Top 30 Wrestling Legends Who Would Be Nothing Today: Part 1

John CobbcornAnalyst IISeptember 28, 2011

Top 30 Wrestling Legends Who Would Be Nothing Today: Part 1

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    Almost two weeks ago, I wrote an article titled: "Error, Wrong Era: WWE Wrestlers Born Too Late and Too Soon".

    In that article, I took a look at some of the current and former WWE superstars of today's generation that would have been legends if they broke into the wrestling business in a different era. 

    Today, those wrestlers get terminated, are buried, or held down in the mid-card.  But, at another time, they might have become legends that we revere today. 

    But, the coin flips both ways. 

    There are also legends and icons who, if they were to try to enter the WWE today, wouldn't even get past the FCW tryouts. 

    Today, we're going to go through the first version of two countdowns and look at 15 of the top 30 legends of this sport, who would be buried, future endeavored, or hated by the very fans that respect and admire them for what they did in the past, if they were to show up in today's WWE. 

15. George "The Animal" Steele

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    To be honest, towards the end of George "The Animal" Steele's in-ring career, he was used as a joke. 

    One may recall his time with "The Oddities" during the WWF's Attitude Era, when he was aligned with the likes of Luna Vachon, Kurrgan and Golga. 

    But during the mid-80s, when wrestling was heavily geared towards over-the-top characters, Steele, (real name: William Myers), was a top face and highly popular with the crowds.  His feud with Macho Man Randy Savage was one of the best of the late 1980's. 

    Steele made his reputation as a turnbuckle-eating, gibberish-spewing, insane-acting, wild man. 

    But, in today's WWE, he wouldn't even be let through the door. 

    First, Myers didn't even take his first step into the wrestling business until he was already 30 years of age.  While the WWE is willing to give chances to men that old, like MVP or Batista, generally, there has to be something more special about you than what The Animal would bring to the table. 

    His move-set was wildly limited, consisting mostly of biting, punching and a few slams. 

    His look was that of an extremely hairy and portly version of Mr. Clean, and hairy men don't exactly do well in the WWE. (See: Mike Knox or Prince Albert).

    His interview style was nothing but gibberish. (Although, he could cut good promos, it's just he wasn't allowed to, due to his gimmick.)

    If the WWE even allowed George Steele to debut on television today, he would undoubtedly be horribly received by the fans.  A hairy, elderly looking man, running around and biting turnbuckles? 

    He'd be like a less kid-friendly version of Hornswoggle.

    And half the fan base wants Hornswoggle to disappear into the Pacific Ocean, already. 

    But it would never even get that far for Myers.  As soon as he showed up to a tryout, they would say he didn't have "the look" and send him on his way.

14. Adrian Adonis

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    Kieth Franke joined the WWF in 1982.  Early in his WWF career, he was a rather unremarkable wrestler.  He could cut a good promo and, for a man of his size, he could perform admirably in the ring. 

    However, outside of a single WWF Tag-Team Title run with Dick Murdoch, Adonis had never really done much of note, other than lose to the likes of Pedro Morales and Bob Backlund. 

    It wasn't until 1985, when Adonis took up his "Adorable" Adrian Adonis gimmick, that he started to get noticed.  Homosexual gimmicks in the WWF at that time were rare.  So, Adonis stuck out like a sore thumb.  He also went up to 300 pounds in weight, and a 300 pound man acting like a woman, while donning garish robes, heavy make-up and too-tight, pink tights, is bound to cause people to notice. 

    It was with this gimmick that Adonis laid the foundation for the wrestler he is remembered as today. 

    However, if Adrian Adonis was to waltz into a WWE tryout today? 

    He wouldn't even be able to get his shirt off before they would be waltzing him right back out for a multitude of reasons:

    First, the WWE is all about hard bodies.  On the entire roster of the WWE there are only four men who are seriously overweight: Brodus Clay, The Big Show, Husky Harris and Mark Henry.  

