The old saying that you can’t judge a book by its cover is often true in pro wrestling. Here are five current or former Ring of Honor stars whose physical appearances belied their impressive in-ring ability.
5. BEER CITY BRUISER
Tipping the scales at well over 300 pounds with a body that suggests he spends more time doing 12-ounce curls than pumping up in the gym, the cigar-chomping Milwaukee native is every bit the barroom brawler his name suggests. But we don’t know any barroom brawlers who are as agile as Bruiser. His offensive arsenal includes a frog splash and a senton off the apron. One of the most memorable moments from Best in the World last year was Bruiser’s frog splash off the top rope that sent Jay Lethal crashing through a table outside the ring, a move that broke Lethal’s ribs.
4. EL GENERICO
With his ordinary physique and pale skin, Generico looked more like an athletic supporter than an athlete. Making it even harder to take him seriously at first glance was that he wore a mask that revealed his red facial hair and claimed (with his tongue planted firmly in his cheek) to be a Spanish-speaking luchador. Once the bell rang, however, it was apparent that Generico was anything but a novelty act. He was a highly-skilled, main-event-level competitor who won the ROH World Television Title and was a co-holder of the ROH World Tag Team Titles. His long feud with Kevin Steen is regarded as one of ROH’s greatest rivalries.
3. KEVIN STEEN
Like his rival El Generico, Steen did not have a prototypical athletic physique. He looked like he could certainly hold his own in a fight, but Steen carried extra weight. His spare tire might’ve led some to assume that he lacked agility and cardiovascular endurance, but they’d be wrong on both counts. Steen, who held the ROH World Title for nearly a year, proved to be one of the best all-around wrestlers to compete in ROH. Sure, he was an exceptional brawler, but Steen -- nicknamed “Mr. Wrestling” -- was technically sound and could pull off some spectacular flying maneuvers as well.
2. DALTON CASTLE
Unlike the others on this list, Castle does indeed possess the body of an athlete. But when his athletic body is covered by a brightly colored jumpsuit that make him look like a human peacock, and he has his Boys by his side fanning him with feathers, it’s easy to assume that Castle is more of a showman than a legitimate threat inside the ring. As Castle has proved time and again, however, he is both. The reigning ROH World Champion may not wear a singlet, but he is an accomplished amateur wrestler, and he also can throw hands when the situation calls for it.
At 5-feet-8 and 130 pounds, Cheeseburger looks like he should be anywhere but inside the ring mixing it up with the best professional wrestlers on the planet. What cannot be measured, however, is how much heart he has. That heart, combined with solid wrestling skills and the overwhelming support of Honor Nation, has made Cheeseburger a viable ROH competitor. Cheeseburger has lost more matches than he’s won, but he has scored several upset victories and even came close to becoming a champion. At the past two Wrestle Kingdom events at the Tokyo Dome, Cheeseburger was the last man eliminated in the New Japan Rumble.