Pro Wrestling's Ground Breakers and Difference Makers (Part 3)

Matthew HesterSenior Writer IAugust 11, 2009

Hello everyone. As always, I would like to thank all of you for spending some time with me today.

It seems that everyone has taking a liking to my latest series. So I have decided that I will continue it until it runs its course. This has not only been fun to do, but it is also my way of paying my respect to some of wrestling’s greatest.

I hope that everyone enjoys my third installment of the series. I know I had a lot of fun doing it.

So without any further delay, I give you Part 3 of "Pro wrestling’s ground breakers and difference makers."


Dusty Rhodes

Rhodes made his debut in the late '60s in the NWA territories. He had a style and flair that was seldom seem by a big man at the time.

Rhodes was never afraid to bleed or lay his body on the line to make a match good. Combined with solid ring work and the ability to work the stick, he would move up fast in the wrestling world.

He has had stints in the NWA, WCW, and WWE. Everywhere Rhodes went, he was always over with the crowd. Even when the WWF tried to bury him with polka dots, the fans still loved him.

He has feuded with Abdullah the Butcher, Billy Graham, Ric Flair, and Terry Funk, just to name a few. 

He is a multiple world and tag champ. His most noticeable win was probably when he beat Ric Flair for the NWA World title.

He is remembered for being a gentleman and good ring worker. He makes occasional appearances now and then on TV these days. He also is also the father to Goldust and Cody Rhodes.


Gory Guerrero

When you think of modern lucha libre in wrestling today, a lot of that is due to Gory Guerrero.

Guerrero made his debut in wrestling in the late 30s. He quickly excelled with his style in the ring. He went on to capture gold many times in the Cruiserweight ranks.

Guerrero also invented a few moves that we know today. He is credited with inventing the "Camel Clutch" and "Hanging Back Breaker".

Not only was he a premier grappler, he was also a teacher. He taught some of Mexico's greatest wrestlers, guys like PePe Mendieta.

He also taught his sons to wrestle before he left this world. One of them we know very fondly the late, great, Eddie Guerrero.

Bob Backlund

While many fans today like to credit Bret Hart or Shawn Michaels for paving the way for smaller champs to get a shot at the belt, they would in fact be wrong.

It was Bob Backlund who was the real stonebreaker in this category.

Backlund, a standout amateur wrestler, made his debut in 1973. He had a clean-cut look and technical ability that sold out many cards.

He went to the AWA where he would have some success in the tag ranks. However, the place where he really made a name for himself was in the WWE.

He went to the WWE in the late 70s, where he quickly succeeded. Backlund moved through the ranks very quickly once he arrived.

In 1978, he went on to beat "Superstar" Billy Graham to become the WWE champ.

Bob Backlund went on to hold that belt for five years. He feuded with every heel on the roster at the time.

Backlund was also involved in the controversial title drop with Antonio Inoki, a drop still to this day the WWE doesn't recognize.

He retired in 1984 but made a brief comeback in 1992. During this comeback, he went on to win the belt again by beating Bret hart.

He officially retired again in 1997. He proved that you didn't have to be the biggest dog in the yard to succeed.


Buddy "Nature Boy” Rogers

This clean-cut grappler started his career in the 1950s. He had a natural build and look for the world of professional wrestling.

He was one of the main pioneers during the beginning of the television era. Buddy Rogers feuded with other greats like Lou Thesz, Killer Kowalski, and Ed "The Strangler" Lewis.

Buddy Rogers would also be a key part in wrestling history when he would lay down for BoBo Brazil. While most other champs refused to put over a black man, Rogers would step up to the plate and do the right thing.

He would go on to influence a lot of wrestlers over the years. One of his biggest fans would go on to become arguably the best ever in the business. The man I am referring to be none other than Ric Flair.

Besides helping wrestling become big on television, he went on to be NWA champion for some time. He also was WWWF's first heavyweight champ.


The Fabulous Moolah

One of wrestling's original queens of the rings, Moolah started her career in the late 1940s. She was not only a tough cookie in the ring she was also a shrewd businesswoman.

