APRIL 2000:IF MY SPORTS HEROES WERE WRESTLERS
Heroes can be found anywhere.They can be parents,everyday working people,politicians,military personnel,scientists,writers,musicians,or the most common place to find them,SPORTS.This month,I'd like to explain how my favorite sports stars (from the sports cards I actively collect)might end up,should they ever decide(ulikely as it may seem for most of them)to try their hand at wrestling.Laugh all you like at my faves,you have sports heroes I'd laugh at, too.If your'e from a city where any one of these men have played ball and know of anyplace that would have some cards of these guys,preferably the harder-to-find cards,(such as those from McDonald's,Shopko,handed from area police,Starting Line-Up,and such)drop me an e-mail and let's trade.
MY FAVORITE SPORTS STARS
Bret Hart----We know his story.
Roddy Piper----We know his story.
Curt Hennig----We know his story.
NOLAN RYAN---This 1999 Hall of Fame inductee is best known for striking men out,walking batters,and throwing no-hitters.However,Nolan WAS ejected from a game on June 6th,1992 for hitting Oakland A's outfielder Willie Wilson with a pitch.Whether it was intentional or not is unknown,but it was the only time Ryan was tossed from a game.The Ryan Express DID get involved in 1993 when he hit Chicago Whitesox batter Robin Ventura,and when Ventura charged the mound,Ryan caught him in a headlock,delivered four quick hard punches,and Ventura was out cold and out of the game.Since Ryan is usually mild-mannered,I would foresee him as a ring announcer or a commentator,with an occasional brush with other wrestlers.
JIM McMAHON----The "Punky QB" of the 1985 Chicago Bears and journeyman back-up QB was best known for sporting a headband,sunglasses and mooning a helicopter in New Orleans in the week preceding Super Bowl XX.Jimmy Mac's brash attitude and party-animal style easily made him perfect for giving interviews,but McMahon would take a decent hit during games and then complain about not being able to play the rest of the game.I could see McMahon start as a wrestler,but after a few matches,(and getting hurt everytime)he'd become a manager,where getting beaten up is almost a way of life.
BERNIE KOSAR---The longtime Browns QB, whose passing yardage is 2nd most in Browns history, finally won a Super Bowl ring with Dallas (after being denied for so long in Cleveland), wrapped up his career in Miami, then lobbied for football to return to Cleveland. Although Kosar missed time with elbow, thumb, and ankle injuries and couldn't run to save his own life, he was often praised for his snap decisions and was once referred as "the thinking man's QB". If Kosar remained healthy and possessed the same talent for wrestling as he did in football, Kosar could easily match wits with master manipulators such as Hogan or Flair.
KEN O'BRIEN---Trailing only Joe Namath on the New York Jets' passing list, O'Brien was picked in the fabled "Class of '83" that included John Elway and Dan Marino. A savvy workaholic who battled concussions and a number of minor injuries, he was originally considered a longshot to even become a football player, coming from little-known Cal-Davis University. O'Brien was probably remembered for being tossed around in the pocket like a rag doll, sacked so often that one critic claimed that the 7 on his jersey had been imprinted into the turf at the Meadowlands. I can see O'Brien working the "job" circuit, but if there is a champion of long-shots, he could easily be another Gillberg. Or maybe another Mikey Whipwreck.
KEVIN GREENE---My all-time favorite football player, who retired just before Super Bowl XXXIV, has the wrestling experience to become a star. He's locked horns with the best of them, on the gridiron and in the ring, from Joe Montana and Jim Kelly to Ric Flair and Kevin Nash. Greene's 160 sacks will make him a lock for the Hall of Fame, but he will need to polish his wrestling skills if he is serious about becoming a wrestling champ. I would love to see that happen; he was denied a Super Bowl victory (damn those Cowboys to hell!!!), but has the stuff to make it big.
DAN McGWIRE---This former QB was best remembered as being baseball slugger Mark's younger brother amd a #1 draft choice for the Seahawks,but when given the chance to shine,he couldn't come through.Nevertheless,this gentle giant holds the record for the tallest QB(at 6'8"s)to play in college and the NFL.McGwire may be tall,but he's slow for a man his size.After four lack-luster injury-filled seasons in Seattle,(which included a separated shoulder and a broken hip),Dan went to Miami for one year then was out of football.I don't know about McGwire...maybe he could be a referree or something.
STEVE McMICHAEL---The longtime Bears defensive tackle has the most wrestling experience of any of my favorite sports stars.A former Pro Bowler,Super Bowl Champion,and U.S. Heavyweight champ,Mongo has been out of wrestling for well over a year now."Ming"(to his teammates)went through several off-season knee surgeries and broke a bone in his right arm in a match with the British Bulldog,but played in 192 consecutive games for the Bears and is a strong possibility for Canton.I'd love to see a comeback by Mongo,but ring experience and time(he's 42)are not on his side.I MISS YOU MONGO!
