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Button Up's Top Ten Greatest Living Legends

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  • Button Up's Top Ten Greatest Living Legends

    This year makes 30 years of fandom for me. I’ve learned that wrestlers live fast lives, but while they’re here they make long lasting legacies. Many of those whom I grew up on or were a generation before mine (those I got up to speed on at a young age) are now passed from this life but immortalized through their hard work, training, talent, contributions, and larger than life personas. These myths and legends reach through their realm and into ours and continue to touch our eyes and ears with efforts from bygone ages. We, through many videos, look at them in awe and inspiration. To see so many go on, I aspire to do something different. I aim to honor those who are still here while they are here. These are personalities that have penetrated the conscience of the voters, so much so that they ranked them in their top ten greatest living legends!

    Therefore, without further ado, with Dusty Rhodes, Harley Race, Bruno Sammartino, Eddie Guerrero, Owen Hart, and the young Brodie Lee ready to give these champions of our fandom scepters from the other side I introduce…

    Button Up’s Top Ten Greatest Living Legends

    Honorable mentions

    I’ve got such a large number of legends voted for and don’t want to leave a single one out! Therefore, we’ll be switching it up in this thread by going up two separate lists, the honorable mentions and the top ten. These first four featured stars are on that honorable mention lists and averaged at a 1.6 % tie.

    Ricky Steamboat Avg. 1.6%

    Ric Flair recently called the Dragon one of the greatest two in ring performers of all time. While one man may say this is an opinion, it’s a mighty big compliment coming from Ric Flair who wrestled in five different decades. Steamboat stepped on the scene in the late 1970s, and from the get-go had enough mystique about him that they called him the Dragon. His mannerisms made the viewer not only see his comebacks and pain, but it also made them feel it all! I watched a match from his early days where Flair’d messed his face up from rubbing it into concrete. He sold every blow to his injured countenance like he had salt in it. I’m burning just reliving his classic showing!

    My personal experience with Steamboat came in the 1990s. And if I think back on WCW then, I see those red tights and that robe with a dragon pictured in the center of it. I see Steamboat with sweat on his body, catching the top rope and pulling himself back in the ring. I see him arching his back, trying to mount a comeback. I hear his chop. I see him cross bodying Steve Austin and winning the TV title. I see his face again injured, this time by Rick Rude, and this time with a cast over his nose. I see Steve Regal working over his taped ribs in a way that Flair did his face over a decade prior. I see Steamboat selling it in manner that prompts the fan to go to the doctor for their own ribs!

    Why do I remember him? He made everything he did matter from his Title wins to his injuries. He didn't just tell or show, he struck his story into body and soul of the crowd.

    I remember watching Steamboat at Wrestle Mania XXV against Jericho. He went into action for just a small portion of the match, but the fans chanted “you still go it.” While after many years, Steamboat impressed them with still being able to skin the cat, these fans had seen it all and I can tell you, the acrobatics are not what knocked them off their feet. It’s that Steamboat still chopped and sold in a way that makes every move count. I concur with Flair, he’s one of the top two in ring talents of all time, and he did it in three different decades! I wanted to type that he did it without the glory of WrestleMania, but he put having wrestling classics at Mania on the map.

    Randy Savage’s taped hand comes through with a bouquet for this guy. Steamboat’s talent is not short of beautiful and worthy of honor!

    Sting Avg 1.6 %

    Believe it or not, this guy will have wrestled in as many decades as Flair, once he again laces up the boots in AEW. The appeal for Sting, I believe, is in his size and energy. And right after I typed that line, I’m reminded of his song that says, “big as a bull and quick as a cat.” There’s enough universally enjoyable aesthetic and character traits in the guy that he’s enjoyed by an audience of all races. To put him against Vader, you get to see the bull and the cat, as he lays it all out in there. His energy encompassed that Crow character, too. It’s not that just anyone got broken; It’s that someone whom people saw with such excitement and goodness was now broken and in the crowd.

    My first memories of Sting take me to all the colors in his paint and jackets. There’s something about the bleached hair, the tassels, and the blue, bright pink, or stars and stripes that pops the eyes of a six-year-old. No doubt Sting impressed on my childhood fandom. And there’s still kids watching today. I wonder what a six-year-old watching AEW would say seeing Sting in his crow paint for the first time? It’s another generation he’s touched.

