By Velvet Jones
Posted at GeorgiaWrestlingHistory.com
I am an 80's baby. I really became a wrestling fan during the heyday of Hulk-A-Mania. Having grown up in New Jersey, most of the wrestling I saw was WWF (now WWE). It would only be years later that I heard of pro wrestling down South (namely Jim Crockett Promotions). I began to appreciate the NWA in the year that I lived with my oldest sister in Virginia. The American Wrestling Alliance was still in existence and their World title was like the lowest-regarded of the Big Three.
During that time, World championships actually meant something. Hulk Hogan was a 6'6" giant who was beating his challengers miraculously for four years straight. Ric Flair was a brilliant technician who lost his NWA World title occasionally, but not for very long. The AWA title was being bounced between the likes of Stan Hansen, Rick Martel, and Nick Bockwinkle. For every champion crowned, there was always someone who came close but never got the chance to run with the title.
With that being said, I give you my list of the Ten Greatest Wrestlers to Never Be World Heavyweight Champion. Read. Enjoy. And give me some damn feedback!!!!
(NOTE: The World championships that are recognized for this particular blog are the WWWF/WWF/WWE championship, the WCW World championship, the World heavyweight championship, the NWA World title, the ECW World title, the AWA World championship, and the TNA World championship)
10.) OWEN HART. He went by many nicknames throughout his career. Even still, Owen did all he could to break out of brother Bret's shadow. Shortly before his untimely death, he was taking steps to do just that. Owen won multiple Intercontinental and World tag team titles. He was always a top contender for the WWF World championship. Then, the accident happened and we all wondered what could have been. A great technical wrestler who culd hang with anyone, you just knew he'd be champion sooner or later.
8.) DAVID VON ERICH. One of the legendary Von Erich brothers, David was on the fast trasck to success. He was touted as being the next NWA World titleholder. A mainstay in his dad Fritz's World Class Championship Wrestling, Davis was extremely popular in Texas. Unfortunately, Davis passed away before he could reach his peak.
7.) MAGNUM T.A. Ahhh, Terry Allen. Chick really dug this guy. He had the look, the charisma, and the skills to take him to the top of the sport. If anyone looked to derail Ric Flair during the 80's, many thought Magnum had the best chance of all. A multiple-time United States champion, Magnum was challenging Ric Flair on a regular basis and nearly capturing the gold more time than anyone could count. Then, Magnum's Porsche tried to give a lightpole a liplock and one of the shining stars of wrestling was dimmed forever. Magnum survived, but he never wrestled another match again.
6.) SHELTON BENJAMIN. Was there anything this guy could not do in the ring? An absolutely amazing athlete who accomplishment far more than anyone thought he would, Shelton should have at least two WWE championships on his resume. Intercontinental titles, World tag team titles, and a United States title. Money In The Bank performances that stole the show in the match's infancy. Shelton's inability to capture the World championship shows there is more entertainment than sport in WWE. Was Shelton any different than Randy Orton. Hardly.
5.) MR. WRESTLING II. As I mentioned, I did not grow up in Georgia, but I know a lot of older people who have been fans for a long time. Several names always come up when mentioning the heyday of Georgia Championship Wrestling. The first is almost always Mr. Wrestling II. Ten times over, this guys was the Georgia Heavyweight champion. I have seen him wrestle once or twice when WCW Classics used to come on. This guy's popularity is still strong today and will probably never wane.
4.) "SUPERFLY" JIMMY SNUKA. Pardon the fact that he is my idol, I have never seen a wrestler more popular than Jimmy Snuka. I have seen people go apeshit over the guy in Madison Square Garden and with good reason. A cliff jumper from the Fiji Island, Snuka was defined by his enigmatic style and Superfly leap. While his one leap may pale in comparison to the high spot artists who have turned pro wrestling into a gymnastic competition, Snuka made an impact everywhere he went. A former U.S. champion, Snuka had his shots.. ...but they were few and far between.
2.) DAVEY BOY SMITH. Once again, a truly complete wrestler who should have had at least one WWE World title to his credit. When he and Dynamite Kid redefined tag team wrestling in the 80's, no one saw Smith breaking away and becoming the force that he was. Davey was strength, speed, and aerial wrestling in one 5'11" package. Once again, there was nothing this guy could not do. Davey did the bulk of his contending when Bret Hart and Diesel were the champion during their respective reigns. It's not that Davey was not god, Bret was just a bit bettter.
1.) BOBO BRAZIL. Come on, who else could it be? Sure, he competed in a time when wrestling wasn't as complex as it is today, but Bobo won more than his share of championships just about everywhere he went. During his foray into wrestling, he encountered more than his share of racism. Times have changed, but are still a few of the old heads in this business who are bigots. A fat little bastard that wears a yellow mask with black trim and has a son who is a former WCW and WWE referee instantly comes to mind. Nonetheless, Bobo was a trailblazer and had to endure physical abuse in the ring and tormenting ignorance on the outside of it. In a business where men like Mike Rapada, Stan Stasiak, and David Arquette have been to the top of the sport, a World championship reign for Brazil would have been nice.
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