    Brodus and Show are giants, so they will always get a pass.  Henry spent 15 years in mid-card and jobber hell before finally getting a shot at the main-event and title.  The jury is still out on what the WWE will do with Husky Harris.  Those kinds of odds wouldn't favor someone like Adrian. 

    Secondly, in the PG Era, the WWE is frightened to death of anything that will rattle sponsors, scare away children or draw negative media attention.  With GLAAD taking an almost enforcer-like role on anything deemed even slightly offensive to homosexuals, the WWE wouldn't risk giving Adonis the gimmick that would make him famous to begin with. 

    Without that gimmick and with that body type, Adonis would be nothing in today's WWE. 

    In today's world of Pro-Wrestling, the Host of "The Flower Shop" and the man who feuded with the likes of Rowdy Roddy Piper and even pushed Hulk Hogan for his WWF Heavyweight Championship, probably couldn't even get a job in TNA or ROH. 

13. Fabulous Moolah

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    The Fabulous Moolah a.k.a. Mary Ellison, is easily the greatest women's wrestler of all time.  There isn't even anyone near her league, or that can be legitimately brought up in that discussion. 

    No one, male or female, in pro-wrestling, has held a title as long as Moolah did from Sept. 18, 1956 to Sept. 17, 1966.  Just one day shy of ten years.  Moolah also had another eight-year reign and six-year reign as the NWA Women's Champion. 

    And this was during a time where women in wrestling were actually wrestlers and not models. 

    However, in today's WWE, Moolah trying to get her start, even as a young woman, would also be turned away by the WWE. 

    For women, looks come first in the WWE, talent comes second.  Even women who actually can wrestle, like Natalya and Beth Phoenix, have to look sexy in a bikini. 

    They even put Vickie Guerrero in bikinis now that she's lost weight. (They shouldn't.) The only true exception to this rule is the hiring of Awesome Kong/Kharma. 

    But again, much like with the weight issue mentioned before, only those with an exceptional reason, get an exceptional pass.  Kharma being nearly six feet tall and three hundred pounds with the wrestling ability she has, is going to get her a pass.

    A 5'4" Moolah, isn't going to get that pass. 

    Moolah probably wouldn't get past a WWE tryout, but if she did, she would be treated like Cherry, (remember her?) she could wrestle, but never got a chance to really shine, because she wasn't the "Diva build."

    The same would probably happen to Moolah.  And because Moolah was less attractive in her youth than Cherry was, probably even fewer people would care. 

12. The Honky Tonk Man

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    I would like to imagine the reaction that an Elvis impersonator would get if they came out to the ring on the next Smackdown. 

    I can literally hear the IWC, now:

    "What? An Elvis impersonator? FIRE THE CREATIVE TEAM!"

    "This is so stupid, I'm never watching Smackdown again."

    "TNA! TNA! TNA! TNA!"

    (One of those comments would probably be mine.)

    It wouldn't matter that Roy Farris, the man behind the Honky Tonk Man, has more charisma in his left pinky toe, than most WWE superstars have in their entire bodies today.  As soon as he came out in a music note emblazoned jump suit, that would be all she wrote for his WWE career.  Much like Deuce and Domino were dead on arrival with their '50s swingers gimmick.  (Bring back Deuce, WWE, he's better than that gimmick you killed him with.) 

    In the 1980's, yes, Honky Tonk Man could be the longest reigning Intercontinental Champion of all time.

    But in 2011, if he even won the title, people would protest in droves.

    Because he's an Elvis impersonator. 

    And in 2011?  That's about as dumb as Ferris pretending to play an acoustic guitar behind his head.

11. Terry Funk

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    Imagine a Terry Funk match where he didn't hit people in the face with ladders or blow fire on people like a human dragon. (Super Dragon?) 

    The crowd would be chanting "boring" about two minutes in. 

    His actual wrestling moves before his hardcore style, like his spinning toe hold or flurry of punches, just don't get it done in 2011.

    Those moves didn't even get it done in 1994.