    To his credit, he took TNA to over one-million viewers. And it looks like he’s now put more eyes on AEW, so his legacy has staying power. There’s an appeal to him, one I admit to not fully understanding. But it’s there. No objective person can say the Stinger hasn’t made a splash.

    Paul Heyman Avg. 1.6%

    Without looking again at the votes, I know My Lee was a proponent of this guy. For he stated:

    “I don’t even know how to categorize Heyman, but he’s excellent as a promotor, announcer, authority character and manager, and for that reason I’m putting him ahead of the more obvious choices like Hogan/Flair.”

    If one is a Heyman guy, it doesn’t surprise me that they give the manager, ECW founder, and WWE creative force such high ranking. One of the best promos of my childhood, before I even knew one could judge promos, Paul E. Dangerously introduced the Dangerous Alliance on WCW’s flagship Saturday show. For this, Paul E set the table with a powerful red cloth of tone and drama. Not to mention, it had surprise as one Dangerous Alliance member, Bobby Eaton, just turned heel on a house show.

    Since then, Paul put ECW, a cult icon, into wrestling lore, and has been a booker in WWE. Heyman’s booking carried a smell to it where you know it’s him. And it’s not a reeking one like Russo’s. But he’s one who valued fresh faces in a much better way than that other New Yorker mentioned who didn’t make this list. Those familiar with Paul Heyman’s creative time in Smackdown! may remember the Smackdown six consisting of Edge, Benoit, Rey Mysterio, Kurt Angle, and Eddie and Chavo Guerrero. What a class to have sent out!

    But maybe his finest work has been as a more mature manager, really putting the meaning into Brock’s suplexes. Who could forget Heyman’s eyes when Brock ended the streak? Those eyes, for better or worse, represented the audience as they witnessed the music die. Heyman instinctively knew the expressions of the thousands around him. That’s one of his catches, right? He understands the audience.

    Heyman is also familiar with the trick of making the baby face look good from his heel role, as well. I recall an interview of Heyman putting AJ Styles over for his efforts in his loss to Brock in a way that Bobby Heenan would be proud of. Even now, if there’s one thing that interests me from afar in wrestling, it’s Heyman side by side with Roman. While I’m sure the creative team could have found a way to make their union make more sense, Roman with Heyman’s hand cuffed over his ear resides as a hi-light in a dark covid time. From the videos I’ve seen, his reactions to Reigns, puts the crown on the head of this Lion King. He’s a regular Iago to Jaffar. In short, for someone looking for a man in wrestling who’s done it all but lace up the boots (we won’t talk about tuxedo matches here) I respect their choice of Paul Heyman as a top legend. A generation that knows not Bobby Heenan may easily call him the greatest manager of all time. And even a generation who does know the weasel will tip their ball caps to the Walrus as a fine mouthpiece.

    Arn Anderson Avg. 1.6%

    Sometime shortly after Double A came into my life, he assisted the man who calls himself the living legend, Larry Zbyszko, in slamming a car door on Barry Windham’s hand. Not much listening and watching told me this man was not there to play nice in the sandbox. I grew up on Arn in his prime and quickly learned what it meant to be an Anderson. It meant cutting the ring in half and using strategy to work over a body part to win a match. It meant maiming anyone who gets in the way. It meant being the greatest tag wrestler on the planet. The first tag team to hold the WCW Title (back in crocket times) were Gene and Ole, and here I was twenty years later watching Arn do it, and some may say better.

    However, Arn picked up something the elder Andersons didn’t know in the way he learned. That’s making his baby face rivals look tremendous. He’d master this as a Horsemen and Brain Buster with Tully Blanchard, and regarding their feuds with Dusty, Arn said “I could think of one-thousand ways to bounce off that elbow.” Arn’s bumps and roll overs after taking a hit are only half of his method of putting over the baby face; the other half are in his wide eyes and somber tone of voice.

    Speaking of his voice, Arn’s promo stands against anyone who every picked up a mic. With his metaphors, he created the name of the four horsemen, saying nobody has seen anything like their alliance since the four horsemen of apocalypse. That must be one of the most consequential promos to have ever been spoken! I only can think of two others on that level: Hogan’s “stick it” at Bash at the Beach 1996 and Austin’s 3:16 King of the Ring 1996. Hogan and Austin, what great company to be in! And in my opinion, he belongs there in promo ability, and he’s the Hogan and Austin of the tag division whether you are talking with Ole Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Larry Zbyszko, or Bobby Eaton. Few can brag on that kind of tag success. Additionally, Arn is one of the greatest TV champions of all time, and in my opinion, he’s the lifeblood of the four horsemen. I’d go as far to say, you can have a horseman without Flair but never without Arn. He’s the very spirit of the group. If you don’t believe me let’s go back to 1985.

