So, WrestleMania was on Sunday, and I think it was like the 26th one of these extravaganzas to be held.
As a kid, I used to be super into the WWF and pro wrestling. My friends Marc, Andrew, David and I would fake-wrestle for hours, pretending to be Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka or Hulk Hogan or Tito Santana. Of course, the “fake” wrestling usually ended up in one of us getting hurt, but after a few minutes we’d be fine. I even went to a few live wrestling cards as a kid;
I take it as a personal sign of pride that “Outlaw” Ron Bass once pointed at me and my friend Marc Goldberg in Madison Square Garden and told us to stop booing him. Ah, “Outlaw” Ron Bass. I wonder where he is now.
Anyway, since I love to think back upon my childhood, I’ve compiled a list of the Top 5 pro wrestlers of the 1980s. If you think I’m nuts for leaving so and so off the list, let me know.
And watch out for that steel chair behind you!
Top 5 Wrestlers of the 1980s: (Note, Hulk Hogan was not on this list because he was a truly horrible wrestler)
5. Rowdy Roddy Piper: I used to love when the bagpipes would start, the entire arena would turn around, and old Roddy would come strutting out through the curtains on his way to the ring. You loved him, you hated him, sometimes both. He smashed Jimmy Snuka over the head with coconuts and fought Hulk Hogan in the biggest wrestling match ever, at Wrestlemania I. That’s good enough for this list.
4. Greg “The Hammer” Valentine: Wildly underrated in my opinion, Valentine was vicious but effective. He was awesome in tag team action with Brutus Beefcake (the “Dream Team”), and he was a fantastic technical wrestler as well. Plus he had great “bad guy” mannerisms.
3. Bret Hart: What else can you say about a man who had an amazing career, despite never being the biggest, fastest, or smoothest? Hart, who gave me the phase “excellence in execution,” as well as many others, kicked butt as part of the Hart Foundation, then was terrific in WCW and the WWE on his own.
2. Randy “Macho Man’ Savage: There may not have been a cooler wrestler, ever. He had the shades, he had the flowing robes fit for some king from the 1600s, and of course he had the ultimate wrestling hottie, Miss Elizabeth. The flying elbow off the top rope was practiced by me and thousands of others in rec rooms across America in the 1980s. Plus, no one ever spit more when they were cutting a promo than Macho Man.
1. Ric Flair: There’s no debate about this, just like there’s no debate about who the greatest NBA player ever is. For four decades the “Nature Boy” has been spectacular. He takes a beating, he bleeds like a champ, he’s the best interview I’ve ever seen in wrestling, and he got up and did it every damn day. Go back and watch his old matches with Kerry Von Erich and tell me he’s not the best, ever.
This promo from 1988 pretty much sums up the Nature Boy… Love the Herschel Walker and Dale Murphy references…