Welcome to the fourth installment of our recurring feature, where we will attempt to identify the very best professional wrestler ever to come out of every state in the union. (And the District of Columbia as well; why the hell not?) As you’ll soon see, some of these decisions will be clear no-brainers, while others will be much more difficult. By the time we get to the end of the road, you’ll be seeing just how difficult it is to declare one pro wrestler the ultimate representative for a given birth state.
There’s a lot of criteria, as you can imagine, that goes into determining what constitutes the “best” wrestler from each state. It’s about popularity, notoriety, the performer’s place in wrestling history, and of course, all of the intangibles. Ultimately, “best” is a subjective opinion in most cases, but we attempted to look at every wrestler’s career as a whole.
And now, let’s get down with the next five states in the rundown with some crazy cats, a lovely lady and a couple of future Hall of Famers that we love to hate for all the right and wrong reasons.
39. Connecticut – Wild Bull Curry
Bull Curry was the hardcore originator and for 40 years he turned red into green by doing everything from circus strongman to Hartford policeman to one off Jack Dempsey(!) fighter..
With his bushy eyebrows, manic expressions and rough, rule breaking style, Wild Bull drove crowds literally crazy. A small run down of the “Walking Riot” legacy:
1955: A riot breaks out and sends 140 fans to the hospital.
1956: He breaks an overzealous fan’s jaw.
1958: A fan hits Curry with a lead pipe and Bull chases him into the balcony and beats him up.
1968: A fan enters the ring, jumps on Curry’s back and Bull knocks him out cold for two days.
Bull Curry was 55 years old in 1968. Here is Bull Curry being cheered over Johnny Valentine because only Johnny Valentine could possibly out-heel a dude literally known to start riots.
You would think after watching your father beat a guy with a cinder block so bad that he had to be escorted to his matches from jail in handcuffs for an entire month (true story) that you would choose another profession to go into BUT OH NO, “Flying” Fred Curry made it a family business. Here he is wrestling in the greatest high school gym in Ontario, Canada.
Hit him ref! Unlike his father, Fred was a clean shaven, white meat babyface who won tag team gold with Wild Bull but also feuded with The Sheik and teamed up with Fritz Von Erich which is just about as babyface as you can get.
Keeping the run of insanity in the family, that freshly shaved Gene Shalit cosplayer in the video above claimed to be able to throw 20 dropkicks in 10 seconds and to being the most popular wrestler in the world in 1972. By the way, Dory Funk Jr. was the NWA champion in 1972 and quite a bit of the way into his 1,563 day reign as champion. Just saying.
Then again, Youtube Commenter “FerretJohn” claims Fred’s heart wasn’t in the business and quit after a year to become an athletic director at the YMCA, so who even knows with this carny bananas-ass family.
To wit, the Curry madness didn’t skip any generation as Wild Bull Curry’s grandson, “The Rocket” Fred Jr., became the third Curry to lace them up and debuted in the wildly appropriately named Assault Championship Wrestling. I mean, the NWA did invent a new belt for his grandfather called the NWA Texas Brass Knuckles Championship after all. Here’s Grandpa Curry in 1976 using his preferred weapon of choice to destroy some jobber in front of a hot as hell high school gym crowd in that same hole in Windsor, Ontario.
I particularly like this clip below of “The Rocket” Fred Curry for three reasons: the existence of someone named Chi Chi Vasquez, the announcers’ thick-as-a-steamed cheeseburger New England accents and the youngest Curry being described as a “9th Generation Wrestler”. That’s nearly 300 years! Was Methuselah’s last name Curry?
That’s a run from the 1930’s to 2011 of there being at least one completely mental person named Fred Curry in the wrestling business. Oh, and get this: Fred Jr. was trained by the second most popular wrestler of 1972, Dory Funk Jr.
That is wild.
Honorable Mention: Justin Credible
Those of you looking for Matt Morgan, I assume you are all just Jim Cornette. Hi, Jim. Big fan.
38. New Hampshire – Triple H
Hunter Hearst Helmsley deserves this spot. No question.
But also, this:
Flashback to one year earlier via Brandon Stroud in The Best And Worst of Summer Slam 2012:
The “You Tapped Out” and “Na na et. al Hey Hey Hey Goodbye” chants for Triple H were the most heartwarming moment of my wrestling life. I was so excited to hear them. Brock Lesnar left holding his stomach and looking hurt while Triple H MANNED UP~ and overcame a broken arm to stand up on his own power and linger for like 20 minutes so we’d give him a Hogan respect “GOOD JOB GOOD EFFORT” pop. He didn’t get it. He got shit on, like he deserves, because he’s never vulnerable when it counts and when he pretends like his career is over or his arm is broken or whatever you don’t believe it, because dude walked away from a crane accident like nothing happened.