    Imagine Arn the rookie of the group standing side by side with Flair, Tully, and Ole and holding his own. He did exactly that! Arn with that young face, with the fedora on his head, and the Horsemen attitude is something everyone should see. If Scott Hall coming out of the crowd started that nWo momentum, Arn showing up on Mid Atlantic TV in that hat as the newest Anderson did so for the Horsemen. One look at him and you know he’s somebody. He had a name to live up to and he elevated it. If one watches the promos from 1985 through 1987 on World Champion Wrestling, they’ll enjoy Flair’s lifestyle quotes that set the pop culture on fire but just as much, they’ll get Arn’s quieter demeanor always connecting the four men as all for one and always promising to take away their enemies ability of earning a living. Arn’s language is full of metaphors, and the man’s legend has become one! He represents the greatest bone breaking right hand man of all time.

    I have nothing but respect for Double A…

    And with such respect for these legends, I’ve reached the length of a full column, so tune back in on this thread, next time, to see who reached number ten on our list! And we’ll, also, continue to climb the many honorable mentions, as we go along!

    Last edited by Benjamin Button; 01-10-2021, 01:32 AM.
    See the latest of my Ric Flair saga click here. View my story inspired by colorful wrestlers I've come across in my fandom.

  • #2
    Awesome stuff, Ben. This was a great lead-in to the top 10 list. I can't blame you for not wanting to leave any of these legends out.

    As someone who didn't discover wrestling until '98, I missed the bulk of their best years unfortunately. And while I've gone back to brush up on certain historical matches and moments, 99% of them fell under the WWE banner. Steamboat's performance at WrestleMania XXV was the first time I actually watched him work and remember thinking damn... if this dude can still move and sell like that at his age, I can only imagine how good he was 20 years ago. As far as you not fully understanding Sting's appeal, I can certainly relate. Don't get me wrong, I was enamored with the Crow based character upon laying eyes on him as an 11 year old kid. However, it had everything to do with Sting's presence and appearance, and nothing to do with his in-ring abilities. So seeing him turn up in AEW at 61 doesn't inspire alot of confidence haha.

    I loved the line about Heyman's booking having a certain smell to it. Even today, you can sense when a character shift or storyline twist came from his beautiful mind. Let's hope Heyman continues to move up the ranks creatively backstage because the man simply knows what works. Lesnar owes so much of his overall marketability and early success in WWE to Heyman. There's a reason why he's held in such high esteem around the industry. Then there's Arn who I didn't see until he appeared at WM18 to hit Taker with that perfectly timed spinebuster. I listen to his podcast regularly but that's hardly the same. Still stunned that Vince released Anderson after all those years of service but, at the same time, not really. It's been fun watching him mentor Cody in AEW nonetheless.


    • #3
      Hey Benny, nice to pop my head in here and dive right into one of your columns. I can only imagine who some of the folks in the top ten are, especially with Sting on the outside looking in (I would have thought him a shoe-in for the Top Ten for sure).

      Many years ago during a brief stint as a Pro Wrestling trainee, I remember my trainer advising me to pay attention to Ricky Steamboat matches. Steamboat, he said, never let his heat get away. If he was getting worked over he never just let the opponent beat on him until it was time for the comeback. He might go two or three for one, meaning he'd take a number of offensive maneuvers and then throw a punch. It wasn't a comeback but it showed he was trying to get back in the match, trying to find an opening to take over on offense. Too often I watch matches where it's either "I do a move and then you do a move" or it's one guy getting beat up for a while and then inexplicably hits a counter and takes over for a while. Steamboat was great at conveying struggle. In short, he had the psychology PLUS the athletic ability to make him one of the greats. I think you captured that idea here.

      Awesome stuff sir.


      • #4
        I love the thought process you conveyed of the rationale for this series. I 100% agree that we as humans are too prone to save our words of praise for when someone is gone. We should all make it a point to be appreciative of those around us.

        Not sure how many people you got to do this, but as someone who had Sting in his Top 10, I can say my rationale was due to a combination of his longevity and how much he meant to both WCW and TNA's history. I'm not proclaiming him as one of the ten best in-ring workers of all time, but if you're telling the entire story of wrestling, I don't think you can do it without Sting.

