- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
ROWDY RODDY PIPER—The most contemptible of all wrestling heels. His prejudices are as unbounded as his mouth. The Bad Plaid was allegedly born in Scotland. Wears kilt into ring. Is hoot, mon. Reigning master of the stream-of-un-consciousness interview. When talking about wrestling, sounds like Robert Burns. "The first fight I had was just so I could eat. And as soon as they're finished with me, I'm a dead piece of meat." Says Hulk of archnemesis: "I don't know him personally, but I've heard his personal life isn't the greatest in the world. When you hate yourself, I guess you end up like Piper."
JIMMY (SUPERFLY) SNUKA—Born in Fiji Islands but left for America 20 years ago. "I took trip to Hawaii in a canoe, bruddah," Snuka says. "I just paddled over." Trip is 3,000 miles, allowing Snuka plenty of time to consider joining frequent-flyer program. In Hawaii entertained tourists by diving off cliffs. How high were cliffs? "Pretty high, bruddah." Now finishes off most matches by diving onto opponents from the top rope. Is why Superfly. In wrong business to be called Jimmy (the Dive) Snuka, anyway.
CLASSY FREDDIE BLASSIE—Manager. Also known as the Hollywood Fashion Plate because of ensembles he began wearing in the '50s. "Freddie Blassie looks like a drum major for a gay marching band," says fellow manager Heenan. Blassie insists Liberace "stole all his ideas from me." He may be right. "Lib has some lovely creations now," Blassie says wistfully. "I couldn't keep up with that. I always had to throw mine in a suitcase and go on to the next town." Major contribution to sport was coining the term "pencil-necked geeks." When still wrestling, had every rib on right side of body broken, five on left side—one of which just missed piercing heart. Lost right kidney, has only 30% vision in right eye, and seventh through 11th thoracic vertebrae are permanently fused. Has had last rites administered twice and has been stabbed at least 20 times by fans. Used to spend six hours a day at beach but has own tanning bed now. "I get skin cancer every three or four years," he says evenly. "They just cut part of me off and tell me to stay outta the sun." Slayed 'em in Tokyo in his wrestling days. "Twenty-seven people dropped dead watching me one week in Japan," Blassie says. "In my whole career 92 people dropped dead of heart attacks. My ambition was to kill 100, and I failed."
NIKOLAI VOLKOFF—On recent flight from Cleveland to Boston, plane's engines overheated, forcing emergency landing in Buffalo. When TV crews interviewing passengers got to Volkoff, he began shouting, "This never happen in Russia, only U.S.A." In March was rumored to have gone to Soviet Union to attend funeral of Konstantin Chernenko. "I told him to just sit still and one day he'll be in charge over there," says Blassie, who manages tag team of Volkoff and Iron Sheik. "Everyone that drops dead, Volkoff moves up a notch." Makes crowd sit through grinding rendition of the Soviet national anthem before every match.
THE IRON SHEIK—"The Sheik is a great wrestler," says Blassie, "but he's not all there." Wears Arabian Nights wrestling boots with curled toes. When Sheik stomps boots against mat, secret spring releases iron plate in toes, said to result in instant death for his opponents. Born in Teheran, was a member of the Iranian Olympic Greco-Roman team in 1968. Was supposedly bodyguard for Shah, but Sheik says he and Shah were just in same aerobics dance class, and now he's big fan of Ayatollah. Noted for his dreaded Camel Clutch—which is said to draw all the blood out of a victim's brain, assuming there is one—Sheik once reigned as heavyweight champ of the WWF, a fact that "disgusted the entire professional wrestling fraternity," according to an obviously disillusioned New York Times.
SGT. SLAUGHTER—Started as Marine Corps DI heel who threatened "punks and maggots" in stands that if he ever got them in his platoon he'd make them "kiss my combat boots." Became a babyface by taking on reviled minions of Communism and battling Iron Sheik in famed Boot Camp match. Now bills himself as "the greatest living American hero," distinction "living" in deference to the Duke. Does commercial for Statue of Liberty fund-raising drive. "There's only one lady in my life," says the Sarge, "and her name is Liberty." The Sarge defected from WWF stable in January, insisting he wanted a bigger piece of merchandising of his Cobra Corps paramilitary paraphernalia.
BOBBY (THE BRAIN) HEENAN—Manager, also known as the Weasel. Travels wrestling circuit over 300 days a year. Avoids being bothered on airplanes by pretending to be dead. Is happily married despite obvious strains of life on the road. "If he didn't travel 300 days a year I'd probably go insane," says Mrs. Weasel. "People think these guys aren't really crazy, but they are. My mother won't even come to visit us anymore when Bobby's at home. She can't stand the bedlam." Wishes he had started career wearing hood "so I could go to more normal events in the community, like church." Turn-offs: "I'm tired of seeing Big John Studd naked. Enough's enough."
CAPTAIN LOU ALBANO—Manager. Has pierced face, with rubber bands hanging from tiny rings and safety pins in left cheek. Once, after beating some tag-team opponents into submission with a whip, he purposely cut his arm and let them suck his blood. Now trains his charges on more conventional regimen of unborn goat's milk. Has been in three rock videos.
ANDRE THE GIANT—Drank 127 beers in Reading, Pa. hotel bar, then passed out cold in lobby. At 7'4" and 505 pounds—and rumored to be still growing—he was too big for hotel staff to move him. So they threw sheet over his body and used him as lobby art until he came to. Recently, in New York City, people started ripping his clothes off as he walked down street to French restaurant. Had to jump in police car to escape. At restaurant he and three friends ran up $2,700 tab. Frequently has problem with maids sneaking into his hotel room to photograph him while he's sleeping.
BIG JOHN STUDD—Carries around plastic sandwich bag containing locks of Andre the Giant's hair. Studd, the Weasel and tag-team partner Ken Patera actually cut Andre's hair while the Giant lay unconscious (in ring, not hotel lobby), thus "raping his dignity," according to Vince McMahon. How is Studd different from other wrestlers? "I'm 6'10", and I'm a natural blond," he says. Also, he's such a bitch.