r/SquaredCircle Oct 06 '22

Cornette's Mount Rushmore: El Santo, Rikidozan, Antonio Inoki, and Giant Baba... your thoughts?

Okay, I know Cornette is controversial here, but I didn't expect him to basically put over these four so much. But I was listening to his tribute to Inoki today, and he pretty much spelled out his version of Mount Rushmore: El Santo, Rikidozan, Antonio Inoki, and Giant Baba, basically saying that for an art form that mostly originated in the US the most influential and culturally powerful names did not originate in the US.

Honestly, I was a little surprised to hear this from him. I figured he would at least have had Lou Thesz on his list. But damn if I don't know who he would replace from those four. You don't have Inoki or Baba without Rikidozan, so you can't get rid of him, and it doesn't seem fair to have just one of Inoki or Baba without the other, and they obviously deserve their spot. El Santo is obviously irreplaceable too.

But nice to see Jim give love to these four. But as usual he couldn't get through it without shitting on modern wrestling.

Edit: /u/boredguy2022 pointed out that Jim was talking more about international stars, so I went back and listened again, and that sounds maybe right? It’s kind of a hard sentence to parse. It initially sounded like he was saying overall but now I’m not so sure.

Either way, these four deserve their flowers, so I’m happy to see them get it.

8 Upvotes

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43

u/thedudeinthedungeon Oct 06 '22

Cornette is a historian at heart. One of the few that other notable historians in wrestling like Tenay, Apter, Heenan, and Meltzer deferred to at various times.

El Santo and Rikidozan are impossible to deny strictly from the numbers. Inoki and Baba are really interesting picks. Based on numbers and cultural impact, this is not a bad Rushmore.

23

u/faithisuseless Oct 06 '22

He is one of the main contributors to all the Dark side of the ring and Tales of the territories research wise. He probably has one the largest collections of wrestling history and him and Brian together definitely do.

You can disagree with his opinion on modern wrestling, but don’t discount his knowledge, love, and, respect for it.

5

u/thedudeinthedungeon Oct 06 '22

Right. All the shock jock bullshit aside their historian chops are beyond reproach.

4

u/darthsabbath Oct 06 '22

El Santo and Rikidozan are on mine, but I don’t include Inoki and Baba because to me they’re from the same line as Rikidozan. The other two on my list are Lou Thesz and (for better or worse) Hulk Hogan.

But honestly thinking about how Jim laid out his case he’s got me wavering on Thesz and Hogan…

2

u/trillhungyboy Oct 06 '22

controversial indeed, but when he goes into historian mode, he's really fucken good. I loved him in dark side

1

u/sheepkillerokhan Oct 15 '22

He mentioned Jim Londos as the only other guy in that group too.

Extreme popularity mixed with cultural impact

19

u/Ripclawe Oct 06 '22

All 4 directly influenced the course of wrestling at home and internationally to this day. American wrestling industry is more of a collective of greats that moved it along

3

u/darthsabbath Oct 06 '22

That’s a fair point… like I think Thesz is really the only American that is truly foundational to wrestling, but he’s just not the cultural icon that any of those four are.

On the other hand, someone like Hogan is definitely a cultural icon, but he’s not a foundational influence.

I really can’t think of anyone besides those four that really fit in both categories.

2

u/Warbotter Oct 06 '22

When ever someone brings up Thesz I feel Obliged to Recommend his Book "Hooker" , a amazing read, Just wonderful stuff. It would be my favorite book on wrestling if it wasn't tied with Gary Hart's book.

7

u/OakFolk Oct 06 '22

It's a fair point. For those who don't listen to the podcast, he is looking at how culturally important a wrestler was. Corny made the case that the four listed above were bigger and more over than any other wrestlers in history.

25

u/GonOverHere Oct 06 '22

Besides what people here think of Cornette, I truly recommend listening to the clip where he talks about Inoki after his passing.

I honestly think he did a better job than Meltzer (also on his podcast) about the impact of Inoki's career.

Also, as someone who grew up watching the old Santo movies, I can confirm he was on a completely different level of stardom than anyone else in the last 20 years. So I 100% agree with Cornette's picks.

