WWE Hall of Famer George “the Animal” Steele died Thursday night after a lengthy illness. He was 79.
Steele, whose real name was Jim Myers, wrestled for many promotions but is best remembered for his time in WWE (then called WWF). With his stooped posture, bald head, green tongue (which he got from chewing green breath mints before his matches) and mat of hair on his back, Steele would act like a wildman in the ring. He would bite off one of the corner turnbuckle pads during a match and throw the stuffing at his opponents. His vocabulary was usually limited to one word, “Mine,” which became so popular that fans in the arenas would say it with him. WWE eventually created a stuffed animal called Mine (with green tongue, naturally) that they would sell at events.
In real life, Steele had a master’s degree from Central Michigan University and became a high school teacher to supplement his wrestling income.
His most famous feud was in 1986-87 against Randy Savage after Steele developed a crush on Savage’s manager, Miss Elizabeth, angering Savage. It culminated with Steele in the corner of Ricky Steamboat when Steamboat defeated Savage for the Intercontinental title at WrestleMania III. Steele retired two years later, but made occasional appearances after that.
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