The road to WrestleMania culminates next Sunday in New Orleans with the 30th edition of the best spectacle in sports entertainment, so we dedicate this week’s #WNSTSweet16 to the greatest professional wrestling moments in Baltimore history.
Professional wrestling has changed dramatically over the years as the legendary Vince McMahon began referring to his product as “sports entertainment” years ago and began peeling back the curtain on his brand of theatrical athleticism, but Baltimore’s passion hasn’t waned as events are well-attended on a regular basis.
Without further ado, we present the #WNSTSweet16 Greatest Professional Wrestling Moments in Baltimore History:
Championship trophies tarnish and the details from box scores fade from memory over the years, but the way our sports figures made us feel is never forgotten as this week’s #WNSTSweet16 examines some of the biggest sports personalities to grace the Charm City with their presence.
This week’s list is not only open to local athletes but managers, coaches, broadcasters, and even super fans who gained notoriety from their unique personalities. Many were known as goofballs because of their naturally-comedic traits while a few may have qualified through actions that merely came across as humorous in the eyes of others.
There are no statistics for humor on which to rate these individuals, but there’s no shortage of goofballs who still resonate with the local community years after their time in the public eye — and even on this earth, in some cases — has come to an end.
With April Fools’ Day only a week away, we honor the #WNSTSweet16 local sports goofballs who were as memorable for their personalities as anything else they accomplished:
As the Orioles celebrate their 60th anniversary in Baltimore this season, there’s no shortage of players who have failed to live up to inflated expectations over the years.
Whether watching young talent drafted to be the next franchise player fall flat or acquiring veterans via trade or free agency who suddenly looked like shells of their former selves, the Orioles have whiffed with greater frequency over the last 30 years, but that doesn’t mean they were immune to players failing to live up to hype in the earlier days of the organization.
As WNST.net’s Glenn Clark laid out, players must have made it to Baltimore — thus disqualifying the incredible legend of minor-league pitcher Steve Dalkowski and former top prospects never to play for the Orioles such as outfielder Alex Ochoa — and qualified “based on just how much ‘hype’ they actually received or based on just how spectacularly they failed to live up to said ‘hype.’” This provides flexibility to potentially include players who performed admirably despite not living up to overwhelming expectations as well as individuals whose play was inexplicably poor despite reasonable visions of success.
To clarify, this isn’t a list of the 16 worst players in franchise history as not living up to the hype doesn’t necessarily mean failure as you’ll see with at least a few selections on the list. Of course, that doesn’t mean some of the names appearing here weren’t downright awful in their time with the Orioles.
Without further ado, I present the WNST Sweet 16 Orioles Who Didn’t Live Up To The Hype:
As we shift our attention from Super Bowl XLVIII and another football season to Sochi, Russia and the start of the 2014 Winter Olympics, it’s time to take a look at our latest #WNSTSweet16 list that recognizes the greatest local Olympic sport athletes to represent the area.
Some names may have garnered little more than 15 minutes of fame with their athletic glory while a few have become heroes who will never be forgotten in the local community as well as in the entire country. Athletes who were either born in the state of Maryland or resided here for a significant period of time during their triumphs were considered for the list.
As WNST.net’s Glenn Clark previously pointed out, winning a medal and even participating in the Olympics weren’t requirements, but the list of Marylanders to triumph in either the Winter or Summer Games is extensive, meaning Olympic triumph carried heavier influence in paring down the candidates. Other guidelines that were considered were career longevity as well as a preference to recognize individual success before team competitions.
Here’s the list of the WNST Sweet 16 Greatest Local Olympic Sport Athletes:
16. Pam Shriver, tennis
The McDonogh grad may never have won a Grand Slam singles title, but her remarkable doubles career included 21 championships in Grand Slam tournaments and an Olympic gold medal playing with Zinna Garrison in Seoul, South Korea in 1988. The pair topped Jana Novotná and Helena Suková in the doubles final to take the gold.
Because this list doesn’t require Olympic triumph or participation, the argument could be made to move Shriver much higher on the list, but tennis wasn’t reintroduced as an Olympic medal sport until 1988 — after a 64-year hiatus– when her best years were winding down. Shriver did not appear in another edition of the Summer Games, but her triumph in Seoul coupled with even her late-career success made her a worthy inclusion.
After celebrating the greatest debuts in local sports history to kick off our #WNSTSweet16 discussion topics in 2014, it’s time to look back at the greatest local sports playoff moments that continue to stay with us no matter how long ago they occurred.
From the Colts, Orioles, and Ravens to the University of Maryland and local college lacrosse, there’s no shortage of playoff moments to consider as we look back at more than 60 years of big-league sports as well as other professional teams, collegiate history, and high school athletics in the area that go back even longer in some cases. Trying to narrow the list to just 16 was a daunting task itself with no disrespect intended to a slew of local playoff moments that didn’t make the cut.
In trying to pare down the list, two questions kept ringing in my mind: How did this moment make you feel? Did this moment resonate with most sports fans in the area? Admittedly, these questions make it extremely difficult for local college and high school moments to crack the list as even a number of memorable Colts, Orioles, and Ravens playoff moments failed to make the cut.
Some moments are centered around individual late-game heroics while others are the culmination of a dominating performance by a team on their way to championship glory.
We’ve been discussing the topic on AM 1570 WNST and on social media for the last couple days and will continue to do so.
Here’s the list of the WNST Sweet 16 Best Local Sports Playoff Moments:
16. Coppin State knocks off No. 2 seed South Carolina in the 1997 NCAA Tournament
You probably can’t name a single player from Fang Mitchell’s 1997 squad that became just the third No. 15 seed to win an NCAA tournament game, but it’s a moment worth including as Coppin State knocked off heavily-favored South Carolina in a convincing 78-65 final in Pittsburgh.
The 30-point underdogs were led by Danny Singletary and Antoine Brockington, who combined to score 42 points to outplay the Gamecocks’ formidable trio of BJ McKie, Larry Davis, and Melvin Watson. The Eagles would go on to fall by a single point to Texas in the second round of the tournament.
With college basketball possessing arguably the greatest playoff tournament of them all, Coppin State garnered national attention as one of the best examples of a true underdog triumphing in the history of Baltimore sports.