BANKIE'S HOT TAKE #45 - Legends of Hamburg Stars 3
On September 16, 2023, the Legends of Hamburg Fanfest is coming to the Historic Hamburg Field House in beautiful Hamburg, PA, bringing together wrestling’s past, present, and future under one roof.
In the next several Hot Takes, we will give the list of names, one-by-one, coming to the Legends of Hamburg event. There is no better way to kick things off than with the man who did it…for the Rock.
Rikishi might be the most unlikely superstar to come from the Attitude Era.
Prior to the Fall of 1999, Rikishi was part of a premier tag team with his cousin Samu, first as the Samoan Swat Team in the NWA and WCW, and then as a member of the Headshrinkers. In 1994, under the guidance of WWE Hall of Famer Afa and Hamburg Field House legend “Captain” Lou Albano, Samu and Fatu won the World Wrestling Federation Tag Team championships from the Quebecers!
After trying to “make a change” in 1995 and becoming the Sultan in 1999 with former WWF champions the Iron Sheik and Bob Backlund as his managers, Fatu transformed himself into Rikishi Phatu in late 1999, complete with gear showcasing his ample backside.
Once Scotty 2 Hotty and Grand Master Sexay put a pair of sunglasses on the big man and started dancing, the Attitude Era developed the most popular trio of the age. Rikishi won the Intercontinental championship on June 22, 2000.
In a flash, Rikishi became the most hated man in WWF in October 2000, being the man who hit “Stone Cold” Steve Austin with his car at Survivor Series 1999. After having his secret exposed, Rikishi had wars with Austin and the Rock, while unleashing a side of anger never seen before.
In early 2004, Rikishi, back to his old self, and Scotty 2 Hotty reunited and won the WWE Tag Team championships for three months.
Nowadays, Rikishi might be best known as the father of Jimmy & Jey Uso and Solo Sikoa, three members of the wildly popular Bloodline in WWE. His legacy lives on through his sons, but to die-hard fans, he is a legend in his own right.
We are honored to have Rikishi as a part of our Legends of Hamburg Fanfest on September 16, 2023.
The next big name announced for the Fanfest, you could say, is the original Hardcore Icon!
The Sandman eats, breathes, and sleeps Extreme Championship Wrestling.
One of the pillars of ECW, the Sandman transformed from a bleached-blonde surfer to a beer swilling, cigarette smoking, Singapore Cane swinging badass.
A four-time ECW World Heavyweight champion and former co-holder of the ECW Tag Team championship with 2 Cold Scorpio, Sandman’s wars with Tommy Dreamer, Raven, Sabu, Rhino, and the Dudleys were legendary in its violence and brutality. His never-say-die attitude made him arguably the most popular wrestler in the promotion’s history.
Sandman eventually made his way to WWE’s version of ECW, peaking at WrestleMania 23, where he and the other ECW Originals (Dreamer, Sabu, and Rob Van Dam) won a big eight-man tag team war with the New Breed in front of 80,000 people in Ford Field in Detroit, MI. He also made a short, but impactful run in WCW as Hardcore Hak, brawling with Raven and other men in the Hardcore division.
Unbeknownst to many, Sandman is one of the most eloquent and intelligent men in wrestling history, being incredibly brilliant in the locker room and outside of the ring. The Sandman is truly an anomaly.
We are honored to have the “Hardcore Icon” as a part of our Legends of Hamburg Fanfest on September 16, 2023.
You can’t have the Sandman without the man who founded ECW…
In the ashes of the innovative Tri-State Wrestling Alliance in Philadelphia stood Eastern Championship Wrestling.
Tod Gordon, a pawnbroker for his business Carver W. Reed, formed and bankrolled Eastern Championship Wrestling, beginning in 1992.
Gordon helped rejuvenate the Philly wrestling scene with some fantastic wrestling shows, but by 1994, he, alongside innovative booker Paul Heyman, revolutionized pro wrestling by orchestrated a plot to throw down the NWA World’s Heavyweight championship and allow Shane Douglas to proclaim himself the EXTREME Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight champion.
Although many consider Heyman to be the architect, Mr. Gordon headed the charge financially to keep ECW headed in the right direction. On-air, Gordon was the ECW Commissioner, and actually had an incredible fight with disgraced referee Bill Alfonso at the November to Remember 1995.
Leaving ECW in 1997, Mr. Gordon was involved in various pro wrestling projects, including Pro Wrestling Unplugged, 3PW, and Xtreme Fight Club. He is still in business with Carver W. Reed, and beloved by wrestling fans in Philadelphia for his contributions to the industry.
