A few days ago, I asked you (the readers) to tell me who your top five favorite wrestlers of all time were.
Many of you have responded (some with common choices and others with surprising choices) and without further ado....or unless you lose Internet connection (damn you, Mother Nature!!!)....Here Are Your Favorite Wrestlers of All Time!!!
With a commanding 101 votes, the Internet Wrestling Community (IWC) has chosen "The jabroni beating, pie eating, trail blazing, eye brow raising, the best in the present, future and past, and if ya’ll don’t like me, you can kiss my ass"....The Rock!
It's really no surprise that The Rock was voted the IWC’s most popular wrestler; I've never seen anyone who can get a reaction out of the crowd quite like him. Whether he was a heel or a babyface, The Rock always brought his A-game and everyone knew it and respected it.
I don't think there will ever be anyone quite as good on the microphone again. His promos are legendary, moments like mocking each of his opponents before the six-man Hell in a Cell or when he first met them, or anytime he was in the same room with The Coach, Chris Jericho or Stone Cold Steve Austin.
When Stone Cold took almost a year off to recover from neck surgery, it was The Rock who took the company on his shoulders and helped Vince McMahon put the final nail in WCW's coffin.
After the "Invasion" storyline came to an end in the end of 2001, The Rock began to focus more on movies than wrestling and officially retired after WrestleMania XX in 2004.
During his eight years as a professional wrestler, The Rock was a nine-time World Champion, five-time Tag Team Champion, the 2000 Royal Rumble winner and he also was awarded two PWI (Match of the Year) awards (1999 vs. Mankind and 2002 vs. Hulk Hogan).
Now that The Rock has returned to guest-host WrestleMania 27 maybe we’ll be treated to a few more legendary promos and moments…guess we’ll have to wait to find out…
Readers Thoughts on The Rock:
"Anybody who grew up in the 90s will know exactly why I picked him at No. 1. He was simply incredible in the ring, on the mic and never had a bad night." – Theo Kabala
"He is willing to push over other wrestlers, and let’s face it, when he left wrestling the audience mostly left with him. It was almost identical to when Michael Jordan left Basketball. Sure he left behind some stars, but now the era that he is known for has mostly passed on along with many of the great stars that accompanied him." – Nathan Dugas
King Prince named "when he insulted the Sacramento crowd during his Rock concert" as one of his favorite moments.
Shawn Michaels may have left the building, but he also left a lasting impression on the IWC. The Heartbreak Kid came in second place with 88 votes.
He started his career in the tag-team division where he formed The Rockers with Marty Jannetty. Together, they worked for various wrestling organizations from 1985-1988 until they were hired on a full-time basis in 1988 by the WWF.
By late 1991, however, there were issues going on backstage between Shawn Michaels and Jannetty that would eventually lead to them splitting up on-screen in the famous “Barber Shop Segment.”
After the split, however, is when the legend that is “The Heartbreak Kid” started to take form.
Between 1992 and 1998, Shawn Michaels was one of the most talked-about wrestlers in the business, his love for himself enraged fans, but eventually they began to notice him for his athletic ability and how he would be able to put on a phenomenal show, no matter who he was facing or what kind of match he was in.
After retiring from in-ring competition in 1998 due to a broken back, HBK returned for a "one night only" match against Triple H at SummerSlam 2002, after the match ended HBK realized his back was better than previously thought and he realized he could still go at full pace and returned to the ring full time for another seven and a half years before retiring for good at WrestleMania 26...not bad for someone who missed more than four years!
In his 25-year career, he was a four-time World Champion, a three-time Intercontinental Champion, a six-time Tag Team Champion, a two-time Royal Rumble Winner (1995 & 1996) and the first ever “Grand Slam Champion."
In addition to those he’s also been awarded two “Five-Star” matches (vs. Razor Ramon at WrestleMania X and vs. Undertaker at Badd Blood).
With 11 "PWI Match of the Year Awards," HBK was entertaining to the very end. No one in wrestling history has caused so much controversy and at the same time been beloved by almost every fan.
In January 2011, he was named the first inductee for the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2011…maybe we’ll get treated to one more WrestleMania moment from Mr. WrestleMania himself!
