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Thoughts On The Following Wrestlers (02/25)


Loss
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Bob Backlund - It's good to see him finally get his due over the last few years as one of the best in the world in the late 70s and early 80s. Incredible mat wrestler who had a lot of excellent title defenses. Had a match with Takada in the UWF in '88 that I really need to see. I thought his WWF comeback and heel turn in 1994 was brilliantly done, and the match with Bret, along with the angle with Owen, remains one of my all-time favorite moments as a fan. Thrilled to see him at last get into the Observer Hall of Fame in 2004.

 

Kenta Kobashi - Kawada was probably better, but Kobashi was still my favorite. Few have ever been able to get me as involved in their matches as Kenta Kobashi, and what's scary is that there's tons of his footage I still haven't even seen. Has some great offense and is fucking awesome at taking a beating. Probably would have been my favorite wrestler anywhere in the 1990s had I been following AJPW at that time.

 

Owen Hart - I wish he could have won the world title at least once, because I think he could have carried the ball. His feud with Bret Hart in 1994 was fantastic for the most part, and he makes wrestling look so easy and effortless. Got really good really quick, suffered a knee injury and had to change his style, and still was every bit as good afterward. Obviously, the way his life ended was a tragedy.

 

The Rock - I hated him until 2001 actually, but I grew to like him quite a bit during that time period. No one has ever resonated star quality quite like Rock. Very good and energetic in the ring and a huge draw during a boom period. Almost always willing to do what was right for business. Had a huge impact, despite not being around very long.

 

Rey Misterio Jr - Probably the most amazing athlete and incredible high-flyer I've ever seen in wrestling. Just spectacular in that regard, and also a great wrestler. One of the few who's been able to adapt to the WWE style without sacrificing all that much. There are probably a million indy guys out there who've tried to copy him at various points that may be able to do spots he wasn't able to do, but Rey brought the whole package together by also being a great seller, and his (lack of) size has made him a superstar. If I were booking in WWE, I'd probably push him as one of the top two or three babyfaces at all times. The first time I saw him, I was blown away, and have been many times since then as well.

 

Paul Heyman - I don't tend to care for his booking all that much, be it in WCW or during the Smackdown Six period in WWE, where he ran the gauntlet with so many constant good matches back-to-back that could have been stretched out over six months so they'd mean more. I do think he's one of the best interviews in wrestling, and I think he'd remain valuable in WWE in a consultant position. They need more wrestling minds putting together the product, and he's valuable in that regard, but I think he's his own worst enemy much of the time by not conducting himself as a professional.

 

Harley Race - Truly one of the greats of his era, who could still hang in there long after he passed his prime. Took some wild bumps and did some great highspots for a US heavyweight in the 1970s, to say the least. Was capable of working with just about anyone, and while most think Hansen was Baba's best opponent, I tend to think Race was. I've never heard of a wrestler not respecting him.

 

Konnan - Annoying as Hell at times, and not one of my favorites. Lazy in the ring and a headache backstage. That said, he has a great wrestling mind and an awesome eye for talent, and he's hilarious as a color commentator. He had a demographic in the palm of his hand in WCW and I don't think they ever capitalized on that like they could have. One of the biggest stars of his time in AAA.

 

Eddy Guerrero - The best worker in WWE. The most over guy in WWE. I do hope the company will run with him again at some point in the near future. He busted his ass as champion and put a lot of pressure on himself to exceed expectations, and that was ultimately his undoing. The progress he's made in his personal life in the past four years is inspiring. Has been awesome for a long time, and has wrestled just about every style in just about every promotion and had great matches in all of them. His story is still being written, and I think when it's over, he will have had a HOF career.

 

Barry Windham - From 1986 to 1989, I don't know that the US had a better worker. Women loved him, guys loved him, he was big and credible, he could bump like a pinball, he was a great interview, he had stamina, he had the look of a superstar and he was very over. If he ever dedicated himself totally to pro wrestling, it's scary to think about what he could have accomplished, considering everything he still accomplished when he didn't. Had a career renaissance of sorts in 1992-1993, forming a great tag team with Dustin Rhodes and having some great singles matches against guys like 2 Cold Scorpio and Ricky Steamboat. Unfortunately, that was cut short with a knee injury in a match against Flair at Beach Blast '93, and all of his attempted comebacks since then have been total failures. I wish he could have had a run against Hogan when he was there in '89, but Savage was too hot to stop and they didn't need to run with another heel. One of my favorites.

