Ciao, and welcome to another mustard cutting edition of Baiamonte’s Casa. The column that eats boundaries and washes them down with cups of hot, steaming rules.
Something I?ve noticed during my time as a user of online wrestling forums (I refuse to be classed as part of the IWC, because the IWC to me consists solely of indie fed fan boys and smarks who believe every wrestler under six foot is being held back. Yeah I generalise, big whoop, wanna fight about it?) is the constant bickering about who was the greatest wrestler of all time. Said topic tends to revolve around the following key issues;
1) In ring ability
2) Drawing power
4) Charisma/Stick work
Now, it?d be easy for me to end the column here by just declaring Ric Flair the greatest of all time based on the above criteria. I mean, he could make a blow up doll look like a million dollars in the ring, sold out arenas across the country back in the territory days, was on top for most of the 80’s and the early 90’s and had more charisma than Jenna Jameson’s had facials. However, I refuse to base my quest for the greatest of all time on these four selling points.
Instead, I am going to investigate how to create ?The Ultimate Wrestler?. I aim to do this by breaking down a series of variants. Some relatively normal, some slightly more left field. So forget your Ric Flair’s and your Hulk Hogans and put aside your love for Jumbo Tsuruta and Lou Thesz, and instead start thinking about a combination of the four, thus presenting you with a mass of wrestling awesomeness capable of making Chuck Norris weep like a clap ridden love length.
THE RECIPE FOR THE ULTIMATE WRESTLER
Step One: Take A Substantial Dose of Jerry Lawler’s Punching Prowess – Until about a year ago, I was a relative Memphis Wrestling virgin. Then I decided to well and truly pop my cherry with the Jerry Lawler/Bill Dundee feud. I didn?t so much as lose my Memphis virginity with that feud, rather it was taken from me by Jerry Lawler and his furious right hand. Every time The King landed a punch I expected Dundee’s jawbone to fly into the third row. Just to emphasise the power of big Jerry’s right hand, whenever he is booked to wrestle in a WWE ring nowadays, his old school and pretty much outlawed finisher the piledriver has been replaced with a, can anyone guess? A middle rope FIST DROP! Take that Brian Kendrick! It’s no coincidence that after Kendrick suffered at the hands of the immortal fist from Memphis, he was promptly released. Any talk of drug tests and creative having nothing to do with him that may have surfaced in the wake of his release are pure poppycock. It was the nightmares he was having when he thought about Jerry Lawler’s right hand flying towards his kisser that caused him to hand in his notice in a cold sweat. Truly the punch of a champion.
Step Two: Add a generous helping of Ric Flair’s 80’s wardrobe – I mean, do I really need to go any further on this? Custom made suits, Rolex watches, gold around his neck and shoes that cost more than Tony Schviaone’s house, has there ever been a better dressed superstar than 80’s Naitch?
Step Three: Stir in Michael Hayes? hair do – C?mon, the ?Dog the Bounty Hunter? look just exudes manliness from every pore. Especially the way ?PS? used to flick it in the breeze as he ran down the aisle to ?Bad Street USA?. The ultimate wrestler needs to be a picture of masculinity, and nothing is more masculine than a garish 80’s peroxide mullet, because let’s face it, you?ve got to be hard as nails to rock that look and get away with it.
Step Four: Crack a whole heap of Rey Mysterio’s phenomenal ability to work a good match with ANY superstar into the mixture – Really, if there’s a better pound for pound wrestler on the planet right now that’s not called Rey Mysterio I?d like to meet him. This guy carried not one, not two, not three, not even four, but FIVE FUCKING MEN to a great match at No Way Out in the Raw Elimination Chamber. It’s by far the greatest single performance I?ve seen by a wrestler anywhere this year and is probably in my top 10 single performances of all time. Since then, the little guy’s hot streak hasn?t cooled down one iota. Just take a look at his work with lumberjack – to – be Mike Knox. Who would have ever bought Knox as a credible performer based on his ECW work? Put him alongside Rey Rey however and you?ve got yourself a bona fide monster who people want to see perform. That’s before I even mention his feud of the year with the outstanding Chris Jericho and his stellar work with Dolph ?Tommy Rich? Ziggler. Did I mention his work with Punk at Armageddon last year as well? Or how about the way he helped Kane become relevant for the first time in forever during October/Novemeber last year? Pound for pound, no one touches Mysterio at this moment in time, no one. Except Cody Deaner, your new TNA Knockouts Champion!
