Traditionally on Thanksgiving I remind you of how this day was once one of the biggest grossing days in the wrestling industry. This year, I instead give you something to be thankful for--the five part "My Wrestling Favorites" series is ending!
I kid, as I'm actually very thankful that so many of you have enjoyed it and that such great and compelling feedback has come out of the series. I've also gotten some great ideas for future features along the same lines.
Going back to Thanksgiving traditions within the industry, it pleases me to say that the subject of our first profile has taken part in both of Turkey Day's most memorable wrestling events--Starrcade and Survivor Series!
1 of 5 All-Time Favorites: Rowdy Roddy Piper
I've met very few wrestling fans over the years who DON'T love Hot Rod. Wrestler. Actor. Pop Culture Icon. All that and a great guy, to boot.
He's not a wrestler in the traditional sense. He's a fighter. In fact, if you've ever listened to a Piper interview, he calls his matches "fights." He never had the wrestler look. He just looks exactly like what a "Rowdy Roddy Piper" should look like.
Just when you think you have the answers, he changes the questions. It's not a skirt, it's a kilt. And just what does a Scotsman wear under his kilt?
I've previously chronicled how Piper should be given much of the credit for the "Rock 'n Wrestling" boom era in the mid-'80s. Hulk Hogan had a plethora of worthy opponents, but who else could have talked the fans into the seats quite like Piper did? He certainly had the appearance of someone that The Hulkster could have disposed of within minutes, yet I don't recall that pinfall ever coming.
Even today, WWE knows that when an angle needs a little extra boost all that is needed is a short trip to Piper's Pit. John Cena, Randy Orton, and Wade Barrett learned this in the build-up for the 2010 Survivor Series in a segment that drew otherwise uninterested fans into the conflict.
From loud-mouthed, kilt-clad fighter to wise, grizzled sage of the mat wars, like many Piper will always have a place in the squared circle. Unlike many, Piper also has a permanent home in the American consciousness as an all-time truly memorable, and loved, personality.
God Bless ya, Roddy!
1 of 5 Current Favorites: Awesome Kong aka Kharma
While I have so many all-time favorite women wrestlers that they get their own list (shall we explore that in the future?), only one cracks the current five. That woman would be Kia Stevens, known in the wrestling word as Amazing Kong, Awesome Kong, or Kharma.
Quite simply, Kong is different. She's not the Barbie doll-type that tries to learn wrestling basics in their three-to-five year shelf life in the industry. She's rough, tough, and could probably legitimately demolish many male stars.
Although an American, like many of the best female stars she is a product of puroresu--Japanese wrestling. With her unique look and amazing skill, it's no wonder that she became a star in the Land of the Rising Sun and subsequently in America.
During her tenure in TNA, Kong seemed to break the doors open as far as creating a legitimate modern women's wrestling division. Her battles with Gail Kim proved so popular (proven to be due nearly all to Kong's talent) that TNA was considering beginning an all-female wrestling show. This ultimately did not come to be, but we still have Kong's run in the company to look back on as proof.
Kong, now known as Kharma, was well on her way to creating the same magic in WWE when she became pregnant. It's the hopes of many fans that following her blessed event Kharma will return to the ring and continue with the same momentum. Collectors are hoping this to be true for purely selfish reasons as a true action figure of the women's star has yet to produced, although a small non-poseable Amazing Kong figure was produced in Japan. Hopefully this is one "Diva" figure that Mattel would not produce less of as is their asinine policy.
I hope that you've enjoyed the "My Wrestling Favorites" series and look forward to hearing even more feedback. As with every Thanksgiving, I'm thankful that each and every one of you take the time to read this blog each week. Have a blessed holiday!