Ahoy hoy! Time for another edition of The Stomping Ground. As always I’m your host, Mike Gojira, and we are one week closer to Wrestlemania XXVII. Before I delve into this week’s topic, let me take a moment to address the comments of my readers.
Thanks to everyone who made my Heel Stable Retrospective (a high-caliber action/adventure thrill ride in two parts) a success. If you haven’t read the articles in question, they’re available here and here. With that said, I must apologize for not including WCW’s Deadly Alliance but I did say that I would not be able to cover EVERY friggin’ heel stable in existence. That column took a part of my soul.
Anywho, I was talking to a good buddy of mine about this year’s Hall of Fame class and we wound up chatting about what qualities determine a Hall of Fame-worthy career. I promised him a controversial column about said topic, but not quite yet. No, our chat made me think of various Hall of Famers who, despite having legendary and prolific careers, just never got the job done. Three figures stood out to me and, regardless of their various accolades, they just couldn’t seem to become WWE Champion. Whether it was through backstage politics or a case of the right place, wrong time, this trio of individuals most assuredly deserved a shot at holding “the most coveted prize in sports entertainment.”
“Mr. Perfect,” Curt Hennig
The irony of Hennig’s moniker is not lost on wrestling fans who followed him throughout his career. A second generation wrestler and son of Larry “The Axe” Hennig, Mr. Perfect made a name for himself in the AWA, winning the world title from Nick Bockwinkel in May of 1987 and successfully holding it for over a year until Jerry “The King” Lawler dethroned him in 1988. Hennig was a highly successful mat technician who took his talents to the WWE in the fall of 1988 as Mr. Perfect, filming a series of vignettes where he would do the seemingly impossible for various sports.
The Perfect Pass
That one’s my favorite. He became one of the greatest Intercontinental Champions of all time and probably would have gone on to become WWE Champion had it not been for his recurring back injury. In fact, shortly before his classic with Bret Hart at Summerslam 1991 Hennig technically retired from in-ring competition but returned to drop the belt. After color commentary, guest referee spots, and managing, Hennig left the company and headed to Atlanta, where he was involved in various feuds which questioned his loyalty: he “joined” the Four Horsemen only to turn and join the nWo and then “joined” the WolfPac only to turn and rejoin nWo Hollywood. Hennig would wrestle for WCW until 2000, capturing the United States and Tag Team Championships along the way. He returned to the WWE at the 2002 Royal Rumble and even made a brief stopover in TNA feuding with Jeff Jarrett before his untimely death on February 10, 2003. Had it not been for Perfect’s nagging injuries, he most certainly would be a former WWE Champion.
“Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase
The adopted son of “Iron” Mike DiBiase, the future Million Dollar Man got his start in 1975 at Mid-South Wrestling and over the course of 20 years won thirty championships. His career saw him wrestle in All Japan, NWA, WWE, and manage the nWo and the Steiners in WCW. DiBiase was also the first-ever WWE North American Champion and battled Pat Patterson in a title unification bout that created the Intercontinental Championship in 1979. He unsuccessfully tried to purchase the WWE Championship from Andre the Giant in 1988, which caused the title to be vacated and a tournament was held at Wrestlemania IV. There DiBiase faced off with Randy Savage in the finals but came up short. He did win the 1988 King of the Ring and was Tag Team Champions with IRS three times, but DiBiase would never hold the title he coveted above all else, which led to the creation of the Million Dollar Belt. Personally, I believe DiBiase would have made a great heel champion to feud with Hulk Hogan and Savage but sadly the Million Dollar Dream was never realized (see what I did there?).
Rowdy Roddy Piper
What hasn’t been said about this man? Piper is one of the most influential talkers in professional wrestling history, putting The Rock and John Cena to shame. He began his career in the 1970s as a jobber for AWA, but his career would change the moment he was discovered to be an excellent heel. He feuded with the Guerreros (notably Chavo Classic), Ric Flair, and Greg “The Hammer” Valentine in a grueling Dog Collar match at the very first Starrcade in 1983. Piper soon joined the WWE and was heavily involved in the main event of Wrestlemania, teaming with “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff against Hulk Hogan and Mr. T. Piper was instrumental in Piper’s Pit, the first major talk show segment which spawned the Highlight Reel, Carlito’s Cabana, the Dirt Sheet, etc. Piper is a former Intercontinental Champion and has held over thirty titles in his illustrious career. He has been a commissioner, a boxer, a color commentator, and a movie star (“They Live” is awesome; go check it out!). It’s a shame he never held the WWE Championship.
Old School Raw Piper\'s Pit
A lot of people have made a big stink over Sheamus’s treatment the past few weeks. Some say he pissed off Kevin Dunn and others think he’s being jobbed out just to see how he handles it. I think the original plan has always been to send him to Smackdown to freshen up both the show and his matches. We’ll know the answer next week if Daniel Bryan pulls out the big win in his title defense.
The Miz had an awesome promo (no pun intended) as he totally demolished Cena after his lame comeback against The Rock. I can’t believe Cena actually referenced giving Rock a “pearl necklace” on live TV PG television.
Don’t know what that is? Good, you’re still pure.
I also think that somehow Christian is going to turn the World Heavyweight Championship match into a Triple Threat, which in my opinion is much better than the Edge/Del Rio match up. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not doubting their ability to put on a good match. It’s just that adding Christian makes it more intriguing and decreases the likelihood that Del Rio is guaranteed a victory.
Jonah Kue is back with a column I once considered writing BUT HE BLATANTLY STOLE! Just kidding. Did the all caps link intrigue you?
Chris Biscuiti has another excellent edition of CB’s World with The Wrestling Hours, Part 6. Not to be confused with “Leonard Part 6,” a truly horrific Bill Cosby comedy. Sorry, I was exaggerating there.
It’s not really a comedy.
Rhett Davis has another excellent read in his O’Really Report which plugs my column. What do they call it when you plug yourself being plugged? Oh, right. I’m an asshole.
So long, and thanks for all the fish.
Tags: "mr. perfect" curt hennig, alberto del rio, all japan, Andre the Giant, awa, christian, edge, Greg Valentine, Hall Of Fame, Hulk Hogan, Intercontinental Championship, Jerry Lawler, john cena, King of the Ring, Mike Gojira, Million Dollar Championship, Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase, Mr. T, NWA, nWo, paul orndorff, Piper's Pit, Randy Savage, Ric Flair, Roddy Piper, sheamus, Smackdown, Summerslam, The Rock, TNA, WCW, World Heavyweight Championship, wrestlemania, WWE, wwe championship