Props: Non-HOF '90s Wrestlers Who Deserve Recognition
If there's one thing a wrestler considers more important than winning the world championship, it's becoming enshrined in the Hall of Fame (HOF). However, due to various circumstances, there are some very iconic wrestlers who aren't and will never be in the WWE Hall of Fame. I am making this list to acknowledge some of my favorite wrestlers who will probably be forgotten 50 years from now. My list has the following criteria:
-Only wrestlers from the '90s will be included. I won't include Attitude Era superstars (Val Venis, Goldust, etc.) unless they were prominently in the company before the change.
-Wrestlers who are being withheld from the HOF out of spite, grief, or other emotionally related reasons will not be included (Owen Hart, Randy Savage, Ultimate Warrior, etc.).
-This list is relative to WWF accomplishments only! WCW/TNA/Japan doesn't count!
-This isn't a definitive list, just a collection of wrestlers I liked in the '90s. So don't complain if I leave somebody out!
-Just like pretty much every other article I write, it might take a while to read—especially if you watch the videos! Expect a few hours if you watch every video.
So sit back, relax, and enjoy some nostalgia. I will try and provide each wrestler's best and worst moments via video along with why there are memorable.
We're kicking off with somebody who doesn't really belong here.
My Take: Mr. Bomb didn't have much of an impact in the WWF, but he is close to my heart. I was lucky enough to catch one of the "bombs" that he threw into the crowd back in the day after his face turn. I don't understand why he wasn't pushed...he was huge and had a good look.
Career High: Making me happy as a child.
Career Low: Never won a belt with the WWF.
OK, now we're going to get started.
Many thanks to youtube poster thevoltroncomplex for the video.
Imagine pre-brown hair Dolph Ziggler on steroids and you'll wind up with Sycho Sid. Just look at the picture!
My Take: I liked Sid because of his intensity. There aren't any wrestlers with crazy eyes these days except maybe Booker T. at this year's Royal Rumble. Sid certainly had them, though. Although his mic skills were average, I love the fact that he shouts every word—remember, shouting gets your point across better in WWFland.
He was a monster-heel type who often finds success in the WWF. His two WWF Championship reigns came after beating Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart—two of the very, very, very best. He also had a memorable feud with Hogan. If we were to include his WCW accomplishments, Sid would actually be a strong candidate for the Hall.
Accolades: 2-time WWF Champion.
Career High: As far as I know, he is the only person to kick out of Hogan's leg-drop. I'm not even sure God could kick out of one of those, so props to Sid.
Career Low: The leg injury. Yeah, I know this was in WCW, but how can you not put this?! I'm sure you've already seen it, and don't want to see it again.
OK, I Lied
*Don't watch if you are squeamish!*
In case you watched the embedded video and not the video off youtube, the top rated comment is "Now that's what I call a heel turn." Brilliant.
Thank you wwefan099 for the video.
If you want to watch the whole match, you will probably have to go to youtube (it's long!).
My Take: Say hello to the bad guy. Razor's short tenure (three years? four?) with the WWF still yielded amazing results. He could be attributed to helping maintain the prestige of the Intercontinental Championship during the '90s. His name continually pops up among the better Intercontinental Champions of all time. Razor's character was well thought out and, awful accent aside, his mannerisms and attitude looked real. He also had some great entrance music.
Despite not being in the WWF for long, he shot up the pecking order (no doubt due to his involvement with the Kliq) and had solid feuds with legends like Randy Savage and Shawn Michaels. Razor would continue his successful career in WCW as Scott Hall, co-founder of the nWo and multiple tag team champion. Much like Sid, if WWE begins to consider WCW accomplishments for the Hall of Fame, Razor Ramon has a very strong case.
Accolades: 4-time WWF Intercontinental Champion.
Career High: Summerslam 1995 Ladder Match with Shawn Michaels for the Intercontinental Championship.
Career Low: Being the first person to lose to The 1-2-3 Kid (X-Pac), who was a hardcore jobber at the time.
