Ahhhhh, its Thanksgiving time again. While the days of stuffing your face and then plopping yourself on the couch to watch either the Survivor Series or Starrcade have long gone, one holiday tradition remains – Detroit Lions football. As the team I’ve (sometimes painfully) followed since the 80’s gets set to take on that turncoat Joey Harrington and the Miami Dolphins, I figured what a better time to get a big plate of turkey and dressing, overdose on tryptophan, and thrill to the wrestling misadventures of one of my favorite Detroit Lions of all-time – this week’s JOTW, Bill Fralic.
After a highly successful college football career at Pittsburgh, Bill Fralic entered the world of the National Football League in 1985. He ended up being the second player taken in the draft that year, picked by the pitiful Atlanta Falcons. He made an immediate impact on the offensive line, and wound up being named the NFL Rookie Of The Year. A few months later in the spring of 1986, Fralic’s wrestling…for lack of a better word…career would begin.
Bill was entered in the much talked about 20 man WWF/NFL battle royal at Wrestlemania 2. While William “The Refrigerator” Perry was the man set to steal the show, it was really Fralic who shined in the weeks leading up to the event. With a brash and cocky attitude in tow, Bill made an appearance on the WWF’s TNT Show. He claimed he would win the battle royal, and slam Big John Studd, or as the overconfident Fralic dubbed him, “Studd the Dud,” in the process. To add fuel to the fire, minutes before the battle royal was set to begin, Fralic and Studd engaged in a heated verbal battle/shoving match during a pre-match interview.
Tensions were high as the match began. Not only did Studd have to deal with the fan favorite Fridge, but now a borderline heelish Fralic as well. Amongst current and future and future legends like Andre the Giant, Bret Hart, and Bruno Sammartino, it was Fralic who made the initial impact by eliminating the first two men, Chicago Bear Jim Covert and King Tonga (Haku). Fralic even found time to tussle with Andre for a bit. Just when it appeared that he might hang around with the big boys until the end, “the Dud” got his revenge. With a little help from the Iron Sheik, Big John Studd made sure it was an early for tough talking Fralic, easily dumping him over the top rope and onto the floor.
After his failure at Wrestlemania 2, Bill returned to the Falcons for a string of four straight Pro Bowl seasons, and was named to the NFL Team Of The Decade for the 1980’s. During 1990 however, Bill returned to the wrestling world. As disastrous as his battle with Big John Studd could have been, that can’t compare with the potential health hazards of his next tangle with a wrestling superstar. It was a match set up by Bill’s good friend Jim Ross. Bill soon found himself booked in a “Skanky Stank Blackhole” match, with none other than…
…everyone’s favorite wrestling vixen, Missy Hyatt. According to her book (the third best wrestling book published by ECW Press, by the way), good ol’ JR introduced Bill to Missy, and they soon started a two month fling. She said that one of Bill’s most memorable qualities was the fact that he peed like the legendary racehorse, Secretariat. Sadly, after eight weeks that could only be equaled by shacking with the monkey from the movie Outbreak, Bill and Missy went their separate ways. Man, for the sake of preserving his urination domination, I pray Bill got a checkup.
After a few more years in Atlanta, Bill would leave the Falcons and go to where football is really football – Detroit, Michigan. Perhaps inspired by the glory that comes with being a Lion, Bill made his long awaited return to the ring.
On July 4th, 1993, aboard the USS Intrepid, WWF World Champion Yokozuna challenged anyone to try and bodyslam him. WWF, NHL, and NFL atheletes all tried and failed. Then Bill stepped up to the plate. Face to face with Yokozuna, you could see the pressure written on Bill’s face. He bombed against Big John Studd…would it happen again? With the added pressure of knowing there would be legions of kids awaiting the future arrival of the “Fralic Express,” Bill went for it all.
Sadly, history would repeat itself, as Bill mucked up his second chance at bodyslamming immortality. He would be standing by watching as Lex Luger successfully slammed Yokozuna, thus giving the Total Package the honor of riding in a custom built bus all summer long. His dreams dashed, Fralic was forced to face the reality that the only bus he was gonna be riding on, was the Lions team bus with the rest of the players.
With wrestling now behind him, Fralic and the Lions charged forward, won their division that year, and advanced to the 1993 playoffs. And just like every Lions team I’ve followed since childhood, they choked in the post-season, losing to the Green Bay Packers. After nine seasons in the NFL, Bill retired from football following the loss.
You know, Bill sure played for some lousy football teams over the course of his career. But looking back, when your three most famous wrestling moments involve putting your hand between the respective crotches of Big John Studd, Missy Hyatt, and Yokozuna, maybe a career with the lowly Detroit Lions isn’t so bad after all.
You will recall back on Thanksgiving 2004, my Lions and RD’s dastardly Colts clashed, we put it all on the line. Not only did the loser have to review the X-Pac – Chyna porno tape, a tape we’ve dubbed the “Mangina Monologues,”, but winner walked away with this:
No, that is not a turd with legs. It is the Wrestlecrap / William “Bill” P. Fralic honorary trophy, something that in time will prove to be much more valuble than a measley Heisman Trophy or a Stanley Cup.
You see, the Fralic Trophy symbolizes glory, with a dash of poo-poo mixed in, just like what good ‘ol Bill brought to the wrestling world.
Sadly, his Lion spirit lived on…in the form of a 41-9 loss.
I long for the day the Lions have revenge on those blasted Colts, and my treasured turd-with-legs trophy goes back to it’s rightful owner!!!