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The WrestleCrap Book of Lists!
By R.D. REYNOLDS, Blade Braxton
ECW PRESSCopyright © 2007 R.D. Reynolds & Blade Braxton
All rights reserved.
A Question of Character
What does it take to be successful in pro wrestling? One word: character. Not the ability to do the right thing or any of that other hackneyed garbage, but rather the creation of a character that folks want to see. When you think back on wrestling's colorful history, the first thing that comes to mind isn't the matches themselves — it's the characters who made them so much fun to watch.
Perhaps the most important part of a wrestler's persona isn't his in-ring ability or what he says, but rather his name. For example, would "Stone Cold" Steve Austin have become the biggest star in the business had he gone by the moniker Chilly McFreeze (which was, believe it or not, a suggestion from the WWF creative team)? And there are also names that are amazingly worse, names no one could have ever thought made any sense at all. Such as these handles ...
THE 8 STUPIDEST RING NAMES IN WRESTLING HISTORY
8. Test: A lot of people have questioned over the years why Andrew Martin hasn't made a bigger impact in the business. Upon initial glance, he has it all: at a legit six-foot-six and over 250 pounds of solid muscle, he seemed guaranteed to become a huge star. However, things didn't pan out for the big guy, and while injuries certainly played a role in his stunted development, his name certainly didn't help. After all, he was Test. Not The Test, not A Test, just Test. Is that someone you'd fear? That you'd want to cheer for? Here's a real test: can you imagine anyone ever saying, "My favorite wrestler is Test!" That just sounds stupid.
7. Bo Dupp: Here's another name we simply don't get. The story was that Bo was part of a tag team with his "brother" Jack Dupp. Jack Dupp. That we get. It's like "jacked up." It's stupid, but at least it sort of makes sense. But what the hell is Bo Dupp? Is he "bowed up" like an archer? Does he wrap presents in his spare time? We've pondered the mystery of Bo Dupp for years. And while we've yet to figure it out, we have come to this conclusion: if you have to spend that much time just trying to decipher a name, it's not a good sign.
6. Key: Yes, there was a wrestler named Key. No, he was not a locksmith. That would have made sense. Okay, maybe not, but it would have made a hell of a lot more sense than having a drug dealer named Key. Poor Vic Grimes didn't just have a bad name working against him, but a horrible outfit to boot, as he just showed up out of the blue one week dressed all in white. He actually looked less like a drug dealer than an ice-cream man. We've never bought drugs (we'd never do something so illegal or immoral), but if we did, it wouldn't be from a guy named Key who looks like he'd be more comfortable selling us an Eskimo Pie.
5. Dingo Warrior: Okay, we could buy this one if this face-painted wildman was representing Australia (though "dingo" still sounds like a kiss of death for a wrestling name, regardless of origin). Anyway, it wasn't long before the man behind the face paint decided this moniker was not quite what he needed to be considered a major star, and thus dropped the Dingo in favor of Ultimate. He would later decide that he liked the Warrior aspect of the name so much he legally changed his name to Warrior Warrior. If there was a list in this book of wrestling's worst real names — hell, make that the world's worst real names — Warrior Warrior would be at the top.
4. Hugh Morrus: Reader, we ask you to pause for a moment and read that name aloud. Go ahead, do it. We won't laugh at you. Ha! We lied. The wrestler in question was, indeed, named Hugh Morrus. He was the Laughing Man. Would this make you want to buy a ticket? Would it make you want to cheer for this man? Maybe if he was a comedian. Which he wasn't. He was a wrestler, remember? We defy anyone to explain how this could possibly be taken for anything more than a dumb — and, ironically, not particularly humorous — joke. The saddest part is that he actually had an even worse name prior to becoming Hugh ...
3. Man Of Question: When your name is not even a name, but a phrase, you're really screwed. No wonder he went with Hugh Morrus.
2. Henry O. Godwinn: What's so dumb about that, you ask? Well, look at his initials. H-O-G. Hog! See, he was from a family of farmers! Wee doggies, break out the moonshine, Ethyl! We seriously cannot imagine a dumber ring name than that.
