10 Superstars who were ahead of their time

Gorgeous George

A pioneer of wrestling’s “Golden Age,” the flamboyant Gorgeous George was a television star during the medium’s infancy who’d fit in seamlessly in the Internet age. “The Human Orchid” brimmed with a prissy cockiness that made him not only a universally despised baddie, but also among the first sports-entertainers to adopt an overtly egocentric persona.

Many longtime fans credit George with introducing entrance music to the squared circle, and his embrace of wrestling’s pageantry was prescient. In an era of ho-hum ring gear, “The Toast of the Coast” boasted a collection of lavish robes rumored to exceed 100 fine cloaks. His histrionic pre-match routine, which involved his valet spraying the ring with perfume and removing bobby pins from “The Gorgeous One’s” platinum blond hair, infuriated spectators.

George’s sphere of influence even breached the bounds of wrestling, inspiring perhaps sport’s all-time best trash-talker, Muhammad Ali, to hone his showmanship in the interest of promoting fights. 

-- John Clapp