Underrated: Superstars without their due

Johnny Rodz, chosen by Matt Striker

STRIKER: "Underrated is a great word. It's something that I enjoy because I've often been called underrated. But for me, being a historian, I've always liked the guys who do what they were supposed to do without a lot of fanfare. Names such as Buzz Sawyer, Barry Horowitz, Kevin Sullivan, Eddie Gilbert and, of course, the guy who trained me, Johnny Rodz. For every John Cena, for every Randy Orton, for every Kane, there has to be someone to get beaten up. There has to be someone to lose so that you can root for John Cena. So without the Johnny Rodzes, and the Rene Goulets and the Pete Dohertys of the world, without these names, there wouldn't be the Ric Flairs, and the Hulk Hogans, and the John Cenas. What I'm trying to say is that for Babe Ruth to hit all those home runs, someone had to throw the ball, and it was guys like Buzz Sawyer, Johnny Rodz ... and Matt Striker, who threw that ball."

WWE CLASSICS: Last month, WWE Classics looked back at some of sports-entertainment's greatest journeymen (FULL STORY), and discussed featuring Johnny Rodz in the piece. Ultimately, we felt Rodz's 1996 induction into the WWE Hall of Fame disqualified him as being an "unsung hero." Johnny certainly deserves his due, having helped catapult the careers of many top WWE stars as an in-ring performer, and is credited for training ECW Originals including The Dudley Boys, Tommy Dreamer and Tazz. He continues to operate a school in the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y., giving youngsters the sound fundamentals needed for a bright career. But with no significant title reigns to his name, and a WWE Hall of Fame induction for a career spent mostly looking at the lights, Johnny Rodz might be respected, but is not underrated.

(JOHNNY RODZ' ALUMNI PROFILE)