Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Wrestlemania of Football II

oBy Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger

Last year I blogged on Super Bowl Sunday about the NFL's relationship with the world of professional wrestling.  I cited a few examples, William Perry at Wrestlemania 2, Lawrence Taylor at Wrestlemania 11, and Mongo McMichaels time in the squared circle with WCW.  You can read the first part by clicking here.  I've decided there's been enough football/wrestling related stuff to make this an annual tradition.

Payton prevents HBK from interfering
SummerSlam 1994 came to us from the United Center in Chicago.  The WWF brought in legendary football player Walter Payton to be in the corner of Razor Ramon.  Ramon was challenging Diesel for the Intercontinental title.  The Bad Guy had lost the title to Big Daddy Cool earlier in the year, in part due to the interference of Shawn Michaels.  Payton was brought in to help keep things fair in the match.  And Payton did his job.  He ended up keeping Michaels at bay for the most part, preventing HBK from getting involved.  But towards the end of the match, Shawn got in while the referee was pushing "Sweetness" away from the ringside area. Michaels then accidentally super kicked Diesel, allowing Ramon to regain the title.  The champ and the NFL Hall of Famer and former Chicago Bear celebrated in the ring after the victory.

Mongo vs. White
Slamboree 1997 featured a battle between two former football stars.  Reggie White stepped into the ring against Mongo McMichael.  If you read last year's post, I have no love loss for Mongo.  I couldn't stand him on the mic during his commentary days on Nitro, and I didn't care much for his wrestling.  Still can't believe he was a member of the 4 Horsemen, but I digress.  This was White's one and only match, and he came up on the losing end after McMichael's used a briefcase to beat the NFL great.  White had previously been involved in the LT vs. Bam Bam Bigelow match at Wrestlemania 11 a couple of years earlier.  He was in LT's corner, along with Mongo ironically enough.  The match wasn't horrible considering it was White's first venture in the squared circle.  I commend him for getting there, because it's not as easy as it looks.

Chief Wahoo McDaniel
Wahoo McDaniel played for the Dolphins, Jets, Oilers, and Broncos.  He was traded to the Chargers late in his career, but never actually played for them.  Instead, Wahoo started his wrestling career.  I remember watching him in his later days in the ring.  He battled the likes of Nikita Koloff, Ric Flair, and Tully Blanchard.  Wahoo held the U.S. title, Mid Atlantic title, and multiple other championships in his career.  After he retired from in ring work, I recall him appearing in the corner of Tatanka or being involved in some kind of storyline with him in the WWF.  This might have been after he Tatanka turned heel and Wahoo and Chief Jay Strongbow were trying to appeal to him to disassociate with Ted DiBiase.


Of course that's just the Cliff's Note version of Wahoo's career.  On more than one occasion I thought he'd beat Ric Flair for the NWA world heavyweight title.  I remember watching him wrestle in person once in St. Louis.  Dick the Bruiser and Wahoo engaged in an all out fight in the ring that night.  I think Wahoo had briefly turned heel at the time of this slugfest.


Sadly, all three of these football players are no longer with us.  But their contributions to the world of both wrestling and the NFL will not be forgotten.  May they all rest in peace.

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