ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- The production value is always high. The storylines are always deep. And for kids of a certain age -- and, more and more, adults, too -- professional wrestling is a big-time pastime.
A number of players on the Detroit Lions are fans, some of whom will go to WWE shows when they roll through wherever they happen to be living at the time. It also led to a potentially interesting final Question of the Week for the season: “Who was (or is) your favorite wrestler?”
This came about after hearing Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh passionately discuss wrestling last week on Detroit radio. Turns out, Lions players were also fans as kids. That former football players end up as pro wrestlers also offers some appeal.
WR Calvin Johnson: Sting. I’ve kind of fell off of wrestling, but when I did watch it, it was Sting. The face paint; he looked cool, the white face paint with the black on it. It was just, he looked the coolest when I was a kid.
TE Eric Ebron: The Rock, Dwayne Johnson. I just always liked, growing up, he was my era. Him and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin was the rivalry and I always liked The Rock. The whole eyebrow raise, his entrance, everything was dope to me. And then when he always faced off with "Stone Cold," it was always the most-watched wrestling match ever. So that’s my era of wrestling growing up. Shawn Michaels was in there a little bit before me. I know all about him, but The Rock was my era. The Dudley Brothers, the Hardy Brothers, all of them was my era. That was my favorite era.
RB Ameer Abdullah: Probably X-Pac. He used to do this cool flip where he’d kick people in the face and get people on the turnbuckles and do this crazy flip and kick people in the face. I always thought it was cool. I liked The Rock, but he was a little bit too much sometimes. He was the reason I found out wrestling was fake, really. The Rock, he was so over the top, so over the top, bro.
CB Darius Slay: "Stone Cold." That’s easy. He had the best finisher of all finishers. Him, Triple H and The Rock and the best entry song. They’d come out there. That was real.
OL Laken Tomlinson: Man, that’s what we had in Jamaica. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, that’s my dude. He was just ruthless. He was ruthless and he was beating everybody up. I was into wrestling big-time back in Jamaica, and then somebody told me it was fake and I stopped watching. Maybe I was like 13 when I came here. They were like, that’s fake. I was like, ‘How is it fake? That’s real. People are getting tossed.’
LB Brandon Copeland: Ooh, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. I like the Stone Cold Stunner and me and my little brother, we are two years apart, so everything we had to try on each other. So the Stone Cold Stunner was the [most fun] one to pull around the house. Him and The Rock, obviously. Everyone loved The Rock.
FB Michael Burton: The Rock. At the time, he was always winning. I would love when he would fight "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Triple H. Back then, those matches were the best, cage matches. Definitely, my favorite was The Rock.
RG Larry Warford: The Rock, 100 percent. He was one of the faces, back when it was WWF, he was getting into the phase where he was the face when I started watching. So it was definitely him. Guys you would think, like Steve Austin, Mankind. [Follow-up: Did you want to be a wrestler?] Oh my god, yes. All I wanted to do was wrestle, man. Not like legit, but I wanted to wrestle, like throw each other around all day. Then I found out it was fake but it’s not that fake because they still take hits.
DE Darryl Tapp: The Rock. I like everything about him, the game, he’s a former football player. Just a cool dude.