Readers Thoughts on Shawn Michaels:
"No wrestler can or ever again will tell a story in the ring like Shawn Michaels, a great heel that could make you want to smack him in the jaw or the never-say-die face that we couldn’t help but love." – Sean Bryce
"There's a reason he's called The Showstopper, The Main Event, The Headliner, The Icon and Mr. WrestleMania. He has earned every single one of those nicknames by putting on performances we will never ever forget. He has put on countless classic matches with his unique, awe-inspiring style." – IMissMarkingOut
"His career reminds me of Andre Agassi in tennis. He underachieved for so much of his younger career that by the time he became fully dedicated to his craft, he left you wondering what could have been if he had been this way all along." – Nathan Dugas
He became famous for doing what every person ever wanted to do...beating the hell out of your boss with a smile on your face. Here’s a great example!
He is the face of the Attitude Era, a six-time World Champion, a two-time United States Champion, a six-time Tag Team Champion, a three-time Royal Rumble winner, the winner of the 1996 King of the Ring and he received 71 votes from the IWC.
The "Texas Rattlesnake" took the WWE, then WWF, on his shoulders and helped Vince McMahon put Ted Turner out of business.
From 1997 until he took time off in November 1999, fans flocked to their TVs weekly to see what Stone Cold would do next and as a result he won PWI's "Most Popular Wrestler of the Year" in 1998, Wrestling Observer's "Best Box Office Draw" in 1998 and 1999 and “Feud of the Year” from 1997 to 1999.
After his return in September 2000, he never fully recreated what he had accomplished in the previous years but he still kept the fans on their toes until he retired from active competition after WrestleMania XIX in 2003.
Since then. he's made sporadic appearances including a stint as co-general manager and host of Monday Night Raw in 2010.
In 2009, he headlined the WWE Hall of Fame class and made an appearance the night after his induction to have a celebratory beer bash at WrestleMania 25.
Readers Thoughts on Stone Cold Steve Austin:
"Arguably the most important wrestler in the history of the sport due to what came with him. He ushered in the Attitude era and made wrestling about as awesome and profitable as someone could make it even if it was not all done intentionally. He benefited from some of the best stories that WWE has ever come up with and delivering must watch television every time he came on." – Nathan Dugas
"Stone Cold was easily the most important wrestler in WWE history. Even his as a GM and not in the ring did more for wrestling than HHH, in or out of the ring, who was being pushed as the biggest "Superstar" at that time." – Raymond Williams
"Austin -> Stunner -> Roof flies off -> Beer Bash." – Jason Allisen
The moment the lights go out and the gong rings you know you're about to see a wrestler like no other.
Whether you refer to him as “The Phenom”, “The American Badass”, “The Deadman” or “The Prince of Darkness,” The Undertaker has been a staple of professional wrestling since his WWF debut during the 1990 Survivor Series and you, the IWC, have agreed by awarding him with 60 votes placing him in 4th place.
In the 20 + years since his debut he has been one of the most dominate wrestlers who have ever stepped foot in a wrestling ring.
Although he hasn't won as many championships as some of the other legendary wrestlers, he has still accomplished one thing no one else ever has...the illustrious 18-0 record at WrestleMania.
For a man his size, people would assume he'd be more about power wrestling than athletic ability...but they'd be wrong! Watch this clip to fully understand! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLcJjOwE39s&feature=related)
The Undertaker has won 3 PWI (Match of the Year) awards, one with Mankind in 1998 and 2 with Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 25 and 26.
Numerous gimmick matches have been invented to go along with his character, these include the Buried Alive Match, Casket Match, Hell in a Cell (which him and Shawn Michaels were awarded with a "5 star award" from Dave Meltzer for the inaugural match) and the Last Ride Match.
Throughout his career, he has been involved in some of the most important and popular storylines of wrestling history. His feuds with Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Vince McMahon, his brother Kane, Brock Lesnar and countless others have always kept fans tuned in to see what would happen from week to week.
The man playing The Undertaker, however, is the one who gets little recognition. Mark Calaway has not only entertained fans for decades and put his body through more pain than anyone should ever have go through, but it's what he does backstage that counts.
