Part 7 of the Top 100 Greatest Wrestlers RE-RANKED Countdown is here with ranks 39 to 30!
Featuring The King of Kings and The Self Proclaimed: Best in the World!
*Wrestling Skills/Abilities - This is a huge part of the judging here, of course it's just common sense really. A wrestler must do his job well at wrestling in his appropriate/preferred style or role. Whether as a technician,brawler,highflyer,etc.
*Accolades/Accomplishments - The more prestige championship belts they have won, the better! We're also taking a look on other accomplishments such as yearly awards from PWI,inductions in Hall of Fames,and the like.
*Charisma - Whether as a babyface or a heel, the wrestler should be able to get the crowd riled up and get them to watch in the match. I included "mic skills" under this category.
*Drawing Ability - One of the biggest jobs of a pro wrestler is filling up the seats and have as much as eyeballs to watch your show on TV. Selling out arenas & PPV's,drawing thousands of people to tune in, it's all part of the judging!
*Longevity - As long as a wrestler had a career for over at least 10 years will be included here.
*Overall Impact - These includes their legacy in the business and impact as a whole to their countries or even to the entire world! Becoming a "household name" if you will.
Also please take note that I'm solely judging them as WRESTLERS and not as members of our society. Hope that is well and clear.
Another thing I wanna point is that this list is 100% MY OWN OPINION, I know a lot of you will disagree with the rankings but hey, we all got our own opinions on who's who should be in a certain spot so if you like, then tell me in the comments below about your own thoughts & opinions!
Jushin "Thunder" Liger
Birthday: November 30,1964
Weight: 209 lbs
Neville might start calling himself the "King of the Cruiserweights" these days but that title truly belongs to Jushin "Thunder" Liger whom I think is the best Junior Heavyweight/Cruiserweight of all time!
Keiichi Yamada is a graduate of the NJPW Dojo, he trained there at the same time with the Three Musketeers (Mutoh,Chono,& Hashimoto.) While also wrestling in Japan, he also wrestled in other countries to improve his skills most notably on All-Star Wrestling in England and Stampede Wrestling in Canada.
The year 1989 is when the character Jushin "Thunder" Liger was born in the world of wrestling, inspired from the anime with the same name. Liger quickly rose to fame not only because of his amazing high flying and technical wrestling skills but his overwhelming charisma as well!
He won his first IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship in May 25,1989 beating Hiroshi Hase. He would held the belt a record 10 more times with a total of 11 reigns beating numerous talented cruiserweights not only in Japan but around the world!
Another one of Liger's highlights in his career was winning the J-Crown Tournament having able to held 8 different Junior Heavyweight Championship belts all at once a similar feat to Great Sasuke & Ultimo Dragon who were also on this countdown earlier on.
Liger got more famous in the USA when he started to wrestle in WCW during the 90's. He was able to become the WCW World Light Heavyweight Champion defeating Brian Pillman for the belt. Liger also had notable runs for years to come in different promotions such as ROH,NOAH,TNA,CMLL,and many more promotions in the USA!
His first and only match so far with the WWE was in July 16,2015 participating in the NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn event defeating Tyler Breeze.
In his illustrious 32 year career, Liger managed to held 10 different Junior Heavyweight Championships in different promotions. He also had quite a decent tag-team run becoming a 6x IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag-Team Champion.
Liger has also received numerous awards over the years such as multiple 5 Star Matches and even had a Match of the Year in 1990. He still continues to share his wrestling skills around the world and isn't planning to stop any time soon! Truly a man ahead of his time.
Fun Fact: Liger's first and only MMA bout was against Minoru Suzuki as a last minute replacement since the original opponent: Kensuke Sasaki dropped out due to injury. Liger didn't really do well as he quickly submitted in a rear-naked choke 1:48 mins into the match.
From: Long Island,New York
Weight: 287 lbs
If there is a man who put his body on the line so many times just to entertain the fans and for his passion in pro wrestling, look no further than Mick Foley!
Mick Foley was trained by former World Tag-Team Champion: Dominic DeNucci who also trained Shane Douglas. Things didn't start well for Foley as he first wrestled in multiple territories as a jobber under multiple names from "Jack Foley" to "Cactus Jack Manson."
He finally got his big break in 1991 when he wrestled under the name "Cactus Jack" in WCW. He debuted by attacking then World Champion: Sting which was a big deal! He feuded with Van Hammer & Abdullah the Butcher and even faced Sting at one point for a non-title match which Foley considers as one of his best matches of all time!
