Amerigo Diehl, Lowlife Louie Ramos and Brian Damage
This week’s Top Five is about pro wrestlers we truly miss seeing on our TV screens each and every week. Men and/or women wrestlers that either retired or passed on that we no longer get the privilege of being entertained by anymore.
Top 5 that we miss non-wrestler honorable mention: Territory days,- there was nothing that could compare to the excitement of a favorite wrestler coming into your home territory to settle a feud, or start a new one.
5. Vader- In his first book Jim Ross called Vader the most athletic big man he had ever seen, and most of us would have to agree. Vader was the best of both worlds: a monster heel that could just simply dominate his opponents, but also someone who was mobile who could pull off moves guys half his size wouldn’t dare attempt.
4. Dusty Rhodes- Rhodes was fun to watch and even more entertaining to listen to. His feud with Flair and the Horsemen was epic, and the promos that each side cut were some of the best ever. No, Rhodes did not have the best physique, and no Rhodes was not going to perform at the level of some of the great Lucha or Japanese wrestlers but he was always entertaining and always drew a good crowd response.
3. Rick Rude- Few wrestlers’ deaths hit me as hard as Rick Rude’s. His ring work was never in question, but it was after he got injured that I think Rick finally hit his groove. If you can find any of his ECW matches where he was doing commentary it was hysterical, some of the best I have ever heard. Rude never missed a chance to talk smack about another wrestler, or make some lewd comment about one of the ECW ladies. When he returned to the WWE as an “insurance policy”, Rick did not have to pretend to be intimidating. Rick had a reputation as a pretty tough guy and it came across in his style during this period.
2. Ric Flair- Flair is still with us, but his days in the ring are long behind him. One of the most entertaining wrestlers of all time Ric Flair knew how to draw heat during his promo’s because he came from the days when a wrestlers pay was determined by the size of the house. If Ric could not convince you to pay good money to come see him at a house show, then he knew he would not be earning his full potential. Ric and the Horseman were so entertaining. and I miss those days.
1. Bobby Heenan- What can I say that has not already been said about Heenan. If you never got to see him wrestle, or even manage, and only got to hear him comment on one match, if you heard his commentary during the 1993 Royal Rumble you would be convinced that he was called the “brain” for a reason. His banter with Gorilla Monsoon during this event was arguably the best they ever had. Then factor in his role as a manager, and the insane bumps he was willing to take to entertain the crowd, you have someone (like Captain Lou Albano) who truly loved what he was doing. I honestly don’t think we will ever see another commentator quite like Bobby Heenan
Man this is a wonderful yet heartfelt topic.
This is MY list.
Honorable mention Sabu ( recently retired) ,Eddie Guerrero (R.I.P) , Psycho Sid ( retired) Mr Pogo(R.I.P.)
5) Danny Havoc The epitome of deathmatch wrestling. Danny Havoc sacrificed life and well being for the better part of 15 years to entertain those who love the genre. An amazing performer who can work any style, he preferred crossing deathmatch into a hybrid realm, where most of the upper echelon deathmatch wrestlers now reside..Havoc had retired in 2017 but came out of retirement to help out a fellow deathmatch brother in their time of need.. which is all I need to say to show what type of person he was.. He then parlayed that into a mini return to GCW and its 2nd tour of Japan…Sadly..2 months after the unexpected passing of his wife, we lost Danny.. who left us way too soon at 34. He will be forever missed by his brothers and an entire community of fans.
4) Abdullah the Butcher.. If you watch me perform you can immediately pick up the influence this man had on me. Mesmerizing me as young child, watching him made me want to emulate him. So much so that i always wanted my forehead to end up looking like his.A man who gave nearly 55 years to wrestling world, Abby was successful everywhere he went. Becoming a cult hero in the territory era and in Japan. A bonafide hall of famer, Abby will be celebrating his 82nd birthday this month..
3) Ric Flair The dirtiest player in the game..the man. The 16 time world champion. Probably one of the most sound technical wrestlers of all time. It is said that the Nature Boy could take a broomstick and have a quality match with it..thats how good he was.Great as a good guy, Flair’s best work was as a heel, whether with the fabled four horsemen or with Heenan and Perfect in the WWF. 60 minutes for him was like 6 for others, his list of amazing matches and accolades are to long to list..Its never out of the realm of possibility to see Flair in there 1 more time, although current issues and his age may mitigate that..
2) Terry Funk and Cactus Jack If you would have told anyone in 1985 that these 2 men would be intertwined by history , they would have thought you were crazy Funk, a second gen legend who was a former NWA champion, and had wrestled virtually everyone on the planet and Jack aka Mick Foley..who at the time was doing enhancement work for WWF were as far apart as 2 men can be. Fast forward to 1995..ECW, Valentine’s day..Return of the Funker..Funk jumps out of a box to attack Cactus Jack..what follows is a world traveling feud, a feud where nothing was off limits, branding irons , barbed wire, explosions.. name it they did it . They were the 2 finalists of the 1st ever king of the deathmatch tournament. They tore up Japan and American indies with their brawls.. they teamed and won tag team gold in the WWF.. then reignited their feud in tag wars as recently as 2006..After giving every single bit of themselves to the sport .both are long retired, Foley pursuing other interests while Funk , who is now 76 enjoys a quiet retirement.
1) Hulk Hogan Who else? For me the man who meant pro wrestling as i grew up. More god than hero to me, i legitimately grew up worshipping Hogan. Watching him slam Andre made me believe anything was possible. As fans tired of the good guy persona, i did not, as he jumped to WCW. There i was. Cheering like a 6 year old. Upon his transformation to Hollywood Hogan i continued to cheer. His nostalgia run in WWE after the match with the Rock brought tears to my eyes..and I even followed him to TNA. As you grow older you learn to realize that your heroes are mere human mortals, that make mistakes and mess up like we all do. And the years showed me that about Hogan..And while i am appalled at some of the things he has said, and shocked about stories told about his prime..It will never take away what he meant to me in my formative youth. What we saw on TV at that time was nothing short of super hero like..Id give anything to be able to see Hogan look and perform like that 1 final time…
Kenta Kobashi – Kenta was the wrestler that got me hooked on Japanese pro wrestling. The hard strikes, stiff chops, the stories he could tell in the ring with his body and facial expressions. A true icon who should be considered an all time great no matter where he wrestled.
Eddie Guerrero – I truly miss seeing this man in action. Not only a fantastic wrestler, but a true entertainer. Eddie oozed charisma and whether he worked as a face or a heel….was someone who you could easily rally behind.
The Honkytonk Man – Wayne Farris may wrestle once or twice on occasion, but during his prime was in my view one of the top heels in all of pro wrestling. His long Intercontinental title run was one of the very best.
Randy Savage – The Macho Man with his tremendous intensity in the ring and on the microphone during promos, there really wasn’t anyone quite like him. A true superstar through and through.
Owen Hart – One of my all time favorite wrestlers no questions asked. He had the ability in the ring and was as charismatic outside of it as well. Dare I say, the best wrestler of the Hart children. Owen Hart could make a crappy angle or storyline work, because he gave it 100% and made it entertaining regardless.