Mark Calaway/The Undertaker is the known locker room leader who the new kids look up to and seek advice from and who the smartasses and trouble makers avoid at all costs.
Reasons like this is why when he decides to finally retire off into the sunset, it will be on his terms and will most likely result in a Hall of Fame induction the following year for not only him, but hopefully his longtime manager Paul Bearer as well.
Readers Thoughts on The Undertaker:
"What can you can about the man with the best gimmick of all time? He debuted with WWE in 1990,originally he thought he would get stuck with the role of the Gobbledy Gooker, but instead became the Deadman we all know and love (and sometimes fear)." and that "When he calls it quits, the wrestling world will never be the same again." – IMissMarkingOut
"Over time, I understood the importance of his legacy. If we think clearly, the Undertaker was never the top face of the company, but he was always a main eventer who remained loyal to WWE and that helped establish some stars." – Ana Moreira
"Ministry Taker was awesome, him and the song he came out with." – John Fazio
It's apparent that we have a lot of “Jerichoholics” here...I must confess...I'm one, too! Out of every wrestler in the world, you the fans gave Y2J fifth place on this list with 54 votes.
Although he may not be as big as some of the other main event stars, Jericho has accomplished more than most wrestlers ever will. He is a six-time World Champion, a nine-time Intercontinental Champion (most reigns ever), a six-time Tag Team Champion and a two-time "Wrestler of the Year."
Not only is Jericho a phenomenal wrestler (he is "The Man of 1004 Holds"), but he is one of the very best ever at well...talking! The Wrestling Observer Newsletter awarded him "Best on Interviews" for the 2000s.
During a promo or interview, not only could he get himself over but he could get his opponent over with only a few words. As a result, some of the most memorable promos in wrestling history include Chris Jericho.
He could take what was a lackluster storyline and make it compelling with his promos or facial expressions. Here’s a great example of Jericho’s skills.
After two years away from the ring, Jericho made his return in November 2007 and picked up right where he left off…running his mouth and backing up every word.
Although he was a heel for most of his second run with WWE, it was undoubtedly his best work and I’m curious as to what he could pull off if and when he returns…
He may be gone from wrestling right now, but he'll always be welcomed back by his legion of Jerichoholics.
Readers Thoughts on Chris Jericho:
"The best in the world at what he does." – Diego Gomezzjurado
"His hilarious promos back in WCW were one of the main reasons I watched Nitro and was the beginning of my Jericoholicism. While I still think his promos are some of the best out there and his ring skills are still decent the last time I saw, I hope he doesn't become another Flair in terms of staying on 20 years past his prime." – Otto Funk
"The Ayatollah of Rock 'n' Rolla is without a doubt the best in the world at what he does. For someone who has 1,004 holds,you'd figure he would have accomplished even more,but there's something special about this man that separates him from the rest." – IMissMarkingOut
With 39 votes, Kurt Angle is the sixth most popular wrestler according to the IWC...It's true...It's damn true!
Kurt Angle is the first Olympic Gold Medalist turned professional wrestler. Up until his departure from WWE, Kurt was known as one of the most loyal and dedicated guys in the company.
In his eight years working for WWE, his character developed from a coward who would hide behind his gold medals to a wrestling machine that was not afraid of anyone or anything.
Angle is an 11-time world champion, the 2000 King of the Ring and was voted "Wrestler of the Decade" for the 2000s. His match with Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania XIX is considered one of the best of both their careers.
Upon his debut in TNA, he went right after the submission machine Samoa Joe. The two feuded off and on for a few years and gave the fans some memorable moments and matches.
He's a big reason that TNA is starting to gain ground on WWE. It'll be a while before they're a legitimate threat to WWE but without Angle they'd most likely still be in 2006.
Although he’s mostly only been a coward or very serious, when given the opportunity he can be very funny and entertaining like when he battle-rapped John Cena.
Rumors are going around that when Angle's contract with TNA expires this year he may be heading back to where he started....but only time will tell.
