Wrestling: Lex Luger

Lawrence Pfohl (b. 1958) is a retired American Professional Wrestler originally from Buffalo, NY who competed from 1985 to 2005 as Lex Luger. He debuted in Florida and was pushed hard right off the bat, defeating Chief Wahoo McDaniel for the NWA Southern (Florida) Heavyweight Title a mere 19 days into his career. He would hold the title two more times as well as the NWA Florida Television Title and the NWA Bahamas Heavyweight Title. After National Wrestling Alliance promoter Jim Crockett closed down Florida, he brought Luger up to the Carolinas, where he replaced Ole Anderson in the Four Horsemen. This lasted until Luger turned face in early 1988. Over the course of his time in the NWA and WCW, he would hold the WCW World Heavyweight Title twice, the NWA/WCW United States Heavyweight Title five times, the WCW World Television Title twice, the NWA (Mid-Atlantic) World Tag Team Title once with Barry Windham and the WCW World Tag Team Titles once with Sting. After leaving WCW in 1992, he jumped to WWE to be part of their short lived World Bodybuilding Federation. After that failed, Luger debuted in WWE at the start of 1993, where he would feud with Mr. Perfect until Hulk Hogan left after losing the WWE World Heavyweight Title to Yokozuna at King of the Ring. On July 4 on the U.S.S. Intrepid, Luger became the first person in WWE to bodyslam Yokozuna, thus launching his All American Face persona. However, Luger was never able to beat Yoko for the title and ended up in the midcard before he suddenly jumped back to WCW on the debut episode of WCW Monday Nitro, September 4, 1995, and stayed all the way to the bitter end. He would make appearances in TNA and elsewhere before retiring in 2005.

Not to be confused with Lex Luthor, although, apparently that is where he got the name.

As usual, you can find the basics at The Other Wiki.

"The Total Tropes":