1. Phinneas I. Godwinn: Or maybe we can. Sigh.
In addition to having names that don't completely suck, the most successful wrestling personalities have nicknames that kick ass as well. For instance, Bret Hart is The Hitman. Shawn Michaels = Heartbreak Kid. And of course, everyone knows "Your Olympic Hero" is Kurt Angle. Sometimes, though, things just don't pan out, even for the biggest superstars in the industry. Like in the case of ...
THE 7 WRESTLING NICKNAMES THAT SOMEHOW JUST DIDN'T CATCH ON
7. Creepy Little Bastard: You have to feel for poor Jay Reso. While the guy undoubtedly has charisma and wrestling ability out the wazoo, he's been stuck with some pretty bad luck. Following the breakup of his tag team with "brother" Edge, it took him a while to gain traction as a solo act. When he finally did, settling upon a kind of sleazy, smarmy bad-guy persona, it seemed the sky was the limit, with fans ratcheting up their hate. But his run came to a screeching halt when it was decided the fans needed something to chant at him. And thus, Christian, the Creepy Little Bastard, was born. WWE went the whole nine yards, from making T-shirts with the slogan to having announcers mention his new handle approximately every four seconds anytime he was on-screen. On top of that, the top star in the company at the time, Steve Austin, appeared mid-ring and commanded that the fans chant "CLB! CLB!" in his presence. And how did those seat fillers respond? If you guessed, "With utter and complete silence," step right up and claim your prize. When Stone Cold can't make something work, it's probably time to just pack it in.
6: The Bionic Redneck: Speaking of everyone's favorite rattlesnake, Steve Austin was actually blessed with a ton of great nicknames. We are certain Austin must have come up with all of them on his own, since, prior to his rise as Stone Cold, the WWF marketing team ... Well, Chilly McFreeze, remember? This is because they are idiots. Austin, though, he was a clever guy. Not only did he originate Stone Cold, but he also struck gold with the Texas Rattlesnake. Alas, even a guy that crafty is bound to hit the skids every so often, as he did with the handle the Bionic Redneck. What the hell does that even mean? Sure, he had just gotten back from neck surgery, but somehow the words bionic and redneck should never go together, kinda like poison ivy and sphincter. Oh, and pointing out that Steve Austin was the same name Lee Majors used in The Six Million Dollar Man doesn't make you cool. It makes you a dork just like us. But maybe if they had drilled a hole in the back of his head that you could look through like a telescope ...
5. White Thunder: Who would ever have guessed that Scott Steiner was a huge Darrel Dawkins fan? (Okay, okay — with that joke and the Bionic Man action figure bit above, we've successfully fulfilled our 1970s reference quota for the book.) While Dawkins was known as Chocolate Thunder, Steiner apparently also looked to the skies and determined that it was his destiny to be known as White Thunder. Following a heel turn and the most extreme of extreme makeovers known to man, in which he went from being a guy with a collegiate wrestler gimmick to being the most jacked-up nymphomaniac the world has ever seen, Steiner was in need of an edgy handle. He would eventually try out a whole slew of nicknames, including Superstar and the Big Bad Booty Daddy. While we have no earthly idea what it means to be a booty daddy, let alone a big bad one, we do know that he quickly dumped the White Thunder epithet following a slew of complaint calls made to WCW's parent company, AOL Time Warner, for its alleged white supremacist allusion.
4. Big Nasty: When Paul Wight made the jump from WCW to the WWF in 1999, the company wasn't quite sure what to call him. After all, "Paul Wight" isn't the most threatening-sounding moniker, and even guys seven feet tall and 500 pounds need a decent name. So after weeks of speculation, Wight made his debut as the Big Nasty. No joke, every single time we heard this we thought it was a tie-in with McDonald's. See, their sandwich was actually called the Big Tasty, but one bite and you'd see our version, while admittedly not as market -able, was probably closer to the truth. We can only theorize that Wight, with his history of weight-control issues, would have thought the same thing, and therefore it's probably for the best that he was quickly redubbed the Big Show.