    And Terry Funk knew this.  That's why even though he was already an NWA Heavyweight Champion and an icon, by the time the late 1990's rolled around, he decided it was best to upgrade to a hardcore style to stay relevant. 

    But, what if Terry Funk tried to enter into the WWE today? 

    Sure, he was welcome to make the leap from ECW to the WWE in 1997, during the kick off of the Attitude Era.  Dumpster matches, barbed-wire 2x4s, piledrivers and steel chairs to the head were acceptable then. 

    But, if he tried to make the leap now?  His services wouldn't be needed.  This is a WWE that heavily edits blood flow, like with Randy Orton's busting open of Cody Rhodes last week. (Side Note: Can Cody get him fired for botching? I mean, fair is fair, right?) 

    None of Funk's signature hardcore style would be welcomed in today's WWE.

    Even if we were to rewind the clock to Terry Funk as a 28-year-old, he would come into the WWE as an average looking wrestler, with average wrestling ability and above-average promo skills.

    Were he to come into the WWE today, he would probably languish away in FCW, perhaps be called up to the main-roster to job to a star on Superstars and eventually be released. 

10. Abdullah the Butcher

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    Take everything that I just said about Terry Funk and multiply it by ten. 

    Abdullah The Butcher, (real name: Lawrence Shreve) never got an opportunity to work in the WWE in his 53 year career.  The WWE, however, in recognition of his legendary status as a wrestler, decided to induct him into the Hall of Fame.  

    But, would Abdullah have ever been inducted into it if he came out today? 

    Probably not.

    The WWE still wouldn't touch him, because of his look and his ultra-violent matches.  He, in no way, represents anything the WWE would want to have in a rookie wrestler.  Just the scars in his forehead alone would turn them off. 

    But, Abdullah wouldn't be in the WWE Hall of Fame for a different reason: He became a legend by mauling and mutilating wrestlers in a gory fashion before anyone else in 1958. 

    It's what made him a star the world over.  The fact that he would be willing to do anything to anyone at any time.

    But, in today's wrestling landscape, stabbing someone with a fork is a "So what?" moment when it comes to the world of hardcore. 

    Combat Zone Wrestling, alone, makes The Butcher look timid at times.  They actually use weed whackers on each other.  What is a fork compared to a weed whacker? 

    Abdullah The Butcher would be nothing more than a CZW Necro Butcher or an ECW New Jack in today's wrestling world. 

    And neither one of them are going into the WWE Hall of Fame.

    Neither would Abdullah. 

9. The Junkyard Dog

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    About five seconds into this video, you can immediately see something that would never, ever, ever, happen in today's socially conscious WWE. 

    A white man (though actually French) bringing out a black man in chains? The WWE wouldn't dare.  They'd have GLAAD hammering them over Adonis to the right, and the NAACP hammering them over JYD to the left.  It wouldn't happen.  Today, they probably wouldn't even let Sylvester Ritter come to the ring in a chain, period.

    But beyond just his chain, the Junkyard Dog, as a whole, wouldn't be done in today's WWE.  Because frankly, it won't get anyone over. 

    Titus O'Neal barks on NXT, and it's ridiculous, and does nothing to enhance him.  But, imagine if he would come to the ring in a dog chain, bark and growl in his promos and generally behave like a dog in the ring? 

    The last time a major wrestling promotion tried the "man acts like dog" gimmick, it was WCW.  It was "The Dog," and he was so well received that they wrote his character off by allowing him to be left in the woods by the Nasty Boys during the dying days of WCW.  

    A man coming out and behaving like a dog, while cutting promos like the one above?  It's not going to go over well.  It died out with Rick Steiner. 

    And much like many of the men on this list, his actual ability to wrestle will elicit chants of "boring" and "you can't wrestle!" almost every time.

    Even when it comes to his look, he looks more like a mechanic or a 1970's soulful crooner, than he does a titanic and intimidating wrestler like Ezekiel Jackson or Mason Ryan, both men who lack wrestling ability, but are given a chance because of their looks.  

