How Well Do You Know Your Classic 1980s Wrestling Stars?

By: Gavin Thagard
Image: Wiki Commons by Megan Elice Meadows

About This Quiz

When asked about how he viewed the wrestling business, Ric Flair once said, "For me, it's about camaraderie. My whole life is like, if something's going on, nothing ever preceded fun. I always put my friends and the fun and the business ahead of everything."

Flair's comments perfectly describe the wrestling attitude of the 1980s, as the sport went from a regional entertainment event to a cultural phenomenon, and there's little doubt that the wrestlers enjoyed going along with the ride.

Besides, one of the main reasons the Golden era, as many call it, came about was because of the superstar status of the wrestlers who were pushed to the forefront of the industry. Thanks to the WWE's desire for national exposure along with the other promotions who followed suit, wrestlers like Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan and "Macho Man" Randy Savage were able to use the wrestling boom to become household names, giving the fans who piled into the arenas each week more and more of the action they desperately wanted.

Are you familiar enough with the wrestlers who were pushed to the forefront of the business in the 1980s to ace this quiz, or will you crumble beneath the weight of some of the questions asked?

If you believe you can get an easy win, get started and prove you're a champion when it comes to the wrestling stars of the '80s.

Relying on stars like Harley Race and Ric Flair, the National Wrestling Alliance was one of the most prominent wrestling companies through the early '80s. However, like most other territorial promotions, the company declined with the expansion of the World Wrestling Federation, known as the WWE today.

Bob Backlund and his crossface chicken wing weren't enough to bring down The Iron Sheik, who Backlund lost the WWE Heavyweight Championship to in 1983. The Sheik won the title using his own submission hold, the camel clutch.

No wrestler throughout the '80s could draw more fans to the arena than Andre the Giant. Billed at 7 feet, 4 inches tall and looking every bit the monster he was pitched as, Andre rarely lost matches until his fateful encounter with Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania III.

Already known by most wrestling fans, "Macho Man" Randy Savage was an immediate star in the WWE when he joined the company. In his initial storyline, every manager in the company sought his services, but after weeks of leading them on, Savage surprised the world by taking on Miss Elizabeth as his manager.

Jake "The Snake" Roberts relied on fear to gain an advantage over the poor souls he competed against. One of his main scare tactics was taking a snake, named Damien, to the ring with him, where he would unleash the creepy reptile on opponents during a match.

With the figure of a bodybuilder, The Ultimate Warrior was an immediate star in the WWE, winning most of his early matches against jobbers as his popularity grew. He wouldn't lose a match by pinfall until he finally encountered another rising star, Rick Rude.

Bret Hart was born in Calgary, Canada, where the famous Calgary Stampede Rodeo takes place. Early in his career, Hart stated that you don't pretend to be a cowboy if you come from Calgary. Fans appreciated his choice because "The Hitman" became one of the most recognized gimmicks ever.

The Four Horsemen were well known for promoting their lavish lifestyles, where they wore expensive suits and rode on private jets. However, luxury never got the best of these competitors because they were dominant in the ring, at one point holding every major title in the NWA.

Sporting the hair and dress of a rock n' roll band, The Fabulous Freebirds were a perfect fit for the '80s. As their popularity soared, so did their success in the ring, winning tag team titles in the NWA, WCCW and WCW.

If there was one man in the world you didn't want to be locked in a cage with, especially when he was angry, it was Bruiser Brody. Always respecting the business, Brody hated the idea of putting over a newcomer, which led to his infamous cage match against Lex Luger.

Ted DiBiase spent the second half of the 1980s trying to gain the WWE Heavyweight Championship, even going as far as purchasing the belt from Andre the Giant, though it was later taken from him. Unable to win the title himself, DiBiase created a belt of his own known as the Million Dollar Belt.

The nickname "Hacksaw" was a fitting title for a man who carried a 2x4 to the ring. This American hero spent most of his career using his weapon to defend the U.S.A. against foreign opponents like Nikolai Volkoff.

Benching 715 pounds would have made Dino Bravo, legitimately, the strongest man in the world, as the record at the time was only 710 pounds. But for fans in attendance, they would have noticed that he was helped by Jesse Ventura. That, of course, didn't stop Bravo from claiming the record.

One of Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat's earliest feuds in the WWE was against Jake "The Snake" Roberts. The feud was a perfect matchup of gimmicks, as Steamboat began carrying a Komodo dragon to the ring to counteract Roberts' snake, Damien.

If you wanted to create heat for a match in the '80s, you would send your wrestlers to Piper's Pit, an interview segment hosted by Roddy Piper. Wrestlers had to be careful, though, because Piper was so hot headed that they often wanted to fight him instead.

Dusty Rhodes' unconventional style in the ring, along with his bionic elbow, was a result of his upbringing, where he came from a poor family in Texas, constantly fighting to make it to the top. His work ethic and fan appeal even earned him the nickname "The American Dream."

Andre the Giant put his livelihood on the line at WrestleMania I against Big John Studd by claiming he would retire from wrestling if he lost the Body Slam Challenge. Studd, on the other hand, agreed to pay Andre $15,000 dollars if he came out victorious. Let's just say, Andre was back for WrestleMania II.

