25 Favorite Wrestlers
1. Stone Cold Steve Austin
Even though I was already twenty before WWE’s Attitude Era started, I still wanted to grow up to be Stone Cold. After all, who else gets to go to work, drink beer, beat up the boss and be just a regular jack-ass … and get paid??
I have followed Austin since his days in WCW when he was in the Dangerous Alliance. I could see back then that he had the potential to be a great wrestler, but I didn’t think he would go quite as far as he did.
2. Jerry Lawler
Growing up as a wrestling fan around Memphis, you can’t help but love Jerry Lawler. However, Lawler’s booking style left a little to be desired. A couple of years I turned USWA off because they could run down the card for the studio wrestling or the Mid-South Coliseum and I could tell you who would win, how they’d win and who would interfere.
As a wrestler, the one thing I really wish McMahon would have done was allow Lawler to win one of the World titles and hold it for a day. If Vince himself could hold it for a week, he could have allowed Lawler to hold it for a day.
3. Curt Hennig
What more can you say than “Perfect”? Whether it was his WWE run as Mr. Perfect, his AWA heavyweight title reign, tag teaming with Scott Hall, Hennig was the total package. A second-generation wrestler, Hennig exceeded his father’s fame. Hopefully his son, Curtis Axel, will have great success. His 156-day reign as the Intercontinental champion was reminiscent of Curt’s first I-C reign.
Again, if McMahon had allowed him to win the World title once, that would have been a great feather in his cap. However, I don’t remember Hennig even having a title shot against the Ultimate Warrior during either reign. That would have been an amazing match. They had a couple tag teams and a Survivor Series match, but nothing ever for the title. What a shame!
4. Ric Flair
WOOOOOOOO! The sixteen-time World Heavyweight champion’s tagline was the greatest: “Whether you like it, or you don’t like it, learn to love it! Because it’s the best thing going today!”
As the leader of the Horsemen or Legacy, Flair definitely had the ability to instill both love and hate in fans and wrestlers alike. Arguably, Flair was one of the greatest wrestlers ever to enter the squared circle. It isn’t a surprise that he held the World Heavyweight Title in every promotion he actively wrestled.
5. Terry Gordy
As the “big brother” of the Freebirds, he was the one that held everything together. Michael could talk a good game, but it was Terry that had to back up “Freebird Fantasia.”
But the Freebirds isn’t Gordy’s only claim to fame. He was also successful in Japan with Steve Williams and Stan Hansen as tag team partners.
Sting was awesome before the nWo storyline drove him to the rafters. I was never really thrilled with the whole “Crow” gimmick. When he was in UWF and his early years in JCP/WCW, the brighter face paint and cheerful attitude was much greater than the ominous “Big Brother” overlooking the arena.
Wolfpac Sting was a little bit better, but Bischoff and the rest of WCW’s creative team seemed to try to blend the two together.
7. Eddie Gilbert
Eddie Gilbert was a mastermind when it came to booking wrestling matches. He was never really pushed outside of the territories he booked (CWA, UWF, GWF). He had a couple of stints in WWF and WCW, but they never really amounted to much.
Unfortunately, Gilbert’s life was cut short by a heart attack in 1995 in Puerto Rico. His last known televised match was in the second tournament to crown a new NWA World Heavyweight champion on November 19, 1994, which was won by Chris Candido.
8. Big Bubba Rogers
Before he became the Big Boss Man, Ray Traylor was Big Bubba Rogers in the UWF. Rogers was the biggest wrestler in the UWF except for One Man Gang, whom he feuded with in UWF but became tag team partners in WWF after the UWF folded.
Traylor’s gimmick as Big Bubba Rogers was his best gimmick, but it was superseded by his Big Boss Man gimmick. Ah, the early 1990s, when police brutality could be glorfied!! (sarcasm clearly intended) The lowest point in his career was during his feud with Al Snow, where he “fed” Snow his pet chihuahua Pepper. This is still cited as the second-worst thing WWE has ever done.
Who doesn’t stand in awe of the Undertaker? Whether it was any of his gimmicks in WCCW or USWA in his early career, ‘Mean’ Mark Callous as half of the Skyscrapers, or the Dead Man himself, Calloway was a remarkable performer. His 21-match win streak at WrestleMania was one of the greatest feats in all of sports entertainment. While not thrilled that it was Brock Lesnar and not someone like Sting that broke the streak, that match (found in the video section of this page) was still a great match.
The only thing I couldn’t imagine that would happen was Undertaker’s beginning the “Kiss My Ass” club for Vince. That was a terrible idea. However, it still doesn’t make the top ten of worst things WWE has ever done.
10. Great Muta
The next three on my list would be some of the great Japanese wrestlers that got more or less exposure in the United States. The Japanese star that got the greatest American push was Keiji Mutoh, the Great Muta. While he was stylized like Great Kabuki, Muta was definitely his own wrestler.
His greatest feud was against Sting in 1989 and 1990. I wasn’t thrilled overall with the nWo storyline, but then they made an nWo Japan?? Not sure what they were thinking there.
10. Jushin Liger
Jushin Thunder Liger is probably one of the least notorized Japanese wrestlers who had a great run in the US and in Latin America. While not as great a technician Muta, Liger had the charisma that literally made him a Japanese superhero.
His run in WCW as the Cruiserweight champion gave him his greatest boost in the US, but he is still wrestling awesome matches today. One of the greatest matches was in 2016 against Jeff Hardy in North East Wrestling. Those two going at it was well worth scouring the internet for a decent Liger match.