DENNIS RODMAN---Basketball's bad boy and cultural icon Rodman has also been in the ring before,but like Greene,has only a limited amount of ring time.While he'll play for all he's worth in games and accumulating as many rebounds as possible(he has close to 12,000),he hates practice and plays by his own rules in training.However,his flamboyant style and "I do it my way"attitude make him over with the fans,both on the court and in the squared circle.Is 1-1 in tag-team matches(both with Hogan as his partner),but is 0-1 in singles(to Randy Savage),and has stated before that he really doesn't want to wrestle;just make his appearances.If Rodman keeps this up,I see him as a referree or commentator.
BRIAN BOSWORTH---The brash linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks,best known for trash-talking John Elway,getting run over by Bo Jackson on "Monday Night Football",his stand against the NCAA ,and for his B-movie action flicks("Stone Cold"being his most popular),"The Boz"would be a perfect addition to wrestling.Arthritis in his shoulders prematurely ended his career after only 3 years,and Bosworth has had at least 6 surgeries on his shoulders,thus limiting his motion range with his left arm.Although fans suspect he may have been contacted by WWF/WCW,Boz states that he has not been contacted or signed any contracts.If he were to get into wrestling,he has the potential to be World Champ,should his health remain intact.Another shot of BOZ.
BOOMER ESIASON---The longtime southpaw passer for the Cincinnati Bengals, Esiason threw for over 38,000 yards (2nd all time for lefties behind Steve Young) and, liike his cross-state rival Bernie Kosar, Esiason was one of the smartest QB's to ever play the position. Boomer got his nickname because he was such a hard kicker during his mother's pregnancy, yet had a reputation for being a "pretty boy" on the field. Esiason is a spokesman for Cystic Fibrosis and is now an announcer for "Monday Night Football", so he could be a natural at replacing the annoying Tony Schiavone or "Even More Annoying" Ol' J.R. If that didn't work, he could trade ring tactics with the best of the wrestlers.
CHUCK LONG---The all-time passing leader at Iowa and runner-up for the 1985 Heisman Trophy(behind Bo Jackson in the closest vote ever),Long was a #1 draft pick for the Detroit Lions following his Rose Bowl loss.His first regular season pass was for a 37 yard touchdown,and as a starter in 1987 passed for close to 2600 yards.Unfortunatley his career slowed down from there with injuries,and spent 1991 with the Rams before hanging it up.Long has since been a coach with the Hawkeyes,and recently signed to be QB coach at Oklahoma University.He's a smart coach,and could be valuable as a manager or booker,possibly even a front office guy.
DAN QUISENBERRY---(1953-1998)---Although "The Quiz"retired in 1990 as the #5 amn on the all-time saves list,he has since dropped to about #20 with saves being more and more reliable in baseball.Quisenberry was always noted for his practical jokes and his love of writing poetry,which he did after his retirement.I think if Quiz were still alive,he would have made a fine commentator for any sport,including wrestling.R.I.P.
JOHN MATUSZAK---(1950-1989)---"Tooz"was a huge man at 6'8,which was proved in his acting career(one of his more notable roles being Sloth in "The Goonies").On the football field,it was no exception.Matuszak would have been great had he decided to try his hand at wrestling;without a doubt,he could have grappled with the best of them.R.I.P.
LYLE ALZADO---(1949-1992)---Another football player turned actor(remember Lyle as the beefy construction worker in "Ernest Goes To Camp"?).Alzado played with a ferocity that showed,both on and off the field,although you have to partially contribute his attitude and his size to his steroid abuse which ultimately brought on the cancer that took his life.R.I.P.
That does it for my favorite sports stars,but I know there are several other athletes that would/might do well,or even some great matchups that would make a nice special attraction match.For instance,have athletic stand out Bo Jackson and collegiate wrestling icon Dan Gable form a tag-team,the Artificial Hipsters(since both have undergone hip replacements)who could occasionally team up with Roddy Piper.(sorry Karma!)Try booking New York Knick Latrell Spreewell and Indiana Hoosiers coach Bobby Knight in an "anything goes"no dq match,where choking the coach and chair throwing are not only legal tactics,but are actually encouraged.Or take the concept of St.Louis Cardinal Mark McGwire against either Chicago Cub Sammy Sosa (whom McGwire has beat out in home runs for the past 2 years)or Tampa Bay Devil Ray Jose Canseco(McGwire's former "Bash Brother"from his days in Oakland).Just some thoughts.
That's all for this month
Till next time,