What’s in a name?
Well, a lot, actually. Our society tends to focus on last names, as rich people leave all of their money to their children, then those children leave all of their money to their children, & the cycle continues. Your last name determines your starting point, which in today’s America seems to be all that matters. Born on third, think you hit a triple. Born in the dugout, and you’ll probably stay there. Not to be overly negative, but that’s just the way it is.
The first name matters too. Certain first names pop up in history over & over again at certain points. How many Georges have run countries over the years? Too many to count. France had seventeen different guys named Louis as King. Even more ridiculous than that: the idea that sixteen different Popes went by the name Benedict. Especially since that name went kaputski here in America after the whole Benedict Arnold thing.
Which first name do you want if you want to make it big in wrestling? Here are the Top 5!
If you want to talk Rob, we’ve got Conway & Van Dam. Robbie has a solid rep in Brookside. Robert has the Southern cred with Fuller & Gibson. The real force behind this name comes from the Bobs. Armstrong, Backlund, Holly, Orton Sr. & Jr. & Roop were all hard men. Men who could whoop any locker room today. Then we got the Bobbys. Lashley & Roode are big in today’s WWE, then there’s legends like Duncum & Eaton. We all know Bobs & Robs, and they’re all pretty tough.
If you’re in wrestling and your name is Jim, you’re destined to be in management. Jim Barnett, Cornette, Crockett Sr. & Jr., Herd & Ross were all strong backstage voices during the 20th century. Brunzell & Neidhart were part of top notch tag teams, and we can’t forget about Duggan & Powers or legends like Breaks & Londos.
Then we have a litany of Jimmys. We got a Garvin, a Hart, a Valiant & an Uso. Not to mention Del Ray & Snuka. Remember the period of ROH when Jimmy Jacobs, Rave & Yang were all on the roster? I’m pretty sure they had a triple threat match at some point. J. Dillon & Father Mitchell opted for the full name treatment, as did the immortal James Ellsworth. Oh, and there’s also Jamie By God Noble.
To be honest, there aren’t a lot of wrestlers that straight up went with “Edward”. Edouard Carpentier is as close as we got to that. But if you look at the wrestlers named “Eddie”, you’ll see a line of absolute legends. Eddie Graham had one of the best territories down in the state of Florida. Eddie Gilbert was a master of working the smart fans before people knew that was a thing that could be done & was worthwhile. Eddie Guerrero is one of my favorite in-ring performers & characters ever. Eddie Edwards has broken out of the shadow of the American Wolves. Eddie Kingston has been one of the best promos in wrestling over the last decade.
When it comes to wrestling, you’d have to take Team Edward over Team Jacob.
When you think of wrestling workrate gods of the 1980s, three names come to mind: Ric Flair. Ricky Steamboat. Ricky Morton. Those three alone are enough to push the Richards towards the top of the list. Rick Martel, Rude & Steiner were also top notch. We can’t forget Dicks like Beyer, Murdoch, Slater & the Bruiser, but I see a lot of dead weight & jobbers that keep the Richards from taking the top prize.
Honorable Mention: Christopher
One of my fondest memories of the Attitude Era is Jim Ross continually mixing up Chris Benoit & Chris Jericho. (New Japan fans whining about him mixing people up…it’s nothing new, fellas.) When I was a kid, Christopher was a very popular name. It’s been the name of a lot of pro wrestlers over the years. But with the exception of men like Jericho & Voldemort, most of the other Chrisses are pretty forgettable. I’ll give Daniels & Kanyon some credit for being good, but most of the others weren’t worth remembering. OK, Chris Harris was good, but his WWE persona wasn’t. And I don’t think we include people named Christian.
Honorable Mention: Michael
There are so many Mikes in the business it’s ridiculous. Most of them are pretty blah, but there are fellas like Quackenbush, Rotundo & Sharpe that brought some honor to the name. Michael Elgin & Hayes brought some credibility to the full name, even if Cole took away some of it. Mick Foley also brings some respect to a rarely used variation of the name. Unfortunately, the name’s too easily associated with second generation wrestlers like Graham & Von Erich to put it any higher than this.
Honorable Mention: Mandy
Any name that can claim Rose & Leon deserves mention here.
Yup. I can already hear people whining & moaning about me putting my own first name at the top of the list. It’s true that there aren’t as many Steves as there are some of the other names on this list. But when you’re talking about quality, my fellow Steves take the cake. First off, there’s Stone Cold Steve Austin, the biggest WWF star of the 1990s. He couldn’t use his original last name of Williams because Steve “Dr. Death” Williams was a big star here & even moreso in Japan. Over in WCW, you had Steve “Sting” Borden holding things down as the Franchise. Before William Regal became a thing in WWE, Lord Steven Regal was quite the aristocratic snob & WCW Television Champion.
Steve McMichael was a Horseman. Steven Richards led the bWo & RTC. Steve Corino was part of the Network, the Group & S.C.U.M. Stevie Ray was one-half of Harlem Heat & leader of the nWo B-Team, and then you had the Lethal Weapon Steve Blackman, who was a group all by himself.
Indeed, the Steves are the only group that can top this list.