She went on to become the women's NWA champ in 1956, but Moolah also held NWA tag team gold. Moolah would go on to pave a trail for many future women grapplers. In her later years she would train the likes of Wendi Richter and many others.

Moolah has been part of a few record setting events over the years. She not only holds the record for the longest run as champion. She would also go on to break sex barriers by becoming the first woman allowed to wrestle at M.S.G.

Moolah was also part of the original screwjob. In a match against Wendi Richter, Moolah came out as the Spider Lady and got a fast-count pin to win the title.


Mick Foley

Whether you prefer him as Cactus Jack, Mankind, Dude Love, or Mick Foley, this hardcore legend went on to help pave the way for hardcore standards today.

He began his career in the early 1980s, but didn't make a name for himself until the 90s. His work in Japan and WWF is world renown.

Foley has taken bumps and stunts that many wrestlers today wouldn't dare think of doing. Some of his most brutal matches came against another hardcore legend in Terry Funk.

He went on to feud with the likes of the Rock, Triple H, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and many other greats. Foley is still going on strong and is in TNA wrestling.

Some of his most noted matches in the WWF were his matches with the Undertaker in a Hell in the Cell. He also had a brutal "I Quit" match with the Rock. In this match, he took over 10 straight chair shots.

Outside of the wrestling world Foley has also gone on to become an accomplished writer. His book "Have a Nice Day" is regarded by many as one of the best wrestling books ever published.


The Fabulous Freebirds

In 1979 Michael Hayes, Terry Gordy and Buddy Roberts formed a high-flying group known as the Fabulous Freebirds.

They paved the way for the future of tag teams. While in the process capturing lots of tag team gold, the Freebirds wrestled in many different federations including the NWA, WWF, and WCW.

They have held gold everywhere they went besides the WWF. They wrestled in a time where tag team wrestling was at its highest. It would hard to find many others as talented as them.

Their most notable feuds were with the Road Warriors and the Von Erich’s.  They are still today considered one of the best tag teams ever.


Jake “The Snake” Roberts

Roberts started his career in the 70s where he was mainly in the south going from territory to territory. While there he had some decent feuds with Dick Slater and Ronny Garvin.

Jake also made a move today known as the DDT. He came to the WWF in 1986 and was an instant hit. His gritty style of offense and dark character made him one of WWFs top heels.

He has feuded with everyone under the sun including the Undertaker, Andre the Giant, and Honky Tonk Man just to name a few.

Though he has not been showered with a lot of gold, this guy has been everywhere and feuded with the best of them.

He would also be one of the first to uncover the dark side of wrestling when he starred in Beyond the Mat. It was a groundbreaking film that is still discussed to this day.

Big Cat Ernie Ladd

This former Football standout did a few things in his career. He is one of the few to succeed in football and wrestling, and he was also one of the first black heels in pro wrestling.

This pioneer for the modern black wrestler feuded with some of wrestling's best. He went on to fight the likes of Andre the Giant, Pedro Morales, and Bruno Sammartino.

Ladd has held many titles mostly from the NWA, and the Mid-South. But the influence he has had in the wrestling world cant be measured.

He would also go to the WWF and become one of the early pioneers for the company. His most notable feud was with Bob Backlund.

He was inducted into the WWF Hall of Fame in 1995.


The Road Warriors

Hawk and Animal made their debut in 1983 and were an instant force to be reckoned with. They bought to the ring a brutal and intimidating style that would be copied for generations.

At a time when tag teams were at their height in pro wrestling, these guys were always the top dogs in the yard.

Whether it was in Japan, AWA, WCW, WWF, NWA or any other stop in the road in the wrestling world. These two went on to hold tag title.

They have beaten and feuded with the best the business had to offer. They have grappled with likes of the Steiners, the Freebirds, and Midnight Express.

The Road Warriors are no longer together because tragedy would hit the team. Still even to this day, it would be hard to find any team that can even step in the shadow with this great duo. 

They are without any argument one of the best, if not the best.

Well that is all for now, folks.

I would like to thank you all again for spending some time with me today.

As always, have a great day and God bless.



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