The Greats in WWWF/WWF/WWE History
Looking at a few top 10 greatest wrestlers lists, I have been noticing a trend; forgetting history.
I enjoy seeing everyone's opinion of who are the great ones, but lets look at these superstars a little more objectively.
Many wrestlers have passed through the WWWF/WWF/WWE, but only a select few are chosen as the greatest.
10. Brooklyn Brawler
HAHAHA.....If only I would have published this on April 1.
Had you going there for a minute. I can imagine the responses from putting in the Brawler in the list.
Maybe if a top 10 greatest jobbers list was made, then the Brawler gets plenty of votes.
Okay, without any more shenanigans, let the list begin.
10. The Undertaker
Does not matter if he is the Deadman, The American Badass, the Satanist, or a hybrid, the Undertaker belongs on the list.
He has had great matches with a host of great wrestlers. He became prominent after his destruction in Survivor Series1990, then went on to claim a World title from Hulk Hogan. The Undertaker was in the first Hell in a Cell match.
The Wrestlemania winning streak alone merits him consideration for any top ten list. The streak, along with his numerous World title reigns and longevity, plant the Undertaker firmly at No. 10 on the list.
9. The Macho Man
During the 1980's, Randy Savage was the second most over wrestler in the WWF. Only the Hulkster could generate more interest from the crowd.
Even as a bad guy, fans would still cheer the Macho Man and the fans respected his athleticism, charisma, and desire to win.
The epic I-C title match at WrestleMania III still stands as one of the greatest matches in the history of wrestling.
8. Bob Backlund
The two-time World champion does not get much respect from the Internet crowd or those who think about the greatest in the sport.
Backlund was a mat technician. He was a NCAA wrestling champion and parlayed that success to the pro ranks. Backlund made his debut in the AWA in 1973.
After a lengthy feud with Superstar Graham, Backlund was finally able to wrest the belt from the champion. Backlund would hold the strap for over four years.
During his time as champion, Backlund would face a variety of challengers and even face champions from other organizations such as Harley Race and Ric Flair.
Backlund left the WWF after losing to the Iron Sheik, but returned in 1992. After a miserable losing streak, Backlund won the World title from Bret Hart.
7. Bret Hart
The next two spots can be heavily debated as the two superstars have their careers intertwined.
Bret started out in Stampede Wrestling and became part of the WWF in 1984. The Hitman started out as a tag team with Dynamite Kid, but requested to be in a tag team with Jim Neidhart.
With Bret's technical skills and Neidhart's brawling, the two became multiple tag team champions and one of the greatest tag teams ever, The Hart Foundation.
Bret broke out on his own and won a classic SummerSlam match against Mr. Perfect. A year later, he would lose at SummerSlam in another classic this time against The British Bulldog.
The loss set up for Bret to become the second man in history to win the Triple Crown in the WWF, the first being Pedro Morales.
Bret would go on to have classic matches and feuds against HBK, Diesel, the Undertaker, and Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Shawn Michaels started out as the counterpart to Marty Jannetty in the Rockers. The two had a major falling out in the Barber Shop which led to one of the greatest careers in WWF history.
He became the fourth Triple Crown winner and first Grand Slam champion.
Every match, Michaels was involved in had the potential to become a classic. Some say he could wrestle a broom and have a great match.
5. The Rock
If not for Stone Cold, The Rock could very well be on top of the list.
The Rock had legendary promos and could energize even the deadest of crowds.
Johnson started out as a mediocre performer who was pushed down the throats of the fans. Eventually, after joining the Nation, The Rock finally found an identity.
The Rock won numerous titles and had classic matches and feuds with HHH, Stone Cold, the Undertaker, Kane, and Ken Shamrock.
Eventually he left the ring for the bright lights of Hollywood.
4. Andre the Giant
Andre would sell out any arena in the country during his prime. The fans loved the phenom and he loved the fans.
Andre was the guy to face all the evil new giants coming into the territory and when a fan favorite needed a partner, Andre was the go-to guy.
In 1987, Andre was tired of being second fiddle and decided to his hand at being the top man. He never won a World title and wanted to know what is was like to be the champion.
Had Andre been in his prime, WrestleMania III may have had a different result, but in the end, Hulk was able to get the pin and Andre passed the torch.
In 1987, Andre was given another title match and thanks to some crooked officiating, Andre was finally a World Champion.
The reign did not last long as he decided to sell the belt to the Million Dollar Man, a move which led to the Macho Man becoming World champion.
In the sunset of his career, Andre would hold the tag team titles with Haku. Andre finally turned on Bobby Heenan at WrestleMania VI, thus ending his career with the status of a fan favorite.
