Welcome to Wrestling’s Overrated and Underrated Part 2: The '90s
If you missed Part 1: The 80s feel free to check it out here:
A comment was made on the last article on what I define as Overrated and Underrated.
I feel that a combination of wrestling skill in the ring, as well as the ability to tell a story, and sell a "character" makes a great pro wrestler.
Personality, character, and talent drive the show and keep the watchers enthralled.
An overrated wrestler is someone who got a big push, won titles, received constant main events or TV time, but maybe only because he was good on the mic, had a good look or had a good run in the past.
Underrated would be someone who wasn’t given a shot at the main events or titles despite the fact that they were putting on quality matches, had a great look and character.
The '90s were an amazing time in pro-wrestlin. We had WCW, WWF and ECW creating a lot of the legends we know today.
The early '90s showed a transition between the Rock n’ Wrestling connection fun times of the '80s to the more hardcore Attitude Era of the '90s. As the years passed in the '90s,we developed more groups, factions and villains began to shine.
Here is my list of the overrated, underrated and those that truly stood out as the best of the '90s.
I have chosen three (I started with 4, but had to narrow it down) wrestlers for each of the categories for the two main shows and given ECW its own category since it really wasn’t on par with the other two as far as promotion goes. Also, just like last piece, I point out one superstar I feel stands out above all and may fit every category.
The Overrated –
1. Goldberg – “Da Man” with the long undefeated streak of 173, and he believed every one of them. His matches were usually less than 5 minutes long, A few punches, a spear, a jack hammer, and he was done. His first loss came at the hands of Nash who used a Taser on him to take him out. How else would you defeat the monster that was Goldberg? I’ve read his book. I have seen other superstar interviews about him and the guy just comes across as a huge jerk. At one point I really liked him. I was one of the sheep, but then I heard he refused to lose to certain guys and considered wrestling a stepping stone to get to other shows on television and movies. Not a fan any longer.
2. Sid Vicious – A big,tall wrestler who should best be remembered for when he broke his leg in the ring. His moves were boring, and he essentially just used the same moves as Hogan. His signature moves total six moves, with one being a big boot, the other a leg drop. His promos consisted of him being “psycho.” He was WWF champion twice during the '90s and two time WCW champion as well as United States champion. Many other guys were so much more deserving and better in the ring than Sid. All he had was size.
3. Road Dogg Jesse James – He stood 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighed 240 pounds, but he wrestled with his shirt on. And I think we know why. I know he was never world champion but he did well as a tag team wrestler and introduced DX on the mic before the match. That’s about it. His signature moves total three. That has to be the least amount of any wrestler, and one of them was “Shake Rattle and Roll,” three left jabs followed by a right punch. He was the hardcore champion, the Intercontinental champion and the tag champion five times. I don’t usually resort to just flat out insulting a wrestler in my articles but the only reason Road Dogg was in wrestling was because he was a second generation guy. He really had no talent or business being in the ring. How he got partnered up with HHH and HBK, I have no idea. He should be thanking Jesus every day, but instead he’s been heard in interviews insulting them and just being an overall ass.
Some more overrated guys of the '90s: Vader, Randy Savage, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and Yokozuna. Yokoznua was a part of my top four originally, I felt he was only big in WWF because, well he was big.
1. The most underrated guy in wrestling in the '90s was Chris Jericho . We all know who he is now. But in WCW where he sat for years trying to fight the politics of Bischoff, he was the Cruiserweight Champ four times and the TV champ once. He was just as fantastic on the mic then as he is now. He wrestled in Japan, Mexico and ECW. However, it wasn't until Y2J that he was allowed to shine and be what he was meant to be all along. Jericho was one of the greatest superstars pro wrestling has ever seen.
2. Golddust/Dustin Rhodes – Son of Dusty Rhodes, Golddust was probably at his prime in the '90s. Golddust moves in the ring like he was born there. He just commands the ring and his bizarre gimmicks and extravagant ring entrance took him to a level like no other. He took the moves of his father and brought them to the attitude era. One of his greatest matches of all time was against Roddy Piper in a “Hollywood Backlot Brawl.”
3. Owen Hart – He was another superstar who died at a young age and never got a chance to probably move on and become even bigger. His matches against Brett are astounding. His antics inside the ring and out were legendary and he is noted as being one of the best guys to work with in the ring.
Other underrated guys, Booker T, William Regal, Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko, Chris Benoit, and Rey Mysterio. I did a write up on Booker T being my fourth pic., I know he was tag champ with his brother and six-time TV champ but not until he became King Booker did we get to see how good he really was.
Best of the time
I’ve been sticking with only choosing three, but having to only choose three from the '90s is hard. So I went with four.
1. Sting - One of the few old school guys who didn’t jump back and forth between the two companies. He held the WCW title six times in the '90s. Great on the mic and great in the ring he created drama in a character that seemed to be based on the popular movie The Crow.
2. Ric Flair – Flair was fantastic in the '80s and carried it into the '90s. He held the WCW title six times and the WWE title twice in that decade. What more can be said about him. In the '90s he was the man.
3. Stone Cold Steve Austin – Austin held the title four times in the '90s and changed the face of wrestling. Creating probably the most popular anti-hero ever in wrestling, he was highly underrated and under used in the first half of the '90s, spending five years in WCW and barely being addressed. He was fired by Bischoff so he headed over to ECW for a year before he made it into the WWF to take over the world in ’96 and create Austin 3:16. It could be said that he isn’t the best technical wrestler in the ring, but he showed on several occasions that he could go toe-to-toe with the likes of Kurt Angle and other technical guys.
4. Bret "The Hitman" Hart – The best there is. The best there was. The best there ever will be. A career filled with controversy, he was a master tactician in the ring and the only guy who could make pink cool. The Hart Foundation, his solo success, and the famous Montreal Screwjob in ’97 just made him a force to be reckoned with in the '90s.
There are so many others that began to shine in the late '90s: The Rock, Triple H, HBK, but these four were dominating the scene.
The overrated–Sandman and Raven, two guys who were champions because one could smash beer cans and the other one wore odd ring attire.
The underrated–Mikey Whipwreck , a great talent who never got a chance to truly shine.
The Best–Sabu and Shane Douglas , two guys with great gimmicks, great skills and personas that help catapult ECW and put it on the map.
The one stand alone guy of the '90s is the Undertaker. He may not be the master chain wrestler like Flair of Hart. He went a long time in the '90s without even speaking and using Paul Bearer as his voice, but the '90s turned him into a supernatural being that was able to take the magic of the '80s wrestling and combine it with the '90s attitude. The Phenom brought us Hell in the Cell, and the Brothers of Destruction. He was to the '90s what Hogan was to the '80s and the only guy today to keep a gimmick like that and keep it going all this time.