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The Mantle of the Common Man

Hiya Canadian Guy,

All the Dusty reminiscing got me thinking, as you go from era to era in wrestling lore, who has been able to pull off the "common man" act in a main event role?

80's - Dusty
90's - Stone Cold
2000's - ???  Mick Foley??
Contemporary - Daniel Bryan

And with Bryan on the shelf indefinitely, who does it best now?

​I think that Mick was more of the outside viewpoint for most of the 2000s, since he "retired" for the first time in 2000.  I think maybe CM Punk was closest although he didn't get going as a top guy until late in the decade.  Are we counting TNA?  Because if so Samoa Joe definitely fits that bill, i think.  Just the fact that it's such a struggle to think of top end talent that fans could identify with shows why they ended up having the problems they did, I think.  ​

Comments

  1. Jeff & Matt Hardy for the 2000s.

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  2. The multicolored hair thrillseekers who wore scarves and mesh were common men?

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  3. When he turns face, KO will likely be this guy.

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  4. KO will be a hell of an everyman if and when he goes face.

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  5. I'm not sure the common man was doing that many hard drugs.

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  6. HHH isn't our common man of the past 15 years?

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  7. What's funny is that Cena was that guy in the 2000s until 07 or so when he turned into SuperCeba.

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  8. Dean, in the sense that he wears jeans. Character development and personality, 2015 style.

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  9. I'd argue Dreamer was better fit for the label in the 90s. As for the 2000s, RVD.

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  10. Was Punk really a common man? I loved him, but he was kind of a hipster douche. The common man probably would have thought he was a prick.

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  11. I think Bryan was the first to do it convincingly since Austin which makes Vince's reluctance to push him even more baffling.

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  12. You can be an asshole and still be a common man.

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  13. Straightedge was totally a thing when I was in high school, and many of them were sanctimonious pricks. Little different from hipsters in that irony is replaced with TRUE BELIEF.

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  14. The 2000s were an amazingly assholish decade. Tribal tattoos, oakleys, Punk'd, et al.

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  15. Lol it may actually help.

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  16. Yeah but he doesn't even drink, what the actual fuck?

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  17. It's definitely Owens now. He's a family man that wrestles in basketball shorts and a cut off t-shirt with a beer gut.

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  18. It'll be Sami when he gets called up.

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  19. He's too self-consciously weird to be a common man. More like Piper or Pillman.

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  20. Mid-90s: Dreamer
    Late 90s: Austin
    Early 00s: Mick?/Booker?
    Mid 00s: Cena
    Late 00s: Punk
    Early 10s: Bryan
    Mid 10s (projected): Sami

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  21. 2000s - HHH. A guy in a position he wasn't good enough to hold getting by on braggadocio and his dad helping him out of jams.

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  22. Would someone like AJ Styles qualify to be that guy in the 2000's? Maybe Booker T if he was never given the King gimmick?


    And I agree that KO has every bit the chance to be the NEW FACE OF COMMON. While I've said for a while that Sami Zayn is your next Daniel Bryan plucky babyfaced superstar, Owens is just a regular guy, working hard to support his family, not unlike myself and millions of others.

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  23. Or is it:

    Late 00s: Edge
    Early 10s: Punk
    Mid 10s: Bryan
    Late 10s: Sami

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  24. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogJune 17, 2015 at 7:26 AM

    Punk? The character is more of a whiny, elitist, hipster prick than a common man

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  25. I think the 00s common man might have actually been Edge the more I think about it. He was more or less a regular guy albeit an asshole. The 2000s were assholish times though.

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  26. And Punk himself will say he's a dick.

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  27. The 00's were assholish times probably because we didn't have a truly common man hero wrestler to get behind, and we drifted into nihlism as a result

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  28. He HATES his "common man" fans.

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  29. Rhodes and Austin were the only ones to effectively pull off the "common man" schtick. Foley was too self abusive, Punk was too sanctimonious, and Bryan was too technical.