3. The Charismatic Enigma: Jeff Hardy is, uhh, unique. In fact, you could say he is mysterious — an enigma, if you feel like grabbing a thesaurus. And to his legions of female fans, he is obviously charismatic. Hey ... you could say he was the Charismatic Enigma! You could say that, and if you did, you might just wind up in a stupid book of stupid wrestling lists, with your idea for naming the guy making the "dumbest nicknames" list. Congrats, TNA — you've finally made the big time!
2. Booger Red: The Undertaker is another one of those guys who has been around forever, and thus has been reincarnated countless times. When you're near the top of cards for the better part of fifteen years, this type of thing happens. So it makes perfect sense that the man once known as Mark Calloway would accumulate a veritable laundry list of monikers, such as the Dead Man, the Phenom, and the American Badass. Oh yeah, and our personal favorite, Booger Red. Sadly, this handle was short-lived and never fully explained, but we can only speculate it was given to him after someone caught him going "knuckle deep."
1. The Colossus of Boggo Road: Since most folks have zero clue what — or where — the hell Boggo Road is (and we sure the heck didn't prior to doing some research), we'll explain. Turns out it is an infamous Australian prison, one in which WWE wrestler Nathan Jones spent a good deal of time before deciding to get into wrestling. During his time in the big house, Jones discovered weight lifting and spent his eight-year sentence attempting to transform himself into the second coming of the Incredible Hulk. To achieve this noble and most bizarre goal, Mr. Jones allegedly started to take all kinds of steroids, until his breasts actually began to swell and lactate. Yes, lactate, as in milk was pumping out his tatas. While you might find that disgusting (and really, who could blame you?), we find it more disturbing that with this knowledge, WWE creative couldn't come up with a better nickname for the guy. Something like Cow Juice Jones, Jublee Jones or our favorite, Big Vitamin D. Then again, maybe we're not giving WWE marketing enough credit, and misheard the "Colossus of Boggo Road" when it was actually the "Cow-Lossus of Boggo Road." Upon further review, we'd bet our milk money that was the case. And we'd hope that said milk didn't actually spew forth from Nathan's chesticles.
While a wrestler's name is obviously something fans hear before he even enters the arena, much lesser aspects of a wrestler's persona can either help build up or tear down a character. For instance, where he hails from. Forget Parts Unknown: good luck finding ...
WRESTLING'S 7 WORST HOMETOWNS
7. "A Little Town in France": In the early 1990s, veteran Billy Jack Haynes donned a mask to become Blackblood, an executioner of sorts. And yes, he did come to the ring with a giant ax, thanks for asking. You might wonder where such a vicious, cruel man would call home. And after hearing his ring introduction, you'd still be wondering. See, he was billed as from "a little town in France." Scary, no? Umm ... no. Once we heard that was where this supposedly vile competitor put his head down to rest at night, all we could surmise is that his mighty blade was used for cutting up wheels of cheese.
6. "Japan": Speaking of vague places to live, it seemed that prior to 1995 every wrestler who had slanty eyes and the inability to pronounce the letter "r" made his residence in "Japan." Didn't really matter where he was really from, be it Japan (Tiger Chung Lee), Hawaii (Mr. Fuji) or Canada ("Kato" Paul Diamond). It would appear that sometime in the late 1990s, wrestling promoters discovered either an almanac or a map, and wrestlers from the Orient actually began to hail from recently discovered cities like ... how do you pronounce this? "Toe-Key-O"? Oh come on, no one would believe that is a real name for a city.
5. "The Outer Reaches of Your Mind": Pop quiz: name the first two wrestlers to main-event Monday Night Raw. Bzzt! While we might believe you could name one half of that historic bout (the Undertaker), we are confident you would never come up with Taker's opponent for the evening, a self-professed lunatic by the name Damien Demento, who, should you remember him at all, no doubt resides somewhere in the outer reaches of your mind. Hmmm. Maybe it wasn't such a bad hometown after all.
