Monday, December 15, 2014

Sensational Sherri Is the Greatest Woman in Pro Wrestling History

Pro wrestling, as a whole, has never been very progressive when it comes to its treatment of women. Even today, "Divas" are unimportant at best and are usually seen as a nuisance. Very few women have been able to rise above that level, but there are a few outliers. The Fabulous Moolah was probably the first, Trish Stratus and Lita managed to do it during the Attitude Era, and AJ Lee has had her moments as well. As great as these women have been, for my money, there's nobody that can top Sensational Sherri.

She was a manager that mattered. She was able to increase the importance of who she was managing while still letting the wrestler be the star. Her best run was definitely in the WWE where she took over Miss Elizabeth's role as Macho Man's manager and somehow kept pace with Macho Man during his promos. That alone makes her a Hall of Famer, because Macho Man was the most amazing combination of charisma, creativity, and insanity.

Macho Man would be the star in any pairing, but she added to the reasons to boo the man who was then known as the Macho King. After getting sent to the curb when Macho King lost a retirement match to the Ultimate Warrior where Savage reunited with Miss Elizabeth, she became the original singer of the greatest wrestling theme music of all time, "Sexy Boy," as she managed Shawn Michaels.

Everybody remembers HBK as a guy who was amazing in the ring and compelling outside of it, but he had to work up to that point. He was always good in the ring, but he got better when he became a singles star and had to put on full matches consistently. On the mic, he was pretty weak early on. He kind of reminded me of Dolph Ziggler in that you could see the potential, but there was something that was just a little off where he didn't quite get the reactions that he should have. Sherri truly was Sensational as the crowd absolutely despised her and she brought Shawn up a level as his manager.

Although her WCW career did not always keep her in the main event scene, she made a pretty amazing impact at her debut at Clash of the Champions. It was a mystery who she would be supporting, and it wasn't until the main event where she came out in Sting face paint to show her support for WCW's top babyface in his match to unite the World Titles against Ric Flair. Late in the match, Flair pulled Sherri in front of him and Sting accidentally hit her. Sting was concerned, and Flair rolled him up for the pin. She then revealed that her and Flair were in it together all along. Sting got mad, Flair cheapshotted him, and Sherri leg dropped his nuts. Hulk Hogan came out to restore order, but Sherri slapped him in the face and escaped the ring before he could do anything about it (Side note: The entire time that Hogan was in the ring with Sherri, Jimmy Hart was screaming "Hit her" into his megaphone. That probably wouldn't fly today). Overall, it was a pretty awesome performance from the woman who was now known as Sensuous Sherri.

Just as impressive as her ability to help elevate the person she managed, her ability to get her ass kicked during matches and just bounce back like she was a legitimate fighter meant that she was on her own level as a woman in wrestling. She would take bumps from the likes of Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, and the aforementioned Sting, but that would just knock her down, and she wouldn't magically go unconscious for an hour like most women in wrestling. She got back up to cause more havoc. She was strong enough to choke Hogan during matches, and she actually got credit for hurting men instead of just distracting them. Hell, she even jumped off a cage in WCW to deliver a double axe handle to Hogan. After that, she handcuffed Mr. T, but then took an uncomfortable amount of offense from Hogan. It was pretty rad.

Sherri Martel had many nicknames through her time in pro wrestling, Sensational and Scary being the most notable. And both of those were fitting. The latter, because she could actually do damage to those who opposed the wrestler she managed. And the former, because she was likely the greatest woman in the history of wrestling. She truly was Sensational.

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