The Professional 3 11.03.13: World's Smartest Wrestlers
Posted by Jon Harder on 11.03.2013
411’s Jon Harder gets intellectual this week as he looks at the world’s smartest wrestlers…
WELCOME EVERYONE to another edition of the Professional 3 on 411mania.com! I'm Jon Harder and yet another exciting week of pro wrestling is in the books! We finally have a new WWE champion, TNA is still in turmoil over the World championship, and all is in utter turmoil in wrestling general. However, after two straight weeks, I will NOT talk about championships. I feel as if maybe, I'm smarter than I look. Hmmm...
But before we go into the column, check out this week's Hardway Podcast on TheJonHarder.com with BOTH Mike Rotch from ISW and "All Star" Lou Torres from ACE Pro Wrestling! Rotch discusses all the hype going into Burger King of the Ring II: Double Whopper tournament for the first ever Inter Species Wrestling Tag Team championships, and All Star Lou gives some last minute hype for ACE Crossroads IX and the Fight For Flight championship, which I wrote about a couple of weeks ago. So much talk, yet so much entertainment in this week's episode. You can find them on Twitter at @AllStarLou85 and @RotchyKong, respectively.
Also, you can find me on Twitter at @TheJonHarder. I like long walks on the park, candlelit dinners, and cuddling during a rain storm. I get all the ladies and other wrestling nerds with that dirty talk.
Now, onto this week's column. As I might have referenced to, I might be smarter than I look with avoiding a three-week streak regarding championships. In fact, I want to touch deeper with the whole "smart" thing. Inside the ring, there are so many great strategists inside the world of pro wrestling. So many men and women who know how to take their matches in the direction they want to go in. Thinking of a multitude of different styles, you have those great technicians who can ADAPT in the ring. The greatest example of that would be, obviously, Daniel Bryan.
Whether you've watched his early independents, ROH, or his incredible run in WWE over the past 2 years, Daniel Bryan can adapt to any style. If you wanted a technical style, he could give it to you. If you want a flat-out fight, Bryan could give it to you against Morishima in the Hammerstein Ballroom in a packed house. If you want a comedic tag team, Team Hell-No could do a phenomenal job bringing back the tag team scene. If you need a main event story, Danielson could carry it through in-ring work, look, and promos. Daniel Bryan can easily adapt in the squared circle or in any wrestling setting and make it work. That's the mindset of an incredibly smart wrestler.
But also, you have to look at Kevin Nash as an incredibly smart wrestler as well. Yes, THAT Kevin Nash. As an in-ring performer, a plethora of independent and mainstream fans HATE the man. Whether he only used three moves, acted "lazy", or even participated in the Fingerpoke of Doom, wrestling fans hated his workrate. HOWEVER...the man knew how to make money in pro wrestling. He knew how to protect his character. Nash projected his business acumen behind the scenes. He knew how to project himself in the squared circle by using the "less is more" philosophy. Kevin Nash truly was a smart wrestler. He made a LOT of money. A LOT of money.
Yet, there have been THOSE types of wrestlers who select to showcase their intellect as their on-air persona inside the ring. They are annoying as all Hell, yet they could make the people hate them. These guys use big words, act incredibly smug and pompous, and, like all arrogantly intelligent people believe, they are BETTER than us. A bunch of jerks are what they are, but never forgotten. This week's P3 is on the on-air smug intellectuals and who believe in their own brand of greatness. I remember them (and in one's case, see him on television every week), and it makes for a great column.
Without further hesitation...
THE PROFESSIONAL 3: World's Smartest Wrestlers
1) DAMIEN SANDOW
Allow me to beg your indulgence for a moment. "The Intellectual Savior of the Masses" made his mark on the WWE scene in 2012, and truly has hit his peak. After this week's war with John Cena on Raw, despite what the IWC believes, Sandow is a made man. His vocabulary is spectacular; the in-ring style in simple, yet effective, and his look just makes you want to slug him. The robe with the towel tucked in at the neck itself drives me absolutely insane. But he's such a rare talent.
There is one thing about Sandow that I absolutely love. The Elbow of Disdain is my favorite maneuver in all of wrestling. Could it be the modern day People's Elbow? Who knows, but I knew that once Michael Cole started calling it Cubito Aequet, which is the Latin-terminology for that hold, on commentary, Sandow won me over. Little things like that make it work, and Sandow got it.
2) DEAN DOUGLAS
The most controversial wrestler on this list. When Shane Douglas, the Franchise in the very counter-culture ECW, left Philadelphia for the offices in the WWF in 1995, no one could have ever imagined what he could have become. "The Franchise" became Dean Douglas, an annoying school teacher who browbeat all of the uneducated pupils in both backstage promos and in the ring. A former Intercontinental champion for 12 minutes, Dean might have lasted a short period of time, but his monotone voices truly made my skin curl. Even his attempt at a Fisherman's Suplex drove me nuts. The sole reason: The Final Exam will never be as catchy as a Perfectplex.
But I will say this. People take a collective dump on the run of Dean Douglas in WWF for being an awful character. I will say this: it was a great heel run. You could tell at the beginning of the gimmick, there were big plans for Dean. Due to the backstage politics, it definitely didn't flush out the way it should. However, it wasn't half bad. Dean Douglas was an excellent bad guy. For Christ sake, although Shawn Michaels handed over the Intercontinental championship to him, he WAS an Intercontinental champion during a time period where championships were incredibly prestigious. Dean was over. Bottom line, it was a fantastic character for the short time it existed.
3) THE GENIUS
I believe my YouTube video should speak volumes. His poetry was magnetic, his look was flamboyant, and you wanted to punch him in the face. The Genius was a great heel. Plus, he managed the Beverly Brothers, got his haircut by Brutus Beefcake, feuded with Jameson, and made sausage wieners at an Oktoberfest. AND HE BEAT HULK HOGAN ON SATURDAY NIGHT'S MAIN EVENT!!! The Genius was great and such a fantastic heel.
If only he still threw Frisbees with his poetry on it. Someone needs to bring that back.
Guys, you could be a great in-ring technician, work the politics backstage with money needing to be made, or portray an evil genius in front of the camera, but there are a plethora of smart wrestlers. I might have barely scratched the surface on the smartest wrestlers argument, but I want to know who you think are smart wrestlers in wrestling. Comment on the bottom, or tweet at me at @TheJonHarder. Have a great weekend.