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02/27 - Thoughts On The Following Wrestlers


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Guest Crucifixio Jones

[li]Booker T - I don't know exactly how much hell I'm gonna catch for saying this but for my money, Booker T is probably the best black wrestler ever. Of all the black wrestlers that have made it big, Ernie Ladd, Thunderbolt Patterson, Rocky Johnson (and I don't count his son) JYD, Ron Simmons, Ahmed Johnson, New Jack (HA!) etc. I think Booker T is the best actual WRESTLER. There's a ton of periods of his career I wasn't high on (G.I. Bro, anyone?) like his run where Russo was booking him to act like The Rock but when he was allowed to just be himself, he was golden. He took some common 'hood slang and transformed them into catchphrases I found myself not being able to help but repeat. He even took his tired, cliched gimmick and made it watchable...I mean, how many people say "SUCKA" anymore? I lost interest in the WWE incarnation when he lost to HHH at 'Mania after the feud was booked like he HAD to win.

 

[/li][li]Bobby Heenan - Heenan is one of those characters I didn't really appreciate when he was doing his best shit because I was so wrapped up in the NWA. When I did get chances to see Heenan I think I just wasn't old enough to "get" him. Looking back on his schtick now, I can see that he was about the quickest wit EVER in the WWF and had his share of anecdotes that'd shame Jim Cornette's collection. It really was sad to see him barely able to speak and so frail at his induction into the HoF.

 

[/li][li]Curt "Mr. Perfect" Hennig - I was able to see Hennig live when he made his return to WWE in the Royal Rumble (the one that HHH won following his return from his quad injury). I had HIGH hopes for him, he looked so good. It was the Hennig of old, like he hadn't lost a step. Unfortunately, we all know what happened to him months later. Hennig was a guy who I actually knew there was something about him special in his prime, even before I got "smartened up." I just knew there was something cool about that Perfect-plex long before the puro faithful showed me it being called a Fisherman's Suplex in Japan.

 

[/li][li]Terry Funk - My very first look at Terry Funk came when he was a ringside judge for Steamboat vs. Flair. He seemed nice enough, all decked out in his tux, congratulating Flair and asking for a title shot out of the blue. He even seemed respectable up until Flair did what he perceived as blowing him off and disrespecting him. It was then that Funk became SCARY. He tore into Flair, after the man had just wrestled 60 minutes and piledrived the new champion on the top of a table. I had never seen such unmitigated gall, such sheer audacity, such uncouth, merciless and unremorseful selfishness employed to propel one's self onto the world stage and I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT. This old dude always gave you the impression that he was seriously off his rocker and would do ANYTHING at ANYTIME. My fondest memories come from when he aligned himself with The Great Muta and their manager, Gary Hart.

 

[/li][li]Lex Luger - I still remember the day that Luger debuted in the NWA. Fresh outta the Florida territory he WANTED to be a Horseman which was practically unheard of back then considering everyone hated the Horsemen, even other heels. Luger was actively campaigning. I remember his tag team with Barry Windham, his run with the U.S. title. But most of all, Luger had one of those submission finishers that had all the little kids on the playground talking: The Human Torture Rack. Not impressive by any means today, Luger's backbreaker was a spectacle back then, mostly due to how his 'enhancement talent' opponents would sell it and how it showed off Luger's impressive physique. NEVER saw him as the Narcassist in the WWF. His role in the Horsemen reminds me very much of Batista's role in early Evolution.

 

[/li][li]Dusty Rhodes - I remember his common man promos, his blading, his winning countless Bunkhouse Stampedes. I remember him getting "funky like a monkey" and cleaning house with just his elbow like Austin did with Stunners. I think everyone remembers the splotch on his belly. I remember his tag team with Nikita Koloff and his countless run-ins with the Horsemen. Another guy who I NEVER saw in the WWF, but I've seen pictures of the old black lady and the polkadot outfits. *shudder*

 

[/li][li]Rick Martel - Never got to see much of Martel except for when he was a part of Strike Force with Tito Santana. I missed a lot of the Model gimmick, but I was a fan of it and his "Arrogance" spray can. Surprisingly, the most I saw of Martel came from when he was the Man in AWA. I even had his action figure.