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  30. Belee_Matt!_INDEED!!!June 17, 2015 at 7:30 AM

    Two goth chicks with hair balls does not constitute "common man".

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  31. The more I think about it, the more I think Vince doesn't LIKE the common man thing. He wants larger than life characters that have some kind of easily-identifiable gimmicky trait.

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  32. Belee_Matt!_INDEED!!!June 17, 2015 at 7:31 AM

    But really ya'll....who's on the Mount Rushmore of common men?


    o_0

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  33. It was a great time to be alive.

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  34. Bret used to make a thing out of his wrestling fans being common men (in contrast to Shawn being the boytoy), but I don't know if that counts.

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  35. Goldust, Adrian Adonis, Kwee Wee, Billy and Chuck.

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  36. James Storm was a common man for a while, I guess. He liked a drink and was a good old boy. Then he became strange, and now he murders for a living. :/

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  37. Yeah, this isn't what I meant when I said I'd crush Mickie James.

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  38. Belee_Matt!_INDEED!!!June 17, 2015 at 7:35 AM

    I kind of get Vince's mindset. He has the carny's idea. P.T. Barnum.


    Come see....
    BIG SHOW, the largest athlete in the world!
    JOHN CENA, and his BRIGHT shirts and incredible pecks!
    Through hellfire and brimstone, it's GOTTA BE KANE!


    etc, etc.


    I love Daniel Bryan and how he wrestles, but if I saw him at the circus, I'd think he was the guy that cleans the elephant poop.

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  39. What about the APA? Beer drinking, cigar smoking, beer bellies, looking for a fight.

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  40. I always enjoyed "Sorry about yo damn luck"

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  41. Belee_Matt!_INDEED!!!June 17, 2015 at 7:35 AM

    Kaitlyn Jenner.

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  42. Something something run a train.

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  43. Chris Benoit was the common man. Hard working, always fighting an uphill battle, never getting the respect he deserved.


    Hey, whatever happened to that guy?

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  44. Belee_Matt!_INDEED!!!June 17, 2015 at 7:37 AM

    Kind of ruined when JBL turned into the 00's Ted Dibiase.

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  45. Belee_Matt!_INDEED!!!June 17, 2015 at 7:38 AM

    Killed his family. It was all over the news.

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  46. That character gets a lot of love, but it was "change the channel" stuff for me.

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  47. Belee_Matt!_INDEED!!!June 17, 2015 at 7:39 AM

    Agreed 100%.

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  48. Oooh our resident progressive political activist isn't gonna like that one dude

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  49. WHERE'S THE EVIDENCE

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  50. wouldn't Dean Ambrose be the "common man" right now?

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  51. NUH UH IT WAS KEVIN SULLIVAN

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  52. Someone needs to make a well produced documentary blaming Sullivan, because I probably would believe it

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  53. DDP and Tommy Dreamer come to mind as "just guys" that got in the business to fight the good fight. I saw RVD and Booker T mentioned as the "Common Man"...these guys were elite athletes. Far from common men.

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  54. In for $20 on kickstarter

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  55. Well, he *did* play a devil worshiper in a fake sport decades ago.

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  56. Belee_Matt!_INDEED!!!June 17, 2015 at 7:43 AM

    TripleS?

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  57. Nice. I can't contribute because it would be a conflict of interest. But really, eight years and we don't have a decent conspiracy movement going. Pretty disappointed in the internet.

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  58. Belee_Matt!_INDEED!!!June 17, 2015 at 7:44 AM

    Who dat?


    Also, it was all Biscuit's fault.

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  59. Plus, what common man would take the WWE title to Bourbon Street? MADNESS!!!

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  60. I agree with that. I can identify with Ambrose when he's being himself, but I'm also weird.


    Punk is always cross. That's just who he is. So I don't identify with that, however, I know some people who do. I have an ex who used to do Roller Derby. She was cross all the time.


