At the age of 74, cultural icon Muhammad Ali passed away leaving behind family, millions of fans, and memories that will last forever. Muhammad Ali was so many things to so many people. For some, he’s the best boxer to ever live. For others, he’s a symbol of what it meant to be an outspoken black man in America and he was the face of the anti-Vietnam War effort when he refused to be drafted based on his strong religious beliefs.
Regardless of what walk of life you come from, at some point the story of Muhammad Ali is bound to reach you. Having battled Parkinson’s disease since 1984, Ali was robbed of his ability to speak over time, perhaps his best gift; nevertheless, he left us with more than enough quotables to last a lifetime.
Ali was famous for his amazing verbal ability, often being quoted to have drawn his inspiration from professional wrestling, the likes of Gorgeous George in particular. Ali would take that inspiration and become a cult of personality that could overtake a room with only words, and rhymes.
During a point in his life, he was vilified by some who felt he was a draft dodger and he was robbed of three years of his athletic prime. However, his battle with the US Government made him a beloved figure around the globe, and a tragic figure.
Over the years he had numerous interactions with wrestling, as he competed in a bout with Antonio Inoki and was famously airplane spun by Gorilla Monsoon. His highest profile role came at the first WrestleMania, where he assumed the role of the outside enforcer, for the main event between Hulk Hogan/Mr.T vs Rowdy Roddy Piper/Paul Orndorff.
Muhammad Ali was what is called a “one of one,” meaning, none before him none to come, to quote Jay-Z.
Here are some of the reactions around the wrestling world.