 

[/li][li]The Great Muta/Keiji Muto - Blew my mind in the NWA during his feud with Sting. Fuckin' blew. my. mind. He made the moonsault my favorite finisher until like...'97. Everything he did was God-like to me, from the emphatic way he dropped a simple elbow to his handspring elbow. You think Vader had cool headgear when he came to the ring? Get some Muta from Japan. I know Kabuki used to do it long before Muta, but Muta made you believe that mist he sprayed was actually DANGEROUS. And you never knew when he'd use it, it was like being bitten by a snake. Tajiri will NEVER be able to emulate that mystique. Hell, a face shouldn't even being using that gimmick.

 

[/li][li]Sean Waltman(1-2-3 Kid/Syxx/X-Pac) - Never even HEARD of him 'til he came back to the WWF to join DX and cut that promo. He was hot for that first year or so (back when they called the X-Factor the "Carpet Muncher") and he had some memorable storylines when he was paired with Kane but somewhere between then and now he became intolerable and somehow is now probably the most hated wrestler in the business with fans. When your name gets added to an existing term to describe a new level of suckage ("X-Pac heat"), you've hit a new low. I have been fortunate enough to see his match as the 1-2-3 Kid when he beat Razor Ramon. I only wish I was a WWF fan when it happened as I imagine it would've made the experience of seeing the match much better.

 

[/li][li]Ric Flair - I can't even really discuss The Man at length. Maybe later. Until then, I implore you all, if you don't already have it, go buy the DVD.[/li]

 

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Booker T: Solid worker who always seemed to get stuck in stupid angles/gimmicks. It's sad to see him resigned to the fact he'll never get much farther than he is in WWE.

 

Bobby Heenan: Not only one of the great managers, one of the greatest announcers ever. Would Ric Flair's Rumble win be as ingrained in your brain as it is if Heenan didn't have 15 heart attacks every time someone tried to throw him out?

 

Curt "Mr. Perfect" Hennig: Solid worker who never seemed to catch a break. Either the promotion giving him a chance at the top was going down the shitter (AWA), or he'd get injured as soon as he'd get a chance (WWF).

 

Terry Funk: Watching footage of him as NWA champion, you can't even reconcile it as the same moonsault-throwing crazy old man we see today. His second career as a crazy brawler helped give street cred to the gargbage style that seemed to cap off with the rise (and fall, *cheap pop*) of ECW.

 

Lex Luger: The poster child for the evils of wrestling politics. He was the hottest thing in wrestling circa 1986-87 yet never got the chance to run with the belt.

 

Dusty Rhodes: I actually have a soft spot for everyone's favorite punching bag. It's funny how so many smart fans are marks for JCP era NWA, yet they hate the guy who booked a lot of it. Hell, anyone who comes up with Wargames can't be all bad.

 

Rick Martel: Probably one of the most underrated heels ever, not to mention part of one of the most famous heel turns ever. Weird combo, yet it seems Rick Martel is never the first person thought of when it comes to good workers or good heels yet he was certainly both.

 

The Great Muta/Keiji Muto: I'd say either Muto or Austin win the award for the biggest turnaround/revival of a wrestling career. High flying Muta and the Stone Cold-esque Muto are almost like 2 totally different people. The only bad thing is I think he has a contest with Terry Funk to see who's knees completely explode first.

 

Sean Waltman (1-2-3 Kid/Syxx/X-Pac): I remember watching him as the Lightning Kid in the old Global Wrestling Federation, impressed at how this little dude could go. He probably should have retired after his injury, he's pretty much been a hanger-on with his clique pals since.

 

Ric Flair: No doubt one of the greatest of all time, I feel he gets a pass from a lot of people who would normally bitch about politics because of his unquestioned ability.

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Guest Hunter's Torn Quad

Booker T: A good worker, who can be part of some great matches with the right opponent. Never got his due in WWE, thanks to politics.

Bobby Heenan: Meh. Never a big fan of his work, either in commentary or managing.

Curt "Mr. Perfect" Hennig: A great worker in his prime, who could carry just about anyone to a decent match.

Terry Funk: A great worker, and a tremendous performer as well.

Lex Luger: Nobody has made more money while drawing so little. Well, except for Kevin Nash. Fuck Nash.

Dusty Rhodes: A great wrestling mind, who fell victim to his huge ego and not keeping up with the times.

Rick Martel: Underrated by a lot of people, due to his cheesy Model gimmick. I would have liked to have seen him get an IC Title run.