    Owens could do it. Zayn...maybe (I love him to death, mind you, but he might be too cheerful?). Bryan has it down pat.

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  61. Brotha, I wasn't playin


    The Dungeon of Doom is real, brotha

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  62. I seem to recall that Sullivan tried to resurrect the Dungeon of Doom on the Indies in the 2000s


    That had to be LOL funny

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  63. I always saw Bryan as more of a Steamboat, someone who is obviously talented but always had to overcome external obstacles to make it to the top. Besides Bryan is way too much of a granola hippie to be a "common man."

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  64. I always call him a Luger. He tended to always choke on nights of title matches.

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  65. “Yeah I’m just saying like if there was evidence then that’s fine but I’m just saying that just because everyone believes something doesn’t mean it’s true and the facts aren’t just what you say they are I’m just playing devils advocate and sorry for having a different opinion but there’s no evidence Kevin Sullivan wasn’t there that day and also it’s pretty clear that even if he was guilty smarks wouldn’t believe it anyway because of the hivemind and everyone here loves Sullivan because he got the booking gig after Russo and everyone here hates Russo and also Ryback too so whatever if that’s how you feel please unban me “

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  66. AJ Styles as the common man? What common man has that kind of acrobatic athleticism and "golden boy" looks?

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  67. Agree on Dreamer, but I think moveset/style has to fit the common man narrative to an extent, and RVD being the high flying flippy type guy doesn't work for that label to me. Similar to my response to somebody putting AJ styles out there too.

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  68. This opinion is obviously incorrect. I mean, we all like The Ryback now!

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  69. He essentially playing a heel version of that character. He's someone who would do anything to make a living for his family. He detests that kids are looking up to a superhero who would never be like a "common man" and want to show the would that a "common man" could show up the larger than life characters.

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  70. oh you know, that guy, hates marv

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  71. Bryan is too much of a hippie to be a "common man." He's more of the under appreciated genius. He's likable but that doesn't make him a "common man."

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  72. Stranger In The AlpsJune 17, 2015 at 7:53 AM

    Like the average common man, he called work faking that he was sick.

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  73. Shawn Michaels in the 2000s? I know "assholes find religion" was definitely a trend for a while.

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  74. "Samoa Joe definitely fits that bill, i think"

    Because he's fat

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  75. I think something people forget about Dusty's appeal was the look, too. Don't discount how important being someone who LOOKS like the average wrestling fan is to being the Common Man.

    Now, don't take that the wrong way. You obviously don't have to look like a fan to get fans behind you or connect with them. Hogan and many others proved that.

    But Austin, Punk, Bryan, etc.? I mean, none of them were RIPPED and Punk was in fact a bit flabby, but they were all still visibly athletic.

    Being a character people can relate to and live through and being able to pull off the "common man" schtick aren't the same thing.

    You could look at Dusty and think (incorrectly) "hey, I could do that!" You can't do that with Austin, etc.

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  76. Stranger In The AlpsJune 17, 2015 at 7:57 AM

    CM Punk is straight edge. Ain't nothing common about that. He's better than all of us.

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  77. Terible just terible, but i laughed.

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  78. So similar to Foley's and Owens's look

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  79. The anti-common man. Fandango. Or THEDEMONKANE.

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  80. Belee_Matt!_INDEED!!!June 17, 2015 at 8:01 AM

    Holy shit, that was spot on.

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  81. Belee_Matt!_INDEED!!!June 17, 2015 at 8:01 AM

    Oh yeah, that guy.

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  82. Belee_Matt!_INDEED!!!June 17, 2015 at 8:04 AM

    I will say, I kind of fell in love with Ryback when they put him on commentary Sunday.


    "AH, you got Miz on me." I about died. Guy was awesome.

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  83. I think he hates all his fans.

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  84. Do you think it’s important to have a
    babyface you’d want to, as they say, have a beer with? Because I wouldn’t want
    to hang out with Cena, Reigns or Orton. But it’d probably be cool to hang out
    with Bryan, Dean or Seth. Or is it more important to have the larger than life
    character still?

