Thank you all for reading these lists and slide shows that I have created. They really have been a lot of fun to create and to remember. As always, I say that this is going to be my last slide show, but the Bleacher Report fans have been generous enough to keep reading, so thank you for that.
As always, there is something that I forgot, but I know you haven't. Please comment after you have read the article and let me know something that should be in the list. If you disagree with something on the list, let me know that as well.
I remember watching Monday Night Raw in the late 90s and early 2000s and laughing out loud at some of the signs that were created by members of the WWE Universe. Whether the camera wanted it or not, those signs at ringside got prime exposure for much of the night. At times the wrestlers would even comment or point to the signs during the match or during their promos for the evening.
Currently, if a sign crosses the line (such as the one recently that referenced Benoit) it is taken immediately from the fan and never seen on television. Rumors abound that TNA Impact constantly is taking signs away at their taping.
Each week, it was almost as if the fans tried to outdo each other in a sign battle for television.
Some of my favorites included (not to forget the one above):
"We've CENA nuff"
"RAW Spoiler: Triple H wins"
"Condoms prevent Dudleys"
"We love all 26 Guerreros"
I just don't have time to list all the favorites, but if you are interested, check them out online at various wrestling sites.
The voice is classic, the look is nostalgic, and Howard Finkel announces a match like no one else. Finkel has been one of the constants for WWF/WWE programming for almost twenty-five years, but we have not seen him all that much over the recent months.
He still makes his appearances at some of the pay-per-views, but it is not the same without having Finkel at many of the television shows as well. I never will forget how he announces "The Undertaker" and the crowd erupts at the sight of the phenom entering the ring.
It seems today's announcers are known more for their look and less for their talent. Finkel is definitely from a different generation of ring announcers.
Part of this slide should be titled "wrestlers that can work the mic." However, I know a number of people have been critical of today's wrestlers and their lack of skills on the microphone. But part of what made past years great was the crowd participation when a wrestler would say his catchphrase.
Watching from home made you want to be there in person. The New Age Outlaws show in this clip why it was important to include the fans. Even the grandmother at 2:00 was getting involved during this night.
Part of my memories during these summer months was watching how much fun the crowd was having, and hoping that Raw or Smackdown would stop in a city near my home. As the crowd would get in to it, you could see the electricity in the building start to build, culminating in a fantastic finish.
I do remember a time when wrestlers hailed from places that I never knew about. I thought I paid attention in fourth grade geography, but even the teacher could not tell me where "Parts Unknown" was. It was at this point that I thought something may not be right.
That being said, it is nice to know where wrestlers are from, but there is just something I miss about hearing them being announced from a place that is associated with their character and persona. Knowing that Nikita Koloff is actually from Minnesota did not help in building his character, but knowing he lived in the Soviet Union did wonders for his character.
On a side note, I always wanted to visit Mudlick, Kentucky, the home of Hillbilly Him.
The WWE/WCW/NWA of the past did not care what you looked like, but they accepted you as one of their own. Physiques varied and so did personalities, but it blended together to make it all work.
As you watch the video clip above, remember what it was like when the wrestlers did not look like the prototypical athlete, but one that looked like they could drink some beer, then go wrestle a match without missing a beat.
As the wrestlers come out now, most of them have the same build and same personality as the guy before them. There is no difference between the wrestlers, so we get a cookie cutter mold to look at each week.
There was something nice watching Jim Duggan and Big Bossman huff and puff around the ring.
Thanks for reading. This list ventured out of the ring a little bit, but it still hit the point. There are so many great things that I remember in wrestling, but I still watch it every week. I know that it will not be the same, but some days, I wish it would go back to the way I remember it.
Feel free to leave comments and opinions.