The Great Muta/Keiji Muto: In his peak, one of the best in the business. Today, his booking is a little slipshod, but at least he's willing to take risks to try and make new stars.

Sean Waltman (1-2-3 Kid/Syxx/X-Pac): Hard worker, but bad habits made sure he never accomplished all the he could have and should have.

Ric Flair: A great peformer, but overrated on the mic, and not as great an in-ring worker as legend tells us.

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Guest Bruiser Chong

Booker T: My first exposure to him was while he was still doing the Harlem Heat thing. Their theme music is what stood out for me, since WCW was notorious for using bland entrance tunes for virtually everyone on the roster.

 

Since I didn't follow WCW too closely, I casually missed Booker rising above the tag team ranks and carving a niche for himself in singles competition. He's never been a great wrestler in the technical sense, but has achieved success in the same way that the Rock did. A great talent of verbal skills, charisma, and a strong idea of what needs to be done inside the squared circle.

 

For me, Booker's promos have always been the big selling point for me. His matches are hit and miss, but his promos have always been as reliable as some of the all-time greats. I wish I could get my hands on the Scorpion King vignette.

 

Bobby Heenan: Perhaps my favorite wrestling personality. Ever. I think he even edges out active competitors. Simply put, Bobby has always done it for me. The man was brilliant as a manager and could take guys like the Brooklyn Brawler and make them loathed. He bumped as well as any wrestler did and could make garbage look like a million bucks.

 

I was fortunate enough to start watching when he was easing into the full-time announcing gig. In retrospect, I believe the pairing of him and Monsoon can account for many of my warm memories of the period. Some of the worst possible matches were excellent because of their interaction. I could honestly sit down and watch matches like the Natural Disasters take on the Bushwhackers, just because the two provided such memorable moments behind the table.

 

Seeing him today is almost heartbreaking, but through his now frail persona, he still can crack me up. Now I want to watch the '92 Rumble.

 

Curt "Mr. Perfect" Hennig: Always seemed to be too much of a mark for himself, but I believe that was a result of a string of bad breaks throughout his career. He took a possibly ridiculous gimmick and made it one of the strongest. His match with Bret Hart at SS '91 sparked my preference of the IC title over the WWF title.

 

Coming online and reading of his passing was too surreal. It just didn't seem possible that he could be gone. I guess that can be expected from a guy who commanded your attention anytime he was around.

 

Terry Funk: Because of my ignorance towards anything not WWF, I was under the impression for years that Funk was nothing more than a crazy old middlecard guy who enjoyed branding people's asses.

 

Of course, he was that during his time in the WWF, but years and exposure opened my eyes to a guy who had been around and done it all on multiple occassions.

 

Dusty Rhodes: It's a slippery slope when you try to figure out whether you loved or hated Rhodes. He was never one to do what was in the company's best interest, but he was over enough to justify his actions during his prime. The only wrestler to ever inform the public that they couldn't beat his meat.

 

Rick Martel: Another case of a guy who took an absurd character and made it work. Sure he would never go on to anything past midcard status in the WWF, and that was probably on account of not everyone taking his gimmick seriously. Of course, once you make a motherfucker blind with your cologne, you're likely to turn a few heads. I like to think he helped solidify the midcard during his time in the WWF. Definitley not a main eventer caliber guy, but a solid middle of the lineup competitor.

 

The Great Muta/Keiji Muto: Probably one of the top guys I need to see more footage of. The number of his matches I've actually seen is appalling.

 

Sean Waltman (1-2-3 Kid/Syxx/X-Pac): A real sad case. He never had the frame to be anything more than a second banana, but his high-risk style was something I wasn't too familiar with at the time. The moonsault was a rarity in the WWF, so to see it on a regular basis was like a little slice of heaven. Injuries were definitely his downfall, and I don't think he was ever the same after going through the ones that put a stall on his career during the mid-90s.

 

Ric Flair : Words can't do him justice. I've never seen such a successful wrestler who had such a basic moveset. His ability to put on a good match with anyone thrown his way is a talent that is found few and far between.

