Last week in this space, I nonchalantly decreed that Hulk Hogan was the "most competitively successful wrestler in the history of the sport."
Hundreds of angry email responses later, I have realized the error of my ways.
I never intended to ignite such controversy with my comments and hope to be able to return to the life of a simple journalist once all the hoopla dies down. I would also like to note that this column will constitute my one and only mention of this scandal and then I will be moving on with my life.
But before that, let's examine what I said.
I parroted the commonly held belief that Hulk Hogan is, hands down, the greatest professional wrestler of all time. Which we can all agree that he is.
The trouble is that I inserted the word "competitively" into my sweet prose.
Just like prefixing Roman Empire with "Holy" evokes the memory of Charlemagne instead of Caesar, inserting the word "competitively" into the argument of who is the greatest wrestler completely re-frames the discussion.
While Hogan is, without question, the greatest all-around wrestler of all time, that doesn't mean that he is necessarily the greatest at every aspect of the sport of professional wrestling.
Hogan does possess the largest arms and the bossest electric bass skills of any wrestler in history. Roddy Piper has the best sleeperhold and Davey Boy Smith the best vertical suplex. Ted Dibiase is, of course, the wealthiest and least charitable. Brutus Beefcake knows his way around a follicle like no one else. Honky Tonk Man is the most technically sound recording artist, Thurman Plugg the most proficient driver, and the best dancer is of course... La Parka.
However, when it comes to competitive success at the highest levels of the sport, there is no question that the Ultimate Warrior is, well... the ultimate warrior.
From his victory over Ravishing Rick Rude in the Super Posedown at Royal Rumble '89, through his controversial WWF Championship loss to Iraqi sympathizer Sgt. Slaughter at the '91 Rumble, Warrior was unstoppable. And he faced and beat nothing but the best competition the world had to offer, from Haku and Tully Blanchard to Andre the Giant and even the Hulkster himself.
Where Warrior stumbles historically is career longevity. There's no doubt that he extended his ring career by inhabiting the reanimated body of the Texas Tornado, but Warrior as we knew him ceased to exist after he left Madison Square Garden at Summerslam '91.
Why did his reign at the top of the sport end so soon?
I am no doctor, but I think being buried alive by the Undertaker had a lot to do with it. Being deprived of oxygen for extended periods of time can take it out of even the hardiest of souls. And this is to say nothing of the voodoo hex that would later be levied on Warrior by Papa Shango.
What ultimately felled the Warrior was the same hot button issue that is wreaking havoc among veterans of the National Football League... head trauma. Macho King Randy Savage struck Warrior in the skull with a solid gold scepter during the Warrior/Slaughter match and i think that took it's toll. Let's not forget that the scepter was also jewel encrusted and diamonds are the hardest naturally occurring substance.
In this day and age of medical suspensions and wellness policies, Warrior would likely have been given time off rather than immediately pursue a career threatening feud with Savage, but at the time we couldn't have known any better.
Let's hope this serves as a cautionary tale for would be Warriors that discretion is the better part of valor when it comes to concussions.
For fear of further public outrage, I won't make a definitive statement on this matter one way or the other, but suffice it to say that either Ultimate Warrior or Hulk Hogan is the best wrestler ever.
And let's hope Hogan-gate serves as a warning to any aspiring journalists to get their facts straight before going to print. Please accept my sincerest apologies.
OFFICIAL WRESTLER WRANKINGS FORMULA
ANY WIN = 2 POINTS
US OR INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE BOUT = 1 POINT
WWE OR WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE BOUT = 3 POINTS
NON "BIG 4" PPV BONUS = 1.5X
SUMMERSLAM, SURVIVOR SERIES, ROYAL RUMBLE = 2X BONUS
WRESTLEMANIA = 3X BONUS
The WWE season begins on the day after WrestleMania 29 and culminates with WrestleMania 30. The wrestler who accumulates the most points over the course of the season, wins the coveted Wrankings Championship!
Monday Night RAW -- 10/14/13
Main Event -- 10/16/13
SmackDown -- 10/18/13
1. ALBERTO DEL RIO -- 89 points
2. Randy Orton -- 73 points
3. Daniel Bryan -- 72
4. Curtis Axel -- 64.5
5. Dolph Ziggler -- 44.5
6. Rob Van Dam -- 42
7. Ryback – 36
8. Kofi Kingston -- 35
9. Miz -- 33
10. Christian -- 32
T42. La Parka -- 0
Thanks for reading, Cagesiders. We'll see you back here next week!