Friday, December 13, 2019

More Than Your Favorite Four: Your Personal ‘Mount Rushmore Of Wrestling’ Matters

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More Than Your Favorite Four: Your Personal ‘Mount Rushmore Of Wrestling’ Matters

Mount Rushmore

“The purpose of the memorial is to communicate the founding, expansion, preservation, and unification of the United States with colossal statues of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt.” – Mount Rushmore sculptor, Gutzon Borglum

Bleacher Report put an image out on Twitter asking you to drop your all-time “Mount Rushmore of Wrestling.” Stars like The Rock and CM Punk have both chimed in as to who would be etched on their mountain, but I think a lot of the fans sharing who may be on theirs may have the intent a little misconstrued.

I can’t imagine that the significance of a strong working punch crossed the mind of the Idaho-born Borglum as he determined what four presidents he was going to chip into the rocks of Black Hills, South Dakota. That still doesn’t take away the perfect platform for wrestling fans to figuratively shout their fandom from the mountain top. And It’s not like wrestling fans need an icebreaker. There’s an endless amount of conversation to have, but “who is your on your Mount Rushmore of professional wrestling?” is a good question to gauge a particular fan’s foundation.

Although my four do happen to reflect my favorites very accurately, there’s more to it than just those wrestlers being your top four. Each president on Rushmore has their own significance as to why they’re on there and your personal Mount Rushmore of Wrestling should reflect the same. It’s more of who did what in the Borglum quote above. Who…

1) Was the birth your wrestling fandom? (George Washington spot)
2) Expanded your wrestling fandom? (Thomas Jefferson spot)
3) Developed your wrestling fandom? (Teddy Roosevelt spot)
4) Helps preserve your wrestling fandom? (Abraham Lincoln spot)

My personal “Mount Rushmore of Wrestling” is something I gave probably an unhealthy amount of thought to, but it accurately reflects the core of who I am now as a wrestling fan and a writer.

Scott Hall is my George Washington

The founding father of the NWO also happens the be the founding father of how I became drawn to “The One True Sport.” If it wasn’t for the circa 1995 “The Bad Guy” oozing machismo on my 1988 Zenith television set, then my odds of becoming an avid watcher would have seriously got tossed fiercer than a fallaway slam delivered by “The Lone Wolf” himself. Hall’s jet-black hair, the “too cool to give you time” attitude and the dangling toothpick to accentuate such a bravado made him stand out in the squared circle sea of bleach blonde muscle heads that spit and yell at the camera they were staring at.

The Rock is my Thomas Jefferson

If Scott brought me in, “The Great One” expanded my interest. Like many, the brash Brahma Bull who spoke in the third person and led the Nation of Domination bled my fandom over into the WWF product at the time. All in all, with Hall being under the Turner umbrella, I was a WCW guy, but The Rock got me rolling into the Attitude Era and caused me to grab the remote every Monday night.

*I made an edit after thinking about the wrestling star’s impact and drawing power during their respective runs.
Thanks for the carve out and always a cool debate.
I’d go with/
Hulk Hogan
Ric Flair
Gorgeous George/Bruno Sammartino
Steve Austin 🐍 #WrestlingsMtRushmore https://t.co/4nyQsoClXp

— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) November 29, 2019

Dusty Rhodes is my Teddy Roosevelt

“The Rock and Scott Connection” embedded me into the showmanship and style of pro wrestling sealing my passion as a lifelong fan, but it was almost a decade later before I really started putting the work in as getting to learn more about the behind-the-scenes of the business. When I did (it started with subscribing to the Pro Wrestling Torch), one wrestler stood out to me (as he should have) and that was “The American Dream,” Dusty Rhodes, daddy. Including my aforementioned two, many talents were influenced by Dusty and to learn and see his legacy shine through almost every mainstream wrestler from the Ric Flairs to the Charlotte Flairs. His career is the embodiment of the fascinating history that pro wrestling envelopes and carries on through so many facets in and out of the ring.

Bruno Sammartino is my Abraham Lincoln

Whether it’s wrestling, sports or family lineage, history is a really big thing for me so when I became a wrestling fan it was wild to hear that my late great-grandfather was a die-hard fan during the studio days of Pittsburgh, specifically Bruno Sammartino. The Living Legend struck a chord with my great-granddaddy due to them both coming straight “off the boot.” He’d curse at the television in Italian when the heel of the season would do Bruno dirty and be elated at him walking out victorious against the likes of George Steele and Professor Toru Tanaka. Bruno made my wrestling fandom a family affair and provided a preservation to a past that I was unaware of.