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Guest Some Guy

Booker T - I've liked Booker ever since he went solo. His TV title run was very good with the matches against Benoit, Martel, and Saturn being the best of the reign. It's really too bad that WWF fucked him over so badly. They just don't seem to realize when they have a good thing. I was at a house show in 2001 in Lowell, MA and there was a black kid who was about 18 sitting there with his girlfriend saying rather quietly, "Come one Booker, come on!" Here was a kid who was probably embarassed to mark out, but wanted Booker the win so badly that he couldn't help but cheer him on in some way. Not that cheering for black wrestlers and being black is mutally exclusive but they have the guy who can reach out and bring in a chunk of the population that they completely ignore. it's really fucking stupid.

 

Bobby Heenan - Best manager ever.

 

Curt "Mr. Perfect" Hennig - Bumped like a madman. I loved the gimmick and he played it perfectly (ha ha). I've only seen 2 great Hennig matches and they were both against Bret, but I've only seen his WWF and WCW runs.

 

Terry Funk - I respect him for what he's done but enough was enough about 8 years ago. He should have hung it up after his last WWF run.

 

Lex Luger - COmplete crap both in the ring and as a person.

 

Dusty Rhodes - Entertaining talker, shitty wrestler, spotty booker. He had some good ideas (Wargames, Lethal Lottery [an idea that was just never done right], and others) but fucked up JCP and WCW.

 

Rick Martel - Good worker, horrible mic skills because of the French Canadian accent. He played the Model gimmick well. His run in WCW in 97 was good, it's too bad he hurt his knee.

 

The Great Muta/Keiji Muto - I've only seen a little bit of his WCW stuff. Some was great (vs. Sting at GAB 99) some was pretty bad (vs. Austin at Spring Stampede 94 and vs. Whindam at Superbrawl 3).

 

Sean Waltman (1-2-3 Kid/Syxx/X-Pac) - Good in ring talent before his injuries, but I just couldn't stand the mutherfucker. He had something about him that just made me hate him. I think it was that he was always that annoying guy who followed the cool guys around and tried to act cool like his buddies but failed.

 

Ric Flair - Very entertaining talker and a very good worker. I think he is slightly overrated in the ring as his matches were basically all the same from 93 on and they are horrible now. He takes about 4 backdrops a match because that's all he can do. He needs to tell VInce ot induct him into the Hall this year and then go home. He's ruining his already tarnished legacy by sucking up to HHH and acting like a buffoon. HHH doesn't even show him respect in storylines, don't you think that if he did he might have let him in on the Batista scheme? It's a shame that Flair can't let go and it's costing him greatly IMO. Plus, he seems to feel the need to tear down guys who were better than him in the ring like Bret or who suceeded despite him not wanting them too (like Foley).

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Booker T. It's easily forgotten that Harlem Heat has an argument of being the dominant tag team of the 1990s. They're almost entirely forgotten today.

 

Bobby Heenan. What more needs to be said? One of the greatest managers/commentators of all time.

 

Curt "Mr. Perfect" Hennig. Limitless potential, but doomed by injuries and his own vices. I would like to say he should have been pushed further, but he had all the opportunities he needed.

 

Terry Funk. I would love to get ahold of his prime work. Terry is one of the top five over-50 workers in the history of professional wrestling.

 

Lex Luger. He always got shit for not being more than he was, but he was a capable draw during the late 80s. The motorcycle crashed stalled his career at an inopportune moment, and a badly timed leak to a NY Times reporter cost him the WWF Title.

 

Dusty Rhodes. Most people hate him for his workrate, but he was a master at working the crowd. One of the most charasmatic wrestlers in history.

 

Rick Martel. It is a shame little is seen of his pre-Model days. Martel won tag titles in the late 70s, and had a run as the AWA World Champion. And for what it is worth, I did not think the Model was a bad gimmick. Martel played it well.

 

The Great Muta/Keiji Muto. I don't think any Japanese wrestler has experienced more success on American soil.

 

Sean Waltman (1-2-3 Kid/Syxx/X-Pac). Arguably responsible for kicking off the light heavyweight boom in the United States. I still remember watching his match with Jerry Lynn in 1991.

 

Ric Flair. Well covered already. Great wrestler, great charisma. I don't think any wrestler is better known in the mainstream purely for WRESTLING.

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Guest Hunter's Torn Quad

The Luger/NY reporter/WWF Title deal is a misonception. The decision for him not to get the belt was made long before any overheard conversation.

