Wrestling Buy Or Sell
September 30, 2013
Over at 411.mania.com, on their wrestling page, they have a column called “Buy Or Sell”, where essentially, they take a look at different topics and the two debaters either agree with the comment (buy) or disagree (sell) and explain why. It’s all about the 70’s and the AWA this week and since I used to recap the AWA on ESPN Classic shows for PWInsider.com, I just can’t resist commenting and making my views on these topics known as well. So the questions / topics come from “www.411mania/wrestling.com”… and the opinions and answers. That’s just me. Let’s do this.
Nick Bockwinkel was the best world champion of the 1970’s.
SELL: Nick Bockwinkel was an amazing wrestler and talent and is truly one of the best of all time in that ring, bar none. BUT I can’t say he’s the best World Champion of the 1970’s for one small reason and his name is Harley Race. If Harley hadn’t been the NWA World Champion during most of the 70’s, Nick would win it hands down, but Harley was the man in the NWA and he takes a back seat to no one, nor should he.
Using the success of his students as a barometer, Verne Gagne’s wrestling academy was better than Stu Hart’s.
BUY: Ric Flair, The Iron Sheik, Ken Patera, Bob Backlund, The Andersons, Curt Hennig, RIck Steamboat, The Nasty Boys, Baron Von Raschke, etc. They all came from Verne and cut their teeth under his watchful eyes. While the Hart family and the list of folks who came from Stu’s basement is extremely impressive, they can’t compete with Flair and those 16 (plus) World Championships. Got to go with Verne and his academy on this one.
The AWA’s Japanese talent exchange was more fruitful than the NWA’s during the same period.
SELL: The AWA had a short term deal and got Jumbo Tsurta as the AWA World Champion for a few months. Mr. Saito also got a brief push and run. The NWA had some title changes in Japan with Harley and Giant Baba switching the titles back and forth and the NWA wrestlers maintaining a regular presence on both New Japan and All Japan events. Both talent exchanges did what they were set out to do and allowed more names and athletes to be shown and highlighted, but the AWA exchanges didn’t seem to last. The NWA exchange kept going and carried on into the 80’s and 90’s with WCW. Just on the length factor alone, I’ve got to go with the NWA on this one.
Despite a high profile presence in AWA for years, Jerry Blackwell was never impressive as a main event guy.
BUY: For a man of his size, Blackwell was actually talented in the ring and a good worker. But he was not what one would expect of a main event “star”, not by the standards of today or even back then. He was a good mid-card type of guy and would be good as a temporary headliner, brought in for feuds and as a special attraction, but trying to push him as the top guy just didn’t work. He wasn’t a great talker and after a few months, his character and gimmick suffered from over-exposure. He was a one-trick pony and just being the big man wasn’t enough to be the guy on top for any significant length of time.
Bobby Heenan was a better manager than he was a commentator.
SELL: I’m not sure how to answer this one because “The Brain” was definitely one of the best managers in the history of this great business that we all know and love, but as a color guy calling the action, he has very few peers as well. What the? I’m flipping a coin to decide manager or commentator… and commentator wins. Doesn’t matter though. No matter what he did, the “Brain” was always and will always be the best in the world. ‘Nuff said!
Even after all these years, Mean Gene Okerlund is still the best interviewer of all time.
BUY: I’m not even what you would call a “Mean Gene” fan, but I will admit that in the role of interviewer, there are none better. He walked that line between arrogant and humble so well andhe asked questions besides “what are your thoughts?”, the standard generic question we hear so often now. Interviewers come and go and most of them suck, but there is only one “Mean” Gene Okerlund and he’s the best there is at what he does.
And there you go. My thoughts on the AWA and the whole “buy/sell” concept. I had fun and this piece brought back some good memories. The people at 411mania.com rock! Gotta go now and see a man about getting a tire plugged. Until the next time, “dat is all de’ people need to know!”