The 411 Wrestling Top 5 12.05.12: Week 198 – Top Comedy Wrestlers
Hello everyone and welcome to 411 Wrestling’s Top 5 List. What we are going to is take a topic each week and all the writers here on 411 wrestling will have the ability to give us their Top 5 on said topic, plus up to three honorable mentions.
So, on to this week’s topic…
5. Chuck Taylor – It’s been awhile since I’ve seen a Chuck Taylor match, as he hasn’t appeared too much for PWG this year and I’ve lost track of Dragon Gate USA, EVOLVE, and, most regrettably, CHIKARA this year. But his brand of comedy is very unique and the things I’ve seen him do in CHIKARA are downright hilarious. Scaring kids, invisible grenades, and the way he sells frustration are all things that make Chuck Taylor a top comedy wrestler in the world right now. He also does a fantastic job of switching the comedy on and off, but you can always tell that he’s having fun, even as the only comedy heel on this list (unless you still count my next pick as a heel).
4. Daniel Bryan – The man has found the perfect balance between comedy and legitimate main event star. I don’t know how, but he did it. His body language is perfect, and similar to my number one pick, he incorporates unique wrestling moves into his set to be funny — go watch the match he had against Tyson Kidd on Saturday Morning Slam a few weeks ago. The spot where he rolled himself up into an unpinnable ball was hilarious.
3. Kenny Omega – Kenny Omega was involved in my favorite comedy match of all-time against Bryan Danielson at PWG 100. Omega’s energy just makes everything he does hilarious, and he lifts a fair amount of his moveset from video games. He’s one of only a handful of guys I think the WWE/NXT roster is missing to truly have the best available talent in the world. I know it’s been talked about to death on this website, but if you haven’t seen Omega’s match against DDT’s resident blow-up doll/wrestler YOSHIHIKO, it’s really worth seeking out.
2. Santino Marella – Before the Honk-a-Meter, Santino was on everyone’s “likely to be future endeavored” list. But then the WWE just let him be funny and now I can’t imagine the WWE without him. If you want proof of how over Marella is, just watch the last few minutes of the World Heavyweight Championship Elimination Chamber match from earlier this year. He is molten over with the crowd (largely kids, but the adults love him too), and that’s because his humor has allowed him to actually CONNECT with the crowd. This power walking, Cobra-socking, air-trombone-playing goofball is the pinnacle of comedy wrestling…in the mainstream.
1. Colt Cabana – Cabana’s schtick mixes self-aggrandizing comedy with being a better chain wrestler than his opponents. He does sequences that look a little goofy but it’s literally just him “playing with his food” so to speak. Cabana is the only guy who makes me look forward to his matches against jobbers because they’re so light-hearted and enjoyable. It baffles me that he isn’t in WWE right now because with the appeal to kids, no one could be better at it than Colt Cabana. The window was wide open last summer, too. Hopefully that career-making move happens in the near future, because Colt has the best comedic timing with his actual moveset than any wrestler on the planet.
HM. Les Kellett – Comedic legend from the golden age of British Wrestling. If I was more familiar with his work he would be an easy addition to the top five.
HM. William Regal – I don’t recall a fully fledged comedy match featuring Regal, but his magnificent facial expressions and dry, cutting wit on commentary earn him an honorable mention.
HM. Larry Sweeney – Whether leading out his eccentric Sweet and Sour Incorporated Stable or challenging small children to arm wrestling matches, Sweeney could always be relied on to bring the humor.
5. Kikutaro – Generally, Japanese comedy wrestling doesn’t appeal to my sense of humor, but Kikutaro is a very honorable exception to that rule. His imitations of various other wrestlers are rarely anything other than hilarious, and even as plain old Kikutaro the man knows how to draw laughs. Just Googling pictures of him make it perfectly clear that this guy won’t be cutting super-intense promos and dropping opponents on their heads in the ring, but the man otherwise known as Ebessan never fails to raise a smile, and definitely deserves a mention.
