Matt Striker's Wrestling Lesson of the Week for 9/06/07
Let's speak candidly shall we? All of the greats in history -- whether it be socially, athletically, academically, or in my case, all three -- have had what the kids call, " nicknames" or shortened names.
The term "nickname" derives its origin from Scandinavian descent in the regard of slang. Alas, even I will admit nicknames are a fun way to address someone. Now, I have heard some of the nicknames that you have for me and suffice to say I am not impressed.
What happened to great nicknames? When you happen upon a man called "Honest" Abe, you knew what to expect. When you run afoul of "The Game," you are clued in as to this man's ways. If a fellow by the name of Slick Willie wants your support, you are cognizant of his agenda. Finally, if you are lucky enough to breathe "The Velvet Fog," then you already know what I am talking about.
Other than "The Game" -- which everyone knows -- does ANYONE know to whom these other nicknames belong? E-mail me. It's now your homework!
Athletics, especially professional wrestling has ALWAYS had the very best nicknames, so I'd like to have a look of some of the GREAT NICKNAMES IN WRESTLING HISTORY:
Let us do this in alphabetical order and see where the dialogue takes us, shall we? Rememer, this is advanced stuff I am preaching here, so if you cannot understand it in its full wisdom, then at least hang on and enjoy the ride. There are some colorful pictures we can paint. I will give it to you slowly so that you can catch your breath.
Anyway, here is Part 1 of our lesson:
A - "The Assman" Billy Gunn! See, I told you this was going to be fun. One of the most entertaining and colorful athletes in modern sports-entertainment history, Billy Gunn was considered one of the finest in-ring performers in the Attitude Era. I have watched a lot of footage on him as a singles, tag team and personality performer and have studied his ways. Oh, you didn't know? You should research him.
I cannot leave out the "American Dream." Dusty Rhodes' groove is as infectious today as it was 25 years ago, the "Dream" can move you like no one before or since. A true credit and staple in the wrestling industry, the "American Dream" Dusty Rhodes has spanned lifetimes as a young outlaw with "Dirty" Dick Murdoch (note: any guy who's nickname is "Dirty Dick" is a true legend as well), all the way to defending his youngest son's honor and passion for the business. The "Dream" is a legend.
B - "Bullet" Bob Armstrong immediately comes to mind when thinking of the greats. The Bullet tore up the southern part of this country like a blaze of glory. Whether under his trademark hood or sporting the tight curls that came to mean "Armstrong," the "Bullet" left nothing to be desired.
Another great " B " is "Bruiser" Bob Sweetan. The master of the piledriver was another southern favorite whose nickname proceeded him and let everyone know what was about to occur!
"Bodacious" Bob Holly also gets honorable mention. Please be well!
C - Some men only needed one name and it spoke volumes. "The Crusher" is a nickname that carries great weight in the world of professional wrestling. PLEASE LOOK THESE MEN UP AND KNOW THEM! Crusher Wisnewski was a legend in the midwest and northern parts of the wrestling world as well as overseas. He truly was a world class superstar long before the term even meant a thing.
D - Everyone knows that I like the obscure reference more than anything. Granted, most people just nod at me like a person who doesn't speak English when I make these, but still, some things I do are only for ME!
I do it again, no pun intended with "Do it to it" Steve Cox. A flashy young hero of the Texas area, Cox fought side-by-side with Michael "P.S" Hayes (a great nickname for the pure reason that they called him "P.S" and he couldn't tell you why) as the Freebird stood alone for a time. Cox was well known for a short time before fading off into nickname lore.
A more recognizable nickname is used to describe one the most intense and passionate men to ever come into our lives: Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat. The Dragon nickname fit Steamboat perfectly and still does to this day. One whip of his tail or breath of fire from him and you are immediately reminded why you fell in love with this sport in the first place.
E - Arn Anderson's nickname "The Enforcer" said it all. When things needed to get done "Double A" was the man. He enforced all things Horsemen with his trademark left hand that put Joe Frazier's to shame and the debilitating Spinebuster. REAL fans know that The Enforcer's master weapon was the Gourdbuster. Very gifted on the microphone as well, The Enforcer Arn Anderson could have been renamed the Total Package, but someone already had that…
F - When you call a man "Flyin'," you pretty much know what to expect. Flyin' Brian Pillman was a great aerial artist until an injury sustained to his knee forced him to adopt a more mat based in ring style but it brought out the flamboyant, controversial side of the man affectionately known as the " Loose Cannon." A former Cincinnati Bengal, Flyin' Brian always promised a great match and delivered. One of the most entertaining and talented men to come along in quite some time, Flyin' Brian is still missed to this day.