3. Bruno Sammartino
Another great champion who seems to be forgotten by the masses. Bruno kept the WWWF/WWF afloat during the 1960's and 1970's. Whenever he was the headliner, Madison Square Garden was packed.
Bruno won the World title from Buddy Rogers in 1963 and held the belt for over seven years, the longest reign of any World champion.
In 1965, the NWA wanted to give the belt to Sammartino, but he refused due to fear of never having a day off. He would have been the only man ever to hold two different organization's World titles.
People were crying in the stands when Bruno dropped the title to Ivan Koloff in 1973.
Sammartino won the belt back in 1975 and held the belt for a little over 3 years. Bruno's combined title reigns lasted over 11 years.
Sammartino's had legendary feuds and matches against Pedro Morales, Stan Hansen, Gorilla Monsoon, Randy Savage, George Steele, Haystacks Calhoun, and Giant Baba.
Bruno's last great feud was the most emotional. His protege, Larry Zbyszko decided to turn on his mentor leading to some brutal battles and Bruno calling Larry, Judas.
During this feud, Zbyszko started calling himself the New Living Legend, but there is only one Living Legend, Bruno Sammartino.
2. Stone Cold Steve Austin
The bald headed, beer drinking, boss defying, redneck was the leader and most popular during the Attitude Era.
Starting out as the Ringmaster, Austin was not exactly the most liked guy in the building. Not until the 3:16 speech did fans start noticing and take a liking to the guy.
Austin won numerous world titles, usually at the expense of upsetting the Boss. He is also a Triple Crown champion.
The world title first came to the Rattlesnake against HBK at WrestleMania. During his WWF career, Stone Cold would have epic battles against Mr. McMahon, Undertaker, the Rock, Angle, Jericho, HHH, Bret Hart, and Owen Hart.
He started antagonizing Bret Hart which led to an epic encounter at WrestleMania. The Rattlesnake would not give up to Hart's sharpshooter and by the end of the match, Stone Cold became the most popular wrestler in the federation.
Stone Cold was the face of the Attitude Era and carried the torch to epic ratings and great matches.
Barely missed the cut
These guys barely missed the cut.
Superstar Graham: One of the first cool bad guys. According to Graham, Ivan Koloff was to turn on him setting up for a fan favorite run title run for Superstar. It was not meant to be, as Vince Sr. already promised the belt to Bob Backlund. One can see the Superstar in many of the past and present wrestlers today, such as Jesse Ventura, Hulk Hogan, HHH, and Stone Cold.
HHH - Barely missed the cut. Many criticize the Game for using backstage influence, but HHH has worked his tail off to get in his position.
The Ultimate Warrior - Had he not been so greedy, he could have been the torch bearer in the 1990's.
Demolition - Once thought of as Road Warrior rip-offs, became one the greatest, if not the greatest tag team in WWF history.
Honky Tonk Man - longest reigning I-C champion.
Pedro Morales - Another overlooked legend. Was the first Triple Crown champion in an era where it was extremely difficult to become one. The first four Triple Crown champions had merit. Nowadays with the titles moving around as much as they do, the Triple Crown really means nothing.
Ted DiBiase: A world title or I-C title run could have put him on the list.
Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero: Great technicians taken from the fans too soon.
Edge and John Cena: Let's take a look later in their careers.
Ric Flair and "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig: A little more success in other organizations, had good runs in the WWF but not able to make the list.
1. Hulk Hogan
Is there really any doubt who is the greatest WWF superstar of all-time?
Whether you love the Hulkster or hate him, look objectively at his body of work. No wrestler has gone mainstream the way Hogan did in the 1980's.
He was on the cover of Sports Illustrated and made the rounds on all the talk shows. Hogan even did SNL way before the Rock. Hogan made wrestling cool.
Hogan was Superman. Vince McMahon needed a face to sell his product nationally and eventually world wide and Hogan was the man. As a child or even grown man, who did not get chills watching the Hulkster get his ass beat for eight minutes then make the return to win the match.
His style would not work today, but in the grand scheme, Hulk Hogan is the greatest superstar the WWF has ever known.
He may not have been the greatest wrestling technician, but he used his charisma and his brawling style to win over the fans.
Hogan's matches were not match classics, but who cares, people just wanted to watch to see if the Hulkster could come back and conquer his latest foe.
Steamboat-Savage was a classic match, but why did millions of people watch WrestleMania III? To see Hogan vs. Andre.
When one thinks of pro wrestling, even the most casual of fan will automatically think of Hulk Hogan.