    There's nothing about Sylvester Ritter that says he would be a megastar in 2011, like he was in the 1970's and 1980's. 

    If JYD attempted to enter the WWE today, I doubt he would even get past the tryouts. 

    Of anyone who would suffer most from it being a completely different era, it would probably be the Junkyard Dog. 

8. The Iron Sheik

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    I love the Iron Sheik. 

    Watching his old promos on Youtube are hilarious. 

    In doses.

    Watching his NSWF Shoots on Youtube are also hilarious.

    In doses.

    But, I don't think I would care nearly as much about the Iron Sheik, (real name: Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri) if I saw him once or twice every week for years. 

    Eventually, it would get old.  There wouldn't be much difference between listening to him, or listening to Jinder Mahal, The Great Khali or Rajin Singh cutting a promo in half-English/half-Punjabi dialect.  The only difference would be Iron Sheik would be from Iran and they would be from India (Or Canada, in Mahal's case). 

    Another difference would be that outside of Khali, I would be able to understand Mahal and Singh easily when they speak English; not so much with The Iron Sheik.

    Add to that, the fact that Iron Sheik literally had only five or six moves in his arsenal?  He would be hated almost as much as the Great Khali is today.  And not heat like the heel heat he garnered in the 1980's, when he was on a level where he would win the WWF Title (Briefly, it was only a one month reign), but legitimate heat for a perceived lack of ability. 

    Nevertheless, a young Iron Sheik would definitely get picked up by today's WWE. 

    He would probably be told to shave his iconic mustache, but as young man he had the look and muscular build the WWE is attracted to.

    But, his stay wouldn't last long.  At only six feet tall, he wouldn't get the same leniency that the Great Khali does because he's 7'1". 

    That, with his hard to understand promos, and limited wrestling ability would probably have him released much like a Vladimir Kozlov after a couple of years of prodding around the mid-card.  (And Vladimir Kozlov was bigger and had more moves.) 

7. Yokozuna

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    The big man could go. 

    But in today's health-conscious WWE, Yokozuna would never even be given a chance to compete in the WWE. 

    In actuality, it was Rodney Anoa'i's weight that got him cut from the WWF in 1998, two years before his death, as he had gotten so big, he couldn't pass the New York State Athletic Commission's physicals and wasn't allowed to perform in New York.

    At the time of his death, he was an unbelievable 680 pounds.   

    Had Yokozuna come to the WWE for a try out at his size, I doubt he would even be allowed to participate. The standards for the health of athletes of the WWE have improved dramatically since Yokozuna's debut in 1992.  A man weighing 500-600 pounds, at only 6'4" would be turned away by doctors and the WWE. 

    The WWE just wouldn't tolerate that size today.  Overweight, like Brodus Clay or The Big Show, sure. 

    But morbidly obese to the point of where you could have a heart attack in the ring? No. 

    It was the same reason why Nelson Frazier (Big Daddy V) was fired.  He was 6'9" and nearly 500 pounds and the WWE demanded that he lose weight. When he didn't, he was gone.

    So, Rodney Anoa'i would have to come back for a tryout at around 300-350 pounds.  A much smaller and yet, even more capable grappler.

    However, Yokozuna's claim to fame and his WWF title reigns came due to the fact that he was absolutely massive in size.  He was billed as an unmovable object.  Something that can't be done with a guy who is 6'4" and around 300 pounds.  

    Without that size, and with Yoko's awful, very awful promo skills, he would be nothing more than another giant Samoan in the mid-card.  He would be no different from Rosie, Umaga or Rikishi. 

    He would be just another mid-carder who couldn't even touch the WWF Title.   He would probably be given some fool's gold pushes that came just shy of it, and when people finally tired of him, he would be released. 

6. Bret Hart

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    "The best there is, the best there was, the best there ever will be."