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Booker T - In 1998, he was one of my favorite performers because I thought this was a guy who was going to be genuinely be elevated. Plus, at the time, I already loved Benoit but thought Booker was putting on some great matches at the time w/ or w/o Benoit. Then he becomes world champ after I ceased to care about him or the WCW product. I had high hopes when he came to the Fed but I should have learned my lesson. I am thinking of different black wrestlers and CJ may be correct... Booker T could be the best black wrestler we have ever seen.

 

Bobby Heenan - Genius... pure genius.

 

Curt "Mr. Perfect" Hennig - Never cared for him.

 

Terry Funk - Everyone here must find a copy of Funk vs. Jumbo from 6/11/76. THAT is Terry Funk the wrestler. I don't know if i have ever seen a better Terry Funk match. The Flair series doesn't even come close.

 

Lex Luger- I remember the old PWI magazine had Luger as their Rookie of the Year out of Florida. This was before he premiered for Crockett on TBS. Loss and I were talking about Luger's World title victory over Hulk Hogan and how ballistic the crowd was when he won the belt.

 

Dusty Rhodes - Dusty Rhodes is the reason I gave up on NWA wrestling back in the 80s. I didn't know he was the reason since I had never heard of a Dusty finish or had any clue about Dusty the booker. I just knew he killed my interest in their product before it got really hot in '89 and I can't forgive him for that.

 

Rick Martel - Never cared for him.

 

The Great Muta/Keiji Muto - I used to confuse him with Kubuki when I was a kid. Now, I resent the bastard for making All Japan a big joke. It was already on a downward spiral without him but wih him it is near unwatchable. retire already... fuck.

 

Sean Waltman (1-2-3 Kid/Syxx/X-Pac) - I hadn't watched wrestling in years and I flip on RAW or Monday nIght whatever it was and this little skinny guy beat Razor Ramon. I didn't know who he was either but the memory remains.

 

Ric Flair - I find it hard to watch Ric Flair right now. I was never a mark as a kid. Don't really care for most of his matches. Bret Hart was dead-on as it pertains to the matches they had together. Watch the Boston Iron-Man to see who was screwing up in that one. On the other hand, I still enjoy the Steamboat series and Jumbo series. I will also say that his promo on the last night of Nitro sent shivers up my spine and very few wrestling moments have ever done that.

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Guest Alfdogg

Booker T: Good to see all the positive comments in this thread regarding Booker. It disgusts me to see people talking about how "boring" and "slow" he is now, while failing to mention that

 

1) he'll be 40 in 2 months.

2) maybe, just MAYBE, he's unmotivated due to being buried nonstop for close to four years now. This one can also apply to RVD.

 

Obviously, the guy's not Benoit/Angle/Eddy caliber in the ring, and I wouldn't call him the best black wrestler ever (2 Cold Scorpio, in his prime, was better, IMO...though Shelton could have them both beat before it's all over), but I've never seen the guy get his due for his ringwork, save for this thread.

 

As far as politics go, it's almost as if he's getting buried to spite Russo for building him up as WCW's answer to Rock, which is completely unfair (and would also explain Rock completely destroying him in their "feud" of mid-2001). Of course, Vince has never been one to push a non-hoss black wrestler, either, and in case anyone tries to throw him in my face as a rebuttal, no, Rock doesn't count. And even if he did, had he not had a father and grandfather who wrestled for the McMahons, I'd be willing to bet he wouldn't have been pushed either.

 

P.S. - The Intercontinental title hasn't been worth shit since 1998 when Rock and HHH were feuding over it, and since 2000 has been simply an excuse to keep the talented guys who were getting over against their wishes out of the main event scene while creating the illusion of a push for the fans who were too fuckin' stupid to see through them. So no, I don't consider Shelton's current treatment a "push."

 

Bobby Heenan - Greatest color man of all time. Why he of all people had to be stricken with throat cancer is something I'll never understand.

 

Curt "Mr. Perfect" Hennig - From the time he came to the WWF until he was made into Ric Flair's lackey, he was easily the most effective heel in the company, to me at least. CJ kind of touched on it above, there was just something about him that made me think even though he wasn't as big as guys like Hogan, Warrior, etc., he could be the top guy just as easily. The best never to win the WWF title, no question in my mind.

 

Terry Funk - More or less what Bruiser said about him...I really dig what I have seen of him. If not for him and Foley, the 98 Rumble may have been in the running for the worst ever.