4. Daniel Bryan – Daniel Bryan isn’t most renowned for his humor, but when he does let his sillier side run free, its a joy to behold. His recent teaming with Kane on Raw has been one of the show’s bright spots recently, and his appearance in the Summerslam 2012 music video was a serious contender for the greatest moment in wrestling history. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who followed him on the independent scene. Bryan interspersed some hilarious moments in with his hard-hitting wrestling clinics, including the infamous, delightfully odd ‘Hybrid Dolphin’ promo with Paul London, and an acerbic put-down to a critic in a Sandman shirt. Right now, Bryan is too good in the ring for me to want to see him always trying to bring the funny, but perhaps later on his career, if his body breaks down to the point where he can’t deliver the level of action we’re used to from him, it would be good to see him turn take inspiration from my number three pick and turn his considerable talents in a more light-hearted direction…
3. Mick Foley – Mick Foley. What a man. In 1998, Foley was in a quandary. He had put himself through unimaginable pain for his art, and had been rewarded with crowd reactions that bordered on indifference. A change was needed, and Mick decided that change would feature him being monumentally silly on a regular basis. It worked brilliantly. While the humor in his ECW run isn’t to be glossed over, Mankind’s late nineties work deserves to be primarily acknowledged for the way it launched his career into the stratosphere, and also provided some of the few moments of the Attitude Era that still holds up today. It’s unsurprising he has found success as a stand up comedian in his post-wrestling years; Foley’s affable nature, tremendous comic timing and occasional refusal to take himself seriously has made him into one of the funniest wrestlers in history.
2. Colt Cabana – Wrestling comedy becomes approximately ten billions times more amusing when the participants approach it with enthusiasm, and no one takes more joy in making mirth in the ring than Colt Cabana. Sometimes, it’s to his detriment; there have been a handful of occasions where Cabana has rather spoiled supposedly intense encounters by trying to shoehorn in laughter. Most of the time, however, ‘Boom Boom’ is one of the funniest acts in wrestling. His physical comedy evokes memories of the aforementioned great Les Kellett, while his quick wits have been used many a time to befuddle an opponent in fantastically funny fashion. Cabana’s unique brand of anarchic silliness has made him one of the most recognizable and popular acts on the independent wrestling scene; second only, in fact, to my number one pick…
1. Archibald Peck/Mixed Martial Archie/RD Evans/The Mysterious and Hand… wait, that guy could be anyone, forget I even mentioned it – It is hard for me to put into words how much I adore the comedic stylings of Archie, but I’ll try. Nobody else on this list has portrayed such a diverse range of side-splittingly funny characters; in fact, he’s been so many different people I don’t really know what name to call him by. But whether he is the dead-on MMA parody that is Mixed Martial Archie, scheming lawyer R.D. Evans, or just Archibald Peck, the loveable Leader of the Band, Robert Evans is always, always on point with his humor. His match with Chuck Taylor this year featured three of the funniest spots in professional wrestling history, (Archie’s complete lack of confidence in the early going, the two stopping the match to take pictures of each other, and Peck’s attempts to perform a top rope move) while his portrayal of Mixed Martial Archie was a marvelous riposte to the joyless shoot fight pandering of the likes of Davey Richards. If he was the Mysterious and Handsome Stranger in Chikara at the moment (WHICH HE PROBABLY ISN’T OF COURSE) I would point to his delightful Dusty Rhodes homage and commitment to his pet bird Sapphire as further examples of his comic genius. Evans is a magnificently talented man who deserves all the credit I can muster; if you like a little bit of your wrestling on the silly side, you must check him out at all costs.
5. Chuck Taylor Like my number two pick below, I’m amazed the big leagues haven’t snatched him up. This guy takes indie wrestling to a wild new dimension with such antics as trying to bribe opponents with loose change in his tights, scream in pain after accidentally slapping himself and, of course, the slow-motion grenade throw. Taylor knows that fans pay for a good time and he gives them one, no one realy caring if he wins or loses, it’s the great laughs he brings that counts.