Later on he would have one of his most famous feuds against Big Van Vader in 1993. Probably the most well known highlight of this feud was during a match against Vader, Foley loss his left ear after having some problems with the ring ropes, he underwent surgery to re-attached his ear.
In 1994 he departed ways with WCW and began wrestling for ECW,Smokey Mountain Wrestling,and multiple Japanese promotions. He helped popularised "death matches" in Japan and had a lot of those with his good friend Terry Funk! He also had a successful tag-team run with Mikey Whipwreck in ECW, they were able to hold the ECW World Tag-Team Championships twice!
1996 is where it all began though as Mick Foley signed with the WWF and began wrestling as "Mankind." The biggest feud of Foley as Mankind was we all know is The Undertaker. I think the biggest moment of Foley's career was in 1998 in the Hell in a Cell match against The Undertaker where he fell off the 20 feet cage.... not once, but twice!
It's definitely one of the most unforgetable moments in all of wrestling history! He also made history with Mankind as him and Taker had the very first Buried Alive Match in 1996. Foley also wrestled as Cactus Jack and later on introduced "Dude Love" and thus the "Three Faces of Foley" were born.
One of my all time favorite Royal Rumble moments was in 1998 when Foley entered the rumble with all three of his personas! Foley also had a lot of successful tag-team runs during the 90's as he was able to become an 8x World Tag-Team Champion with different partners such as Stone Cold,Kane,Chainsaw Charlie,and Al Snow.
But my favorite tag-team run of his was with The Rock where they were known together as "The Rock N' Sock Connection" they held the World Tag-Team Titles three times and is still one of the best duos during the Attitude Era! He also had non-wrestling roles during his run with the WWE in the 90's such as being the "commisioner" for a while.
The 90's proved to be Foley's best decade of his career once again because during this timelien he was able to become a 3x WWF World Heavyweight Champion! Although all of his 3 reigns were short (in fact they all just total into 47 days, with his 3rd reign being only a day) it is still a great accomplishment and a true highlight of his career!
In 2001 though he left the company and started wrestling and doing appearances in the indies. He had numerous appearances for ROH and some ECW reunion shows, he also had a match in Japan for the Triple Crown Championship where he was defeated by Toshiaki Kawada. He would make a surprise return in the Royal Rumble 2004 and would return full-time with the WWE in 2005 and started portraying a "hardcore legend" gimmick.
Then in 2008 he left WWE once again and was signed by TNA. Foley had quite the decent career in TNA in terms of accolades as he was able to become a TNA World Heavyweight Champion defeating Sting and just a few months later would lose it to Kurt Angle. He also held the TNA King of the Mountain Championship for a short period of time. Other than that though, Foley didn't really had a memorable career in TNA, in my opinion.
After his run with TNA in 2010, Foley went back to the indies and in 2011 wrestled his "final match" in Juggalo Championship Wrestling of all promotions! He teamed up with Terry Funk one last time to main event their "Legends and Icons" event where they got defeated by the team of "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and "Cowboy" Bob Orton. But Foley's official "last match" was in the Royal Rumble 2012 participating in the Rumble match.
He officially retired in 2012 and the next year got inducted into the WWE HOF. Since the Brand Split of 2016, Foley became the General Manager of RAW and to be honest, this is a bad performance from him in comparison to his earlier authority roles in the 90's mainly because of his age.
But with his current role aside, Mick Foley is not just a hardcore legend, but a true WRESTLING Legend. Whether you like his style or not, you gotta give this man the respect he deserves for everything that he did for our entertainment!
P.S. Have A Nice Day!
Fun Fact: Mick Foley was in the crowd during the Jimmy Snuka vs Don Muraco match where Snuka jumped off the 15 feet high steel cage which made Foley a fan of wrestling!
Birthday: November 14,1924
Death: December 15,1963
From: South Hamgyong,Korea
Weight: 240 lbs
No one can argue when I say that Rikidozan was the most important figure in Puroresu history! After all he was the one who invented it.
Mitsuhiro Momota was born in Korea and would later move on to Japan and became a citizen. After retiring in sumo, Momota decided to become a pro wrestler and was trained by Olympic weightlifter: Harold Sakata.
He competed under the name "Rikidozan" and his debut match was against Bobby Bruns which resulted in a ten-minute draw. Rikidozan established himself as a big star in Japan by defeating an American wrestler in a match after World War II!
