I’m fearfully typing this on my phone next to a finally asleep five month old . I’m terrified writing about wrestling will make me so pumped up I start fist pumping the air and wake him up. But when @The Natural asks about a Favorite Fifteen Wrestlers list, I’m willing to risk it all. If the baby cries, I cry. God give me strength and guidance to make it through this ramble. Have a guardian angel watch over me while I write about who leaves the best bloody marks on their opponents chests and how I enjoy how someone gets launched into the turnbuckle. This won’t be a PWO style GOAT List (one I’m slowly accumulating and hopefully am confident enough to submit in the appropriate year) but one of my preferred aesthetic and sheer blissful enjoyment of the derp that gets my derp derped. What does Octopus enjoy? What puts a smile on Octopus’s face? What makes Octopus derp? Why is Octopus speaking in the third person? For one, my autocorrect still doesn’t think I’m about to type Octopus. This is a problem Octopus must face head on and Octopus will address what Octopus needs to address. Octopus , are you kidding me it still isn’t doing it.
Bryan Danielson - A part of me wants a cooler retro worker in my top spot. Someone from before I was born that I can point to and look deep. Like someone who had accordion folders in middle school instead of color coded folders with a different color representing a different class. Red was often Math, yellow history, green science, blue was likely English but a part of me recalls having a black folder. Could black have been science? But alas, my folders were multiple and not conveniently together to better prepare me for the real word of adult organization.
I love a good grapple. Not the flashy kind that will lead to dazzling rolls and intricate well choreographed flips (although both those are lit), I want my grapple to be earned through rigorous struggle. Constant uncomfortable repositioning of the hands against another man’s neck and pushing your head against theirs. Danielson, even often as a smaller worker, feels like he earns every moment. I watch him and I see earned legitimacy.
And for a fun note, he can fit in any role he is asked to play. Cocky or arrogant heel, comedy fella, intense killer, delusional heel, Hogan-style comeback baby face, technical wizard, fiery underdog, long hair, short hair, medium hair, buzz cut, beard, clean shaven. The world is his oyster. Because that’s literally all the world is.
Andre the Giant - Yes, I would like a peanut.
A big part of what I enjoy most about wrestlers is the eyeball test. Who do I realize I am following the most in the multi man matches. Even in one on one affairs, is there one specific worker I am glued to. Andre, as his name implies, is a giant. I can’t look away from him. His is a spectacle. Arguably the greatest spectacle. Naturally, I will look. But I come to this diner for the large man and I stay for the everything he does in the ring. Even when he was older and immobile, when he was on, he had this way of using his size and presence in a way felt like everything he did mattered. He wasn’t just a giant. He was Andre.
Ultramantis Black - All hail the Order of the Neo Solar Temple.
I can endlessly watch his promos and I giggle at his hijinks. “Ooooohhhhh” just how he says that makes me smile. His mask his cool, he leads a hilarious faction, he once beat a cow by distracting it with grass. All the makings of an Octopus all time favorite.
Super Dragon. There was a YouTube MV of Super Dragon murdering fools to a Wu-Tang - Rage Against the Machine mix. Teenage Octopus watched that regularly on repeat.
I still think of PWG in terms of 04-05 when it was filled with Excalibur jokes, Scorpio Sky in a mask, Chris Bosh & Scott Lost peeing on buildings, and Super Dragon looking intimidating in the background.
Kenta Kobashi. Chop chop chop.
The GHC run is so great. I sometimes keep the YouTube link of all the matches on in the background while I’m working on something.
I enjoy the fiery young Kobashi with his pillar friends, but older king of the castle Kobashi is my bread and butter. I love his smile and his chops, if I haven’t mentioned them yet. I enjoy how giving he is in matches when he could easily pull rank on the Nakajima’s of the time.
He’s a arcade style side fighter. In the current world of exciting flips and super kicks, he was the previous gen game where you spammed the strike to get the combo for the best results. Within the context of the world created, his chops are the right play to make.
Nick Bockwinkel - maybe the king of the eyeball test.
I just follow him with my eyes across the ring. Every kick, grab, reaction, taunt, step, smirk, worried look, cheap shot, rope break, etc is just preformed so perfectly to the moment. Everything I’ve seen him in he is just so easy to watch. He could easily be the GOAT or even top 3 the more I watch and enjoy him.
Giant Baba - Best torso in wrestling.
Terry Funk - Read everything I said about Bockwinkel but include that he has the best floppy selling. He’s literally a dog falling off a couch.
Akira Hokuto - Thanks @Jiji !!!
Fuck, she is so cool. I’m just enthralled with everything she does the the ring. I buy into Akira’s selling, her offense looks deadly. She just oozes charisma.
Negro Casas - once again read everything I wrote about Bockwinkel.
When I was running the kit line at Lubetech, I would jump on the assembly line with my Dominican friend (his English wasn’t great but we would drink after work and laugh and joke with each other) and I would put wrestling on my phone as we were putting bottle of lubricant in the kit boxes. Usually AEW clips but I’d do Lucha so he could tell me what was being said. We both liked Negro Casas.
Low Ki - The first time I saw a tree of woe double stomp…
Changed my life. It was the There Will Be Blood in the theaters moment for my rejuvenation of wrestling obsession. A flame relit from when I was a little stinker pretending to be the Rock.
He’s in a few of my favorite matches. I love his match against KENTA and his onslaught against the Necro Butcher.
I haven’t been paying attention to his MLW run but I loved him in ROH.
Yoshiaki Fujiwara - If Lesnar and your friend’s dad had a baby.
I’m still new to Fujiwara but I’m pretty obsessed with him at the moment. I watched him some a year or so ago and I knew he was special but it just didn’t click. Now I’m digging him. So legitimate, such a badass.
Samoa Joe - I’m getting tired of typing. I’m a little tired from all the hamburger helper I ate and I had a Miller or two.
You see, my trick with Hamburger Helper is I do it with hot Italian sausage. I season with cumin and cayenne. Then with the simmering of the powder shit with the noodles I add more cumin and cayenne along with a touch of paprika, pepper flakes, and chili powder. Then just before all the noodles suck in the derp I add a bit of cinnamon.
Yeah, Samoa Joe is great.
Toshiaki Kawada - What a guy.
Reread Akira Hokuto. Both have been in plenty of my favorite matches.
Ugh, this Hamburger Helper is hitting me.
El Satanico. Fire Pants for life. Long live fire pants.