken Shamrock (George Tragos Award). The Gordon Solie Award will be presented for the first time in 2021. The recipient of the Jim Melby Award will be announced in the upcoming weeks.

Other distinguished guests scheduled to attend include Dan Gable, Gerry Brisco, Sgt. Slaughter, JJ Dillon, Brian Blair, Tony Atlas, Bob Orton Jr., Luke Williams, Tony Garea, Kevin Sullivan, Mike Rotundo, James Beard, Colt Cabana, Brian Pillman Jr., Wes Brisco, Jim Miller, Madman Fulton, Dominic Garrini, Gary Jay, Jeremy Wyatt, Red Velvett, Heather Monroe, Miranda Gordy, Jonard Solie, and Charlie Thesz.

All-Access passes are available for $130 through May 31. Prices will increase after May 31. All-Access passes provide access to all events, including the Hall of Fame banquet, a ringside seat for the Impact Pro Wrestling show (while available), the kickoff social, and preferred access at the autograph session. All-Access passes can be purchased at (319) 233-0745 or by emailing [email protected]

“We are very excited to honor this year’s induction class,” said Gerry Brisco, 2005 inductee and president of the selection committee. “This is the most fan friendly event of its kind, and we encourage all prior attendees to bring a friend in 2021!”

George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame Class of 2021

2021 Living Inductee – Adnan Al-Kassie competed in wrestling at Oklahoma State University. Following his amateur career, he transitioned into the pro ranks and competed around the world for three decades. He wrestled under the name “Billy White Wolf” in the WWWF, where he held the World Tag Team Championships. Al-Kassie then competed under his real name in Championship Wrestling from Florida, the AWA, New Japan, and the WWF, where he managed his former rival, Sgt. Slaughter. His career has been captured in his book, The Sheik of Baghdad: Tales of Celebrity and Terror from Pro Wrestling’s General Adnan.

2021 Living Inductee – Don Kernodle wrestled for Elon College where he was a four time letter winner. After answering an open challenge with Tragos/Thesz Hall of Famer Bob Roop, Kernodle began training for a career in professional wrestling. Kernodle competed primarily in the Mid-Atlantic territory, where he won the NWA World Tag Team Championship with Sgt. Slaughter, Bob Orton Jr., and Ivan Koloff. Following his wrestling career, Kernodle entered a career in law enforcement.

2021 Posthumous Inductee – Earl Wampler became a professional wrestler at the age of 15, shortly after he moved from Iowa. Wampler was a mentor to a young Lou Thesz during his formative years. He held both the Iowa Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight Championships in his career, which spanned 40 years.

Lou Thesz World Heavyweight Championship Award – Mark Henry was a national powerlifting champion during high school in Texas. Henry soon became accomplished in the Olympic style of weightlifting, competing in both the 1992 and 1996 Summer Olympics. Henry was then signed by the WWF, where he competed for the next 21 years, including a title reign as World Heavyweight Champion. He now works behind the scenes with talent at WWE. Named for Lou Thesz, who was inducted as a member of the Charter Class in 1999 and who is a namesake of the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame, the award is presented to an individual who has taken the skills of the sport into the realm of public service.

Frank Gotch Award – Trish Stratus grew up a professional wrestling fan in her native Canada. During a successful career as a fitness model, she was approached by the WWF and trained by Ron Hutchinson. Stratus was a seven time WWE Women’s Champion, and was one of the most recognizable women’s competitors during the 2000s. After retiring, Stratus opened a yoga studio in Toronto, and has received many awards from the Toronto business community. Named for Frank Gotch, who was inducted as a member of the Charter Class in 1999, the award is presented to a wrestler who, through athleticism and toughness in the ring, brought a higher level of respect to professional wrestling, both inside and outside the business.

George Tragos Award – Ken Shamrock debuted as a professional wrestler in 1988. He began competing in Japan in the early 1990s, where he became a pioneer in what would become known as mixed martial arts. Shamrock competed in the Pancrase promotion and Ultimate Fighting Championships simultaneously, putting both promotions on the map. During this time, he won both the King of Pancrase and UFC Superfight Championships. His success in the UFC brought him to the WWF in the late 90s, where he won the Intercontinental and Tag Team Championships. Shamrock has continued to compete in both professional wrestling and mixed martial arts. He was an initial member of the UFC Hall of Fame in 2003. Named for George Tragos, who was inducted as a member of the Charter Class in 1999 and who is a namesake of the Pro Hall of Fame, the award is presented to an exceptionally competitive wrestler who adapted his wrestling skills and competitive nature to excel in mixed martial arts.

Gordon Solie Award – Gordon Solie, the legendary wrestling announcer, will be honored with this award for outstanding achievement in professional wrestling broadcast announcing. Accepting on his behalf will be his son, Jonard Solie.

Jim Melby Award – Named for Jim Melby, a noted professional wrestling journalist and publisher who was inducted into the Pro Hall of Fame in 2006, the award is presented to a journalist or historian, who has advanced professional wrestling through their writing.

George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame Featured events included with the all-access pass-

Thursday, July 15
Evening pizza social at the museum followed by pro wrestling team trivia.

Friday, July 16
Afternoon and evening Impact Pro Wrestling shows with a live podcast between shows.

Evaluation/seminar for active pro wrestlers

Saturday, July 17
Morning and afternoon round table discussions and autograph signing at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum

Evening Hall of Fame induction banquet