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The Epitaph: Aristocrats from Above(pt.2)
by Marcus Madison on 2001-10-08

This weeks edition of the epitaph is part 2 in our look at the high fliers of the sport in the nineties. These men have taken flight into a whole new direction. Their leaps are higher, further and involve a great deal more risk. So without further ado, allow us to examine closer where the air traffic control and extreme come together. HBK...

The nineties first claim to fame when it came to high fliers was Shawn Michaels. Although Shawn first form of notoriety came when he was one half of the tag team of the "Midnight Rockers" with Marty Jannetty, truly excelled in the company when he was on his own. Shawn, was creative in the ring with his charisma and risk taking feats. He has classic contests with men such as the late Owen Hart, Steve Austin, Mankind, and The Undertaker. However, I believe no feud truly tested his talents like the one he took part in with Bret Hart. This feud may have had legitimate heat between the two men but it was truly a battle showcased their technical skills and risk taking feats. He is multiple time tag team champion, intercontinental, and heavyweight also captured the European title as well. Unfortunately, Shawn's risk taking parralls were not without their drawn backs. This combined with his feud with the Undertaker and a hell in the cell match up was what led to a back injury, that has since seen him compete regularly in the ring. Despite this Shawn Michaels will forever be seen as a true innovator in the ring with a skill that is unmatched. To this I dub HBK an aristocrat from above.. A Filthy Animal..

The next athlete that took high risks and catapulted himself into the wrestling spotlight was Rey Mysterio jr. This little guy whose hurricanrama's, an ability to use the ropes as a spring-board have been often duplicated but never matched. He had the never say die, never surrender attitude that fans loved about him. Although he wrestled the majority of his career with a mask it never effected his in ring performance. His feud's with fellow Luchadores Juventud Guerrera, Psychosis and Konnan were what helped to move Mysterio into the spotlight. He was a star in Mexico for many years and although it may seem like a simply a young wrestler that never paid his dues that could not be further from the truth. At the age of 14, Mysterio initially took flight and 8 knee operations later fans can see that Rey has paid his price for fame and high flying ways. We the fans applaud Mysterio and his insane ways and dub him an aristocrat from above. THE ORIGINAL SHOOTING STAR PRESS..

The next man to make such an impact on wrestlers today comes from over seas. Jushin Thunder Leiger, although competed at only in short stints here in north america he will always be mentioned in the same breathe as these other fine men. Leiger, who originated the shooting star press is such as risky maneuver to attempt he does not even do it anymore. His running power bomb a.k.a "the Leiger bomb" has made him known around the world. So to this fans must respect the man who has done a great deal for both wrestling and competition in general. Jushin Leiger, is a man helped to bring high flyers into the millennium. I can proudly say that without a doubt he is also dubbed with the title of aristocrat from above. THREE INITIALS AND THAT'S ALL IT TAKES...R.V.D!

The next man has gained notoriety threw his acrobatic style. He combines mat wrestling with, gymnastics and martial arts. Rob Van Dam is a man whose star was shining so brightly in the old ECW that not even the company faulty management could dim it. He is know as "Mr.. Monday Night", and "Mr%2e. Pay Per View" but not until he came out with the moniker "The Whole F'N show" could a name best describe this five star athlete. He has several highly intense matches with Jeff Hardy, and competed with the likes of Tommy Dreamer and Kurt Angle. However, one feud stands alone in my mind his feud with Jerry Lynn was one for the ages. This feud allowed both men to showcase their talents and give the fans they're money's worth. RVD, has several signature maneuvers such as the "five star frog splash", the "Van Daminator", the split legged moon sault and the "Van Terminator". RVD, will be a major player in sports entertainment for years to come to this we applaud him and label him an aristocrat from above. 2xtreme is Jeff Hardy as he is catapulted from the stars..

The next insane member of this division of aerodynamic rule breakers has risked life and limb all for the sport he loves. As I see Jeff compete and defy the odds on a nightly basis I tend to see a man that ultimately has a death wish. This being said, it should not discredit the type of worker he is in the ring. Whether he is jumping from a ladder or is on the receiving end of someone else's finishing maneuver, Jeff will undoubtedly be the one who fans will cheer for in the end. His athletic skill and talent has become what I NOW believe to be the measuring stick for the next generation of wrestlers to look upon. Although he is one half of a successful tag team with his brother Matt, it is Jeff that has received the acclaim of being "2 extreme".I believe that Jeff had ended the decade in my eyes as the man that made the nineties "ring war air traffic controllers" can be proud of. Jeff without a doubt will is now an aristocrat from above.

This concludes my series at the nineties and which high fliers made such a profound impact. I would not be so blind if I did not mention the likes of luchadores Juventud Guerrera, Eddie Guerrero, and Super Crazy. These men along with the likes of Tajiri, and independent superstar Reckless Youth must also get honorable mention. Check back in next time when I will take a look at which tag teams made themselves recognized for their tremendous work ethic and desire to win. Marcus Madison..Retrospection through the madness? You too can can hear through the madness!Listen to Marcus Madison every week on Joltin Joe's Wrestling line on Starphone at (416)350-3000 ext. 2049. Long Distance charges may apply.


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Quotes from the boys: Moondog Manson says "After a long hard thought about what I wanted to do, I realized retirement isn't what I wanted. Why would I give these knuckleheads the satisfaction of retirement when I can terrorize them ten fold in the ring.".
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