WWE Power Rankings: Top 10 Masked Wrestlers in WWE History
Sin Cara will be making his debut on WWE television, April 4. Will he be the next Rey Mysterio? Or another Ultimo Dragon?
More than any other major organization in wrestling history, WWE has struggled with how it has used masked wrestlers. There have been major successes, but the vast majority have either been misused or nothing but comedy fodder.
Which end of the spectrum will Sin Cara fall on? Here's a look at the Top 10 Masked Wrestlers in WWE History.
As you will shortly see, there is nothing "top 10ish" about the back end of this list with what they accomplished in WWE.
Agree/Disagree, let yourself be know, if I'm missing someone you feel deserves being mentioned, please let me know. If enough of you agree, I'll change the list.
10. Mr. America
Who is that guy pictured, I have no idea? I've never seen anybody strike a pose like that. What about that Fu Manchu? There's never been a famous wrestler who had one of those, has there? A cookie to the first one who can somehow name the wrestler in the photo...
No. 10 on this list goes out to all the guys and gals who pulled out the mask as part of a storyline.
From the "Machines" of the late 80s, started when Andre the Giant was suspended for missing matches, many men became "Machines" including, Giant Machine (Andre), Hulk Machine (Hulk Hogan), Piper Machine (take a guess), and others, only to end when Andre was reinstated.
In the "original screw job," the Spider Lady "pinned" Wendi Richter, to win the women’s title, it was revealed that the Spider Lady was actually the Fabulous Moolah.
Mr. America just happened to show up shortly after Hulk Hogan was told he'd be forced to sit out the rest of his contract by Vince McMahon. Lasting only a couple of months before he stopped appearing after. In real life Hulk Hogan left the WWE.
Even recently we had the mysterious "Juan Cena," was seen wrestling on house shows, while John Cena was "fired."
9. Los Conquistadores
The original team was made up of José Luis Rivera and José Estrada. Los Conquistadores made their debut in 1987, sporting their snazzy gold full body suits. The team plodded in the low mid-card, losing far more than they ever won.
They made only one appearance on PPV came at the 1988 Survivor Series. In a 20-man, 10-team match, Los Conquistadores actually made it down to the final two teams remaining, before they were defeated by the Powers of Pain,
By 1989, Los Conquistadores slowly faded out of the company.
Only to make their triumphant return over a decade later. Surprisingly, the returning Los Conquistadores looked to be in much better shape, and appeared to act like the team of Edge and Christian.
Coincidentally, just before their return, E&C had been told they wouldn't get another title shot as long as the Hardy Boyz remained Champions.
Los Conquistadores, on a roll, earned themselves a title match at No Mercy in 2000, against the Hardys. Los Conquistadores won their first Championship that night and even got congratulations from E&C, who asked for and giving a title match the next night.
The next night on Raw, Los Conquistadores, with an incapacitated Christian, easily beat Edge to retain the titles. It was then revealed that Los Conquistadores were in fact the Hardy Boyz, who became the champs, and just like that Los Conquistadores were gone again.
8. Último Dragón
Outside of the WWE, he is one of the most accomplished wrestlers in wrestling history. A winner of the J-Crown, holder of over 10 Championships at once, former WCW Cruiserweight and Television Champion. A legend in two different countries.
Yet, when Último Dragón joined WWE, they then preceded to do nothing with him, wasting the legend's talent in less than a year.
Joining SmackDown in 2003, during another period when WWE actually gave a whoop about the Cruiserweight division, Dragón was given a modest push to begin with, which quickly died out.
His only highlight, one would assume, is being able to say he appeared at a WrestleMania. At ‘Mania 20, he appeared in the Cruiserweight Open, which was won by Champion Chavo Guerrero.
7. The Patriot
When Bret Hart turns on America, who do you call? That's right: the Patriot.
As Bret Hart and the Hart Foundation started tearing the good old USA a new one, during the summer of 1997, the Patriot came to its defense, and failed miserably.
Challenging WWF Champion Hart at Ground Zero: In Your House (don't think we'll see that title again), the Patriot tapped out to the Sharpshooter.
A month later, teaming up with Vader to take on Hart and the British Bulldog in a flag match, in the end the maple leaf beat the stars and stripes.
In his final attempt at beating Canada, the Patriot didn't make it to the match, tearing his bicep before Team USA could take on Team Canada at the Survivor Series.
6. The Hurricane
Stand back, there's a Hurricane coming through!
In 2001, Gregory Helms was struggling to find a spot as a member of the "Alliance." At the end of WCW, Helms was the last Cruiserweight Champion. In his first appearance with the WWE (then still WWF), Helms lost his title to Billy Kidman.
Rudderless, with nothing going for him, Helms morphed into the "Hurricane" a superhero. The character got over, and Helms had found his niche.
The Hurricane would have an initial memorable feud with the Rock, which even saw him beat The Rock, with the help of a distraction by "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.
He'd even get a side kick, when Molly Holly joined him, becoming "Mighty" Molly.
Later, Hurricane allowed Rosey to become his "Super Hero In Training" (get it?) the two eventually won the Tag Team Championships, but by the end of 2005, Helms had grown tired of Rosey, and the Hurricane, dropping the costume and moniker.
During his final run with the company on the ECW brand in '09, Helms reverted back to the "Hurricane," but was eventually released from the company.
5. The Blue Blazer
Not wanting to debut him as Bret Hart's younger brother, instead the WWF had Owen Hart come in under a mask, as the "super hero" the Blue Blazer.
