The Top 100 WWE Wrestlers of All Time: 10-1
Graphic by Micheal Robinson (Bleacher Report)
So many wrestlers have graced a WWE ring. Some we barely remember. Others we think about every single day.
If you could break every the best down and put them in a Top 100, who would you list and how would you rank them?
I want to be clear that I am only considering time with CWC (Capitol Wrestling Corp.), WWWF, WWF and WWE. Time spent with other organizations, even if they were an affiliate of WWE, is not being considered on my list.
Wrestlers will be ranked on championships won, charisma, skills, popularity and their overall impact on the WWE landscape.
I know I will take a lot of heat for some of my picks and maybe a lot of praise for some of my picks. This is an opinion article and I am entitled to my own ranking of the wrestlers. I am looking forward to all of your comments and where you would rank these wrestlers.
Also, if I miss out on anybody, let me hear about it.
Follow me on Twitter @nyyrobinson.
Four months ago, I started writing these slideshows.
Starting at 100-91, and posting ten more wrestlers every week or two weeks, I have made it to the final 10.
Number 10 on the list is...
10. Bob Backlund
WWE legend Bob Backlund, who is yet to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, won his first WWF Championship in 1978, by defeating "Superstar" Billy Graham at Madison Square Garden.
Backlund would go on to win the championship on three more occasions, though WWE only recognizes Backlund as a two-time champion.
The master of the "Cross Faced Chicken Wing" submission maneuver was one of the most hated heels of all-time.
Before dropping his championship to Iron Sheik in 1983, Backlund took on and defeated all comers for his WWF Championship. Challengers included Pat Patterson, Ray Stevens, Greg Valentine, Don Muraco, Superstar Billy Graham, Hulk Hogan, Jesse Ventura, Adrian Adonis, Sgt. Slaughter, Dusty Rhodes, The Iron Shiek, Nikolai Volkoff, Victor Rivera, Spiros Arion, Larry Zbyszko, Jimmy Snuka, Mr. Fuji, Mr. Saito, Professor Toru Tanaka, The Masked Superstar, Swede Hanson, Ivan Koloff, Stan Stasiak, Ken Patera, Antonio Inoki, Bobby Duncam, John Studd, Johnny Rodz, Blackjack Mulligan, Charlie Fulton, Iron Mike Sharpe, Killer Khan, Afa, Sika, Johnny Valiant, Jimmy Valiant, Jerry Valiant, The Moondogs, Ric Flair, Harley Race, Nick Bockwinkle, Stan Hansen, Rick Martel, Rene Goulet, Crusher Blackwell, Gorilla Monsoon, Lou Albano, Lord Alfred Hayes, Bob Orton Jr., "Playboy" Buddy Rose, Baron Mikel Scicluna, Baron Von Raschke, Jimmy Garvin, Ron Bass, Tony Atlas, Kevin Sullivan, Dick Murdoch, Peter Maivia, Ernie Ladd, Bulldog Bob Brower, Raymond Rougeau, King Curtis, Killer Kowalski, George "The Animal" Steele and The Original Shiek.
That's a list that includes over 30 Hall of Famers.
Backlund is third on the list of combined days holding the WWF Championship behind Bruno Sammartino and Hulk Hogan with 2,138 days.
9. Macho Man Randy Savage
Another WWE legend that has yet to be inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame as of 2011, "Macho Man" Randy Savage.
The two-time WWF Champion won plenty of matches with his famous "Diving Elbow Drop"; Savage was the personification of cool in the 1980's.
His first WWF Championship win came at WrestleMania IV, when he defeated Ted DiBiase in a tournament final for the vacated belt.
Savage would drop the title to Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania V in the match dubbed "Mega Powers Collide."
Savage wouldn't win the title again until WrestleMania VIII against Ric Flair.
Macho Man is famous for wrestling one of the greatest matches in WrestleMania history against Ricky Steamboat at Wrestlemania III.
Along with his two world title reigns, he was an Intercontinental Champion and the 1987 King of the Ring.
Many wrestling fans long for the day that Vince McMahon and Randy Savage get back on the same page so he can be inducted into the Hall of Fame, where he belongs.
