Monday, July 20, 2015

1996 Lex Luger Was One of the Greatest Wrestlers Ever

One thing that never stops astonishing me is how great pro wrestling was. i just kind of assumed that I was a dumb kid who was easily amused. This is actually also true, but looking back on things, there were so many guys doing great things that I did not pick up on when watching it the first time around. Lex Luger is an excellent example of this as he is basically just remembered as just a muscled-up dude who was only important because he was the only muscled-up dude WCW had. He had a good look but offered nothing else. That is definitely not the case.

I think this is partly because of The Narcissist and Lex Express era in WWE when he never really was able to build momentum, although winning the 1993 Body Slam Challenge is a legendary accomplishment that still holds up today.

Still, instead of getting him a win over Yokozuna, they found some convoluted way to instead get the belt on Bret Hart while letting Lex Luger slowly fade away.

It looked like WCW was going to use him in the same way as he debuted on the first episode of Nitro and made an impact by...standing there?

Yeah, he just stood there. I guess he kind of looked around a little bit. It kind of took away from the impact when he did finally do something in protecting Hulk Hogan from the Dungeon of Doom. Then, he challenged Hogan, lost without ever having a real chance at winning.

But then something amazing happened. Lex Luger became the most inexplicable member of the Dungeon of Doom. This sounds terrible, but it actually led to the best stretch of Lex's career. He never really split from the Dungeon, but they kind of faded away from each other. Still, Lex Luger played the gutlees heel to perfection. There is no moment that better exemplifies this than this interview with him and Sting interacting with The Road Warriors. Everything Lex Luger says here is amazing.

Quickly, here are the four best things about Lex Luger this interaction.
4. "Stinger, tell 'em I'm from Chicago."
3. When the Road Warriors come out, Luger immediately gets behind Sting.
2. "If you want a Chicago Street Fight, you got it...what is a Chicago Street Fight anyway?"
1. "We'll pro wrestle you anywhere, anytime."

We'll pro wrestle you anywhere, anytime. We'll...pro...wrestle...you...anywhere...anytime. Every word is perfect. I will never stop laughing about that sentence. I would divorce my wife and marry that sentence. This may be one of the ten best promos of all time.

One time, he missed out on a title shot, because he got stuck in traffic and couldn't make it to the arena on time. He got another title shot the next week, so he camped outside the arena the night before to make sure he wouldn't miss it again.
He still lost, but at least he had plenty of potassium.

Still, that Lex Luger was putting together things like this and was still somewhat involved with the Dungeon of Doom sucked some ass, not any fault of Luger's though. I mean, just look at what he does during Road Block's Monday Nitro debut.

Luger did get him up on the third try, but I have a feeling he would have kept dangerously dropping the poor guy and shrugging his shoulders all night long if he had to.

Somehow, 1996 Lex Luger fulfilled all of the potential that one would assume when first looking at the guy. He always had the look, but he finally combined a perfectly realized character along with a hilarious worker who endangered jobbers for the entertainment of the fans. 1996 Lex Luger, you truly were The Total Package.

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