The Georgia Wrestling Hall of Fame first came into existence in 2003 as a feature at GeorgiaWrestlingHistory.com. Nine classes have been selected to date, and recently concluded the process for the tenth class of inductees.
Each year, ballots are sent to all living members of the Hall of Fame, respected key figures from the business that have made significant contributions to the business, and revered historians and writers knowledgeable of the rich history that professional wrestling has had in the state of Georgia, inviting them to assist in selecting those who they feel are worthy of such an honor.
We are honored to be able to work with them in preserving the history of wrestling in our great state, we are proud to announce the results of the tenth class on this, our tenth anniversary.
*the Armstrongs (Bob, Brad, Scott, and Steve)*
A longtime mainstay and fan favorite in Georgia, Bob Armstrong first introduced his sons when he brought Brad in with him for the National Tag Team Title tournament in 1980. By winning that tournament, Bob and Brad became the inaugural champions, and Brad quickly endeared himself to the fans throughout Georgia and anywhere they toured or could be seen on cable and satellite television. Scott and Steve would eventually find their way to Georgia as well, working for many Georgia-based promotions in the 1980s and 1990s, with all four often intermingling in different combinations with each other. Even into the 2000s, the Armstrongs have often been brought in to do special appearances and occasional matches with various independent promotions.
Often criticized for being nothing more than a clone of Terry Funk by some, Dick Slater was seen by many as a top heel and babyface throughout his career, and his work in Georgia is highly praised across the board. Slater first came to the territory in 1975, working singles and teaming with Bob Orton, Jr., managed by Gary Hart. Slater was a man the fans loved to hate, with a knack for knowing how to rile them with a few well-placed degrading insults during a promo. Within months, Slater became a babyface and the fans loved him. He would return to Georgia many times over the years, working for the NWA office in Atlanta, as well as independent promotions throughout the state after the national expansion took hold, always remaining a top draw.
Nick Bockwinkel first appeared in Georgia late in 1969, and was immediately seen as a top heel because of his snobbish attitude on the mic, and his allegiance with people like the Assassins. In no time at all, he was feuding with the top babyfaces in the state and winning titles. After his initial 1969-70 run, he would only sparingly return to Georgia for appearances on cards. However, in the late 1970s, he would return more frequently and defend the AWA Title against the top babyfaces working out of the Atlanta office of the NWA. Bockwinkel’s ability to work circles around most others he met in the ring, and his knack for knowing just the right thing to say to get under people’s skin when rendering a promo, combined to make Bockwinkel one of the most hated characters pro wrestling ever saw.
*Ray Gunkel & Buddy Fuller*
Ray Gunkel and Buddy Fuller first formed an alliance in 1964, after Fuller bought out Don McIntyre’s ownership percentage of the NWA Atlanta office, making them partners behind the scenes. Their in-ring partnership began within a couple of years after Fuller came to Georgia, and the two often teamed against the top heel teams that passed through the territory, and held the regional titles many times. While it has become common knowledge in recent years they often disagreed over business matters, fans never noticed the real life tension at the time and made them one of the top babyface teams of the era. Their partnership, both behind the scenes and in the ring, lasted through Gunkel’s death in 1972.
Congratulations to our newest class of inductees, and thanks to all who participated in this year’s selection process.