Top 20 Greatest Bald Wrestlers Ever
Though long-flowing locks are common in wrestling, so is the bald head.
Truth be told, many of the greatest wrestlers of all time were bare-headed. This is a list of those men.
One caveat, however. To be included on this list, a wrestler must be mostly remembered as bald. Bald men who are remembered as having hair—such as The Rock and Kane—are not included.
So, without further ado, these are the 20 greatest bald wrestlers ever.
No. 20: Ivan Koloff
The French Canadian Oreal Perras originally broke into wrestling as a villainous Irishman named Red McNulty.Yet, with the Cold War in full swing, he soon found greater success as "The Russian Bear" Ivan Koloff.
Koloff made his way to the World Wide Wrestling Federation in 1970 and very soon ended the longest WWE title reign of all time by beating seven-year champion Bruno Sammartino in Madison Square Garden on January 18, 1971.
Though Koloff dropped the belt three weeks later to Pedro Morales, he stayed a major player on the wrestling scene for years.
In the 1980s, Ivan Koloff played the role of the leader of the Russians, heels who sought to impose Soviet power over the NWA.
Yet, despite Ivan being a WWE Champion, there was no doubt that he was a little less imposing than his supposed nephew.
No. 19: "The Russian Nightmare" Nikita Koloff
The man born Nelson Simpson of Minneapolis, Minn., immediately skyrocketed to the top of Jim Crockett Promotions in the mid-1980s after transforming himself into Nikita Koloff of Moscow, Russia.
The giant wrestler became a feared heel, nicknamed "The Russian Nightmare" in contrast to Dusty Rhodes being "The American Dream."
Within months, Nikita was challenging Ric Flair for the NWA World Heavyweight Title.
The Russian Nightmare remained a major star in NWA/WCW over the following several years. Unfortunately, his career came to an abrupt end after a neck injury at Halloween Havoc 1992.
No. 18: George "The Animal" Steele
Starting out as a masked wrestler in the 1960s, William Meyers embraced the wild brute character of George "The Animal" Steele in the World Wide Wrestling Federation.
As WWE's popularity exploded in the 1980s, Steele became a staple of the company. His feud with "Macho Man" Randy Savage over Miss Elizabeth has become legendary.
Steele made occasional appearances in later years, even facing Jeff Jarrett on an episode of WCW Monday Nitro in 2000.
In 1994, The Animal appeared in the Tim Burton film Ed Wood. The following year, Steele was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
No. 17: Kamala
After wrestling in Memphis and Texas, Kamala arrived in the World Wrestling Federation in 1984.
Before long, the Ugandan Giant became a feared adversary for the likes of Andre the Giant, Hulk Hogan, Jake "The Snake" Roberts, and The Undertaker.
Kamala later made his way to WCW in the mid-'90s to join the Dungeon of Doom stable that sought to end Hulkamania.
Since then, Kamala has continued to wrestle for both small companies and WWE on an infrequent basis.
No. 16: King Kong Bundy
After making his way across the NWA, AWA and WCCW in the early '80s, King Kong Bundy arrived in the World Wrestling Federation in 1985.
Bundy set a record for the shortest match ever in 1985 when he defeated S.D. Jones in nine seconds at the first WrestleMania.
A year later, Bundy challenged Hulk Hogan for the WWE Title in a steel cage match at WrestleMania 2.
After a few years away from wrestling, Bundy returned to WWE in the mid-'90s, once again as a dominant heel. It was then that he joined the ranks of The Undertaker's "Streak" when he lost to The Phenom at WrestleMania XI.
Bundy continued wrestling for the following decade in independent promotions.
No. 15: Baron Von Raschke
In the annals of bald wrestlers, few were more dastardly or more bald than Baron von Raschke.
The master of the claw played the role of evil German for years in the AWA, as well as the NWA and WWWF.
Over his near 30-year career, Raschke won numerous titles, including the NWA/WCW World Television Title.
Even today people still fear the claw.
No. 14: Bam Bam Bigelow
After making a name for himself in Memphis in 1987, Scott Charles Bigelow brought his signature bald style and look to the World Wrestling Federation.
Over the ensuing years, Bam Bam remained mostly a midcarder, though he did compete at WrestleMania XI in a match against the New York Giants' Lawrence Taylor.
In the late '90s, Bigelow wrestled both for ECW and WCW, and even feuded with Bill Goldberg around the time that his undefeated streak came to an end.
In June 2000, Bigelow was badly burnt after running into a burning building to save several children from the flames.
Sadly, Bigelow passed away in early 2007, though he is still recognized today as one of the most iconic wrestlers of all time.
No. 13: Sgt. Slaughter
After wrestling in the NWA and AWA during the 1970s, Sgt. Slaughter showed up in the World Wrestling Federation in 1980.
Slaughter soon rose to the top, battling Bob Backlund for the WWE title on numerous occasions. Though he was a well-known heel, Slaughter made a face turn in 1984 when he began feuding with the anti-American Iron Sheik.
