WWE's 50 Greatest Superstars
I'm not a guy who has any sort of link to the wrestling business or the people in it. Still, I think I could put together a better list than the politically-influenced 50 Greatest Superstars list the WWE put out over a year ago.
The minute it came out, it received tons of attention—and not for the right reasons. So many people were too high or low, some people weren't in it that should've been, while others were in it who shouldn't have been.
That list is titled WWE right? Then why are there so many guys from the AWA, NWA, WCW, etc. who barely or never wrestled in the WWE at all? Guys like Nick Bockwinkel or Jack Brisco never wrestled for the WWE, while Dusty Rhodes, Harley Race, Dory Funk, Jr. and Terry Funk had terrible runs in the WWE. Gorgeous George was basically retired when the WWE was formed.
I realize Vince respects these guys, and rightfully so; they all had excellent careers.
But did they have to be in a DVD titled WWE's 50 Greatest Superstars? I know my list won't be perfect and a lot will disagree with it, and that's fine. It's your opinion, I'm just telling you mine.
The WWE's original list can be seen here.
And now, on with the list.
These are some guys I considered but didn't quite make the list.
John Bradshaw Layfield
Irwin R. Schyster
King Kong Bundy
50. Iron Sheik
Place on the WWE's list: 31
Reasons why he's on my list: Iron Sheik was the one who passed the torch on to Hulk Hogan. He was a transitional champion in the WWE when he won the belt in December 1983, only to drop it a month later to Hogan.
He stayed in the title hunt for a while, but moved over to the Tag Team division forming a team with Nikolai Volkoff that won gold.
He left the WWE in 1988 and returned in 1991 as Colonel Mustafa and aligned with Sgt. Slaughter. This run was unsuccessful and he left again a year later. The reason it failed was because they took a former WWE Champion and changed his name.
It's for his time as The Iron Sheik that he'll be remembered, with his great promos, wrestling and overall character that saw him inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005.
Place on the WWE's list: Unranked
Reasons why he's on my list: I sort of understand WWE's decision to omit Yokozuna from the list: they were probably trying to limit the number of guys on the list who died young. Nonetheless, Yokozuna deserves his spot on the list.
He debuted as a monster heel at over 600 pounds and was managed by Mr. Fuji. He won the 1993 Royal Rumble and went on to win the WWE Championship from Bret Hart at that year's WrestleMania, only to lose it a matter of minutes later to Hulk Hogan.
He regained the title at the first King of the Ring and held it until the following WrestleMania, losing to Bret Hart.
He stayed in the title picture for a while before moving on to the Tag Team division and won two tag team titles with Owen Hart.
He turned face in 1996. but that run was a fail, as he stayed on the roster doing very little for another two years before the WWE released him due to weight issues.
It was those weight issues that lead to heart complications, which he died from in 2000 at the age of 34. A member of the famous Anoa'i wrestling family, he will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2012 by his cousin, The Rock.
48. 'Mr. Wonderful' Paul Orndorff
Place on the WWE's list: Unranked
Reasons why he's on my list: I was surprised when the list came and Paul Orndorff wasn't on it. Especially considering how much respect he has within the WWE.
He joined the WWE in late 1983 and quickly became a title contender, challenging Hulk Hogan for his WWE Championship. His feud with Hogan was one of the best of the 80's and it was the focal point of the Main Event of the first WrestleMania as he teamed with Roddy Piper in a losing effort to Hogan and A-Team star Mr. T.
Following WrestleMania, he turned face and aligned himself with former-rival Hogan. Orndorff remained a top guy for the rest of his stay in the WWE until retiring and leaving in 1988 due to injury.
He did return in 1990, but didn't sign for the WWE.
He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005.
47. 'Magnificent' Don Muraco
Place on the WWE's list: Unranked
Reasons why he's on my list: Muraco is one of the greatest Intercontinental Champions of all time and was one of the WWE's top heels in his era.
He debuted in the WWE in 1981 and immediately won the Intercontinental Championship from Pedro Morales. That was the start of a great feud between the two. He ended up as a two-time Intercontinental Championship.
He was a main contender for the WWE Championship throughout the 80's, feuding with Hulk Hogan, and it looked like he would be a future World Champion when he won the King of the Ring in 1986.
He turned face in 1987, which was the beginning of the end for Muraco in the WWE, as he was a natural heel.
He was fired a year later but ended up in the Hall of Fame in 2004.
46. Killer Kowalski
Place on the WWE's list: 50
Reasons why he's on my list: Kowalski was one of the top stars in the WWE throughout the 1960's and 1970's. He was a heel who was the main antagonist of WWE Champion Bruno Sammartino during that time.
He often sold out Madison Square Garden with Sammartino and, in 1976, became a Tag Team competitor winning the title once.
In 1996 he was inducted into the Hall of Fame by his protege, Triple H.
45. 'Ravishing' Rick Rude
Place on the WWE's list: 48
Reasons why he's on my list: Rude entered the WWE in 1987 and quickly became one of the top heels in the company.
His arrogant womanizing ways got under the skin of the males in the crowd, not to mention his opponents. He became one of the greatest Intercontinental Champions, winning the title twice while also challenging for the WWE Championship before leaving.
He returned for a couple of months as a member of DX in 1997, but left after Survivor Series 1997. He appeared on a live episode of Nitro while appearing on a taped episode of Raw on the same night.
He passed away in 1999 at the age of 40 due to heart complications from years of substance abuse. Undeservedly, he has been omitted from the Hall of Fame.
44. Brock Lesnar
Place on the WWE's list: Unranked
Reasons why he's on my list: I'm sure this will get a lot of criticism, but hear me out.
No one achieved what Brock Lesnar did in such a short period of time at such a young age. He was a beast in the ring in both senses of the word, as he was huge but also one of the best workers in the company.
Adaptable as both a heel and a face—though better as a heel—he had great feuds with Kurt Angle and The Big Show, and it should be no surprise that in less than two years on the roster he was a three time WWE Champion.
He will be in the Hall of Fame someday, but hopefully he'll return before then.
43. Honky Tonk Man
Place on the WWE's list:Unranked
Reasons why he's on my list: In 1986, Dynamite Wayne Ferris debuted in the WWE as The Honky Tonk Man, an Elvis rip-off gimmick that was originally meant to be a face character. The fans didn't buy it, so he turned heel.
His first feud was with Jake "The Snake" Roberts, before beating Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat for the Intercontinental Championship in the summer of 1987. Much like his original character, Honky was meant to be a transitional champion but, due to an injury to Roberts, this wouldn't be the case.
Honky rarely won clean while champion. He would use cheap tactics in feuds against Randy Savage, Brutus Beefcake and Steamboat before losing the title at SummerSlam 1988 to Ultimate Warrior.
His title reign lasted 15 months, a record to this day. He then formed a tag team with Greg "The Hammer" Valentine known as Rhythm and Blues, but the duo were never able to win gold.
Honky Tonk Man left the WWE in January 1991. He would return in 1997 as a commentator and manager to Billy Gunn after a brief stint in WCW, before leaving once again in 1998.
He has since made occasional appearances and, to the surprise of many, still hasn't been inducted into the Hall of Fame.
NOTE: Honky Tonk Man was originally at 25 but that wasn't well received by the masses. One reader Ghost Rider suggested 50, another Cardiff Wanderer suggested 35. I decided to go half way and rank him at 43.
42. Razor Ramon/Scott Hall
Place on the WWE's list: Unranked
Reasons why he's on my list: Because of his recent troubles, it was no surprise that Scott Hall was omitted from the list.
In his heyday, he was one of the best workers in the company, which was even more impressive considering his size. As Razor Ramon he was a four-time Intercontinental Champion and had feuds with Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart and Jeff Jarret. His feud with Shawn Michaels led to two memorable ladder matches.
