Saturday, March 05, 2011

My 20 Favorite WWF Wrestlers

Of all the homoerotic stuff I grew up with in the '80s--ThunderCats, Masters of the Universe--probably the most homoerotic and the most ridiculously fun was WWF Wrestling. Wrestling was one of my favorite things to watch on TV with my Dad, back when he and Jayne and I would watch Sunday afternoon television on local channels: the Three Stooges, Godzilla, kung fu movies, and WWF. My cousin Brandy had action figures. I had posters and loved the cartoon Hulk Hogan's Rock & Wrestling. It was just big, stupid fun. So, for the hell of it, here are the men who were my 20 favorites.

Honorable Mention: Bam Bam Bigelow
I had to get this guy in. To be honest, I don't remember watching him wrestle a ton of times, but he was my favorite character to use when playing WWF WrestleMania on NES. He did this cartwheel move that could just kick anyone right in the face. It was awesome.

20. Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake
... How am I not more gay? I used to cheer a guy with pink fishnets on his hands and poofy hair as he strutted around in tight pants and used hedge trimmers to cut his opponents' hair.

19. The Rockers
I never noticed before how much Marty Jannetty looks like Mike Myers. Huh.

18. Sgt. Slaughter
Because he was in G.I. Joe, of course. I still have the G.I. Joe figure. Was that one of the figures yo had to send away for? I can't remember. I used to have his tank, also.

17. Koko B. Ware
He's romancing you with his eyes, which is creepy, because he's holding a parrot. I have to admit, though, the parrot is a big part of what made me dig this dude.

16. Superfly Jimmy Snuka
He was kind of out there, with his Hawaiian shtick, but it was almost mesmerizing. I liked the hand signals and the fact that he reminded me of a lot of guys I saw on Guam, which was a place the really got to me (even though I was too young and complainy to really appreciate it the first time). I used to try and do that big jump he'd do off the turnbuckle. I was much more willing to stupidly hurt myself as a kid. As it should be, I suppose.

15. Hillbilly Jim
Dude was just funny. And he reminded me of my Uncle Ralph a little with his big smile and hearty laugh.

14. Honkytonk Man
He's comin' to your town in a pink Cadillac. The silly Elvis impression and the goofy Bruce Campbell humor was a lot like my Dad. And my Dad played the guitar, too, though to the best of my knowledge he never hit anyone in the head with it. Speaking of Dad, he's still got a home movie of me from when I was 13 (I think) dancing and singing along to the Honkytonk Man's theme song. He keeps threatening to show it to people, but he's just jealous that he never rocked the way I do.

13. Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat
He was just cool. And the perfect wrestler to go along with the Bruce Lee movies we watched on the same local channel.

12. King Kong Bundy
A great villain. And he gets extra points for being so funny on Married...with Children, which is still one of my all time favorite shows.

11. Jake "The Snake" Roberts
Wow, that's... sweaty. And shiny. He's like Rexor from Conan the Barbarian crossed with that big guy that played drums for Rod Stewart in the 70s. Always fun to watch.

10. The Iron Sheik
And the dreaded Camel Clutch. Ah, racial stereotyping, where would wrestling be without it?

9. Hacksaw Jim Duggan
He was crazy! A big ol' hillbilly beating the crap out people and whacking them in the head with a board. This guy was a great, hilarious character! He just went nuts on people. You just knew his matches were going to be insane.

8. George "The Animal" Steele
Another guy totally immersed in his character. You half expected Colin Clive to rush out and stop this homunculus from rampaging.

7. Bret "Hitman" Hart
Yeah, this is what passed for cool in wrestling in the late 80s, when the Ultimate Warrior showed up and everybody became an overly-juiced douchebag. The WWF lost that innocent, character-based, comic book style fantasy element and become about the Cool. I admit, a lot of what I dug about Hitman was his mirrored glasses, which I used to have my own pair of.

6. Junkyard Dog
He was cool and hilarious. He had a song on The Wrestling Album called "Grab Them Cakes," which I still use to make Becca laugh sometimes. I found out while putting this together that JYD is Becca's favorite wrestler, so that just makes stupid things like "Grab Them Cakes" funnier to me.

5. Hulk Hogan
He was exactly the wrestler for the Reagan era, wasn't he? Almost ostentatiously American, wholesome, like a real life superhero. It's too bad he went on a reality show so the world could see the ass he really is. Hot daughter, though.

4. Captain Lou Albano
For a little while, this guy was everywhere. Cyndi Lauper videos, TV shows, Brian DePalma movies... and I'm not gonna lie, he gets extra points for being, in my mind, the One True Mario.

3. Andre the Giant
Epic. Everything about him, epic.

2. Rowdy Roddy Piper
An obnoxious loudmouth, just like me. I always wanted him to be in the never-made Big Trouble in Little China sequel... Roddy and Kurt? Awesome.

1. "Macho Man" Randy Savage
Even when he was a villain, I loved this guy. I'm not really even a hundred percent sure what I liked about him so much, but he just made wrestling exciting for me as a sort of pulpy soap opera drama. His rivalry with former tag team partner Hulk Hogan really hooked me in for a while (and yes, I knew it was all fake, it's entertainment, dude), because I just knew there was some way he was going to turn it around. And he and the late Miss Elizabeth were just kind of the embodiment of what made the WWF fun when I was a kid.

Seems like a long time ago. And maybe it was.


Hobgoblin238 said...

Love your list. I am the same. Love wrestling even to this day.

Kal said...

I am a few years older than you so I have wrestling memories before everything was almalgamated into the WWF. So I personally put guys like the Superfly Jimmy Snooka much higher on my list. Andre The Giant, Nick Bockwinkle and the High Flyers vs the Super Destroyers. We would watch with our Baba all the time. She loved it and would not be told it was false. To her it was the battle of the gods. I even still have old wresting magazines which only today do I see how homoerotic they are. I gotta agree with you about Randy Savage. His voice was the best. There is a cartoon called 'Dial M For Monkey' from the old Dexter's Lab show where he was the voice of a cartoon alien who came to Earth to challege all of Earth's heroes. He beat them all of course except for Monkey who would not yield. For years my friends and I would do the famous line in Savages' voice - "Little Monkey, I could grind your bones to dust but I could NEVER crush your spirit." It was one of my favorite cartoons ever.

Kal said...

Oh in case you are interested I just posted that Macho Man voiced 'Dial M For Monkey' Episode at my site as per your inspiration.

Anonymous said...

Yeah. Hogan's backstage shenanigans really tarnished his legacy.

sanford said...

I didn't count but how many of those wrestlers are dead or in bad shape financially or health wise.

javis179 said...

Did I really used to think the Rockers were so cute when I was a kid... Wow.

Was having a mullet a prerequisite to be in the WWF?

SamuraiFrog said...

Having a mullet was a prerequisite to being alive in the 80s.

Bobby Pontillas said...

Soooo awesome. Thanks for posting this. The Macho Man's pinnacle moement in my mind was when he won WrestleMania 4, the tournament for the Championship belt, when Hulk hit Dibiase with a chair?! Oh man. If I were to list my top 3 , in order they would be:

3. Ricky the Dragon Steamboat
2.The Ultimate Warrior
1. Hulk Hogan