        Looking forward to seeing more!


        • #5
          Loved the column - particularly the bit about Steamboat. I'm not sure there's a better looking move in the history of the business than his arm drag - it's a real thing of beauty. I wasn't really watching wrestling when they did the Mania XXV angle, but I caught up with it years later. I think I marked out for his comeback even though I was seeing it well after the event and on youtube! The fact that Piper and Snuka are so far gone almost adds to the story - it makes Steamboat's ability to hang with Jericho even more remarkable. Not much else for me to say that you haven't already covered. His matches with Flair in 89 are superb, and supposedly there were far better ones that were never taped. Great read.


          • #6
            First off, big pop for a PCM sighting in the comments here!

            On to those lovely living legends. Some wonderful names here, and we haven't even made the proper countdown yet. Steamboat was a name I considered, though I don't think he quite made my 10, but I would never say he shouldn't be there. There's something so wonderful about the in ring skills of Steamboat. His singles battle with Jericho that followed that Wrestlemania return is a powerful point for me, for just one night only he was nearly as good again as he ever was.

            Sting was, I suppose, an inevitable name on this. Like you Sting doesn't hold a strong appeal to me, but I think you did a very admirable job highlighting why he does deserve mention on a list like this. Certainly he's a very widely recognized name and still beloved by many, and in spite of his ill fated run in WWE he still stands very much apart from that machine which so often dictates who is credited and who is not.

            Heyman is such a sacred cow that I've been tempted to kill him at times. There was a time when his name was a holy word we were only allowed to whisper, and everything he touched was meant to turn to gold. No one can live up to such hype, but in spite of acknowledging what flaws he may have I will say when it gets down to brass tacks Heyman has been closely involved in so many wonderful things and given so many great performances that he is well deserving of a mention on this list.

            Last and best, in my mind, is Arn Anderson, who did make it on to my list. I understand why he didn't end up scoring higher in the end, he was never presented as a megastar, he was never the main draw, never a world champion even. But I will stand firm in my belief that very few ever did it better than Double A, both in the ring and on the microphone he could present himself better on an average day than most of his colleagues could at their very best. Arn is perhaps the ultimate supporting player in wrestling history, content to be a walk behinder (if you will) but holding up so many on his travels. Without Arn, do we get the same Flair? The same Sting? Even Dusty Rhodes must be affected if that void were to form in history. He did the legwork so others could stand on his shoulders, as often as not. Seeing him on TV again is reason enough by itself to justify AEW existence.

            Very pleased to see this roll forward, and can't wait to see what the lists look like!

            The '92 Rumble! The Brain's Finest Hour!


            • #7
              The perfect tribute to praising legends pre-death (hopefully way before their time) instead of post-death).

              Some interesting things you've mentioned here. Of course, I've never followed any of these guys as I only started watching in 2000, but their legends are well-known. I remember Sting used to be some sort of surfer and after coming to know Sting as the Crow, it's very strange to see him in that attire. I obviously don't know the context behind his character but from the outside looking in he came across as generic. I was always like; that's the surfer dude that had the classics with Ric Flair?

              One day I'll look into their work in more detail and I'll surely appreciate these living legends even. Looking forward to seeing whose next on the list.


              • #8
                I'm looking forward to seeing who actually made the cut for this one. After submitting my list I kept thinking "what about XXX?". There are so many possibilities I genuinely don't know who to expect to see here barring maybe a couple.
                New Column: Pre WrestleMania Thoughts & Predictions


                • #9
                  Great feedback, and I mean there’s a lot for me to go over there. After I throw these names in the mix, I’ll respond to it all amongst the discussion over these next two. It’s time to start climbing my other list, the top ten!

                  #10 (Tie)

                  Vince McMahon 18.3%

                  The first time Vince came to light for me, his padded shouldered, blue suit separated announcers Randy Savage and Roddy Piper. My mom, not a wrestling fan, informed me he wore a toupee and spoke with a voice box. Neither of which are true to my knowledge, but between those three guys and all the insanity going on there, this situation exemplifies how out of this world the man appeared. Of those three, he’s the one who sparked speculation! My brothers and I grew up making fun of his “one, two, three. No!” response to any near falls. After hearing him broadcast for six years (and my god, he’d done it since the 1970s!), my satellite remote found itself switching over to RAW from Nitro to see him wrestle for the first time! Not only was his voice and his hair over the top, but underneath the blue suit jacket, his biceps appeared to be over 20 inches! He’d been hiding them there for two decades! Everyone knows the Mr. McMahon character that ensued from there, from his power walk to the ring, to his facials, to his “you’re fired” snarling. He’s a caricature.