8. Hulk Hogan
Some wrestling fans think that Hulk Hogan is the greatest wrestler in the history of the WWE, while some fans think he is overrated.
It is a long subject that can be talked about and will be talked about for ages.
I have The Hulkster nestled at number eight on my countdown, just inside the top 10.
Hogan was a six-time WWE Champion and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005.
His bodyslam of Andre The Giant at WrestleMania III is still one of the most iconic moments in wrestling history.
All of the young kids of that era looked up to Hogan and listened to every word of "say your prayers and eat your vitamins."
In my honest opinion, you can't dislike John Cena and be a former fan of Hulk Hogan.
Whether you like it or not, Cena is Hogan repackaged. That is being said with no disrespect to either wrestler, because the gimmick works.
Hogan will always be a hero to many people out there, and he deserves this spot on the list of top 100 WWE wrestlers of all time.
7. Bruno Sammartino
Arguably the greatest champion in WWE history, Bruno Sammartino dominated the wrestling world for nearly 30 years.
Sammartino holds a record in the WWE that will never be broken: holding a single WWE Championship for over seven years.
This amazing feat was followed by another reign of four years with the title.
His two WWWF Championship reigns lasted a combined 4,040 days, a record that will last forever.
It is just a shame that Sammartino and Vince McMahon are at odds today, because a lot of newer WWE fans need to learn of this legend. A DVD needs to be released and he needs to be in the Hall of Fame, period.
Sammartino might not agree with today's WWE product, but he is doing himself an injustice by not having his career documented and talked about today.
6. Stone Cold Steve Austin
Entering the WWE as "The Ringmaster," I never thought that this man would be the icon that he is today.
The rough and tough Stone Cold Steve Austin was a fan favorite in the mid to late 90's in the WWE.
His attitude and telling Vince McMahon whatever he wanted to was the epitome of many WWE fans and how they wish they could act in real life.
Austin first won the WWE Championship at WrestleMania XIV when he defeated a beaten up Shawn Michaels, who promptly went on a four-year leave of absence following this match.
Stone Cold went on to become a household name and a six-time WWE Champion.
No moment is more famous in his career than the transition of a regular guy to the birth of Austin 3:16 when he won the 1996 King of the Ring, defeating Jake Roberts in the finals.
Making all of his feats more impressive was his severe spinal cord injury at the hands of Owen Hart at the 1997 Sumerslam event; that would have ended most men's careers—not Austin's.
Instead, Austin returned and won the 1998 Royal Rumble. Austin previously won the 1997 Royal Rumble and another in 2001, the most Rumble wins in WWE history.
Austin was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2009 before WrestleMania 25 in his home state of Texas.
5. Triple H
The Game, Triple H.
You don't have to say much about this guy—his career speaks for itself.
Hunter Hurst Helmsley is a true icon in the WWE and is still an active wrestler as of 2011.
The co-founder of D-Generation X is a 13-time World Champion in the WWE (eight-time WWE Champion, five-time World Heavyweight Champion).
Following his 2002 Royal Rumble victory, Triple H would defeat Chris Jericho for the Undisputed Championship at WrestleMania X8 in Toronto's Skydome in one of his more memorable matches.
Triple H has wrestled an amazing 16-year career in the WWE and he is still adding onto his legacy. At WrestleMania 27 in Atlanta, Triple H will face The Undertaker, who is 18-0 all-time at Wrestlemania.
This will be Triple H's second match against The Undertaker at Wrestlemania, after he lost 10 years ago at Wrestlemania 17.
4. The Undertaker
Breaking into the WWE at the 1990 Survivor Series, The Undertaker strikes fear into his opponents and is one of the most dominant wrestlers in WWE history.
Undertaker is most famous for his WrestleMania streak, which is still alive and well today at 18-0. The streak is, in my opinion, the Holy Grail of professional wrestling.
He first defeated Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka at WrestleMania VII, and then the victories just kept coming.