He became one of the top heels with his "bad guy Cuban" gimmick, but also adapted well as a face.
He left the WWE in 1996 but returned in 2002 as part of the new nWo, only to be fired within four months.
His recent problems have led the WWE to not feature or mention him on anything, which is understandable. He deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame, but unfortunately I think he will be a posthumous inductee.
41. Davey Boy Smith/British Bulldog
Place on the WWE's list: Unranked
Reasons why he's on my list: Davey Boy Smith is one of the greatest never to win a World Championship.
He started in the WWE in the 1980's as part of The British Bulldogs with The Dynamite Kid, which was one of the greatest Tag Teams of all time. He broke out as a singles star in the 1990s, winning the Intercontinental Championship while also drifting back and winning tag team gold every once in a while.
He had feuds with Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart in the mid 1990's over the WWE Championship before leaving in 1997, only to return in 1999 and be turned into a filler character.
In 2002, Smith died at the age of 39 due to a heart attack from years of substance abuse. He is another who rightly deserves a place in the Hall of Fame.
40. Pat Patterson
Place on the WWE's list: 30
Reasons why he's on my list: After more than 20 years in the business, Patterson finally found his way to the WWE in 1979 as a heel under the management of The Grand Wizard, and began feuding with Ted DiBiase and WWF Champion Bob Backlund.
Later in the year, Patterson was thought to have won a tournament in Brazil in which he beat DiBiase to unify his South American Championship with DiBiase's North American Championship to become the first Intercontinental Champion. There are question marks as to whether the tournament took place.
He would lose the title in April 1980 to Olympic Strongman Ken Patera and feuded with Sgt. Slaughter, which led to a Match of the Year match before retiring in 1984.
He continued as an onscreen character in various points over the next 20 years as a commentator, interview host and Vince McMahon's assistant.
He broke walls in professional wrestling by being one of the first openly gay wrestlers, and was the man who created the Royal Rumble. In 1996, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.
39. Jeff Hardy
Place on the WWE's list: 45
Reasons why he's on my list: The charismatic enigma started out in the WWE at the age of 21 in 1999 with his brother Matt as the Hardy Boyz, who became one of the greatest Tag Teams of all time, becoming seven-time Champions.
In the early 2000s, he also broke out as a singles star and won the Intercontinental Championship before leaving for TNA in 2003 due to his character's lack of direction and drug problems.
He returned in 2006 to become one of the biggest baby-faces in the company, winning three more Intercontinental Championships before moving up to Main-Event level and winning three World Championships, along with having the greatest feud of 2009 with CM Punk.
Substance problems have followed Hardy throughout his career: It was one of the reasons he left in 2003 and the primary reason he left in 2009.
He is now back in TNA but will hopefully return to the WWE one day.
He will be in the Hall of Fame.
38. Rob Van Dam
Place on the WWE's list: Unranked
Reasons why he's on my list: Another guy who I was surprised wasn't on the list.
Rob Van Dam was the ultimate mid-carder in the WWE and a top babyface who won the Intercontinental Championship six times, as well as numerous tag team titles after arriving in 2001 after WWE bought ECW.
His high flying offense helped him win over fans, and in 2006 he won the Money in the Bank, which he cashed in on to beat John Cena for the WWE Championship, as well as being crowned ECW Champion the following night.
A couple of weeks later, he was caught with drugs, which led to him dropping both titles and leaving in 2007.
He has since wrestled in TNA, but it looks as if he will return in the near future and will be in the Hall of Fame.
37. Diesel/Kevin Nash
Place on the WWE's list: Unranked
Reasons why he's on my list: 'm sure I will get a lot of hassle over this, but I think he deserves it.
After debuting in the WWE in 1993 as Shawn Michaels's bodyguard, he won the tag team, Intercontinental and WWE titles all within a year, and became the company's top babyface.
He held the WWE Championship for a year, and even though it is well known that he was one of the worst drawing champions, I don't think it's entirely his fault, but rather a result of how thin the roster was at the time, along with the growth of WCW.
He left for WCW in 1996 before returning in 2002 under the revived nWo. After suffering an injury, he returned in 2003 and feuded with Triple H over the World Heavyweight Championship.
He left in the summer and wound up in TNA before returning again in 2011. A Hall of Fame place is surely on the horizon.
36. Booker T/King Booker
Place on the WWE's list: Unranked
Reasons why he's on my list: I loved Booker T. He came over from WCW in 2001 as part of the Alliance.
He was a heel at first, but due to his spinarooni, memorable quotes and overall charisma, it was only a matter of time until he became one of the top faces.
He feuded for the World Heavyweight Championship and WWE Championship but found himself winning numerous Intercontinental, United States and tag team Championships.
He turned heel and, in 2006, won the King of the Ring, changed his persona to King Booker and won the World Heavyweight Championship.
After dropping the title, he floundered around the upper mid-card until leaving in 2007 after apparently refusing rehab. He went to TNA until returning in 2011 and has since become an entertaining commentator. Hall of Fame-elect.
35. Eddie Guerrero
Place on the WWE's list: 11
Reasons why he's on my list: This may sound disrespectful, but had Eddie not died in 2005, do you really think he'd be 11 on the list?
After years of being misused in WCW, Eddie joined the WWE in 2000 and instantly became one of the top stars in the company, known for his ring work. He won the Intercontinental Championship and European Championship before leaving in 2001 due to a DUI.
He returned in 2002 and formed a tag team with his nephew Chavo, winning three titles with him before becoming one of the most beloved babyfaces in the company and beating Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship.
After losing it and failing the regain it, he turned heel and feuded with Rey Mysterio, followed by a feud with Batista in the Autumn, which led to him turning face again.
In November 2005, Eddie was found dead in his hotel room due to heart failure at the age of 38. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006.
34. Sgt. Slaughter
Place on the WWE's list: 42
Reasons why he's on my list: After years in the NWA and AWA, Slaughter made his way to the WWE in 1980 as heel, where he became the main challenger to Bob Backlund's WWE Championship.
He turned face in 1983 and feuded with The Iron Sheik throughout 1983 and 1984.
Slaughter did not want to be the number two face to Hulk Hogan, and left for the AWA in 1984 before returning in 1990 as a heel Iraqi sympathizer.
He won the WWE Championship from Ultimate Warrior at the 1991 Royal Rumble before dropping it to Hogan at WrestleMania.
He retired full time in 1992 and has since made brief appearances and wrestled the odd match.
He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004.
33. Jake 'The Snake' Roberts
Place on the WWE's list: 39
Reasons why he's on my list: Surprisingly, Roberts has never won any sort of title in the WWE.
He debuted in 1986 after years in different territories, and feuded with Ricky Steamboat.
He turned face and began feuding with the likes of Roddy Piper, Rick Rude and The Honky Tonk Man, largely based around the Intercontinental Championship.
In 1991, he turned heel again and feuded with Randy Savage and The Undertaker, where we witnessed some of the best heel mic-work of all time.
Roberts was always a big deal in the WWE, but left in 1993 for WCW and Mexico before returning in 1996 under a Christian face gimmick, where the highlight of his run was losing the King of the Ring in 1997 to Steve Austin, which led to the promo that started the Attitude Era.
He left in 1997 and still wrestles to this day in the indies, while his personal demons have become well documented and are probably the reason he isn't in the Hall of Fame.
32. Rick "The Dragon" Steamboat
Place on the WWE's list: 7
Reasons why he's on my list: If it had been a list of top NWA superstars, then Steamboat would deserve his place at seven on the list, but he was no more than an upper mid-carder in the WWE.