23

u/oh_lagg Oct 06 '22

I second this, but would like to add:

This sub would absolutely love the Jim Cornette reviews anime dating sims.

10

u/Proud_Truck Oct 06 '22

And his max caster raps

3

u/darthsabbath Oct 06 '22

Yeah that was a fantastic tribute. It was a pleasant surprise to hear him say this was the Mount Rushmore… I know he’s always spoken highly of Inoki and Baba, but it was nice to hear him speak so well of these four.

5

u/Jloother Ole! Oct 06 '22

I honestly think he did a better job than Meltzer (also on his podcast) about the impact of Inoki's career.

I think Dave was saving a lot for the Obit dropping tomorrow. going to be a fucking beast.

3

u/merckx81 Oct 06 '22

This was in terms of influential figures in wrestling

8

u/boredguy2022 Oct 06 '22

For international stars? He's spot on 100%

8

u/darthsabbath Oct 06 '22

No, period. He’s putting them over any North American talent, even over Hogan, Flair, Thesz, the Harts, the Funks, Buddy Rogers, Bruno, Lawler, etc.

2

u/boredguy2022 Oct 06 '22

No he isn't this was strictly Japan/Mexico, he's already done an American stars one.

8

u/OakFolk Oct 06 '22

Nah, I listened to the segment. This is his general one. He said during it that he found it slightly funny how none of the members of this Mt. Rushmore were American.

-7

u/boredguy2022 Oct 06 '22

No...it isn't. He's already done one for NWA, USA in general, Tag Teams, Managers, even Bad Influences. lol

5

u/OakFolk Oct 06 '22

He explicitly called it his Mt. Rushmore in the video. I encourage you to watch it.

-9

u/boredguy2022 Oct 06 '22

.....Jumping jesus on a fucking pogostick.

5

u/LilBitATheBubbly Oct 06 '22

He did say there was no other wrestler in the history of the world, and only 2 in Japan, that were as over, known, respected ect ect as Inoki. And added another Japanese wrestler at the end, so no matter how many mt rushemores he's made over the years he said no other wrestler in the history of the world

-9

u/boredguy2022 Oct 06 '22

Sub is doing DDP yoga stretching sessions today I see.

5

u/LilBitATheBubbly Oct 06 '22

I'd transcribe it dude but but I have no desire. Anyone listening to that would be hard up to take "in the history of the world, theses guys are the best" as meaning anything other than that. He added something about their culture but also said it's surprising no one from the US was on that list so it wasn't Japan exclusive

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2

u/darthsabbath Oct 06 '22

Ah, maybe I misunderstood him. I went back and re-listened and he said something to the effect of “the most influential well known etc in their culture”, so I guess maybe he was referring to outside the US. My bad, sounds like you’re right.

0

u/boredguy2022 Oct 06 '22

No worries. :)

1

u/sheepkillerokhan Oct 15 '22

He mentioned Jim Londos in the same clip. Londos would be the only American wrestler (or wrestler who wrestled in America, I guess) close to those other three for massive cultural star power mixed with legitimacy.

1

u/WildMikeGreen38 Oct 06 '22 edited Oct 06 '22

Hulk, Mil, Andre, Flair and Thesz were bigger on an international scale than Inoki or Baba were. Demon was bigger in Mexico than Baba was in Japan too.

2

u/boredguy2022 Oct 06 '22

I wouldn't count Thesz really, while he was huge in Japan, that wasn't his main base. Same with Andre. Mil you might have a point.

1

u/WildMikeGreen38 Oct 06 '22

Thesz also did Mexico tours, Canada and all kinds of other places.

Andre was big in Mexico, Japan, Canada and France as well.

Mil was a three country star with Japan, the US and Mexico.

Then there's Flair. Big star in the US, Canada, Japan, Puerto Rico, though Mexico is missing from his resume.

1

u/boredguy2022 Oct 06 '22

Yeah I get that but the majority of their careers were still United States based. (Or at least north America as a whole for Andre.)

2

u/CaptainReptillian Oct 06 '22

Makes complete sense based on impact and influence. Remove any of them from wrestling and the industry changes for the worse

2

u/houseofembers Oct 06 '22

Rikidozan, Inoki, Misawa, Baba for me

2

u/PrimusPilus Stylin, Profilin, & Helicopterin! Oct 07 '22 edited Oct 07 '22

Corny wasn't saying that those were the four greatest wrestlers, or his four favorites. He listed those four as people being more over, popular, and having universal name recognition in their home countries greater than any wrestler has ever had in the United States.