The "payback" to the above video is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGacDdBdTPg&feature=related
Thank you youtube user QueenDebraPuppies for both videos.
Speaking of great Intercontinental Champions...
My Take: I think Jeff Jarrett was very underrated. His strut and use of the figure four mimicked Ric Flair, but he had something about him that was unique. He had excellent mic skills, good in-ring ability, and was able to continuously draw heat during his time with the WWF.
In fact, I will say he was one of the top 10 best Intercontinental Champions of all time. None of this "tweener" or "anti-hero" stuff; Jarrett was 100 percent heel. His old theme was also very good—laid back and befitting of his character. His post-WCW theme was kind of "meh" in my opinion.
I am still unable to understand his character, though. He was a disgruntled country singer who wanted to revive his music career by...wrestling? Either way, after a brief stint with WCW, the "meat and potatoes" of Jarrett's time in the WWF began.
He dropped the ridiculous outfit, hired the Roadie (Road Dogg), was managed by Debra, and formed a tag team with Owen Hart until his untimely passing. His most (in)famous feud, however, was with Chyna for the Intercontinental Championship. As exhibited by the video above, some of his promos could be perceived as misogynistic and classless. However, I thought they were brilliant. Nothing gets heat like beating up some women.
Jarrett's WWE Hall of Fame chances are virtually non-existant since he co-founded TNA, WWE's major competition.
Accolades: 1-time European Champion, 6-time Intercontinental Champion, 1time Tag-team Champion.
Career High: Beating D-Lo Brown for the European Championship, thereby holding both the European and Intercontinental Championships at the same time.
Career Low: Dropping the Intercontinental Championship to Chyna!
Big Boss Man
Thank you youtube user Bertminator for the videos.
My Take: Big Boss Man was very good. Due to his thick accent, he makes Drew McIntyre sound like Alex Trebek, but that's OK—he still brought good promos, among other things, to the WWF.
In his early career, he teamed with Akeem to form the Twin Towers. While the team didn't really pan out, the relationship he built with Slick (the Twin Towers' manager) and consequently Ted DiBiase, would ultimately lead to his face turn. As a face, he would have memorable feuds with The Mountie and Nailz. His theme music was also pretty weak during this phase.
In late 1998, Boss Man returned to the WWE to support Vince McMahon's corporation. Instead of his blue police officer uniform, he was now some sort of mercenary/private security guy—which I considered an upgrade. His music also got a nice upgrade. His first major feud was with the Dead Man, eventually becoming a victim of the streak.
After this feud, his storylines became progressively worse. First came the Pepper feud with Al Snow. This feud included (kayfabe) animal abuse and dog consumption—two things we Americans don't like!
Finally, his last major feud would make Phil Jackson say, "Man, I don't wanna go out like that." Although he was fighting Big Show for the WWF Championship, it was still a disaster. It involved Boss Man driving off with (kayfabe) Big Show's father's casket in a tasteless promo—a lot of "deathsploitation," which is something I don't like when I'm watching a wrestling show (you reading this, Michael Cole?).
Although Boss Man never won a major belt, he is definitely an iconic wrestler and deserves legitimate Hall of Fame consideration.
Accolades: 1-time Tag-team Champion, 4-time Hardcore Champion
Career High: Key member in the feud with Undertaker's Ministry—my favorite feud of all time
Career Low: Feud with Big Show
The Mountie and Nailz Tribute
Thank you youtube user fungusmcphee for both of these videos.
This is kind of an extension of Big Boss Man, since he is featured in both of these videos as well.
This video is the Mountie's crowning achievement with additional Big Boss Man and Nasty Boyz promos thrown in the middle. In my opinion, this nine minute video perfectly encapsulates why the '90s were so great. It's campy, cheesy, stupid, yet amazing. I'd love to see stuff like this happen nowadays.
Career High: Beating Bret Hart for the Intercontinental Championship.
Career Low: Getting hauled off to jail!