He debuted in the WWE in 1985 and became one of the top faces in the company feuding with Jake Roberts and Don Muraco.
He began feuding with Randy Savage for the Intercontinental Championship, which he won at WrestleMania III in a match that is widely considered to be the best ever. He was stripped of the title a couple of months later due to a falling out with Vince McMahon.
He was buried for the remainder of the run and left for WCW in 1988.
He briefly returned to the WWE in 1991 as The Dragon, which was a terrible gimmick (he breathed fire).
He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009.
31. Rey Mysterio
Place on the WWE's list: 9
Reasons why he's on my list: Mysterio has been great, but he's done nothing to merit a place as high as ninth.
After years of wrestling for ECW and WCW, Mysterio found his way to the WWE in 2002 and became one of the top faces on the roster due to his high-flying and stellar technical skills.
He would compete in the Tag Team Division and was the top guy in the Cruiserweight Division, but it was quite clear he was better than that.
After a great feud with the late Eddie Guerrero, Rey won the 2006 Royal Rumble in memory of Eddie—who had died two months previously—and won the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania.
After a poor title run, he settled into an upper mid-card role, wrestling for the title but never winning it while also becoming a two-time Intercontinental Champion.
He has won two more World titles in recent years, but they have both been poorly booked.
He has suffered many injuries over the years which have led to retirement rumors. When he does retire, he is surely a candidate for the Hall of Fame.
30. Big Show
Place on the WWE's list: 40
Reasons why he's on my list: After years in WCW, Show made his way to the WWE in 1999 and was instantly a main event player, winning his first WWE Championship at the end of that year.
After losing the title, he began to flounder in the upper mid-card and was taken off TV for a while due to weight issues.
He returned in 2001 and was inserted into the Alliance storyline before being a part of the Hardcore Division for much of 2002.
In late 2002 he won his second WWE Championship, but like his first one, this would also be short-lived, and he dropped back down to the upper mid-card, winning the United States Championship in 2003.
He formed a Tag Team with Kane in 2005 that would have a very long title reign, and became ECW Champion in late 2006 before leaving the WWE in 2007.
He returned in 2008 with a new boxing background and was instantly a threat to the World titles, after a year and a half of nothing he formed a tag team with Chris Jericho that held the tag team titles for much of 2009 before one more reign in 2010 with The Miz.
He got back to the top of the card, challenging for the World title while also winning another tag team Championship with Kane in 2011
He won the World Heavyweight Championship in late 2011, but held it for less than a minute.
Big Show has shown his versatility, flopping from face to heel so many times.
He is a sure Hall of Fame inductee.
29. Chris Benoit
Place on the WWE's list: Unranked
Reasons why he's on my list: I obviously know why Benoit wasn't on the WWE's list, but this is my list and after initially finding it hard, I can look past what he's done and respect the great career he had.
Benoit was one of the top wrestlers in the world for a decade before joining the WWE in 2000. He joined as a member of the Radicalz and, after winning the Intercontinental Championship, was elevated to Main Event level. He challenged for the WWE Championship many times throughout 2000 and 2001 before suffering a neck injury that would leave him out for a year.
He returned to the upper mid-card in the summer of 2002 and his stellar work awarded him a Royal Rumble win in 2004, which led to him winning the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania.
The lasting image from that WrestleMania made me cry a little.
After a strong title run, he returned to the upper mid-card and won the United States Championship numerous times between 2005 and 2007.
Without getting into any specifics, Benoit died in 2007.
28. Gorilla Monsoon
Place on the WWE's list: 36
Reasons why he's on my list: Gorilla Monsoon was a monster of a man at 6'5" and over 400 pounds.
He joined the WWE in 1963 after years in the various NWA territories and became one of the company's top heels, feuding with Bruno Sammartino over the WWE Championship and selling out Madison Square Garden night after night.
He formed a tag team with another monster heel, Killer Kowalski, that won gold.
In the late 1960s, he turned babyface, aligning himself with his former foe, Bruno Sammartino, and feuding with Andre the Giant, Billy Graham and a young heel Hulk Hogan in 1980 before stepping away from the ring and into the commentators booth.
He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1994 before dying five years later.
Place on the WWE's list: 49
Reasons why he's on my list: Batista was way too low on the list for me, this is a reasonable
He debuted in 2002 as Reverend Devon's bodyguard under the moniker Deacon Batista, but it was quite clear he was better than that.
He soon split with Devon and changed his name to Dave Batista, and later just Batista.
January 2003 marked the turning point for him, as he was in the final four in the Royal Rumble—a big deal—and joined the heel Evolution stable with Triple H, Ric Flair and Randy Orton.
They dominated Raw for two years and at one point held all the titles on Raw, with Batista being a two time tag team champion with Ric Flair.
The point of the stable was to elevate Orton and Batista and, after Orton won the World Heavyweight Championship in the summer of 2004, it was clear Batista was next.
Over the next couple of months, fans started to get behind Batista when he was still in Evolution. When he won the 2005 Royal Rumble, he turned face on Triple H and beat him at WrestleMania for the World Heavyweight Championship.
He moved to Smackdown and became synonymous with the brand. He was the company's number two babyface and had feuds over the years with The Undertaker and Edge.
He won six World Titles throughout his career, and had he not been blighted with injury, there would have surely been more.
Batista turned heel in late 2009 and at Elimination Chamber 2010 ,he came out after Cena had defended his WWE Championship and beat him for it. He held the title going into WrestleMania but lost. Those last few months in the WWE, Batista had some of his best work with the company and shocked the world when he left in May.
Batista is a sure thing Hall of Famer and hopefully, he'll come back to add to his career.
NOTE: Batista was originally number 19 on my list but due to a lot of negative feedback to his place on the list I decided to push him back a few places. This place was suggested by Cardiff Wanderer.
26. Chris Jericho
Place on the WWE's list: 25
Reasons why he's on my list: Jericho was immediately a big deal when he joined the WWE in 1999 due in part to his top mic skills. It also helped that he was a work horse in the ring and quickly won the Intercontinental Championship, a feat he accomplished eight more times.
He threatened winning the WWE Championship throughout 2000 before winning tag team gold with Chris Benoit and becoming a big part of the Alliance storyline, winning the WCW Championship while also feuding with The Rock.
Jericho beat The Rock and Steve Austin in one night to win the Undisputed Championship, something he still boasts about to this day.
After a strong title run, he dropped back to the mid-card and feuded with Christian before leaving in 2005 after a feud with John Cena.
He returned in 2007 and was immediately put in the WWE title hunt against top heel Randy Orton and, after failing to capture it, he returned to his more natural heel role.
He had a legendary feud with Shawn Michaels and won three World titles, while also forming a good tag team with Big Show before becoming a veteran who put people over in 2010 before leaving.
He has since returned and it has garnered a lot of popularity. A sure-thing Hall of Famer.
Place on the WWE's list: 19
Reasons why he's on my list: It's my all time favorite wrestler, Edge.
Edge fulfilled a lifelong dream when he debuted in the WWE in 1998. He aligned himself with Gangrel and his storyline brother Christia,n and later on The Ministry of Darkness in 1999. But he, Christian and Gangrel—known as The Brood—eventually broke away from the Ministry.
In July 1999, Edge won the Intercontinental Championship for the first time and held it for a day. He would later win it four more times.
After he and Christian broke away from Gangrel, they began feuding with The Hardy Boyz and The Dudley Boyz over the tag team titles that led to several ladder, TLC, tables and cage matches.
Edge and Christian held the titles seven times in the span of a year before Edge started breaking out on his own, winning the King of the Ring in the summer of 2001 and the Intercontinental Championship.
Christian became jealous and they began feuding with each other, which led to a full-fledged face turn for Edge.