Let's take a quick look at all of The Undertaker's WrestleMania victims over the years:
WrestleMania VII (1991) - Jimmy Snuka
WrestleMania VIII (1992) - Jake "The Snake" Roberts
WrestleMania IX (1993) - Giant Gonzalez
WrestleMania XI (1995) - King Kong Bundy
WrestleMania XII (1996) - Kevin Nash "Diesel"
WrestleMania XIII (1997) - Sycho Sid
WrestleMania XIV (1998) - Kane
WrestleMania XV (1999) - Big Boss Man
WrestleMania XVII (2001) - Triple H
WrestleMania XVIII (2002) - Ric Flair
WrestleMania XIX (2003) - Big Show & A-Train
WrestleMania XX (2004) - Kane
WrestleMania XXI (2005) - Randy Orton
WrestleMania XXII (2006) - Mark Henry
WrestleMania XXIII (2007) - Batista
WrestleMania XXIV (2008) - Edge
WrestleMania XXV (2009) - Shawn Michaels
WrestleMania XXVI (2010) - Shawn Michaels
The Undertaker will look to keep this streak alive at WrestleMania XXVII in Atlanta on April 3, 2011.
Along with the streak, Taker is a seven-time World Champion (four-time WWE Champion, three-time World Heavyweight Champion).
The Deadman will go down as one of the most memorable wrestlers in WWE history and is a surefire Hall of Famer when it is all said and done.
3. Bret "Hitman" Hart
Along with a lot of people my age, this was my guy when I was growing up.
Bret "Hitman" Hart.
Inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006, Hart was a five-time WWE Champion.
This guy made wearing pink cool in the '90s.
Hart's famous departure from the WWE in 1997, known as the "Montreal Screwjob," put a bit of a damper on his career and legacy.
However, in 2010, Hart returned to the WWE and made amends with everyone involved, as well as Shawn Michaels.
This was important because I think it can close the door on that chapter and open a door to celebrating such an amazing career Hart had.
2. "The Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels
Mr. WrestleMania, The Icon, The Showstopper, The Main Event, The Heartbreak Kid, Shawn Michaels.
Breaking into the WWE in 1998 as one-half of The Rockers, Shawn Michaels eventually broke out into a singles career and took on the moniker of Heartbreak Kid.
On a segment on Brutus Beefcake's Barber Shop show in December of 1991, Michaels superkicked his former partner Marty Jannety and threw him through the glass window in the shop, which was the birth of his new and improved character.
Michaels' "boyhood dreams" finally came true at WrestleMania 12, when he defeated Bret "Hitman" Hart in an Iron Man match, which had to go into sudden death overtime to decide the winner.
In total, Michaels was a four-time World Champion in the WWE (three-time WWE Champion, one-time World Heavyweight Champion).
Michaels was recognized as the first grand-slam champion in WWE history, winning the WWE Championship, Intercontinental Championship, European Championship and Tag Team Championship on at least one occasion.
Michaels retired from the WWE at WrestleMania XXVI, when he was defeated by The Undertaker with his career on the line.
Michaels will headline the 2011 Hall of Fame class in Atlanta.
1. The Rock
The No. 1 WWE wrestler of all time, in my humble opinion, is The Rock.
A third-generation superstar, The Rock followed in his father and grandfather's footsteps to become a WWE wrestler, making his debut at the 1996 Survivor Series.
Two years later, at the 1998 Survivor Series, The Rock defeated Mankind in a tournament final to win his first WWE Championship (pictured).
In total, The Rock is a nine-time World Champion in the WWE (seven-time WWE Champion, two-time World Heavyweight Champion).
The Rock truly "electrified millions," with his athletic skills and catch phrases.
There are so many great years and moments in his career, The Rock could make you laugh or nearly make you cry, catching your heart in an instant.
After the match at WrestleMania 19, The Rock displayed the ultimate sign of good sportsmanship and respect to Steve Austin right in the middle of the ring.
The Rock left the WWE as a full-time wrestler in 2003 during the heart of his prime years to pursue a career in acting, much to the dismay of many fans.
In 2011, he made his return to the WWE and will serve as the guest host of WrestleMania XXVII in Atlanta on April 3.
There will never be another wrestler like The Rock.