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  85. Belee_Matt!_INDEED!!!June 17, 2015 at 8:05 AM

    Well yeah, a large percentage of normal Americans are obese.

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  86. Well, see, I have a confession to make...

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  87. I agree except with Cena. Not one common man has that guys body.

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  88. Depends on the guy. The 90s/00s Rock was either the biggest asshole or the coolest guy depending on how you look at him. Brock would be a horrible person to hang out with. Punk would be the worst person to hang out with his hipster douche and straight edge stuff. However, I have cheered for all 3 guys.

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  89. Belee_Matt!_INDEED!!!June 17, 2015 at 8:09 AM

    That would be an impressive personality change. You should win an award for acting.

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  90. I think, since we're hopefully past that IWC phase of thinking good workrate = good person, yes, how I lean towards the wrestler I like outside the ring/business.

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  91. I'm probably late with this one, but I LOVE this clip because one of our local radio guys has been pushing #brothersforhockey for a long time:

    http://wgntv.com/2015/06/16/this-mans-reaction-to-blackhawks-win-is-the-best-weve-heard/

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  92. Punk seems like he's a great guy to his friends.

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  93. Hes on 411 all the time now, and hes not really like that over there. It's strange. He even had a comment that had like 60 likes. My record is like 4.

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  94. Tommy dreamer is revolutionary and totally changed the business forever though, so he's way to important to fit this bill. He's said so every time he gives a passionate interview in front of 200 fans

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  95. 60, jesus. I gotta go over there and get my numbers up.

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  96. Character? I think you mean Phil Brooks.

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  97. Chris Benoit was the common man hero of that period, but shit happened.

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  98. Mid-2000's, Bikertaker. Tough guy, defended his wife on occasion, less than chiseled physique, main-eventer.

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  99. Cena vs Orton,one more timeJune 17, 2015 at 8:30 AM

    Thanks a lot,Bin Laden.

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  100. Tiny 03-05 Cena?

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  101. Virgil's Gimmick TableJune 17, 2015 at 8:36 AM

    That is the common man now unfortunately.

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  102. DDP is a good answer but his wife at the time was someone no common man could likely get.

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  103. Does he still ride to the ring on a cooler full of beer? Boozer Cruiser?

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  104. He's just a common man, working hard banging Steph.

    He's just a common man, working hard as the man

    Ammmmmerrriiccaaaannnnnn Dreeeaammm

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  105. Sandman defined common man more than all of them.

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  106. He was only a couple years away from the prototype. He hate steroids like skittles. (Allegedly) Besides can body builders be considered "common"? Where's Calliber wwhen you need him? Or is that Meekin? I get those 2 confused. I know one is morbidly obese that does yoga and the other one said that rape is usually the womans fault.

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  107. Yeah, that's why I used the pre07 modifier. He was treated like a regular fluke white rapper common man guy through the JBL, Angle and Triple H feuds. It's what got him over so much as US Champ and early World run.

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  108. But he's CA-RAYZEE!

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  109. I figure that within the year Kevin Owens will be the answer to this question.

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  110. If not already

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  111. He was more jacked then wasnt he? The guy was always jacked. He entered body building competitions Pre-07. That is like the oppositte of a common guy. I mean hes into fat chicks thats pretty common, who isnt into that shit? But white rappers isnt. Vanilla ice, that Canadian guy snow (I think) and eminem. Now if we're going by how they wated him to be percieved then im on board.

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  112. Because he's FAT!!!

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  113. Punk doesn't drink, do any drugs at all, and is a snob. That Is not a common man at all.

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  114. Because he's FAT!!

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  115. Because he's FAT!

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  116. Agreed. He was clearly not actually a common man but they wanted him to be seen that way and persona wise he was pulling it off for a while.