 

Lex Luger - I liked him when he was chasing Flair, but once he finally won the title and it was from Barry freaking Windham and not Flair, I could never really get behind him again after that.

 

Dusty Rhodes - I never really saw much of him outside of the polka-dotted silliness, but I do know that he was a good bleeder (well, except for Survivor Series 89).

 

Rick Martel - I liked his arrogance (no pun intended), but I never really got into the wrestler. Maybe I just need to see more of him, but most Martel matches I witnessed were snoozefests, even his matches with Bret in 91/92. He did play characters great, whether it be the fiery babyface or the arrogant heel.

 

The Great Muta/Keiji Muto - I'll be honest; without the mist, I probably couldn't tell what, if anything, set Muta apart from most of the cruiserweights that came through WCW near its end. To me, Muta and mist are just synonymous.

 

Sean Waltman (1-2-3 Kid/Syxx/X-Pac) - Never really cared for him. He had plenty of friends in the right places, otherwise I doubt he would have been any more well known than your run-of-the-mill Jakked jobber.

 

Ric Flair - Can't really say anything that hasn't already been said, so I'll just say that my opinion of him was definitely lowered after the comments about Foley and Bret.

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Booker T - Underrated as a performer, but I chalk that up mainly to never being allowed much face time. Even when he was involved in a high-profile feud, he was either a comic figure (Austin), a second fiddle (Rock) or someone who couldn't back up what he said (HHH). I think more than anyone -- more than Rob Van Dam, or Chris Jericho, or Eddy Guerrero, Booker T's emotional connection gets severed with the audience constantly. He showed some great acting skills in the recent Pulp Fiction parody with Guerrero and I think he could do some of the best serious promos we've seen in a long time if they used his charisma to portray him more as a serious threat and less as a comic sidebar. I've thought ever since he was in WCW that he had the potential to be a huge draw. I wish WCW had elevated him sooner, because he never would have been typecast as a midcarder, and his 2000 run would have been super-over. Has the size, the look, the speaking ability, is good enough in the ring and had a demographic in the palm of his hand, or at least had that potential. He should really be one of the five biggest stars on the roster, but he's not. I've also always thought Booker T was a great in-ring babyface. Perhaps the mother of all overlooked great, five-minute matches took place in November of '03 the night after Survivor Series, when he carried Mark Henry to the best match of his career, and perhaps the RAW TV MOTY for the year.

 

Bobby Heenan - Incredibly funny. I always saw him as more of a comedian who happened to be involved in wrestling than someone who could get angles over behind the mic. That said, he fit the description of what a color commentator should be quite nicely. The '92 Rumble is obviously my favorite memory of him, but I also look back fondly on his commentary at Summerslam '91.

 

Gorilla: "Coming up next, the match made in Hell!"

Heenan: "The wedding is next?" (referring to Savage and Liz tying the knot)

 

Curt "Mr. Perfect" Hennig - Had a terrific career and was one of the best heavyweights in the US during his prime (1986-1991). My two favorite matches from him are against Bret at KOTR '93 (which is FAR better than Summerslam) and his one-hour draw with Nick Bockwinkel in the AWA in Las Vegas. Both were great matches. I wouldn't say he was inconsistent, but he has some matches that have nicely withstood the test of time and some that really haven't at all.

 

Terry Funk - One of the greatest wrestlers of all time, most likely somewhere in the top 20 if you're looking at the total package on a global scale -- the influence he had in Japanese wrestling history can't be overstated. Hung on past the point where he could even be classified as a tough old bruiser, but his name carries with it credibility to most fans. The Flair feud in '89 was my first exposure to him, but I've grown to love older matches of his as well. Once again, the word legend certainly applies.

 

Lex Luger - What happened? For whatever reason, Luger could never pull everything together to meet his potential. He had a tendency to look down on pro wrestling, and he always made more money than he was worth, which is why it boggles the mind that he's having serious financial problems these days and is having to practically beg for indy dates. Had the look of a superstar, and without it, didn't really have much at all. Improved to a point where he could be carried to something good-great from 1988-1990, but injuries, drugs and a lack of motivation took their toll on him after that. Kevin Sullivan managed to get him over huge again in late 1996-1997, but after he pulled a Tommy Rich and lost the belt five days after winning it, the choke artist label was stamped solidly back on his forehead, and his days of being useful were far over. The "Narcissist" gimmick in the WWF had potential, and Luger/Bret seemed like a logical choice for a money match that never really happened, and could have put Bret over big.

