It’s no secret that soccer is huge deal in Texas. However let’s not faux that skilled wrestling hasn’t been a giant deal within the Lone Star State over time as effectively. Earlier than Vince McMahon began poaching expertise and invading territories in an try to make WWE a monopoly, Texas was crammed with unbelievable promotions, together with World Class Championship Wrestling, Houston Wrestling, and Southwest Championship Wrestling simply to call a couple of.
Whereas many huge names got here out of these promotions, a variety of these guys first performed college football at West Texas State College, which is now generally known as West Texas A&M, within the small city of Canyon, which is positioned about 20 miles south of Amarillo. The truth is, the college ended up producing eight WWE Hall of Famers and a variety of different professional wrestling legends. Some have even known as the small faculty Professional Wrestling College given its previous popularity for producing wrestlers.
Right here’s a have a look at the eight WWE Corridor of Famers that first performed soccer at West Texas State.
Born Frank Goodish, Bruiser Brody was an all-state basketball and soccer star in Michigan and started his faculty soccer profession at Iowa State however then transferred to West Texas State within the mid-Sixties after unhealthy habits value him a spot with the Cyclones. He was thought of a professional prospect however lacked the self-discipline to make it within the NFL regardless of being 6’5″ and 300 kilos.
Along with his soccer profession behind him, Bruiser Brody turned to professional wrestling and started coaching with the famed Von Erich household. Brody wrestled in varied promotions everywhere in the world, together with a stint in WWE, and placed on a few of the bloodiest matches in historical past with Abdullah The Butcher. Brody was tragically killed in 1988 after being stabbed in a locker room by Jose Huertas Gonzalez, and was posthumously inducted into the WWE Corridor of Fame in 2019.
Tully Blanchard was born into the professional wrestling enterprise but additionally performed somewhat soccer as a teenager. The son of former AWA star and promoter Joe Blanchard, Tully performed each quarterback and defensive finish at West Texas State earlier than turning his consideration to the household enterprise.
Blanchard had an underrated profession as a singles competitor whereas working for Jim Crockett Promotions and is greatest identified for being a part of one of many biggest tag groups of all time alongside Arn Anderson. The duo was part of the famed 4 Horsemen steady with Ric Aptitude, which is how Tully Blanchard made his means into the WWE Corridor of Fame in 2012.
Ted Dibiase was a teammate of Tully Blanchard’s at West Texas State however his faculty soccer profession didn’t final lengthy as he give up the workforce to pursue a professional wrestling profession as he was in want of cash. Skilled by the well-known Funk household, Dibiase debuted within the mid-70s in Amarillo earlier than making his approach to Mid-South Wrestling to work for Invoice Watts. He spent a short while in WWE in 1979 and later labored in Japan.
Dibiase actually made a reputation for himself when he returned to WWE in 1987 as “The Million Greenback Man,” which was top-of-the-line heel characters in WWE historical past. He was a part of the long-running storyline that concerned Hulk Hogan, Andre the Big, and Randy Savage, and later had packages with the likes of Jake “The Snake” Roberts, The Final Warrior, and Dusty Rhodes. Dibiase additionally frolicked in WCW within the Nineteen Nineties was inducted into the WWE Corridor of Fame in 2010.
Terry Funk is basically the rationale that West Texas State grew to become Professional Wrestling College. Funk is the son of legendary promoter Dory Funk and competed in each novice wrestling and soccer at West Texas State earlier than actually starting his skilled wrestling profession. The Funk household would typically take the 20-mile journey to Canyon to scout soccer gamers, which is how this listing is feasible. It’s typically reported that Dory Funk Jr. additionally went to Texas State however he really attended Indiana State earlier than returning to Amarillo to start his wrestling profession.
Over the course of 5 many years, Terry Funk wrestled for nearly each main promotion on the planet and maybe many of the smaller ones as effectively. Critically, the man was in all places. He received numerous titles across the globe and was inducted into the WWE Corridor of Fame alongside Dory Jr. in 2009.
Stan Hansen was certainly one of many wrestlers the Funk household personally recruited and skilled from West Texas State and “The Lariat” started his professional wrestling profession in 1973 whereas additionally taking part in for the Detroit Wheels of the World Soccer League. He began wrestling full-time when the league folded in 1975, at which level he started teaming with Bruiser Brody.
Hansen had two stints in WWE however the majority of his success within the wrestling enterprise got here in Japan. He wrestled for New Japan and All Japan and likewise spent a while in WCW and the AWA within the U.S. Hansen was inducted into the WWE Corridor of Fame in 2016.
Born Merced Solis, Tito Santana had essentially the most soccer expertise of anybody on this listing. He was a decent finish at West Texas State when Tully Blanchard was the quarterback of the Buffaloes and signed with the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs after commencement. Nevertheless, he was minimize throughout coaching camp however did find yourself taking part in one season within the Canadian Soccer League by the BC Lions.
Blanchard helped Santana break into the wrestling enterprise within the mid-Nineteen Seventies and Santana went on to have a terrific profession. He first joined WWE in 1979 and returned to the corporate in 1983 after stints within the AWA and Georgia Championship Wrestling. Santana grew to become the primary Mexican-American wrestler to win the Intercontinental Championship and held the title for 217 days earlier than dropping it to Randy Savage. He’s additionally certainly one of simply two wrestlers that appeared within the first 9 WrestleMania occasions with Hulk Hogan being the opposite. Santana was inducted into the WWE Corridor of Fame in 2004.
Like Tito Santana, Dusty Rhodes performed somewhat bit of professional soccer following his days at West Texas State. After leaving the Buffaloes, Rhodes tried out for the AFL’s Boston Patriots, the workforce now generally known as the six-time Tremendous Bowl champion New England Patriots, however didn’t make it. He performed for the Hartford Constitution Oaks of the Continental Soccer League for a time earlier than embarking on his professional wrestling profession.
As he was pals with the Funk household, he used that to his benefit to get a job with a wrestling promotion in Boston earlier than heading again to Texas to work with the Von Erichs. Rhodes would go on to change into one of many biggest and hottest skilled wrestlers in historical past and likewise had success as a booker, producer, and coach. Dusty’s two sons, Dustin and Cody, have had nice careers of their very own. Dusty was inducted into the WWE Corridor of Fame in 2007 and handed away in 2015 on the age of 69.
Like so many others within the professional wrestling enterprise, together with Tully Blanchard, Barry Windham was born into the trade and was skilled by his father, Blackjack Mulligan, following his soccer days at West Texas State. He debuted in 1979 on the age of 19 and located success as each a singles competitor and a tag workforce wrestler.
Windham teamed along with his real-life brother-in-law, Mike Rotunda, throughout his first run in WWE and received the tag titles on two events. What some could not know is that workforce was really the primary to make use of the theme tune, “Actual American,” which was later utilized by Hulk Hogan and have become one of the crucial well-known entrance songs of all time. Windham later started working for Jim Crockett Promotions and have become a part of The 4 Horsemen, which, like Blanchard, is how he was inducted into the WWE Corridor of Fame in 2012.
Whereas not members of the WWE Hall of Fame, Dick Murdoch, Bobby Duncum Sr., and Manny Fernandez are a couple of different notable names that additionally attended West Texas State.