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I'll comment on them later, but with regards to Windham: When he arrived in the WWF in '89, wasn't the Hogan-Savage feud winding down? IIRC, he came in August, and after that, Savage did a program with Duggan. Hogan never really had a defined feud at that point until the Ultimate Challenge, aside from Zeus and Hennig. He and Beefcake did do another tag match with Savage and Zeus at that PPV that should've never have happened, but I'd say for the most part, the Hogan-Savage feud was finishing upon Windham's arrival.

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Well, since Loss is creating these threads, he'll steal alot of thunder from my posts so I'll just make a few brief comments.

 

Bob Backlund - I have only recetly started watching older Backlund matches so I'll have to reserve any judgmental words until I have seen more of his stuff.

 

Kenta Kobashi - My favorite Kobashi moment... Kawada and Taue destroying his leg during the 6/9/95 match and Kobashi's selling actually enhancing the match instead of hindering it. I've always liked Kawada better but I have no problem with Kobashi love being spread around. I am going to be ordering some 2004 NOAH soon because I wanna see if this broken-down past-his-prime superstar was really deserving of Wrestler of the Year consideration or if people who loved 90s All Japan were grasping at straws, hoping to recapture any past glory for their favorites.

 

Owen Hart - Desperately trying to acquire as much of his early footage as possible.

 

The Rock - I was sold on this guy after the 1998 WM interviews. He was cocky and funny as hell. Have no problem watching his matches and I think his WCW title match against Jericho is the best match either man has ever had.

 

Rey Misterio Jr - The one supersar from the past ten years who has given me some honest-to-God "Holy Shit" moments without any gimmicks involved. Also, currently looking to acquire as much of Rey in Mexico as possible.

 

Paul Heyman - Loved his interview denouncing McMahon. Loved his announcing alongside Jim ross sine it appeared to be the first time in years that JR was fired-up about the actual product. You had to love the way Paul E. got under JRs skin. Work... shoot.. who cares?

 

Harley Race - One of my favorites as a kid before he became King Harley. I have fallen in love with most of the matches from Japan that I have seen. Indeed, the best matches I have seen from Baba were wth Race. Then again, I haven't seen alot of older Baba footage with the Destroyer and others.

 

Konnan - You know, Loss and I had a conversation about WCW the other day and Konnan came up. Back in 1998, I thought WCW really dropped the ball with Konnan since he was arguably the most over guy on the roster. Then again, I had no idea about the backstage BS or any other politcs. My favorite Konnan moment: Trying some type of pendulum move on Juvi and dropping him on his neck and face.

 

Eddy Guerrero - One of my favorite modern-day wrestlers and one of the only guys on the WWE roster I would pay money to see. another guy who I hope to grab as much footage from as possible.

 

Barry Windham - No comment.

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[li]Bob Backlund ~ I loved Backlund during his second WWF run. His first run was before my time. I marked out hard for the Crossface Chickenwing and his feud with Bret Hart. Hell, I even put my seventh grade history teacher in the Chickenwing during recess one day in middle school. He was a great, crazy heel.

 

[/li][li]Kenta Kobashi ~ Unlike Inoki, I've seen a lot of Kobashi. For the most part, I like him. His matches are almost always stellar. At least the ones that I've seen. Better than the majority of the stuff that you'll find here in the States. Sometimes his selling comes off as comedy to me though. I love his moveset. He has, like, six moves that he can win a match with. The hard Lariat, a Moonsault, the Burning Hammer, his turnbuckle Powerbomb, etc. I like him. Not as much as Misawa or Kawada...but he's ahead of Akiyami.

