Wrestling One on One
WWE Raw versus The NWA
2017 versus 1985
August 13, 2017
Something that every wrestling fan has wondered from time to time is how Wrestler X from the past would do in a match against Wrestler Z from today’s era. We all have our favorites from when we were younger, just beginning to love the world’s greatest sport and we have our favorites now, in the current WWE dominated world of sports-entertainment and just what if the two could meet? Well, I wonder that sometimes myself and I’m going to sit down and try to figure out those questions. What I’m doing is called “One On One” and it’s a leftover from the days I wrote professional wrestling’s most eclectic column since 2002, “Tossing Salt – Worldwide News!”. I would take a wrestler from my youth, like the Anderson Brothers or Ernie Ladd and match them up against wrestlers from today, such as John Cena or AJ Styles, and try to imagine, with both in their primes, who would win in a one-on-one match-up. It was a popular piece of the column and fun to do. And now, I’m just bringing it to the next level. Let’s use the “official ratings” of two wrestling magazines to determine the competitors. There will be twenty-two matches in total and as not to be too long, I’ll do half here and half on another post. We’ll do the stars of the NWA, as rated by Wrestling Superstars, the Spring 1985 edition versus the “Top Ten of WWE RAW”, as determined by ProWrestling Illustrated, cover dated October 2017. And for Part II, it’ll be the stars of the WWF, also as determined by Wrestling Superstars, the Spring 1985 edition, versus the stars of Smackdown Live, per the Pro Wrestling Illustrated October, 2017 edition. Are you ready? Let’s do this.
Wrestling One On One – Part I
WWE Raw versus The NWA
Brock Lesnar (Universal Champion) versus Ric Flair (NWA World Champion)
The Beast versus the dirtiest player in the game. I can’t remember if Flair had James J. Dillon in his corner at this point and time in his career or not, but I’m thinking that either J.J. or Baby Doll were there. Brock is a monster and Flair would spend most of his time trying to stay away from Brock, using a hit and run style, hoping for that one mistake and opportunity. Brock is power personified, but people forget that he’s also a great wrestler in his own right, a former NCAA Wrestling Champion and could match Flair move for move. Flair’s only hope would be to wear Brock down and outlast him. Brock is in great shape though and that wouldn’t happen. So unless there’s a DQ or count-out, and for the sake of argument, all of these matches are to be won by pin-fall or submission only, Flair is in for a long night. Flair would last for a while, but in the end, an F-5 by the Beast and the winner is…
Winner: Brock Lesnar
Roman Reigns versus Dusty Rhodes
This would be a match to see. Talk about brawling, blood and kicking ass going both ways. Dusty was always fat, but he could go forever and a day. Roman is in great shape and could go forever as well. A great contrast in styles and the fans would be on their feet, screaming for every move. I would love to say Dusty, but Roman has the size, strength and youth advantage over the “American Dream” and while the match would be epic, the end results are pretty clear to me at least.
Winner: Roman Reigns
Samoa Joe versus Wahoo McDaniel
Here is another one that would be a classic brawl between two of the legit toughest men in professional wrestling history. Joe is a better classical style wrestler, but Wahoo was no slouch either. He just preferred to chop the hell out of folks and make them suffer. Joe is so intense and dangerous in that ring, he reminds me of a MMA fighter more than a wrestler. Wahoo just likes to brawl and beat the holy hell out of people and I think that would be his downfall in the end. Joe can take a beating and it would just take one mistake by Wahoo and the wrestler in Joe would slide in for a pin. It wouldn’t be a match, but more of a fight. And in the end, Joe would come out on top, but just barely.
Winner: Samoa Joe
Seth Rollins versus Kerry Von Erich
Another good match that would be fun to watch. Kerry has the size and strength advantage. Seth has the speed advantage and can take more easily to the air, combining both high flying and ariel moves with his ground game and brawling. I think the deciding factor though would be smarts. Seth is more adaptable and simply put, smarter than Kerry. Stories about Kerry getting lost in a match are numerous and his attention span seemed to be limited. I’m not taking away from the legend that was Kerry Von Erich, but I just don’t see him in Seth’s league for this match. One good “bucket bomb” slam to the corner and a pedigree and Seth gets the win.
Winner: Seth Rollins
The Miz versus Ronnie Garvin
I love the Miz. I think Miz is probably one of the best performers in the WWE today and has earned that spot with his blood, sweat, hard work, etc. He’s awesome. I’m not a big fan of Garvin. I always thought he was kind of boring as a personality and his slow, methodical style did nothing for me. But that being said, Ronnie would decimate Miz and systematically take him apart. It’s be a slaughter and that would not, be awesome in my eyes.