We would be remiss, which means negligent, if we overlooked "The Fabulous Moolah." Moolah has been discussed in these lessons in the past and if you don't know who she is, then you are doing yourself a disservice. Moolah revolutionized women's wrestling for more than 50 years and continues to do so to this day! Fabulous!
G - A moniker or nickname that would be fitting of yours truly is our first example for the letter "G": "Gorgeous" Jimmy Garvin made the nickname famous to many of the modern generation with names such as Gino Hernandez and Gary Young contributing as well but the term gorgeous will always be attached to arguably one of the first true superstars in our sport: "Gorgeous" George. George wore a bleached blonde coif and paraded around the ring like a peacock -- think Ric Flair, add in some Shawn Michaels and a touch of Matt Striker, and you have a pretty good idea of what Gorgeous George was all about. There may never be another man (other than myself) that could carry the tag "gorgeous." He was pompous, he was extravagant and he was wrestling!
H - Some legendary athletes have had great nicknames that spoke volumes (see above for "C"). Greg "The Hammer" Valentine's was a name known throughout the wrestling world. His nickname was indicative of his wrestling style; hard and effective. When Valentine lowered the Hammer on an opponent they felt did, and so did you!
Another great "H" nickname that preceded the man who adorned it was "Hands of Stone" Ron Garvin. Also known as "Rugged Ron," Garvin had fists that would knock out the toughest of men. Brother of Jimmy and Terry, Ron Garvin etched his way into the annals of wrestling history, including a World title reign, all behind the carving abilities of his " Hands of Stone."
I - Many times, a competitor will be given a nickname that represents more than a characteristic; it represents a way, a demeanor, a feeling that you, the fan would receive upon hearing the name, and then ultimately seeing the man. This rings no truer than in the case of "The Iceman" Dean Malenko. Stone-faced and present, Malenko earned his nickname by being unflappable. His technique and flow made him a dangerous competitor but his lack of descriptive emotion or "tell" of thought made him lethal. Think of an alligator and think of how it just gazes stoically and then attacks. That heir of respect and intimidation rests with "The Iceman" Dean Malenko.
J - "Jumpin" Joey Maggs always provided "oohs and ahhs" for wrestling fans. His high energy style and unique move set were very exciting to watch. Upon teaming with Rex King, Maggs embraced his nickname, "Jumpin' Joey" to compliment his partner's more mat based approach.
I wanted to let "Jumpin'" stand alone as a nickname because it is a perfect example of this entire lesson. The nickname stands on its own and is simple and descriptive. "Jumping" Jim Brunzell & "Jumping" Joe Savoldi are others who carried this name and did it great justice, but as I sit here, I cannot and will not let one of the great names in wrestling history pass us by.
"The Junkyard Dog" was more than a nickname for Sylvester Ritter, it was one of, if not the most descriptive moniker in wrestling history. "JYD" would thump his way into our hearts with his vicious, aggressive style mixed with the affection and ability to be loved such as a dog may have. One of my favorite wrestlers from his days in the mid-south region, the name " Junkyard Dog" brings people to their feet and a smile to their faces.
K - There is no greater reverence than to refer to someone as your superior. Openly acknowledging someone for their presence is a great ordeal. Thus is the case with the nickname "King." From "King" Curtis Iaukea to Jerry "The King" Lawler, to "all hail, King Booker" down to my personal favorite, "The King of Kings," the tag "king" has long since been used in popular culture as a great adornment. If you examine the men who wore this crown of letters known as king, you will see that each share a common bond. King Ernie Ladd, King Harley Race, as well as the men mentioned above had an heir of greatness about them.
Speaking of greatness, mine is tired. We will move on next week until then remember your homework from the outset of the lesson (go back and re-read if you must) and as a fun activity, why don't we think of some great nicknames on our own and feel free to email them to me.
I love you and I love wrestling.
"The Extreme Educator " Matt Striker...your teacher.
This conversation is a mountainside
It's a long way down and there's no place to hide
When we started up it didn't look this high
What are you saying, what are you saying ?
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