After The Invasion angle was over, Edge began feuding with Kurt Angle and became one of the best workers in the company in 2002.
In early 2003, Edge suffered a broken neck that would leave him out for just over a year. He returned after the Draft in 2004 on Raw, and continued his quest to be a main eventer.
He returned as a face, but the World Heavyweight Championship became an obsession to him and he turned heel in late 2004.
2005 was the break out year for Edge, as he won the first Money in the Bank at WrestleMania, dubbed himself the Rated-R Superstar and hosted his own talk show. He became one of the top heels in the company and in January, cashed in the Money in the Bank on a prone John Cena to win the WWE Championship.
He would win 10 more World Championships throughout his career as well as having memorable feuds with John Cena, Randy Orton, Undertaker, Batista and Triple H.
After another injury in 2009, he returned at the 2010 Royal Rumble as a face and won it. He began to get those veteran face pops even during his last heel run in the summer of 2010.
After defending the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 27, he ended his career due to complications from the neck injury that could have confined him to a wheelchair.
He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011.
24. 'Nature Boy' Buddy Rogers
Place on the WWE's list: 35
Reasons why he's on my list: Rogers was the top star of the WWE in the 1950's when it was still an NWA territory, using the heel "Nature Boy" gimmick which, as we know, would be copied years later.
In 1961, he won the NWA Championship.
After a dispute in 1963 when Rogers lost the title to Lou Thez, the WWE wouldn't recognize the loss and broke away from the NWA, bringing Rogers with them.
He was the WWE's biggest draw in its early years.
Rogers became the inaugural WWE Champion after winning a tournament in Brazil in April of 1963, but due to a heart attack, he lost the title in May to Bruno Sammartino in a matter of seconds to protect his health.
Rogers returned and became the main challenger to Sammartino's title, but would allegedly retire later in 1963.
He returned to the WWE in 1978 as a face manager and part-time wrestler.
He retired later in the year and died in 1992 due to a stroke at the age of 71.
He was inducted in the Hall of Fame in 1994. Although being one of the biggest draws in wrestling at the time, it is well documented that he was a manipulator and back stabber behind the scenes.
23. 'Mr. Perfect' Curt Hennig
Place on the WWE's list: 15
Reasons why he's on my list: Hennig first joined the WWE in 1982 as a tag team wrestler, but the run wasn't notable and he left for the AWA in 1984.
Hennig returned to the WWE in 1988 as the cocky heel, Mr. Perfect. He initially went unbeaten for a year, which led to a feud with WWE Champion Hulk Hogan. He would come close, but never won the WWE Championship, with every match ending in a count-out or draw.
His unbeaten run ended at WrestleMania VI to Brutus Beefcake.
Bobby Heenan became his manager and he won the Intercontinental Championship shortly after WrestleMania, beating Tito Santana for the vacant title. He would go on to hold the title twice, having feuds with Roddy Piper and Bret Hart.
He is considered by most to be the greatest Intercontinental Champion of all time.
Perfect was a victim of politics, as he was supposed to win the WWE Championship on numerous occasions but was always held back.
He was a major player for the rest of his first run with the company, but never quite reached his goal.
He left in 1996 for WCW but returned as a surprise entrant at the 2002 Royal Rumble and proved he still had it, despite being over 40.
He received a reasonable push upon his return, but was fired in May due to an incident where he fought with Brock Lesnar on a plane back from Europe.
In February 2003, Hennig was found dead after overdosing on cocaine at the age of 44. Steroids and painkillers also contributed to his death. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007 and his legacy lives on with his son Michael McGillicutty (silly name).
22. Randy Orton
Place on the WWE's list: 29
Reasons why he's on my list: I know I'm gonna get criticized for this, but he deserves it.
Randy came from a wrestling family, with his grandfather Bob, Sr., dad Bob, Jr. and uncle Barry. He debuted in the WWE in 2002 at the age of 22 and, after showing early promise, was held back by his vanilla babyface character.
He injured his shoulder in late 2002 and during his injury, he stayed on TV giving fans an update on his injury, showing a cocky side to him that would become a feature of his early heel days.
He returned in 2003 as a member of the heel stable Evolution with Triple H, Ric Flair and Batista, which dominated Raw for nearly two years.
He won the Intercontinental Championship in December 2003 and held it for eight months—the longest reign in years—before dropping it and beating Chris Benoit at SummerSlam 2004 to become the World Heavyweight Champion at 24.
A feud with Mick Foley was also instrumental in his development.
He turned on Evolution and turned face. but that didn't work and he turned heel again in 2005 to feud with the Undertaker throughout the year.
He created the gimmick "The Legend Killer" due to his ruthlessness to legends like Foley, Hulk Hogan, Dusty Rhodes and Harley Race.
In late 2006, he teamed up with Edge, becoming Rated RKO, which elevated him back to Main Event level when he won the WWE Championship in late 2007. He has since won seven more World titles on top of his first two, and had memorable feuds with John Cena, Christian, Triple H and CM Punk.
He created an ice-cold gimmick known as "The Viper," which made him the top heel in the company for two and a half years before turning face with the same gimmick.
He is without a doubt a future Hall of Famer at age 31.
21. 'Million Dollar Man' Ted DiBiase
Place on the WWE's list: 26
Reasons why he's on my list: Ted DiBiase was the adopted son of professional wrestler "Iron" Mike DiBiase, who started out in Mid-South Wrestling before joining the WWE in 1979.
He won the North American Championship, which was the predecessor to the Intercontinental Championship, before leaving for Mid-South again later in the year.
He received an opportunity to become "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase, a wealthy heel who flaunted his money.
He became an instant contender for the WWE Championship using dirty tactics to win it, from cheating in a match to hiring Andre the Giant to win it and hand it to him. This occurred in 1988, but the belt was held up, so it never counted.
He created his own Championship called the Million Dollar Championship that he often defended, actually losing it to his manager Virgil for a period.
DiBiase was a master of the mic, which was the norm for heels in that era.
He formed a tag team with Irwin R. Schyster that won gold on three occasions, and was considered one of the greatest tag teams in WWE history. Following IRS's departure from the WWE, DiBiase formed a stable called the Million Dollar Corporation which included superstars like Sycho Sid, Bam Bam Bigelow and The Ringmaster, better known as Stone Cold Steve Austin.
With DiBiase seemingly retired from the ring and his stable going nowhere, he left for WCW in 1996.
As of 2009, he has returned to the WWE in a backstage role and occasionally appears on TV. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009 and his legacy lives on with his son Ted, Jr.
Place on the WWE's list: 43
Reasons why he's on my list: Kane actually debuted in the WWE three times. He first debuted as Jerry Lawler's dentist, Dr. Isaac Yankem, then as Fake Diesel when Kevin Nash went to WCW.
In 1997, promos began to air during Undertaker matches hyping the return of Kane, billed as Undertaker's brother. He debuted during a Hell in a Cell match between The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels, where he ripped off the door and tombstoned The Undertaker.
He held the WWE Championship for a day in 1998.
He became an icon of The Attitude Era, dropping in and out of title contention while also winning Tag Team gold.
Heel and face turns have been a staple of the Kane character since his debut, and he frequently turned in the Attitude Era.
Following the Attitude Era, he became a top face on Raw, feuding with Triple H which led to him de-masking and turning heel again.
He formed a dominant partnership with Big Show in 2005 that had an eight month tag team title reign.
After floundering in the mid-card for a while, he was drafted to ECW, where he won the ECW Championship.
Following ECW, he really became just another guy on the roster before winning the World Heavyweight Championship and turning heel while feuding with The Undertaker and Edge.
Following this, he turned face once again, reforming his Tag Team with The Big Show that once again won Tag Team gold.