By defeating Nick Bockwinkel for the AWA World Heavyweight Championship at SuperClash II, Curt Hennig earned his first world title, making a statement as one of the best in the business. However, Hennig also turned heel during the match, using a role of quarters to achieve the victory.

Coming from a family of wrestlers, including his father and brother, Bob Orton Jr. was born to be a star in the business. However, even his accomplishments in the ring pale in comparison to his son, Randy Orton, who has won a slew of titles from the World Tag Team Championship to the World Heavyweight Championship.

After leaving the WWE due to the G.I. Joe controversy, Sgt. Slaughter joined the AWA, where he remained for the rest of the '80s. The AWA gave Slaughter a quick push because of his popularity, and he won the AWA America's Heavyweight Championship during his early run with the company.

The Rockers were one of the most prominent tag teams for various promotions in the late '80s before finally joining the WWE in 1988. However, they wouldn't last much longer as a tag team, finally splitting in 1992 when Shawn Michaels threw Marty Jannetty through a window.

Rick Martel rose through the wrestling ranks as part of tag teams like Strike Force and The Can-Am Connection. Desiring a shot in the singles division, Martel turned on his Strike Force partner, Tito Santana, during WrestleMania V, the final WrestleMania of the '80s.

The Intercontinental Championship helped various wrestlers, like Tito Santana, reach superstar status. For many of these wrestlers, this title was the ultimate stepping stone to the World Heavyweight Championship.

Playing a conceited villain, Rick Rude mocked crowds anytime he entered an arena for being lazy and out of shape. He would then kiss a member of the audience, which happened to be Jake Roberts' wife on one occasion. Roberts, of course, didn't take a liking to this, and a feud was born.

Though he didn't enjoy the voice or fan appeal that Elvis Presley had, The Honkey Tonk Man possessed the confidence to compete at the highest level in the ring. That didn't mean he wasn't above cheap tricks, however, always keeping his trusted guitar nearby to use as a weapon.

Many wrestlers, including greats like Bret Hart, claim Dynamite Kid was one of the best in ring performers to ever grace the squared circle. There's little doubt of his skill if you watch his matches against Tiger Mask in New Japan Pro Wrestling.

Proclaiming itself "The Greatest Wrestling Event of All Time!," WrestleMania I took place on March 31, 1985 at Madison Square Garden. Though the event received mixed reactions from critics, it was viewed positively years later for launching the WWE to national status.

Wreslting matches rarely last 45 minutes because of both the physical toll it takes on a wrestler's body and because it's difficult to keep fans entertained for that long. Fans couldn't say that about Ric Flair and Sting because these two stars gave attendees all they asked for in a classic matchup.

Don Muraco had quite the year in 1985, which saw his return to the WWE after a short break from wrestling. Aside from his King of the Ring victory, Muraco feuded with Hulk Hogan for the World Heavyweight Championship, ultimately losing in a steel cage match.

Hawk and Animal were as fierce in the ring as they were intimidating. Using their physical appearance to establish an identity for themselves, these warriors sported Mohawks and body paint that made it appear as if they were pulled from a "Mad Max" movie.

The dog collar match between Roddy Piper and Greg Valentine proved to be as violent as one would think. After back and forth action, where the chain was commonly used as a weapon, Piper pulled Valentine from the top rope by the chain, landed some quick blows then won the match with a pin.

Even though his popularity as a babyface was coming to an end, Bob Backlund refused to turn heel for Hulk Hogan to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship from him. Instead, the WWE set up a storyline where Backlund lost the title to The Iron Sheik, setting up a match with their future champ.

Wrestlers like Mick Foley and Bubba Ray Dudley credit Jimmy Snuka's performance against Don Muraco in 1983 as inspiration for them taking to the profession. They, particularly, mention Snuka's superfly splash from the top of a steel cage, one of the defining moments of his career.

Tony Atlas proved in the ring why he earned the title of "Mr. USA" by crushing opponents with his other worldly strength. For wrestlers who dared to stand against him, Atlas would demolish them with his signature move, the gorilla press slam.

Abdullah the Butcher's feud with Bruiser Brody helped push hardcore wrestling into the national spotlight. These two wrestlers were especially known for their use of blading, where they cut open their foreheads for the appearance of blood being drawn from a hard hit.

Terry Funk's branding iron played an important role in his feud with Junkyard Dog. During one of their matches, Junkyard Dog got hold of the iron and used it to brand Funk's manager, Jimmy Hart.

Though he wasn't considered a jobber, One Man Gang rarely had victories over high card opponents. His biggest push came at WrestleMania IV, when he entered the tournament for the World Heavyweight Championship, eventually losing to the tournament's winner, Randy Savage.

Bruno Sammartino held the WWE World Heavyweight Championship longer than anyone in the company's history. However, by 1980, Sammartino's career was coming to a close. Luckily, his feud with Larry Zbyszko helped cement his already legendary career.

"Macho Man" Randy Savage was well known for using the ring bell, along with other weapons, to achieve a victory in a match. In fact, prior to WrestleMania III, Savage used the bell against Ricky Steamboat, injuring Steamboat's neck in the process and setting up their rematch at WrestlesMania.

In an era where the terror of the Cold War hung over the world, Nikolai Volkoff was the perfect villain for the WWE, a company that was very pro American. Singing Russia's national anthem before matches, Volkoff created heat with both opponents and with fans.

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