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Opinion Piece: Top 5 Wrestlers Of All Time
A highly opinionated topic. A list that changes from person to person. Some names appear on all lists while rare and interesting choices occupy others. SuplexMachine loves lists and with this first Opinion Piece, the team here will list our top 5 wrestlers of all time. There has been superstars that have entertained, took our breath away, and captured our imaginations. Let’s see who the team thinks are the best of the best:
1) Shawn Michaels – The ultimate package. Shawn could play the best heel or face on the roster and make any story worth investing into. He put on some of the best matches in wrestling history and kept me on the edge of my seat for a lot of them. Favorite match: Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle (WrestleMania 21)
2) Bret Hart – The sheer image of excellence in the ring. Bret was the best technical wrestler in wrestling history. It is a complete shame we never got to see Bret vs. Kurt Angle at their primes. However, we did get some of the greatest matches out of the Hitman including some classic WrestleMania matches. Favorite match: Bret Hart vs. Stone Cold (WrestleMania 13)
3) Ric Flair – Flair was one of the guys that brought wrestling out of the territorial days and into the limelight. Ric oozed presence and could command a crowd with near unmatched efficiency. One of the best mic and ring workers, Ric Flair is one of the best that has ever stepped foot inside the squared circle. Favorite match: Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat (WrestleWar 1989)
4) Randy Savage – Another technical marvel, Savage could turn any match into a main event and make the build up extremely intense. His feuds with Jake Roberts and Ricky Steamboat are among my favorite. Favorite Match: Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat (WrestleMania 3)
5) Steve Austin – The Rattlesnake brought wrestling in a completely new direction and introduced a much needed attitude in a dry time. Austin is perhaps the most loved wrestler in history. No matter what he did, the crowd was always behind him. You just couldn’t hate the guy. You wanted to tune in every week just to see what he would do to Vince. While not the best wrestler ever, his mic work, intensity, and attitude made him one of the greatest. Favorite match: Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart (WrestleMania 13)
1) Shawn Michaels – Ron said it: the complete package. I haven’t seen anyone come close to Michaels. If he was in baseball, he’d be a five-tool player. He could do everything. Favorite match: Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart (Wrestlemania 12)
2) Bret Hart – Quite possibly the best technical wrestler to ever step into the ring. The excellence of execution. What else needs to be said? Favorite match: Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels (WrestleMania 12)
3) Ric Flair – The Natch-ah Boy! Wow. A member of the greatest collection of wrestlers – The Four Horsemen. His charisma brought wrestling out of the territories and into a whole new level. Favorite match: Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat (NWA taped event, June 15th 1977)
4) Randy Savage – So many people tuned in to see him just get married! That is unheard of. His matches with Steamboat and feuds with Jake “The Snake” and Flair… whew. High flyer, technical greatness, and a whole tier to himself for personality. Favorite match: Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat (WrestleMania 3)
5) Hulk Hogan – As much as I hate to say this, because he is NOT a good wrestler, but Hulk Hogan carried wrestling on his shoulders. I challenge anyone to name another wrestler who is known more than Hogan. Favorite match: Since I can’t bring myself to pick a Hogan match that I would call ‘good’, I never rooted for him in my life, I’m going to go with a Hogan ‘moment’. When he turned on Savage and joined the nWo.
1) Shawn Michaels – Can’t argue with #1. The Heartbreak Kid’s body of work includes classic after classic, clashing with idols like Hogan, Austin, Bret Hart, and Taker. There were times when he was the most beloved wrestler in the business, and times when he was the most reviled, and how many guys can play both ends of the spectrum as well as he did? They didn’t call him The ShowStopper because they felt like it. Favorite Match: HBK vs Undertaker, Wrestlemania 25
2) Bruno Sammartino – The Triple H of his time. How can we forget a man who, back in the extra W days of the WWWF, had two title reigns that totaled over ELEVEN YEARS, including the longest reign in WWE history (2803 days)? Bruno was a brawler that took zero crap from anyone. Hell, when Dr. Bill Miller tried to shoot on him, Bruno got so pissed he hit Miller with a front face-lock that bloodied his nose and rendered him unconscious. As a child, whenever my grandfather would see me watching WWF in the living room, he’d come up to me and say “these aren’t wrestlers, Bruno Sammartino was a WRESTLER.” That has to mean something. Favorite Match: Sammartino vs Randy Savage, Lumberjack Match for the IC Title
