Professional Wrestling's Best of the Best, A-Z
Just another list that I thought would be different than your everyday slideshow. While considering my choices for each letter, I took into account charisma, impact, legacy, and influence to the great sport of professional wrestling.
I decided to take into account wrestlers from all decades and organisations from NWA to NJPW. Feel free to list your own wrestlers and ideas into who you think the poster child for each letter is.
2. Andre The Giant
Antonio Inoki is one of the few wrestlers in the world to have made an impact on a global scale. He is the first ever non American to win the WWWF Championship, and although it was a non televised matchup, the WWE still recognised Antonio for accomplishing his extraordinary feat.
He was inducted into the HOF in 2009, thus cementing his legacy for years to come. He has also fought Muhummad Ali in an MMA match. Although it ended in a draw, everyone knew that Antonio was on top especially due to his amazing counters and holds that he could use and adapt on his opponent.
2. Bob Backlund
3. Bruno Sammartino
Bret Hart played a massive role in the WWE. After the departures of Diesel, Hogan, Hall, Savage, and others, Bret managed to grab the brassed ring and with Vince in his corner he was only going to achieve great things. He has become a natural icon in Canada and is listed as one of Canada's Top 100 Greatest Canadians.
Bret took wrestling to new heights during the Attitude era and in the early 90's he showed the world that you don't have to have the biggest arms in the world to be a wrestler, just as long as you can entertain a crowd then the sky is the limit.
He recently made his triumphant return to the company that turned its back on him. Whilst he may not have the wrestling abilities he once had, the presence alone of the Hitman is more than worth the admission fee alone.
2. Chris Benoit
3. Christopher Daniels
After his unappreciated spell with the WCW in the mid 90's, Jericho finally decided to jump to rival WWE after signing a contract with the company in 1999.
Then during a promo that took place on Aug. 9, 1999, we were finally introduced to the already established superstar Chris Jericho.
The crowd went insane. They could not believe their eyes, as one of WCW's guys was standing in front of the Titantron whilst the People's Champion, The Rock, was in the ring.
Just to show you how great of a star Jericho is, personally I feel no one has ever come close to duplicating Jericho's electric debut that night.
He was composed, energetic, and certainly charismatic. He put on a great display of character as he wooed the Chicago audience, and the chemistry he created with the Rock was certainly special.
Jericho has the distinct honor of holding the prestigious IC Championship more times than any other superstar.
During the Invasion angle, we were treated to some pretty amazing moments such as Stone Cold Steve Austin's Betrayal, DDP revealed as the stalker, the return of the Rock, and of course Chris Jericho capturing his first Heavyweight title.
The great thing about this particular victory is not that he was competing against the Rock, but that he finally achieved what every wrestler wants, and that is to be the best in the business at what they do.
It was great to finally see him wear the gold around his waist.
2. Dean Malenko
3. Dusty Rhodes
Dynamite was regarded by many, including Bret Hart, as the greatest singles wrestler ever to grace the squared circle.
That, coming from the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be, surely must mean a great deal.
The late Chris Benoit and Owen Hart molded their wrestling abilities from The Kid, as they cited him as a true inspiration to their wrestling lives.
2. Ernie Ladd
Eddie Guerrero was infamous for his "lie, cheat, steal" persona in the WWE, but he was never really taken seriously even though he put on some great matches with the likes of Benoit, Angle, Edge, and others.
Eddie is regarded by most as the greatest Mexican wrestler to have ever lived, and after his passing, his death slowly killed the WWE, as all the fun and laughter he brought to screens slowly drifted away.
Eddie headlined WrestleMania against Kurt Angle, and after that he would have feuds with Rey Mysterio and Batista.
Other than his remarkable feuds and matches, Eddie was a great teacher outside the ring. He helped guys such as Edge, Rey, Chavo, and others develop their character and in-ring ability.
2. Fritz Von Erich
3. Flash Funk
Ron "Faarooq" Simmons is the first African-American to ever hold the WCW Championship and the second in history to ever become a Heavyweight Champion.
A college footballing icon, Ron easily made the switch into professional wrestling, as he had all the necessary requirements to make it to the top.
He is a former three-time WWE Tag Team champion and is responsible for creating one of the most powerful stables in the history of the sport, The Nation of Domination.
His feud with Ahmed Johnson was a huge turning point in Black wrestling as it allowed them to capture the audience's attention and imagination.
He regarded as one of the most toughest and strongest wrestlers in the game today and he is definitely shoo-in as a future Hall of Famer
2. Greg Valentine
Mutoh is one of two wrestlers to hold the NWA Heavyweight Championship, the AJPW Triple Crown Championship, and the IWGP Championship.
