Happy Hanukkah: The Greatest Jewish Wrestlers of All Time
"On Moshe! On Herschel! On Schlomo!"
Happy Hanukkah everyone. It's time to discuss who the greatest Jewish wrestlers of all time are. While there have been many promoters, managers and men and women behind the scenes of the business, some of the greatest professional wrestlers of our generation are Jewish. Some may even surprise you.
So while we are all enjoying the preparation of potato pancakes and practicing our dreidel magic while we listen to Adam Sandler, here is a list of the greatest of all time.
11. Paul Heyman
The snake of professional wrestling.
Is there any other wrestling manager who just makes your skin crawl like Heyman?
Just the sound of his voice is like nails to a chalkboard.
Heyman has been around wrestling circles since the birth of ECW, and he has managed nearly everyone on that roster and then some.
He has also spent time in WCW and is now CM Punk's manager.
His story lines are great. His character falls right in line of what a manager should be. Heyman is in a class by himself.
On the flip side, Heyman in his "normal" life has spoken out against Anti-Semitism and is quoted in this article by SLAM Wrestling.
10. Mark Lewin
The Purple Haze was a good regional wrestler in the 1970s and 1980s, but his career actually spanned five decades.
He found a lot of success in World Class Championship Wrestling in the late 1970s and early 1980s before going to Florida Championship Wrestling, where he joined Kevin Sullivan's "cult" as The Purple Haze, another variation of the 'Maniac' gimmick. The two battled the likes of Dusty Rhodes and Barry Windham.
In the 1980s, he battled Sabu in many matches, proving he could still hold his own against the younger competition.
9. Michael Hayes
As a member of the Freebirds, Michael Hayes lived life on the edge as a wrestler. He was mouthy, a free spirit and could perform with the best of them.
The long blond hair and the scruffy face was a true "southern style."
Hayes, Terry Gordy and Buddy Roberts made a living off of feuding with the famed Von Erichs in Fritz Von Erich's outfit in Dallas.
Hayes gained popularity in Georgia as a singles and tag team wrestler and in WCCW as a member of possibly the greatest trio of wrestlers ever.
Hayes now works for the WWE.
He made tattoos on Jews popular.
The smoke coming out his nostrils, his size, the armband tattoo. Goldberg was right for the times and WCW in an era when it needed someone to help beat Vince McMahon on a weekly basis.
A win over Hulk Hogan, a run through the New World Order and the jack knife power bomb was all he needed to be a star.
Goldberg used his 15 minutes of fame better than most, but he was hard to work with and stiff in the ring.
His fame is only magnified by this article about being Jewish on Newsday.com.
7. Kevin Nash
Whether he was "Big Sexy" or "Diesel" or just plain "Nash" in the Outsiders, Kevin Nash was one of those big men who used his influence to get ahead in the business.
A multiple world champion in WWF, WCW and TNA as well as tag team champion. He was big, solid and hard to move. He also, along with Scott Hall, was part of the greatest "Invasion Angle" in wrestling history.
Nash has also tried to use his pull in the past to play politics with higher ups in the business, especially in WCW.
He was a popular figure in the WWF before moving on to other promotions. His most recent try at wrestling in the WWE was a total failure. Nash has also appeared in television and movie roles in addition to being in the ring.
Scott Levy had one of the greatest gimmicks of professional wrestling as "Raven," a grunge, headbanging and pierced look-alike who was as good on the mic and great as an actor.
He toiled in Memphis, moved on to WCW and then hit it big in ECW with his feud with Sandman.
He loved punishment, giving it and dishing it out.
Levy (or Raven, which ever you prefer) has been profiled in the book, "Jewish Professional Wrestlers: Randy Savage, Raven, Bill Goldberg, Abe Jacobs, Kelly Kelly, Dean Malenko, Ric Drasin, Colt Cabana, Billy Kidman"
5. Missy Hyatt
Big blond hair, nice legs and big...
That was Missy Hyatt, the first true diva of professional wrestling. As Eddie Gilbert's girlfriend (lucky man), she was a prominent figure in Memphis, Bill Watts' outfit in Louisiana and everywhere "Hot Stuff" went.
She had a Samantha Foxx thing going on that drove men wild. She was a main reason fans came out to watch matches, and she even got involved in matches to make sure her man won.
She was also part of "Hot Stuff, Inc." where Gilbert was manager of wrestlers like Sting, Jim Hellwig and Rick Steiner.
4. Dean Malenko
He is the underrated wrestler of this list and may be the most technically sound performer as well.
"The man of 1000 holds" was one of the greatest crusierweights of his time, wrestling in WCW as part of the newly formed Four Horsemen.
He was also a foe of Chris Jericho and was a multiple Cruiserweight Champion.
Malenko, son of Boris Malenko, is now a trainer and road agent with the WWE. He came to the WWE originally with the New Radicals before retiring from the ring.
Malenko's career is talked about in the book, "Jewish Professional Wrestlers: Randy Savage, Raven, Bill Goldberg, Abe Jacobs, Kelly Kelly, Dean Malenko, Ric Drasin, Colt Cabana, Billy Kidman"
Glen Jacobs is about as big a man as you are going to meet.
And maybe one of the most knowledgeable.
In the ring, Kane is a demon and one of the best to ever lace them up.
As a face or heel, Kane has been a true MVP of the WWE, teaming with Daniel Bryan, feuding with both John Cena and The Undertaker and giving fans some of the best performances of the past 13 years.
When the music blasts over the intercom and the fire escapes from the ring posts, you know you are in for a show.
Kane is featured in an article on Spike.com about the "The Top 10 Jews Currently Playing Pro Sports."
2. Randy Savage
He was iconic in the 1980s and 1990s, snapping into Slim Jims, wearing outrageous robes and hats and totally representing what the Rock and Wrestling mainstream was all about.
He wasn't Hulk Hogan in terms of marketing or size, but he was without a doubt a close second. I think he could have carried the WWF without Hogan around. That wasn't what Vince McMahon had in mind.
Savage was a mainstay performer in Memphis for Jerry Lawler and his CWF outfit, feuding with Austin Idol, Tommy Rich, Lawler, Bill Dundee and others. He then took his act north and became a mega star.
If there was ever a character who was made for the 1980s and its wrestling explosion, Savage was the poster child.
Savage is part of the book, "Jewish Professional Wrestlers: Randy Savage, Raven, Bill Goldberg, Abe Jacobs, Kelly Kelly, Dean Malenko, Ric Drasin, Colt Cabana, Billy Kidman"
1. Kurt Angle
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
How could he not be on the top of this list?
A former Olympian. A multiple World Champion in WWE and TNA. A man who is in his mid-40s and still wrestles better than most of the younger stars of today.
What is not to love about Kurt Angle?
Whether he is playing the role of heel or face, fans love Angle. His name already etched in American sports lore for winning the 1996 Gold Medal in the Atlanta Games, he took his act to the WWE where they taught him about professional wrestling and made him a star.
He took that act down south, and he and the likes of Sting, Hulk Hogan, Jeff Jarrett and AJ Styles have made TNA a niche operation that old school wrestling fans love.
Angle was part of a slideshow of great Jewish Athletes on SI.com.