Pulse Wrestling’s Top 100 Wrestlers of the Modern Era: #81 – Honky Tonk Man

Features, Top 100, Top Story


Real NameRoy Wayne Farris
AliasesHonky Tonk Wayne, A member of the Blond Bombers
Titles HeldWWE Intercontinental; AWA Southern Tag
; NWA Southeast Heavyweight
Other Accomplishmentscousin of Jerry Lawler;
minister for the Universal Life Church

The following is from Wikipedia.

Farris won several regional tag team titles as one half of the “Blond Bombers” with Larry Latham who went on to become Moondog Spot. In mid-1986 Farris also won the North American Heavyweight Title from Bad News Allen in Stu Hart’s Stampede Wrestling as Honky Tonk Wayne.

The Honky Tonk Man debuted as a face in the WWF in late 1986. The fans rejected Honky Tonk Man as a face, however. The WWF turned him heel. As a heel, he was managed by Jimmy Hart, dubbed “The Colonel” in a reference to Elvis Presley’s manager Colonel Tom Parker.

The Honky Tonk Man’s first feud in the WWF was with Jake Roberts in early 1987. It began in “The Snake Pit” on Wrestling Challenge, where Honky struck Jake with his guitar after Jake made disparaging remarks about Honky’s name and singing talent. (Both wrestlers tell differing stories about whether Jake was actually injured. Jake states in his DVD that the Honky Tonk Man actually injured him, causing him to develop a painkiller addiction. Mick Foley also says this in his original autobiography. The Honky Tonk Man claims that this is a lie and that Mick Foley actually apologized for not calling him earlier to verify the truthfulness of this before having it published.) The feud reached its height at WrestleMania III in a match where Jake was accompanied to the ring by Alice Cooper (to counter the presence of Jimmy Hart). Honky Tonk Man won the match when he pinned Jake while holding the ring ropes (one of many ways that heel wrestlers cheat).

The Honky Tonk Man (believed by some to have been a substitute for Butch Reed) won the WWF Intercontinental Championship from Ricky Steamboat at the June 2, 1987 Superstars of Wrestling tapings in Buffalo, New York. He went on to proclaim himself the “greatest Intercontinental Champion of all time” and did, in fact, hold the title a record 15-months (454 days).

One of his major feuds as champion was with Randy Savage. Honky disrespected Savage, who was trying to congratulate him for his win over Savage’s most hated enemy, Steamboat. In the weeks that followed, Honky began to use his biggest catchphrase, “the greatest Intercontinental Champion of all time,” and put down all who preceded him, including Savage, who was coming off an impressive year-plus long reign of his own. The feud exploded during an October episode of “Saturday Night’s Main Event” on NBC when Honky shoved Miss Elizabeth to the ground and smashed a guitar over Savage’s head. The two captained opposing teams at the inaugural Survivor Series pay-per-view on Thanksgiving Day 1987 with Savage, Steamboat, and Roberts lasting as the “survivors” when Honky Tonk Man (the last remaining member of his team) deliberately took a countout. Honky and Savage met again on the Feb. 5, 1988 Main Event special live in prime time on NBC, with Savage winning by countout.

At WrestleMania IV, Honky Tonk Man defended his title against Brutus Beefcake. Honky was disqualified after Jimmy Hart knocked out the referee when it appeared that Honky was about to lose to Beefcake’s sleeper hold.

In correlation with an angle in which Beefcake was “injured” by Ron Bass just before a rematch at SummerSlam 1988, Honky lost the Intercontinental Championship at SummerSlam to the Ultimate Warrior in a 30-second squash match. At the event, Honky made an open challenge to anyone in the backstage area to wrestle him.

After losing the Intercontinental belt, Honky feuded briefly with Warrior, then teamed with Greg Valentine in a brief feud with the Hart Foundation in early 1989. He spent much of 1989 feuding with the returning “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka before reuniting with Valentine (with his normally blonde hair dyed black) as Rhythm & Blues. They sang at WrestleMania VI but were interrupted by the Bushwhackers, with whom they feuded through the summer. Rhythm & Blues also repeatedly challenged the Hart Foundation for the tag team titles. Shortly after Survivor Series 1990, Honky briefly did color commentary while continuing to team with Valentine. He left the WWF shortly into 1991.

In 1994, the Honky Tonk Man was working for World Championship Wrestling and was challenging Johnny B. Badd for the WCW World Television Championship when he left due to a dispute with management. In his book Controversy Creates Cash, Eric Bischoff states that his favorite firing was the Honky Tonk Man. Honky Tonk has responded by saying that it was an honor as Bischoff had fired a number of people while in WCW.[1]

After a brief stint in the American Wrestling Federation, Honky later resurfaced in the WWF as a manager for Billy Gunn, who had begun a singles run. Under Honky’s tutelage, Gunn became known as “Rockabilly,” which was a short-lived and unsuccessful gimmick. Honky made an appearance in the 2001 Royal Rumble where he entered the Rumble but got nailed with his own guitar by Kane and was quickly eliminated.

Today, the Honky Tonk Man still works for various independent promotions around the world, such as MainStream wrestling. He was featured in The 50 Greatest WWE Superstars Of All Time, a WWE magazine released in December 2003.

Say what you will about the Honky Tonk Man’s wrestling skills, but let’s look at the facts. The man was never not over. He’s not famous for hurting opponents, he had crazy charisma and he didn’t need to have a monster body to be a credible threat. He also brought us Rockabilly, God bless him.

The entire Top 100 Wrestlers feature can be found here.