We have so much to be thankful for this year within the wrestling world that it’s hard to limit everything to just one universal list. I wouldn’t even know where to start, honestly, so I decided that the best thing to do is just focus on what matters the most on Thanksgiving – birds. At the heart of every holiday of giving is a giant turkey, a bird that has helped build bridges and fill tummies, all while reminding us that we can put up with our families for a day or two if it means that we get four-day weekends out of it. I’m sure some purists and know-it-alls will tell us that Thanksgiving has a different meaning, but like most of my favorite wrestlers, I learned about holidays at the school of hard knocks.
When it comes to birds, the wrestling industry has a long, magnificent history of honoring the fierceness and ferocity of our fine feathered friends. Whether it be in name alone or in the full glory of a costume and gimmick, some of my favorite wrestlers have been birds, and today I want to show how thankful I am for their roles in building a better wrestling world by ranking them accordingly. Sure, this may not be complete or definitive, but the good news is that Power Rankings can always be updated, even if I’m ALWAYS RIGHT.
Honorable Mention: The Fabulous Freebirds.
They had nothing to actually do with birds. They were just a Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute in an industry supported by fans who loved to scream, “Play ‘Freebird’!” It was genius marketing if anything, but there was nothing ‘bird’ about this group other than its name.
10) Norv Fernum and Dewey Barnes
As Robbie E of the BroMans oh-so-hilariously put it, Norv Fernum looks like a hairless hamster. That’s why he and Jessie Godderz did Norv and Dewey Barnes a huge favor by making them dress up like turkeys when they were done kicking their asses (just as Jessie had been forced to do when he lost the Turkey Bowl in 2012). Norv and Dewey were hardly the most ferocious of turkeys, but the costumes at least covered up their – wait for it, this is really good – bird chests. That joke should qualify me for BroMan status.
The ECW’s and WCW’s most mysterious star rose to fame because of his dark, brooding Edgar Allen Poe gimmick that had him leading a cult-like following of guys who looked like they were allergic to bathing. (Don’t even get me started on Kidman’s whole scabies routine that I already bring up any time I mention him.) Raven’s gimmick was pretty cool for a little while, but it would have been better if, instead of saying, “Quoth the raven, Nevermore” like a doofus, he threw down a smoke bomb and then actually turned into a raven and flew away. How would he do that? No clue. But if someone had tried it, the WCW might still exist.
Also, for my money, Scotty Flamingo was a way better bird name than Raven anyway. Flamingos are more nimble, as they can stand on one leg all the time. Ravens do what? Squawk? That’s pretty stupid, birds.
8) Andy the Dreadful Bird
Confession: I don’t actually know anything about Andy the Dreadful Bird, but he’s dreadful and that sounds pretty serious. Sometimes all it takes is a strong adjective to increase a bird-themed wrestler’s value. Also, it seems pretty dangerous to wrestle right under an AC duct like that, so he gets points for bird testicles.
7) Road Warrior Hawk
Hawk had nothing to do with birds, other than his awesome name, but maybe if birds wore shoulder pads with big spikes on them more often, we wouldn’t be eating them so much. Hindsight’s 20/20 but a set of spiked pads is, like, $40 if you’re creative enough.
6) Red Rooster
The interesting thing about Terry Taylor’s early run as the Red Rooster in the WWF was that he was sort of this inexperienced and dumb amateur wrestler who needed Bobby Heenan to guide him. What most people don’t realize is that’s incredibly accurate for training violent roosters, because without guidance and instructions, you can’t lead a rooster into a fight. You just drop it into a ring and hope for the best, which always leads to defeat. However, as Heenan also taught us, if you’re too tough on your rooster, it’ll come back and bite you.
But seriously, someone in the WWF once said, “Let’s dress this guy like a rooster and make him strut like one, too.” Hollywood wasn’t the only town filled with cocaine in the 80s and 90s, folks.
5) The Crazy Chickens
I don’t know sh*t about Lucha VaVoom or these Crazy Chickens, but after Brandon introduced me to them, I instantly fell in love with their entrance routine. Red Rooster ain’t got nothing on these Crazy Chickens, you guys.
4) American Eagle
This patriotic wrestler, who recently competed for Inspire Pro, which I am required to mention or face an atomic nut punch as punishment, does not don the garb of a bird as much as he embodies the symbol of American freedom, and that’s obviously pretty rad. Fun fact: The guy could call his finishing move the Fartzilla, make his ring entrance in a giant hamster ball and then cut promos in pig latin, and as long as he called himself the American Eagle, he’d crack my Top 5. Just a note for all of you aspiring bird wrestlers out there.
3) The Swagger Soaring Eagle
If Rosa Mendes hadn’t ruined PocaHornswoggle’s turkey dinner, Jack Swagger’s Soaring Eagle may have had a better Thanksgiving a few years ago. Still, the Soaring Eagle is a majestic wrestling bird that proved to be braver than most before it. However, even in defeat, I’m sure he tasted better than most of these other bird wrestlers. Related: I’d like to be wealthy enough to actually eat a bald eagle. I guarantee Vince McMahon eats their babies like Buffalo wings.
2) Gobbledy Gooker
When wrestling scribes inevitably write their annual features, rankings and thinkpieces on the worst gimmicks of all-time, Hector Guerrero’s Gobbledy Gooker is almost always No. 1. (Although the argument can always be made in favor of anything Brad Armstrong ever did.) I stand here today in defense of the Gobbledy one. If anything, a man wrestling in a turkey costume proved that wrestling fans are unwilling to broaden their horizons and expect more from this sports entertainment product that we love so much. The Gooker may be retired, if only to be brought out occasionally for parody and satire, but I contend that one day, in the not-so-distant future, the WWE will once again consider a wrestler in a bulky bird costume, not unlike that of the Swagger Eagle, but this time both the writers and fans will take it more seriously.
And then, on a Monday like most others, the Gobbledy Gooker will make his return and finally wear the belt of the WWE Champion.
1) Koko B. Ware
The man may have come to the ring flapping his arms like a bird, but he was also the GOAT. All hail the greatest bird-themed wrestler in history. There will never be another Koko B. Ware, only pretenders.