wrestling / Columns

Ask 411 Wrestling: Is The Undertaker on the Mt. Rushmore of WWE Wrestlers?

September 8, 2023 | Posted by Ryan Byers
The Undertaker Farewell Survivor Series WWE Image Credit: WWE

Welcome guys, gals, and gender non-binary pals, to Ask 411 Wrestling. I am your party host, Ryan Byers, and I am here to answer some of your burning inquiries about professional wrestling.

If you have one of those queries searing a hole in your brain, feel free to send it along to me at [email protected]. Don’t be shy about shooting those over – the more, the merrier.

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Everybody loves to see a question from Tyler from Winnipeg:

Is the Undertaker being on WWE’s Mount Ruthmore a given?

No, because even though he had a legendary career that 99% of wrestlers should envy, Undertaker was never really the guy to carry the company, which in my mind is a prerequisite to be on a wrestling promotion’s Mt. Rushmore.

WWE’s Mt. Rushmore is really Bruno Sammartino, Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, and the Rock.

JonFW2 is still trying to find himself:

In the mid-90’s, WWE had TWO performers who wrestled in the same era as three distinct characters who were never acknowledged as being the same performer.

They were Glen Jacobs- as Isaac Yankem, Fake Diesel, and of course Kane; and Fatu- as Fatu (in various incarnations), The Sultan, and Rikishi.

Who else has wrestled for the same company as three (or more) different characters who were never acknowledged as the same performer?

There’s quite a few of these, actually. I’m sure that I didn’t make a comprehensive list, and readers can feel free to add to this in the comments.

Bill Eadie immediately comes to mind. In the 1980s WWF, he was originally a contender to Bob Backlund’s championship as the Masked Superstar. A couple of years later, he went from Masked Superstar to Super Machine in the faux Japanese Machines stable. Finally, the very next year, he put on some studded leather and became Demolition Ax. Also, though not nearly as prominent or well remembered, he did have two matches between his Masked Superstar and Super Machine runs as Bolo, which was the name he used when he was one of the Mongols in NJPW, Crockett Promotions, and other non-WWF territories.

Speaking of Demolition, let’s talk about Randy Colley. He was Moondog Rex in the WWF for many years, wrestling one match as masked enhancement talent Dr. X during that run. He was then the original Demolition Smash for a handful of matches before being replaced by Barry Darsow, reportedly because he was too recognizable as a Moondog. After that, he put on a mask and wrestled as the Assassin, shortly thereafter being placed in another tag team called the Shadows alongside former Conquistador Jose Luis Rivera.

Oh, that reminds me, Jose Luis Rivera wrestled under his own name, as a Conquistador, and as a Shadow.

Another contender: Steve Lombardi. He wrestled for many years in the WWF under his real name before becoming the Brooklyn Brawler, though that gimmick change doesn’t count for these purposes because they were acknowledged as being the same person. However, in subsequent years, he would transform into Kamala’s handler Kim Chee, striking baseball player Abe “Knuckleball” Schwartz (also briefly known as MVP), a Doink, and a one-off appearance as the Black Knight at the 1993 Survivor Series.

Steve Keirn was another Doink in the WWF, he was also Skinner, and he even had a couple of matches for the WWWF under his given name in the late 1970s.

Finally, you’ve got the Headbangers. In addition to that gimmick, they were the Sisters of Love for a time on Shotgun Saturday night, and they wrestled a handful of WWF matches, including one on an early episode of Monday Night Raw, a the masked Spiders, which was their regular gimmick on the indies before becoming the Headbangers.

It’s also worth noting that in some instances these multiple gimmicks not recognized as the same person initially but then gain recognition retroactively. For example, Shinobi, Avatar, and Leif Cassidy were never acknowledged as being the same person until Al Snow introduced the Head/JOB Squad gimmick in ECW and part of the character became frustration with his prior booking. Something similar happened in latter day WCW with Barry Darsow, where his Krusher Kruschev, Blacktop Bully, and Mr. Hole in One gimmicks were kept separate initially only to later be portrayed as a multiple personality disorder of sorts. (Darsow, of course, was also Demolition Smash and the Repo Man in the WWF, though WCW obviously couldn’t use those names.) Dolph Ziggler was also kept separate from Kerwin White’s caddy Nick Nemeth and Nicky of the Spirit Squad for a while, though they were eventually brought up when Ziggler’s opponents wanted something to hold over his head.

Shaun is the only person to turn his back on the Wolfpac without winding up in a body bag:

Why has there never been a Kevin Nash WWE DVD released?

My assumption is that it’s because every Kevin Nash match worth watching was against somebody who made a better subject for a DVD, like a Bret Hart or a Shawn Michaels.

That being said, even though there was never a WWE DVD focused on Nash, WCW did release a VHS tape called Kevin Nash: The Outsider in 1999 which featured clips of his matches from the nWo debut through his January 4, ’99 bout against Hulk Hogan.

Sadly, the tape did not include anything from his runs as a Master Blaster or Vinnie Vegas, which I guess ties back into the prior question about multiple gimmicks.

Did you hear the one about Craig?