In his initial short run from the end of 1988 to early ‘89, the Blue Blazer would appear at both the Survivor Series and WrestleMania 5, losing both contests.
Hart left the WWF in 89, and brought the Blazer with him, eventually losing it though in a "mask" match in Mexico.
It wouldn't be until 1998, that we'd see the return of the Blue Blazer. Hart retired after "injuring" Dan Severn, right after that the Blue Blazer returned. Now a heel, the Blazer railed against the 'attitude" era and its vices.
At the same time, Hart would not admit to being the Blazer, with both Jeff Jarrett and Koko B. Ware dressing as the Blazer and appearing with Hart on camera.
Tragically, Hart would pass away, when appearing as the Blue Blazer a stunt went horribly wrong, and Hart fell to his death.
It's Time, It's Time. It's Vader Time!
Showing you how thin this list is, Big Van Vader becomes the second man to make this list who achieved far more outside of WWE, and then wasn't used properly once joining WWE, but even with that he's still No. 4 on my list.
The "Man they call Vader" made his debut at the 1996 Royal Rumble, making an early splash before being eliminated by Shawn Michaels, a sign of things to come.
Vader's greatest success would come in the summer of ‘96, headlining SummerSlam that year, Vader challenged Champion Shawn Michaels for his title, he'd come up short in the only "Big 4" main event in his run with WWE.
‘97 saw Vader become a babyface, joining forces with another member of this list, the Patriot, to take on the Hart Foundation, before finishing the year in a feud with Goldust.
Nearing the end of ‘98, Vader who had become little more than a glorified "jobber," saw the writing on the wall, and asked for and received his release. He'd head back over to where he became a star, Japan, and enjoy another run of glory.
The Kane you see today is a complete 180, from the man that first appeared back in 1997. Back then, the "long lost brother" of the Undertaker, who was brought in by father Paul Bearer, couldn't talk, had long hair, and wore a mask and body suit, which protected his apparently disfigured burnt face and body.
Oh yeah, I forget, Undertaker killed his parents, and burnt Kane, but they're good now.
Within a year of his debut, Kane was WWF Champion. He may have won it in a "First Blood" match wearing a mask, and it may have only lasted one day, but Kane was Champion, a fact the "E" never failed to let us forget for over a decade, before Kane finally won another.
Over the years, Kane's facade began to slip. First he could talk, then the body suit went away, finally the mask began to shrink, the mouth cover removed, no visible burns, shocker.
Finally Triple H decided it was his goal to completely destroy Kane. First the "Game" found out about "Katie Vick," apparently Kane lived a normal life and had a social life, let's just leave it at that. Then, HHH took Kane's I.C. Title, to unify it with the Heavyweight Title.
Lastly, if hadn't already done enough, he took Kane's mask, surprise he wasn't burnt, it was all in his head, more shockingly, Kane was bald, why he decided he needed a wig is a mystery that still remains.
It was strongly hinted in 2008 that Kane may return to his mask, but that never came to fruition, and instead he tried to take Rey Mysterio's mask.
And, in a bit of a shocker...
If this list included all three of the "Faces of Foley," we'd have a whole other argument, and you'd probably be seeing Mick Foley one slide later, but just on Mankind alone, Foley comes up inches short (and I mean inches short, I'd be lying if I said there weren't periods where I had Mankind penciled in at No. 1)
Debuting in 1996, Mankind had an ongoing memorable feud with the Undertaker, that saw the first ever "Boiler Room Brawl." Paul Bearer dumped Taker, for Mankind. Mankind was one of the first non-giants to get the upper hand on the "Dead Man." The two fought for titles, and had a very famous match, but we'll get to that.
The character of Mankind has reached the far side on both ends of the scale, from sadistic psychopath, who sat in the corner pulling his hair out, to lovable Muppet who pulled a sock out of his pants and shoved it down his opponent’s throat
Mankind was one half of the Rock 'n' Sock connection, and part of the highest rated segment in the history of Monday Night Raw, "This is your life, Rock."
Foley won all three of his WWF Championships as Mankind. He went off the top and through the "Hell in a Cell" as Mankind, and most importantly (bit of sarcasm) was given the first-ever WWF Hardcore Title by Mr. McMahon.
To show how endearing the character was, at Taboo Tuesday in 2005, fans were asked to pick one of the tree "Faces of Foley" for Foley to be in a match, Mankind beat out Cactus Jack and Dude Love, for the fans' vote.
All these almost got Foley the No. 1, almost.
1. Rey Mysterio
Well that leaves us with one obvious choice remaining.
The everlasting proof that size isn't everything. Rey Mysterio has accomplished more at 5'6, than anyone in wrestling history. He's main evented PPV's, won titles on the biggest stage of them all, and beating men like Big Show, Kane, Batista, and so many others that dwarf him in size.
A multiple-time World Heavyweight Champion, Mysterio is also a "Triple Crown" winner, with multiple Intercontinental and Tag Team Championships.
Rey Rey won the 2006 Royal Rumble, and in the process set a longevity record that still stands (1:02:12 official).
All through this Mysterio has worn a myriad of different masks. While at the end of WCW, Mysterio was mask less, and looking like a 10-year-old, since he's joined the WWE in 2002, Mysterio has been back in his trademark mask.
Twice he's put his mask up on the line in the WWE, against Kane and Chris Jericho, both times; Mysterio has thankfully kept the mask (he might look like a teenager by now).
When you put together all that he's accomplishments and achieved, with the physical disadvantage he's at, add in how recognizable his mask is (huge seller for WWE when it comes to merchandise), and I'll give Mysterio the slight nod over Foley.