 

Dusty Rhodes - One of the most charismatic performers of his day. I wouldn't call him bad in the ring, because he had the most important in-ring quality there is -- the ability to connect with a crowd. Was hit and miss as a booker overall. He always had some really awesome ideas, and he knew how to push wrestlers to accentuate their strengths, but blind favoritism ended up getting the best of him, and his tendency to book inconclusive finishes and put the heels over constantly did a lot of damage to the NWA. One of the top handful of interviews of his time, which is why he stood out so much and became a superstar after turning babyface and feuding with Pak Song in Florida in 1974. Kept himself in the limelight far longer than he ever should have. I've seen him in a **** singles match though. Backlund defended the WWF title against him in New Japan in 1980 and it was glorious!

 

Rick Martel - Wasn't a big fan of his at the time. He's been mentioned as a great heel in this thread, but I always thought he was far better served as a face, and he definitely had better matches in that role. Flair said in his book that when Martel was on, he was every bit as good as Steamboat, which is a HUGE compliment coming from him. Had some really awesome matches with Flair, Choshu and Jumbo in the mid-80s, and had a more memorable run as "The Model" in the late 80s and early 90s. His comeback in 1998 was totally unexpected and exciting to see, and he was cast in a role that was totally right for him, but sadly, a back injury cut that short just when he was starting to gain momentum. He, to me, is an example where you can put a veteran in a feud where he's surrounded by younger guys who are motivated instead of putting him with other big names who are content to rest on their laurels, and if they have pride in their work, they'll work hard to be better for it. Martel was motivated to be good again because he was surrounded by young guys and had to keep up. It was great booking sense and was great for fans watching as well.

 

The Great Muta/Keiji Muto - As has been said, he's probably had more success than any Japanese wrestler ever has in the United States. His run in 1989 obviously had a major impact, as he showed up in WCW in 2000 and got a HUGE pop based on name recognition, showing that he was one of that era that people truly remembered. He was influential to a lot of US workers and fans who had never seen the offense he was dishing out at the time, while his track record in Japan is far more spotty. Was one of the chosen ones who was always pushed hard, but only worked hard when he felt like it, and his booking is all over the place. I wish he could have turned babyface in 1990, because it would have been a great run with him challenging Flair for the title with Sting out.

 

Sean Waltman (1-2-3 Kid/Syxx/X-Pac) - I was a big fan of his when he first debuted in the WWF in 1993, and the win on Razor is an all-time favorite markout moment for me. Had a great match against Bret Hart in July of '94, and was part of the really good Clique tag match that fall as well. Also had the best 3-minute match ever against Owen Hart at KOTR '94. Injuries and drugs ended up curtailing his motivation and talent, and he was soon resting on his laurels as a guy who had the reputation for being a good worker. He probably would have had both a different career and a different path in life had he not gotten in with such a rotten crowd.

 

Ric Flair - My favorite wrestler of all time, although probably not the best of all time. I don't have quite as much respect for him as I used to, because he's such a shameless suck-up and should have quit wrestling 15 years ago, but his impact in his prime was amazing. Not so much an original as a greatest hits compilation of the wrestlers who influenced him the most, to a point where he was able to build a career out of it and make tons of money and headline countless big shows. It's very hard for me to look at him objectively, but I do try to do so.

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Guest Bruiser Chong

SS '91 is classic stuff in terms of commentary. I was never a fan of the three-man announcing teams, but Piper's presence gave Bobby an endless source of material.

 

Bobby: Piper, I heard when you were a kid, your parents...ran away from home.

Gorilla: Will you stop?!

 

Bobby: When he was a kid, Piper used to have his lunch wrapped in a road map.

 

Bobby: Wasn't easy for Piper. He'd come home and find out his parents ran away from home.

Gorllia: Will you stop?! I'm not gonna ask you again.

 

His commentary during the wedding ceremony makes the whole thing worth watching.

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Guest Steffie

Booker T: I really don't care for him anymore. I was a fan of his from his rookie days in the GWF as one half of the Ebony Experience and really enjoyed the team before moving to WCW. I always felt he was beste in tag team wrestling, but the wwe has all but ruined him. I don't know if it's his persona now, the look but something is just so meh about him that I really don't see the unlimited potential in him that I once did.

