Friday, August 5, 2011

Your Favorite Wrestlers: UConn Gary

Now that my own favorites list is out of the way, I posed the question to some of my colleagues in the fan/writer community. Who are your favorite five wrestlers?

Today's list comes from TWB superfan and Twitter user UConn Gary, a reader of the blog and also a fan of With Leather, as I've seen him comment there. It's a really good list too, in ascending order.

The Great #1
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All these guys are on my list for the work they did in WWF/E. I was never into Indy wrestling, and I didn't really watch WCW during the Monday Night Wars. My top five wrestlers of all time will probably not be smark approved. I'm a child of the '80s and '90s, and the 1-2-3 Kid beating Razor Ramon had a bigger effect on me than most things. Then again so did Henry Rowengartner. 1-2-3 Kid gets an honorable mention on my list, as does Sunny, who helped me through puberty. To the top 5...

5. Randy “Macho Man” Savage – Since I was never really big into Hulk Hogan, I naturally gravitated towards the Macho Man. Maybe it was my love for Slim Jims, or because his voice was easy to ape, but Randy Savage was one of the most entertaining guys in the WWF pre-Attitude Era for my money. The moment that most sticks out in my mind with Savage was his feud with Jake Roberts when he was bitten by Damien. Scary stuff for an 8-year-old. His wrestling ability wasn't what attracted me to the Macho Man as a young child, but watching some of his matches again show how great a worker he truly was. I was only three for his nearly flawless Wrestlemania III match with Ricky Steamboat but any time I re-watch it, I'm amazed at how brilliantly it was worked.

4. Mr. Perfect – It was all about the entrance and the sport vignettes - both awesome and obviously perfect. He's probably the first heel that I started cheering for. His commentary was amazing, his management of Ric Flair was a fitting use of him while injured, and his in ring skills were second to none. He should have been WWF Champion, and if not for the Million Dollar Man, he'd be able to lay claim to best heel never to wear the gold. The match with Bret Hart for the Intercontinental Championship was my favorite Mr. Perfect moment.

3. Chris Jericho – We might be sensing a trend here. Cocky heels are my favorite. That's why I've been so enamored with C.M. Punk and The Miz lately. Jericho, for me, redefined the “cool heel”. I didn't really know him from WCW, but watching some of his work on YouTube after the fact (The Man of 1004 Holds, anything with Ralphus) impressed me even more. His WWF introduction countdown and first promo versus The Rock was great, but the recent feud with Shawn Michaels was my favorite Jericho work of all time.

2. Owen Hart – Owen was one of my favorites from the time I first saw him teaming with Koko B. Ware in High Energy. From there, Owen evolved into one of the best underdog heels ever feuding with his brother. His character resonated with me, probably because I never really liked Bret either! He could easily be the greatest tag-team wrestler of all time. His work with Koko, Yoko, the Anvil, British Bulldog and Double J were all outstanding. His tragic death really shook me. I was in my parents basement (har, har) listening to the Pay-Per-View on a scrambled channel. It felt like someone I knew had died that day, maybe hearing the events happen live, then seeing the tribute show the next day on Raw had something to do with it, but a celebrity's death hasn't touched me in that way before or since. RIP Owen.

1. The Rock – I was firmly in The Rocks camp in the late 90s and early 00s. I stopped watching WWF/E around 2001 and didn't get back into until 2006ish, so I missed the drama of The Rock leaving for Hollywood, so I don't have the bitter taste in my mouth that many other wrestling fans have with him. I never really liked Steve Austin (another trend, I always shied away from the WWF/E's top draw) and since he and The Rock feuded for quite a while, I was always pulling form the Brahma Bull. Some of my favorite Rock moments are his work with Mick Foley, as a foe and as teammate. I liked the Rock in the Nation of Domination and in the Corporation. I followed the Rock where ever he went, I had the t-shirt (only wrestling t-shirt I ever owned) read his biography in one night the day it came out, and spouted out his catchphrases at the TV with great vigor. I was upset (still am) that I can't raise an eyebrow, and would mark out anytime his music hit. My favorite moment of The Rock was his I Quit Match with Mankind at the 1999 Royal Rumble, poor Mick must still be feeling some of those chair shots.

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