                  Yet, I still miss the over-the-top McMahon ideas, when he set them on the right path. You look at Wrestle-Mania and see he built it off a crazed psychopath, in a quilt, antagonizing celebrities, and a Greek god in red and yellow defending them. But there’s more than enough direction with those characters, Hulk and Roddy, to hold the interest of wrestling fans and create new fans. The Piper’s Pits stoked up the chaos and Hulk knew how to get sympathy but how to rise from those ashes as a three hundred plus pound penance. With the celebrities hanging on Hogan’s mustache, wrestling, or Madison Square Garden, for that matter, never hosted a spectacle with such ambition. And all these years later, we see where the ambition got the daring risktaker who put it into our mythology.

                  I grew up on WCW, but when Vince put them out with that Austin run, I, like a monkey in the Wizard of Oz, switched loyalties. WCW’d been wicked bad since 1999, after all. See, I went into the 2000s believing in Final Fantasy, Disney, and WWF. Though some look at the Attitude Era and see chaos, I see controlled chaos. I see all that went on linked itself into the chain of that unity of effect of shock TV, and the wide range of characters unnerved the viewer in a way comparable to today’s riots and insurrections. That’s how people watching it felt back then! If you ever get a chance, look at Vince threatening Bob Costas with his demeaner during an interview from those days. There’s a special intensity that the arena, the action, and the actors of that era actuated. It all tied together to a feel that made the righteous wriggle like a church goer waiting on their first whore. “Will I get aids? Will a pimp beat me up? Will God strike me down? Who knows? But I’m excited!”

                  Austin showed the beer drinking, hardworking every man, Foley showed the hardcore but cuddly monster, Undertaker showed the darkest version of himself, and the divas showed the sex appeal. If you break all that up, you may get any Russo era, but what worked was the bow of the “Attitude Era” that tied it together. The smoky platform and fireworks became a character, with Uncle Jerry and Jim Ross giving it a voice. That arena threatened to cross your boundaries! Now the same, one could say about the golden era. Jessie Ventura and Gorilla Monsoon gave agreements and disagreements to a strong force in the air that clashed titans with storied myths. With Vince having these two successful eras and having defeated the AWA, all the territories, ECW, and the WCW, I believed him to be a genius!

                  And to say the last 20 years disappointed me— for 16 of them I waited to see something great that never happened— is an understatement. That absolutely does not mean Vince isn’t a genius. The man’s in business to make money. He worked hard to create advertiser revenue. Having ratings with a raunchy product doesn’t draw advertisers. While I miss the wrestlers being the superstars, for Vince it’s advantageous for the brand to be the star. It is.. Every quarter, he’s making money. Perhaps the 70 plus year old has adapted to the times better than me. And in these later years, he has given me the gift of the WWE Network, if nothing else. He envisioned that, too.

                  It goes without saying if one talks pure influence on wrestling, Vince must be at the top of this list. And the guy, to me, delivered a great over the top personality, to boot. Though I admit I can’t help but feel for you who are a generation behind me who’s mom came through not with Vince standing between Piper and Savage, but with Vince having his pants pulled down rubbing his pale pooper in Jim Ross’ kisser!

                  Vince belongs here—plain and simple. And if we don’t like it, I guess he’ll pull his pants down and his underwear down, and we can just join the original club!

                  Terry Funk 18.3%

                  With Funk, I first remember seeing him in the early 1990s on “Main Events You should have Seen” hosted by Gordon Solie. The silver tongue rewound time to 1989 to show the programs between Steamboat and Funk and Flair and Funk. By the way, this must be one of the greatest lead ins of all time: Funk, the former NWA champion, provided the color commentating for some of the Flair-Steamboat classics, like a grizzled former boxing champion doing color in a fight of two modern stars, but when he’s doing it, you know he’s waiting in the wings… When Flair finally ended the broadways with Steamboat, Funk found courage to ask him for a match. Flair told him he had a top ten to go through and dismissed the legend. This led to the embarrassed Funk Pile Driving Flair on the table. The gentle dog went rabid! For me, all these old matches on “Main Events You Should Have Seen” between them seemed new. I found myself for the first time, as a fan, engrossed in another time. They had the “I quit match” and the Thunderdome tag with Sting and Flair vs Funk and Muta. All of this, at the time, sucked me into wrestling’s history and taught me how magical it is.