Step Five: Sprinkle in the pop culture cross over appeal of 1980’s Hulk Hogan – He rubbed shoulders with Mr.T and Cyndi Lauper on WWE Television, had his own cartoon series, headlined God knows how many WrestleMania’s in a row, body slammed his way into wrestling immortality, made the WWE countless millions of dollars, thus changing the business forever, and also had a cameo appearance in Gremlins 2! What more could you ask for? Oh yeah, he had a word made around his name ?HULKAMANIA?! A guy with this cross over appeal hasn?t existed since Hulk Hogan, even though The Rock has arguably become a bigger Hollywood star than the Hulkster, his success cannot compare to Mr.Bollea’s in the 80’s. Hell, no one’s can, not even Steve Austin’s, who’s peak was substantially shorter, even if it did generate plenty of cash and also save the WWE in the ratings wars with WCW. The Hulkster may not be to everyone’s taste, but in the 80’s, he was bigger than John Lennon and Jesus put together. For a guy with a walrus moustache and apparently no wrestling ability, Hogan didn?t do too badly for the wrestling world in the 80’s did he?
Step Six: Stir in a few tablespoons of The Rock’s charisma – Any man who can pop a crowd by simply raising his eyebrow must have something going for him. Nevermind that he dared refer to his man parts as his ‘strudel? and get away with it. On top of that, this same guy makes a bet with Mick Foley that he can make the most basic of moves the most exciting move in his matches, and he comes up with The People’s Elbow! A move so ludicrous that it paved the way for The Worm! Scotty 2 Hotty basically owes The Rock his career! He sung the opening to his theme music and threw concerts for himself. I honestly think Dwayne Johnson wakes up every morning and craps charisma, never mind simply piss excellence. It was impossible to be bored watching a Rock match, even his encounter with Billy ?I?ve had a career this long how?!? Gunn at Summer Slam ?99. Sure he wasn?t a ring savvy technician, but he was and to this day still is, one of the greatest entertainer’s the sport of professional wrestling has ever seen, which is saying something considering he was only main eventing the show for three years full time. What says even more about this grossly talented and down right handsome bastard is that he was Rocky friggin Maivia before all this! Dull as dishwater and three times less entertaining. I?ll happily raise a glass of shut up juice to The Rock’s glittering, charisma charged career, and also defy anyone to watch The Gameplan and not fall in love with it. If you don?t love that film you hate life.
Step Seven: Pour in roughly 500ml of Bruiser Brody’s beard – Wild, bushy, dangerous, and probably housing a family of illegal immigrants, there may never have been a better beard in the game. RIP Bruiser.
Step Eight: Generously pour in Paul Orndorff’s toughness to the mix and stir until rock solid – The late Eddie Guerrero writes in his book about how he witnessed an argument break out between Orndorff and Vader in the locker room back in WCW. As I read the extract I was expecting the tale to end with Orndorff being splattered against a wall or with Vader chewing on one of his legs like something he?d found in a KFC bucket. Instead, Guerrero informs us, shockingly, that with three or four swift punches, Orndorff put the Mastodon down, probably before screwing a thousand woman in celebration, as is the vision I now have of Mr. Wonderful following the reading of said story.
Step Nine: Quickly throw in a couple of pinches of Terry Funk – Cos every wrestler needs a crazy, grizzled side. And plus, with The Ultimate Wrestler being part Funkster, he?ll be wrestling well into his sixties with no knees or hips left. What a guy!
Step Ten: Twist in a healthy dose of Sting’s early 90’s ring attire and matching face paint – I?m a stickler for bright colours ok? And the colour co – ordination the Stinger brought to the table in each and every match was a sight to behold. Especially to a four year old such as myself who was dazzled by anything luminous.
The Final Step: Finish off the Superstar with Akeem’s Theme Music – Youtube that shit and you?ll know why. If Akeem’s music is not available in your area, any theme music sung by the wrestler themselves will suffice. Failing that, just use Mark Henry’s.
Leave to cook for several hours and voila! You have The Ultimate Wrestler, primed and ready for the big leagues! He comes complete with Bobby ?The Brain? Heenan as manager too!
Do you have any variants on this recipe? If so, let me know at email@example.com or Twitter me silly at @JoeBaia. Until next time little uns, it’s arriverderci from me.