Wrestling Toughest Men

Wrestling Toughest Men
The World’s Toughest Men… of Wrestling
Wrestling’s most unlikely tough men…
Written by PYGOD on October 21, 2008 (Before Brock Lesnar took over the UFC)

By definition, pro wrestlers are tough guys!  You would certainly think they are way tougher than the average Joe Schmo and could be able to easily defend themselves in a bar fight.  Years ago, a wrestler who lost a bar fight against a non-wrestler was immediately fired as it looked bad that a larger-than-life pro wrestler would lose a fight against a common bar patron.

Even within this tough community of wrestling there is yet a further distinction on who the real tough guys were.  These are the types of tough guys that even their wrestling compatriots would say are tough.  These upper echelons of wrestlers are labeled “shooters”.  Shooter status is attained by checking into
at least one of the below categories

  1- Extensive martial arts training: When I say martial arts training I include boxing and amateur wrestling. By definition, martial art means the art of combat which include all kind of hand-to-hand fighting sports.  Think of Kurt Angle, Daniel Pruder, Ken Shamrock, Dan Severn, Bob Roop, Steven Regal, Dave Taylor, Nunzio, and several others would all be a component of this type of training.

  2- General toughness and propensity to brawl: Self-explained!  Backstage enforcers like JBL (Bradshaw) & Bob Holly. Examples of this category are Gene LeBell, Lou Thesz, & Johnny Rodz in the past.

  3- Sheer size and strength: This is a great intimidation factor and is useful in any kind of brawls. Men like Andre The Giant, Great Khali, Mark Henry, Kane, Big Show, Big Daddy V are all so damn HUGE that nobody would want to fight them.

  • Despite the aforementioned criteria for the three shooter categories- it still does not help us to answer the question:  Who are the toughest guys in pro wrestling?

  • Is it Golberg, Brock Lesnar or Steve Austin?

  • No way!  Those guys are tough but are not even tough enough to make it to my top three!

  • My top three toughest wrestlers are the guys who, in a legit fight, would kick the ass of any other wrestler on any given day.  These three wrestlers were feared by their peers as other wrestler’s would never dare to get into a legitimate fight with them.  If they did they knew they potentially could not only prematurely end their wrestling career but they could also have a life long physical disability as well.

    You probably have never heard of these men unless you’re not a ‘smarks’ fan of wrestling!  As these guys sometimes have toiled in relative obscurity as their toughness was not even used for their on-stage gimmicks.  If you’re just an average wrestling fan- you will be stunned by what you will discover in this article.

    Below are three legit hard men and were tough in every sense of the word.  They would certainly be the best allies you could ever want in a barroom brawl, in a street fight, or in a prison riot.

    #3 RICK RUDE

    Rick Rude

    He may not look like it, but the late Rick Rude was known for his incredible grip strength and as a tough street fighter.  Rude was an accomplished arm wrestler who finished sixth in the world championships held in Las Vegas in the light heavyweight division in 1983.  Rude was the quintessential gym rat, bouncer, amateur boxer with a 2-0 record and in 1981 he started training for a Tough Man contest.

    FACTS: After Rude graduated high school he began working as a bouncer in the sleaziest, nastiest, toughest establishments in the twin cities-Minneapolis.  He quickly became known as being extremely tough as one night Rude had a dislocated elbow and his left arm had to be put in a sling.  Rude being the tough guy he was, still showed up for work that night and had an encounter with a pro bodybuilder who shall remain unnamed as he was causing considerable trouble.  No other bouncer did anything about it except for Rude who used his one good arm and open-hand slapped the man who was knocked out cold.  It was really only a matter of time before Rude broke into the world of wrestling. 

    Ricky Rood 
    “the toughest bouncer in Minneapolis”

    In 1982, he became a jobber under his given name, Ricky Rood and fittingly his moniker was “the toughest bouncer in Minneapolis”.  His arm wrestling days shone through nicely in wrestling as he demonstrated that the Road Warrior Animal could not even budge Rude’s arm despite using both of his arms.  One night in 1988, when Randy ‘Macho Man’ Savage who at the time was the top man in the WWF (now WWE) decided to go out to this one particular rough bar where all the NWA guys used to hang out.  Savage enlisted the services of Rick Rude and Dynamite Kid who acted as his ‘informal’ bodyguards.  With these two men to watch his back, there were no problems that night.  Rude’s open-handed slap became legendary in itself as many stories emerged of him knocking out his fellow wrestler’s in real locker room fights.  The 400-pounder P.N. News was knocked out with just one slap, tough guy Paul Orndorff (a pretty tough guy himself who kicked the ass of Big Van Vader backstage and bitten off the ear off Tony Atlas in a street fight) hit the ground hard and even the legend himself the Ultimate Warrior faced Rude’s disciplinary actions.  During one particular wrestling match with the Warrior the pace of the match was slow as he was sore and stiff.  After the match Rude told him he needed to pick up his game but the Warrior contested and said he could do whatever he want.  Unfortunately, he too was knocked out by the Rude’s one arm slap.