2. Hulk Hogan
3. Hunter Hearts Helmsley
Many of you are probably scratching your heads, as to why Harley is put above Hogan and HHH. While HHH may be the star of the 00's, and Hogan the star of the 80's, Harley was considered the best superstar in the world during the late 70's and early 80's.
He is a former 10-time World Champion, He was inducted into the HOF and is recognised by many as the single greatest World champion the sport has had to offer.
Bret Hart stated that he could not think of anyone else to officiate his tribute match for Owen against Benoit than Harley, an idol of his when growing up.
2. Ivan Koloff
Iron Sheik is the first Iranian or man from Asia to hold the WWE Championship. Sheik is credited as the original suplex machine, and along with the camel clutch, Sheik was an unstoppable force in the 80's. With amazing upper body strength, there was no toppling the big man over. He also won the tag team championships with Nikolai Volkoff.
He is credited also for kick starting Hulk Hogan's career, as he lost his WWE title to the Hulkster. Being the most hated man in the business at the time, it was only natural for Hogan to become the greatest wrestler afterwards.
Although he was only considered a transitional champion, it was a great stepping stone into the Sheik's career as he opened the doors and broke down the barriers into ethnic wrestlers making real names for themselves in a North American business.
2. Jimmy Snuka
3. Jerry Lawler
Jushin Liger is one of the most prolific and household names in wrestling today, and with his trademark attire and innovative moves such as the shooting star press, he has become the definition of a Light Heavweight wrestler.
With the likes of Jericho, Benoit, and Owen Hart all stating that Liger is in a league of his own, it is only fair that for the 20+year career of jushin to be credited as much as possible especially within the IWC.
He has accumulated over 50 championships in his career, and his shooting star press has been copied by many a superstar such as Brock Lesnar and Evan Bourne.
He is an icon in Japan and a legend worldwide.
3. Kerry Von Erich
Kurt Angle is known around the world as an Olympic Gold Medalist, WWE Champion, TNA Champion, NJPW Champion, WCW Champion, World Champion, and a host full of other titles.
It is only natural for Kurt Angle to be regarded as the greatest in ring technician in wrestling history. With a great amateur background in wrestling, Angle has managed to develop great mat, technical, grappling, and pound for pound combat skills that can be compared to any other wrestler to date.
He showcases some of his talent during his matches with Benoit, Lesnar, and Jericho. I know many people would consider Bret Hart, Dean Malenko, or Jericho to be the top contenders for this award; however when Kurt gets in a ring there is no competition.
2. Lex Luger
Lance Storm is most probably one of the greatest technical wrestlers the game has to offer. Although he never really won a major championship, his success as a wrestler alone was credited by many.
2. Mr. Perfect
3. Masato Tanaka
Mick Foley is the Hardcore Legend, enough said.
2. Nikita Koloff
3. Nikolay Koloff
Nick is an AWA legend. He is a multi-time AWA champion, winning the belt an incredible four times. He was regarded as one of the purest wrestlers in the business, and had more holds then the current WWE locker room.
He was quite an excentric wrestler. He was very charismatic and always open for cutting a jaw dropping promo. Nick was inducted into the WWE HOF in 2007.
2. Original Sheik
3. One Man Gang
Owen Hart was everything that you wanted in a wrestler. He was agile, quick, and talented and one of the most energetic guys you could ever find in the ring.
I feel that if Bret was not so popular, then perhaps Owen would have been given more opportunities to succeed at the top of the business instead of jobbing as the Blue Blazer. Even Bret said that Owen could do more in the ring then any of his brothers, including him.
Owen should have been given the title during one of his many feuds with Bret, and this would have created a much more exacting and emotional feud, somewhat like Undertaker and Kane’s now.
2. Patt Patterson
3. Paul White
Pedro was a huge star in the 70's and 80's under the WWWF. He was so popular that they never wanted Pedro to defeat Bruno, as they never knew how the audience would take it. So they decided to have Ivan Koloff defeat Bruno, only to lose the championship a few weeks later to the rising talent, Pedro.
He held the Championship for an impressive two years. Pedro is the first wrestler to be regarded as a Triple Crown champion having won the Tag Team Championships, World Title, and of course the IC Championship.
2. Queen Sharmell
2. Rowdy Piper
3. The Rock
Ric Flair has won the big one an earth shattering 16 times, with two WWE reins and 14 WCW/NWA reigns.
