Who should be on the Mount Rushmore of Professional Wrestling has been a topic discussed among wrestling fans for decades. Each fan has four picked wrestlers they think should be chiseled into the side of a mountain. But there can't only be four. The Presidents featured on Mount Rushmore each represent something historical done to help improve America:
- George Washington, (1st president) led the colonists in the American Revolutionary War to win independence from Great Britain.
- Thomas Jefferson, (3rd president) he was the author of the Declaration of Independence, a document which inspires democracies around the world.
- Theodore Roosevelt, (26th president) provided leadership when America experienced rapid economic growth as it entered the 20th Century.
- Abraham Lincoln, (16th president) held the nation together during its greatest trial, the Civil War.
But there are far more than four people who have revolutionized and improved the professional wrestling industry. Even just using WWE alone, there are at least a dozen people who deserve to be on the carved memorial.
So if a Pro Wrestling Mount Rushmore was to be made, we'd have to do it by decades, eras, and generations across at least 5 different mountains.
1952 Capitol Wrestling Corporation was started by Jesse McMahon and Joseph Raymond Mondt. It wasn't until 1953 when the company joined the NWA. Sadly, Jesse McMahon died in 1954 and Mondt needed a new partner. Mondt would bring in Vincent James McMahon and together the two dominated NWA's booking. This was the beginning of something big.
In 1963, McMahon and Mondt left the NWA to form the WWWF (World Wide Wrestling Federation) after a dispute with the NWA booking "The Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers as their NWA World Heavyweight Champion.
From 1963 on, the WWWF would only revolutionize the business one step at a time. On May 17, 1963, a future WWE Hall of Famer, Bruno Sammartino won the WWWF Heavyweight Championship from Buddy Rogers and would go on to dominate the professional wrestling company with a combined total of an 11 year reign. The longest in professional wrestling history.
How can we forget Fabulous Moolah. She dominated the Women's division from 1956-1984 by holding the Women's title on and off but totaled a combined 30 year title reign. She reigned supreme for the 60s, 70s, and half of the 80s. She is by far the greatest women's professional wrestler.
So from 1952 to 1980, I would put the following people on Pro Wrestling's "Beginning of Greatness" Mount Rushmore:
- Vince McMahon Sr. & Joseph Raymond Mondt for starting what would be the worlds largest professional wrestling company.
- Bruno Sammartino for having the worlds longest championship reign. Not only that but he was also the biggest blockbuster in pro wrestling during the 60s & 70s.
- Fabulous Moolah for becoming the very first legendary women's wrestler in the business and for holding the Women's championship for a combined 30 years.
Now we start going decade by decade. The 80s saw a boom in professional wrestling as Vince McMahon Jr. took over the company and turned it into the WWF. The 80s saw legends like the Ultimate Warrior, Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Ric Flair, and Harley Race wrestle across several promotions.
Vince McMahon gave birth to the new WWF where we saw a more comical style of wrestling rather than a "rasslin" view like NWA, Mid-south, and WCW/GCW were promoting. Though the new comical wrestling didn't catch on with fans outside the Northeast (check "Black Saturday incident), that wouldn't stop WWF from being a powerhouse in the world of professional wrestling. Vince McMahon envisioned a better WWF than his father had, though no credibility should be taken from Vince McMahon Sr. his son took wrestling in a much better direction.
Ric Flair. Nobody in the professional wrestling world had everything Ric Flair had. I don't care what argument you give. Ric Flair had tremendous mic skills, made every single opponent look just as good as him, he had the charisma that wasn't seen since Buddy Rogers and Gorgeous George. Ric Flair went on to be a 16 time World Champion but ran the 80s with an iron fist across multiple promotions.
While Ric Flair was wheel'n and dealn', stylin' and profiln' in World Championship Wrestling/Jim Crockett and National Wrestling Alliance, Hulk Hogan had the WWF in the palm of his hand.
Hulk Hogan made a reappearance in the WWF after Vince McMahon Jr. bought the company from his father in 1983. McMahon had chosen Hogan to headline the company and that was shown three weeks after Hogans return when he won the WWF Championship from the Iron Shiek. The Birth of Hulkamania began running wild later in 1984 and Hulk Hogan would become WWF's biggest draw.
The fourth slot is insanely difficult to determine. We had the Ultimate Warrior, Randy Savage, etc. I had originally written the fourth slot featuring Dusty Rhodes but deleted that section when I realized Dusty was a great wrestler but the guy I ended up picking had a much more deserving place on the 80s Pro Wrestling Rushmore.
Bobby "The Brain" Heenan is undoubtedly the best professional wrestling manager in the history of the business. Who else was more hilarious and corrupted at the same time while garnering love and hate from fans all around.
Bobby Heenan managed some of the greatest wrestlers ever. He even had a faction called the "Heenan Family" that featured a number of stars like King Kong Bundy, Paul Orndorff, Andre the Giant, Rick Rude, Big John Studd, and Mr. Perfect.
Bobby Heenan also had a successful announcers career but was everything a manager should be. WWE seems to have forgotten the art of managing and they should refer back to Heenan's days.
Pro Wrestling Mount Rushmore of the 80s are:
- Vince McMahon Jr. for giving birth to a new style of pro wrestling. Though the WWF didn't really revolutionize the business until well into the 90s and had a slow start in the 80s, Vince McMahon buying the WWWF from his father was a smart move.
- Hulk Hogan for giving wrestling the definition of excitement and for holding the world in the palm of his hands. This guy instantly became a legend the moment he returned to WWF.
- Ric Flair for giving charisma a whole new meaning and giving the word insane a new picture in the dictionary. Flair had it all and the 80s was where he showcased his potential to become a future pro wrestling Hall of Famer
- Bobby Heenan for being what a pro wrestling manager should be. There hasn't been another manager like him. I give credit to Mr. Fuji, Sensational Sherri, Miss Elizabeth and Paul Bearer of course, but Bobby Heenan is the definition of a heel manager.
Check into Cagesideseats tomorrow for Part 2: 90's-00s. I will also making the very tough decision of choosing 4 guys to represent a Mount Rushmore for professional wrestling if there can only be one.
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Cagesiders, who are your four picks to be carved into the Pro Wrestling Mount Rushmore?