3) Hulk Hogan – While wrestling was plenty popular in the early to mid 80s, one man put the entire industry on his shoulders and delivered them to the spotlight: The Hulkster. For his entire career, fans hung on his every move as if their lives depended on it. Hogan sent WWF’s popularity into the sky, then defected to WCW and carried that organization just the same. Watch the video of Hogan creating the nWo. What other wrestler could cause that kind of reaction? None. Hogan is to professional wrestling what The Beatles were to rock and roll: a catalyst of greatness. Wrestling wouldn’t be the same without him. Favorite Match: Hulk Hogan vs Sgt. Slaughter, Wrestlemania VII
4) Steve Austin – Once Hogan left, the WWF was sorely missing its next big thing…until King of the Ring 1996, when “Austin 3:16” was born. Stone Cold became the face of the Attitude era as a foul-mouthed, beer-swilling son-of-a-bitch. You never quite knew what Austin would do next, whether he was throwing title belts into rivers or spraying down the boss and his family with beer. His clashes with Vince McMahon are the stuff of legend; there hasn’t been a storyline like since. Many fan favorites rose from the Attitude era, but there’s no denying that Stone Cold WAS the Attitude era. Favorite Match: Stone Cold vs Shawn Michaels, Wrestlemania 14
5) Undertaker – 19-0 at Wrestlemania. A career that spans over 20 years and three eras. What more can be said about The Phenom? One of the most versatile, athletic big men to step into the ring. Undertaker would amaze with his top rope-walking moves and imposing demeanor. Ever been in an arena that Taker was walking into? Have you experienced the sound of the gong and the darkness live? The chills that Undertaker can create just by walking into a room are incredible. Furthermore, some of the best promos of all time have come from this timeless character (building the casket in the shop, the crucifixion, and more). He may not have been the most frequent champion, and his short-lived biker character was weak, but Undertaker’s impact on the sport cannot be denied. Favorite Match: Undertaker vs Mankind, King of the Ring 1998
1) Shawn Michaels – I know, everyone said it, but, who can blame them? The man has everything you need in wrestling to be the greatest of all-time. Not to mention the fact that he has wrestled so many HOF’ers and future HOF’ers that it makes your head spin. In the mid 90’s before the Stone Cold era had begun, Shawn Michaels helped carry the WWE and keep it afloat when WCW was starting to lead the ratings. As a performer in ring he is to this day unmatched. On the mic in the top 5 of greatest talkers easily. Entertaining, when isn’t he? Whether it was being just simply HBK, or when he is running with DX, he always kept you entertained. I grew up with Shawn Michaels, and now that he is no longer in the WWE it definitely feels likes somethings missing. Favorite Match: HBK vs Chris Jericho, WrestleMania 19
2) Steve Austin – Austin changed the way you looked at wrestling forever. The arrival of the “attitude era”. The beer drinking, middle finger flying, SOB of the WWE. He along with the Rock, and DX put WWE back on top of WCW to finally end the monday night war. Austin may not have been the greatest in ring performer in the world but he was still one of the best in the business at the time. His microphone skills were phenomenal and his gimmick was fresh. The entertainment factor, unmatched to this day. I cannot say another wrestler has ever entertained me like Stone Cold has. Should he be in the Top 5 all time. HELL YEAH! Favorite Match: Stone Cold vs The Rock, Wrestlemania 19
3) Gorgeous George – I know many people look at me and say: Who? Well Gorgeous George made professional wrestling into what it is today. Without Gorgeous George there would be no gimmick, no storyline, no character. By bringing this new element into the wrestling world he reinvented the entire wrestling world as we know it, eventually stemming into what we know as the WWE today. He came at a golden era of wrestling, where no man was considered a bad wrestler. All of them having a roughneck style. On the microphone he spoke elegantly and made the fans hate him. As he would say “I Don’t Think I’m Gorgeous But What’s My Opinion Against Millions of Others.” Favorite Match : Gorgeous George vs Lou Thesz, NWA 1942 Chicago
4) Hulk Hogan – Let me make this clear, I really didn’t want to put him on my list but, with the impact he made on the business I cannot go without him. Hulk Hogan captured the hearts of men women and children around the world. Everything from movies to tv shows, hogan did it all. Hogan was the first to be not only a pro wrestler, but go into all entertainment. Albeit he was terrible in all of them, but he still did it. His in ring ability was laughable. His mic skills were definitely there though. He could keep the fans interested day in and day out. Favorite Match: (I don’t have one because he never had a good match but) Hogan vs Jericho, Smackdown
5) Ric Flair – WOOOOOOOO!!!! Who doesn’t know Ric Flair? Ric Flair helped wrestling to develop into what it is today by bringing all the territories together. Simply put, no tv time, no media exposure, nothing. Thank you Ric. His in-ring ability is some of the greatest I have ever seen in my life. His mic skills were unmatched, he is the greatest talker of all-time in my opinion. Entertainment factor he had all of it, from the feud with Ricky Steamboat to the heart attack. All of it was pure gold. Favorite match: Ric Flair vs Ricky Steamboat, Any of their matches really.