Readers Thoughts on Kurt Angle:
"When he steps into the ring, you know he will lay it all on the line for the fans and show why he's one of the best technical wrestlers of all time, if not the best." – IMissMarkingOut
"When he steps into the ring, you know he will lay it all on the line for the fans and show why he's one of the best technical wrestlers of all time, if not the best." – King Prince
"Best technical wrestler of all time." – Brandon Hamblen
"Has it all, great mic skills, great ring skills and seems to actually care about the business. I just wish he could get out of TNA entirely, or at least get some decent storylines and not have to be put in this stupid dog and pony show with Jarrett and his "family." – Otto Funk
Are you ready??? Well...I guess you guys are since you voted Triple H into seventh place with 35 votes!
Some people may call him overrated or say he slept his way to the top, but there's no denying his ability to manipulate the crowd to love him or hate him.
He was named both "Most Hated Wrestler" of the 2000s and the "Most Overrated Wrestler" of all time. He’s also a very good wrestler who’s capable of putting on great matches from time to time.
Don’t forget, before his pairing with Stephanie McMahon in late 1999 he was one of the top guys already (whether he would remain like that we’ll never know) but nonetheless he was making a name for himself and quite frankly…you can’t choose who you fall in love with!
As a 13-time World Champion, 2002 Royal Rumble Winner and the 1997 King of the Ring, Triple H (overrated or not) has his name in the history books as one of the "greatest" wrestlers of all time.
Aside from all of his championship accomplishments Triple H is also one of the founding members of one of the most controversial/popular groups of all time...D-Generation X, together with his real life best friend Shawn Michaels, they helped transition the WWF from the kid-friendly heel vs. face to a much racier adult-orientated product.
Don’t forget the fact that despite having pull behind the scenes, he’s also helped catapult a good amount of wrestlers to the top.
With rumors going around that he's set to retire after WrestleMania this year, perhaps we won't see the last of him...perhaps he'll come back... as an authority figure???
Readers Thoughts on Triple H:
"People always try to say that HHH slept his way to the top but that simply not true. Between 1997-2004 I don't was any better heels than him, and I'm talking about WCW, ECW and any other company you want to name." – Theo Kabala
"HHH was named the most overrated wrestler and for good reason. Limited moves, weak finisher, and no personality outside of his DX gimmick. His boring promos led to the downfall of wrestling." – Raymond Williams
"He has been in awesome matches: vs. The Rock ladder match at SummerSlam late 90s, Hell in a Cell vs. HBK Bad Blood, WrestleMania match vs Undertaker, Royal Rumble 2000 vs. Cactus Jack, last man standing vs. HBK Royal Rumble 2004, SummerSlam vs HBK, Judgment Day 2000 iron match vs. The Rock. There's just a few from top of my head." – Zak Thompson
The Icon is arguably the greatest modern day wrestler to have never worked for Vince McMahon. I'd bet almost anything that if he had, he'd be much higher up on this list, but nonetheless, Sting has received 22 votes, which qualifies him for eighth place on this list.
During his days with WCW, Sting was one of the most respected and popular wrestlers, having won the PWI "Wrestler of the Year award four times (1991, 1992, 1994 & 1997).
He is one of the few wrestlers who not only are phenomenal in the ring but also on the microphone.
Since WCW folded back in 2001, Sting has still been able to remain in the public eye by working off and on for the up-and-coming TNA since 2003.
In his 25-plus year career, Sting has compiled a list of accomplishments that not many can or will ever rival. He's a 13-time World Champion, a four-time Tag Team Champion and a recipient of a "five-star" award for his participation in the 1992 WarGames.
If there's any wrestler to have never stepped foot in a WWE ring that deserves to be in their Hall of Fame it's Sting, not only because of his outside accomplishments but because of what he did and continues to do for the business.
