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Your "Mount Rushmore" of All-Arounders


Liam O'Rourke

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So for this weeks podcast, we're looking to debate a theoretical "Mt. Rushmore", based on being the best all-around performers ever, the most complete packages, of all time, and we'd like to get some feedback on the topic.

Typically a Mt. Rushmore discussion centres around fame and prominence, but if you applied the same idea to pure talent, and those who were great in every area of the field (whether it be in-ring work, promos, presence, effectiveness, etc), who would you put on your Mt. Rushmore of "All-arounders", and why?

As always, we'll be reading the best contributions on the show and crediting you accordingly. So which four guys do you think stood out as being the best, most flawless and well-rounded performers above the rest?

 

EDIT - Our show debating the Mount Rushmore of All-Arounders, featuring many of your contributions, is now online and available to listen to at the following link: http://squaredcirclegazette.podbean.com/mf/web/yff6gp/SCG_Radio_100_-_The_Wrestling_Mount_Rushmore_of_All_Arounders.mp3

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I think for me as well as down to in-ring ability, promos etc it's got to be 4 guys that if you asked my Mum or my wife who they were they'd have at least heard of them or would recognise them if a 100 foot impression of their head had been carved out of a hill.

 

1: Vince McMahon. He's the daddy isn't he? If anybody deserves immortalising in stone it's that crazy old bastard. Never a proper wrestler but always put a shift in in the matches he did have. He's the greatest heel in all of wrestling so more than makes up for workrate with the promos and segments he's been a part of over the years.

2. Hulk Hogan. The Hulkster. Thunderlips. Mr Nanny. Whatever his character was called in Suburban Commando. He's not just the most instantly recognisable wrestler of all time, I'd go on a limb to say he's one of the most instantly recognisable people of all time. Everybody knows our Terry. May have never been the most varied in terms of move set but his ability to work a crowd and play off their emotions makes up for this in spades. The fact he could talk like no other and had a generation of fans in the palm of his hands every time he opened his mouth speaks volumes. .

3. The Rock. The Attitude Era's second biggest star but only slightly. The fact he's transcended the wrestling industry to become the biggest film star on the planet also has to contribute to him earning a space as there have been so few to do it. Similar to Hogan, he didn't have to moonsault off of balconies to tell a story in the ring and had charisma coming out of his ears. I remember the first time I saw him cut a promo and I was totally captivated. This is also the man who got the fucking Peoples Elbow over as a finishing move so credit where credit is due.

4. John Cena. Some will say Cena doesn't belong on here. I say those people can get to fuck. Does he mainly appeal to 8 year olds? Yes. Does he wear stupidly coloured shirts? Yes. The thing is though, Cena is the closest we're going to get to the larger than life superheroes of our youth. If I was 8 I'd be idolising Cena instead of Hogan. He's got a false reputation for only doing 5 moves but he's shown in recent years that he's capable of putting on matches dem wans should be approving. Like The Rock he's also slowly getting there with the old film career and in a few years is likely to be recognised by an even wider audience than he is now.

 

Notable mentions on the plaque at the bottom of the hill-

Stone Cold. He may have been the biggest star of his era and is arguably better in the ring but never fully captured my imagination as a teenager in the way the Rock did. He also hasn't quite had the career outside of the ring young Dwayne as he loses out on the charisma stakes. The only thing that nearly swayed me was how much I loved his heel persona during the invasion. Plus he'd look well weird carved out of rock.

Macho Man. Macho would make it in to my top ten all time favourites but doesn't quite make it on to my Rushmore.

The Undertaker. Carving that hat would be a fucking nightmare.

 

Edit: Edited reasoning to meet the criteria a bit more. Same four blokes though.

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Rock, Hogan and Austin are a given.

 

The third and fourth are pretty difficult. You've got a whole host of names who are probably at a similar level who are either let down by their drawing power or in ring ability.

 

If Rock, Austin and Hogan are on the top tier, you can probably take your pick from Andre, Flair, Undertaker, Cena, Bruno, Savage or Vince to complete the quartet. If you put a gun to my head I'd probably say McMahon (if he counts), if not Andre.

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Taking the criteria set, my four are:

 

Randy Savage - Probably the most intense and believable wrestler and promo I've seen. I loved the gear and the colour and the valet but most of all, I loved that everything he did sucked you in. I adored this guy from the first moment I clapped eyes on him and he fascinates me to this day. He was brilliant whether heel or babyface and understood the subtleties of working both. He drew money too, many times, unlike plenty of other great workers and dragged great matches out of everyone. He's wrestling's greatest all-rounder for me. Nothing at all he couldn't do.