Nailz had a good gimmick going for him. His voice was extremely creepy and genuinely scary back when I was younger. Here's the man doing a nice promo:
I love how towards the end of the promo, Nailz completely disregards punctuation.
Career High: Beating up Vince McMahon
Career Low: Claiming he was sexually harassed by Vince McMahon
OK, those were four people who have some chance at going to the Hall. Now we're going to get down to the nitty-gritty and re-visit some people who kicked some butt, but definitely not enough to earn a spot in the WWE Hall of Fame.
Notable omissions from Group 1:
Lex Luger, Yokozuna, and Diesel—these guys have a good shot at going to the Hall, but I never really liked them.
Thank you AttitudeEraFan007 for the video.
My Take: It's pretty ridiculous how poorly Vader was used during his time with the WWF. I can't even find a youtube video of him beating anybody meaningful in the WWF. He was a phenomenal athlete in his prime, yet he was booked to lose every major match. He is a legend in Japan yet never caught on Stateside. Notable feuds include Shawn Michaels, Undertaker, and Kane...he lost all of them. How can you not love a 450-pound guy who can do a moonsault? Sure, they weren't things of beauty, but you've got to give the man some props. Moonsaults:
Thank you abayk47 for the video.
Career High: None.
Career Low: Can't get out of the ring properly.
Thank you takerisdaman for the video.
Thank you RingVixens for the video.
My Take: Well, here's another match where the subject of the slide loses. I could have posted the match where Nakano wins the belt, but I liked this one better. The Nakano-Blayze feud was awesome. It spanned three different companies and lasted for the better part of 10 years. I'm sure Kharma (Awesome Kong) was influenced greatly by Nakano's in-ring ability. Anyways, this video is absolute insanity. It features German suplexes, a leg drop off the top rope, crazy submission holds, and a moonsault (yes, I have a moonsault fetish).
In an era where female wrestlers can go down for the three-count after as little as a suplex, this is good reassurance that women aren't made out of paper. I expect Alundra Blayze to get into the HOF, but Bull probably won't. So cheers to Bull Nakano.
P.S. I don't care what anybody thinks, I thought Bull Nakano was hot.
Accolades: 1-time WWF Women's Champion.
Career High: Any Alundra Blayze-Bull Nakano match.
Career Low: Getting busted for blow while working in the WWF.
Bam Bam Bigelow
Thank you Dotheoz1 for the videos.
Part 2 is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCUJ0xq9Mpc&feature=related
My Take: Yet another loss. I like how Vince takes subtle jabs at the NFL by saying things like "No pads, no helmets to save LT...LT has zero scientific knowledge of wrestling..."
This was Bam Bam's most significant match for the WWF and it wasn't half bad. He was agile and didn't hesitate to climb those turnbuckles (he could also do a moonsault). Due to his appearance, he will always be an icon of '90s wrestling even though he didn't accomplish anything meaningful.
Also, according to Wikipedia: In July 2000, Bigelow received second degree burns on 40 percent of his body while rescuing three children from a burning house near his home. Following the incident, Bigelow spent two months recovering in a hospital.
Can't argue with that.
Career High: none.
Career Low: Bam Bam was a pioneer of the wrestling to MMA exodus. He was promptly choked out by Kimo Leopoldo in under a minute.
Thank you KidChris1 for the video.
My Take: Crush is a guy who I identified with as a kid. I am of Hawaiian-Japanese descent and that pretty much coincides with Crush's heel character—naturally, he was my favorite. Like Adam Bomb, Crush was extremely strong and I don't know why he didn't get a larger push—especially as a face. He was way over with the crowd.
His heel character led to a good feud with Randy Savage but, after that, he fell off the map—probably due to his poor mic skills. In this video, we see Crush bench pressing the Undertaker (around eight minutes in).
Undertaker isn't exactly a small guy. His finishing moves were also pretty weak. The Kona Clutch was incredibly fake, and the heart punch...well, that move doesn't make any sense to me. If somebody can explain how the heart punch works, I'd be obliged.
Accolades: 1-time Tag Team Champion as part of Demolition.
