Nowadays, the emergence of global brands like World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) has also changed the way people perceive amateur wrestling. Things like wrestling shoes, singlets and helmets have become much more popular and even mandatory to be able to perform in this sport.
However, even though there are thousands of wrestlers worldwide, some of them manage to transcend time and imprint themselves in the public’s memory. We asked the internet gods and managed to come up with this list of the 15 best wrestlers of all time.
Debuting as a trash talker to the then-people favorite The Rock, Jericho became one of the best trash talkers the WWE has ever had and he also used some sensational entrance music. In an era of historical figures, he managed to become the first Universal Champion in the company’s history by beating, in the same night, Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock.
Bret ‘’The Hitman’’ Hart
For many people, Bret Hart’s catchphrase – The best there is, the best there was, the best there ever will be – was the best way to describe him. He was a great technical wrestler with arguably the best submission finishing move of all time. However, his promos often felt stiff and not very fluid, which lead to him only being number 14 on the list.
The Ultimate Warrior
Intensity is a very important factor in the ring, and nobody had more than The Warrior. While many wrestlers typically have 10 to 15-minute matches, his usually lasted no more than 3 minutes and his entire career spanned over barely 10 years. However, his impact and character earned him a spot on our list.
Michaels was one of the wrestlers who used backstage influence to further advance his in-ring career. Typically called ‘’The Showstopper’’, his Montreal match with Bret Hart cast a shadow on the earlier part of his career. That being said, Michaels had legendary matches with the likes of Triple H, The Undertaker, Ric Flair and is fully deserving of being one of the best ever.
If you could create the ideal WWE wrestler from scratch, it would look like Randy Orton. Tall, athletic and with a ton of talent, Orton came from a family with a wrestling background and used that to his advantage. Over the years though, he became one of the most recognizable figures in the modern era and he owes that to his work ethic and unique charisma.
Even though he wrestled under several alter-egos, Mick Foley will forever remain in the hearts of the fans for the way he always sacrificed his body for entertainment. His legendary fall of a steel cage at the hands of The Undertaker is, to this day, hard to believe. From Mankind to Dude Love to Cactus Jack, Foley was always a special treat when he walked out in front of a crowd.
“Rowdy” Roddy Piper
Piper was the one who put the word ‘’entertainment‘’ in wrestling, his dramatic speeches making him a promotional hit every time he touched the microphone. From that point on, the ability to talk trash become indispensable to be able to hit stardom. For his role as a pioneer, Roddy Piper is definitely one of the best ever.
“Macho Man” Randy Savage
If you ever watched wrestling as a kid in the 80’s and the 90’s there is a very good possibility that you jumped off a shelf trying to deliver Savage’s trademark elbow from the top rope. His raspy, intense voice combined with his in-ring showmanship made “The Macho Man” a pleasure to watch.
Hogan was another one of the “larger-than-life” figures in the last 2 decades of the 20th century, his shirt-ripping and muscle-flexing being more than enough to get the crowd hyped. Even though his in-ring moves were not extremely complex, the fact that every child wanted to be Hulk Hogan is more than enough to give him a wide berth on this.
Hunter Hearst Helmsley burst out into the wrestling scene as an aristocrat with way better manners than everybody else. Over the years though, he was anything and everything someone could be in this business: world champion, superstar, husband to the company’s heir and later CEO and COO. In terms of influence, Triple H is easily the all-around figure for modern wrestling.
Often referred to as “the modern-day Hulk Hogan”, John Cena made a name for himself with his trademark “Hustle, Loyalty, and Respect”. A 16-time world champion, he might be second to none when it comes to passion in delivering speeches. Even though his naysayers critic his lack of in-ring diversity, Cena’s legions of fans admire his constant dedication to the company.
Woo! “The Nature Boy“ was the definition of showmanship through his entire career with flamboyance and a style that young wrestlers try to replicate nowadays. Add that to the fact that most people have lost count on the number of championships that he held, and you can clearly see why he is one of the most prominent ever to be in this business.
If the lights go out, the gong starts chiming and people are looking around, that’s how you know they are wrestling fans. The Undertaker was one of WWE’s main pillars for 25 years, with a combination of slow walking, eerie music and dark presence that left opponents trembling in fear.
The Deadman also managed to put together a Joe DiMaggio-esque streak of 21 consecutive wins on wrestling’s grandest stage, Wrestlemania, holding a record that will possibly never be broken.
Love him or hate him, Dwayne “The Rock“ Johnson built himself as a great wrestler, actor, and entertainer. With his unparalleled mic skills, larger-than-life charisma and a rising eyebrow, he managed to put on a show every night winning 8 WWE titles in the process. Nowadays, we could probably put him on the list of Hollywood’s greatest actors too.
Stone Cold Steve Austin
Austin’s entrance music is the fundamental sound for an entire generation of wrestling fans. For more than a decade, Stone Cold managed to enrapture audiences with his microphone work and overflowing charisma, while also using one of the most “out-of-nowhere” moves in the business.
Many a superstar received the Stone Cold “Stunner”, one of the best sellers being chairman Vince McMahon and his son Shane. Austin’s raspy voice and volcanic attitude will forever remain in the hearts of wrestling fans around the world.