Before we go any further, please check out this week's Hardway Podcast with Vince Steele of ACE Pro Wrestling! At 6'4 and 355 lbs, you might not think "the Remix of Pro Wrestling" could be a hybrid athlete, but you are dead wrong! Vince can fly, he can brawl, and he can battle! Also, find out how a big man like Steele got into wrestling because of GLOW! Find him on Twitter at @TheRemixSteele.
Also, follow me at @TheJonHarder on Twitter. I love feedback on columns, podcasts, and my angry Mets rants. I'm a very accessible guy and I retweet everything, even negative feedback. I love the attention.
Now, onto this week's column. As you might have known, Jim Ross has retired from the WWE this week. "Good Ol' JR", whether he was pushed out or not, really had a multitude of talents within the realm of pro wrestling. Whether as a commentator, booker, talent developer, or even mentor to future commentators, JR has always been the best at what he does. It's all about finding your niche in this world.
It truly made me think about where I've gone personally over the past few years within wrestling. When I first broke in at the ACE Wrestling Academy in 2007 in Union City, NJ, attempting to learn the behind-the-scenes, I never thought I'd be attempting to make a go of building my own brand. Trying to find a name through audio, video, and journalism has been tough, yet slowly starting to show their rewards. If it wasn't for this column, I would never be able to showcase not just my unique views on pro wrestling, but certain projects I've been working on.
One of these projects has been the hard work of my little brother B-Sizzle and his sidekick in hip-hop Master H 2. Combined, they proceeded to write a tune entitled "The Greatest Rap Ever". Is it the greatest? For a funny little WTF song, sort of. But at least they tried. Check it out for yourself here:
For Christ sake, you can see the different genres of hip-hop within 25 years of wrestling! In this week's P3, I am going to explore the different genres of hip-hop over 3 decades of pro wrestling. It will be entertaining, scary, and at certain points, brutal. As a niche writer, it's time to talk about a niche...OF A NICHE in wrestling. Without further hesitation...
THE PROFESSIONAL 3: The History of Hip-Hop in Wrestling
For me, it all started back in 1991. "The Rapmaster" PN News made his debut in WCW. As a hip-hop act, PN personified what hip-hop was all about originally: fun and just having a good time. A fan favorite, all the little WCW fans thought PN was entertaining. For Christ sake, PN even rapped the WCW Great American Bash commercial back in 1991. (NOTE: He actually mentioned Ric Flair in a lyric BEFORE Flair left WCW for the WWF.)
PN News might not have been a great wrestler, but he kick started the rap game on mainstream television. Just a fun loving guy. He feuded with Johnny B. Badd for a time and made appearances on several pay-per-views. "The Rapmaster" might not have been an all-time great, but he is still remembered as a barrier-breaker when it came to hip-hop in pro wrestling.
If PN News got rap into the mainstream with wrestling, then PG-13 broke down the doors. JC Ice and Wolfie D were PG-13, two young punks who were personifying gangsta rap. In hoods, baggy jeans, and kicks, PG-13 were two bad ass dudes who could rap their asses off and go toe-to-toe with the best of them. The USWA were in total fear for themselves the longer these two stayed around the territory.
After venturing to WCW and even ECW for a little bit, PG-13 ended up in the WWF as members of the Nation of Domination. They even ended up doing the theme song during the early 1997 days of the Nation of Domination. Although a lot of fans might not truly remember who PG-13 was, they were able to strike fear in southern wrestling fans and most of all, get a cup of coffee in the big time. A few years before their time were PG-13.
Want to check out PG-13 rapping? This is pretty awesome. I wish this was released in America on WWF The Music Vol. 2 instead of just overseas. Thankfully, YouTube is great for that. Spittin' out the lyrics is JC ICE AND WOLFIE D!
Pound-for-pound, the first ever hip-hop based wrestler to win a World championship. Obviously, this list can't even talked about without referencing John Cena. The man came out to the scene dressed like Vanilla Ice and came out looking like wrestling's version of Eminem. He took control of his own destiny. He rapped his way into everyone's hearts in 2003. His counter-culture style made fans love him. He worked hard, paid his dues, punked everyone out with edgy rhymes, and became a legend. In 2005, he lived the ultimate dream and became WWE champion.
Honestly, despite all the backlash John Cena has gotten from the IWC over the past 10 years, his hip-hop influence MADE him a superstar. He even released a rap album called You Can't See Me. Bottom line, Cena rapped about what he knew and not pretended to be someone else. John Cena put hip-hop in the main event and overcome the odds. Word Life.
Ron Killings, whether as K-Kwik, R-Truth, or the Truth, has been a rapper for over 25 years. In my opinion, this song might rival What's up? Gettin' Rowdy was misunderstood. It was hip, true, and, if Road Dogg didn't get released by WWF in 2001, might have been a bigger hit. Check it out. Get your hat rack cracked, or whatever K-Kwik said.
Hip-hop will never die. It might be more corporate than it’s ever been, but it's always made wrestlers stand out when they portray what they perceive hip-hop to be. I dig it. Rap and independent wrestling go together. It really does. This day and age, hip-hop might just be looking as dapper as Slam Master J.