WWE star AJ Styles named Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan as two superstars he thinks would be worthy of gracing a wrestling version of Mount Rushmore.
The iconic American National Memorial sculpture features the carved heads of former presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.
Former WWE champion Styles, 45, was asked which wrestlers past or present deserve recognition to be on the sport’s own Rushmore.
He told SunSport last year: “Man, this is tough. I mean, we’re talking about the guys who made the biggest difference, the reason why we are where we are in this business, right?
“The reason why so many guys and girls get the opportunity to make a living, right. So who are those people? Ric Flair is gonna be up there.
“He has to be. I mean, but Lou Thesz is also another guy that you know. Do we throw Hogan in there because everybody remembers?
“I didn’t watch WWF at the time when I was a kid, but I watched the cartoon on Saturday mornings. So that’s how I knew who Hulk Hogan was.
“But then again, in Rocky III as well, Thunderlips, so I knew him from that but I didn’t watch the wrestling. So he surpassed that, bigger than wrestling, he was a movie star as well.
“Is that three? Who is the fourth that belongs there. That’s tough. I know if I say this guy, it’ll be oh wait, you forgot about this one like, yeah, shoot.
“Because there’s Ricky the Dragon Steamboat, The Macho Man, Andre the Giant, like he also broke that barrier of larger than life.
“In fact, he was probably the first one to do it. So if I had to, and I know I’ll go back and I’ll change this a million times, Ric Flair. Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, Lou Thesz.
“I’m trying to reach not just WWE, you know, but outside of that as well.
“The reason why I saw Lou Thesz and not some other guys who have definitely shaped this business is because I didn’t watch it.
“I didn’t have that cable where I could watch WWF. So I think my three for sure gotta be Hogan, Andre, and Ric Flair. That fourth is open to debate.”
Flair, widely considered the greatest professional wrestler of all time, is a two-time WWE Hall of Fame inductee and founding member of the legendary Four Horsemen stable.
Hogan, 69, is credited with instigating wrestling’s boom across North America in the 1980s and he became the first WWE star to succeed in mainstream Hollywood.
STYLE OVER SUBSTANCE
Similarly the late Andre the Giant was a major attraction during that period with the Eighth Wonder of the World headlining successive WrestleMania’s from 1987 while starring in The Princess Bride.
Lou Thesz meanwhile, who was considered the ‘God of Wrestling’ in Japan, was a 22-time world champion and held the NWA World Heavyweight belt for over a decade across three reigns.
Styles also gave special mentions to Randy Savage, Ricky Steamboat and even Vince McMahon for their roles in changing the landscape of wrestling.
He told SunSport: “We just got to figure out who is it that made that big a difference? You think about these stories about Miss Elizabeth and the Macho Man getting married.
“And that moment where they embraced each other and they’re back together after the trouble they had – Oh my god, you know, like what a story.
“Also think about Jake the Snake Roberts and, Ricky the Dragon Steamboat and Ricky’s trying to chop him but he keeps blocking the chop. Superfly jumping off the top of the cage.
“There’s so many things about wrestling that made up these moments that you remember but who are the ones that changed it forever? I got three. Yeah, I’m really I’m worried about that fourth one.
“Does the WWF slash as a brand? Is it on the Mount Rushmore? Did it change? Vince McMahon? Is he the one because he put everything on the line?
“Just hopefully, does WrestleMania take off. Like is he the one? I don’t know. It’s just a hard thing to say.”
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