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  117. All night long cause he got some FAAAAT ASSES

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  118. Shelton BenjaminJune 17, 2015 at 9:33 AM

    Samoa Joe ain't a common man

    He ain't a honky

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  119. Shelton BenjaminJune 17, 2015 at 9:33 AM

    Common man won't be in good shape, so no Austin

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  120. Hey beat it, spook, this don't concern you!

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  121. Shelton BenjaminJune 17, 2015 at 9:35 AM

    I'm not a spy!

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  122. Gotta go with 2nd-stage Shawn Michaels for the 2000s.


    Character was that of a family man who found religion but couldn't help but be sucked back into a world he left behind because he was just so damn good at his job.


    To me, that's the closest you get for "relatable everyman" during that decade.

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  123. "Gotta go with 2nd-stage Shawn Michaels for the 2000s."

    *Second Stage Turbine Blade

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  124. Who you callin' spook, peckerwood?

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  125. Man I hope not, unless most of us are unstable lunatics.


    Well...

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  126. CruelConnectionNumber2June 17, 2015 at 10:58 AM

    John Cena is the common man of the 2000's and 2010's. Jorts and ugly shirts bruh.

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  127. The Ultimate Warrior. Duh.

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  128. CruelConnectionNumber2June 17, 2015 at 10:59 AM

    Common man not common midget

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  129. Cena's apparently a great drinker and can really hold his liquor (according to Jericho anyway). Plus he's charismatic smart as hell and seems like he'd be a great conversationalist. Why wouldn't you want to have a drink with him?

    Orton I think would be a bit moody and unpredictable. I think he'd be sort of intimidating to be around.

    Reigns seems like he'd be chill, but kinda boring.

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  130. Bryan and Punk are pretty average in terms of build. Punk's a bit bigger than the average guy, but you go to any gym and half of the guys there would be bigger than him. Bryan has a better physique, but I don't think it would be that noticeable, plus he's short-ish,

    Austin's a different case from those two. While he was smaller than HHH and Rocky, unlike Bryan and Punk, he was and is definitely a noticeably big guy by general standards.

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  131. Because I've seen Total Divas (real life reality) and he's a robot . And I AM NOT A ROBOT.

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  132. He was still pretty huge back then.

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  133. True, but he's also hilarious on that show. His whole "deke stokes" (or however you spell it) persona that he used when he was playing beer pong with Nikki was funnier than anything I've seen on main WWE programming in years.

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  134. I went to Backlash 2000 & a Smackdown taping about 3 months later. Each time, I'd say 30-40% of the crowd were teenagers dressed like the Hardys or Lita. That's what the teenagers were into back then.

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  135. You can't have John Cena's body and be a common man.

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  136. I think you could make the argument for both Eddie and Benoit being the "common man" types of the 2000's (up until their respective tragedies, of course). Rey Mysterio I think also filled that role of the relatable underdog family man.

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  137. Belee_Matt!_INDEED!!!June 17, 2015 at 11:47 AM

    Quite, yep.

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  138. Agreed. It's the alignment that changes, not the character.

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  139. Put Punk and Bryan next to two average wrestling fans. You think they're all gonna have similar physiques?

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  140. Guy showed me "Deke Stokes" for the first time when we were in line for ROH this passed May.

    Top 5 Cena moment, easy.

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  141. Daniel Bryan is certainly the best and most successful common man wrestler since Steve Austin. Dean Ambrose has played up the common man aspect this week in his promos--but that is probably more to do with Dusty's death than a change in direction. I don't recall Samoa Joe ever being presented as the common man--but he went through a ton of gimmicks in TNA, so I might have missed it.

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  142. Somethibg something in the rain!

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  143. Well yeah, a large percentage of normal Americans are obese

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  144. That's why I asked the question. I agree he's not the stereotypical choice.
    BUT, I'd give him consideration because he was considered a homegrown talent in TNA, worked his way up through the ranks, stayed loyal to the company, a family man, seemed to be loved by smarts and marks of all ages, and never gave up/backed down from challenges.

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