4. Eric Young TNA may take him a bit far but Young is still a great comedian. His early stuff being paranoid at his own pyro and “don’t fire Eric Young” were great as was his insane “Super Eric” phase. Now, he’s got the gimmick of a wild man who undoes his pants in matches, the crowd liking him all the while as he does his best to make them laugh. Pairing him with ODB just increases the act as Young is a showman to the core and one fans just love to watch go nuts.
3. Al Snow He’s had some stuff as a “extreme” worker but everyone knows him best as the nut ball with the head. The way he throws himself into the act is great, keeping it up with wild antics, selling himself as a nutcase of the highest order. To me, his best work was as the European Champion where he’d come out every week “honoring” a different country: Dressing up in lederhosen for Germany; coming out to “Grease” music for Greece; and thinking Hong Kong was still a British colony. Brilliant work for a brilliant guy to get you into a great comedy act.
2. Colt Cabana: If you haven’t watched a Colt Cabana match, you just won’t get the fuss about him. How neither WWE or TNA has signed him up is beyond me, the guy is just damn funny as hell with his antics in the ring. He’ll poke fun at opponents, get into discussions with them mid-match, take wildly exaggerated bumps and, my all time favorite, drag an opponent outside the ring to brawl, see a “No fighting in gym” sign and decide the match is over. He may be going a bit more seriously lately in NWA but to watch him wrestle is to see a guy who loves the fun of it all and is more than ready to show it all off.
1. Santino Marella I may hear it about putting him at number one but the fact is that Santino gets more honest-to-God laughs than most anyone else on the roster today or in the past. The man is an absolute master, so totally at home as this goofball idiot that you’re sucked into it. He has no shame, doing everything from dressing in drag to taking hits and physical humor on a par with Buster Keaton in his prime. From his “tea party” with Sheamus to singing “We Are the Champions” to dressing in goofy costumes, Santino throws his all into his act, always a highlight of a show and the key reason he’s lasted so long with WWE as he can make almost any segment watchable just by himself, a trick so few can pull off.
5. Danshoku Dino – Oh Japan, batshit insane doesn’t even start to describe your comedy. Speaking of batshit insane, DDT star Danshoku Dino has taken the gay gimmick to a point where I think no one thought it ever would be. Implementing some of the weirdest twists to his moveset, Dino, intentionally or not, has made gay wrestling extremely funny.
4. Eddie Guerrero – Was he a pure comedy wrestler? Of course not. Was he funny as hell at some points? Definitely! The lie, cheat and steal gimmick had some of the funniest moments. Whether it was Eddie hitting someone with the belt and laying down acting like he got hit, the over the top promos, or just Eddie being Eddie. Guerrero was a tremendous wrestler, and at times a comedic genius.
3. Mick Foley – From Hardcore Legend to freaking comedy act. While personally, I prefer the Hardcore Legend, it’s impossible to not enjoy Mick during his lighter times. Throw in someone like Edge and Christian with him, and you have comedy gold.
2. Mr. Niebla – When you think “The Black Plague” you think death and chaos, in CMLL, the Black Plague, or La Pesta Negra is a stable that consisted of Felino, Negro Casas, among others, and their leader Mr. Niebla. Instead of death and chaos you get over the top goofball antics, dancing and an extreme emphasis on being one dirty mofo. Mr. Niebla has bee able to mix comedy and straight up wrestling very well. As opposed to other luchadors that are either a comedy act or a wrestler. His association with other wrestlers has even rubbed off on them. While Negro Casas and Felino, are as serious as wrestlers come, their time in La Pesta Negra has shown a new side to them. Now Mr. Niebla on the other hand, is either as heel as you can get, or, well I’ll let the video speak for itself.