 

[/li][li]Owen Hart ~ I would be lying if I were to say that I was ever on the Owen bandwagon. Going back and watching old Owen stuff now, I realize how good he was. I guess when it was all going down I didn't notice due to other wrestlers being active. Sad that he died so young. My fondest memory of him is when he joined the Nation of Domination and Jason Sensation made fun of him in the D-X skit. "I love the smell of coffee in the morning...all the way in Brazil WOO!"

 

[/li][li]The Rock ~ Did more for WWE than they did for him. I miss him.

 

[/li][li]Rey Misterio Jr ~ When he's on, he's great. When he's off, you might as well be watching Amazing Red.

 

[/li][li]Paul Heyman ~ He brought me ECW, so I like him. Great talker.

 

[/li][li]Harley Race ~ Well, his prime was before my time. So I haven't seen a lot of his matches. I always get a smile on my face when reading about him throwing BBQ's for the boys though. A-OK in my book.

 

[/li][li]Konnan ~ Wow. Lost potential I guess. He can work, and he can talk. Of course, his talking became catchphrases. He has a good look. I still think he could be huge in the States if given a makeover. Get him away from being a Gangster or whatever the fuck he's supposed to be.

 

[/li][li]Eddy Guerrero ~ I've never known if his name was spelled Eddy or Eddie. I've seen it both ways. Loved him in WCW. Like him in WWE. I'm glad that he at least got a top belt during his career. A great worker with a lot of charisma.

 

[/li][li]Barry Windham ~ Oh man. One of my favorites. "The Widowmaker" even. I loved when he was finishing with the DDT. Dustin Rhodes ate canvas! I didn't like him as a babyface though.[/li]

 

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Guest TheShawshankRudotion

I was watching the 10 man tag between HHH/Xpac/Benoit/Malenko/Saturn vs. Too Cool/Rock/Foley, and... wow... I don't remember the Rock being THAT over. It's been a long, long, LONG time since anyone was that over in the WWE and you just sorta forget that fans can be excited.

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Guest Some Guy

Bob Backlund - I haven't seen any of his pre-93 work, but I wasn't too inpressed with his work then. The match with Bret was very good but in 94 Bret was about the best in the business. I loved the heel character and his Presidential run gimmick. "Don't exaserbate(sp?) me!"

 

Kenta Kobashi - I don't really who anything about him. It's possible I've seen him on a some RF shoot or something though. They tned to throw on Japanese matches and not let you know who the hell the Japanese worker is.

 

Owen Hart - Very good and pretty funny (some times unintentially). I have a comp of his early Japan and Stampede work which is fun to watch. I don't think he should have been champion as he was never over enough in 94 and Austin's popularity, combined with HBK's refusal to work with him bumped him down post-Montreal.

 

The Rock - I love the guy. It's a shame that just when his ring work started matching his promos in terms of quality he left for Hollywood. He put a lot of guys over and was very entertaining. His heel work in 2003 was awesome. "motherCanuckers"

 

Rey Misterio Jr - Awesome in 96-97. Injuries and repetition has kind of soured me on him a little. I've seen his stuff 1000 times and he doesn't ever do anything different. To me highspots can become very repetitive and boring after an extended period, but I could watch Bret destroy Austin's knee all day.

 

Paul Heyman - I drank the ECW Koolaid for a while, basically until WWF started taking his ideas and putting better workers in the angles. No one in ECW could hold a cnadle to the talent that Vince was running out there in 98-2000. He booked some great stuff (much of which could be re-used now given the the low exposure and how long ago it was). The Raven/Dreamer angle, the Taz/Sabu deal, the build up of Funk in 97, Raven's Nest, etc... He is a tremendous judge of talent and has an uncanny ability to hide weaknesses or have Joey Styles repeat over and over that guys weaknesses were really strengths (RVD being the prime example). He got guys over that no one would have given a chance (Taz, Sabu, Dudleyz, Dreamer, Sandman, etc...) or guys who had been given up on (Raven, Douglas, Candido). He made some bad decisions with Aldo being the worst, the guy was a bald headed X-Pac with less talent and he made him champ.