Career High: Feud with Randy Savage.
Career Low: Getting busted for steroids.
Thank you MrWrestlingMan for the video.
My Take: Somewhere between Andre the Giant and Goldberg's undefeated streaks, we had Tatanka's streak. It spanned an impressive two years. Most of his matches were squash matches vs. hardcore jobbers like Barry Horowitz, but he was still a fan favorite. His most notable feud occurred after he "sold-out" to the Million Dollar Man and betrayed one-time friend Lex Luger. This culminated in a cage match which Luger won.
Tatanka was most remembered for "powering up" in a similar fashion to Hulk Hogan. An opponent would punch him in the head, then he'd shake it off; this process would repeat until he began his war-dance and finished off his opponent. He constantly got huge pops for this. I wouldn't call him Ric Flair or the Big Show, but he also threw chops with the best of them.
Career High: Feud with Lex Luger.
Career Low: Anything he did post-2005 for the WWE.
The Smoking Gunns
Thank you AttitudeClassics316 for the video.
My Take: In retrospect, these guys were pretty overrated, but they were my favorite tag team as a child so I need to give them some credit. The angle where Sunny became manager and slowly poisoned the team from the inside is classic femme fatale stuff. It's sad that the only Hall of Famer in that video is Sunny, but I'm sure Owen and Davy Boy will get in one day. As for the Gunns, they won't. There are too many other tag teams ahead of The Smoking Gunns in the pecking order such as Demolition and the Steiner Brothers. Still, they deserve props.
Post break up, Bart Gunn would go on to win Brawl for All, a shoot boxing tournament. After winning, he was never heard from again. Billy Gunn would of course go on to be Mr. Ass, the worst gimmick in existence. He made it work though, so I've got no complaints.
Accolades: 3-time WWF Tag Team Champions
Thank you AbsolutleyPerfect for the videos
My Take: There are a lot of awful gimmicks in the WWE. Some worked, like Mr. Ass or Al Snow, but some didn't, like Holly's first incarnation as Spark Plugg Bob Holly. The thing I like about Holly is that he reinvented himself. During his time as Spark Plugg, he didn't win anything except the Tag Team Championship for one day (with the 1-2-3 Kid).
After his new hardcore persona, he became a solid mid-card fixture for a good five years ('98-'03). He won the hardcore championship seven times and had a tag team championship reign with Crash Holly.
Accolades: 7-time Hardcore Champion, 3-time Tag Team Champion (1-2-3 Kid, Crash Holly, Cody Rhodes).
Thank you bono316 for the video.
My Take: I.R.S. was great. He had an easy gimmick. All he had to do was walk into the ring and say "I hear (name of the city) has the most tax cheats in America!" There you have it—instant heat. He didn't even need to try.
Aside from a great character, he was also a very proficient wrestler. Although he didn't win any singles belts, he came close on several occasions. His most famous singles feuds were with Razor Ramon and Tatanka. Sadly, his entrance theme was probably the worst of all time. It sounded like the poor man's version of the intro to "Money" by Pink Floyd.
Of course, he is most widely recognized as being half of the legendary tag team Money Inc. with Ted DiBiase. They ended up winning the belt on three separate occasions. Cheers to I.R.S.!
More classy videos of I.R.S.:
Thank you thetinzzman for the video
Thank you SosciaOnTheRadio for the video
Thank you KnightRider64000 for the video
Accolades: 3-time WWF Tag Team Champion.
Career High: Beating Legion of Doom for the Tag Team belts.
Career Low: Appearing on The Price is Right segment on Raw with Bob Barker as host. Awful!
That's All for Now
I want to send a quick shout out to Men on a Mission—another great tag team of the '90s!
Well, I know I didn't touch on everybody but I think I covered most of my favorite non-HOF wrestlers of the '90s. If you think somebody else also needs to be included in this article, let me know (no Ahmed Johnson please...I hated that guy).
Thanks for reading and look for my next article which will cover non-HOF wrestlers of the Attitude Era!