Originally published in today’s online edition of the Houston Press.

Since the days of Hulkamania, I’ve been a wrestling fan.

That’s not slandering anybody who gave up on the attraction or entertainment aspect after the second generation boom in the late-90s, that’s just me once again self-deprecating while tossing off a few knife-edged chops in defense. Take that, take that.

Plus, there’s nothing more infuriating than being a member of this cycle of wrestling fans and having an argument with someone who’s still in the loop to believe everything they see every Monday and Friday night. For example, my neighbor of some umpteen years believed that Triple H seriously got his arm broken by Brock Lesnar a few months ago. I wanted to slap him and wait for him to scream “IT’S STILL REAL TO ME!” but no such luck. Instead, I brought up Exhibit A in the “wrestlers don’t get their arms broken for the sake of a storyline” argument: Justin Bieber stood next to Triple H at the Mayweather fight. Trips didn’t have a sling on his arm.

Don’t care how often you play Ponytail Theater on Monday nights, a broken arm renders you pretty damn useless to carry around the belts of another man. And I would know because I bitched up after getting hit by a car on a bike about 7 years ago.

I say all of that to say this: Houston is a giant, crazy squared circle of rappers who all believe they’re the best without realizing the hierarchy of matters. Just like wrestlers. And each come with enough politics and strings that any potential feud has some serious “we have to fist fight” tendencies in rap (I’m looking at you 40 Glocc & Game). There are your greats, there are your cult favorites and then there are your curtain jerkers. For the sake of feelings, we’re going to deal with the first two categories. And like on any video game, nobody wants to be John Cena. And also, J. Prince was the Million Dollar Man. That can’t be debated, period.

Rapper: Scarface
Wrestler: Hulk Hogan

Face it, you don’t know much about wrestling now if you don’t know how much of a transcendent figure Hulk Hogan is and you don’t know anything about Houston rap if you don’t know who Scarface is. Plus, until Bun B’s Trill OG came, Facemob was the last H-Town rapper to have a 5 Mic rating in The Source (when it mattered).

Rapper: Bun B
Wrestler: Ric Flair

For a decade-plus from a sheer entertainment standpoint, there wasn’t a wrestler alive who could say they owned wrestling the way Flair did. While Hogan was more of a cartoon character come to life, Flair was respected not only by his haters and his admirers, but by rappers as well as the most sampled wrestler in rap history. Any rapper that need approval in Houston seeks out the approval from one Bun B, and nobody has more classic shit talking rap lines than the Trill OG.

Rapper: Slim Thug
Wrestler: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin

The first rapper out the gates to lead the 2005 boom period and arguably the most popular of the bunch. Slim’s translated his Northside raps into an instantly recognizable drawl, his own sense of authority and the fact he wrote a goddamn BOOK on the subject. As a hell raiser supreme on mixtapes and more for a decade plus, only Stone Cold translates as well to the Thug Boss.

Rapper(s): Z-Ro & Trae Tha Truth
Wrestler: The Undertaker

How can two rappers embody one person? Think about it, what other pair of rappers from Houston do you know that have gone through hell, high water and two miles of the foulest smelling filth you’d ever imagine, and still walk on as if it doesn’t phase them? These two. Taker is a living legend simply because of two things: he (like Trae & Ro) still scares grown ass men and his longevity is unmatched, period.

Rapper: Propain
Wrestler: Brock Lesnar

Few can honestly deliver every line on a song with the raw ferocity that Pro delivers and be technically great at it at the same time. Like, you see how there are four people in Slaughterhouse? Pro likes all of them and can be every single one of them and that includes Joe Budden’s awesome propensity to snatch up bad-ass women. A freak of nature, Lesnar pretty much rewrote the book on athletic superheavyweights, being a badass wrestler and somebody who would legit fight you thanks to his UFC background. I think I motivated Pro to do something dastardly on Ridin’ Slab.

Rapper: Delorean
Wrestler: Sting

Often moody when he feels introspective, Delo’s cult following at the moment has all the makings of Sting’s transformation back in the mid-90s from surfer dude with face paint to a knockoff Brandon Lee circa The Crow. Not saying Delo would don facepaint anytime soon but tell me the tempo between Hood Politics 2 and Hood Politics 3 at least from the on-set doesn’t feel like a transformation. Delo was pissed right out of the gates going into HP2 and on 3? Much different story.

Side Note: Anybody mind asking Delo what he wants to be officially called? Cause if it turns into a Delo/Delorean thing like Le$ and his multiple rap names that haven’t stuck, I may have to call Vince McMahon to settle this.

Rapper: Killa Kyleon
Wrestler: Chris Jericho

Whenever there’s a microphone in their hand, you know something special might happen. Jericho’s interrupted The Rock, John Cena, and numerous others on his way up, and Killa has eviscerated your favorite beat for the past three years ever since he began his RUN IT campaign back in 2009 with Natural Born Killa. Only thing is, with both of them, you wish their runs at the proverbial top would last a bit longer.

Rapper: Doughbeezy
Wrestler: CM Punk

Here’s how this mulled around in my head. CM Punk is the company’s top guy title wise. Doughbeezy has fans in other cities punching people out for getting too close to him. I mean, KAB is pretty much his enforcer but even he wasn’t there to sling the Wrath of God on some fools. Dough’s polishing himself into an all around star while refusing to let go a single ounce of his stature as a southern rap maniac who chews up weed and tracks. Kind of like Punk, who likes kneeing people in the face and telling the “real” truth whenever necessary.

Rapper: Kirko Bangz
Wrestler: “Ravishing” Rick Rude

Have I ever forgiven Kirko for that Shawn Michaels punchline in “What Yo Name Is?” After about the 30th time, but considering that he’s known mostly for two songs about women while a lot of his actual rap tracks get looked over, he easily draws parallels to Rude, who by and large was a great technical athlete but was pigeonholed as the guy with his face on his tights who pimped your wife out while you watched.

Rapper: Paul Wall
Wrestler: Randy Orton

Forget the tattoos and the generalized fact that they’re both white and concentrate on this: both of them are the respective glues of their particular arenas. Paul still does shows, sells out constantly all the while having one single purpose. Orton, despite injuries from time to time, has one single purpose in the ring: to give you an RKO from anywhere possible. Although, Diamond Dallas Page still makes the move look absolutely sick.