 

He was a great commentater who actually concentrated on getting the guys in the ring over and brought the best out of JR, so of course they drop him and bring back Lawler who does neither. Listen to Heymen's commentary on Angle/Benoit from WM 17 as he explains the psychology of the match to the people and tries to make the audience appreciate the greatness they were seeing. If they gave him the book fresh talent would be brought up the card and the show would get better. I think he and Vince should develop a Vince/Russo type relationship where Heymen tosses out a million ideas and Vince tames them or tweaks them.

 

Harley Race - Haven't seen a ton of him but what I've seen was pretty good for the time.

 

Konnan - He was a one point entertaining. Watching him now on TNA doing the same shit he was doing in 98 is pathetic, same goes for Road Dogg. That being said Vince should have picked him up when he bought WCW as he has an appeal to young Hispanics.

 

Eddy Guerrero - Great talent, hate, hate, hate the gimmick. Eddy was at his best as the greasy heel in 97-98 WCW. He didn't have a stupid fake accent or lowriders and he was the most over mid-card heel in WCW by far. All he had to do was look at the crowd and the "Eddy Sucks!" chants started flying. It's unfortunate that he couldn't handle the load of beign champ and it's a good thing they took the strap off of him before the stress le him back into drugs or whatever.

 

Barry Windham - I didn't watch JCP/WCW when he was good but the tapes I've seen were impressive. He lost it in about 93 it would seem.

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Guest Hunter's Torn Quad

Bob Backlund - In his prime he was a decent technical wrestler, but decent is about it. Tremendous draw though, and, contrary to popular myth, it is Backlund who, in all probability, sold out MSG more times than anyone else.

 

Kenta Kobashi - When Kobashi is at his peak, there are none better. Has great facials, is a tremendous babyface worker, and has the best comebacks in the business.

 

Owen Hart - A great worker, who had the misfortune to come along when size was all that mattered. Not HoF worthy, but a lengthy feud with HBK in 1996-1998 might have helped in that regard.

 

The Rock - Off-the-charts charisma, hard worker, great bumper and seller.

 

Rey Misterio Jr - Great high flyer, and a great babyface too. Hasn't let his bad knees slow him down, and as, in fact, turned into a smarter worker because of it.

 

Paul Heyman - Has a tremendous mind for wrestling. Few are better at accentuating a wrestlers strengths while hiding his weaknesses. Great talker too.

 

Harley Race - In his prime, a great worker and talker. A complete wrestler.

 

Konnan - Great on the mic, but only average in the ring.

 

Eddy Guerrero - A tremendous worker, with great charisma and mic ability. It's a shame that he never got the long WWE Title run he deserved.

 

Barry Windham - The ultimate example of a wrestler not reaching his potential. Barry had all the tools to be the main man in wrestling, and it's a shame that he never got as big as a guy of his talents should have.

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I was watching the 10 man tag between HHH/Xpac/Benoit/Malenko/Saturn vs. Too Cool/Rock/Foley, and... wow... I don't remember the Rock being THAT over.  It's been a long, long, LONG time since anyone was that over in the WWE and you just sorta forget that fans can be excited.

Hey Loss... do you have this match???

 

I get the VHS to DVD capability this weekend!!!!

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I'll comment on them later, but with regards to Windham: When he arrived in the WWF in '89, wasn't the Hogan-Savage feud winding down? IIRC, he came in August, and after that, Savage did a program with Duggan. Hogan never really had a defined feud at that point until the Ultimate Challenge, aside from Zeus and Hennig. He and Beefcake did do another tag match with Savage and Zeus at that PPV that should've never have happened, but I'd say for the most part, the Hogan-Savage feud was finishing upon Windham's arrival.

Windham arrived in the summer of '89, when Hogan was out to make a movie and was only working a few house shows. When he did, they paired him Savage, I guess because it was a ready-made feud and needed less hype. Hogan kept on going strong in the last half of '89, but didn't really have a new, strong opponent. Savage was paired with Duggan, as you said, and Hogan was teasing a feud with Hennig, but it hadn't materialized yet. I know when they did the international tours that fall, Hogan/Savage headlined almost every show, and again, I think it's because it was the established feud. By the time they got back, Windham had quit.

