DAILY DIRT: From the Nature Boy to Dude Love to Abdullah the Butcher, it’s the name that can make you a star in this game

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Daily Dirt for Friday, March 24, 2023

If I had been a pro wrestler, my name might have been Russell the Muscle, Dirty Steve, Love Child or The Appetite … Welcome to today’s three thoughts that make up Vol. 561 of The Daily Dirt.

1. Go ahead, admit it. In the darkest reaches of your soul you occasionally like to watch professional wrestling, which, of course is the equivalent of a male soap opera.

And part of the appeal to watching all of that “action” within the confines of the squared circle are the names of the combatants.

There are three requirements to be a star in pro wrestling:

  • 1. A quality and well-tanned physique.
  • 2. A devastating finishing hold (choke slam, cobra clutch, crippler crossface, atomic leg drop, attitude adjustment, pedigree, tombstone piledriver).
  • 3. A memorable ring name.

Here are my all-time favorite pro rasslin’ monikers:

  • The American Dream (The late Dusty Rhodes, who was born Virgil Riley Runnels)
  • Ric “The Nature Boy” Flair (Richard Fliehr)
  • The Rock (Dwayne Johnson)
  • Abdullah the Butcher (Laurence Shreve)
  • Hulk Hogan (Terry Bollea)
  • “Macho Man” Randy Savage (Randy Paffo)
  • The Undertaker (Mark William Calaway)
  • Edge (Adam Joseph Copeland)
  • Andre the Giant (Andre Roussimoff)
  • Sgt. Slaughter (Robert Remus)
  • Dude Love (Mick Foley)
  • The Heartbreak Kid (Shawn Michaels, born Michael Shawn Hickenbottom)
  • Kane (Glenn Jacobs, the second most famous native of Bowling Green, Mo. after Frank Cash…or was it Champ Clark?)
  • “Rowdy” Roddy Piper (Roderick George Toombs )
  • C.M. Punk (Phillip Jack Brooks)
  • The Miz (Michael Gregory Mizanin)
  • Trish Stratus (Patricia Anne Stratigeas)

And here are a few pro rasslin’ stars who actually used their real names:

  • “Stone Cold” Steve Austin
  • Bret “The Hitman” Hart
  • Bruno Sammartino
  • John Cena
  • Kurt Angle
  • Brock Lesnar
  • Randy Orton

2. I saw this sign earlier in the week. Might be best ever:

“Spring is here. I’m so excited I wet my plants.”

3. The MLB season starts late next week, and here are a few of the major milestones some of the game’s big names will be pursuing this season:

Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, who has battled a series of injuries in recent years but remains a sure-fire first-ballot hall of famer, needs just three victories to reach 200 for his career. For those wondering, Kershaw has not pitched more than 130 innings in either of the last two full seasons.

Even better, Justin Verlander, now pitching for the New York Mets, needs six wins to reach for 250 for his career. Unless the veteran right-handed breaks down during his two-year contract with the Mets, Verlander seems like a good bet to not only get another deal but reach 300 wins before he retires. If he does, Verlander will likely be the last pitcher to get to 300. Since 1990, only four pitchers have joined the 300-win club: Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Randy Johnson. And other than Verlander, there are no others on the horizon. 

Zack Greinke, 39, has 223 and Max Scherzer, 38, has 201, but neither of those will likely be able to pitch long enough to reach the magic mark.

The New York Yankees’ Giancarlo Stanton opens the season 12 home runs shy of 400. To me, that’s surprising because Stanton is ALWAYS hurt.

Kenley Jansen, who now plays for the Boston Red Sox, needs nine saves to reach 400 his career. I’m not sure if the Red Sox will win enough games for him get nine saves.

Steve Thought O’ The Day — My dream pro wrestling match would be the late, great The American Dream battling The Nature Boy for the ultimate strap. Rest in peace, Dream. And thanks for the memories, Nature Boy. 

Steve Eighinger writes daily for Muddy River News. I’m sure he watched hours of wrestling videos in researching this column.

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