As a kid growing up, my favorite sport to watch on Saturday mornings and Monday nights was wrestling. If it wasn’t WWF, it was WCW. If it was neither of those, I’d have to sneak in ECW late night on low volume so my parents wouldn’t hear me up so late.
In elementary school, everyone had their favorite wrestlers and most of them were white. We all had white favorites because they seemed to be the only ones on top (not because of color). The Black and Latino wrestlers always seemed to be middle of the road and were portrayed in a very stereotypical light. Think of the Godfather being a Pimp. Faarooq being the leader of a Black Panther esque group in the Nation of Domination. Kamala being portrayed as a man who couldn’t speak and was made to seem as if all Africans were like him.
All this continued until The Rock came along. At first, he was Rocky Maivia and just a regular wrestler who was on the undercard most times. But things changed in year three or four of his career when he became the first African-American star to grab the title of #1 wrestler in the world. He had charisma, the ladies loved him, and his finishing moves were popular. Many will claim that he isn’t Black or that being light skin helped him out (the latter I won’t deny), but on a grand scale, he helped pave the way for other Black wrestlers to receive their necessary shine. For these wrestling federations to give a Black wrestler a shot at being the face of their brands was huge
In saying all this, I thought I would dedicate some time to a list of (in my opinion and in no particular order) the “Top 10 Greatest Black Wrestlers Of All-Time.”
Feel free to disagree with me or add any people you think I may have forgotten.
#1 Booker T
I remember Booker T when he was with Harlem Heat in the mid 1990’s. He has come a long way to become a world champion in the WWE numerous times. I remember when he called Hulk Hogan the n-word by mistake with Mean Gene Okerlund interviewing him. Classic stuff!
#2 Koko B Ware
If there is one wrestler Black folk love to remember and make fun of it’s Koko B Ware. Not only was his getup a bit strange, but he also carried a parrot around. God did the WWE and other wrestling federations try to make us look bad.
All in all, FLAP THOSE WINGS!
#3 Junkyard Dog
I wasn’t old enough to see Junkyard Dog, but I remember seeing clips of him body-slamming the sports biggest stars. He is said to be one of the toughest and strongest wrestlers to ever compete period. He walked with a metal chain around his neck and crawled on the floor like a dog.
May he rest in peace.
Clip: Tribute to Junkyard Dog
#4 Ice Train
If there is one thing you can say about Ice Train, was that he was as hard as a block of ice and rarely ever melted.
Clip: Giant vs Ice Train
#5 The Rock
“Do you smellllllll…what The Rock…is cooking?”
That was The Rock’s catchphrase every time he ended an interview or a match. The Rock was by far my favorite wrestler of all-time and the funniest ever in my opinion. I mean, can you really top the People’s Elbow?
Three words: “Pimpin Aint Easy!”
Clip: Godfather vs Golddust
The former football player for the Univ of Miami became a wrestler and a damn good one. He headed up the Nation of Domination and also played plenty of different characters.
#8 Mark Henry
The world’s strongest man. Big Mark Henry went from being a bad guy with the Nation to “Sexual Chocolate” with the ladies.
Clip: Mark Henry vs Goldberg
We all knew him for never being able to talk and tapping his tummy all the time. He had a series of classic matches with the Undertaker.
Clip: Kamala vs Undertaker
#10 Mr. T
The man who many believe was the first to make the jump from wrestling to the mainstream. He went from the mat to Hollywood red carpets and big screens.