 

Barry apparently got involved with a very rich woman and kept trying to get out of wrestling because he had no need to do it anymore, but kept getting lured back. I don't know if he's still with her or not.

 

It just proves again that the song "Hotel California" is about pro wrestling. You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.

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Bob Backlund

-Haven't seen anything of his pre-'93 except when they showed clips of him losing the belt to the Iron Shiek when they were building his feud with Bret. Him snapping and turning heel is probably the one moment that made me mark out the hardest when I was a kid. Don't think I've ever seen the whole match of his vs. Bret at Survivor Series '94, though.

Kenta Kobashi

-Hard for me to comment on Japanese guys. Have seen some of his stuff, but would have to watch it a bit more to get a solid opinion on him.

Owen Hart

-His feud with Bret was great stuff, obviously. Shame that I, like a lot of people, didn't realize how great he was until he died.

The Rock

-Love him. I was in the crowd for the Raw the night after No Way Out 2002 and his promo was just awesome.

Rey Misterio Jr

-I HATED him after they took his mask off in WCW, specifically during the Russo stuff in the summer of 2000. Obviously his matches can be great, but I kind of echo the Amazing Red comparison (at some points, anyway).

Paul Heyman

-Thought he was great as a TV commentator in 2001. Probably over-rated as a booker, somewhat, as ECW would probably still be alive if he was as great as some make him out to be. The SmackDown stuff in late '02 was obviously good TV (because of the match quality), but it's not exactly hard to tell those 6 guys to go out there and have good matches and it was burned out WAY too quickly.

Harley Race

-Mostly my fault, but I don't think I've seen anything of his outside of the stuff on the Flair DVD. I remember him more as Vader's manager.

Konnan

-'You like this shirt? Go ahead and touch it... that's enough'

Eddy Guerrero

-Probably one of my favourite guys in the WWE right now. I don't watch SmackDown much, so unfortunately that means I don't see him as much as I'd like. Haven't seen much of his pre-WCW stuff, but what I have seen is good/great.

Barry Windham

-Again, mostly my fault, but I don't remember him as a great worker, rather as whatever he was doing in his last WWF run. Maybe I'll watch his match from the Flair DVD sometime soon, again.

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Guest TheShawshankRudotion

*MARKS OUT HUGE FOR TREBLES KONNAN LINE*

 

The Backlund chicken wing angle was great, they should do that again with another finisher.

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Guest godthedog

some of these guys i just don't know enough about to comment, so i'll skip them.

 

Kenta Kobashi - i love the hell out of this guy. i don't think anybody in the history of wrestling has made me ROOT for him so purely. the fucker just oozes intensity and desire, and it's impossible for me to watch him and not really really want him to win, and that's what all his talents boil down to. i think he embodies what wrestling is all about.

 

Owen Hart - great wrestler, but i think he undercut himself in the ring. as a heel, he was a little TOO good at making it clear that the face was the better wrestler (to the point where you didn't take him seriously). i think it was partly his own fault he only got as far as he did.

 

The Rock - i think about as good as any not technically sound wrestler can get. not a big moveset, pretty sloppy, but loaded with intangibles like timing and sense of character. tons of fun to watch (but kobashi is still more fun)

 

Rey Misterio Jr - i think he had that great sense of badass determination that owen was missing. knows how to use his lack of size and does so much to amaze you that you think he can still win.

 

Paul Heyman - loved him doing commentary with JR, don't have much other experience of him.

 

Eddy Guerrero - better at the intangibles than the rock, AND technically sound.

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Guest Bruiser Chong

I'll only comment on those who I think I can do justice for:

 

Bob Backlund: Only got a dose of him during his comeback in 1993. I was ignorant as to his past, so I just thought he was a dopey white guy around to be square and give Bobby Heenan material.

 

To be frank, his style was a bit too technical to keep me entertained, but he was brilliant as the psychotic. I mean, look at him pre-heel days and then during his heel run. It's like to different people. A clean cut, friendly guy transforms into a loon whose actions are so out there that he commands a new kind of respect. Of course, they killed his character as a wrestler when they sacrificed him in the name of Diesel.

