Brett Favre

Great Moments In 1980s Heel History

As Brett Favre prepares to offer up one of the great double-crosses in sports history by basically turning his back on Packer fans by playing for their hated nemesis, it is only proper to honor the 10 greatest bad guys of the 1980s in pro wrestling; and providing NFL counterparts in the process. Why the 80s you ask? Easy. I’m a child of the 80s. Deal with it.

10. Big John Studd

  • The Skinny: California big man who feuded with Andre the Giant and Hulk Hogan throughout the mid 80s in the WWE under the guidance of the evil Bobby “The Brain” Heenan.
  • Current day NFL equal: Philip Rivers. Much like Rivers, Studd’s bark was often bigger than his bite. He never won a world title but was one of the meanest heels in history
  • Defining Moment:  One of the trademarks of the uber popular Andre was his long brown hair. In a 1984 tag team match, Andre and S.D. Jones teamed against Studd and “The World’s Strongest Man” Ken Patera. Looking to leave his mark on the big Frenchman, Studd and Patera did some cutting and strutting.

9. The Koloffs

  • The Skinny: Evil Russians that ran roughshod over the NWA in the early and mid 80s. Uncle Ivan, who defeated Bruno Sammartino for WWWF belt once upon a time, tormented numerous fan favorites including Dusty Rhodes and Magnum TA.  Nephew Nikita was the brute of the duo, abusing the Rock n Roll Express and the aforementioned Magnum.
  • NFL equal: Ronde and Tiki Barber. Both duos were disruptive forces but for different reasons. Tiki was a nuisance to the Giants before retiring while Ronde was equally annoying to opposing receivers.
  • Defining moment: While the Koloffs played a critical role in another incident on this countdown, they were at their dastardly best in 1985 when Nikita attacked announcer David Crockett, who kind of asked for it.

8. Don Muraco

  • The Skinny: Muraco was a vicious heel, who enjoyed great battles with the likes of Tito Santana and of course, Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka. Managed later by the sinister Mr. Fuji, Muraco was one of the greatest Intercontinental champions of all-time.
  • NFL equal: Troy Polamalu. A ferocious hitter, who was a key component to a championship product.
  • Defining moment: For some reason, while the country advanced in race relations over time, wrestling was a bit behind the curve. Numerous heels used somewhat edgy/racist lingo to help sell an angle. In this interview, Muraco, who acted like he had just stepped out of a bar minutes earlier, ran down Tito Santana and Jimmy Snuka. The badmouthing of Snuka led to quite the mess.

7. Ole Anderson

  • The Skinny: A part of the original Minnesota Wrecking Crew and an architect of the dreaded Four Horsemen, Anderson was an ornery man. He wasn’t blessed with great wrestling ability but few heels were as strong on the stick as Anderson. His drew the ire of many foes over the years including most notably Dusty Rhodes.
  • NFL equal: Ray Lewis. They both left a lot of broken bodies in the dust. Part madman. Part motivator. You wouldn’t want to deal with either one of these guys in a dark alley.
  • Defining moment: While many would point to the infamous 1986 parking lot beatdown of Rhodes, another Dusty whipping will do just fine here. Back in 1980, Rhodes was set to face The Assassins in a steel cage with Ivan Koloff as the special guest referee. He sought a partner in the form of his longtime enemy. Yep, guess what happened. By the way, this is one of the most underrated aspects of wrestling in the good old days. The writers made the face characters extremely gullible. Extra brownie points in this spot for Ivan Koloff who throws a shout out to Anderson via satellite.

6. Tully Blanchard

  • The Skinny: He was the proverbial straw that stirred the drink for the Four Horsemen in the mid to late 80s.  He was involved in mega blowups with Rhodes and Magnum T.A., which led to the epic I Quit match in Starrcade ’85. Amongst the Horsemen, most of the group was booed but occasionally received a cheer. However,  Blanchard drew the ire of fans consistently because of his prickly manner. He was good and he did not mind letting you know.
  • NFL equal: Wes Welker. Other than Brady, Welker is the most valuable player on the offense. Who would catch all of those third down balls? Not Moss. Blanchard’s value to the Horsemen was equal to that of Welker for New England. He made the group far more unpopular.
  • Defining moment: See, people point to that I Quit match, but some forget what happened weeks AFTER that match. Blanchard was upset with his “personal” valet Baby Doll for being absent over the past few weeks. Blanchard decided to fire her and did so in very forceful fashion. Purely, an awful guy. Again, another building block in the construction of the Horsemen.