Whenever he was wrestling in Japan, he was always portrayed as the hero but ironically whenever he goes to America he was the evil foreigner! Just typical wrestling things.
Anyway the biggest highlight of Rikidozan's career was when he defeated the legendary Lou Thesz for the NWA International Heavyweight Championship in Japan on 1958. Thesz decided to drop the belt to Rikidozan because he doesn't want him to lose in front of his home country, which built a mutual respect from both men.
Rikidozan would held the NWA International Title for a lengthy 1,936 days and would only lose it because of his passing. The title would be vacated in a long time until it was won by one of his students: Giant Baba in 1965. Speaking of his students besides Baba, Rikidozan also trained Antonio Inoki and Ooki Kintaro who would all become future legends in Puroresu!
He also had a successful tag-team run with fellow former sumo wrestler: Toyonobori. Their duo managed to become a 4x All-Asia Tag-Team Champions. Rikidozan also ran his own promotion: Japan Wrestling Association (JWA) where he held the Japanese Heavyweight Championship! He also challenged a few times for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship during his runs in the USA but never got a hold of it.
In 1954 one of the most infamous matches of his career occurred as he faced off with Masahiko Kimura. Kimura who was a well known martial artist decided to shoot on Rikidozan during their match after kicking him in the groin which resulted in an angry Rikidozan and he himself decided to kick Kimura's ass and the two would become bitter rivals ever since!
Unfortunately in 1963 while in a night club, Rikidozan was stabbed to death what was believed to be a member of The Yakuza. It was rumored that it was Kimura who hired the killer and have him assassinate Rikidozan.
Rikidozan's death was a dark day in the world of wrestling but it was also a "blessing in disguise" if you will because after his passing the JWA folded and two of his students: Antonio Inoki & Shohei Baba ran their own promotions which are two of the biggest wrestling promotions in all of Japan: NJPW and AJPW!
He may be long gone now, but Rikidozan's contributions and legacy will stay alive as long as Puroresu continues to live on!
Fun Fact: He was the first and only man who ever held the Japanese Heavyweight Championship and had a reign of 1,344 days!
Birthday: July 15,1942
From: San Luis Potosi,Mexico
Weight: 245 lbs
If El Santo invented and popularised Lucha Libre in Mexico, then Mil Mascaras made it known to the rest of the world!
Mil Mascaras was trained by one of the most well known trainers in Lucha Libre: Diablo Velasco who also trained Perro Aguayo,Gory Guerrero,Los Hermanos Crucero,and Essa Rios.
Mascaras is a member of one of the biggest wrestling families in Mexico, both of his brothers: Dos Caras & Sicodelico are considered legends in Lucha Libre, a lot of his nephews are into the business as well most notably Alberto El Patron (fka Alberto Del Rio.)
He made his debut in 1965 and unlike most luchadors, he is billed as a heavyweight rather than a cruiserweight which made him a popular babyface against foreign wrestlers who come to Mexico. Mascaras is also one of the first luchadors to wrestle as a face outside of Mexico!
Mascaras is a frequent competitor for CMLL and has been ever since his debut. He has held the Mexican National Lightweight Championship there twice. He also wrestled a lot of matches for the UWA and a few matches for AAA.
Outside of Mexico, Mascaras had a lot of memorable feuds and matches at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles battling guys such as Ernie Ladd,John Tolos,and Goliath. In the 70's he started wrestling for AJPW and had a rivalry with other masked wrestlers such as The Destroyer and El Canek.
He would also wrestle for the IWA Wrestling promotion where he held his first World Title there the IWA World Heavyweight Championship in 1975 and he would still hold the belt to this day making it possibly the longest active wrestling reign in history!
Some of his notable work in the USA besides the IWA was with the WWF. He had a lot of matches in Madison Square Garden and often main eventing matches with "Superstar" Billy Graham whom he frequently challenged for the WWF World Championship. He also made appearances in Puerto Rico's WWC during the 80's and 90's.
He also made a lot of appearances and wrestled matches for the now defunct WAR promotion ran by Genichiro Tenryu in the 90's. Mascaras also had a very short run in WCW, so short in fact that he only wrestled there three times, one of those matches he defeated Cactus Jack. Another notable promotion he wrestled for was in WWA where he held the company's Heavyweight title for quite a long time as well before vacating it.
