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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Defying The Odds
December 3, 2006 by Andrew Rudd


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The odds were stacked against them but they defied all the odds and walked out champions. Some even just stole the fans hearts.

They are the wrestlers who really care about the business and would do anything to achieve their dream. These are the wrestlers who defied all the odds.

We start off with the "heartbreak kid" Shawn Michaels. When Shawn Michaels won the Royal Rumble in 1996, fans knew that the "heartbreak kid" was just one step closer to achieving his boyhood dream. Fans even kept faith for WrestleMania 12 when a 60 Minute Iron Man match was announced. The match went into over-time, and eventually HBK walked out the winner and the boyhood dream had come true. Michaels even defied the odds in 2002 to create a comeback never to be forgotten, winning the World Heavyweight Championship at Survivor Series 2002, less than three months after coming back from a career threatening back injury.

Coming back from an injury where you had to lose or forfeit a title is difficult, but Kurt Angle also did this, winning back his WWE championship from Brock Lesnar, finally regaining what he had lost through injury.

Just like HBK, Benoit won the Royal Rumble eliminating of all people Big Show. Benoit was expecting a 1-on-1 match with Triple H, but then HBK signed up. Eighteen years of hard work, from Stu Hart's dungeon to WM 20, looked like it was going out the window. At WM 20 itself, to make matters worse, HBK and "The Game" teamed up to put Benoit through a table. Yet the fans knew that when Benoit had Triple H in the Crippler Crossface, that Triple H was going to tap. 18 years of hard work had all been worth it in one submission. Winning the Royal Rumble in 2006, Rey Mysterio stole the hearts of the fans by entering at number two and winning it. When Orton entered the match at WM 22, it looked as if that emotional finish to the end of the match would have to be put on hold. Although he did tap in the match, he ended up walking out the champion in the end becoming the lightest World Heavyweight Champion of all time.

No one expected Ric Flair to become IC champ at 56 years old, let alone wrestle again after his career threatening back injury. Yet this is what happened when Flair made Carlito submit at Unforgiven 2005. He also defied the odds to win the 1992 Royal Rumble and become WWF champion. Flair's win as IC champ has had fans and critics asking 'is age a factor in wrestling anymore"'. In the hardcore ranks of age and odds defiance, Terry Funk entered ECW at the age of 53. Many thought he would fail, but defied the odds to win the ECW Heavyweight Championship and still have amazing muscles and wrestling talent at 62. On the other sides of the questioning of age, Randy Orton defied the odds by becoming IC and World Heavyweight Champion by the age of 24. He thoroughly deserves the title of 'Legend Killer' and nearly defeated 'Taker at WM 21. Even just being one of the longest reigning IC champions makes him an odds deifier.

John Cena has made a career out of defying the odds, from turning around a best of five series for the U.S. title to winning a TLC match against someone who had never lost that match. There is no doubt that most of the WWE fans have taken Cena into their heart and helped him defy the odds. Lou Thezs meanwhile lasted seven decades of wrestling and died an absolute legend; hecame the youngest Heavyweight Champion of all time at 21 years old - one of the greatest odds deifiers of all time. Personal reasons meant that Eddie Guerrero cheated death and lost his family due to drugs and drink. Thankfully, things improved and he won his family back, even becoming the first Latino champion since Pedro Morandes. Perry Saturn also deserves praise. While retired from wrestling in 2004, Saturn saw a woman getting raped, and bravely fought the attacked. He also then witnessed a strange pain in his neck. He had been shot four times and ended up needing a few metal plates in his neck, deservingly a hero to all.

Finally, Zach Gowen is an example to every wrestler. Despite only having one leg, Gowen attempted a wrestling career. He is today part of TNA's roster and he has bravely never let his disability get in the way of his career.

They've all defied the odds, in one way or another, earning the fans respect as a result. But I wonder who the next superstar to defy the odds will be.

by Andrew Rudd..


Fred Riley wrote:
I personally really enjoyed reading this column because in wrestling i find nothing more satisfying than seeing an underdog who deserves a title, win the title. A great example of this is my second faveroute wrestler Raven whom you didnt mention. He has possibly the most intriguing charcter in the whole of TNA and does a brilliant job of representing fellow dark, intelligent, outcast types as well as overcoming many real-life and character based personal problems. Most people may complain about titles being constantly won by the generic, 6 foot 5, angry body builder types but i find this makes it all the more satisfying when the underdogs with real talent and character do actually win.
Adam Taplin wrote:
You pick up some good points in your article, but you seem to get ridiculously confused between what is real and what is kayfabe. Yes HBK 's comeback from what many people thought was a career ending injury has been pretty much remarkable. Anyone who watched him for the first time now would probably not believe that for a four year period it was questionable whether he'd wrestle again.

However, John Cena coming back to win a the best of five series against Booker T isn't quite as remarkable, as it isn't real.

Similarly, Flair still wrestling today, and to the standard he does, given is age can be viewed as remarkable. Him winning the Royal Rumble in 1992 is not so remarkable, for the same reasons.

I think your column would have benefitted had you stuck to either real life comebacks or kayfabe ones, instead of confusing two.
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