Readers Thoughts on Sting:
"When I started to watch wrestling, WCW didn’t exist anymore and I only started to care more about TNA about 2 years ago. However my interest for wrestling made me search the legend of Sting before that, and he quickly became one of my favorites. I like his dark persona, but especially his promos and in ring style." – Ana Moreira
"Forget Goldberg and his Superman with no Kryptonite persona; Sting was the franchise for WCW and I honestly believe it was the company’s reluctance to push Sting as an equal or even a true adversary to Goldberg that could be contributed as much as a factor as any other to why that company failed. Sting was truly an original character (even if his face paint is inspired by The Crow) he had been loyal to the WCW throughout his tenure there and seemed to handle everything with class even if he didn’t get all the calls that many felt he should have. As oppose of course to the WCW Stone Cold meets 80s Hulk Hogan rip off who like Bieber was nothing but a fad." – Nathan Dugas
"Sting can lead a company and be a force with promos and in the ring" – Jacob Forrester
"Sting is my favorite wrestler because i think he is just the greatest gimmick ever. And a personality that is so easy to love and respect, stings story outside the ring is also an inspiration to millions. Even early days when he was the colorful guy with the bleach blond hair he was having classic matches with ric flair. My favorite point of Sting and my favorite ever character when he took on the NWO, and I personally think he is underrated for he’s work in TNA some of he’s promos they are BRILLIANT." – Sean Bryce
With 21 votes, the "Straight Edge Superstar" has grabbed ninth place.
There have been various debates as to what the "CM" part stands for. Mr. Punk has even tossed out a few possible meanings behind it (Charles Manson, Cookie Monster, Chuck Mosley and Cliff Montgomery) but I don't think there will ever be definite meaning for it and I kind of like that, it leaves a little bit of mystery to the imagination.
No matter what it stands for, though, there's no debating that CM Punk is one hell of a performer. His mic skills are unmatched by most wrestlers today and his in-ring ability speaks for itself.
He signed with WWE back in the fall of 2005 and quickly rose up the ranks. He's a two-time Money in the Bank winner (only man to do so), a four-time World Champion and a recipient of a "Five-Star” award against Samoa Joe back in 2004.
At only 32 years old, Punk still has a long time to go before thinking about hanging up his boots but in the short time he's been around, he's quickly won the fans over.
He has a certain quality about his character that not many wrestlers have the ability to pull off (being such a ruthless sarcastic heel that the fans love). Click here for video.
Readers Thoughts On CM Punk:
"The new Jericho" – Deigo Gomezjurado
Brandon Hamblen compared CM Punk to Arn Anderson and adding "he's the whole package."
King Prince named CM Punk "cashing in the MITB briefcase for the first time" as one of his favorite moments.
This list just wouldn't feel complete without "The Best There Is, The Best There Was and The Best There Ever Will Be."
When most people nowadays hear the name Bret Hart they automatically think of the famous "Montreal Screwjob." But let's not focus on the bad and instead focus on the good!
The Hitman has grabbed the 10th spot on this list with 20 votes (not bad for a guy who hasn't wrestled full time in over a decade).
During his 20-plus year career, no other wrestler was more loved and respected than Bret Hart. He had a no nonsense attitude, always defended the fans and did what he believed was right.
During his early years and towards the end of his career, Bret was a part of the "Hart Foundation" which started off as a tag team that consisted of him and his real life brother in-law Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart. They found moderate success together (winning the Tag Team Championships twice).
Then in 1997 Bret reformed the Hart Foundation (now called The "New" Hart Foundations) with Niedhart, but this time they added Bret's brother Owen and other brother in-law The British Bulldog.
Unlike years past where The Hart Foundation was a baby face team, this time they were anti-Americans who hated how Bret was being treated compared to the rebel Stone Cold Steve Austin.
During this incarnation at one point or another every single championship (except for the women's) was held by members of the New Hart Foundation.
It was during his singles career, however, that Bret gained his greatest success.
Bret is an eight-time World Champion, the only five-time United States Champion, the winner of the 1994 Royal Rumble (shared with Lex Luger) and the only two-time King of the Ring winner (1991 & 1993).
He's also participated in two "Five-Star" matches (vs. Owen Hart at SummerSlam 1994 and vs. Steve Austin at WrestleMania 13). He's also won three "Match of the Year" awards (1992, 1996 & 1997) and the "Comeback of the Year" award in 1997. In 2006, he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by his on-screen rival Stone Cold Steve Austin.
He certainly has the accomplishments and reputation to back up his claim that he is "The Best There Is, The Best There Was and The Best There Ever Will Be."
Readers Thoughts on Bret "The Hitman" Hart:
Nick P. Noted that he "Hated the good guy Bret Hart."
