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Steve "Mongo" McMichael - Is he the best of the worst?

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Hello, everyone. Recently I came across this very peculiar Twitter account

https://twitter.com/ThatsOurMongo

 

It reunites many of Mongo's best moments in WCW, and while there are some... questionable events there, I must say that things like him catching Eddie for a Tombstone Piledriver and his suicide dive against 'Berg are actually rad.

So, I must pose a question to you, fellow wrestling watchers: is Mongo the best of the worst wrestlers ever, or he's passable enough to not even be considered a bad wrestler? How does his overness get justified? He's fascinating in so many levels.

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His overness is easily explained by his status as a celebrity athlete prior to wrestling and the appeal of that persona. I have to say I see the glass more than half empty when I look at that account: there is evidence here that Mongo was the worst wrestler ever pushed on a national platform.

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He was pretty god-awful, especially considering he had a US Title run. Jeff Jarrett seemed to find a decent formula with him by working over his legs so Mongo just had to lie around selling until he hit his clotheslines and piledriver. Speaking of which, it really is insane that he didn’t kill anybody with his tombstone.

I thought he was a half-decent promo though. Even if he did only have one volume and crowds were always invested in his matches at least.

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He stunk

Is the same person also responsible for Rude getting atomic dropped and Regal getting his fingers stomped on gimmick accounts? If so, quite the empire they're building 

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35 minutes ago, Ricky Jackson said:

He stunk

Is the same person also responsible for Rude getting atomic dropped and Regal getting his fingers stomped on gimmick accounts? If so, quite the empire they're building 

I gotta check that out. The Rude one is GOLD.

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What people seem to forget is that when he was thrown on TV, he was basically a rookie. A 39 years old rookie banged-up from a pro-football career. Of course he wasn't gonna be good. Unless your name is Kurt Angle, Owen Hart, Jun Akiyama or Mika Akino (remember her people ?), which were pretty much great from day 1, chances are you're not gonna be good at all whe you debut. At his age, he had no shot.

But all things considered, I think he fit the Horsemen very well with Debra at his side, he had a charisma and star power to him that made it work. Plus when he was hidden in tag match and only came for a spot or two, it was ok.

Considering some awful workers who spent decades of sucking despite beginning young and healthy, having hundreds and hundreds of long boring matches on top of the cards, really the one year and a half/two years of rookie Mongo not being good doesn't seem that bad considering he was mostly a fun character during some of the hottest years of pro-wrestling of the last 30 years.

What I'm saying basically, is that I'd rather watch a Horsemen tag match with Mongo from Nitro anyday over, I dunno, a Kane or a Baron Corbin match.

That Twitter account is hilarious. That spot with Davey Boy had me rolling.

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Mongo was awesome as both an announcer and a wrestler. I mean, in some ways he was terrible, but in many ways he was great--both ironically and unironically. My favorite unironic Mongo image is his first Nitro run-in after turning at the Bash, killing Randy Savage with the briefcase during a match against Flair. Mongo in the all black and shades actually looked like a cool, intimidating motherfucker.

What I'm really trying to say is, this thread is apropos, and I ain't talkin' 'bout diggin' around in the dirt with farm implements, baby.

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3 hours ago, PeteF3 said:

 

What I'm really trying to say is, this thread is apropos, and I ain't talkin' 'bout diggin' around in the dirt with farm implements, baby.

That line was the first thing I thought of when I saw this thread. It's awesome in that it still vexes me to this day.

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Easily the greatest in-ring technician I've ever seen in all my years as a wrestling fan.

The fact that he wasn't #1 in the PWO GWE invalidates the entire process.

 

Spoiler

Seriously though, great look, personality, and charisma. Fit the Horseman mold to a tee, even if he wasn't exactly pretty to watch in the ring (to say the least). His heel turn and Horseman entry is still one of the biggest and most underrated shockers ever. I'd certainly take him - warts and all - over the "good workers" we have today. 

 

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6 hours ago, PeteF3 said:

What I'm really trying to say is, this thread is apropos, and I ain't talkin' 'bout diggin' around in the dirt with farm implements, baby.

Incredible. I also think it's worth mentioning that little Pepe never repeated an outfit in his time on the Nitro commentary desk. That dog had quite the wardrobe.

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Mongo vs Eddie Guerrero - WCW Nitro - 08/25/97

Hey, that was a fun romp. Eddie is of course master class, mocking Mongo at every chance he gets. McMichael also plays his part very well. His eventual comeback and finishing stretch is well-executed, and the finishing spot is beautiful. 

