In honor of The Fourth of July, I figured I’d take a look at wrestling’s greatest patriots. Those who made their love of the United States a signature aspect of their career and dedicated a large portion of their time in the ring to paying homage to the stars and stripes. You may just be shocked at where some of your favorites rank.
While not as major a part of their careers, these wrestlers weren’t afraid to let their nationalistic loyalty be known from time to time.
The Ultimate Warrior
Although he only donned a US theme attire once — during the infamous 1991 Royal Rumble match against Sgt. Slaughter, this USA look remains one of the Warrior’s most popular costumes.
The Stinger frequently would wear a red, white and blue color scheme during WCW’s Great American Bash pay per views. His colorful paint combinations remains one of the things I missed most when he switched to the darker Crow persona.
One of the all-time hottest divas ever rarely needed an excuse to strip down into a bikini, but every year during her WWE stint, she made it a point to wear some patriotic theme attire and the fans definitely appreciated her love of country.
For the majority of his WWE career, Lex was frequently referred to as ‘Made in the USA’ and he had one of the most unapologetically patriotic outfits in wrestling history.
Vince McMahon was looking to recapture some of the old Hulk Hogan/Evil Foreigner dynamic so Lex spent a lot of time battling Yokozuna, Ludvig Borga and Japan sympathizer Crush. While he never came out on top to capture the belt, Luger defended the USA with pride.
And symbolic of his country’s politics, Luger even formed a tag team with England’s British Bulldog to become The Allied Powers.
5. Sgt. Slaughter
Being a featured member on ‘G.I. Joe — A Real American Hero’ pretty much guarantees you a spot on any all-time great patriot list and his battles against America’s ‘greatest foes’ in the ring like The Iron Sheik, Col. DeBeers, Kokina Maximus and Boris Zhukov helped make his mark as a defender of the USA. The only reason he’s so low on the list is for his stint as an Iraqi sympathizer during the Gulf War. He was rewarded for the controversial gimmick with a WWF champion title reign and a huge payday, but Slaughter eventually saw the error of his ways and returned to being a flag bearer for the US through the end of his in-ring career.
4. Hulk Hogan
When your theme song proudly declares you as a ‘Real American’ you’re doing the wrestling patriot deal correctly. During his WWE career, Hogan fought on behalf of the US whenever facing off against foreign foes like The Iron Sheik, Yokozuna, Nikolai Volkoff, Killer Khan and U.S. turncoat Sgt. Slaughter. Upon entering WCW, Hogan made sure the fans knew he was still ‘American Made.’ Near the end of his WWE comeback, Hogan adopted the Mr. America persona to put a fitting cap to the Real American legend’s career.
3. Hacksaw Jim Duggan
If ever there was a wrestler who became even more beloved for embracing the stars and stripes it was Hacksaw. Initially, in his WWF stint he stomped all over the free speech rights of Iron Shiek and Nikolai Volkoff for daring to wave their countries’ respective flags on American soil (some could argue Duggan may have been a bit too patriotic).
Soon, carrying a 2×4 with tiny flags wasn’t enough and Hacksaw began making an American flag part of his regular ring ensemble. And few fans could resist a hearty ‘USA!’ chant after Duggan’s encouragement.
2. Kurt Angle
What places Angle so high on the list is that unlike those below him, he never wavered in his pride for the U.S.A. always wearing the red, white and blue in all of his singlets. And throughout his career, Angle’s never shied away from reminding folks that he represented the US in the 1996 Olympics where he won a gold medal with a broken freaking neck. Plus, no one can boast a more diverse array of USA attire.
1. The Patriot
He was a real American hero and was such a standup good guy, not even the more cynical WWF fans who passionately cheered for ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin could find it in them to boo him during his far too brief stint in The Attitude Era.
Del Wilkes, the man behind the mask, is currently working on a movie about his life and it seems like it’ll be an inspirational message for all who hears it. Wilkes spoke about it on the latest ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin podcast.
Alright so those are my picks. Who would you choose?