    Except on the microphone.  (And before those overbearing Bret Hart enthusiasts start jumping on me again for saying Bret Hart is horrible on the mic, understand that in Bret's book, "Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling," Bret, himself, states that he lacks mic skills.)

    So back up off of me, foo'. 

    Bret Hart is actually a very fortunate individual for being born when he was.  His peak popularity came in the early 1990's.  Those were his prime years, especially from 1990 to 1996.   He's fortunate that he peaked there, because the Attitude Era was about to be born.  (Something Bret was actually against, as he didn't like the raunchy direction the company was going.)

    But the Attitude Era marked the end of wrestlers being able to get by without mic skills, operating solely on technical ability.  

    Certainly, the WWF was character-driven before the Attitude Era, but there was still room for advancement without the greatest of mic skills.  The Attitude Era all but killed that because so many guys with unbelievable characters and promo skills emerged. 

    The Rock, Stone Cold, Y2J, Kurt Angle, Mankind, Triple H, etc...  Add to that, the fact that most of them could work matches well, and there really was no room for guys with no mic skills at the top. 

    Since 1997, the stranglehold of "entertainer over athlete" has only gotten tighter and tighter, with Chris Benoit being the only man to break through to a top title based solely upon technical skill and not size, or mic ability. 

    So now, 14 years later, even a perceived whiff of "boring on the mic" gets even the most technically skilled and gifted wrestlers buried or fired.  Examples include: Kaval, Daniel Bryan and Shelton Benjamin.  And Bryan Danielson isn't even boring on the mic.  They just won't let him be the American Dragon from ROH. 

    But it is with those men, that Bret Hart would find himself.  Constantly held down, because he would have all the skill in the world between the ropes, but on the mic, he just wouldn't have the goods. 

    Bret wouldn't even be allowed into the WWE as a fresh-faced rookie.  He would be forced to claw his way up and make his reputation through the independents.  The WWE would wait for years before giving him a chance, and then after finally giving him a shot, would misuse and boot him out after a couple of years without ever knowing they had a potential legend on their hands.

    Basically, Bret would be just like Bryan Danielson in 2011, only worse off. 

    Because Danielson has better mic skills and (this is going to piss some people off) he can wrestle better than Bret Hart, too.

    (Yeah, I said it.  Bring it on, Hart enthusiasts.) 

5. Bob Backlund

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    Bob Backlund comes into the video at 1:56.  Try to see if you can stay awake to the 2:30 mark. 

    Listen to the man. 

    It's as though someone dared him to break every possible rule to cutting a good promo in under a minute.  Mumbling, monotone, boring, filled with "uhs," not looking at the camera, no emotion, no inflection.   He makes Chris Benoit seem like the epitome of linguistic eloquence in comparison. 

    Look at his appearance.  It looks like someone grabbed him out of the nearest plywood warehouse and paid him 100 bucks to come and cut a promo on someone. 

    There is absolutely nothing remarkable about the way the man looks.  This week, you will see someone walking down the street that looks more like a WWE superstar than he does.

    And yet, Bobby, as I have pointed out before, is one of the longest reigning WWF champions in history, coming just shy of six straight years, before losing his title to the Iron Sheik in December 1983.

    His reason for holding the title so long, despite looking, talking and being so boring? 

    He was a technical marvel in the ring for his time.  But keep in mind, "for his time" means he only utilized maneuvers like belly-to-back suplexes and the Crossface Chickenwing.

    If Bob Backlund came to the WWE today, he would be the guy you see playing "fake security guard No. 3" forming a line between CM Punk and Kevin Nash, hoping (in vain) that he would get his chance on the big stage. 

    Backlund would be "local jobber No. 2" who gets fed to Mason Ryan in a handicap match with some other indie wrestler who works part-time as a Kinko's clerk.  

    He would never be given a contract into the WWE, on any level. 

    And if by some miracle, the same brain-fart that got Hornswoggle signed to a WWE contract, happened again, and got Backlund in the door? 

