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Johnny Rodz: The Understated Influence on WWE, Impact and ECW
Rodz legacy continues to influence professional wrestling today
Professional wrestling's rich history is populated with a roster of unforgettable characters and narratives, but a hidden narrative is also woven behind the scenes, shaping the industry as much as the televised spectacle. Johnny Rodz, a respected trainer, is an important contributor to this narrative, with his influence pervading wrestling promotions from WWE to Impact, ECW, and AEW.
Rodz's most significant impact stems from his influential role as a trainer. From his wrestling school, Gleason's Gym in Brooklyn, New York, Rodz has trained a multitude of wrestlers who have subsequently shaped the landscape of various wrestling promotions.
Rodz's influence on WWE is substantial, primarily seen through his trainees who have become legendary figures. Taz, renowned for his aggressive suplexes and submission holds, is one such trainee who has left a profound mark on WWE. Another trainee, Tommy Dreamer, is a WWE veteran whose hardcore style significantly influenced the direction of WWE's version of ECW during its inception.
Beyond WWE, Rodz's influence extends into Impact Wrestling through one of the most influential figures in professional wrestling, Vince Russo. Russo, a writer, and producer, credits his understanding of wrestling dynamics and storytelling to Rodz's teachings. Russo's creative input was instrumental in the success of the "Attitude Era" in WWE, a period remembered for its edgy content, mature themes, and groundbreaking storylines. Later, when Russo moved to Impact Wrestling, he carried with him the influence of Rodz's principles, introducing unique storylines and character developments that bore Rodz's stamp.
Rodz's influence on ECW is undeniably significant, largely due to the success of his trainees, such as Bubba Ray Dudley and D-Von Dudley. The Dudley Boyz, recognized as one of the greatest tag teams in professional wrestling history, held multiple titles in ECW. Their aggressive style and raw energy embodied Rodz's teachings and played a pivotal role in defining ECW's image.
In conclusion, Johnny Rodz's influence on professional wrestling extends far beyond his personal time in the ring. The skills and insights he has imparted to his trainees continue to reverberate throughout WWE, Impact, ECW, and potentially beyond, underscoring his understated yet profound impact on the wrestling landscape.