Does the Jeff Hardy versus Sting match from the 2011 Victory Road PPV hold the record of having the shortest PPV main event (last match of the card) to date?

Long-time readers of the column will know that I strongly disagree with the erroneous notion that the last match on a card is automatically the main event. However, I’ve written about that enough and don’t feel like going into it again here.

That being said, Sting/Hardy is not the shortest final match of a pay per view. I have not cataloged them all, but one I immediately thought of which was shorter was Hulk Hogan versus Yokozuna in the closing match of Wrestlemania IX, which saw the Hulkster pin Yoko for the WWF Championship in just 21 seconds.

Meanwhile, the showdown between the Stinger and the Inebriated Enigma has an official match time of 1 minute, 28 seconds.

Aaron is busting my brain:

I hope you can clear up some things about my favorite tag team, the Midnight Express.

In the summer of 1988, Jim Cornette starts talking about challenging Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard for the NWA tag titles. One day, I’m watching one of the syndicated shows when they say the Express won the titles. According to Wikipedia, they won them at a house show on September 10. Arn and Tully soon showed up on WWF television, so I presume they lost just as their contracts expired. But Wikipedia also says there was a Clash of Champions on September 7.

First, why did the titles change on a house show and not national TV? Second, a bootleg video of the match on YouTube shows the Express winning despite Bobby Eaton being the illegal man. Why not a clean win if Arn and Tully were leaving?

The reason that Anderson and Blanchard didn’t drop the championships at the September 7, 1988 Clash of the Champions is twofold. First off, they weren’t booked on the show, so you would have to have changed the planned card to get a tag title match on it. Second, nobody knew there was any potential need to change the card to do the tag title match on it, because, as of September 7, 1988, nobody knew that the two wrestlers were leaving the company.

“But wait,” you might say, “wouldn’t management know there was a chance of them leaving because their contracts were getting ready to expire?”

Oh, you sweet summer child.

This was actually still in the era where iron clad, guaranteed talent contracts in wrestling were not universal. Anderson and Blanchard’s contracts were not getting ready to expire because they didn’t HAVE contracts that could expire.

The fact that they didn’t have contracts was actually part of the reason they departed. According to Anderson and Blanchard on an episode of the Conrad Thompson-hosted ARN podcast a couple of years ago, they had a lot of frustrations with Jim Crockett Promotions at the time, one of which was that they saw key talent getting locked up in guaranteed deals as the Crocketts prepared to sell the company to Ted Turner (thereby creating WCW) and nobody bothered to offer them one.

According to the same podcast episode, after getting good and pissed off at the promotion in the days after Clash of the Champions, Tully told them that he was leaving and that they had a choice. They could either have him lose the titles on September 9 in Houston or they could have him lose the titles on September 10 in Philadelphia. The promotion opted for September 10 in Philadelphia, and the rest is history.

To sum it all up, the title change seemed abrupt because it was abrupt and brought on by the fact that the promotion was effectively given the choice of doing it on the spot or never being able to do it at all and having to vacate the straps.

Moving on to the second part of Aaron’s question, I cannot find any explanation as to why the titles changed with the illegal man getting the pin. I can only guess that, because this was a house show match that was never meant to see the light of day, the wrestlers just weren’t paying that close of attention to who was legal.

Big Al can punt a baby like nobody’s business:

One of the worst angles in WWE history was when Gene Snitsky debuted in 2004 and hit Kane with a chair causing him to fall onto Lita and causing a miscarriage. I was disgusted by this but wondered if Snitsky was supposed to be main roster talent after that or he did just become as “popular” as he did because of the angle and his catchphrase “it wasn’t my fault?”

According to an interview that Snitsky did with WWE.com for a 2014 “Where Are They Now?” article, he was not intended to be a part of the main roster after his initial appearance. He was supposed to head back to developmental and, in fact, the choice to use him on the next episode of Monday Night Raw was so last minute that he couldn’t get a commercial flight and the company’s private jet had to be chartered for him instead.

BA is taking some big swings:

I want to know the following by decade. I am asking you so use your best, preferred definition of “best.” Also, use your best definition of a decade. Are the 1900s 1901-1910 or 1900-1909? Your choice.

Who is the best wrestler of the 1900s?

Frank Gotch

Who is the best wrestler of the 1910s?

Joe Stecher

Who is the best wrestler of the 1920s?

Ed “Strangler” Lewis

Who is the best wrestler of the 1930s?

Jim Londos

Who is the best wrestler of the 1940s?

Jim Londos

Who is the best wrestler of the 1950s?

El Santo

Who is the best wrestler of the 1960s?

Verne Gagne

Who is the best wrestler of the 1970s?

Harley Race

Who is the best wrestler of the 1980s?

Ric Flair

Who is the best wrestler of the 1990s?

Steve Austin

Who is the best wrestler of the 2000s?


Who is the best wrestler of the 2010s?

Hiroshi Tanahashi

Who is the best wrestler (so far) of the 2020s?

Roman Reigns

We’ll return in seven-ish days, and, as always, you can contribute your questions by emailing [email protected]. You can also leave questions in the comments below, but please note that I do not monitor the comments as closely as I do the email account, so emailing is the better way to get things answered.