 

Bobby Heenan: There are five great managers in the entire era of professional wresteling and Heenan is one of them. One of the best on the mic, charisma, personality, the guy was brilliant. From his days in the AWA to his announcing in WCW he was truly the brain. IMO Heenan working with some people is what got them over. The guy is one of the elite in professional wrestling and I could go on forever about the guy. One of my top four favorite managers of all time and just someone that you hate so much that you finally really realise how much you liked the guy when he's gone.

 

Curt "Mr. Perfect" Hennig: Someone who was never given his just do. I remember seeing him in the AWA and telling my dad * i was a kid then* Hennig was a future star and he laughed at me. Well he was perfect in the wwf minus his no world title run, and when he went to WC I was hoping he'd have his shot but again was cut short. The guy was great in the ring, solid on the mic and again one of these guys you just hate so much that you realise how much you marked out for the guy secretly when he was gone from the wrestling world be it one month or permanently.

 

Terry Funk: The Funker, what is there not to say about him? The guy has had more retirements than the NBA has hall of famers. Injuries upon injuries, from japan and back a great worker. When you define the word heart you think of Terry Funk or at least you should. This guy gives his all time and time again and puts his health at the risk of his life because he feels he should give back all that was given to him. I loved his matches against Ric Flair in 89 and the guy truly is a legend. Truly one of the first few americans to bring over the hardcore/garbage wrestling styles from Japan.

 

Lex Luger: I feel for Luger. I know what it's like to lose the love of your life, hit depression and alcohol and you just can't stop and then your life is in a permanent downhill spiral. I can relate. It's hard for me to watch how his life and career have turned out. I recall seeing him as one half of the twin towers *before the wwf took the name* with barry windham and they won the nwa world tag team titles at clash of the champions from arn anderson and tully blanchard only to have windham turn on luger a month later. I always liked Luger as a heel and from his days with Hiro Matsuda to the four horsemen to the end of WCW, the guy was always my favorite. I felt that he was never able to truly reach his true potential and that's a shame. One of the guys I truly respect more than anyone and can really relate to on so many levels of life.

 

Dusty Rhodes: I'm not a big fan of Rhodes. Granted his tag team with Dick Murdoch as the Texas Outlaws was pretty good. I was a fan of Rhodes in the NWA and who can forget the Midnight Rider gimmick? His teaming up with the Road Warriors and his matches against Ric Flair and the four horsemen will always stand out in my mind. But when he left to go to the wwf and started wearing the outrageous outfit and ...meh I just never saw much in him after that.

 

Rick Martel: Again someone who was never able to reach his full potential due to injuries. A great worker in the AWA and my favorite memory of him was him turning on Tito Santana and becoming the Model and using Arrogance, lmao. Always enjoyed Martel and really dug him in his final stages of his career in WCW. He got a small push, but sadly injuries cost him his career. One of the most over looked and under rated stars imo.

 

The Great Muta/Keiji Muto: WOOOO puro wrestling, though Mutoh was never in the wwf so I have to move this thread to general wrestling. Mutoh is one I got to see from his days as the black ninja, to wcw with gary hart. The son of a puro legend, and the main reason New Japan became a household name. Mutoh is older now and slower but still a main headliner in the world of Japan and one of the best overall wrestlers out there. The guy invented so many moves that were brought to the states, ripped off and he was never given credit for them. Out of all the puro wrestlers over the decades, mutoh is a top ten.

 

Sean Waltman (1-2-3 Kid/Syxx/X-Pac): Over rated, bar none. I got to see him growing up from his days in the PWA to the GWF as both the lightning kid to his days in the wwf and back around again. Drugs and injuries have ruined his career and I just felt that after 1993 he became over rated, egotistical and nothing as great as he was in the pwa and gwf.

 

Ric Flair : I have to keep this short before i'm here all day typing. THE GREATEST to ever grace the wrestling mic and step inside the wrestling ring. How many guys do you can break their back in a plane crash, told they'll never walk again and come back to be one of the greatest of all time? How many guys do you know can wrestle 60 minute matches 250 nights a year for 5 years straight almost? How many guys do you know at his age can still be the greatest on the mic and still preform and put thousands of fans in the seats? The answer is there is NOBODY!!! Ric Flair is the man, love it, like it, you better learn to respect it.

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