He was a pro wrestling legend.
For many WWE fans who first watched pro wrestling in the 1980s, George “the Animal” Steele was a terrifying presence. He was a big blob of a man with a hairy back and a green tongue, who ate turnbuckles during matches and who chased after Miss Elizabeth—Macho Man Randy Savage’s valet and love interest—whenever she was nearby.
Steele, whose real name was James Meyers, died Friday at the age of 79, saddening fans of wrestling’s bygone era.
As the WWE writes, Steele earned a master’s degree from Central Michigan before becoming a high school teacher and wrestling coach in the Detroit area. But by 1967, he had begun wrestling professionally the likes of WWE Hall of Famer Bruno Sammartino, and by the mid-1980s, he had become a babyface (wrestling lingo for a “good guy”) and eventually transformed himself into one of wrestling’s most beloved figures.
Luckily for those who want to remind themselves of the greatness of Steele and for those who never saw him perform in the first place, YouTube has a treasure trove of fantastic performances from the man who was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 1995.
Here are the six best George “the Animal” Steele videos available on YouTube.
Hulk Hogan was the biggest star of the 1980s, but Steele still managed to test him in this match from 1984. In this video, you get to see some of Steele’s best antics (the bizarre arm waving, the incoherent hooting, and the biting), and he does some great heel (bad guy) work, showing cowardice and using foreign objects.
Steele just loved eating that turnbuckle. Some might say he had a fetish for it.
Steele didn’t speak much while in character, which didn’t necessarily make him an interesting interview. But boy, he could intimidate Rowdy Roddy Piper.
And just look at the acting pedigree of Steele. Like when he’s receiving shock treatments to try to make him more intelligent.
Here’s Steele telling a few good stories about Andre the Giant.
Whatever you do, don’t yell out his name at him when he’s walking by.
Now, though, Steele is gone, and it’s absolutely true to say that there will never be another like him.
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