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Wrestling's best self-promoter


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Thought this would be an interesting topic.

 

Obviously, if we were considering best of all time, I can't imagine how anyone but Hulk Hogan would fall in this category, but if we're looking at current wrestlers and how they market themselves, I've gotta go with Chris Jericho, who seems to be more media savvy than anyone in wrestling these days.

 

I'll elaborate more later, but I'm curious what everyone else thinks.

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I say Zack Ryder, its entirely possible he will be getting fired soon, but that was a good possibility anyway. Now, with his youtube show and social media presence it is likely that either a. when he is released they will be a big outcry and as long as he prices himself reasonable he could do a lot of indy shows or b. someone in WWE actually gives him a shot based on him making a name for himself on his own.

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Up until a few years ago Mick Foley and Jim Cornette until they lost "it" and people grew kind of tired of them.

 

Paul Heyman from the same era as those two still manages to hold on to his IWC savior status.

 

Rock has to be in the discussion too.

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Paul Heyman from the same era as those two still manages to hold on to his IWC savior status.

In case anybody doubts this, from a recent WO.com poll:

 

Who was the best wrestling booker?

Paul Heyman 39.5%

Vince K. McMahon 20.6%

Shohei Baba 12.6%

Bill Watts 9.8%

Pat Patterson 6.6%

Eddie Graham 4.1%

Jerry Jarrett 2.2%

Roy Shire 1.2%

Dusty Rhodes 1.1%

Hisashi Shinma 1.1%

Antonio Pena 0.6%

Bobby Bruns 0.6%

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There is Jesse Ventura too.

 

Thought this would be an interesting topic.

 

Obviously, if we were considering best of all time, I can't imagine how anyone but Hulk Hogan would fall in this category, but if we're looking at current wrestlers and how they market themselves, I've gotta go with Chris Jericho, who seems to be more media savvy than anyone in wrestling these days.

 

I'll elaborate more later, but I'm curious what everyone else thinks.

 

I don't think Jericho is a bad candidate.

 

I do think it's worth mentioning that from the world of wrestling, we look positively on the reality show and commentator (on variations of World's dumbest) circuit that Jericho works. But while in the wrestling world it is seen as increased media exposure, for most of the rest of the world it is considered a fall .

 

Maria and Goldberg get more mainstream media exposure on The Celebrity Apprentice than they did during their wrestling careers.

 

But the majority of the other contestants are LaToya, Sinbad, and Brett Michaels: washed up guys struggling to remind the audience and agents that they still exist and convince them that they are still relevant.

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Up until a few years ago Mick Foley and Jim Cornette until they lost "it" and people grew kind of tired of them.

Foley got tarnished with his company-man association with TNA, methinks. But as for Cornette, if anything, I think he got tired of his own self-promotion. He hasn't done any notable interviews in a while now, and pretty much just keeps his head down and works for ROH.

 

Could we grade on a curve for someone who has nothing to promote? Because the first guy I thought of when I saw this thread topic was Russo. He someone managed to consistently keep a top creative position in several companies, despite never having the credentials or experience one would need for such a job. The sheer fact that he's still employed does indicate that he's goddamned brilliant at convincing other people of his brilliance.

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Might be two different levels/types:

 

* Guys who had "it" but self promoted themselves to epic levels

 

* Guys who self promoted themselves far beyond their level

 

The first group would have someone like Inoki and Hogan. Obviously terrific bullshit artists who self promoted themselves, but they also had tools... they pretty much had it.

 

The second group... isn't Onita one of the definative in that group? He literally had nothing. Small, not chance ever of being a heavy. Thrown a bone as Jr. Champ, but pale compared to how over Sayama was. The horrible injury that killed his career. He had nothing there, and for years. And then... magic, right?

 

Russo would be high on the list of the second group. I'm not a huge Heyman fan, and do think that he's vastly overrated by hardcores. But he self promoted himself to:

 

* a good paying job with WCW

* getting punted from that

* his own promotion/territory

* that went bankrupt horribly

* a good paying job with the WWE

* burning his bridges there left and right

 

That's not really epic. :)

 

John

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Just within wrestling circles alone, I'd say Dusty Rhodes is a guy you can mention. I mean... have you actually *looked* at that guy? In theory there shouldn't be an athletic endeavor on earth that Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons couldn't give him a run for his money at. And yet he's Dusty Rhodes. He's made an amazing career on his mouth. Which isn't to say I've never liked his matches, that wouldn't really be true, but clearly it's his charisma that makes Dusty what he is.

 

Mainstream is a different story, of course. Hogan is probably more famous than The Rock based on his level of exposure in the day, but Rock's movie career, while never becoming super-massive, has still been infinitely more respectable within it's niche.

 

Inoki is the big winner in Japan for sure. You also have Santo who did all those movies and what have you in Mexico that I'm not as familiar with, but they merit mention too.

 

I've gotta go with Chris Jericho, who seems to be more media savvy than anyone in wrestling these days.

I thought Jericho did fine with that little game show hosting gig he had for 15 minutes there. So he wasn't really the problem with it.