Slaughter eventually became involved with the G.I. Joe franchise, and left WWE over an argument over producing Sgt. Slaughter toys.
Though Slaughter wrestled for the AWA throughout the late '80s, he returned to WWE in 1990 to play the role of heel once more, this time becoming an Iraqi sympathizer in the months before the Persian Gulf War.
Slaughter won the WWE Title after he defeated the Ultimate Warrior at the 1991 Royal Rumble, but lost the title at WrestleMania VII to Hulk Hogan.
Over the following years Slaughter had sporadic matches in WWE, feuding with Degeneration X and playing the role of WWE Commissioner.
In fact, Slaughter continues wrestling today, even appearing in a six-man tag team match this past summer.
In addition to being a former WWE Champion, Slaughter is the creator of the Cobra Clutch, and joined the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004.
No. 12: The Iron Sheik
Few bad guys in the history of wrestling have ever been as reviled and feared as the Iron Sheik.
Coming into wrestling in 1972, being trained alongside Ric Flair in Verne Gagne's AWA, the Iron Sheik soon grew his iconic mustache and shaved his head completely bald.
In the wake of the Iran hostage crisis of 1979-80, the Iron Sheik became a hated heel.
The Sheik actually played a very important role in creating Hulkamania after he defeated World Wrestling Federation Champion Bob Backlund (who held the belt for 5 years), and then put the belt on the line against the little-known Hogan.
The Iron Sheik remained a WWE star throughout the '80s, holding onto the WWE Tag Team titles with Nikolai Volkoff.
After a brief stint in NWA/WCW, the Sheik returned to WWE as "Colonel Mustafa" during Sgt. Slaughter's Iraqi-sympathizer heel turn.
The Iron Sheik wrestled mostly on the independent circuit over the following two decades, though he did come back to win a Gimmick Battle Royal at WrestleMania X-Seven in 2001.
In 2010, at the age of 67, the Iron Sheik wrestled in what was a supposedly his retirement match, teaming with Jay Lethal against Dylan Kage for the Millennium Wrestling Federation (MWF) in Massachusetts.
No. 11: Vader
After making a name for himself in the AWA and Japan during the '80s, Vader arrived in WCW in 1990 and immediately began taking on the company's top stars.
Vader's feuds with Sting, Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan are nothing short of legendary, and played a big role in shaping the company in the pre-Nitro era. Vader even went on to capture the WCW World Heavyweight title three times.
From there, Vader went on to the World Wrestling Federation, where he made attempts at capturing the WWE title.
In fact, Vader was so popular during the mid-'90s that he appeared on both "Baywatch" and the ABC sitcom "Boy Meets World."
Vader still continues to wrestle from time to time, even being one of the many legends to battle Heath Slater on Raw this past summer.
No. 10: Bill Goldberg
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Bill Goldberg first became famous with a long black mullet as a defensive tackle for both the LA Rams and Atlanta Falcons.
When Goldberg entered the world of pro-wrestling, however, he came in wearing simple black trunks, MMA gloves and a shaved head.
Goldberg immediately became a star by building up an undefeated streak, winning the WCW United States title and defeating Hollywood Hogan for the WCW World Heavyweight title on one of the most-watched Monday Nitros of all time.
Though Goldberg remained a star for years, even holding the World Heavyweight title in WWE, he never really recovered after his undefeated streak ended at the hands of Kevin Nash. Yet, while Goldberg's career was short, he left a major impact on the industry—one that still can be heard any time Ryback steps into the ring.
No. 9: Big Show
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Yes, fans, it is true that the man today known as Big Show did actually debut in WCW as The Giant in 1994. And yes, he did sport long hair for several years, including in WWE.
Still, Big Show has now spent more than half of his career with a shiny bald head.
With or without hair, Big Show remains one of the most imposing men in wrestling history, a mammoth of a man who is always an incredibly believable World Heavyweight champion.
No. 8: "The Enforcer" Arn Anderson
True, Arn Anderson never shaved his head completely bare. The truth, Double A actually made the comb-over a little cool.
As a charter member of the Four Horsemen, Double A represented the group probably more than any other person, including Ric Flair.
Along with the likes of Tully Blanchard and Ole Anderson, Arn won various tag team titles and accolades. And, in his own right, Double A became a perennial WCW television champion, holding the belt longer than any other competitor over four separate reigns.
There's also the fact that Arn perfected the spinning spinebuster so well that the move has become known as the "Double A spinebuster."
No. 7: Abdullah the Butcher
While many bald heads are iconic in wrestling, none are more scarred and storied than Abdullah the Butcher's.
The Madman from the Sudan is a certified legend of pro wrestling and perhaps the greatest hardcore wrestler of all time. His bloody matches are infamous, terrifying crowds with nothing more than a fork.
Abdullah has wrestled not merely in ECW and WCW, nor just in North America and Japan, but on nearly every continent on earth.
And, as he still seems to keep popping up in wrestling matches around the world, one wonders if he really did begin wrestling in 1958 or if he is in fact a timeless immortal, roaming the world in search of blood.