Mascaras made his first American PPV appearance in the 1997 Royal Rumble. He eliminated himself in the Rumble by diving off the top rope onto Pierroth Jr. Nowadays Mascaras still wrestles around much smaller promotions all over Mexico such as Lucha Libre Elite and Promociones MDA.
Besides being a big star in Lucha Libre though, Mascaras is also an innovator as he invented a lot of highflying moves being used today by so many wrestlers such as the "Plancha" and "Tope Suicida" a move Mauro Ranallo loves to call!
On July of 2016 he celebrated his 50th anniversary of his in-ring career. He along with his brother Sicodelico and nephew El Hijo Dos Caras defeated the team of Negro Navaro,Rey Bucanero,and his rival: El Canek.
There is no doubt about it that Mil Mascaras is one of the best selling wrestlers around the world as he was a top draw especially in his prime! The only down side about him is that he isn't keen on putting a lot of guys over especially young talent which gained him a lot of heat from some of his peers.
Fun Fact: Mil Mascaras is the first masked wrestler to compete in Madison Square Garden!
Birthday: October 26,1978
Weight: 218 lbs
Love him or hate him, you cannot disagree about the fact that CM Punk is one of the greatest wrestlers of the modern generation!
CM Punk started out his wrestling career in 1999 where him and a couple of his friends started their own backyard wrestling promotion. Unlike most of his friends who were just doing it for fun, Punk really wants to become a pro wrestler and when their "promotion" folded he went to Ace Steel's promotion and trained there.
Punk started to grow as a superstar when he started to wrestle at IWA Mid-South. There he held the company's Heavyweight Championship 5 times beating stars like Colt Cabana,AJ Styles,and even Eddie Guerrero for said title! He also had a long feud there with Chris Hero where they had multiple 60 minute matches and a 55 minute TLC Match!
Due to his great performances in the ring, Punk has attracted a lot of other promotions. He started to wrestle in Japan on 2003 wrestling for Pro Wrestling ZERO-1. In 2004 he got recruited by ROH and had a long career there where he managed to become ROH World Champion beating Austin Aries as well as a 2x ROH World Tag-Team Champions with Colt Cabana as the "Second City Saints."
Punk also had a short career in TNA but nothing really came out of that. He continued to wrestle for ROH until 2005 having stellar matches with Samoa Joe,Bryan Danielson,Raven,and Jamie Gibson (aka Jamie Noble.) Punk then went to OVW in 2005 which was WWE's developmental territory at the time. There he held the OVW Heavyweight,Television,and Southern Tag-Team Championships.
After a two year run in OVW, he finally got called up and made his debut on the WWE in it's ECW brand in 2006. His first major feud was against Mike Knox involving Kelly Kelly in a "love triangle" storyline of sorts. Punk would elevate onto the main event scene fast in 2007 defeating John Morrison for the ECW Heavyweight Championship! He held onto the belt for 143 days until being defeated by Chavo Guerrero in January 2008.
Things would only get better from here on out for Punk though as in 2008 he won the Money in the Bank Ladder Match in WrestleMania 24 and on June of the same year he got drafted to RAW and successfully cashed in his MITB on then World Heavyweight Champion: Edge! But he only held the belt for a few months before getting a kayfabe injury thus being forced to vacate the belt.
He would held the "Big Gold" again in 2009 this time during his feud with Jeff Hardy. Him and Hardy had a back-and-fort reign with the belt, Punk only had a total of 91 days in his last two reigns with the World Heavyweight Title but his feud with Jeff Hardy would really set him high for more things to come! Their feud culminated in SummerSlam and later on Punk would have his first feud with The Undertaker whom he loss the World Title to.
In 2009 Punk started out his own heel faction the "Straight Edge Society" which I consider one of the best stables of the modern era. Along with Luke Gallows,Serena,and later on a returning Joey Mercury they mainly feuded with Rey Mysterio & Big Show and this is personally one of my favorite runs Punk had in the WWE! In 2010 he would lead another stable this time with "The New Nexus." I wasn't really a fan of the whole New Nexus deal but Punk made it entertaining for the most part.
2011 would prove to be CM Punk's biggest year though! Earlier that year Punk started feuding with John Cena and would eventually become WWE Champion and would "walk out of the company" with the belt (storyline wise anyway.) He would lose the title to Alberto Del Rio after his return and would gain it back from Del Rio in November 21,2011 which embarked his 434 day reign as WWE Champion which is the longest reign of the WWE Championship of the modern era!