After a hiatus, he has since returned with the mask as a heel feuding with John Cena. The Hall of Fame beckons for the 17 year vet.
19. Mick Foley/Mankind/Cactus Jack/Dude Love
Place on the WWE's list: 33
Reasons why he's on my list: Mick Foley was an unlikely superstar in the WWE due to his build and brawling style, but that fit well into the Attitude Era.
In 1996, Foley made his way to the WWE from ECW under the gimmick Mankind, a bipolar and mentally unstable character.
Mick had most of his success in the WWE as Mankind, winning tag team titles mostly in the early years. and would go on to be an eight-time champion.
In 1998 he began to debut different persona's in the WWE, like Dude Love and Cactus Jack, which was his persona for most of his career up to joining the WWE.
In 1998 he was involved in a Hell in a Cell match with The Undertaker. Midway through the match, Mankind was thrown from the top of the cell, which is 16 feet, and went through the announcers' table. In the same match, The Undertaker choke-slammed him through the cell and The Undertaker admitted he thought he was dead.
That's why fans loved Foley: because he put his body on the line night in and night out.
Shortly after this, he created the Hardcore Championship.
The popularity of Mankind meant that he was destined to be in the title picture, finally winning the WWE Championship in late 1998, along with two more in 1999. None of them were lengthy reigns, but fans got behind them because of how much they loved Foley.
In 1999, he formed a great comedic partnership with his former foe, The Rock, called The Rock 'n' Sock Connection, which won three tag team titles.
In early 2000, he had his final feud as a full time wrestler in the WWE with Triple H before retiring in the spring.
He would return as a wrestler a couple of times over the next eight years, usually to feud with wrestlers the WWE had high hopes for like Randy Orton and Edge.
Besides being a wrestler, Foley has also acted as commissioner and commentator for them.
In 2008 he left for TNA, but has since returned in late 2011, and should be in the Hall of Fame in a couple of years.
18. Ultimate Warrior
Place on the WWE's list: Unranked
Reasons why he's on my list: I couldn't believe Ultimate Warrior wasn't on the list. For a few years, he actually eclipsed Hulk Hogan in popularity, but we all know the bridges he's burned over the years which probably kept him off.
Warrior debuted in the WWE in 1987 and captivated the audience with his flamboyant personality and attire, exciting entrance and strange promos.
At SummerSlam 1988, he ended Honky Tonk Man's 15 month Intercontinental Championship reign and went on to have two reigns with the title.
At WrestleMania VI in 1990, he faced Hulk Hogan with the Intercontinental and WWE Championships on the line and walked away with both.
The sad thing about Warrior's WWE title reign is that it was booked secondary to whatever feud Hulk Hogan was in, and he lost in at the 1991 Royal Rumble to Sgt. Slaughter.
After a dispute with Vince McMahon over wages, Warrior was fired after SummerSlam 1991.
Warrior returned at WrestleMania VIII in 1992, but many people thought it was a different man due to his hair being shorter.
This wasn't the case, and he went on the feud with Randy Savage for the WWE Championship throughout the year. It was looking like he would eventually win the title again, but following a failed drug test in November 1992, he was again released.
He returned at WrestleMania XII in 1996, squashing Triple H, but his return wasn't well received as the WWE fans weren't buying into the Warrior anymore.
He was again fired/released in July after missing several bookings.
Since then, he has had a lot of things to say about people in WWE—mostly bad—which has led to his omission from the Hall of Fame. He should be in it but I doubt he will be anytime soon.
NOTE: Due to popular demand, Warrior has also been moved down the list. Thanks again to Cardiff Wanderer for the suggestion of another place.
17. John Cena
Place on the WWE's list: 16
Reasons why he's on my list: This is no doubt going to garner feedback. I didn't think there was anything wrong with Cena's ranking, as there were guys behind him that should be ahead of him and guys ahead of him who shouldn't be. His ranking ahead of Ric Flair was the most criticized, which I don't agree with (more on that later).
Cena will go down as one of the greats.
He debuted in 2002 and held his own on the wrestling-heavy Smackdown roster. His character was bland and vanilla though, and later that year he debuted a heel rapper gimmick where he would bash his opponents on the way to the ring.
In 2003, he feuded with Undertaker and Brock Lesnar and fans' reactions led to a face turn later in the year.
In 2004 he won his first title, the United States Championship, three times.
It was clear he was going to be a superstar and at WrestleMania 21 in 2005, he challenged and beat JBL for the WWE Championship. He moved over to Raw and feuded with Chris Jericho, Christian and Kurt Angle.
He was the company's top guy, but fans started to turn on Cena.
Over the years Cena has had great feuds with the likes of Triple H, Edge, Randy Orton, Batista and CM Punk, and through it all has racked up 12 World titles.
Whether you like him or hate him, you can't deny the guy is a superstar and some day everybody will see that.
Future Hall of Famer.
16. 'Nature Boy' Ric Flair
Place on the WWE's list: 17
Reasons why he's on my list: Now on to the Ric Flair point I alluded to in the last slide. Fair enough to the people complaining about Cena being above him. But to the people saying he should be No. 1 or anywhere in the top 10, I disagree.
Ric Flair was a legend in the NWA for years before arriving in the WWE in the summer of 1991 at the age of 42.
He was pushed as a big deal under the management of Bobby Heenan and with Mr. Perfect at his side, he went on to win the WWE Championship after lasting nearly 60 minutes to win the Royal Rumble.
He went on to feud with Randy Savage throughout the year, losing the title to him at WrestleMania but winning it back in the Fall. He lost his second WWE title to Bret Hart while also feuding with Savage, Perfect and Warrior in late 1992.
Behind the scenes, Flair began negotiating with WCW again and left the WWE in February 1993 to join them.
He returned to WWE in late 2001, following the Invasion storyline and, to the surprise of many, went on to wrestle over six years with the WWE in his 50's.
He was a member of the legendary Evolution stable and even won Intercontinental and tag team gold.
In 2008, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame and retired after a WrestleMania match with Shawn Michaels the next night.
15. Kurt Angle
Place on the WWE's list: 34
Reasons why he's on my list: Kurt Angle is the greatest in-ring performer of all time.
Angle made his name in 1996 after winning a Gold Medal at the Olympics in Freestyle Wrestling. For years, the WWE tried to get him and finally signed him in late 1998. He made his debut a year later.
Upon his debut, he showed how good he was in the ring and also how good he was on the mic. He went on to have one of the best rookie years in wrestling history, holding the Intercontinental and European Championships at the same time, winning the King of the Ring and beating The Rock for the WWE Championship in October 2000.
He would go on to be a six time World Champion in the WWE with WWE, WCW and World Heavyweight Championship reigns.
He feuded with a who's who of top guys over the years, from Triple H, The Rock and Steve Austin to John Cena, Brock Lesnar and Chris Benoit.
Angle was adaptable as both a heel and a face; he was the all-round package.
A staple of Angle's time in the WWE was the fans singing "You Suck!" on his way to the ring, whether he was a heel or face.
In 2006, despite still being pushed as a top guy, he grew agitated with what the WWE was giving him and in August he asked for his release and went to TNA.
He will surely be in the Hall of Fame and hopefully will return for one final run.
14. Pedro Morales
Place on the WWE's list: Unranked
Reasons why he's on my list: Really, they didn't even rank Pedro Morales. I just wonder if they made this list to anger people.
He signed for the WWE in 1970 and was quickly pushed as the number two babyface.
In those days, the WWE didn't let faces wrestle each other, so Ivan Koloff ended Bruno Sammartino's seven and a half year WWE Championship reign and lost it three weeks later to Morales.
For much of his reign, his main challenger was Freddie Blassie.
Morales was a hugely popular champion due to the Puerto Rican population in the North East.