If Triple H wanted to earn the pop, he’d do what Shawn Michaels learned to do — get beaten up from time to time before the actual match. Let Batista f**k you up a little before you get to stagger up from a powerbomb and superkick him. You’re a great storyteller when you want to be and you put on these long, epic matches that go 30 minutes when they should probably go 15, so imagine how great it’d be if you put that much effort into the build, too? You’d probably be as GOOD as Shawn Michaels. Coolest toughest smartest and most in-charge guy in the room is not somebody we want to cheer on to victory, unless we’re a fat shirtless guy on Tout throwing crotch-chops because he’s got the brain power of a f**king potato battery.
The kid turning his back on H was icing on the cake. So was the light “Triple H” chant when he’d gotten all the way up the ramp, which sounded a hell of a lot like “okay, christ, here’s the chant you want, just leave already so we can go home”.
Honorable Mention: “Triple D” Dangerous Danny Davis
37. Massachusetts – John Cena
Jesus Jumping Christ, thank the Lord for John Cena because Massachusetts is one of those states where you would have a dozen folks to choose from if the cream at the top wasn’t so clear. I mean, c’mon, John Cena is like, everywhere man. Word to the lusty Tim Jennings for giving me the heads up to keep my head on a swivel for The Face That Runs Every Place.
Honorable Mention: Kevin Sullivan
Sorry Legit Boss fans, but we just have too much respect for The Bookerman. When I do the 10 Year Anniversary re-visit of this series, check back in with me. For now, The Taskmaster takes this slot.
36. Rhode Island – Spike Dudley
If you don’t like Spike Dudley, I’m not sure you “get” professional wrestling. What is there not to love about a five foot eight cruiserweight with 45 pounds to give and a penchant for hardcore wrestling? He may be the “runt” of the Dudley Family but he could have fit right in with the Curry Family in a pinch.
Debuting in ECW in 1996 and staying through until the bitter end in 2001, this pint sized pugilist made it all the way to the main event of 2000’s Guilty As Charged PPV where he faced Mike Awesome for the ECW World Heavyweight Championship. I don’t care who you are or what you think because if a promoter takes a performer of that size seriously enough to put them in the main event of a show you have to pay to see, then that sumbitch can draw money. Spike took bumps and put asses in seats guys legitimately twice his size couldn’t dream about doing even with The Sandman’s help.
Once in WWE, he kissed and made up and broke up with his half-brothers again before challenging for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against (fights urge to yell) Stone Cold Steve Austin. Do you understand the words that I am typing right now?
How much ten pound charisma do you have to shove into a five foot eight pound bag to be able to have creative want to put you in a match with the goddamn Rattlesnake for the big gold? I don’t know. Maybe the same amount of talent and presence one would have to have to be a credible eight time Hardcore Champion? Or maybe getting William Goddamn Regal to agree to lay down for the 1-2-3 and give up the European Championship? I could go on but then we’d have to talk about TNA and no one wants that.
That’s the power of wrestling. This man willed himself to greatness in the land of giants. Whenever I think I can’t achieve something, I simply think to myself, “I shall, I do.”
Honorable Mentions: Veda Scott, Fuzzy Cupid
This is Veda’s spot, but in the spirit of giving credit where credit is due to our more diminutive superstars, you don’t usually hear about someone getting legitimate heel heat and ending up with a 4 inch blade wound, but hell yeah Fuzzy Cupid. That’s Superstar Bill Dundee Level shit right there, my man.
35. Idaho – Torrie Wilson
Torrie Wilson was a legit fitness champion and won Miss Galaxy in 1998 before entering WCW by merely hanging out backstage and walking into storylines with Kevin Nash and The Nature Boy. Pretty impressive to simply be mulling about and to be so striking and in such impressively good shape that folks are like, “Hey, can Ric Flair have his picture taken with you?”
Now, I’m not going to insult your intelligence and say that Torrie was some great in-ring worker like she was a female Dean Malenko or anything but credit where credit is due: Trish Stratus and Lita were being forced to do cringe worthy bra and panties matches at the time too and I would like to think in this modern era, a former competitive high school track star might have enjoyed running the ropes and throwing down some arm breakers, you know? I would like to think that the Dawn Marie/Al Wilson angle isn’t something we would have to watch in the year 2017.
At least that’s my hope. Women’s wrestling has thankfully come a long way since Bikini Offs against Sable and if you’re talking about the biggest female wrestling superstars,Torrie Wilson is absolutely one of them. She’s certainly the biggest wrestling superstar from Idaho in a walk.
Honorable Mention: NOBODY.
I’m just going to go ahead and let you figure that out on your own because my research led me to a version of wrestling that involved “shame points” and I refuse to link to that.