He faced the likes of Sting, Dusty Rhodes, Ricky Steamboat, and a host full of other surging superstars who were willing to make their mark in the business. Flair was not seen as a typical wrestler to many of the fans, back then he lacked muscle, size, and power. However, Flair had great character and personality to go with it. When you have these two things and an opportunity, then anyone can become great.
During his time as the WCW Champion, Flair created the stable the Four Horseman, and he also gained the nickname as the most dirtiest player in the game, from this point on the legacy of the nature boy became synonymous with wrestling.
Stone Cold Steve Austin
3. Shawn Michaels
Like Undertaker, Austin was never really seen as a big star in both ECW and WCW. However Vince saw tremendous potential in the young lad, so he decided to put his faith in him and by word he was right.
Austin is the poster child for WWE. I can't think of anybody else who gets a bigger ovation than the Rattlesnake. People love his ways and his character, possibly due to the fact that they can relate to what Austin is going through, a working man who hates his boss.
The Austin and McMahon feud as well as the Austin and the Rock feud helped the WWE win the Monday Night wars against WCW, putting an end to the ratings war. Austin may never wrestle again, but that has not stopped us from seeing him, as he usually makes brief appearances as well as taking up roles in various movies, most recently The Expendables starring Jet Li and Stallone.
2. Toshiaki Kawada
3. Terry Funk
For me he is the greatest mask wrestler to have ever lived. He managed to put on some great matches with the likes of Bret Hart and Dynamite Kid. Mask was the only man to have won the WWE Junior Heavyweight Championship and the NWA Junior Heavyweight Championship.
His mentor is the great Antonio inoki, a former WWE Champion and HOF.
2. Ultimate Warrior
The Undertaker or Mark Calloway previously wrestled for the WCW before he made the switch to the WWE. In this time the WCW managed to make a real mockery from what would be one of the greatest wresters and icons in the business today.
Undertaker's debuted in the WWE in 1990 during a time where characters such as Hogan and Savage were running the show, so how do you create a character so unique and different and throw him into a pack of wild lions, only to come out of there alive?
Create a man who is already dead, an Undertaker. His character was such a huge success that he had followers from all over the world coming into watch the Deadman in action. Perhaps the greatest piece of creative thinking was having this seven-foot man come in and defeat The American Hero Hulk Hogan for the WWE title within his first year in the company. This impressed a lot of people, who at the time must of felt that wrestling was real, so obviously majority of the WWE Universe will cheer the top dog.
They also gave Undertaker a nice background, which allowed them to build around his character. For instance, the introduction of Kane as his younger brother, Casket matches, Hell in a cell matches, Inferno matches, and Buried Alive matches, all of which suited the big man's criteria. Lastly, by giving Taker the streak, it has made him a Legend to a point that if he were to be defeated at Mania, then Wrestling would die along with him.
2. Vladimir Kozlov
Big Van Vader, a star in WCW, was a monster in WWE but a gentle soul outside the ring.
In WWE, Vader was given one of the most hyped up debuts in the history of WWE. Wherever he went or whoever he came across was left in a pile of blood.
Vader is very agile for 350 pounds; he can perform amazing moves from all sorts of angles and directions such as moonsaults, leg drops, etc.
3. Wade Bloom
William Regal hails from Blackpool. England, so its only natural that he is recognized as the most successful European Champion.
1. William Regal Def. Al Snow
2. William Regal Def. Crash Holly
3. William Regal Def. DDP
4. William Regal Def. Spike
X-Pac or 1-2-3 Kid, was one of the pioneers of Monday Night Raw. He defeated Ramon in his first encounter and would later go on to achieve great things in WWE.
His involvement in DX, NWO, and the Clique shows that Pac had a lot of friends in high places; therefore, he got most of the spotlight and opportunity.
Pac also teamed with Kane to become one of the most dominant tag teams in WWE, winning best tag team of the year in 1999.
X-Pac knew how to work with bigger men in the ring, and his educated feet along with his ex-tactic demeanor allowed Pac to hold several championships and honors wherever he went.
2. Yoshihiro Tajiri
Jushin Liger maybe an icon in Japan, but Ultimo Dragon is a legend in his own right. He holds the record for the only wrestler to have held 12 different championships at the same time. Like Luger he has also innovated moves that wrestlers such as Jeff Hardy, Tajiri, and others use today, like the Asai Moonsault and Osaka Driver.
Ultimo made a brief appearance for the WWE in 2003 after he had signed a one-year contract with the company in the hopes of fulfilling his lifelong dream to compete at a WrestleMania event. He accomplished this at WrestleMania 20 when he took part in the first ever Cruiserweight invitational. Although he came up short, he definitely showed the world how great and talented he is.