Pro Wrestling Countdown: The 10 Greatest Performers Of All Time

'Rowdy' Ross RutherfordSenior Analyst IOctober 22, 2008

This is a list compiled to honor ten men who walked to the ring every night to entertain the fans for years and did it better than anyone else. To be a ”Great Performer”; you can't just be good in one aspect. You have to be able to get the crowd involved, you have to be a good “talker” and of course you have to be able to wrestle. All are important.

10. Mick Foley:

He is one of the smartest men to even step in the ring because he knows exactly what the fans want. He always knows what the crowd wants. While the quality of Foley's actual wrestling can be disputed no one can deny that Foley knew how to make a match great with what tools he had. He has been entertaining the fans for around 20 years. He has broken bones, lost teeth, and jumped off anything he could find for our entertainment. Now that is what makes a great performer.

9. The Undertaker:

What made The Undertaker great was the man behind the character. Mark Callaway is very protective of the character he has portrayed for the last 20 years. He has maintained the mystery of The Undertaker which is a major factor in his creditability. Taker has made a point to adapt with the changing times.

For example, when he faces an opponent much larger than him instead of trying to lift them he simply slaps in his submission finisher, the Gogoplata. His talking skills have never been anything special, but taker more than makes up for it. As a “Big Man” taker is not expected to take major bumps, but that is exactly why he does because it is not expected. The Undertaker is a great performer because he can put on a great performance and do it like no one else.

8. Triple H:

If there ever was a man who worked harder to make every show he was on the best show ever it would be Triple H. When he stands on the big stage, with the lights on bright, he makes sure he puts on the best performance of the night and always has succeeded in that. Triple H is the guy the people come to see.

HHH can put on great matches with everyone. He can have great matches with mat wrestlers, high flyers, brawlers, and even the more technical guys like himself. There is no limit to the things Triple H can do in wrestling. Which is why HHH made it on this list.

7. Hulk Hogan:

While you’re reading this you are thinking of one of two things. Either that I have ranked Hogan too high or too low on this “countdown.” Hogan is and will always be the most recognized star in wrestling history and as a performer he is one of the greats, but he is not invincible when it comes down to his actual in ring skills. That is the most important part of being a performer.

Hogan can talk and sell merchandise all he wants to, but when I see him in the ring it makes me really wonder what was so great about him. None the less Hulk Hogan accomplished becoming the most recognizable and most successful wrestler of all of wrestling and will be remembered long after he is gone.

6. Kurt Angle:

Kurt Angle has the technical skill of Bret Hart and the charisma of Curt Hennig. His career has been all about fighting the odds. Taking chances and of course putting on some of the greatest performances in WWE history. The guy has plenty of charisma too. I find him to be one of the funnier guys in wrestling.

While his career will not last as long as others at his level, due to injuries, he will be remembered for being the greatest pure athletes to ever find his way into a pro wrestling ring.

5. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin-

Charisma, attitude, and beer. “Stone Cold” and Mick Foley are very much alike. They hide the fact that they are not the best in the ring with their brilliant mike skills and fierce in-ring style. Austin, however, could have a good match from time to time. He had fantastic matches with McMahon, Bret Hart, HBK, and of course The Rock.

He could get a crowd pumped with one beer and “Stomping a mud hole” in someone and the crowd would go ape s*** for it. He knew how to get the crowd exited and still managed to have an okay ring style. This is where Hulk Hogan failed and Austin succeeded.

4. The Rock:

When it comes to making something feel important The Rock lives on his own level. The Rock is the single most charismatic and entertaining man the WWE has ever seen. Hogan, Austin, and Cena will never be able to match him in there mike skills or in seer charisma and connection with the fans.

The Rock is no slouch in the ring either. He has had classic matches with HHH, Austin, Mankind, and yes, Hulk Hogan. “Rocky” has moved on to bigger and better things and has used his success in wrestling to become a successful actor. A truly great performer no doubt.

3. Ric Flair:

Often considered the greatest to ever walk the aisle, Ric Flair is the one of the most talented talkers and (at one time) the greatest in ring performer in wrestling period. His list of fantastic matches could go on forever and the same can be said with his accomplishments.

Flair had this way of connecting with the audience. He could make them feel his emotion threw his words. He is a great performer and I'm sure we haven't seen the last of “The Nature Boy”.

2. Bret Hart:

When we are talking about pure wrestling Bret Hart is the measuring stick of all wrestlers everywhere. Hart had the benefit of being the son of (in my opinion) the greatest pro wrestling trainer of all time, Stu Hart. The fans adored Hart. He was a more “old school” type of wrestler and when the Attitude Era rolled around Hart seemed out of place. 

He had such a calm demeanor that you never really knew what the guy was thinking or what he might do to his opponent next. He could get a good match out of anyone. He had a Match of the Year with Steve Austin. Bret Hart really is the best there is, the best there was, the best there ever will be.


1. Shawn Michaels:

Shawn Michaels is the “Best All Around” guy. The man can do anything and be brilliant at it. He's got Charisma, Charm (in his younger years), athletic ability, and one hell of a resume. He has out preformed every single star in the WWE and is still going strong after 20 years of “Stopping the Show” even coming back from what was thought to be, a carrier ending injury. Shawn has provin that he is the most talented guy to step into Vince McMahon’s WWE ring and I have to agree with him.

Comment me with your top 10 lists of the greatest performers of all time.