Friday, July 24, 2015

Famer Friday: Lex Luger

Lex Luger
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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Earlier this year, on the My 1-2-3 Cents podcast, Chad and I discussed the one person not in the WWE Hall of Fame that we feel should be.  I picked "Ravishing" Rick Rude and Chad picked Lex Luger.  I agree with him on his choice.  Luger's in ring work gets criticized a lot and his connection to Elizabeth at the time of her death is often brought up, but I think his history in the business speaks for itself.  For the record, Lex was ever only charged with drug violations and Elizabeth's death was ruled an accident.

Luger first caught my eye in the Apter magazines when he broke into the business in Florida.  I'd say he was the most physically gifted wrestler I'd seen up to that point and I knew it would be just a matter of time before he was wrestling on the national scene.  His early days in the NWA included a stint with the Four Horsemen.  I liked this version of the group better than the original, as Lex's youth and strength would replace an aging Ole Anderson.

Championship run
Courtesy: WWE
It didn't take long for The Total Package to embrace the cheers of the faces and feud with the Horsemen.  I still can't believe Lex didn't beat Ric Flair for the NWA World heavyweight title at The Great American Bash in 1988.  I was 0 for 3 that night as Sting and Nikita Koloff failed to capture the tag titles and Dusty Rhodes was beaten by Barry Windham in his quest for the U.S. title.   I thought Luger's redemption would come months later at Starrcade, but a cheating Flair came out on top.

The Narcissist
Courtesy: WWE
Lex would eventually have a run as WCW World heavyweight champ.  It was short-lived as he left the company and signed with Vince McMahon's new World Bodybuilding Federation, but a motorcycle accident sidelined him and the WBF quickly folded.  Months later, Luger would take on the persona of the Narcissist after being introduced to fans by Bobby "The Brain" Heenan.  I wish the two would have stuck together as I loved the gimmick.

Battling Yokozuna
Courtesy: WWE
But I think Vince was looking to fill a void created when Hulk Hogan left the WWF for good in 1993.  A month later, Luger body slammed the massive Yokozuna and embraced an all-American gimmick, traveling the country via the Lex Express preparing for a WWF World title match at SummerSlam '93.  Again, Luger was screwed out of the top prize, but continued his feud with the champ.  Yoko beat Lex by disqualification in his final attempt at the gold at Wrestlemania X after a bad call by special referee Mr. Perfect.

The Allied Powers
Courtesy: WWE
Luger worked in tag team matches with Davey Boy Smith before leaving, but I thought this duo would win the tag team titles.  I was wrong again, as gold was never in Lex's future in the WWF.  He would return home to WCW and have a couple runs as champ there again.  


His life took a major turn after he injured his neck and ended up temporarily paralyzed as a result.  I had a chance to meet and talk with Lex in 2011, along with Nikita Koloff.  The two have found Jesus and are spreading His message.  Lex had also mended fences with WWE and was working behind the scenes with the company.  I hope that at some point the two sides work together again and Luger takes his rightful place in the Hall of Fame.


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