In 2011, Abdullah the Butcher was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, despite the fact that he was never really a WWE Superstar.
No. 6: Verne Gagne
When thinking of the history of bald wrestlers, one name comes to mind almost immediately: Verne Gagne.
During the 1950s Gagne made a name for himself in the NWA by taking on many of the top stars of the era.
Then, in 1960, Gagne started his own wrestling company: the American Wrestling Association (AWA) in Minneapolis, Minn.
Over the following decades, Gagne remained the perennial AWA World Heavyweight champion, holding the belt a total of 10 times between 1960 and 1981.
A big part of Gagne's legacy, however, was the number of other wrestlers that he helped train and break into the wrestling business. That list includes Ric Flair, Curt Hennig, Bob Backlund, Sgt. Slaughter, the Iron Sheik, Jimmy Snuka, Ricky Steamboat and The Undertaker, just to name a few.
After the AWA went bankrupt in 1991, Verne Gange was inducted into both the WCW Hall of Fame (1993) and the WWE Hall of Fame (2006).
Gagne, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease, made news in 2009 when he reportedly was involved in a serious fight with another elderly gentleman at a nursing home. Although the other man actually died from the injuries he sustained in the fight and the death was ruled a homicide, no charges were filed against Gagne due to his mental state.
No. 5: Stanislaus Zbyszko
In the early years of professional wrestling, few names were as feared as Stanislaus Zbyszko. The Polish strongman was nothing if not a wrestling legend, winning the World Heavyweight title twice in the early 1920s by defeating Ed Lewis and Wayne Munn.
After retiring from active competition, Zbyszko helped discover and train wrestling legends Antonio Rocca, Johnny Valentine and Harley Race.
Today, Zbyszko is perhaps best remembered for his role in the 1950 film Night and the City and as the inspiration for the ring-name of "Living Legend" Larry Zbyszko.
No. 4: Kurt Angle
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Kurt Angle became famous during the 1996 Olympics when he won a gold medal for the United States in wrestling.
Years later, when Angle arrived in the World Wrestling Federation, he still had hair on his head.
Yet, after losing a Hair vs. Hair match at Judgment Day 2002 to Edge, Angle sported a bald head. In truth, the baldness only seemed to help Angle's career, as he went on to win the WWE title twice more, battled for the WWE title at the following two WrestleManias and had what some consider to be the greatest match of all time versus Brock Lesnar on SmackDown in September 2003.
After leaving WWE, Angle has become an icon of TNA Impact Wrestling, helping to lead the Main Event Mafia stable and winning the TNA World Heavyweight title five times.
While some contend that Angle is in fact the greatest wrestler of all time, with or without hair, the fact that he is still active should be taken into account. Whether or not history will remember Angle as the best ever still remains to be seen.
No. 3: "Stone Cold" Steve Austin
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Steve Austin first made a name for himself in WCW as "Stunning" Steve Austin in the early '90s. At the time, he had a flowing blond mane.
A few years later, after arriving in the World Wrestling Federation, Austin sported a shaved head and a goatee.
Over the following years, he became an unlikely fan favorite, sparked "Austin 3:16" after beating Jake Roberts for the King of the Ring, won the WWE title and drew fans back to the company during his feuds with Vince McMahon, The Undertaker and The Rock.
In truth, Steve Austin probably did more to make baldness cool than any man in the 1990s, including Bruce Willis.
No. 2: Hulk Hogan
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Many fans usually say that Hulk Hogan does not deserve top-tier spots that he is usually given on many "Best Ever" lists.
However, the evidence is insurmountable.
Hulk Hogan helped reinvent the sport with Hulkamania, set an indoor attendance record when battling Andre the Giant at WrestleMania III, appeared in dozens of films, reinvented the sport again with the nWo and had numerous classic matches with with everyone from The Rock to The Ultimate Warrior.
For that reason, it is indeed fair to give Hogan the No. 2 spot on this Best of the Bald list.
No. 1: Lou Thesz
Similar to Arn Anderson, Lou Thesz was a fan of the comb-over. Still, for decades, wrestling fans had a spot in their heart for the man with the glaring bald spot.
Lou Thesz will forever be remembered as the once and forever World Heavyweight champion, having held the undisputed title on numerous occasions, as well as several NWA, AWA and other variants.
From the 1940s to the 1960s, Lou Thesz was the top dog in all of wrestling, competing against all the other top stars of the era across North America and Japan.
Thesz's career actually lasted much longer, beginning in 1932 (when he was 16) and lasted until December 1990 (when Thesz was 74). This makes Lou Thesz, as far as we know, the only person to ever wrestle in seven different decades.
And, while many fans can tell that Thesz was the creator of the Thesz press, they might not know that he is also the man to popularize many other moves: the STF, the belly-to-back suplex and the powerbomb, to name a few.
When Thesz passed away in 2002, wrestlers and fans around the world immediately recognized how vast and profound his impact had been on the sport.