4. "The Woods": If there's one thing we've discovered while working on this book, it's that wrestling needs more lumberjacks. And they should all live in the Woods. Such was the case when Matt Borne was christened "Big Josh" and brought before fans in the early 1990s, complete with dancing bears. Now that's an entrance. If everyone in wrestling had dancing bears, it would be a better world. Even if they did all hail from some mythological "Woods."
3. "The Last House on the Left": It's a bit ironic that before ECW picked up major traction as wrestling's renegade promotion in the mid-1990s, it was more or less a traditional territory, employing somewhat normal wrestlers with somewhat normal names, such as J.T. Smith and Hack Myers. Myers, in fact, had what might be, in hindsight, the most normal home address in wrestling history — he hailed from "the last house on the left." We never found out the street, city or for that matter ZIP code. Therefore, we ask you, dear reader, to help us out. Please put down this tome and head down your street and knock on the door of the last house on the left. If we all work together, we might actually find Myers, who has been missing from the major-league wrestling scene since 1996.
2. "The Kennel Club": Stop me if you've heard this one. Wrestler signs for "loser leaves town" match. Wrestler loses. Wrestler "leaves town." Mysterious masked wrestler who looks exactly like wrestler who lost "loser leaves town" match, save for the fact that he is wearing a mask, debuts. It's happened hundreds of times. Give WCW credit that when it was Brian Pillman's turn on the lazy Susan of wrestling booking, they claimed he was a "Yellow Dog." Not only that, but he apparently lived in a dog pound called "the Kennel Club." Perhaps WCW wanted us to believe poor Pillman, having lost his income from professional wrestling due to that one match, had fallen on hard times and was forced to eat out of a bowl and sleep next to a shih tzu. Laugh if you will, but this is also the same company that gave us ...
1. "WCW Special Forces": Pity the poor 1990s tag team the Patriots, as their introduction to fans revealed they hailed from "WCW Special Forces." Whether this meant they lived in some bizarre, Ted Turner-sponsored housing development in Atlanta or were an elite commando unit, we are unsure. If it was the latter, however, we were somehow to be protected by a guy dubbed Firebreaker Chip, who represented this crack squad wearing nothing more than wrestling trunks, boots and a fireman's helmet (he apparently fought fires shirtless). May God have mercy on our souls.
Speaking of the very popular wrestling hometown of "Parts Unknown" ... we don't know exactly where it is on the map, but it has the largest per-capita demographic of masked goofballs. Many of whom share the same name. Goofballs we like to refer to as ...
PARTS UNKNOWN'S 5 MOST GENERIC RESIDENTS
5. The Gladiator: Russell Crowe these men aren't. The masked buffoons who dared to walk around with this sword-swinging name may have been better off being called Glad-I-Ate, to go with their pot bellies. Perhaps the most famous Gladiator was the one jousting in the WWF in the mid-'80s. Portrayed by perennial jobber Ricky Hunter, he displayed the irony that most of these scary-name masked guys displayed. Ricky was a "gladiator" who was short, pale, pudgy and over fifty years old. Gladiator, thy game is over.
4. The Nightmare: Oooh, spooky!!! Don't close your eyes, and definitely don't fall asleep. You wouldn't want to fall victim to a Nightmare from Parts Unknown. Actually, on second thought, keep your eyes closed. The scariest thing about these Parts Unknown Nightmares is usually their wardrobe. While the most famous Nightmare may be the sloppy one who battled with Dick Murdoch in the mid-South, the worst-looking of the bunch had to be the tag team known as — what else? — the Nightmares, who battled in the GWF tag team tournament. These two obese clowns looked like they robbed two garbagemen picking up the trash behind the Dallas Sportatorium, taking their stained and soiled bright orange uniforms in the process. Thankfully, one thing all these Nightmares have in common with real nightmares is they don't last long, and once you've awakened and the horror is over, you soon forget all about them.
Excerpted from The WrestleCrap Book of Lists! by R.D. REYNOLDS, Blade Braxton. Copyright © 2007 R.D. Reynolds & Blade Braxton. Excerpted by permission of ECW PRESS.
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