 

Steve Austin - Unlike other guys who drew a shitload of money, Austin was a phenomenal wrestler. Ironically, probably not at the height of his popularity. But his "stunning" days in WCW, his shoot stuff in ECW, his matches with Bret Hart, his comedy with Vince and Angle, his big mouth bully Alliance leader and his classic Stone Cold character show his range whether working, talking or acting. He could turn his hand to anything and make something of it. He has contemporaries when it comes to superstar status like Hogan and The Rock but they're nowhere near him as a worker. Not even close.

 

Bret Hart - Incredible wrestler. One of the very best of all time. He believed in (almost) everything he did and who he was and it absolutely shone through. Sure, he was delusional but who gives a fuck when it means this level of brilliance. He's a level down on Austin and Savage as an all-rounder because of his promo work but that brilliant run in 1997 gets him a bye. He was always pretty believable as a promo before that too. His promos always fit his status and character, they just didn't excite. As a draw, he had his market but he was very effective in it.

 

Shawn Michaels - I struggled to think of my fourth guy. Sticking to the criteria, it's probably Michaels or Flair. But I don't find Flair's stuff holds up anywhere near as well so I'm going for this knobhead. There's no doubt he was a talented performer who had a pretty good range. He could also work heel and babyface really well and had great matches with a variety of opponents of all different shapes and sizes. He wasn't a top tier draw or the real elite level of superstar but he was close on both counts. Definitely preferred him as a worker in his later years but as a character, he was most interesting in his coked-up, paranoid wanker phase.

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The criteria is basically 'Anyone but Hogan'. Quell surprise.

Not really. The criteria opens up the discussion. Because otherwise its Hogan, Austin, Rock and one other. We know who the biggest stars are. They made the most money.

 

 

Surely the fact they earned big money is a by product of the fact that these guys had all the qualities you need to make a good wrestler, that's why my list is the way it is. These guys had good looks, could wrestle (albeit not necessarily as well as the Brets and Shawns of the world) in such a way that they told a story that folk invested in which is what wrestling is all about isn't it? Their promos captivated audiences and made them want to go to the house shows, buy the PPVs and the merch which brought in the cash and cemented them as the stars they are.

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The criteria is basically 'Anyone but Hogan'. Quell surprise.

Not really. The criteria opens up the discussion. Because otherwise its Hogan, Austin, Rock and one other. We know who the biggest stars are. They made the most money.

 

 

Surely the fact they earned big money is a by product of the fact that these guys had all the qualities you need to make a good wrestler, that's why my list is the way it is. These guys had good looks, could wrestle (albeit not necessarily as well as the Brets and Shawns of the world) in such a way that they told a story that folk invested in which is what wrestling is all about isn't it? Their promos captivated audiences and made them want to go to the house shows, buy the PPVs and the merch which brought in the cash and cemented them as the stars they are.

 

Not really, no. They had all the qualities you need to appeal to the masses. Popularity doesn't mean credibility in any field and wrestling is no different. Hulk Hogan was generally a horrible wrestler. The Rock was a sloppy worker a lot of the time. Did it matter to the masses? Not a bit. But it doesn't make him a great all-rounder either.

 

Not a personal thing. I adore John Cena but his work can be sloppy so he'd not make my four either.

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So for this weeks podcast, we're looking to debate a theoretical "Mt. Rushmore", based on being the best all-around performers ever, the most complete packages, of all time

 

On the basis of the listed criteria I can't really see past John Cena. He has excelled as both heel and babyface during his career, he has had consistently good matches and feuds with everyone he's been placed in the ring with (including The Great Khali and that has to get him on the mountain if nothing else does), and whether you enjoy his style or not there are few who can match him for hyping the big matches and making them mean something more than Cena.

 

Secondly, echoing many of the reasons already given by others I'd say Randy Savage. An excellent worker, who captivated fans, cut charismatic promos and brought heat and interest to everything he was involved in.

 

Third, I have Bret Hart. Great in-ring, had star-quality in abundance and as witnessed in 1997 could cut a great promo when called upon.

 

Finally I'd go for Ric Flair, because how can you not. A guy who had absolutely everything in all departments. The best ever.

 

Also, I do wonder if things keep going the way they are now whether the current peak AJ Styles might find his way into this conversation. Not just yet though, obviously.

 

*Edited for weird double post thing.

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I’ve been having a good think about this and I’ve tried to avoid the obvious choices (Hogan Rock Austin Sammartino?), but I’ve also tried to avoid just picking my favourites (Undertaker Warrior Shawn and the Shield who would count as one not three).