5. Andre The Giant

  • The Skinny: After being “undefeated” for 15 years and one of the world’s most popular wrestlers, the seven foot plus Andre got fed up, joined the Heenan family and decided to challenge his former best friend Hulk Hogan to a world title match at Wrestlemania III.
  • NFL equal: Peyton Manning. Both were mega stars and secretly funny. However, there was another star always overshadowing them just a bit (For Manning – Brady/Andre – Hogan).
  • Defining moment: His time as a heel wasn’t all that lengthy but it was damn sure effective. Watch in awe as Andre tells Hogan it is time to man up and defend the title.

4. Ted DiBiase

  • The Skinny: He went from a good wrestler with the UWF to being one of the most memorable heel characters of all-time. His distinctive laugh added on more heat as if torturing little kids and having his bodyguard Virgil clean his toes on national TV weren’t enough. Perhaps best known for buying the WWE title from Andre the Giant after he defeated Hulk Hogan during their famous NBC match in 1988.
  • NFL equal: Dan Snyder. The Redskins owner has tried multiple times to buy a championship via free agency but it failed. DiBiase successfully bought the title from Andre after he “surrendered” it but his scheme fell apart thanks to WWE president Jack Tunney.
  • Defining moment: Andre and Hogan never had an official televised rematch following their Wrestlemania III tilt until February 5, 1988 when Hulkamania finally was stopped in its tracks. The evil DiBiase expressed his desire to buy the WWE title and eventually used the huge Frenchman along with twin referees to get it done.

3. Kevin Sullivan

  • The Skinny: Devious wrestler who masterminded plots to eliminate Dusty Rhodes and steal Jimmy Garvin’s valet Precious. Sullivan enjoyed the demonic side of his character; often painting his face, abusing women or walking around with odd looking people.
  • NFL equal: Bill Belichick. While Belichick doesn’t paint his face or believe in devil worship, both shared a strong ability to overmatch and outwit the opponent mentally.
  • Defining moment: During the winter of ’82, Sullivan was determined to get rid of Dusty Rhodes from Florida by hook or by crook. In a loser leave town match, Sullivan enlisted the help of “Santa Claus” to take down Rhodes.

2. Randy Savage

  • The Skinny: Managed by the lovely Miss Elizabeth, Savage was part great wrestler, part psychotic over his relationship with Elizabeth and at the end of the day, insane. Hated anyone who dared to look at Elizabeth or potentially “lust” after her. He nabbed the world title twice and an Intercontinental title as well.
  • NFL equal: Terrell Owens. Both were crazy, paranoid, and could snap at a moment’s notice. While T.O. doesn’t have an Elizabeth, he does have himself who he loves very much. Owens had a bad relationship with Donovan McNabb and Tony Romo; while Savage feuded bitterly with Hulk Hogan in the late 80s.
  • Defining moment: This might be the greatest heel turn in wrestling history. Everyone saw it coming but the setup for it was amazing and they did a good job subtly portraying Hogan as the guy who loved Elizabeth “like a sister” but his feelings were misinterpreted. The scene was the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on NBC’s The Main Event. Savage accidentally fell on Liz during a tag match. Hogan carried her back to the emergency room; hence, violating the bro code. Never leave your wingman.

1. Ric Flair

  • The Skinny: The greatest wrestler of all-time. He was a far better heel than a face. As much as he talked about women, money, and clothes, it was next to impossible to root for someone like that. When he went into jerk mode, few were as annoying. The loud-mouthed, brash NWA champion tangled with good guys from one side of the globe to the next.
  • NFL equal: Tom Brady. Substitute Flair’s mouth for Brady’s play because that is where Lord Thomas does his talking. Brady and Flair were the best dressers in the respective fields and multiple time world champions. Lastly, they were tied to beautiful women (Brady/Bridget Moynahan/Gisele; Flair and his multiple wives).
  • Defining moment: NOW THIS IS AN ANGLE. The final clip is my favorite attack of all-time. Flair wrestled Nikita Koloff in a steel cage for the NWA title back in 1985. After losing the match, the Russians  triple teamed Flair. It prompted Dusty Rhodes to make an unlikely save and clean house. Weeks prior, Flair got himself into similar situations only to have Rhodes bail him out. During interviews leading up to this match, the champ warned “The American Dream” not to stick his nose in his business. Rhodes, fooled yet again, did not heed the Nature Boy’s warning. Flair and the Andersons showed their gratitude by breaking Dusty’s leg.

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