Punk has defended the title successfully against multiple rivals over the years such as Dolph Ziggler,Chris Jericho,Daniel Bryan,and Kane. My personal favorite highlight of his whole reign was the Triple Threat Feud with D-Bry and Kane, with the involvement of AJ Lee as well it was one of the best storylines of WWE in 2012! His reign was ended in the Royal Rumble 2013 though after getting defeated by The Rock.
He continued to be a part of some major storylines and matches such as battling The Undertaker in WrestleMania,feuded with Brock Lesnar,becoming a Paul Heyman Guy,and feuding with The Wyatts. His final appearance with the WWE as we all know was in Royal Rumble 2014 afterwards Punk decided to walk out of the company and quit the wrestling business as a whole. For now at least.
Well anyways we've already established Punk as a great wrestler but let's not forget about his untouchable mic skills! Probably the best promo guy WWE has had in recent years, Punk has delivered so many unforgetable promos over the years! The best one of course being "The Pipebomb" which shook the whole wrestling community!
After his departure in the WWE, Punk tried out another one of his life long dreams which is MMA but we all know how that ended up...
During the era where there were a lot of shitty celebrity involvement from the WWE and mainly 2011 and 2012 not being the brightest years of the wrestling business as a whole, CM Punk kept us all interested in the product.
The Best in the World? Maybe for some, but for me he is not but hey to each their own! I still consider him as one of the best so that's good enough I guess?
Fun Fact: Two of his inspirations to become a wrestler were Eddie Guerrero & Sara Del Ray!
Birthday: March 25,1951
Death: May 31,2000
Weight: 279 lbs
It was definitely a tremendous sin for me to not have the legendary Jumbo Tsuruta in last year's Top 100 Wrestlers!
Before becoming a pro wrestler, Tsuruta was first a semi-successful amateur wrestler. He won the All-Japan Amateur Wrestling Championship twice and even participated in the 1972 Summer Olympics in Greco-Roman wrestling.
After his amateur career, Tsuruta was scouted by Giant Baba and was sent to Amarillo,Texas to train with The Funks. Due to his work ethic and overall likeable personality, Tsuruta was one of the first foreign wrestlers to be cheered by an American crowd!
He began his career in the 70's wrestling for multiple promotions in the USA and Japan but most notably in AJPW. In 1984 he defeated Nick Bockwinkel to become the AWA World Heavyweight Champion, the two had a lot of great classic matches together over the years!
Tsuruta only held the AWA Title for 80 days before dropping it to Rick Martel. He also won numerous belts in different NWA territories such as being a 9x NWA International Tag-Team Champion,6x NWA United National Champion,and 3x NWA International Heavyweight Champion.
But perhaps his greatest feat was in 1989 when he became the first ever AJPW Triple Crown Champion! Tsuruta unified the PWF,NWA United National,and NWA International Heavyweight Championships to combine what we now know as the Triple Crown Championship which is still one of the most prestigious title belts in Puroresu.
Tsuruta's first reign with the belt wasn't that long as he got defeated by his rival Genichiro Tenryu, but would gain the belt back months later and had a 237 day reign with it before dropping it to Terry Gordy. Tsuruta's 3rd and final reign with the belt was in 1991 until 1992 winning and losing the belt from Stan Hansen in a reign that lasted for 374 days!
In his 26 year career, Jumbo Tsuruta has wrestled a total of 3,329 matches! He has fought numerous wrestlers whether they are fellow Japanese stars or foreign wrestlers. Tsuruta can go in the ring with anybody and have a great match with them! His only WWE match was back in 1990 during the Wrestling Summit (a collaboration event between NJPW/AJPW/WWF) where him and Haku defeated Mr. Perfect & Rick Martel.
When his health started to deteriorate, Tsuruta mainly wrestled as a "comedic wrestler" and mainly faced off old-timers during his final run such as Giant Baba and Rusher Kimura. He retired in 1999 and the same year a retirement ceremony was held for him in AJPW.
Unfortunately just a year later in 2000, Jumbo Tsuruta passed away due to kidney cancer. He was truly one of the all time greats in Puroresu and his legacy will never be forgotten.
Fun Fact: He was given the name "Jumbo" in America because they thought his real name would be too "feminine" in the wrestling world.
Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat
Birthday: February 28,1953
From: West Point,New York
Weight: 235 lbs
Next we got The Dragon of pro wrestling it's Ricky Steamboat!