I believe that if he had started pro-wrestling like 5 years sooner, he would've been pretty damn good in a non-ironical way.

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Considering what has been "proven" by the elites scholars influencers on this board, I'd say Bruiser Brody, Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit, KO, Seth Rollins, Roddy Piper, Dusty Rhodes, Bob Backlund, and Shawn Michaels are the best of the "worst".

 

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I'm going to say "No" just because there are "worse" wrestlers I like better. If you look at things from a technical perspective (meaning, a wrestler sucks if they're not smooth or good at executing even the most basic moves), I like Sid and Ultimate Warrior much more than I like Mongo. Then you got guys like Johnny B. Badd/Marc Mero who are technically better but not as fondly remembered, but I'd still certainly put above Mongo. 

I would also agree with whoever mentioned that he was fine in tags. In 97', he was tagging with Benoit fairly often and had two PPV matches against The Faces of Fear and Jarrett & Malenko. There was enough competency around for those to be perfectly passable.

I do like the idea of Mongo being a weird "dividing line," though. Like, I'm confident in saying that Sid and the Ultimate Warrior were better than Mongo, but I'd just as confidently say Mongo was clearly better than both Harris Twins combined and El Gigante.

 

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18 hours ago, El-P said:

What people seem to forget is that when he was thrown on TV, he was basically a rookie. A 39 years old rookie banged-up from a pro-football career. Of course he wasn't gonna be good. Unless your name is Kurt Angle, Owen Hart, Jun Akiyama or Mika Akino (remember her people ?), which were pretty much great from day 1, chances are you're not gonna be good at all whe you debut. At his age, he had no shot.

But all things considered, I think he fit the Horsemen very well with Debra at his side, he had a charisma and star power to him that made it work. Plus when he was hidden in tag match and only came for a spot or two, it was ok.

Considering some awful workers who spent decades of sucking despite beginning young and healthy, having hundreds and hundreds of long boring matches on top of the cards, really the one year and a half/two years of rookie Mongo not being good doesn't seem that bad considering he was mostly a fun character during some of the hottest years of pro-wrestling of the last 30 years.

What I'm saying basically, is that I'd rather watch a Horsemen tag match with Mongo from Nitro anyday over, I dunno, a Kane or a Baron Corbin match.

That Twitter account is hilarious. That spot with Davey Boy had me rolling.

This pretty much encapsulates my thoughts on this. Like, yeah, he was a terrible wrestler, and clearly dangerous to work with, but as a viewer, I enjoy him more than I do a bunch of wrestlers who've been pushed at that level. Plus, at least he has the redeemable value of becoming a hilarious meme twenty years later, unlike Baron Corbin or Triple H during his most pushed run. 

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Tough to argue that Mongo was a good professional wrestler.  But he was rarely, if ever, put in situations that would rank him among the worst.  Most of his matches weren't incredibly long singles affairs so as much as they show someone who wasn't all that strong in most aspects of the job, he was never around or exposed for so long that it was excruciating to watch.  A bad 6-8 minute match never makes me hate what I'm watching the way poor 15+ minute matches do.

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I remember the Nitro in January 98 I was at when Davey Boy Smith returned, and faced Mongo. They did a small angle where he was playing ugly American to Smith and the two had a blow-off match. It was responded to rather politely (bordering on tepidly, or so I remember it), since DBS' return was not a surprise to anyone at this point since Bret was already there. 

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As we dive deeper into our Mongo matches, it's clear that while his body was already broken down, he never gave less than 100%.

Underrated bumper, gotta be honest.

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After watching a lot of those clips I have to say he had his good points.  He definitely went out of his way to bump for some guys.  Sometimes comedically over-the-top, but he was putting the effort in.  Also when he was having stiff brawls with Finlay or Meng I could see some potential in him as a guy who came in for shots in a Southern territory in the 80s.  Obviously he'd have needed to be more polished, but he had the intensity and the willingness to put his body on the line.

I guess we don't really take into account that most of the wrestling we see on TV is done by guys with a TON of experience in the ring in front of fans.  When you see a guy like Mongo learning as he goes and obviously struggling to keep up at points it drives that home.  If he'd have come in after 5 years in the business I really think we'd be having a different conversation.  As it is, I think all of us enjoy some of the more "wrestlecrap" moments now and again.

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