                  I dare say most reading this would think of Funk as a “hardcore legend” which is true. They probably think of him setting Cactus on fire, which he did. But the one thing he and Vince McMahon have in common is their ability to adapt. Funk once was a great wrestler. (We’ll talk about that later) but he adapted to the 1990s. I remember seeing him well into his fifties doing moon salts and coming off ladders. I suspect if he shows up in AEW, he’ll be doing 450 splashes and wrestling two-hour matches, while kicking out of ten burning hammers. Funk wrestled, to my knowledge, in six different decades. I am ecstatic he made our list!

                  But even more so, I’m ecstatic that Terry Funk, still, gives me the magic of wrestling history when he takes me back. One of the best matches I’ve come across is Funk and Lawler in the empty arena match. To me, it’s every bit as good as Rock and Foley and much, much better than Edge and Orton. Part of it is you had two guys brazen and loud enough to provide their own soundtrack for their match with not a peep from a fan needed. In a sense he put that match on the map, along with the “I quit” match where the referee puts the microphone to the mouth of the participants to see if they’ll utterly degrade themselves into it. If you want to see how hard it is to get it right, watch Bret and Backland try that “I quit” one at Wrestle-Mania 11. Even, Bret looks back with dissatisfaction on it. Funk got it, though. He delivered on the "I quit one" above greats, just like he did the empty arena one above masterful workers such as Edge and Orton. What a trail blazer!

                  Lastly, to honor our number 10 legend, I want to go back to 2019, when Harley Race passed on. That year, I found a match between Funk and Race from Texas in 1977. Race beat Funk for the belt, and here Funk went to try to recapture it. This match raised the standard of greatness for me. They could have done this cold with the only story being the Title’s on the line, and two of the toughest men to strap on a jock were going to maim each other. ( I say they strapped jocks on but that's if either alpha male can be bothered by the barest necessities such wiener protection) .

                  It’s one of the best struggles I’ve ever seen. Two men circled each other, trying to find the right position because they knew the consequences of being on the wrong end of any hold, move, or blow from the other. The submissions looked like the person seeking the submission rode a bull, while the person in the submission kicked and fought with the stubbornness of the said bull. When a strike happened, they got hit. They fell, they went dazed, they got their equilibrium knocked off balance. There’s a point Terry does all he can to get out of a head scissors, even using a feat of strength to lift Harley in the air like Cena coming off the mat, while lifting up his adversary. But Harley held on, and when Terry escaped, you can feel his ear throbbing. So, what’s Harley do? He punched that ear over and over. The effect of this is much more subtle than if Terry followed up his feat up strength with a slam, but it’s much more real and could only be delivered by men who knew what a fight felt like and how to take it to the fans.

                  Everything they do, you can tell, they’re doing it from knowing what it’s like, and they’re selling that reality to make an audience believe. The thought is, what if my back really hit the concrete floor? What’s the consequence? How bad does it hurt, let me show it in my face and with every step I take. And when one gets the advantage, they do everything they can to capitalize to put the wild animal on the other end away. There’s not a missed chance for a pinfall attempt.

                  Terry’s father wrestled bears, and this is to the living legend’s credit - Terry looked like he fought something just as dangerous, here.

                  In the end, it’s Harley punching stiff enough to open up Terry’s eye, and it’s Terry, through the blood, fighting like he has half his face bit off, to keep hooking Harley in the spinning toe hold. At last, Harley can’t find a limb use to get to his feet and Terry hasn’t the blood to get to his own, but Harley on the mat head butts Terry’s wound, until the referee calls the match because Funk looks like a man wabbling with not a whit left . Terry's instability is made evident with his lifeforce getting all over everything! Talk about a dramatic use of the blade job.

                  I can easily see this match as a tribute to Harley, too. But this one’s for you, Terry Funk, a living legend! This is for Terry, who’s got decades of gold behind him, and we’re still yet to all discover it all! His contributions will outlive him, and he must be 200 years old, now! This is for Terry Funk, and Harley Race reaches his hand from the other side to him!

                  I’m proud to share the universe with someone who has such a legacy! Below is the link to Harley vs. Terry, should anyone want to see it!


