What if Every NFL Team Had a Motivational WWE Speaker?
By Brenden Roche
Peanut Butter and chocolate, Beer and Pretzels, Steak and Eggs, Kanye West and happiness, sometimes bringing two diametrically opposed forces together creates a new entity that is greater than the sum of its parts.
Recently, the world was kind enough to inadvertently create one more magical pairing when Ric Flair gave the San Francisco 49ers a pre-game speech, compelling them to beat Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in the first round of the 2014 NFL playoffs Wooooooooooo.
This combined my love of both the football and wrestling. Then something funny happened. People started saying things like "If I knew Ric Flair gave that speech I definitely would have put money on the 49ers". Really? I questioned this even though I knew if Ric Flair gave me a pep talk, I'd be ready to run through a wall after, but I always thought I was wired a different way. Yet I heard that same line, or at least a similar version of it over and over for the next few days. I saw people watching the clip and sending it to their friends, posting it on social media platforms, and it even appeared on Sportsenter. Then I thought, you know what, maybe there are a few more stylin', profilin', limousine riding, jet flying, kiss-stealing, wheelin' n' dealin' son of a guns around the country than I thought.
And that was that right? Wrong.
On the coattails of Ric Flair (which certainly hasn't happened before) a Hulk Hogan video emerged where he gave the Patriots the blessing of the 24 inch pythons. You all know what happened next, the Patriots came out and didn't just beat the Colts, but DESTROYED the Colts. Apparently saying your prayers, eating your vitamins and believing in yourself is great for the run game. Who knew?
There is much anticipation as to who might give a speech this week to motivate a team to the Superbowl. That being said, I thought it would be fun to see if I could assign all 32 NFL teams a WWE superstar for all pep-talks and motivational speeches. Before we begin, a few notes:
- 1.I was born in the early 1980's. Therefore, most of the references are from 1990's era Wrestling. This makes sense for two reasons. First, that is the greatest and most nostalgic era in professional wrestling. Second, Flair and Hogan are two older wrestlers. It would be tough for a current WWE superstar to fulfill this role.
- 2.That being said, a few current examples were used. I only selected superstars that had a major connection with a particular city. I call them the "If our guy loses we riot" cities. If you made it this far through the article, you probably have an idea of the cities I am referencing.
- 3.I thought I would limit this to only the living, but with the advent of holograms, anything is possible. On top of that, wrestlers tend to have a shorter life span than the rest of the population and frankly there were just a few guys that I couldn't leave out. Can you dig it?
- 4.I tried to limit the use of the internet. This was about having fun, and starting a debate, not creating the ultimate definitive list, so this is strictly an opinion and based on no actual merit. As such, there were some wrestlers that were definitely excluded that shouldn't have been (Hacksaw Jim Duggan who is more like the Phoenix Coyotes, broke and unfortunately no one cares, than an NFL team), and there were some that were included, that probably shouldn't have been (See NYJ).
- 5.Only present/past wrestlers from WWE were considered. This includes WCW, but excludes all other wrestling entities, especially TNA.
- 6.1 "Diva" was used, despite my better judgment, mostly because we wanted to make an abortion joke.
- 7.This is the only John Cena mention in the entire piece. That is just the way it's going to be. If an NFL team started running the same five plays over and over and over and over and over again, it would need to be paired up with John Cena. Until then, he will be our dedicated charity/make a wish consultant. Keep making those kids come true John.
- 8.As the great Billy Joel said "we didn't start the fire, it was always burning since the world's been turning" so we are going to leave Ric Flair out in San Francisco (despite the fact that he should be with the Panthers) and Hogan with the Patriots. More on this later.