Lou Thesz is obviously an all-time great (to say the least), but he never in a million years had the name recognition in the U.S. that any of the four above-mentioned had in their respective countries. Heck, Thesz wasn't even the most well-known American wrestler of the pre-modern era--Ed "Strangler" Lewis and Jim Londos ("the Golden Greek") were both bigger stars, bigger box office draws, and better known than Thesz. And needless to say, Thesz at his peak never had the popularity, recognition, or cultural ubiquity of Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, or the Rock.

-1

u/Due_Distribution9193 Oct 06 '22

I’d drop Baba personally for an American. All Japan was amazing but less influential than New Japan and sadly now less relevant. It was also very NWA style for most of its existence.

I’d swap Baba for either Thesz, Sammartino, or Hogan. But the other three? 100% agree.

2

u/sheepkillerokhan Oct 15 '22

Baba was bigger while Rikidozan was winding down and All Japan was bigger up until the '70s I believe it was. Inoki started as the smaller star of the two but eventually surpassed him. A bit of a see-saw but both were massive sports stars in Japan.

Also as was mentioned in the Cornette clip, Baba eventually shuffled himself down the card as he aged while Inoki kept himself on top as well as he could despite his diabetes. That combined with Baba passing away earlier has probably led to Baba's legacy lessening with time whereas Inoki's is still relatively fresh.

0

u/my_screen_name_sucks Oct 06 '22 edited Oct 08 '22

Jim Cornette can be and usually is a piece of shit. But he knows his wrestling. Even if I disagree with some of his opinions in regards to booking, how a company should be ran, or on a wrestler (when it isn't insults) I can understand his reasoning. If this is his mount Rushmore then there must be a good reason for these picks.

Edit: of course lol, downvotes for no particular reason. I see this sub still hasn't changed.

-1

u/InheritTheWind the face that puns the place Oct 06 '22

Im a lil shocked he didnt put Naitch there

5

u/darthsabbath Oct 06 '22

I think as much as he loves Flair, the Funks, etc (and I do too, Terry Funk is my GOAT!), none of them have the influence and cultural impact on wrestling that those four had.

-1

u/boredguy2022 Oct 06 '22

Naitch was american. This was Japan/Mexico.

0

u/InheritTheWind the face that puns the place Oct 06 '22

Oh, nevermind then

1

u/sheepkillerokhan Oct 15 '22

His other pick from that clip was Jim Londos IIRC. Basically the most popular wrestlers culturally to ever exist in their specific necks of the woods

-7

u/thesch Pirate Princess Oct 06 '22

You can almost draw a line from Rikidozan to the creation of AEW, that's how crazy and long-lasting his influence is even in North America. Without him there's no Inoki/NJPW so no Bullet Club & no Elite.

9

u/boredguy2022 Oct 06 '22

You can almost draw a line from Rikidozan to the creation of AEW

I wouldn't go that far. I'd say AJPW, NOAH and NJPW. But not AEW.

-2

u/thesch Pirate Princess Oct 06 '22 edited Oct 06 '22

The Bucks & Omega would not have become close to as popular as they were without NJPW. ROH & PWG hype would've only gotten them so far.

There could still be a 2nd major promotion in America with Tony Khan involved but I think it'd look quite a bit different from AEW.

0

u/boredguy2022 Oct 06 '22

But then again if any company that ever used stars that became stars in NJPW/AJPW is some sort of straight line then you'd have to include a bunch of other American territories, companies, etc too. But I wouldn't do that either. AWA had working agreements with AJPW, used their stars. WCW with NJPW, Hell even vince at different rare points would bring in huge stars.

2

u/DCGMoo Oct 06 '22

Yeah but there's a difference between bringing in stars and literally building around stars.

No one from AJPW in AWA or NJPW in WCW was a literal building block in the development of the promotion.

AEW literally has the word "Elite" in its name. Without them, All In probably never happens, which was the lynchpin that sparked Khan to make the calls that eventually led to AEW.