In late 1972, WWE did something they never did before and let two big babyface wrestlers, Morales and Sammartino, wrestle to a draw at Showdown at Shea.
After three years, it was time to change champion again, Stan Stasiak became the transitional champion for Morales to Sammartino. He quickly left the WWE.
In 1980, Morales returned to the WWE and became the first Triple Crown Champion after winning the tag team and Intercontinental Championships to add to his WWE Championship.
He began a feud with Don Muraco over the Intercontinental title. He won the Intercontinental title twice but wasn't really part of Vince McMahon's plans for the national expansion of the WWE and ended up sticking around until 1987.
He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1995.
13. 'Superstar' Billy Graham
Place on the WWE's list: 38
Reasons why he's on my list: Billy Graham debuted in the WWE in 1975 and was a man way ahead of his time. His flamboyant, colourful personality was something that inspired the likes of Hulk Hogan and Jesse Ventura.
He was pushed as a top heel and, in 1977, beat Bruno Sammartino for the WWE Championship.
Prior to this, every heel champion had short title reigns. Graham's reign changed that, as he held it for nine and a half months.
Graham proved to be a high drawing champion, selling out 19 out of 20 shows at Madison Square Garden.
In 1978, it was time for the title to go to the new top babyface, Bob Backlund. He feuded with Backlund after he won the title for a while until he left the promotion.
In 1982, he returned to the WWE as a babyface and challenged Backlund for the title once. His new character didn't go over well, so he left in 1983.
He returned once again in 1986 as a babyface, but after years of steroid abuse, it was discovered he couldn't wrestle any more and he retired in 1987.
Since then, he's had disputes with the WWE, especially during the steroids trial. He was still inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004, though he's stated that he doesn't want to be in a Hall of Fame that includes Abdullah the Butcher.
12. 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper
Place on the WWE's list: 10
Reasons why he's on my list: Piper debuted in the WWE in 1984 on the back of years in the NWA using the gimmick of a Scotsman, although he was Canadian.
Piper was a master on the mi,c and early on was given his very own interview segment called Piper's Pit.
He was one of the main antagonists to Hulk Hogan's WWE Championship throughout the 1980s, and was in the very first WrestleMania Main Event, teaming with Paul Orndorff in a losing effort to Hogan and Mr. T.
In the 1990s, he began a face turn that led him to become the Intercontinental Champion in 1991, and he is considered one of the greatest Intercontinental Champions of all time. He had a great feud with Bret Hart for the title and was the first top guy to really put Bret over in his singles push.
He was scarcely seen in the WWE after 1992 and ended up leaving for WCW in 1996.
He returned as a regular on screen character in 2003 as a manager, but didn't stay long after moving to TNA.
Since he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005, he has made several appearances each year, often hosting Piper's Pit to put over someone.
In 2006, he actually won tag team gold with Ric Flair.
He captivates me every time he returns with his exceptional mic work.
11. Andre the Giant
Place on the WWE's list: 8
Reasons why he's on my list: Looking back over old tapes, I don't like Andre the Giant, but I have to respect the impact he had on the business. To me he is more like The Great Khali than The Big Show.
He debuted in the WWE in 1973 as a face, and over the next 20 years would become one of the biggest attractions in the company's history.
He went on a 15-year winning streak in the WWE until WrestleMania III.
Andre was well known for winning Battle Royale matches.
He usually feuded with other huge superstars, but in 1987 he turned heel to take the WWE Championship from Hulk Hogan, which led to the WrestleMania III match which Hogan won.
He was recruited by Ted DiBiase, who paid Andre to take the belt from Hogan which he did, becoming the WWE Champion in February 1988. He tried to hand the belt over to DiBiase, which led to the belt being held up.
He formed a tag team with Haku called The Colossal Connection that went on to hold the WWE tag team championships.
After losing the titles, Andre appeared sparingly in the WWE due to his health issues.
He retired from wrestling in 1991 and sadly passed away in January 1993 due to heart failure. The WWE created the Hall of Fame in his honor and he was the first inductee.
10. Triple H
Place on the WWE's list: 12
Reasons why he's on my list: Triple H joined the WWE in 1995 after WCW wouldn't push him as a singles wrestler. His original gimmick was Hunter Hearst Helmsley, a snobby Connecticut Blueblood.
He was originally meant to get Steve Austin's push in 1996, but when his Kliq buddies Scott Hall and Kevin Nash were leaving for WCW, he and the heel Nash embraced in the middle of the ring with the face Hall and Shawn Michaels thus breaking kayfabe. He was depushed for months until he won the Intercontinental Championship later in the year.
In 1997 he won the King of the Ring and formed a stable with Michaels, Chyna and Rick Rude known as D-Generation X, who were rule breakers. This was also the year he became Triple H.
Triple H perfected his character while in DX and took over after Michaels left in April 1998.
He recruited new members X-Pac, Billy Gunn and Road Dogg, and the stable turned face and feuded with The Nation of Domination with Triple H and The Rock feuding over the Intercontinental Championship.
In September 1999 he won the WWE Championship along the way, which was the first of 13 World titles. He would feud with Rock, Austin, Batista, Randy Orton, John Cena, Edge and Mick Foley over the years for the title. Early in his Main Event career he was one of the best heels in the business, but has since become a respected babyface veteran.
He also created the stable Evolution with Ric Flair, Batista and Randy Orton, which elevated the latter two to Main Event careers.
It is well known that he is married to Stephanie McMahon, which has led to criticism over the years for Triple H holding people down to hold on to his spot due to the pull he has in the back. But I think Triple H has deserved everything he's gotten in the business. He is due to take over the company, so I think it will be unlikely he will be in the Hall of Fame anytime soon, even though he deserves it.
9. 'Macho Man' Randy Savage
Place on the WWE's list: 14
Reasons why he's on my list: Savage was the son of a wrestler, Angelo Poffo, so it was only natural he would follow into the business.
He joined the WWE in 1985 as a heel with his real-life wife Miss Elizabeth as his manager. He quickly began to pursue the Intercontinental Championship, and beat Tito Santana for the title in late 1985. He feuded with George Steele for the title before losing it to Ricky Steamboat at WrestleMania III. The match against Steamboat is considered one of the best in wrestling history.
In 1987 he began his Main Event push by winning the King of the Ring and formed a friendship with WWE Champion Hulk Hogan, with the two of them forming The Mega Powers. At WrestleMania IV in 1988, he won a tournament to win the vacant WWE Championship.
He was another victim of the Hogan era, as he was booked secondary to Hogan. The rest of the year was meant to build to the Hogan and Savage match at the following WrestleMania. Savage turned on Hogan in late 1987 and would lose to him at WrestleMania, losing the title.
He continued his feud with Hogan but stepped away from the ring in 1990 and became a commentator. He was a face by now and while a commentator, he still continued to feud, most notably with Jake Roberts. Savage returned to the ring in late 1991 and defeated Roberts.
He returned to active wrestling and won the WWE Championship from Ric Flair at WrestleMania VIII in 1992. The feud with Flair and Savage was legendary and would continue into the summer when Flair beat Savage for the title. He continued to wrestle until January, when he went back to the commentary booth.
He stayed in the role for under two years before leaving for WCW in late 1994. He never returned to the WWE due to a personal grudge with Vince McMahon, and died due to a heart attack while driving in May 2011. He should have been alive to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, but unfortunately he won't be and that's a real shame.
8. Bob Backlund
Place on the WWE's list: 47
Reasons why he's on my list: How was the second longest reigning WWE Champion of all time ranked number 47? What logic is that?
Backlund debuted in 1977 as a top babyface that was over with fans due to his elite wrestling skills. He quickly began feuding with Billy Graham over the WWE Championship and, after failing a couple of times, finally won the title in February 1978.