Winner: Ronnie Garvin
Dean Ambrose versus Harley Race
This could be a fun match because, for all of his staleness as a character and repetitive moves, Ambrose can go in that ring when he’s inspired. He’s actually a damn good wrestler. And Harley? It’s Harley Race and that’s all that needs to be said about that. No one is tougher or more dangerous in that ring or outside of it. Harley can have a great match with a broom if he’s inspired to do so. Or he can pretty much destroy anyone he wants at any given time if he’s so inclined. I actually think that their styles would mesh well together and it could be a classic match for the ages. And while Ambrose would look like a billion dollars during the match, Harley would win at the end of the night. After all, he’s Harley Race. ‘Nuff said!
Winner: Harley Race
Neville versus Pez Whatley
Neville is so good and so quick out there in that ring. Pez Whatley was mostly a comedy character, but people forget how athletic he was and that flying dropkick, especially for a man his size. He was a damn good wrestler and could really go in that ring. This would be an interesting match due to the size difference and the huge contrast in styles. It could go either way honestly, but I think I’ll go with Pez on this one. The size difference seems to me would be the advantage that would give him the biggest edge here.
Winner: Pez Whatley
Finn Balor versus Gino Hernandez
The Demon versus The Handsome Half-Breed. Man, what a match this would be. For those not as familiar with Gino, for he died far too early, picture a cross between Tully Blanchard in wrestling style and Chris Adams in build. Ironically enough, Hernandez had his greatest moments of success in tag team partnerships with both Blanchard and Adams. This guy was so good and so smooth in that ring. And Finn Balor. What can we say about him that hasn’t been said. He’s one of my current favorite guys in the WWE right now. He is magic to watch and so damn good in his own right. A match with these two would be a definite contrast in styles with Gino doing the slower methodical moves of hit and run, take a shot and wrestle, while Finn is impact and high-flying, making the most of every moment of contact. It’s so hard to decide who would win here. The styles are so different and both men are so damn good in their own ways. I’ll just flip a coin. Heads, it’s Balor and tails, it’s Gino. Heads. So Balor wins.
Winner: Finn Balor
Bray Wyatt versus Jesse Barr
Jesse Barr was a tough kid who wrestled primarily in Florida and in the North-West. He’s a second generation wrestler who had a brief run in the WWF as “Jesse Jack Funk”, brought in after Terry Funk left the company. He’s also known for pissing off Haku and suffering the consequences during a bar fight. I think he got his eye knocked out of socket if my memory serves me correctly. He’s a good wrestler but nothing special in my eyes. And Bray Wyatt? A third generation superstar, the grandson of Blackjack Mulligan, the son of Mike Rotundo and a former WWE Champion. One of the toughest and most talented men currently in the WWE. I think this one is pretty obvious as to who wins.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
Big Show versus Cowboy Ron Bass
Ron Bass passed away a few months ago. RIP Ron. One of the legit tough guys from the 70’s and 80’s, this man could go in that ring. A brawler and tough cowboy character, he was as tough as a $2 steak. A former Mid-Atlantic Champion, as well as Florida Champion, he was also a great tag team wrestler, forming a strong team with partner Black Bart. He was as good as they come for a strong mid-card wrestler. The Big Show is over 7-feet tall and in the best shape of his life. Ron might give him a fight, but one good choke slam and it’s over.
Winner: The Big Show
Apollo Crews versus Kevin Von Erich
I just really don’t get Apollo Crews. He’s a good in-ring performer, but has the charisma and personality of a can of green beans. That’s why I’m glad to see that the WWE decided to link him up with Titus O’Neill and “Titus International”. Titus as a wrestler doesn’t do it for me, but he’s got personality to spare. It’s a good combination. Kevin Von Erich was not the sexy guy his brother Kerry was and didn’t have the charisma that older brother David did, but I think that, pound for pound, he was probably the best wrestler of the whole Von Erich family. He didn’t talk much, but he could get in that ring and have a great match with anyone. That’s something that he and Apollo have in common. He also seems to be the most stable and brightest of the family. After all, he’s still alive. This match would be fun to see. Two similar styles, but their bodies are so different, it could be interesting. Kevin is more solid in the mat wrestling game though and has been through more high profile matches. I think Apollo could give him a good run, but in the end, the Von Erich claw would take Kevin over the finish line first and give him the win.
And there you have it, what I expect would happen if the NWA stars of 1985 squared off against the stars of the WWE Raw Brand of today. WWE wins seven matches to four. I’ll be back later today with Part II where I’ll be matching the stars of Smackdown Live against the of the WWF, circa 1985. That should be fun. Thoughts, comments and all feedback is welcome. Do you think I got it right with my calling of these fantasy matches? Let me know.
And that’s all for now. It’s dinner time. Until the next time. Thanks for reading.