 

Owen Hart: When he debuted in the WWF as himself in 1992, I was in awe of the guy. He did things in the ring that I had never seen. I recall being a complete mark for the sequence where he bounced his hamstrings off the top rope.

 

He's another guy who made the transition from lovable good guy to superb heel that everyone loved to hate. His comical personality was covered as a face, but it was allowed to shine brightly through as a heel. Few people could've made a Slammy Award seem credible like he did.

 

I think it's a bit shady how so many people sing his praises now that he's gone, but when he was alive, not so many appreciated him in the same way.

 

The Rock: Living proof that an awful gimmick and a large group of people who disdain you when you're supposed to be the good guy, aren't always enough to put an end to someone.

 

I was never really a fan of his in-ring work, and actually can't sit through many of his acclaimed matches, but I think getting hurt in 1997 was the best thing that could've ever happened to his career.

 

Paul Heyman: Not all there when it comes to anything ECW-related, but his pairing with JR was one of the smartest things the WWF has done in the new millennium. I think it'd be watchable right now if they were paired up again.

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Guest Steffie

Bob Backlund: Highly over rated imo. This guy was one of the first in the early 80's to throw his weight around and cry about losing his world title, let alone how he lost it. I thought his mic skills sucked, he was bland and lacking most everything.

 

Owen Hart: One of the most under rated imo. I'd seen the guy in stampede and his puro matches are almost unhear of, simply awesome. Owen had personality, mic skills, aerial, technical, mat wrestling, just a pure all around great solid wrestler.

 

The Rock: Two words ........OVER RATED!!!! The guy had EVERYTHING handed to him on a silver platter and I have no respect for any wrestler who doesn't pay his dues nor earn anything.

 

Rey Misterio Jr: Solid wrestler and one of the best to come out of AAA Mexico. Tag team wrestling, cruiser, the guy is solid, entertaining and one of the few that I enjoy watching all the time.

 

Paul Heyman: Mastermind, Genius, Inventive, personality, etc. The guy is so bloody creative, I enjoyed his work in the awa to the nwa/wcw, ecw, the works. This guy has one of the most unique minds in the wrestling business and it's a shame he's not part of TNA or IWA MS.

 

Harley Race: I would say he's one of the greatest NWA world champions of all time. I was so disgusted that when the wwe signed him he was treated as a joke. The "king" gimmick was awful and they underminded and dogged one of the greatest nwa world champions. Great on the mic, smart man and always entertaining.

 

Eddie Guerrero: Eddie is one that I toss and turn on. Loved him in Japan,. Mexico but hated him in ECW, went back and forth on him in wcw. The guy puts on some pretty solid matches, always entertaining and one of the main attractions to SD right now.

 

Barry Windham : What a shame. I enjoyed barry from his rookie year on up. It's a shame that injuries really tore him down. He's one of the few guys to ever truly evolve after joining the four horsemen. The wwe always gave him pathetic gimmicks and I hated that. Windham is a guy that I wish TNA would bring in for storyline writing or even a manager. The guys career was cut way to short and i'll always have him in my top ten favorites of all time.

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Bob Backlund: Highly over rated imo. This guy was one of the first in the early 80's to throw his weight around and cry about losing his world title, let alone how he lost it. I thought his mic skills sucked, he was bland and lacking most everything.

Backlund didn't really "throw his weight around", nor did he "cry" about losing the title. Something you'll notice with every wrestler to ever be a world champion, from Flair to Hogan to Bret to Michaels to anyone else, is that they typically don't take dropping the world title the first time very well. It had to be hard to accept that wrestling as he knew it was totally changing, and after five years of being the top dog, he was no longer even really an attraction. I think anyone would have a problem with that. I thought his heel work in the mid-90s was comically awesome.

 

The Rock: Two words ........OVER RATED!!!! The guy had EVERYTHING handed to him on a silver platter and I have no respect for any wrestler who doesn't pay his dues nor earn anything.

