Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Wrestling's 10 greatest flag wavers

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

June 14 is Flag Day, so I figured what better way to honor the stars and stripes than with a post about the men and women of wrestling who have shown love for Old Glory. I know my post about veterans who are now wrestlers caused some hurt feelings on Memorial Day. One Facebook friend even unfollowed and blocked me as a result. I'm hoping this post isn't taken out of context or the wrong way. I just want to celebrate the American flag and honor those who wave it proudly in the ring.

Hulk Hogan
Courtesy: WWE

Hulk Hogan may go down as the most American loving wrestler in the history of the business. While some will argue Hacksaw Jim Duggan or Sgt. Slaughter, I don't ever recall Hogan turning his back on the USA and sympathizing for another country like Duggan did for Canada and Slaughter did with Iraq. None the less, Hacksaw and Sarge are up there in terms of their mostly loyal actions toward this great country. How could you go wrong with Hulk? His theme was Real American (originally for Barry Windham and Mike Rotunda) and he's strumming an American flag guitar.

Hacksaw Jim Duggan
Courtesy: WWE
Sgt. Slaughter
Courtesy: WWE

Cpl. Kirchner
Courtesy: WWE

When Sgt. Slaughter left WWE in the mid-80s he was replaced by Cpl. Kirschner. No knock to the Superstar, he just wasn't up to the Sarge's level. He carried on the love of country gimmick and even beat Nikolai Volkoff in a flag match at WrestleMania II. But he never had that same level of charisma Slaughter had. The connection with the fans wasn't there either.

Kurt Angle
Not sure if this is TNA or WWE
Kurt Angle represented the U.S. in the 1996 Summer Olympics. He won gold with a broken freakin' neck. He's a real American, a tough guy and a man's man to boot. Angle's love of country and gear to prove it makes him a no-brainer for this post.

Lex Luger
Courtesy: WWE
Lex Luger tried filling Hogan's patriotic void after the Narcissist gimmick fell flat. Personally, I always thought Luger was a better heel, but I can't blame a guy for trying. The flag waving gimmick just didn't seem to work for Lex though, but I don't completely blame him for that.

The Patriot
Courtesy: WWE
The Patriot started off showing his love for country in Global. It wasn't long before he wrestled for both WCW and WWE. For whatever reason, the gimmick never soared like many thought it should have. Perhaps in a different era, it would have had a better result.

"Farmer" Billy Hills
Courtesy: Tom Harness
The picture above is one of my favorites of "Farmer" Billy Hills. You can't see his face in it, but Farmer is a star on the Stride Pro Wrestling and Cape Championship Wrestling rosters. In Stride, he's one of the most popular talents you'll find. He carries the flag to the ring with him and the fans adore him for it.

"We the people..."
Courtesy: WWE
Jack Swagger is another real-life athlete who made the transition to pro wrestling. His nickname in WWE was the All-American American. Even though he spent most of his time as a heel, he still showed fans he loved the United States. At one point, he even employed Vietnam veteran Zeb Coulter as his manager.

John Cena
Courtesy: WWE
And last but not least, John Cena. He too is a guy who never turned his back on his fans or his country. While he doesn't always wave the flag as part of his gimmick, he has pulled out the stars and stripes from time to time much to the delight of fans.

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