You can definitely make an argument that if the Bullet Club never existed, neither would AEW. Omega, Bucks and Cody were all given EVP positions for a reason, and no Japanese talent played that big a role in AWA, WCW or WWF.

EDIT: typo

1

u/boredguy2022 Oct 06 '22

No one from AJPW in AWA or NJPW in WCW was a literal building block in the development of the promotion.

Eh. I'd say WCW built around Sting, and he was huge in Japan. And the Elite were completely, utterly gone from NJPW at the time AEW proper started up.

1

u/DCGMoo Oct 06 '22

Sting is fair, I'll grant that. But WCW still spawned out of JCP, they didn't exactly launch from nothing.

All In was announced in May 2018 and held Sept 2018, the Bucks didn't leave NJPW until early 2019. Sure they were gone when AEW officially launched, but Tony himself said that All In is what gave him the idea to start AEW, and the Young Bucks & Cody were the ones who made All In happen.

1

u/boredguy2022 Oct 06 '22

I don't really connect All In and AEW. Because as you said, After those is when TK decided to buy in. And none of the elite worked in anyway in the Inoki era of NJPW. They came after a lot of the corporate ownership of japanese wrestling came in. Sounds like trying to yoga stretch to make it fit. As far as I would go is AJPW, NOAH, NJPW.

1

u/Just_A_Little_Spider Yes I am a long way from home! Oct 06 '22

that hilariously out of context Vince and Liger picture comes to mind.

-6

u/WildMikeGreen38 Oct 06 '22 edited Oct 06 '22

Don't really see how you could not list Hulk. He was a bigger international star than all of them as was Flair. You also have to consider Mil, Demon, Thesz and Andre as well.

9

u/OakFolk Oct 06 '22

That's not really true about Hogan who was never elected to Congress like Inoki was in Japan, never started a company that reshaped the country's wrestling landscape like the Japanese wrestlers, and he didn't have the cult hero status of El Santo. Hogan was big, but he wasn't as big a star as them.

-1

u/WildMikeGreen38 Oct 06 '22

Hogan changed wrestling in the US and was definitely a big American hero type.

6

u/OakFolk Oct 06 '22

Again, he wasn't big enough to get elected to Congress, become a major movie star (his movies bombed), or to start his own wrestling company. He is a tier below. There's nothing wrong with that. He is still a legend.

-1

u/trochlearnotchass Oct 06 '22

That's a weird thing to say.. Guys like Jesse Ventura and Arnold became Governors. If Hogan had stood for Congress Elections back in the 80s, he'd annihilate everyone. It'd be akin to Reagan-Mondale elections in the landslide nature of it. People knew about Hogan around the world like they knew about Ali. He was massive.

3

u/OakFolk Oct 06 '22

A lot of that is speculation though about Hulk. A lot of Hulk's business endeavors failed, and we know WWE and Hogan did not sell well in the South. It's fair to question whether he would have been that successful.

I hear what you said about Ventura, but that is only on a state level and not on a national level.

1

u/Just_A_Little_Spider Yes I am a long way from home! Oct 06 '22

Realistically, that is the issue with them...they were only stars, not really bookers for any significant period of time...and both had major crippling flaws with not much impact during those times as bookers.

-14

u/oneubrow Oct 06 '22

Sound like something an old mark would say

7

u/oh_lagg Oct 06 '22

Historian, but yes both apply.

0

u/i-wear-hats Oct 06 '22 edited Oct 06 '22

It's really weird when you consider this, because part of what Mt. Rushmore represents (other than a deliberate slap in the face to the Lakota people) is 4 people that marked a specific nation in a given timeline.

If you put Rikidozan, you gotta put Inoki and Baba and you gotta remove El Santo.

If you put El Santo, you gotta remove Rikidozan, Inoki and Baba. (And add Blue Demon and two other legends that I'm not familiar with).

I just don't think you can make an international Mt. Rushmore without grossly overestimating the contributions of some or ignoring the context of the actual sculpture.

1

u/DoctorWoe Oct 12 '22

In this instance, it appears that the nation is "professional wrestling" itself.

0

u/ShiftyShifts Oct 07 '22

This is why you cant listen to anything he says