Beginning with this article, I am going to start writing a series looking at a number of legendary superstars who I feel have either been overrated, underrated or at times, both. I'll discuss the performer's career, highlighting their contributions to the business. I will not say who I believe is underrated or overrated; instead I'll let you decide, giving us something to talk about. I'll kick things off by discussing one of the most controversial yet successful performers in the history of sports entertainment, The Honky Tonk Man.
During the late 1980s, Honky was the most hated wrestler in the business. Borrowing from the legendary Elvis Presley, Honky would dance or attempt to dance and sing himself into the hearts of the fans. Complete with guitar, which he never really played, slicked back hair and sideburns and a series of colorful jumpsuits, Honky had heel written all over him, drawing the ire of the fans. With "The Mouth of the South" Jimmy Hart by his side, as the Colonel to Honky's Elvis. they were a perfect fit for each other.
The highlight of Honky's career will always be the fact that held the Intercontinental Title, defeating Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat in a controversial upset. What makes this one of the biggest upsets in wrestling is the fact that even at his best, Honky was considered one of the worst wrestlers, especially compared to his contemporaries like Steamboat and Jake "The Snake" Roberts. His victory over Steamboat has always been seen as a fluke.
Fluke or not, during his run as champion, he faced Steamboat, Roberts and Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake and successfully held on to the title. The biggest feud of his career was with Randy "Macho Man" Savage. Not only did they feud over the title, but Honky, in an attempt to raise the stakes in their feud, would target Savage's manager, Miss Elizabeth, making her the focal point of their rivalry. By harassing Elizabeth, Honky became even more hated.
Of course, nothing lasts forever. Honky Tonk Man would lose the belt at SummerSlam88 to The Ultimate Warrior, ending his epic championship run. Afterwards, Honky Tonk Man would never experience the same level of success, leaving the WWE in 1991.
Despite holding the championship as long as he did, Honky is still seen as a bit player who was lucky enough to stumble into the main event. Granted, Honky was no Steamboat or Savage, in terms of skill and ability, but how many performers could take such a lame gimmick and make it a huge success? He was an Elvis impersonator and not a very good one, yet through the combination of charm, charisma and a willingness to take chances, he endured, winning his only WWE title, the Intercontinental Championship. Let's not forget, love him or hate him, he did entertain.
Overrated or underrated, you decide.
You can follow me on Twitter @tonydolemite.
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