- 9.I decided to rank them from worst to first based on 2014 winning percentage because, well, why not. Anyways, on to the list:
32 Houston Texans-Shawn Michaels
How do you make the worst team in the NFL better? You pair them up with the greatest superstar of all time, Shawn Michaels. Teaming up the Heartbreak kid with the Texans just makes sense. He's from San Antonio, meaning he likely hates Dallas, explored storylines where he was essentially the bankrupt lackey of the WWE, much like the Texans are right now the depths of the NFL, and what better way to get rid of a QB controversy than with a little sweet chin music. Concussion jokes aside, at least Matt Schwab will hear a few cheers between the time the foot hits his chin and the time he hits the ground. That is more than they had all this year.
Shawn recreated his career so many times, from the Rockers, to the Heartbreak Kid, to Mr. Wrestlemania and the list goes on and on. The Houston Texans are at the Rockers of NFL franchises. Each year there is much hype, but they never quite get to the level you thought they would. Shawn will help them shed their metaphorical Marty Janetty.
31 Washington Redskins - Tatanka
There wasn't too much for the Redskins to be motivated about this season. One thing they should be motivated to do is finally change their name. If they do that, they can get The Rock to come in and say FIIIINNNNNNAAAAALLLLLYYYYYYY the Washington Redskins aren't racist. Until then, they are going to get one of the most racially insensitive characters the WWE has put forward, Tatanka.
Yes, I get the fact that Tatanka was actually a proud Native American, but the WWE portrayed him as a puppet, and tried to get us to care more about him than we did, kind of the same way they keep convincing us to care about the Redskins.
However, at this time I am reminded of a scene from the movie "Natural Born Killers" where the movie's "Heros" Mickey and Mallory kill Mallory's parents for years of sexual abuse (no this is not the abortion joke I referenced above, but we are getting close!)
The father, played by Rodney Dangerfield is watching wrestling and a scene comes on showing Tatanka to which Rodney screams "Kill the Fuckin Indian" It is indeed that moment Daniel Snyder should pay close attention to. Kill the Fuckin Indian.
30 Atlanta Falcons-Harlem Heat
If the Atlanta Falcons are in need of anything right now, it's a spin-a-rooney from their current trajectory. Two years ago, I made a bet with a friend. I gave him 5-1 odds that the Atlanta Falcons would not win an NFL championship during the next five years. At the time, he was very confident because the Falcons were on the rise and had made the playoffs the previous year but he quickly knew he would be paying me at the end of the 5 years. I would make that bet another 100 times out of 100. Any takers??? (Don't worry, at least 1 is coming up soon)
I am giving Atlanta Harlem Heat because they need a little flair. Atlanta has their own little ebony experience going on, so why not send the original Ebony Experience to motivate them.
For those of you that thought any of the above was racist, please know that Harlem Heat was "originally, supposed to be a pair of wrestling prisoners won in a card game by manager Col. Rob Parker, but was changed due to racial sensitivity based on their look, coming out to the ring in wrist and foot shackles."
Read that one more time just to be sure you know what we are dealing with.
(I'll give you a min)
The correct response is "WOW". At least they changed it. Moving on…
29 Cleveland Browns – Junk Yard Dog
To the most beleaguered team in the NFL, I had to think long and hard. You can't pair up the browns up with anyone that won a championship, well…ever. After much deliberation, I decided to pair up the Browns with the Junk Yard Dog. He was a legend, much like Jim Brown, that never won a championship. In the years since, he has mostly retired into the sunset making only the occasional noteworthy appearance.
Couple that with the Dog Pound, and the fact that the Browns are always in the Dog House, and everything starts coming together.
28 Jacksonville Jaguars - Iron Sheik, Runner up Bob Backlund
When a wrestler and the owner of an NFL franchise have the same mustache, it is not a coincidence. Khan would be a jabroni if he didn't utilize the tutelage of the Iron Sheik. Backland gets a runner up because Jacksonville has a lot of senior citizens who would love nothing more than being put in a cross face chicken wing.
