Patriotic gimmicks and xenophobia in wrestling go back as far as racist stereotypes and misogyny. Everyone knows the most patriotic wrestlers of all time — “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, Hulk Hogan, and of course, The Patriot — all fought for wins, championships, and Old Glory. There were other unsung heroes who fought for the red, white, and blue when they were in the ring, however. Here are some of wrestling’s most surprisingly patriotic wrestlers.
“The Nature Boy” evokes many things — great promos, beautiful women, and a whole lot of world titles, but America is not usually one of them. During 1985, Flair would call out everyone in the NWA. This included the Koloffs from Russia.
In a series of interviews, the NWA World Champion would talk about the great opportunities in America. He talked about his big house and even offered the Koloffs jobs. This all led to a match between Flair and Koloff at The Great American Bash ’85.
Not as surprising or forgotten as Luger would like it to be, I’m sure. As the Total Package, Luger showed occasional flashes of brilliance. When he debuted in the WWF, he was introduced as The Narcissist, a gimmick that had potential, but unfortunately for Luger, it went nowhere. Instead, the natural heel was turned face, given a bus named the Lex Express, and slammed the 550 pound Yokozuna (after a tirade that would not fly today). Vince McMahon wanted another Hogan and instead did not even get a Hacksaw. Still, Luger was never prouder to be an American.
The Fabulous Rougeaus
The smarmy heel who is obnoxiously over the top in their “efforts” to be a good person is a classic shtick in wrestling. It’s easy heat and can be a fun character when done right. One of the best examples was when Jacques and Raymond Rougeau turned heel. As faces, they were a technically sound, if incredibly bland team. Once they relocated to Memphis, Tennessee, it was as if they were injected with personality. They extolled the virtues of America and came to the ring waving tiny American flags.
How well did it work? It made Gorilla Monsoon go on an anti-immigrant rant at WrestleMania V. It also birthed one of the greatest theme songs in WWF history. And what’s more American than celebrating the pros while overlooking the cons?
There was a time when Steiner could make an argument for being the best wrestler in the world — I still dream of Steiner in his prime taking on Kurt Angle in his. Much like the Olympic hero, Steiner saw his career derailed by nagging injuries. Also, like Angle, Steiner could cut a hell of a promo. He has reeled off some absolute classics that even non-wrestling fans can appreciate. One of his best moments was when he debated Christopher Nowitzski about American military involvement in other countries.
It ended predictably, but not before Steiner botched the word “terrorism” a few times, insulted the Dixie Chicks and Hollywood, and compared France to Hell. As the old American saying goes, “Nothing is finer than Scott Steiner.”
He may have been a replacement for the injured Tatanka, but the Undertaker teamed with Lex Luger and the Steiners (Scott defending America’s honor, yet again) at the 1993 Survivor Series. Call it a stretch if you like, but the name of the team was the All-Americans. (I would argue that it would even be stranger to have a Native American than an undead whatever-Taker-is on the team.) Their opponents were the Foreign Fanatics — even if half the team was born in the United States.
While the future American Badass wore his normal garb to the ring, there was no mistaking his love for his country when he first joined the team. He was instrumental in eliminating the evil Japanese (by way of San Francisco) WWF Champion, Yokozuna. The WWF still celebrates the occasion and put videos about the time the All-Americans defended the honor of their country.
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