In this edition of ‘Ranking the Champions’, I am actually not ranking the champions. I am ranking those wrestlers in the post-Wrestlemania years who were NOT given a WWF/WWE Championship Belt of any kind.
This is a hard list to construct for a variety of reasons. First off all, it’s not like a ‘Ranking the Champions’ list where I can go to a list of champions and weed out who I don’t want and make my decisions from there. This one took a little research.
Also, I am ranking these champions as to what they did in and for the WWF/WWE. Some of the entrants on this list had GREAT success in other promotions but were never given a title run in Vince McMahon’s promotion. I weighed what they did while they were in WWF/WWE.
This list is EXTREMELY old school, since there are so many titles these days and three shows to choose from that a lot of the post ‘Attitude-Era’ wrestlers had a run with a title, mainly the Hardcore Title or some makeshift tag team they were in at the time. To my knowledge the people on this list held no titles.
10. Bam Bam Bigelow – The ‘Beast from the East’ was a big man who could really move. Plus, whether you like it or not…he was involved in the Main Event at Wrestlemania XI.
9. The Bushwhackers – Luke and Butch are the only tag team on the list. While they rarely won a high profile match, the Bushwhackers were a staple in the tag division for years. Plus, I really liked the ‘battering ram’ as a finisher!
8. George ‘The Animal’ Steele – With his blue green tongue and turnbuckle biting antics, I thought George Steele would be higher on this list when I first started constructing it. George started as a destructive heel and grew into a fan favorite. I hate putting him this low on the list, but while Steele had some interesting in-ring tactics, only his feud with Randy Savage came to mind as anything he did progressive wise.
7. Tatanka – Tatanka is one of my personal favorite wrestlers. He had incredible ring energy and a nearly two year undefeated streak. Good feuds with Rick Martel, Shawn Michaels, and Yokozuna made him a fan favorite. I welcomed his return in 2006 as it actually gave me a chance to see him live in the ring.
6. Dusty Rhodes – The ‘American Dream’ frankly didn’t do much as a wrestler in WWF. But his career is legendary, and he had some great feuds with Randy Savage and Ted Dibiase while he was the ‘Common Man’.
5. ‘Cowboy’ Bob Orton – ‘Ace’ did a lot for the industry, as he was the first real bodyguard anyone had. He was the muscle behind Roddy Piper’s mouth. He was involved in some of the greatest comedic segments of all-time on Piper’s Pit, and is a true Hall of Famer.
4. Paul Orndorff – The decision between fourth and fifth was VERY close, and it was very hard for me to make this decision. ‘Mr. Wonderful’ was involved in more high profile matches than Orton, so that is why I put him here.
The Wrestlemania main event with Piper, Hogan, and Mr. T started PPV wrestling. Also, his cage match with Hulk Hogan at Saturday Night’s Main Event was great, as it’s the first time I can remember a match being declared a draw, because both men touched the ground first. The restart of that match and subsequent Hogan victory helped propel ‘Hulkamania’ even more.
3. ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan – Hacksaw did receive some career accomplishments, winning the first ever Royal Rumble and being ‘King’ Hacksaw for awhile, but nothing I would consider a title. Hacksaw is still going strong, working here and there for the WWE. His many years of services is why he is so high on this list.
2. ‘Superfly’ Jimmy Snuka – Snuka revolutionized working off the top rope, simple as that. All the high flyers in the business today have had to have watched tape of Snuka in his hay day. We still get to see the Superfly here and there, and it brings the crowd to their feet every single time.
1. Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts – Jake Roberts should have held some sort of WWF/WWE title. His in-ring skills made both himself and his opponent look good, his gimmick was top notch as ‘Damien’ was intricate in most of his matches, and his promos were intense.
Jake feuded with many big names in the business and even helped propel the ‘Attitude Era’ by putting over ‘The Ringmaster’, whom after his promo directed towards Roberts became ‘Stone Cold’.
Honorable mentions go out to Koko B. Ware, Big John Studd, and King Kong Bundy.
That’s all she wrote folks. This wasn’t an easy list for me to assemble, and I am sure the Brooklyn Brawler and the Red Rooster are pissed at me! But that’s how it goes. Have a good one wrestling fans…