Sunday, September 11, 2011

Top Ten Wrestling Faces (1987-1991)

Continuing the theme of a previous post available here, the top 10 wrestling faces (i.e. "good guys") of 1987-1991*:

10) Tito Santana - I know what you're thinking...this list sucks already. But hear me out. Between 1987-1991, Tito was co-holder of the tag-team belts with Rick Martel, and then went on to great feuds with Martel and Mr. Perfect. A sexy pick? Definitely not. Exciting ring music? Not really. But "Chico" could be counted on for a mildly entertaining match with just about anyone, and was over with the fans.

9) "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan - Like some on this list, this ranking is 90% based on popularity; not so much actual wrestling ability. An American patriot who rallied up the crowd with chants of "Hoooooo" and "U.S.A!", while hiking his blue tights up to near chest-level. Was usually put in a feud to get squashed or at least double-DQ'd (see: Andre the Giant, Bad News Brown, Dino Bravo, Earthquake, Macho King Randy Savage, Big Bossman, etc). However, Duggan entertained crowds, had entertainingly stupid ring music, and like Santana, was buddies with the Hulkster, earning him high marks with the crowd and a place on this list.


8) Roddy Piper - Clearly beginning to see why I liked heel wrestlers better during this time period. Piper could entertain on the mic, and again, was loved by the fans. A better "wrestler" than some on this list to be sure, but maybe that's not saying a whole lot. Probably a better heel in the mid-80's than he was a face, but still many entertaining moments. Kind of funny that he first announcement of retirement came in 1987.

7) The Rockers - Shawn and Marty loved to party hardy, and although they won them briefly, it kept them from ever being serious tag title contenders. Along with a few select others, set the bar for "high-flyers" in the federation. Unfortunately for Marty, Shawn became ridiculously popular once he dropped his long-time buddy.  The homemade outfits were always a nice touch.

6) Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake - Continuing our theme of "guys who used a friendship with Hulk to their advantage", Brutus parlayed himself into main-event status at times (see SummerSlam 89). Often wore clothing that was probably not suitable for young children (tho Okerlund seems to enjoy here, haha), but the mullet more than made up for it. This might be the best clip ever - I think the studio audience may have walked out prior? 

5) The Hart Foundation - A great heel team that turned good face team in the late 80's. Bret Hart could put on a good match with just about anyone, and Neidhart had a unique combination of power with some agility. I include them in this list because they were faces longer than heels during this period. Didn't have the "wow" factor of some other teams, and overshadowed by Demolition, but solid all along. Neidhart's swim cap and goatee were great.


4) Demolition - Another team that went from heels to faces during this time period. Unlike the Harts, I thought it was for the better. Although their ring gear was something out of a Pulp Fiction scene, and was pretty much a rip-off of the Road Warriors, Demolition had the fans rocking whenever they marched to the ring. The face paint and entrance music were among the best ever - though the offensive repertoire left much to be desired. Probably more popular than they should have been, but that's besides the point. Posting this match, mostly just because I love to watch Akeem dance...

3) The Ultimate Warrior
- Jim Helwig was such an interesting personality. The tassels, the face paint, the energy, the rope shaking. Yet, we also had the crazy interviews, the ego, the legal name change to "Warrior" and of course, the speech at UConn. Inside the ring however, Warrior knew how to excite the crowd. Essentially was the original Goldberg, squashing most opponents in quick fashion. Not a personal favorite, but I'll give him his due. Great feuds with Rick Rude, Randy Savage, Hulk Hogan, Heenan Family, etc.

2) Jake "The Snake" Roberts - Probably the greatest wrestler to never win a championship. Had mic skills that were unmatched, and carried on amazing feuds with Rick Rude, Rick Martel, Andre the Giant, Earthquake, Honky Tonk Man, and Ted DiBiase. #1 in understanding the psychology of wrestling, and #2 probably isn't close.

1) Hulk Hogan - Pretty obvious choice, despite not holding the title as much during this time period compared to others. Number 1 in popularity, and feuded with everyone. Ring moves were pretty basic, but could surprise with moves like a superplex from time to time. Egotistical? Yes. Liked to share the spotlight? No. But you can't think of wrestling heroes during this time period without his name coming up first. A no-brainer.

* My list does not include wrestlers outside of WWF, as I feel it was clearly the dominant federation at the time.

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