27 Oakland Raiders - Undertaker, Runner up Sting
The Raiders much like the Undertaker, at least in the 1990's hailed from "Part's Unknown". Were they the Oakland Raiders, the LA Raiders, no one really knew for a while. Combined with their dark ways, and pension for burying themselves alive, this is the perfect fit. Sting gets an honorable mention here because he truly would be perfect. If the Raiders played in a dome that allowed Sting to zip down and bring plays to the Raiders QB, he would have gone first, and Taker would have been second. But, like Wrestlemania, The Undertaker refuses to lose. He should be able to instill that into Raiders, and maybe even resurrect Al Davis to be his new Paul Bearer.
26 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Maye Young
Finally, the abortion we have been waiting for. The Tampa Bay Bucs motivational speaker for 2014 will be the Great Maye Young, who birthed baby Hornswoggle via Marc Henry. Alright, maybe that was only a metaphorical abortion of a segment, but you get the point.
The Bucs did win a championship, as did Maye, but have mostly been a running joke. From the first defeated season in the NFL, to screwing up the Bo Jackson draft, to pushing the pile on kneel down plays, the Bucs are almost always the laughing stock of the league. Maye should be able to win them over with her humor and their charm, and if nothing else, everyone thinks midgets are funny, right Mr. McMahon.
25 Minnesota Vikings – Rowdy Rody Piper
The Hot Rod has given some of the greatest speeches in WWE history. Just when you think you have the answers, he changes the questions. Sound like any team we know? Of course he goes to Minnesota.
Just when you think the Vikings have figured out the formula to consistently make the playoffs, the NFL changes the questions on them, and they are back home by January.
The Vikings and the Irish are also kindred ancestors. I'm sure they can make a kilt in purple.
24 Buffalo Bills – Brett "The Hit Man" Hart
The Buffalo Bills are certainly not the Excellence of Execution, but being the only semi-Canadian team in the NFL, Brett Hart should be able to motivate them. They have also had their own version of the Montreal Screw Job
23 Detroit Lions - Steiner Brothers
Before there was Chris Webber, or Juan Howard, there was the Steiner Brothers. They ARE Michigan. And something Scott Steiner and the Lions have in common is becoming overly cocky from winning. Before you know it, Matthew Stafford will be saying things like "I'm too buff, too tan, and just too swwwweeeeeeeeetttttt before practice in the mirror. And hey, if motivational speeches don't work out, they can always show Suh some of their sweet wrestling moves to take down opposing offensive linemen without getting fined.
22 New York Giants - Tripple H
For the current leader of the WWE, I am sending him to motivate the New York Football Giants. Residing in Stanford, CT, HHH pretty much lives in New York City already. He has one of the best collections of facial expressions in the history of the WWE ala Eli Manning, and doesn't mind taking repeated punishment, ditto.
Also, in big game situations, Eli has generally come through, especially in two Superbowls. In other words, when it's time to play THE game, Eli is ready.
21 St. Louis Rams - British Bulldog
St Louis is the team the NFL originally decided to send to Europe every year, so who better to motivate them than a hologram of the British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith. Maybe he can get a few of his friends from the afterlife to help fill seats the next time they get throttled 45-7
20 Tennessee Titans - Honky Tonk Man/Jerry Lawyer (tie)
This one was legitimately hard. How do you send just one superstar, then using the internet (I definitely needed it here), I find out that Jerry and Honky are in fact first cousins. Perfect! Sometimes things just work out, like the time everything came together for the Titans and Eddie George to make the Superbowl. The combination of Honky and Jerry should help motivate the Titans. At least when people are chanting Jerry, Jerry, Jerry, at them, it won't be because they think they are dysfunctional.
(Side Note: My Jerry Springer reference is also apparently from the 90's. Honestly, if you are still reading, you probably don't care)
19 Baltimore Ravens - Chris Jericho
Jericho is famous for using the Crab maneuver to finish off his victims. He also famously left WCW and appeared at WWE without warning, much the way the Colts left Baltimore and moved to Indy. He did it in reverse but he was still scorned.