  • All American Face: WWE repackaged him as one following Hulk Hogan's departure. For his push, we were treated to vignettes of his airbrushed bus going on tour to raise awareness of patriotism.
  • Alliterative Name
  • Arch-Enemy: Ric Flair, easily. He had many other feuds, but this was his biggest.
  • Autobiography: 2013's Wrestling with the Devil: The True Story of a World Champion Professional Wrestler - His Reign, Ruin, and Redemption
  • Batter Up: Started using one in late 1999.
  • The Big Guy: As a face
  • Blond Guys Are Evil: As a heel.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: His late 2000-early 2001 Tag Team with Buff Bagwell was called "Totally Buff."
  • Career-Ending Injury: A spinal stroke that left him weighing around 150 lbs.
  • Cavalry Betrayal: He's been on both sides of this. At WCW Halloween Havoc 95, he and Randy Savage ran in during the Hogan-Giant match, but Luger turned on Savage. At WCW Bash at the Beach 96, during the Outsiders-Luger/Sting/Savage match, where Luger had already been taken to the back, Hogan came in ostensibly to make the save...and, of course, turned heel to launch the NWO.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: He looked like someone's lab experiment. First guy in WWE to slam Yokozuna, thus kicking off his "The All-American" gimmick. In the battle royal at WCW World War 3 96, he got THE GIANT (THE BIG SHOW) in the Torture Rack.
  • Chicago: Billed from there.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Luger's well thought out and planned interviews.
  • Collegiate American Football: For the University of Miami
  • Double Agent: He turned heel at Halloween Havoc 95 and sided with the Dungeon. However, he and Sting defeated Harlem Heat (Booker T and Stevie Ray) for the WCW World Tag Team Titles on the January 22, 1996 WCW Monday Nitro, which meant that he was aligned with both a top babyface and a top heel group at the same time. WCW finally resolved this by turning Luger face in the Doomsday Cage match at UnCensored in March, because they needed him as a face due to what was coming two months later.
  • Expy/Legacy Character: "The Masterpiece" Chris Masters' original Narcissist gimmick drew many comparisons to Luger. Mark Jindrak's "Reflection of Perfection" gimmick did as well.
    • CHIKARA's Green Ant qualifies, if only for a short time. During the fan conclave for King of Trios 2011, the BDK's Jakob Hammermeier dared anyone to try to slam the group's monster Tursas. Green Ant walked out dressed the same way Luger had for the Yokozuna Bodyslam Challenge and even used the same music. Unlike Luger, Green Ant was not successful at the time at slamming Tursas. However, during Night II, Tursas interfered in the Colony (Fire Ant/Soldier Ant/Green Ant) vs. BDK (Delirious/Hammermeier/Tim Donst) match, and Green Ant slammed him and followed by making Hammermeier tap out to the Torture Rack. CHIKARA even had Green Ant ride on a bus to build up for his match with Tursas.
  • The Fighting Narcissist: As a heel. He was even billed as this at the start of his WWE run. Hell, he even provides the page photo. Skeptics felt Luger was more focused on developing his body than developing his in-ring skills, leading to this gimmick.
  • Finishing Move: The Torture Rack/The Rebel Rack (Argentine Backbreaker), Superplex, Attitude Adjustment (Piledriver), Running Forearm (as The Narcissist)
  • Heel-Face Revolving Door: Especially in WCW. He did avert this a few times, though. He was a face for the entirety of 1994 and of 1997, the latter due to his being one of the lead guys in the fight against the NWO.
  • Improbable Weapon User: A steel plate in his forearm
  • Invincible Hero: At times. During his Florida run, the Shock Troops (Ed "The Bull" Gantner and Kareem Muhammad) attacked him in the ring with some kind of weapon, and manager Sir Oliver Humperdink said, "Maybe it was Kryptonite, you've got Superman laid out in the ring there."
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice
  • MUSCLES ARE MEANINGFUL: Seriously, just look at the picture. He was very well known as one of the most ripped guys in wrestling during his time.
  • No True Scotsman: The pitch going into Great American Bash í91 was Luger finally gets his big win after Flair cheating him with every trick known to man. Didn't happen. He had two title reigns in WCW before calling it quits, a most unimpressive ranking. (Of course, it didn't help that he was feuding with the nWo at the time.) To this day, opinion is split within the IWC on the Total Package, as his "jack-of-all-trades, master of none" reputation shadowed him wherever he went. From Uproxx:
    "Iím not certain, but if you do your scrapbooking on Lugerís career, there seems to be a great sense that he wasnít trusted, or wasnít respected as much as someone like Sting because he thought of being a wrestler like it was any other job (ironic, because Sting himself doesnít seem like a huge wrestling fan). The timing of his flips from WCW and WWF, Flair taking Big Gold with him to the WWF because he refused to drop it to Lex over Sting, originally joining Titan as a WBF member and not a wrestler, even early stuff like the famous cage match in Florida with Bruiser Brody where Brody just gave up in the middle of the ring and refused to cooperate with him."
  • Pec Flex: He did it a lot during his run. Hell, he's probably one of the most famous examples of this trope in professional wrestling.
  • Power Stable:
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Had to turn face after Sting suffered a knee injury trying to climb the cage to attack the Horsemen at Clash of the Champions X on February 6, 1990.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: Used John Philip Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever" at the start of his All-American gimmick.
  • Red Baron: 'The Total Package'. He dropped the 'Lex Luger' name entirely in around the turn of the millennium. In WWE he was "The Narcissist" before turning face and becoming "Made in the USA."
  • Road Trip Plot: A rare case of being literally "Put On A Bus", as WWE had Luger ride around in the "Lex Express" in order to build up anticipation for his match with Yokozuna at SummerSlam 93. The bus turned up again on Nitro as the Millionare's Club's transportation, with Lex driving(!) while Vince Russo absconded with Miss Elizabeth.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Left WWE in 1995 to go back to WCW, surprising a lot of people.
    • Crossed with Oh, Crap when Bruiser Brody notoriously wouldn't sell for him during their cage match in Florida.
  • Sleeves Are for Wimps
  • Sole Survivor: Of the All-Americansnote -The Foreign Fanaticsnote  match at Survivor Series 93.
  • Something Completely Different: For the Four Horsemen, as his considerable strength and musculature made him stand out among the rest of the group (Flair, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard and manager JJ Dillon) who were all Badass Normals.
  • Tag Team: The Allied Powers, with the British Bulldog
  • That Man Is Dead: He said this about 'Lex Luger', when he was being pushed simply as 'The Total Package'. However, he didn't act that much different.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Sting
  • Wearing A Flag As Wrestling Attire