He had a controversial WWE title run, as it officially lasted nearly six years, but Antonio Inoki and Greg Valentine won the title in unofficial matches. They were awarded the title after the match but it was returned to Backlund afterwards.
He would also win tag team title gold with Intercontinental Champion Pedro Morales, but had to vacate it due to the WWE not letting him be a dual champion.
The wrestling world was changing due to the national expansion of the WWE, and Vince McMahon wanted to turn Backlund heel and push Hulk Hogan as the top heel. Backlund refused and left the company a couple of months into the Hogan era.
Backlund returned to the WWE in 1992, which shocked fans, as most didn't remember him. He had an excellent performance at the 1993 Royal Rumble lasting over an hour. He surprisingly beat Bret Hart for the WWE Championship in November of 1994, only to drop it a couple of days later to Diesel.
Backlund seemed out of touch with the 1990's product and scarcely appeared after 1994 before leaving officially in 1997.
He surprisingly returned at the 2000 Royal Rumble and stuck around for a while to manage Kurt Angle, but left after WrestleMania 2000.
He has only returned to the WWE once since, in 2007, and has yet to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
7. The Rock
Place on the WWE's list: 5
Reasons why he's on my list: The Rock was born into wrestling with his grandfather Peter Maivia and father Rocky Johnson being successful wrestlers, and his grandmother being a promoter.
He debuted in the WWE in 1996 as a babyface named Rocky Maivia. He won the Intercontinental Championship in 1997 from Triple H, but because he was pushed down the fans' throats as a smiling babyface, they began to chant "Die Rocky, Die Rocky" when he was wrestling.
He lost the Intercontinental title in April 1997 to Owen Hart. He turned heel and was renamed The Rock, joining The Nation of Domination stable with Faarooq, D'Lo Brown and Kama. It quickly became clear that he was arguably the best promo man in the business. He regained the Intercontinental Championship while in The Nation and became the leader.
The Nation disbanded after SummerSlam 1998 and Rock began to be pushed towards the WWE Championship. He turned face due to the fans cheering him as a heel, but following him joining forces with Vince McMahon and screwing the popular Mankind out of the WWE Championship at Survivor Series 1998 and winning it himself, he turned heel again.
He became the leader of the Corporation stable and would go on to have a feud with Steve Austin that would last four years. He became a nine-time World Champion while in the WWE, with seven WWE Championships and two WCW Championships during the Invasion storyline.
Over the years he had memorable feuds with Mankind, Steve Austin and Triple H, and is thought to be the first guy to put over Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho and Brock Lesnar as top guys.
In 2000, he began to receive acting jobs, and over the next three years he would take more and more time off from the WWE to film movies. He appeared for nine months in 2001, five months in 2002, three months in 2003 and only a couple of weeks in 2004.
He left the WWE in 2004 to become a full time actor. In February 2011 he returned to host WrestleMania XXVII and began a feud with John Cena. They announced a match for WrestleMania XXVIII, and The Rock has made several appearances since then to hype that match, even wrestling at Survivor Series.
He will be a Hall of Fame inductee in the very near future.
6. Bret 'The Hitman' Hart
Place on the WWE's list: 4
Reasons why he's on my list: Bret Hart was born into wrestling with his father Stu being a professional wrestler with his own Stampede Wrestling promotion in Canada. Bret, along with all of his siblings, became involved in wrestling, with him being the most successful, even surpassing his dad.
He joined the WWE in 1984 and formed a Tag Team with his brother-in-law Jim Neidhart, known as The Hart Foundation. They are considered one the greatest tag teams of all time and had feuds with The British Bulldogs, The Fabulous Rogeaus and Demolition. They were also two-time Champions.
Hart began a singles career in 1987 while also still tagging with Neidhart. He earned a reputation as one of the best—if not the best—worker in the company, which led to nicknames "The Excellence of Execution" and "The Best There Is, The Best There Was and The Best There Ever Will Be."
They finally split in 1991, and Hart went on a full-fledged singles run. He beat Mr. Perfect at SummerSlam 1991 to win the Intercontinental Championship. He went on to become a two-time Intercontinental Champion feuding with Davey Boy Smith, Mr. Perfect and Roddy Piper.
In late 1992 Hart made a move to the Main Event, winning the WWE Championship from Ric Flair. He went on to become a five-time WWE Champion over the course of his Main Event career in the WWE, most of which was spent as a babyface. He also won the 1994 Royal Rumble.
He feuded with Shawn Michaels, Diesel, Sid and The Undertaker in one of the worst financial times for the WWE, in the mid 90's.
In 1997, Bret reformed the Hart Foundation with Neidhart, Owen Hart, Smith and Brian Pillman, and turned heel in America while remaining a face in Canada. He was set to leave the WWE in late 1997 for WCW, but he was WWE Champion at the time and there were question marks as to how it would happen.
He was due to leave and vacate the title following a defense of his WWE Championship at Survivor Series with Shawn Michaels. During the match, he was locked in a Sharpshooter by Shawn Michaels and Vince McMahon ordered the time-winner to ring the bell, screwing Bret out of the title.
His career ended in late 1999 following an injury, and he suffered a stroke a few years later. After being bitter with the WWE for years, they made up and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006. In early 2010 he returned to TV and has since made a dozen appearances.
5. Shawn Michaels
Place on the WWE's list: 1
Reasons why he's on my list: I understand the WWE wanted to reward Michaels for his longevity and loyalty to the company, but he isn't the most important Superstar in WWE history.
Michaels was hired along with his Tag Team partner Marty Jannetty from the AWA in 1987, but was fired after two weeks due to a bar fight.
They were rehired in 1988, and were pushed as one of the top tag teams due to their high flying workhorse style that got over with fans. They were so close to tag team gold, but never won any. Michaels turned on Jannetty in 1991 by superkicking him and putting him threw Brutus Beefcake's barbershop window.
He started a heel singles run with Sensational Sherri as his valet and created the nickname "The Heartbreak Kid." He beat The British Bulldog for the Intercontinental Championship in 1992 before losing it to his former partner Jennetty in 1993.
He enlisted the help of Diesel, a seven footer who acted as his bodyguard, and he engaged in a feud with Razor Ramon over the title, which brought two excellent ladder matches. In all, he was a three-time Intercontinental Champion while also winning tag team gold with Diesel.
He became known as Mr. WrestleMania due to his show-stealing matches at the event.
He won the Royal Rumble in 1995 and challenged Diesel for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania where he lost. He took some time off and returned in the summer as a face, beginning a real push towards the top which saw him win the Royal Rumble again in 1996 and win the WWE title at that year's WrestleMania against Bret Hart.
He had feuds with Diesel, Undertaker, Sid and Hart over the title and turned heel again in 1997 during a year long feud with Bret Hart that culminated in the Montreal Screwjob at Survivor Series, where Michaels won his third and final WWE Championship.
He also created D-Generation X in this time.
Following his loss to Steve Austin at WrestleMania XIV, Michaels retired from the ring and appeared as a commissioner in 1999.
He returned in 2002 as a member of the new nWo, but soon turned face and began a feud with Triple H, which led to him winning his fourth and last World title.
He returned to the ring full time and, in his second run, continued his Mr. WrestleMania persona with great matches against Chris Jericho, Triple H, Chris Benoit, Kurt Angle, John Cena, Ric Flair and The Undertaker. He retired in 2010 and has since been inducted into the Hall of Fame.
4. The Undertaker
Place on the WWE's list: 2
Reasons why he's on my list: Another case of the WWE rewarding a wrestler for his loyalty. He deserves to be high up, but I can't fathom him being ahead of the three I have above him.