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Russo would be high on the list of the second group.

I almost said Russo, for being employed as a wrestling writer on the dubious merits of a 2 years stint in WWF 13 years ago, despite having an atrocious track record for everything he did since then. But then I thought, it's not really that he's a great self-promoter, it's more like TNA are a bunch or retards, and that he's a long time friend of Jarrett.

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I do think it's worth mentioning that from the world of wrestling, we look positively on the reality show and commentator (on variations of World's dumbest) circuit that Jericho works. But while in the wrestling world it is seen as increased media exposure, for most of the rest of the world it is considered a fall .

That's a pretty great point. That's how low in the totem poll of pop culture pro-wrestling really is.

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Zack Ryder, as mentioned, is really doing an excellent job garnering a cult following for himself simply through the use of a video camera, YouTube and basic video editing. His goofy webshow is garnering more views than WWE shows on YouTube put up by the WWE themselves each week

 

The Miz also has done an incredible job and is amazing guest on any show he appears on. He really made an incredible accounting for himself on Conan before Wrestlemania. I mean, no one could have possibly imagined The Miz would be where he is now 5 years ago.

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From their Legends with Wrestling appearances alone I'd cite both Bret Hart and Pat Patterson. And Lawler.

 

A lot of the wrestlers put themselves over on that show, but I'd say those did it more than most. Lawler in the space of one show took credit for inventing the Rock 'n' Roll Express, The Fabulous Ones, and music videos in wrestling with Michael Hayes sitting dumbfounded right next to him.

 

Bret Hart seems to have an incredibly high opinion of himself and seems to have absolutely no level of self-awareness or humour to go with it. At least Foley, Cornette, Heyman etc. are aware of their self-shilling and can even make a joke out of it. Bret is just 100%, chip-on-the-shoulder, "I was the best, and that's it". I've come to dislike Bret over the two hours I spent with him on those two shows - he was better in the Canadian one than the previous one.

 

Patterson is less of a self-shill, but he was GAGGING for Bret to pick him as the best Canadian wrestler and hated the fact that he chose Archie Gouldie, in fact he was downright furious and proceeded to try to bury him and his entire career. I cringed as he tried to big himself up by telling a story that went nowhere about working with Rocky Johnson. Patterson also consistently puts over WWF/E stuff on that show and generally comes across as a bit of a prick.

 

When I first started watching LoW, I used to hate Hayes, but now-a-days he's the only one I actually like on there. I get sick of JR harking back to the Attitude era as the be all and end all. It's more than a bit irritating.

 

But anyway, there are some names for you no one has mentioned yet.

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It's unclear to me that this discussion is built on any clear definiton of what self-promotion means, or that at least the definition is different from Loss' original one.

 

Self-promotion=marketing oneself outside of wrestling.

Self-promotion=marketing what you accomplished in wrestling to the outside world.

Self-promotion=marketing self inside of world of wrestling (in which case I think marrying daughter of biggest promoter in the world gets you on top).

Self-promotion=marketing oneself to the world of wrestling fans sheets.

 

these aren't the same thing.

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It's unclear to me that this discussion is built on any clear definiton of what self-promotion means, or that at least the definition is different from Loss' original one.

 

Self-promotion=marketing oneself outside of wrestling.

Self-promotion=marketing what you accomplished in wrestling to the outside world.

Self-promotion=marketing self inside of world of wrestling (in which case I think marrying daughter of biggest promoter in the world gets you on top).

Self-promotion=marketing oneself to the world of wrestling fans sheets.

 

these aren't the same thing.

Define it how you choose and explain your case. Sometimes, the goal posts of the best discussions are left purposely vague.

 

My definition was marketing oneself outside of wrestling. Use of technology to do that is a plus, obviously.

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Self-promotion=marketing self inside of world of wrestling (in which case I think marrying daughter of biggest promoter in the world gets you on top).

Self-promotion=marketing oneself to the world of wrestling fans sheets.

I'd say Raven fits these two pretty well. He was a moderately successful wrestler who has convinced people that he has a great mind for the business despite him never booking anything that made a dime.

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But he self promoted himself to:

 

* a good paying job with WCW

* getting punted from that

* his own promotion/territory

* that went bankrupt horribly

* a good paying job with the WWE

* burning his bridges there left and right

 

That's not really epic. :)

To be fair, Heyman did latch himself onto Brock Lesnar, the top star in MMA, and seems to be hustling for himself pretty well outside wrestling. :)

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A lot of the wrestlers put themselves over on that show, but I'd say those did it more than most. Lawler in the space of one show took credit for inventing the Rock 'n' Roll Express, The Fabulous Ones, and music videos in wrestling with Michael Hayes sitting dumbfounded right next to him.

He did do that. Bret and Pat came across as really cool guys.
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I think Bret came across better on that show than the previous one. Patterson, however, for whatever reason, didn't come across well on that Canadian Effect ep. At least not for me.

 

I can also no longer get a read on JR. Can't tell if he's grumpy, taking something in good spirits or not. Rewatched some of the older ones recently and it's particularly difficult on the Heatseekers one.

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