    The crowd reaction he would get would make Otunga and McGillicutty seem as though The Rock and Stone Cold had announced they were coming back full time and forming a tag team in comparison. 

4. The Undertaker

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    The video to your left is what happens when you debut a "living dead" character in 1990.

    The following video is what happens when you debut a "living dead" character in 2006.  


    I could probably leave it at that, but because I talk too much, I won't. 

    Now, because Mark Calloway is 6'10", there's no way he would be booked in a squash match for his debut, unless he was doing the squashing. 

    And there's no way they would saddle him with a zombie gimmick at his size, because, unlike the 6'2", independent wrestler Tim Roberts, who portrayed "The Zombie," the WWE would probably want him to succeed. 

    But, could Mark Calloway succeed without his Undertaker gimmick?  Perhaps. 

    One thing that has always been hidden behind his gimmick, is the fact that the Undertaker has nominal mic skills.  They aren't all that impressive when he isn't pretending to be some sort of demon. His in-ring moves, which are phenomenal for a man of his size, took around a decade or so for him to develop. 

    Taker didn't start off in the WWF doing leaping, front-flip, lariats and applying Gogoplatas.  He was a big lumbering oaf like most giants are.  He developed into probably the best grappler of his size in WWE history over time.

    So, if the Undertaker got his start today, with middle-of-the-road promos and wrestling skill that would develop over time, he'd probably be more akin to a Matt Morgan.  Someone who turned into a talented big-man as his career developed, but was treated as a joke early in his career.  

    Eventually, Calloway would have success in the industry.  His height and size would simply afford him the opportunities to get the time needed to develop into a draw.  He would more than likely always be "The American Bad-A**" biker character we saw from 2000-2003 in the WWF and have success with that gimmick, spun from his actual way of life. 

    However, we would never know him as "The Deadman" and thus, he would never become the revered persona he is today.   

3. Andre the Giant

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    If Andre Roussimoff had attempted to enter the WWE today, he would be welcomed in with loving arms.

    And then brutally eviscerated by the fans.

    Andre The Giant would be The Great Khali of our times. 

    He could never cut a promo to save his life.  His deep baritone voice, mixed with his French accent, made him nearly unintelligible in most of his interviews, like the one above. 

    His in-ring attacks were almost a mirror image of what we see out of the Great Khali, today. 

    The Undertaker once said this to Paul Wight, The Big Show:

    "I'd much rather be a broken-down has-been, than a giant that never was." 

    He was alluding to how The Big Show never lived up to the legend of Andre The Giant, despite his potential. 

    The funny thing about it, is that if The Big Show and Andre The Giant were in the WWE together right now, most people would say The Big Show was better.  He cuts FAR better promos and he has much more ability in the ring. 

    And yet, the shadow of the legend who went 15 years without a recognized defeat, has over-encompassed every single big man that has come after him and no one has lived up to it, with the exception of The Undertaker. 

    But that legend would never be born in today's WWE.  You just saw this generation's equivalent of Andre The Giant, The Great Khali, get crushed by Mark Henry in 20 seconds.  That same fate would befall Andre. 

    At first, they would try and package him as a monster heel or face, and debut him beating some big star like John Cena.  They would give him a manager to cover up for his weak mic-abilities like a Vicki Guerrero. 

    But they could never hide his lack of wrestling skill.  Andre came up in a time where clotheslines won matches.  Having no moves was acceptable.  But in 2011, where to win a match you have to look like you're practically breaking someone's neck with a secret ninjitsu technique? 

    Andre would be exposed immediately.

    The WWE would force him down our throats anyway, but the ratings slumps he would bring to his segments would eventually force him into the role of hosting a kiss-cam or being defeated in two minutes like the Great Khali. 

    He would never be a legend.  And a 15-year undefeated streak?  That would have even the most ardent of Cena haters begging for him to go Clark Kent on Andre and beat him. 