He arrived in the WWE in 1990 under the management of Ted DiBiase and, more notably, Paul Bearer. Within a year, he had become one of the most dominant and polarizing superstars in the company and won his first WWE Championship after beating Hulk Hogan.
He won his first WrestleMania match, which would be the first of a 19 win streak at WrestleMania. He beat Jimmy Snuka at that event and has added names like Batista, Edge, Kane, Diesel, Triple H, Shawn Michaels and Randy Orton to the list.
Undertaker is thought by many to be the the best in-ring competitor out of big guys in WWE history, mixing technical wrestling with powerful wrestling, and also adding a bit of high-flying, which was very uncharacteristic for a man his size.
After being a face for much of the 1990s, he returned in 1999 as a monster heel, creating The Ministry of Darkness stable that would kidnap wrestlers and force them to join the stable. He won another WWE Championship during that time.
In all, The Undertaker won seven World Championships in the WWE, with four WWE Championships and three World Heavyweight Championships. He didn't need a title to be a big deal, which is why he doesn't have the total of The Rock, Triple H, John Cena and Randy Orton.
After taking a break in late 1990 to heal injuries, he returned in the summer of 2000 as a face under a completely different gimmick. He would ride a motorcycle to the ring, wear bandanas, leather pants and a vest, and his hair was its natural ginger color. In short, he returned under a biker gimmick known as The American Bad Ass.
This gimmick was great for The Undertaker because it showed how versatile he was as he introduced the more human side to his persona.
After a hiatus in late 2003, he returned once again under The Deadman gimmick. He has stuck with it ever since and has become the most respected superstar in the company. He has put on some of the best matches of his career since reverting back to that gimmick.
Since he's returned with that gimmick, he has taken numerous breaks to heal injuries, with the last couple of years leading to even less activity. It would be no surprise if he retires soon. When he does, I'm sure he'll be in the Hall of Fame the following year.
3. Bruno Sammartino
Place on the WWE's list: 24
Reasons why he's on my list: 24, My god. I know why Sammartino was that low, but can the WWE look past their personal feelings for a second? Sammartino has been very vocal about the direction the business has taken since he left the company, and he has flat out refused to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
He debuted in the WWE in 1959 and was quickly pushed as one of the company's top stars due to his charisma and larger-than-life persona. He began headlining Madison Square Garden early in his career and selling it out.
He went on to win the WWE Championship in May 1963 from Buddy Rogers, and would defend the title against Gorilla Monsoon, Tarzan Tyler, Killer Kowalski, The Sheik, Freddie Blassie and Bill Watts over the next eight years before dropping the title to Ivan Koloff in 1971.
He went on to win the WWE Championship once more in 1974, and held in for three years, that reign just as successful as the first one.
Sammartino is the biggest draw in Madison Square Garden wrestling history.
In his later career, he continued to be a big draw for the WWE and managed his son David. It was pretty obvious that wrestling had passed him by, and in his later years he would refuse to travel with the young wrestlers due to their drug habits, instead traveling with Chief Jay Strongbow.
Over the years, he has criticized McMahon and what he's done with his fathers creation. He should have been the first name in the Hall of Fame in 1993, but because of his criticism of the product, he hasn't been put in.
2. Hulk Hogan
Place on the WWE's list: 23
Reasons why he's on my list: If it was wrong to have Bruno Sammartino at 24, it was even worse to have Hulk Hogan at 23, considering he was the man responsible for the first boom in wrestling
Hogan first joined the WWE in 1979 as a heel and was immediately a top draw, selling out shows with Andre the Giant and Bob Backlund. He left the WWE in 1980.
During his time away from the WWE, he honed his skills in Japan and the AWA. He was also known to the mainstream due to his role in Rocky III. Due to problems with the AWA, he joined the WWE again and debuted in late 1983.
Within a month, he became the new WWE Champion by beating the Iron Sheik, and the wrestling world would never be the same again.
He became the biggest draw in wrestling history, selling out event after event, and he helped WWE go national and basically kill territorial wrestling.
The era was known as The Rock 'n' Wrestling Era due to the WWE being showcased on MTV and bringing in mainstream stars like Mr. T and Cyndi Lauper.
Hogan held the WWE Championship five times during his second run with the company, feuding with Randy Savage, Andre the Giant, Ted DiBiase, Roddy Piper, Ultimate Warrior and The Undertaker.
In the late 1990s, Hogan began to become a problem for the WWE, as his ego had spun out of control and everything ended up coming back to him.
Hogan left the WWE for a while following the steroid scandal of 1992, but returned in early 1993. He would leave entirely in the summer of 1993, when he decided to pursue a full-time acting career. Instead, he joined WCW.
After nine years, he returned to the WWE in early 2002 with Scott Hall and Kevin Nash as the nWo as a heel. He squared off with The Rock at WrestleMania in one of the biggest matches ever and turned face. He did have one more reign with the WWE Championship during this run before leaving in the summer.
He returned in early 2003 for a forgetful run as Mr. America and continued to appear sparingly up until late 2007. He has since joined TNA and has bashed the WWE a lot since being there, which is probably the reason for his low ranking.
He did get inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005.
1. Steve Austin
Place on the WWE's list: 3
Reasons why he's on my list: Stone Cold Steve Austin isn't just the biggest star in WWE history, he's the biggest star in wrestling history. Period.
After being sorely used in WCW, he went to ECW, where he caught the attention of the WWE. He debuted in 1995 as The Ringmaster, managed by Ted DiBiase, and he even held the Million Dollar Championship.
He changed his name to Stone Cold Steve Austin following Ted DiBiase's departure. He won the King of the Ring in 1996 and the promo that followed is considered the start of his rise to superstardom. Austin's character was that of a rule breaker who cussed and yelled at his opponents, something different from the cartoon-oriented WWE.
Austin won the 1997 Royal Rumble, but lost his title shot, leading to a feud with Bret Hart that culminated in a Submission match that is considered one of the best ever, and ended with a double turn of Austin turning face and Hart turning heel.
At SummerSlam, his push was halted slightly due to a botched piledriver by Owen Hart that broke his neck, leaving him out for 3 months. He did win the Intercontinental Championship in that match and won that title twice in his career.
He returned at the start of the Attitude Era, an era which he was the poster boy of. He won the 1998 Royal Rumble and beat Shawn Michaels for his first WWE Championship at WrestleMania.
He would go on to become a six-time WWE Champion while feuding with The Undertaker, The Rock, Triple H and Kurt Angle.
The Attitude Era was an era where WWE broke grounds in wrestling with their edgy product. They started to overtake WCW in TV Ratings with Raw, Smackdown and Heat all doing 5.0+ ratings with Raw often breaking 6.0, 7.0 and 8.0. Austin became the biggest box office draw in wrestling history and the biggest merchandise seller.
One of the focal points of this era was the three-year feud between Austin and Vince McMahon that ended when they joined forces after Austin beat The Rock at WrestleMania X-Seven for the WWE Championship, signaling the end of the Attitude Era and a heel turn for Austin.
The heel turn didn't work, and by 2002 Austin wasn't the top guy anymore, even though he didn't realize it. He walked out on the WWE in the summer of 2002 due to this and returned in early 2003 for one final run. His final match was the final of his WrestleMania trilogy with The Rock at XIX.
He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009 and receives a huge pop whenever he turns up today.
I know nobody is going to agree entirely with my list, but I feel it is at least a bit more accurate than the WWE's. In case you didn't notice, I began to write a lot more as I moved up the list because I felt the guys higher up the list deserved more than a small paragraph.
So what do you think? Do you agree? Do you disagree? Who do you think should or shouldn't be on the list? Let me know.
Also, ideas for future articles would be greatly appreciated.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!