                  Believe it or not, this one’s the only tie in the top ten, so next up we find out who the sole holder of the number nine spot is, and we have another slew of honorable mentions coming our way!
                  Last edited by Benjamin Button; 01-16-2021, 09:23 PM.
                  See the latest of my Ric Flair saga click here. View my story inspired by colorful wrestlers I've come across in my fandom.


                  • #10
                    Vince will undoubtedly go down as the greatest promoter in the wrestling industry once all is said and done for him. His impact on wrestling as whole is well-documented and he changed the course of wrestling history twice. He was a visionary; a risk taker. But perhaps he feels as though he has won and that there's nothing left for him to accomplish in the wrestling business besides making more and more money. Vince essentially created wrestling as we know it today. You mentioned Vince's physique and that got me thinking about the so-called "look". Say what you will about him but he was no hypocrite; he looked the way he wanted his wrestlers to look.

                    Can't say much on Funk because I only know what I've read and from what I've read he'll definitely go down as one of the all time greats.

                    Looking forward to the next entry!


                    • #11
                      Vince absolutely had to be on this list simply because professional wrestling as it exists today is solely due to his maniacal drive. It's wonderful to think that even a site like this exists in part because of him. He created something whose supporters would be so ardent they'd simply have to debate it, analyze it, and celebrate it ad nauseam. It's not surprising to see him "this low" given that, even with the Mr. McMahon figure, most of his contributions to professional wrestling have come behind the scenes. But I'm glad to see him on the list nonetheless.

                      I was surprised to see Terry Funk pop up simply due to recency bias, but as soon as I did, it made sense to me. You did a wonderful job paying tribute to him. I loved the focus on how he was able to communicate the agony of each and every move inflicted upon him to an audience who mostly has never experienced anything of the like. All wrestlers try to accomplish this, but few have ever done it as well as Funk.

                      Another great entry. A few typos here and there, but nothing too serious. Looking forward to the next one!


                      • #12
                        Shoulder pads, a toupee, and a voicebox. Some of which might be true and some of which might not be true. If that doesn't describe what is great about Vince McMahon and professional wrestling, I don't know what does. Great work on both pieces, Ben.


                        • #13
                          I read this yesterday but didn't get the chance to comment. I'll spare you from reading a rehash of what everyone said above regarding Vince since my thoughts are more of the same. However, I am happy to see you sneak Vince in as alot of people would've easily left him off such a lofty list. We give the old man a ton of shit these days (me as much as anyone) but you did VKM some serious justice, and without sacrificing any other deserving names. There's so much of Terry Funk's career that I missed or haven't yet researched but his stuff in ECW and WWF in the late 90s was great. The things I watched Funk do at his age were nothing short of incredible.

                          Lastly, I like to think of myself as a creative writer but your phrasing and metaphors are on another level. This type of column from you resonates with me most, probably because I'm not sharp enough to fully grasp your other stuff haha. Loved this, Ben. Looking forward to the next installment!


                          • #14
                            The criteria for this was left wide open so ultimately I ended up looking more at wrestlers performers, thus I didn't vote for Vince even though he is certainly legendary in multiple ways. Frankly even for his onscreen appearances he deserves tremendous recognition, I have often loved the McMahon character and more than once he was one of the biggest highlights of his own show. His influence of course cannot be denied and I've got no issue seeing him make the list here, even if his more recent contributions haven't gone over well, as you say there may be reasons outside our own fandom that he makes the choices me makes. That or he really is an old dope now, we shall see!

                            Terry Funk was very nearly on top of my list, and I think he deserves plenty of recognition. Whenever I talk with folks who have done the true leg work of wrestling history, Funk is always one of the first names that comes to their lips, which hints to me that even with the wonderful stuff I've already discovered from his prime years there is probably more, and more, and more wonderful stuff that is waiting for me. That Race match is a great example, I've never heard of it but I'll certainly watch it now as it sounds like it'll be perfectly up my alley! His in ring influence is massive and crosses nations, decades, and entirely different styles, and his adaptability was really incredible. It's damn short list of wrestlers who were so effective in both the early 70s and in the late 90s, and perhaps even farther in both directions.

                            Can't wait for more of this, I'm really loving it Benny!

                            The '92 Rumble! The Brain's Finest Hour!


                            • #15
                              No one I picked has made the list thus far, and I am completely okay with it. There are a lot of guys that I had completely forgotten about, especially Vince.
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