He has experience in rebuilding himself and somehow Y2J became more relevant than Y2K. He also is known for taking extended periods off and then inserting himself back into the championship picture immediately after a down year.
18 Chicago Bears - CM Punk
CM punk epitomizes the tough guy of the WWE, you know, the way the Bears used to. However, there are still times where you remember he's a little annoying. Punk is also not afraid to break the 4th wall. How am I going to tie this to the bears…I don't know…I guess Jay Cutler broke the celebrity wall when he married Kristin Cavallari and then subsequently appeared on The League with his former reality star wife.
Punk absolutely owns Chicago more than any other current superstar owns their home town. He has to go here. A few pipe bombs would do the bears good. They could learn a lot from the best in the world.
17 Dallas Cowboys - Stone Cold Steve Austin
When you read number 32 was Shawn Michaels, admit, you were skeptical. You thought Texas, has to be the Rattlesnake right? I could have switched these two around, and given the showstopper to the Cowboys and the Rattlesnake to the Texans, but I thought Michaels was a better underdog where Stone Cold thought he was going to win every single year even after his knees started giving out and he just wasn't the same as he used to be.
Plus, Jerry Jones could utilize him to give coaches a wake up stunner every now and then.
Imagine celebrating every game ending Romo pick with a few Steveweisers. Cowboy fans would instantly feel a little better right? Send Stone Cold to the Cowboys.
16 Miami Dolphins - The Rock
Finally! (long pause) The Rock (long pause) has come back (extremely long pause) home. Have you seen the Rock lately? Of course you have, he's in EVERYTHING. He's making four movies right now! And you know what, I haven't disliked any of them. The Rock can truly do no wrong. If there was one person and one person only on the face of the earth that could replace the ghost of Dan Marino in that locker room , it is the most electrifying motivator in sports entertainment today.
15 New York Jets - Doink the Clown (Rob Ryan guest appearance as Dink the Clown)
Not only are Doink and Dink great nicknames for Rex and Rob Ryan, doink and dink are also the sounds the Jets make fumbling footballs off different appendages of opponents. Plus clowns have big feet, and Rex is into that.
14 Pittsburgh Steelers - Dusty Rhodes
Who else lives the American Dream like the Pittsburgh Steelers? A working class team with the most championships in NFL history. Who better to motivate them than one of the greatest talkers in the history of wrestling? The reason I am sending Dusty there is he perfected the "Dusty Finish".
Simply put (i.e. copy and pasted from Wikipedia) this is: " the nickname given to a specific ending to a wrestling match in which one wrestler appears to have scored a win only to have the decision reversed, often on some small technicality. Although Eddie Graham is usually credited with inventing the finish, it is named after Dusty Rhodes because Rhodes was famous for invoking the finish in his own matches when he was a wrestler/booker.
This is exactly what Ben Roethlisberger tried to do each game in the NFL season. They are a yellow poka dotted match made in Heaven.
13 Green Bay Packers - Mic Foley
To the small tough guy that shouldn't have made it as long as he did, but continually produced memorable match after memorable match. He would be perfect in Wisconsin, plus cheese is one of the foods you can eat without teeth.
12 San Diego Chargers - Razor Ramon
Hey Yo, The bad guy is finally here. I am putting Razor with the Charges because it is close to Mexico, Chico. He would get along perfect with Philip Rivers. Imagine each of them both wearing bolos chewing on tooth picks.
He could bring flair to SD that might actually help them win a championship. And since it isn't 1992 anymore, if things don't go well, he can always grab a drink, or 30 with them. Too soon?
11 Arizona Cardinals - Jake "The Snake" Roberts
Besides the Kurt Warner error, the only time Arizona fans have truly been happy was that one year when Jake the Snake Plummer was behind center. Arizona fans will like the nostalgia of Jake Roberts, plus there are a lot of snakes in the desert.