                     Not really frightening.

    In 1998, while partying at the hotel bar with all the NWO crew. Kevin Nash made a remark that pissed off Rude.  The two men ended up getting into a heated argument.  In his hotel room Rude offered Nash to settle this dispute with a good old fashioned fist fight.  Nash backed down and subsequently checked into a different hotel the following night.


    Dave “Fit” Finley

    Finlay is an old-school type of wrestler who also has a black belt in Judo.  Finlay is mostly known for his high proficiency in the art of shooting, hooking, and ripping.  A third-generation wrestler, he began wrestling at the tender age of 5 under the tutelage of his father.

    FACTS: He is recognized by many of his opponents as the world’s toughest wrestler.  Currently he is easily the toughest man in the WWE.   He has intimidated many other wrestlers including: Arn Anderson, The Big Show, Kevin
    Sullivan & Goldberg!


    In real life, Finlay doesn’t struggle against midgets.

    In a magazine interview with the Canadian wrestler Lance Storm was asked who he would rather fight either Ken Shamrock or Dave Finlay?  He answered Ken Shamrock and his reasoning was simple-in a fight with Shamrock he might come out with a broken limb but in a fight against Finlay-he would be lucky to come out alive!  Goldberg, once was offended by Finlay’s anti-Semitic jokes, and rushed to Finlay to stare him down.  This was a bad idea as Finlay head butted him and kicked him to the floor in a matter of seconds. 

    1999 in WCW, Finlay and Meng scared the shit out of all the wrestlers’ in the locker room.  They both got into each others face and it appeared as though they were ready to fight each other as neither one of them seemed like they were going to back down.  However when Finlay and Meng started to laugh instead of fight causing everyone else in the room to break out into laughter as well but in relief as they were only bluffing.

    Now for the Toughest Wrestler ever…
    In 2000, Kurt Angle said on TV that this wrestler is the toughest guy in the WWE locker room & Arn Anderson wrote in his autobiography that there are 3 types of men: tough men, wrestler-tough men, and then there’s Meng.


    Meng / Haku / King Tonga

    Meng or Haku or whatever you wanna call him, made a name for himself in and outside the ring as the toughest wrestler bar none.  When several top wrestlers including the likes of Kevin Nash, Undertaker, Hulk Hogan, Goldberg, Bad News Brown, Bret Hart, Jim Neidhart, Jake Roberts & Bobby Heenan were all asked who the toughest wrestler was and they all responded without hesitation and agreed it was Meng.   Legit tough guy, muscleman, The Barbarian, said he could not beat Meng in a real fight.   Even, as said by Bobby Heenan, Andre the Giant was affraid of two people: Meng and Harley Race.

    FACTS: He was widely known for biting off people’s noses, knocking people out with one slap, punch, or head butt and even lifting bar patrons off the floor with only one hand wrapped around their throat.

    In 1987, Jesse Barr (Jimmy Jack Funk) had his nose bitten off and his eyeball popped out of his head in a backstage fight against Meng.  As a result Barr had to wear a glass eye for the rest of his life.  One day, Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake
    complained to the WWE autorities that Haku was too stiff in their match.  So, the WWE autorities informed Haku.  He immediately rushed to the the locker room dragged Beefcake out of the shower.  Lifting him by the throat, choking him two feet  off the ground, and threatening to kill him.  No one in the locker room dared to stop Haku.  Happily for Beefcake, his good buddy Hulk Hogan came to his rescue and told Haku to calm down.  Haku greatly respected the Hulkster so he finally set Beefcake free.   Another anecdote, in the dying days of WCW,  the management proceeded to some firing.  Meng was on the firing list.  But no one dared to fire him, since nobody wanted to told him.  So Meng remained employed to the WCW till the end. 

    His favorite bar fight ended up costing him a lot of money.  The brawl involved five men who were foolish enough to laugh at him and another wrestler.  Meng’s short fuse caused him to reach one of the men while the three were jumping and punching him.  Meng KO’d the three men by slapping them and
    applied the “Tonga Death Grip” (nerve grip on the Adam’s apple) and bit off the nose of the man who instigated the whole thing.  Wisely, as the other men saw Meng spit the nose of their friend they run out of the bar before the monster could finish them off.  Months later, he saw on the news that the WWE was being sued for $2.5 million for this incident.

    Meng’s tough & hardened reputation was quickly growing as he was often referred to as the toughest wrestler ever. He was even invited to participate in the UFC.  But WCW’s executive Eric Bishoff refused to let him go fearing that a poor showing by Meng could ruin wrestling’s aura of toughness.

    There are a lot of stories about Meng circulating on the internet and if only half of them are true that would certainly be enough proof to label him The Toughest Man Alive!

    Meng / Haku / King Tonga
    The Undisputed King of Toughness

    You might also see:

    Rick Rude grip strength 

    Ravishing Rick Rude – Could He Have Been a Number 4 Captain Of Crush Closer?

    The Best and Worst Physiques in Pro Wrestling



    No comments yet. Why don’t you start the discussion?

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published.