2020 Southern California Pro-Wrestling Hall of Fame Inductees Announced

We are proud to announce the induction of Christopher Daniels, Ernie Ladd, Jeff Walton, Jon Ian, and Rick Knox into the Southern California Pro-Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Christopher Daniels

Christopher Daniels -Christopher Daniels is largely considered one of the greatest independent wrestlers ever. After being trained by Sam DeCero, Mike Anthony and Kevin Quinn, Daniels made his debut with Windy City Pro Wrestling in April 1993. He first came to Southern California in the mid-1990s and wrestled regularly for WPW and EWF. He also made frequent appearances for WWF in Southern California, doing several dark matches and appearing on Shotgun Saturday Night. In 2000 he began wrestling frequently for UPW and his match with Kurt Angle at UPW’s Truth or Consequences won the 2000 Southern California Match of the Year and Daniels was named the 2000 Southern California Wrestler of the Year. With the creation of PWG in 2003, Daniels was a regular in the promotion’s first decade. He has also appeared for XPW, EPIC, HRW, M1W, QPro, New Japan, and Bar Wrestling in the region. He is currently signed to AEW where he is a member of the awesomely named SoCal Uncensored along with Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky.

Ernie Ladd

Ernie Ladd – Nicknamed “the Big Cat”, Ernie Ladd was a standout football player and professional wrestler. Drafted by the San Diego Chargers in 1961, he helped the Chargers to four AFL championship games in five years, winning the championship with the team in 1963. Ladd took up professional wrestling during the AFL offseason in 1961, and after a knee injury ended his football career turned to it full-time in 1969. Due to his popularity in football, he was instantly a huge draw in wrestling. In the Los Angeles territory he won the Americas heavyweight Championship (the top championship in the territory) three times, and the WWA International Television Tag Team Championship and WWA World Tag Team Championship (both with Edouard Carpentier). He retired from wrestling in 1986 and briefly did color commentary for WWF, including on WrestleMania 2. He was inducted into the WCW Hall of Fame in 1994 and the WWF Hall of Fame in 1995, becoming the first wrestler to be inducted into both halls of fame. He passed away in 2007 at 68.

Andre the Giant and Jeff Walton

Jeff Walton – Jeff Walton began his career in wrestling as head of the Freddie Blassie Fan Club in the early 1960s. After writing articles for various wrestling magazines, he became the publicity director for the Los Angeles territory in 1969. Eventually, he began promoting shows in El Monte and co-producing the live Saturday night wrestling television program from the Grand Olympic. After the death of the Los Angeles territory, he became the heel manager Tux Newman in the Jerry Jarrett-Jerry Lawler Tennessee promotion and later worked on WWF Magazine before leaving the wrestling industry. He was inducted into the EWF Hall of Fame in 2017 and received the Cauliflower Alley Club Promoters Award in 2019.

Jon Ian

Jon Ian – Jon Ian, who began his entertainment career as a child actor, discovered the EWF School of Hard Knocks while coaching at Rialto High School in the late 1990s. It was EWF where Ian first started ring announcing. Ian would later become the ring announcer for Bill Anderson’s IWC, UPW (which was a WWF developmental territory at the time), PWG, New Japan USA, and Championship Wrestling from Hollywood. In 2008, Ian started the Mach-1 Wrestling promotion, which ran primarily in the Orange County area of Southern California. In 2010 Mach-1 finished as runner-up to PWG for the Southern California Promotion of the Year award. Jon Ian stopped promoting Mach-1 events in 2013. Jon Ian passed away on January 6, 2020.

Rick Knox

Rick Knox – Rick Knox, who is from Riverside, CA, has long been a fixture on the Southern California independent pro-wrestling scene. He started training at EWF’s School of Hard Knocks in the 1990s before transitioning into becoming a referee. He quickly became one of the top referees in the area in the early 2000s, becoming the referee promotions wanted in their biggest matches. When PWG started in 2003 he was one of the promotions original referees and has only missed a few PWG events in the past 17 years. Rick Knox was also a referee on the Lucha Underground television program, MTV’s Wrestling Society X, and New Japan USA. In 2019 he was signed to All Elite Wrestling and can be seen weekly on their television program. Knox was inducted into the EWF Hall of Fame in 2018. He joins Johnny “Red Shoes” Dugan as the only referees to be inducted into the Southern California Pro-Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Voting Results:

Jon Ian                 79%
Jeff Walton        75%
Ernie Ladd           75%
Rick Knox            71%
Christopher Daniels       71%
Rocky Romero   64%
B-Boy    50%
Samoa Joe          50%
Aileen Eaton      50%
Rey Mysterio Jr.               50%
Fabulous Kangaroos (Al Costello & Roy Heffernan) 50%
Vandal Drummond          43%
Ballard Bros        43%
Frankie Kazarian               43%
Gus Sonnenberg              40%
Mildred Burke   40%
Pedro Morales 40%
Count Billy Varga              40%
Bryan Danielson               36%
Joey Ryan            36%
Cal Eaton             35%
Bearcat Wright 35%
Edouard Carpentier        35%
Jules Strongbow               30%
Hulk Hogan         30%
Lil Cholo               29%
Cheerleader Melissa      29%
David Marquez                 29%
Kevin Kleinrock                 29%
Bart Kapitzke     21%
Liz Fairbain & Rita D’Albert           21%
Aaron Aguilera 21%
Adam Pearce     21%
Tech IX                                 21%
Joe Stecher        20%
Rikidozan             20%
Adam Pearce     14%
Gil Arellano         14%
Dan Faren           14%
Supreme             14%
Bobby Bradley   14%
Ron Rivera          14%
John Cena           14%
Los Chivos           14%
Martin Marin     14%
Ramon Torres    10%
Los Chivos           7%
Melina Perez     7%
Stephen DeLeon              7%
TJ Perkins            5%
Art Barr                                5%

In order to be inducted a nominee must be listed on 70% of returned ballots. Anyone with 5% of the vote or less will not be eligible to be nominated in the next election.

The Southern California Pro-Wrestling Hall of Fame was created in 2001 by Cincinnati Red, Jason “Primetime” Peterson, and Steven Bryant, and was dedicated in the memory of Louie Spicoli. The Hall of Fame was created with the mission to preserve and promote the history of professional wrestling in Southern California. Since its inception there have been 40 inductees. The Hall of Fame is hosted by SoCalUNCENSORED.com. For a full list of inductees please visit the Hall of Fame at http://socaluncensored.com/history/hall-of-fame/.

About the Author

Steve Bryant
Fan of Godzilla.