The single most controversial candidate in the history of the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame balloting, Shawn Michaels, heads the list of four new members for 2003 in the Hall of Fame.
Michaels, 38, who had come close in three of the past four elections, got through easily this year, and was joined by Chris Benoit in being voted in on balloting from reporters, historians, as well as current and past wrestling figures. Two others, early 1900s world champion Earl Caddock, and famous Mexican promoter Francisco Flores were also added as overlooked figures from the past.
Michaels’ return to active wrestling after (with one exception) a more than four year hiatus largely due to lower back surgery, spelled the difference, as in particular his respect among past wrestling major players changed and gave him enough votes to make it by an easy 13 vote margin. Michaels got mentioned on 119 of the 177 ballots that came from or listed wrestlers from the U.S. and Canada region, or 67%.