(AllHipHop Features) The WWE’s annual Wrestlemania is the Super Bowl, Academy Awards, and presidential election of professional wrestling - an event where icons are etched into the annals of sports entertainment. The 32nd edition of Wrestlemania is scheduled to take place in Arlington, Texas on April 3, and more grapplers will certainly use the occasion to cement their legacy in the memories of wrestling fans across the globe.
In preparation for WM32, AllHipHop.com connected with lifelong wrestling enthusiast Smoke DZA to get the Harlem emcee’s opinion on the greatest masters of the squared circle. The creator of the Ringside mixtape series and co-host of the newly launched Heels N Faces podcast explains why the following icons make his list of “Top 5 Pro Wrestlers Dead Or Alive.”
[ALSO READ: EXCLUSIVE: Smoke DZA Talks ‘He Has Risen’ Joint Album With Harry Fraud, NYC Hip Hop & Expanding His Film Career]
My number 1 is Hulk Hogan. Right or wrong, racist or not, that’s my man. I’m rocking with the Hulkster number one over everybody. Hulk Hogan is the Michael Jordan, the Wayne Gretzky, the Vince Lombardi, the John Madden - whatever face you can think of for whatever sport, he’s that.
Hulk Hogan was my version of Superman or Batman. Wrestling was my version of cartoons, so Hulk Hogan was that for me. I was all about Hulkamania. Even with the “say your prayers" and “eat your vitamins” spiel, I was sold on that. He did more for wrestling - outside of wrestling - than any other wrestler to enter the squared circle.
He’s the picture of what flamboyance should be when you look in the dictionary. From a wrestler standpoint, he was the total package - the ultimate heel, could talk on the mic like none other, could draw heat from anywhere, and he was the flyest dude. He was all about Learjets, limousines, Rolexes, and a different suit every time. Ric Flair was a flamboyant motherf*cker. So I definitely give Ric Flair number 2.
Shawn Michaels is my number 3. He was the first undersized guy to be considered World Champion material, and I feel like he held down the WWF during the “Attitude Era” to where it was still able to compete with WCW because they had DX [D-Generation X]. He retired on the highest of the high, so I feel like he probably still has sh*t left in the tank.
Number 4 would be Bret Hart. He was the ultimate technician. He was the face of Canada before Drake. [laughs] He was the ultimate good guy, and he was the best technical wrestler to ever wrestle in the squared circle.
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin/The Rock
I’d probably let Austin and The Rock share number 5, because they ushered the 90’s into some other sh*t. That whole “Attitude Era” was competing against WCW and going against the grain. I would let them share the 5 spot.
[ALSO READ: Top 5 Comedians Dead Or Alive: Key & Peele]
Purchase Smoke DZA’s He Has Risen oniTunes.
Wrestlemania 32 is scheduled for Sunday, April 3 at 7 pm ET. The event will broadcast live on the WWE Network.
Listen to episode 1 of Smoke DZA and Ohla’s Heels N Faces podcast below.