10 people. The 10 best and brightest African-American stars to ever grace this industry. I figured that if I wrote two pieces a week about the greatest black professional wrestlers ever throughout the month of February, then that would give me eight articles. Which lead me to…..10 men, with the inclusion of one three-man group. Everyone may not agree on these choices, but they are my choices and I picked them based on whom I thought were the most influential black professional wrestlers throughout the past and present of this industry.
I could have gone with people like the first-ever black world champion in pro-wrestling history, Bobo Brazil.
Or I could have chosen the first ever African-American WWE Tag Team Champions, Tony Atlas & Rocky “Soulman” Johnson.
I even could have chosen one of the fathers of “hardcore” wrestling, Abdullah The Butcher. (albeit a man of….questionable moral fiber)
But I didn’t. All of the men listed above, and many more pioneers that I have not mentioned, simply laid the groundwork for the African-American professional wrestlers of today. Through their bravery, hustle, and innovation, they made it possible for a black man to succeed in this business and make something of himself. Black men just like the ten that I have chosen to write about over the course of this month. I chose to focus on those that came after, those who took what these men sacrificed so much to give them and who made something out of that sacrifice. That is why, to me, these ten men are the ten greatest African-American superstars in the history of professional wrestling, and the 10 men whom I will be writing individual pieces about throughout the month of February. Cheers!
Booker T. Huffman: 5-Time WCW World Heavyweight champion, former World Heavyweight Champion of WWE, 2006 King of The Ring, WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2013.
Ernie “Big Cat” Ladd: 9-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion, WWE Hall of Fame Class of 1995.
The Junkyard Dog: WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2004.
“The Worlds Strongest Man” Mark Henry: Former ECW Champion, Former World Heavyweight Champion of WWE.
The New Day: 2-time Raw Tag Team Champions, longest reigning WWE Tag Team Champions of all-time.
Ricochet: PWG Battle of Los Angeles 2014 winner, NJPW Best of The Super Juniors 2014 winner.
Ron “Farooq” Simmons: 3-time WWE Tag Team Champion w/John “Bradshaw” Layfield, former WCW World Heavyweight Champion, WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2012.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson: 8-time WWE Champion, winner of the 2000 Royal Rumble.
So there they are. I will be posting bi-weekly, every Friday and Monday.
As always, follow @SuplexesSpandex on Twitter for news updates from the wrestling world along with articles and reviews written by yours truly!