10 Philadelphia Eagles -Kurt Angle
Kurt is from Pittsburgh, and being one of the most evil villains in WWE history, likely routes for the Eagles over the Steelers. He should fit perfectly into Chip Kelly's system, until the 2nd half when he will get tired and eventually fall off.
9 Cincinnati Bengals -Macho Man Randy Savage
OhhhhYeahhhhh The Macho Man Hologram is going to Cincinnati to help motivate the Bengals Ohhh Yeahhhh. Andy Dalton might have those lying eyes in the hearts of Bengals fans. At least he'll be able to sympathize. Also, when Geovani Bernard inevitably gets snapped like a slim jim, or the offense needs one good idea for a play, Savage will know just what to do.
8 Indianapolis Colts- Andre the Giant
Actual pre-game banter between Donald Brown, Andrew the Giant and Andre's hologram:
Andrew: That Peyton Manning, he can *fuss*.
Andre: Fuss, fuss... I think he like to scream Omaha at *us*.
Donald Brown: Probably he means no *harm*.
Andre: He's really very short on *charm*.
Andrew: You have a great gift for rhyme.
Andre: Yes, yes, some of the time.
Andrew: Enough of that.
Donald Brown: Andre, are there rocks ahead?
Andre: If there are, we all be dead.
Andrew: No more rhymes now, I mean it.
Andre: Anybody want a peanut?
7 Kansas City Chiefs – Kane
The WWE's big red machine goes to the NFLs big red machine. Hey remember that time KC actually told their fans to sit down during games so they didn't obstruct other people that didn't want to stand AT AN NFL GAME! Kane is used to being the lesser brother, just like KC is typically a lesser team. Hopefully Alex Smith can help lead them deep into the playoffs during an upcoming season, but this is likely the best year they will have for a while. You know how Kane holds the record for the most people eliminated in the Royal Rumble? Well the NFL equivalent was KC being the last undefeated in 2013. It was nice, but ultimately it means nothing.
6 New Orleans Saints - New Age Outlaws
"Oh you didn't know…your ass better call somebody. It's me it's me it's that d.o.double g rollin with that a double crooked letter damn right.
Id like to welcome everybody to the Dogg House. Ladies & Gentleman Boys & Girls children of all ages d-generation x proudly brings to you the road dogg Jesse James the bad ass Billy gun the new age outlaws and if you're not down with that we got two words for you
You can't mess with the classics. Reading it doesn't do it justice. If you only click on one link, make it this one.
Carolina Panthers - Ricky the Dragon Steamboat
Let's be honest, this should really be Ric Flair, but he is already taken. Let's give this spot to the dragon who continually surpassed our expectations. I think Cam Newton could learn a little class from Ricky as well.
4 New England Patriots - Hulk Hogan (Previously Assigned)
The Patriots are the most polarizing franchise in the NFL. People in New England love them, and people outside hate them. Really, Hulk Hogan is perfect here. People either love him because he represented their childhood or hate him because of everything else he represents.
What better way for the Patriots to enter a home game than coming out with Yellow and Red adorned Hulk Hogan to "I am a real American" and when their on the road, he can lead them out in NWO black playing a Lombardi trophy to Voodoo Child
3 San Francisco 49ers - Ric Flair (Previously Assigned)
2 Denver Broncos - St Slaughter
Colorado is the home of countless military bases including NORAD. Who better to motivate the Broncos than St Slaughter. Some people joke that you can't spell Manning without the word laughter. Wait….that isn't right….this column might have gotten a little out of hand.
Let's be honest. Peyton isn't going to listen to many people, but I assume he respects the military. Plus St Slaughter beat Hulk Hogan in one of the biggest upset matches of WWE history. Peyton will take every advantage he can vs Tom Brady and the Pats.
1 Seattle Seahawks - Daniel Bryan
It honestly couldn't be anyone else. Yes! Yes! Yes!
And if Vegas ever gets a team, they will get Al Snow, because what does everybody want? What does everybody need?
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