There are few things in my life that will compare to Attitude Era wrestling. I will never forget performing wrestling moves with my older brother, both in play and in fights, dressing up as Big Poppa Pump AKA Scott Steiner for Halloween (although he wasn’t an Attitude Era wrestler, because he was in WCW at the time, I still rope him in as an honorary member), and watching Ready To Rumble and thinking my brother and I could do something similar.
I’ll never forget when my brother hit me with a ‘Steiner Recliner’ during a fight when our parents were at work. I’ll never forget trying to throw Stone Cold Stunners and RKOs on our trampolines. Hell, I still quote Stone Cold to this day, almost twenty years after his retirement (WHATTTTTT???!!).
I don’t know that I will ever figure out why this was so influential in my life. Maybe because it was because I was an impressionable youth. Maybe it was because it was a hype bubble that eventually burst, and it was just the cool thing to do. Maybe it’s because I still want to hang on to a small piece of my innocence and childhood (although, if you ask my parents, I was anything but innocent in most situations).
So now, I’m going to combine two of my loves. Attitude Era wrestling and craft beer. This isn’t an easy thing to do, because professional wrestling is pseudo-sponsored by cheap, light beers. But I think this list is badass and it’s one of my favorite posts I’ve written (even more than my Christmas movie & Christmas songs lists).
I present to you, my list of top five Attitude Era wrestlers and the style of beer they represent:
STONE COLD! STONE COLD! STONE COLD! was the most badass wrestler of his time, and that’s not up for debate. His cockiness, his swagger, his jean shorts and double knee braces. Just yuggin beers that were tossed to him after a win (or even as he entered the ring). He singlehandedly saved the WWF by stunning what seemed like 75 different people in the infamous WWF vs. The Alliance at RAW in 2001. The Stone Cold Stunner is one of the best finishing moves to ever exist.
So what beer would Stone Cold be? It has to be something tough, unforgiving, and quintessentially ‘manly’. Something, that if personified, would eat nails for breakfast after doing an engine swap with just a toothpick and a 9 iron. For this, I’m going with a TIPA. When you think of unforgiving beers, TIPA immediately has to come to mind. One or seven too many of these, and you’re feeling it the next day. They pack a punch like no other beer can. They are the Stunner of beers.
WOOOOOO!!!! Seriously, this dude had the best tagline in history, and it was only one very, very loud word. For someone that was a “stylin’, profilin’, limousine riding, jet flying, kiss-stealing, wheelin’ n’ dealin’ son of a gun’”, who “spent more money on spilt liquor in bars one side of this world to the other than you made”, he could wrestle. Often touted as one of the best wrestlers of all time, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame not once, but twice.
Flair’s last name (which is obviously a stage name, but is a play on his real last name of Fliehr) is the most fitting of any that I have ever heard. He was – and is still – all about flashiness and style. That’s what made him so attractive to fans, I believe. His skills in the ring were just an added bonus.
If I had to choose just one adjective to describe Flair, it would be flashy. What beer comes to mind when I think of ‘flashy’? Easy – the flashy slushie or dessert sours. You know which ones I’m talking about. The ones that are debated by purists as ‘not real beer’. The 450 North Slushies, the Warheads Sours, the PB&J Fluff or Science Pass from WeldWerks. The ones that have crazy adjuncts and equally as wild can art.
The Big Show has one of the best intro songs, although it’s simple. If you don’t belt the first line out anytime you mention his name, there might be something wrong with you. At one point, Big Show was 7’, 500 pounds and listed as the “world’s biggest athlete”. And boy was he fun to watch.
I’ll never forget when Brock Lesnar suplexed him off the top ropes and literally broke the ring. I’ll also never forget when Stone Cold threw him a Stunner. Sure, Big Show wasn’t the best or most decorated pro wrestler of all time. But any time he was wrestling, you knew to tune in, wondering what move someone could pull off on him or if the ring would implode (although that took place after the Attitude Era ended, it was always on your mind before).
There’s only one beer that could represent the Big Show. Well, maybe two. This one is tough, because both of them stand up to the name and beefiness that is the Big Show. For him, I’m choosing either Barleywine or BBA Stout. Both of these are high ABV, thick, heavy, and knockout punch beers.
We all thought Undertaker and Kane were brothers for some reason, right? Right? Why did we think that? I don’t know, but I do know The Undertaker was a bad, bad man in the ring. As a kid who enjoyed big theatrics, big wrestlers, and big finishers, I loved watching the Undertaker wrestle.
Chokeslams and Tombstones were always electric. I’d be lying if I said my brother and I didn’t try to chokeslam each other once or a hundred times (in our defense, who hasn’t?). These finishing moves led to him being an eleven-time WWE (for all intents and purposes, WWE includes WWF as well) champion between singles, hardcore, and tag-team.
I’m going to cheat here, but that’s okay. The Undertaker is best represented in the same fashion that The Big Show is – big, beefy beers. So, whichever one The Big Show isn’t, The Undertaker is.
The best intro song history goes to Hulk Hogan. Eye of the Tiger and Real American cannot be topped. I love The Big Show’s intro, as I mentioned before, but it would not and could not compete with the ones of Hulk Hogan. Even Voodoo Child by Jimi Hendrix at one point.
I won’t lie to you – when I was very young, I would get him and ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage confused because of their partnerships and very similar color schemes. Hogan was one of the best wrestlers ever, and I believe he helped lay the groundwork for the stars of our childhood to really shine through. A seven-time champion, again his finishing move is what I think I loved the most. The Atomic Leg Drop was iconic. Although I don’t recollect trying this move on my brother or other relatives, I wish I would have, looking back at things.
To wrap up my list, I’m choosing a good ole hazy IPA to represent Hulk Hogan. This should be pretty obvious, but if not, this is on appearance only. The color of a good hazy is damn near the infamous yellow of Hogan (and Savage, too).