 

I’m also taking the assumption that WWE are funding this massive building project, so it’s skewed towards them.

 

ANDRE THE GIANT. The category where he falls down is promos, but if there was anyone who didn’t need promos, it was Andre, because he’s A GIANT. In-ring work is exactly what he needed to do, being A GIANT. Presence, you can’t improve on Andre; you can’t look at a photo of Andre doing, well, anything and not be awed. Effectiveness… HE WAS A GIANT! He could gain mythical status if his face is plonked on a mountain.

 

HULK HOGAN. He’s a racist, but George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were slave-owners and Abraham Lincoln was against equality and they all got onto Mount Rushmore, so The Woodster gets a bye here. Like with Andre, his in-ring work is exactly what he needed to do, he had presence by the bucket-of-steroids-load, he could promo himself into a frenzy, and for effectiveness, he’s the biggest worldwide star I think wrestling will ever have. Everybody knows Hulk Hogan. He can’t not be there.

 

TRIPLE H. I can sense the eyes rolling at the Oaken Table already, but I think there’s a case here. He’s had some shit periods but when he’s been good, he’s been GREAT. He’s been in two of my top five favourite matches ever, and he’s had years where he’s been on fire match-wise, so in-ring is covered. He can do a hell of a promo when he wants to. He’s been pretty damn effective - mostly as the top heel but he’s had his moments as a face as well. And he’s got presence – it’s a big deal when he shows up. Plus his greatest legacy might be yet to come, so I’m thinking with foresight by putting him on the mount. Think of the North By Northwest remake you could do hanging off his nose!

 

JOHN CENA. From the giant to the superman. Cena’s got everything, and I think of the four I’ve picked, he is the best all-rounder. He’s got a decade of tremendous matches behind him, his promo work can be incredible, he has big-time presence and he’s been the top guy for longer than anyone since possibly ever. It’s a massive disservice to one of the best ever if he’s not on the mountain.

 

 

I’m sticking with this list, but it’ll probably change in my head a thousand times, especially as Randy Savage, Shawn Michaels, The Rock and AJ Styles are trying their very best to get in there. If Kurt Angle ever came home, he'd be a contender. Although to be honest, TATANKA really should be one of the four, since WWE are bound to be taking over indigenous people’s land to build this thing. Justice for Tatanka!

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The criteria is basically 'Anyone but Hogan'. Quell surprise.

Not really. The criteria opens up the discussion. Because otherwise its Hogan, Austin, Rock and one other. We know who the biggest stars are. They made the most money.

 

 

Surely the fact they earned big money is a by product of the fact that these guys had all the qualities you need to make a good wrestler, that's why my list is the way it is. These guys had good looks, could wrestle (albeit not necessarily as well as the Brets and Shawns of the world) in such a way that they told a story that folk invested in which is what wrestling is all about isn't it? Their promos captivated audiences and made them want to go to the house shows, buy the PPVs and the merch which brought in the cash and cemented them as the stars they are.

 

Not really, no. They had all the qualities you need to appeal to the masses. Popularity doesn't mean credibility in any field and wrestling is no different. Hulk Hogan was generally a horrible wrestler. The Rock was a sloppy worker a lot of the time. Did it matter to the masses? Not a bit. But it doesn't make him a great all-rounder either.

 

Not a personal thing. I adore John Cena but his work can be sloppy so he'd not make my four either.

 

 

How is Hogan a horrible wrestler? He told great stories in his matches. Look at the smoke and mirrors job him and Sting pulled off in TNA. People actually cared . . . in TNA!

 

Rock ditto, had a lot of memorable spots and mannerisms that made him a good match in the ring.

 

And controversially (because of the era he's in admittedly) Cena has probably had more high calibre PPV matches than just about anyone out there,

 

That being said my 4:

 

Cena

Rock

Austin

Taker

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How is Hogan a horrible wrestler? He told great stories in his matches. Look at the smoke and mirrors job him and Sting pulled off in TNA. People actually cared . . . in TNA!

Hulk had some great matches and in fairness to him, he could actually go more than he ever bothered to. But his work was horrible most of the time. He did the bare minimum, relied on a handful of spots and for the majority of his time in WCW, failed to make them look respectable. I used the word wrestler, not worker. Hulk was a super worker. He made people wet themselves with joy or empathy. But as a wrestler, a guy you are buying into having an athletic contest, he was generally horrible.

 

if it's your bag, great. It's not mine though and never has been. Apart from the odd rewatch of the WM6 main event, I can't think of a Hulk match I'd ever search out if I wanted to watch some wrestling. He's not an all-rounder.

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