This is something that has bugged me for a while now.
The professional wrestling landscape has fallen a bit into a trap. It's pumping out very similar-looking wrestlers. Of course most have some sort of gimmick to set them apart, but let's look at who we're seeing on TV right now.
Look at your top guys on the WWE, TNA and ROH rosters. With the WWE you have John Cena, HHH, Shawn Michaels, and Batista.
TNA has Kurt Angle, Desmond Wolfe, AJ Styles, and Daniels.
ROH has Austin Aries, Tyler Black, Kenny Omega, and Roderick Strong.
Every single one of those guys is different but there's a serious lack there. Everyone is the same lean, muscular prototype. No big men to be found anywhere.
Now when I say big men, I don't mean someone like Kane or the Undertaker. They're big, but more tall than anything. I'm talking about guys like Vader and Yokozuna.
When I was growing up, you had guys like that. Call them fat or big or whatever you want. They were different. They stood out from the crowd and, in many cases, were booked as pure monsters.
Yokozuna was WWF champion on more than one occasion. He had memorable feuds with many of the company's top talent. People bought him as a legitimate threat and imposing force. It was good booking mixed with an unique talent.
Take a look at Vader. A man who dominated WCW in the early nineties and was a staple in Japan for years, Vader was the man, plain and simple.
A tall, thick wrestler who could do everything from brutal strikes and powerbombs to moonsaults. It's no wonder he found himself working for almost every major company in North America and Japan for the length of his career. In my opinion, Vader is one of the best ever.
Of course you can't look past men like Bam Bam Bigelow or Haku/Meng. These guys could work but had a physical appearance that set them apart from everyone else. A rare breed indeed.
Looking at both the rosters for the mainstream promotions and the indies, I find myself disappointed that I don't see anyone following in their footsteps.
The closest two guys I could find are Giant Bernard in New Japan Pro Wrestling and Bison Smith in Pro Wrestling NOAH. While Bernard is big enough to stand out in a TNA or WWE, where 6'6" guys are the norm, Smith only stands out against a company of smaller workers. This is why he was effective yet sadly under utilized in Ring of Honor.
It looks like the days of the King Kong Bundy, One Man Gang and Yokozuna wrestlers are numbered. With the tragic passing of Eddie "Umaga" Fatu recently, we may have seen the closing of a chapter in wrestling.
TNA has Samoa Joe and Abyss, but neither are wrestling like a big man should or would. Abyss has been so watered down he went from a World Champion to a joke. Joe, while still good, has put on some bad weight and isn't cared about as much anymore by the die-hard fans.
It's a shame to see a once unique and entertaining aspect of professional wrestling go down like this. At one point, every company was made up of variety among its wrestlers.
These days, most everyone is a tall, lean, athletic or giant-like worker grown from the same mold.
Maybe this will lead to a new type of unique wrestler. Going from the "surprisingly athletic for his size" type wrestler to the very athletic and capable giant.
Matt Morgan in TNA is a good example of this. Although he's yet to find his place in the ring, he seems to be getting there. Morgan has a great look and can be a standout member of your roster.
Outside of the big leagues, you have Brodie Lee. I've seen Brodie wrestle in person and the man is incredibly athletic for someone his size. I saw him do a swinging hurracanrana on another tall wrestler, then followed it up with a crazy suicide dive. I don't think we would ever see Batista do that.
Unfortunately it's not the same, not even close. But these days, being a wrestling fan is all about making compromises.
With poor booking and shocking mis-management of a roster, it's become commonplace to make less than favorable adjustments to enjoy oneself these days.
So to all of the Vaders, Yokozunas, Bam Bams, King Kong Bundys, Giant Haystacks, Andre The Giants, Terry Gordys and Umagas of the world, I miss you guys. Thanks for making wrestling more unique than it is today.