2. Hulk Hogan

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    John Cena is hated by most of the adult fanbase of the WWE for two reasons:

    1. People don't like his "Hustle, Loyalty, Respect" wholesome good-guy act. He comes off as childish and corny. 

    2. He wins too much when it comes to big matches and title shots. This is why he is referred to as "SuperCena."

    But as wholesome as John Cena is, and as much as John Cena wins, he isn't a fraction as domineering or babyface as Hulk Hogan was during the period of Hulkamania.

    If you think you hate John Cena, just imagine if Hulk Hogan was young and coming into his prime right now and they tried to redo Hulkamania with him? 

    He would get booed out of the business. 

    Hulkamania would never happen in 2011 and the biggest proof is that the WWE can't successfully launch "Cenamania."

    No matter how much they invest in him as the face of the WWE, the fans have still abandoned the product by the millions since 2005-06, when he became the main player.  That's the reverse of Hulkamania. 

    Wholesome goodness is for cereal, not pro wrestling. It doesn't connect with the mainstream or older wrestling fanbase.

    So, bringing in a guy like Hogan, struggling with male-pattern baldness, with only 17-inch pythons because of the WWE Wellness Policy, a promo-style akin to an over-excited surfer, and techniques in the ring that make John Cena look like a technical marvel?

    What do you think would happen to his career today? 

    Terry would be lucky to be an enhancement talent in today's wrestling environment.  It's more likely that the beginning of his actual career would be the same as the ending of his hypothetical career today:

    He'd be quitting pro wrestling early, managing clubs and opening gyms on Venice Beach. 

1. Stone Cold Steve Austin

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    Long before Steve Williams was ever given the "Stone Cold Steve Austin" gimmick, he was "The Ringmaster."  And honestly? The Ringmaster sucked.

    Before Steve Williams was the The Ringmaster, he was "Superstar" Steve Austin in ECW.  He didn't really have much of a chance to do anything there besides cut some very good promos.  He was snapped up too quickly by the WWE. 

    Before Steve Williams was "Superstar" Steve Austin, he was "Stunning" Steve Austin in WCW.  He had some good success there with the late Brian Pillman as the Hollywood Blonds.  He had a few title reigns as WCW Television, United States and Tag Team Champion.  But, mostly, he was a mid-carder. 

    His value as "Stunning" Steve Austin was so high, that when he got injured with a triceps injury, he was fired over the phone by Eric Bischoff.

    The point, is that without the "Stone Cold" gimmick, Austin would have been nothing more than a rank-and-file, mid-card talent. 

    In 2011, the WWE would not, and is not, capable of devising such an awesome character.  Austin is allowed to drink beer or say some edgy things today because his legend affords him that leeway, much like The Rock in his appearances.   But, as a new guy on the scene?  He would never be allowed to drink beer on camera. 

    There would be no flipping the middle finger.  There would be no stunning women like Stephanie, or non-combative employees like "ringside announcer" Vince McMahon.  There would be no hunting wrestlers with a pop-gun, or "Opening up" Jim Ross.  No beer truck attacks, no drowning your enemy in "Steveweisers" after opening up a "can of whoop***".  

    Nothing that made Stone Cold great would be allowed to happen.  

    Certainly, Austin's ability and talent would get him into the WWE.  In today's WWE, he would probably even be successful because the talent on the roster is so thin.  But he would never be the legend and icon that defined an entire era. 

    Instead, he would be a neutered country boy with an attitude.  He would be like a Husky Harris with a six-pack instead of a keg belly. 

    But that brings up an even bigger issue: Without Stone Cold Steve Austin, the WWF wouldn't even exist.  Austin vs. McMahon was the feud that turned the Monday Night Wars around and kept WCW from putting the WWF out of business.  

    The "Attitude Era" wouldn't even exist.  It would be known as the "NWO Era" more than likely. 

    With differences in the historic landscape becoming that drastic over the hypothetical subtraction of one wrestler, it makes you wonder:

    What icons and eras are the WWE killing with their more restrictive booking style and superstar standards? 

    We may never know. 

    Thanks for reading and stay tuned for Part 2.