Monday, December 9, 2013

Hulk Rules! Among Non-Wrestling Fans

Hulk Rules!
Photo by WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents

I've often wondered what wrestlers non-wrestling fans recognize.  I always assumed names like Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, and the Rock would top the list.  I was right, at least according to my very non-scientific Facebook poll on the subject.

I recently asked my friends who are not wrestling fans to name at least one professional wrestler.  For the most part, everyone who participated has never watched wrestling, only a handful watched it during childhood.

Forty-nine people responded, but keep in mind some of them offered multiple responses.  Not surprising though, 34 of them most  recognized Hulk Hogan.  No doubt he was the face of professional wrestling in 1980's, and had crossed over into main stream coverage with his role in Rocky III, as well as hosting Saturday Night Live, and his appearances on MTV.

Andre the Giant
Photo by WWE
"The Eighth Wonder of the World" Andre the Giant was a distant second.  He received nine votes in the poll.  Physically, there was no one bigger than Andre.  He of course had that crossover appeal too, from things like the Six Million Dollar Man, the Princess Bride, and Mickey and Maude.

Rock & Randy Savage
Photo by WWE
The Rock is the only semi-current wrestler to show up this high in the poll.  He and the late, great "Macho Man" Randy Savage tied for third with six votes each.  Obviously, the Rock has spent a lot of time in the public eye and is no doubt the most successful wrestler to make the transition to Hollywood.  He's still young enough and in shape enough to make yet another return to the ring much like he did in 2011.  I never thought he'd be back and win the WWE Championship, but we all saw that happen.  Savage too had that crossover appeal to an extent with his Slim Jim commercials.  His unique voice and flashy attire got him noticed by non-fans.  I think his death in 2011 also put him into the spotlight as it made main stream news.

Roddy Piper
Photo by WWE
Roddy Piper was next with three votes. I'd guess They Live helped put Piper in this spot. Several guys got two votes, including Ric Flair, The Ultimate Warrior, Jake "The Snake" Roberts, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and John Cena.  Technically though, Cena may get three votes, since one respondent referred to "John Mericena", which I assume is the current World Heavyweight Champion.  I'll be honest, I figured Austin would have factored higher in the count.

Someone who surprised me by not showing up in the poll, which may very well be a good thing in terms for the wrestling business is Chris Benoit.  For as much media attention the murder-suicide in 2007 garnered, I was shocked really that not one person brought up his name.  But again, less than 50 people responded.

The late, great Junkyard Dog
Photo by WWE
Since I know you're asking, here's the rest of the list:
The Hart Family (1)
Tojo Yamamoto (1)
Brutus Beefcake (1)
Shawn Michaels (1)
Junkyard Dog (1)
Chris Jericho (1)
Big Show (1)
Dick the Bruiser (1)
Jesse Ventura (1)
The Miz (1)
Bruiser Brody (1)

It's interesting to me to see the others on the list.  If you're one of the non-fans reading this (which I doubt), but hey, thanks for participating.  This was a fun "study" for me.

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