Earlier this year, Mr. Gordon released his autobiography, Tod is God, his story on forming Eastern Championship Wrestling. We are honored to have this legend in attendance on September 16!
The next big name announced for the Fanfest is one of wrestling’s greatest executives.
Mr. Bischoff, love him or hate him, is one of wrestling’s greatest executives.
Beginning his career learning under the tutelage of Verne Gagne in the AWA, Bischoff made his way to World Championship Wrestling as a commentator, but made his name as WCW Executive Producer in 1993.
Bischoff’s aggressive business tactics helped turn the corner of WCW in the mid-1990s, signing Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, and Lex Luger, spurning WCW Monday Nitro into the #1 wrestling show on TNT in 1995. In 1996, Bischoff unleashed the New World Order, and he, alongside Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and a rechristened “Hollywood” Hogan, dominated the Monday Night Wars for 83 straight Weeks.
“Easy E” was also a detestable television performer, best known for his work as the Raw General Manager from 2002 to 2005. Also, his work in WCW as the “voice of the nWo”, as well as Hulk Hogan’s right hand man in IMMORTAL during TNA in the early 2010s, cannot be understated. He was even a former WCW Hardcore champion for one day in June 2000. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2021.
Outside the ring, Bischoff and business partner Jason Hervey ran a successful production company, best known for the “Scott Baio is 45 and Single” program on VH1, as well as several other reality television shows. “Easy E” currently has his own podcast, 83 Weeks, with wrestling podcast legend Conrad Thompson, and released the successful book Controversy Creates Ca$h in 2006, a must read for wrestling fans.
He even came within an eyelash of buying WCW in 2001, alongside Fusient Media Ventures!
Eric Bischoff is a legend in the world of pro wrestling, both on-and-off air. We are so proud to have him a part of the Legends of Hamburg Fan Fest on 9/16
This last man might very well be the most revolutionary light heavyweight of his generation.
Sean Waltman has truly made his impact in the world of professional wrestling.
Trained under the watchful eye of Boris “the Great” Malenko, Waltman first caught the eye of hardcore wrestling fans in 1991, putting on incredible matches with Jerry Lynn for the Global Wrestling Federation. He was in the New Japan Best of the Super Juniors in 1993. He was a credible star before the age of 21.
Waltman was put on the map in May 1993, upsetting Razor Ramon on a live episode of Monday Night Raw, shocking the wrestling world. Becoming the 1-2-3 Kid, many people consider him to be the first big star to come from the Raw program, winning the WWF Tag Team championship with Marty Jannetty in January 1994, and putting on an absolute classic with Bret “Hit Man” Hart on July 11, 1994 for the World Wrestling Federation championship.
After three years in the WWF, including holding the Tag Team championship again, this time with Bob “Spark Plugg” Holly for a day in January 1995, Waltman joined WCW in 1996, being the latest member of the New World Order, changing his name to Syxx. He held the WCW Cruiserweight championship in 1997 and had several great matches, including with Ric Flair, Chris Jericho, and a memorable ladder match with Eddie Guerrero for the WCW United States championship at nWo Souled Out in January 1997. But his most memorable moments were alongside his pals Scott Hall and Kevin Nash - the original Wolfpac.
After being fired in the Winter of 1997, Waltman returned to the WWF as a member of the retooled D-Generation X, alongside his best friend Triple H. Now known as X-Pac, Waltman shined in his time back in the WWF, winning the European championship two times from D’Lo Brown, the Tag Team championship twice in a legendary pairing with Kane, and being the last WWF Light Heavyweight champion in 2001.
Waltman made his way to Total Nonstop Action in 2002, and spend notable time there, winning the Chris Candido Memorial Tag Team Tournament with Alex Shelley, and holding the TNA X-Division championship, winning a ladder match for the vacant title, and losing it in a classic fight with “the Phenomenal” AJ Styles.
In later years, Waltman has eased off his wrestling career; however, he had a resurgence in 2011 as a part of CHIKARA Pro, having a critically-acclaimed battle with El Generico at King of Trios 2011 Night 3 as the 1-2-3 Kid!
Sean Waltman might be the most decorated American junior heavyweight in wrestling history. And we are honored to have this trailblazer as a part of the Legends of Hamburg Fan Fest on September 16!
More names have been announced and will be discussed in future Hot Takes. Stay tuned!
Tickets on sale at http://legendsfanfest.com!