1. Colt Cabana – This one is easy! Who else makes it look so damn easy, has some of the funniest and most enjoyable matches, and can outwrestle damn near anyone? Not to mention the guy is so damn down to earth. He does the occasional standup show, and has a great podcast. When it comes to the ring though he has an encyclopedia of funny moments, one of my favorite Colt Cabana matches occurred on ROH Glory by Honor V: Night 2 when he was in a 3-way with Jimmy Jacobs, and Christopher Daniels. Colt kept on setting up Daniels for a double team move, have Jacobs fly at him, or something, and move at the last second, then give Jimmy Jacobs a quick “What are you doing?”. As close to watching a live action Looney Tunes cartoon as possible.
5. Dude Love – Comedy wrestler is such a imprecise term to label someone. If you have a worker that just plays it for laughs you’re never going to get far. A comedy wrestler, I mean a great comedy wrestler should be able to get the crowd laughing one minute then getting the same crowd behind him rallying for his comeback like he’s a legit threat. Mick Foley has always been able to walk that line and add layers of comedy in the seriousness of the main event. Mind you, having a total of three alter egos certainly helps and the Dude Love persona is certainly a crown jewel for Foley’s goofy side. From the terrible jive-talk, the tortured strut and the ever awesome finisher Sweet Shin Music, the Dude could make you smile and enjoy. We’ve all read about the Dudes run with Owen Hart and the joy Foley took in making popcorn angels in the middle of the ring with the sole purpose of making Steve Austin break character. I really wish we could have seen that…
4. Colt Cabana – I once heard Cabana on a podcast talking about his days with the WWE and part of the perks of working for The E is that you can request any matches of the archive and get it on a comp tape. Colt proudly boasts he may have every midget match ever put on in Madison Square Garden in his personal collection. He’s never had the goal to be the best wrestler ever but he does want to be the guy that makes everyone smile. The fact he has such an easy charm and charisma about him and he doesn’t make any noises about being a tough guy mucks him unique in wrestling today. He may be the best untapped talent going around and would have been an awesome foil for C.M Punks straight man if the WWE have had any foresight.
3. Bobby Heenan – Arn Anderson has always said about Bobby Heenan that he could replace any man in wrestling but no one could replace Bobby…he was that damn talented. There a precious few others in the history of wrestling that could play the role that Heenan perfected it was the mans willingness to play the fool and show massive ass. Remember this was the man the made Greg Gagne a serious threat in the AWA by having a weasel suit match. Think about it…he gave a guy credibility from working a match that involves stuffing one man into an animal suit for humiliation purposes. Even on commentary he was awesomely funny with the highlight being he calling of the Royal Rumble where Ric Flair won the WWF Title. He road every twist and turn like it was death hearing him rally and fall with Flair’s own performance was without peer.
2. Jerry Lawler – I often think that Lawler may be the most under appreciated worker of the last 40 years. This man can get you believing anything in the ring from the sublime to the ridiculous. He’s the type of worker that is all but extinct in that he can work to any crowd you have and get them responding the way you need. As a comedy wrestler he is almost without peer and the fact he can work this style effectively as both a face and heel and adjust his work to suit is a master class in how to be a true worker. When Jerry hangs up the tights the art form that he practices will be all but extinct from North American wrestling.
1. Santino Marella – He may be the best comedy wrestler in history. That’s not bluster. How good is he? His presence single handedly saved the Smackdown Elimination Chamber match earlier this year and the reaction he managed to get from the crowd and getting them to believe he may actually walk out the World Heavyweight Champion is impeccable work. What makes him so great is the little touches like crossing himself before a big move which always makes me laugh. It means nothing to a match but adds oodles of character to a guy that will never be a great wrestler but a tremendous comedy worker. We a blessed to live in the Age of Santino!
List your Top Five for this week’s topic in the comment section using the following format:
5. CHOICE: Explanation
4. CHOICE: Explanation
3. CHOICE: Explanation
2. CHOICE: Explanation
1. CHOICE: Explanation