What? Rock did pay his dues. He started off in the USWA and worked his way up to the WWF, where it took him two years to win his first world title. Sure, they had him in mind as a future star from day one, but they should have that mindset with all the new talent they hire. Rock earned everything he ever got. He was a huge attraction for the company for years and was hardly an overnight sensation. He worked hard and overcame a lot of fan apathy and disgust and turned a negative into a positive, which catapulted him to stardom.

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Guest Steffie

What? Rock did pay his dues. He started off in the USWA and worked his way up to the WWF, where it took him two years to win his first world title. Sure, they had him in mind as a future star from day one, but they should have that mindset with all the new talent they hire. Rock earned everything he ever got. He was a huge attraction for the company for years and was hardly an overnight sensation. He worked hard and overcame a lot of fan apathy and disgust and turned a negative into a positive, which catapulted him to stardom.

 

Yes he started off in the USWA, but once brought up to the wwf he was put over everyone from the start, same as brock. Eddie, Benoit, those guys were NEVER handed a world title. They had to work for damn near two decades a piece to earn it. Guys like hogan, flair, steamboat, race, rhodes, sting, etc were all in the business for years on end before getting their chance to hold the gold. Rock was pretty much just put over everyone.

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Guest Bruiser Chong

But Rock wasn't handed everything. As Rocky Maivia, yes, he was and everyone will agree that was a bad idea. When he returned as the retooled Rock during the summer of 1997, he brought with him a fresh character that fans loved to hate. Eventually, they loved to love him.

 

But it wasn't as if he returned and was handed the title. He worked various programs and it became clear that he was over enough as a heel to warrant getting another IC title run.

 

When he got his first WWF title, it was clear that the time was right. Virtually everyone wanted him to win the title that night. I think too many people forget just how insanely over the Rock was.

 

I recall an episode of RAW where he was battling Mark Henry of the NOD for a shot to be in the WWF title tourney at Survivor Series. The finish was a complex and involved the rest of the NOD and some of the Corporation. But in the end of the mess, the Rock upset Henry and the arena went nuts. Hell, I went nuts and I didn't even love the guy like everyone else did. It all goes back to his mix of tangibles and intangibles.

 

To say he was just handed the title is ridiculous. Why is it a rule that you have to be in the business for a decade before you're worthy of a a World title reign? If you're over enough, then go with it. And it's not like it flopped. It was a smashing success and the Rock eventually became one of the company's leaders.

 

This discussion reminds me of why people like Jericho were demoted when they were at their hottest. The whole paying dues thing is ridiculous. If a guy's over enough and he's got his head on straight, why not roll the dice on him?

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Bob Backlund: It's really cool to see Backlund get his due these days. Superb worker and tremendously over back in his day.

 

Kenta Kobashi: Again, thanks to a lack of Japan knowledge, I don't know a helluva lot about Kobashi, other than he's a great worker with the knees of an 80-year-old.

 

Owen Hart: Very, very underrated. I'll always remember his feud with Bret Hart, as it was one of the few things I paid much attention to as far as wrestling goes. Very tragic how his life ended.

 

The Rock: One of my all-time personal favourites. I'm happy to see him move on to bigger and better things. I had a feeling back in the summer of 1998 that he was going to be huge.

 

Rey Misterio Jr: Extremely fun and exciting to watch. I think he should be higher on the card than where he is right now. He's far more over than some of the guys that are pushed near the main event level.

 

Paul Heyman: A good wrestling mind, but hardly a business person. However, he's also no different than other promoters in the past who keep hammering home the same ideas and plans. I think that caught up with him with the end of ECW.

 

Harley Race: An undeniable legend. Great worker back in his day. Sounds like he was great with the rest of the locker room too.

 

Konnan: Don't know much about Konnan, but I wasn't much of a fan during his WCW days. However, he does have to be acknowledged, as he helped put lucha libre on the North American map.

 

Eddy Guerrero: One of my all-time favourites. It was great to see him win the WWE title last year, and saddening to see him lose it, especially after his recovery over the last few years. Hopefully, he can win it again.

 

Barry Windham: Probably the best worker in the U.S. in the late 1980s. A guy who never got as high up the card as he could've back during his prime.

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