For probably the past three years, the 2004 elections for the Wrestling Observer looked to be the most interesting in the history of the elections because more unique candidates than in any other election would become eligible. At the time, in 2001, the list was Jun Akiyama, HHH, Kazushi Sakuraba, Great Sasuke and Kiyoshi Tamura. Over the past two years, the name Kurt Angle would have been added.
Akiyama had a career filled with incredible matches, but he also worked with some of the best people in history, and was never a success when the spotlight of being the top singles star in his promotion was put on him. Angle is the first man in the history of pro wrestling to be the consensus best legitimate wrestler in the world in his weight division, and later become the consensus best illegitimate wrestler in the world. However, Angle started his career in late 1998, and didn't even come up to the main WWF roster until late 1999.