“Bro, I got my own personal mascot. That’s not stupid, that’s cool.” – Jack Swagger
I don’t know why (OK, it’s the insecure nerd in me from high school), but every time I learn where a pro wrestler went to college, I’m a little surprised inside. I consider Swoggle Squad member Mike Whidden’s “Wrestlers with College Degrees” article one of the most fascinating in this website’s short history. Is it wrong that I have this visceral reaction to judge these men? At least from a childhood moralistic standpoint of not judging books by their covers, absolutely it’s wrong. But I’ve never claimed to be a mature adult about anything and chose to ignore that lesson I’m sure I heard about first from a Sharon, Lois & Bram song. It’s exactly that lack of moral fiber that allowed me to do and enjoy doing the following. Man, I love Photoshop.
The Pro Wrestling landscape is fairly divided right now. Everywhere from the Indies to TNA, companies are submersing themselves in grounded characters (as they historically have been) with realistic points of view (save for Chikara). But say you reach the pinnacle of the business and get the call from the WWE, either in developmental or on your call up to the main roster, get ready for your one-way ticket to gimmick town! Let’s face it, we’re far from the days where superstars can own their own name and The Reality Era is nothing but a delusion portrayed to us to make us think they’re pulling the curtain back for us when in the REAL reality, dirt sheets and all. We’ll always know nothing more than the powers that be want us to know (for the most part).
Wow, that got unexpectedly rant-y. There’s nothing funny or entertaining about that topic, so I’m not going to litter it on this website… But hit me up on Twitter and we can talk. Basically what I’ve been meaning to get to is: WOULDN’T IT BE FUNNY IF THE GIMMICKS OF WRESTLERS THAT WENT TO COLLEGE WERE FORCED TO BE THEIR ACTUAL COLLEGE MASCOT? Big heads, furry body suits and all. I took some liberties with this particular theme, but not so fast my friend, because I think the following would even make Lee Corso proud.
Steve Austin is Scrappy the University of North Texas Eagle
Both bald. Both badass. Both red-bloodedly American. I love inventing words like “bloodedly.” I don’t think Austin would be totally opposed to this gimmick because imagine how much easier it would be to crack into beer cans with a sharp eagle’s beak.
And that’s the bottom line, because Scrappy is endangered.
Hulk Hogan is Rocky the University of South Florida Bull
This USF alum obviously majored in Buying Into Their Own Bullshit. Hogan would totally be the type of guy to no-sell the entire Big East Conference (at least when it comes to football). Also, how many respected guys in the business would argue that Hulkster has horns in real life anyway.
Totally would have had an epic feud with The Matador.
Bill Goldberg is Uga the University of Georgia Bulldog
I think this one can be argued as the wrestler to most actually look like his alma mater’s mascot. As I am a traditionalist, I couldn’t find it in my heart to make Goldberg Hairy Dawg. Instead, Goldberg is actually a bulldog and still has a hell of a spear.
Who’s next? Alpo.
Titus O’Neil is Albert the University of Florida Alligator
It’s only right to follow up Georgia with one of their fiercest rivals, UF. Before Tebowmania got its roots in Gainesville, The Gators were trying to “make it a win.” Titus was actually one of the only people I researched that contributed to their school in more than an athletic capacity and was the Student Body Vice President in 2000. But who gives a shit because the sight of O’Neil with a green scaly tail is funny to me.
Two bits! Four bits! Six bits! A dollar! All for The Gators, stand up and …
Vince McMahon is PeeDee the East Carolina Pirate
Forget Paul Burchill; for all intents and purposes in the '80s, the late '90s, and even today, Vince McMahon is the biggest pirate the wrestling industry as ever seen. Now imagine Vince raiding ROH talent decked out in purple and gold with a great big bushy beard! We can all also weep that we’ve been robbed of that great PeeDee vs. Scrappy rivalry that would have defined the Attitude Era.
The latest member of the Kiss My ARRRRRR Club.
Wade Barrett is Alfred Nobel the University of Liverpool Nobel Prize
The University of Liverpool is too hoity-toidy to have a mascot. The University of Liverpool also has eight alumni that have been awarded the Nobel Prize. Wade Barrett having a degree in Marine Biology was way to intriguing to me to leave him out of this article. I made Wade Barrett into Alfred Nobel. Spray that Brit gold and send him down that aisle, this gimmick reeks of money!
