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Furious George

Furious George

Some people believe domesticating a wild animal means suppressing its inbred instincts so that it will conform to human control—a difficult task, no question, and virtually inapplicable toward WWE.com's No. 4 Wildest WWE Superstar. George "The Animal" Steele was a torso-maned, green-tongued brute who, despite never reigning supreme as the dominant species in WWE, you antagonized at your own risk.

First arriving at WWE in the late 1960s, this George of the canvassed jungle was near-impossible for opponents to hold in check—or in any conventional wrestling maneuver. Outwitting the cerebrally challenged wild man was an exercise in futility; even he never seemed to know his next move. Fighting to keep him at arm's length also proved equally hopeless, since it usually resulted in The Animal lifting you by said appendage in his agonizing Flying Hammerlock.

When Steele's eyes weren't rolling forever upward (as if he were trying to examine his own hairless head), they were focused on his ring quarry, who he'd take great pleasure in biting. Through such indigestible tactics, The Animal tasted great success within the squared circle, even when he clearly preferred dining on the insides of a ring turnbuckle (which likely accounts for his green tongue—blecch!).

Sports-entertainment's finest managerial minds—including The Grand Wizard, "Classy" Freddie Blassie, Johnny Valentine, Mr. Fuji and Capt. Lou Albano—each attempted to guide this mindless hulk up the competitive food chain, and bring WWE Championship gold into their respective stables. Several of them even came close, by unleashing The Animal in memorable matches against title-holders like Bruno Sammartino, Bob Backlund and Hulk Hogan. However brutal these rivalries, they ultimately ended the same way: With simple, apelike George always falling just short of becoming WWE's top banana, and left on his own to follow more primitive pursuits.

It may seem cliché, but in 1986, beauty would tame this once-despised beast, who displayed a softer, human side as he became heavily smitten with the lovely Miss Elizabeth. Over the next year, Randy "Macho Man" Savage pulled out all the stops to ensure that Steele's infatuation never touched Elizabeth's affections, though he was powerless to stop George from winning fans' undying adoration during their long-lived rivalry. He also couldn't prevent The Animal from exacting a measure of revenge at WrestleMania III, during which he aided Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat in defeating the Macho Man for the Intercontinental Championship. Though he may not have gotten the girl, the monosyllabic Steele would find true love soon after…in the puppeted form of a bald-headed furball he affectionately dubbed "Mine."

The Animal was a natural selection to receive one of sports-entertainment's most prestigious honors in 1995: being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Even then, when his baser instincts wouldn't let him pass on another opportunity to pounce on tasty turnbuckles, he briefly prowled around WWE rings in the late '90s as a mostly-upright member of the aptly named Oddities. Though now he spends his days in some secluded pasture, George Steele remains uncultivated, and instantly recognizable by our fans—as an Animal of iconic proportions.

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