11. Randy Orton (19 Votes)
12. (Tie) Edge (14 votes)
12. (Tie) Kane (14 Votes)
12. (Tie) Mick Foley (14 votes)
15. Jeff Hardy (12 votes)
16. (Tie) Eddie Guerrero (11 Votes)
16. (Tie) Ric Flair (11 Votes)
18. (Tie) Chris Benoit (10 votes)
18. (Tie) Hulk Hogan (10 Votes)
20. (Tie) AJ Styles (9 votes)
20. (Tie) Randy Savage (9 votes)
20. (Tie) Rob Van Dam (9 votes)
23. (Tie) Christian (8 Votes)
23. (Tie) Goldberg (8 Votes)
23. (Tie) John Cena (8 Votes)
26. Vader (6 votes)
27. (Tie) Booker T (5 votes)
27. (Tie) Brock Lesnar (5 votes)
29. (Tie) John Morrison (4 votes)
29. (Tie) Rey Mysterio Jr. (4 votes)
31. (Tie) Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka (3 votes)
31. (Tie) Kevin Nash (3 votes)
31. (Tie) Matt Hardy (3 votes)
31. (Tie) Mr. Perfect (3 votes)
31. (Tie) Scott Hall (3 votes)
36. (Tie) Big Show (2 votes)
36. (Tie) Bruno Sammartino (2 votes)
36. (Tie) Carlito (2 votes)
36. (Tie) Daniel Bryan (2 votes)
36. (Tie) Dean Malenko (2 votes)
36. (Tie) Dick The Bruiser (2 votes)
36. (Tie) Kofi Kingston (2 votes)
36 (Tie) Sycho Sid (2 votes)
44. (Wrestlers with only 1 vote)
Alberto Del Rio
Big John Studd
Davey Boy Smith
Diamond Dallas Page
George “The Animal” Steele
The Great Muta
Jake “The Snake” Roberts
John “Bradshaw” Layfield
King Kong Bundy
Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat
The Ultimate Warrior
"Randy Savage was awesome. Especially in the Slim Jim commercials." - John Fazio
"This choice is controversial, but I don ‘t think that his life should interfer with his legacy. He was one of the best tecnical wrestlers EVER, period. However, I also liked Benoit a lot as a person. When Eddie died (one of my favourites, though he won’t make this list) I was more heartbroken with Chris reactions than anything else. I liked Benoit so much, that one of my turtles had his name." - Ana Moreia
"The Flair of way back in the day when he actually was a limousine ridin', jet flyin', wheelin' dealin', kiss stealin' son of a gun and was the best in the world. While he'll always be one of my favorites and is one of the biggest reasons I became a wrestling fan some 30 years ago, it sort of saddens me to see him become a shell of his former self over the past 10-15 years." - Otto Funk
"Bryan Danielson may very well surpass both Punk and Angle in my list but only time will tell, he hasn't been given the proper exposure to become truly great yet." - Milk Sparks
"AJ is a great wrestler, good promo, and the reason TNA is on TV." - Jacob Forrester
"Vader was a great heel in WCW battling with Sting. Shame he never got the same push in the WWE. He could have done more." - Raymond Williams
About Arn Andreson, "Coined the term Four Horsemen. Amazing promos, but better in the ring." - Brandon Hamblen
About Booker T, "you just need to hear the intro to his theme and you know that this guy is awesome." - Theo Kabala
About Edge, "From his days with Christian and their classic promos,to winning the first MITB and launching an era of Rated R which gave an Attitude Era feel to the WWE. He is an 11 time world champion and a 14 time tag team champion(7 with Christian). He has nothing left to prove except maybe a classic Wrestlemania moment for when he retires." - IMissMarkingOut
About Kevin Nash, "Remember the days when he was partners with Shawn? Invading wcw with hall? The nwo? My favourite group ever he lead WOLFPACK, and a damn funny guy on the mic. + He broke that Goldberg’s STUPID ass winning streak lol." - Sean Bryce
About The Sandman, "I loved him, his style his drunken behaviour, everything." - Diego Gomezjurado
About Scott Hall, "He's a mess, I know, but he made wrestling cool." - Chase Batson
About Trish Stratus, "Greatest Diva of all time. Man was she smokinnnn." - Nick P
What are your thoughts?
Anything you think should be different?
Let the debating.....begin!