OK, so I'm bored again and I was thinking about whether or not Mick Foley is the elite of the elite, and what does that actually mean. In baseball, the elite of the elite talents get described as 5-Tool players. That thought made me ask, what would the 5-tools be for wrestling? Once we figure that out, who are the 5 tool players?
Here are my 5 Tools
Star Power - Hard to define, but we all know it when we see it. This is what separates the Hulk Hogan/Ric Flair/Steve Austin/The Rock's of the world from the John Cena/Shawn Michaels/Bret Hart/Roman Reign's of the world. All of them are stars, but the first group has something intangible that makes them shine a little bit brighter than the second group.
Character Work - This is related to both #1 and #3, but is it's own category for a reason. Think about someone like Ted Dibiase (why is he fresh on my mind I wonder?). I haven't seen much of his Mid-South work that most people seem to think is his in-ring peak. I've watched pretty much his entire WWF run in the 80s-90s, and don't really remember any of his matches as being anything great. I do remember his character work. I remember him challenging the kid to dribble the basketball and then kicking it before he had to give up any money. I remember him cackling like a crazy person while calling everyone broke. I remember the beard, the goofy suits, and all of that shit. He played that character as well as anyone has played a wrestling character in my life. He was a good to great worker, but he was a masterful character.
Mic Work - Wrestling is still the carnival, and nothing gets asses in seats more than a guy who can cut a killer promo. "Austin 3:16 says I just whipped your ass" sold way more T-shirts than Steve Austin's wrestling did. You might get the hardcore fans to tune in with a great match, but a great promo can get people who would never think about watching a wrestling match.
Psychology - I know people probably think this should be included in #5, but hear me out. Psychology is not just what you do, but why you do it. What if Steve Austin all of a sudden decided he was going to do a cartwheel out of the curtain when the glass broke? That wouldn't make any damn sense, because there is nothing Stone Cold about cartwheels. Psychology is the thing that ties everything else together to make them work. I don't care how good the character is or how good the matches are, no one is going to get over if they don't come together to connect with the crowd.
Ring Work - The least important of the five tools is ring work. If you are an average worker with all the other tools, you'll probably be fine. Hulk Hogan's biggest run happened despite being pretty average in the ring. Hulk Hogan was a star, with a character who caught fire, who could talk you into the building, and make you believe that saying your prayers and eating your vitamins could take you to the WWF Championship. He didn't have to be a great worker, everything else could carry him as long as he didn't embarrass himself in the ring.
So, who are my 5 tool wrestlers? Give me Ric Flair, Randy Savage, Steve Austin, and Daniel Bryan (He's the only person since Austin/Rock who I think could have started a boom...then his head went boom).