He’s leading the Barrett Barrage to peace.
Brock Lesnar, Ric Flair, and Shelton Benjamin are the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers
The one college that seems to produce more professional wrestlers than any other educational institution (according to my brief and shoddy research) is the University of Minnesota. This First Family of Rodents would burrow their way all the way to the top of the WWE all the while ruining the back nine for Kerwin White.
A “legitimate” pest problem.
It’s Ric Flair… In a tree… With a tail… What more do you want?
“The Golden Gopher Standard”
Droz is Testudo the University of Maryland Terrapin
Let me start with this: I love Droz. I loved him in Beyond the Mat and I loved him as Puke. I also have a lot of family that lives in Maryland, so I can get on board with the Terps and pull for their college teams if it has no bearing on my own personal teams. OK, I can’t really fluff it up anymore. I didn’t want to have to be the one to do it, but can we all see the irony that is Droz’s college mascot being a tortoise?
It’s been almost 13 years, this is ok, right?
Scott Steiner is a Wolverine
According to the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michigan:
“Michigan does not have a live mascot comparable to Ohio's Brutus Buckeye. The Athletic Department has steadfastly maintained that such a symbol is unnecessary and undignified and would not properly reflect the spirit and values of Michigan athletics.”
University of Michigan, you’ve produced a few things I really like (Team Starkid and Scott Steiner) and a few things I really hate (Tom Brady and Chad Henne) but that is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard of. Really UM? You’re too good to put some 20 year old in a big fuzzy costume to get over 100,00 people excited to see your now crappy football team play? Actually, instead of getting myself worked up over your elitist stance on college mascots, I put Scott Steiner’s glasses and goatee on an actual wolverine. Fuck You University of Michigan.
The last Rabid Wolverine we have.
Glacier is Blaze the Valdosta State University Blazer
Ironic, NO?!?! The man whose namesake is a gigantic hunk of ice is now a guy with a flame for a head. Granted the giant fire head isn’t enough and I still had to add the mouthpiece and the sweet Mortal Kombat gear. Seriously, I always thought that entrance gear was super impressive, and I was surprised that Valdosta State had a… Ah, fuck it. It’s Glacier and Valdosta State. Any more sentences about those two topics and I’ll set my own head on fire.
More like Blood Runs Hot amirite?
Dolph Ziggler is… Well, he went to Kent State University
Kent State’s nickname is The Golden Flashes. Their mascot is Flash the Golden Eagle. Yeah, another eagle. I can’t have another eagle on this list. Ok… what’s another thing that Kent State is known for? Oh boy. Did I do what I think you think I did?
It’s been over 42 years, this is—Oh judge me, go ahead.
The Big Show is WuShock The Wichita State University Shocker
First of all, WuShock is a badass name. If Big Show was instead a member of the Wu Tang Clan with electric powers, forget about a gimmick, that’d be the coolest thing in the history of time. Well unfortunately, that’s not what Shocker is. Shocking is apparently harvesting in Kansas. So what would that make Big Show? Well according to WSU’s website he is a “big, bad, muscle-bound bundle of wheat.” Even in this fantastical article about being all sorts of creatures, Big Show is still as exciting as a bail of grain.
That’s the most personality Big Show’s had in years.
Colt Cabana is Buster Bronco the Western Michigan University Bronco
I don’t think this could have happened to any other wrestler that I researched. First off, switch the order of the names of WMU's mascot and you have the name of the signiture move of X-Pac. Secondly, calling a horse a Bronco is a pretty badass way to just call something a horse, wouldn’t you say? There even is a pro template for what your Bronco mascot should and could be. Instead I have to hearken back to Sara Solano’s most recent Swoggle installment and invoke the spirit of Derpy Hooves into our good friend, Colt Cabana. This may have made the idea of Scotty Goldman look like a million bucks as opposed to a trip to the glue factory.
Live from the studio aaaaa-stable in Chicago, Illinois.
Rich once spent a spring dressing up in costumes much like you’ve seen here working for a children’s party service. Follow him on Twitter @RichCami and ask him how much kids like to punch the Easter Bunny in the balls.