10 Times Wrestling History Repeated Itself

It's deja vu all over again...

The great Mark Twain is reputed to have said, €œHistory doesn'€™t repeat itself, but it does rhyme a lot.€ That€™'s a nice way of putting it.€ Another way is to suggest that there'€™s nothing new under the sun: everything's a rehash of a Xerox of a reboot of a copy, especially in the cheerfully plagiaristic world of professional wrestling.

Then there€™'s the times that life simply hiccupped and ran the same piece of bad luck all over again, because life€™'s like that sometimes. Or there are the weird coincidences that plague us all €“like the fact that in the entire state of Ohio in 1895 there were only two motor cars, yet they still managed to hit each other.

Plagiarism, bad luck voodoo, bizarre coincidences €“- these are the times that, in the screwed up world of pro wrestling, history seems to have repeated itself.

10. The Macho Man And The Spider

Randy Savage Bonesaw Spider-man
Columbia Pictures

Waaay back in the hidden depths of his rookie years, and before he gained the physique that he became famous for, Randy Mario Poffo was playing baseball and wrestling for Eddie Graham in Florida and for Ole Anderson at Georgia Championship Wrestling in the baseball off season. In those days, before he committed to wrestling full time; before Anderson suggested the name change to Savage; and before Poffo'€™s mother Judy came up with the €˜Macho Man€™ nickname, Randy wrestled under a mask as The Spider, inspired by Spider-Man comics he€™'d read when he was a kid.

Fast forward thirty years and Sam Raimi is casting his first Spider-Man flick, and casts one Randy Savage as Bonesaw McGraw, the wrestler that the newly-empowered Peter Parker faces off against in an effort to win prize money.

Parker hides his true identity under a makeshift Spider-Man costume and mask, and asks to be named The Human Spider€.

9. Losing An Ear And Gaining A Rep

Pro wrestler Eric Holmback worked the territories in Canada and North America in the 1940s,1950s and 1960s under the less-than-edifying name of Yukon Eric. Yukon Eric never achieved worldwide fame like some of his contemporaries €“ in fact, his biggest claim to fame came during a match with Wladek Kowalski in 1952. Kowalski screwed up a knee drop, and €“somehow €“actually severed Holmback's ear.

It€™'s the incident that inspired Kowalski to call himself €˜Killer€™ €“ thanks to the reputation he gained, €˜Killer€™ Kowalski went on to have a fantastic career as one of wrestlin'g€™s greatest heels, and would go on to train some of wrestling€™s greatest heels in turn -€“ including one Paul Levesque, aka, Triple H.

In 1994 at a show in Munich, Germany during a match with feared villain Big Van Vader, a botched spot involving the ring ropes (dubbed the €˜hangman€™) saw Mick €˜Cactus Jack€™ Foley trap his head for real between the steel cables. Suddenly finding that the ropes were cutting off the blood flow to his head and panicking, Foley wrenched himself free but left an ear behind for his trouble. Just as with Killer Kowalski, the incident cemented Vader€™s reputation as a pitiless, inhuman monster and helped make his career.

Luckily, unlike Yukon Eric, Cactus Jack was also able to spin the story to benefit him, as it added endlessly to his own reputation for hardcore stunts in wrestling. Yukon Eric died penniless and unhappy by his own hand in 1965: Cactus Jack is still a big name even a decade and a half after (mostly) retiring from the ring.


Professional writer, punk werewolf and nesting place for starfish. Obsessed with squid, spirals and story. I publish short weird fiction online at, and tweet nonsense under the name Jack The Bodiless. You can follow me all you like, just don't touch my stuff.