The George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame announced its Class of 2018 today: Owen Hart and Dan Severn are inductees, while other awards will be presented to Booker T, the late Bruiser Brody, Ben Askren, and Koji Miyamoto. This is the 20th anniversary for the organization, based in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum in Waterloo, Iowa.
The induction ceremony will take place July 26-28, 2018, and the weekend includes an Impact Pro Wrestling show.
Once again, Jim Ross has signed on to be the master of ceremonies at the induction banquet on the Saturday night. “Attending the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame is a must for any true fan of professional wrestling,” Ross said in a press release announcing the inductees. “I’m challenging everyone to bring at least one additional person with them to this year’s event. I can’t wait to attend.”
Besides the honourees, other names announced as attending include Road Warrior Animal, Gerry Brisco, Wes Brisco, B. Brian Blair, Larry “The Axe” Hennig, Austin Aries, Stan Hansen, Nikita Koloff, Tony Garea, Dan Gable, JJ Dillon, Brian Cage, Colt Cabana, DJZ/Zema Ion, Bob Holly, Cowboy Bob Orton, and Bruce Hart.
The Tragos/Thesz Hall of Fame honours pro wrestlers who made a “substantial impact on professional wrestling, general respect within the profession, and a strong amateur wrestling or athletic background.”
That certainly qualifies Dan Severn, who is actually being honoured by the hall for a third time, after receiving the Frank Gotch Award in 2002 and the George Tragos Award in 2012.
Severn was a two-time wrestling All-American for Arizona State where he reached the finals of the NCAA championships in 1980. He had a stint with WWE from 1997-99 and is best known as the NWA World Heavyweight champion on two occasions. “The Beast” entered UFC, winning the UFC Superfight Championship and became a Hall of Famer in that sport.
The number three comes up with the late Owen Hart as well, as he will be the third Hart inducted, after his father Stu Hart and brother Bret “The Hitman” Hart. Owen Hart was an accomplished high school and college wrestler before entering the professional ranks. He trained in the legendary Hart Dungeon, and excelled in his early days in Stampede Wrestling and in New Japan Pro Wrestling. In WWE, he was a multiple time tag team and Intercontinental champion, and was also under a mask as the Blue Blazer. Hart died in May 1999, falling from the rafters in Kansas City, Mo., in a stunt gone wrong during a live pay-per-view.
The Lou Thesz World Heavyweight Championship Award will be presented to Booker T Huffman, a former World champion in WCW and WWE. The award is given to an individual in wrestling who has taken the skills of the sport into the realm of public service. Thesz’s widow, Charlie, will be on hand to make the presentation. Booker T is being recognized for his charitable endeavors in Texas, including the the Booker T Fights for Kid Foundation.
The Frank Gotch Award will be presented posthumously to “Bruiser Brody” Frank Goodish, represented by his widow Barbara. The Gotch Award is given to a wrestler who, through their athleticism and toughness in the ring, brought a higher level of respect to professional wrestling from both inside and outside the business.
The George Tragos Award, which recognizes an amateur wrestler excelling in mixed martial arts, goes to Ben Askren, a two-time NCAA wrestling champion for Missouri (2006-07) and a four-time NCAA championship finalist (2004-07). Askren made the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in freestyle wrestling at 163 pounds. He compiled an 18-0 Mixed Martial Arts record, winning welterweight titles for ONE Fighting Championship and Bellator. Askren is a currently an owner and coach at Askren Wrestling Academy (AWA) in Hartland, Wisconsin.
The Jim Melby Award for excellence in professional wrestling writing or history goes to Japan’s Koji Miyamoto, who has authored 16 books on professional wrestling under the pen-name Tomomi Nagare. Some of his titles include Eternal Iron Man: Lou Thesz, Pro wrestling techniques, volumes 1-3, Inoki, his 50 years of wrestling life, and Truth behind Rikidozan.
All-Access Passes, which allow patrons to attend all the weekend activities, are available for $120 through June 1. After June 1, All-Access Passes are $130.
TRAGOS/THESZ CLASS OF 2018 STORIES
- July 30, 2018: Hall of Fame honours Booker T, Severn, Hart, Brody and others
- July 28, 2018: Honours keep coming for Dan Severn
- July 21, 2018: Five questions with WWE producer Adam Pearce
- July 9, 2018: Melby Award honours Koji Miyamoto’s many contributions
- Mar. 26, 2018: 2018 Tragos/Thesz HOF Class announced