Steamboat was trained by Verne Gagne, who also trained a lot of future legends like Ric Flair,Curt Hennig,Iron Sheik,and Bob Backlund! Steamboat first wrestled in the AWA as "Rick Blood" in 1976 but later on moved to the territories and started to wrestle as "Ricky Steamboat."
He was first brought up to the NWA as the young babyface protege of Wahoo McDaniel. There he had his first of many feuds with a fellow youngster by the name of Ric Flair! Steamboat & Flair first feuded for the NWA Mid-Atlantic Television Championship which Steamboat won twice in his career.
For the next 8 years Steamboat continued his wrestling career in the NWA and won multiple singles and tag-team championships in the process. Besides Ric Flair he also had rivalries with his former mentor: Wahoo McDaniel,former tag-team partner: Paul Jones,Sgt. Slaughter,and Baron Von Raschke.
After having some differences with booker Dusty Rhodes at the time, Steamboat left the NWA and in 1985 made his way to the WWF. In the WWF is where his "Dragon" persona was born, he first played the role of a martial artist-esque gimmick and was a part of the first ever WrestleMania defeating Matt Bourne (the man who would later become Doink the Clown.)
Steamboat continued to have a great babyface run in the company until in 1987 where he achieved his biggest accomplishment in the WWF at WrestleMania 3 defeating "Macho Man" Randy Savage for the Intercontinental Championship! Steamboat vs Savage at Mania III is still considered as one of the all time best matches in the history of wrestling!
He only had a short 65 day reign with the IC Title though as he would drop it later on to Honky Tonk Man who would go on to have the longest IC Title reign in history. Then in 1989 Steamboat went back to the NWA which is now known as WCW, he rekindled his feud with Ric Flair and on the same year defeated The Nature Boy to become NWA World Heavyweight Champion!
Steamboat would only have another short reign though as a couple months later he would drop the belt back to Flair. In the 90's he wrestled in a few other territories and had a tour in Japan wrestling for both NJPW & AJPW. 1991 he would go back for a short time in the WWF now just billed simply as "The Dragon."
As The Dragon, Steamboat would go out and breath fire during his entrance and wore a really gimmicky "dragon outfit" which is nice and all but I preferred his martial arts gimmick more than this. Nothing really memorable happened in his run here and soon went back to WCW once again.
Upon his third and final run in WCW, Steamboat managed to held the WCW World Tag-Team Championships,World Television Championship,and United States Championship. In 1994 he decided to retire in the ring but still made appearances for numerous promotions such as in the first ever TNA Show where he was the special guest referee for the NWA World Title match.
Steamboat made a comeback in 2009 in an angle involving Chris Jericho about disrespecting legends and in WrestleMania 25 he had his first match in 15 years where he teamed up with Roddy Piper & Jimmy Snuka to take on Y2J in a handicap match. For a man his age, Steamboat actually was still impressive in the ring and had a couple more matches with WWE afterwards! He also had some matches in Puerto Rico's WWC the same year.
His final match was in 2010 where he teamed up with his son: Richie Steamboat to defeat The Dudebusters in a Father's Day special event of FCW. Ricky Steamboat was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame 2009 and is currently working as a trainer in NXT.
Ricky Steamboat is a one of a kind talent in wrestling, not only is he one of the best babyfaces and in-ring performers of all time but also a universally respected legends by all of his peers.
Fun Fact: It was promoter Eddie Graham who gave him the name "Ricky Steamboat" as his first name "Rick Blood" is too "heelish" name for a babyface.
Death: April 27,2015
Weight: 215 lbs
Before becoming a pro wrestler, Verne Gagne was first a player in the NFL and played for the Chicago Bears. Then in 1949 he made a transition in pro wrestling, his debut match was even referee'd by boxing great Jack Dempsey!
His first title victory was winning the vacant NWA Junior Heavyweight Championship in a tournament. In 1953 he won the NWA United States Championship and was already becoming one of the biggest stars during the golden era of television thanks to his technical skills in wrestling.
The 1960 is where every changed for Verne as he created the American Wrestling Association (AWA) one of the biggest wrestling promotions in all of America! Verne was of course the top star of the company and has held the AWA World Heavyweight Championship a record total of 10 times!
He has defeated and feuded with numerous top heels at the time such as Mad Dog Vachon,Gene Kiniski,The Crusher,and his greatest rival of all: Nick Bockwinkel. To this day he holds the record for the longest combined reign as a World Champion which was 4,677 days just for the AWA World Championship alone!
I don't think anyone is beating that record anytime soon. Gagne also set history for being the third longest reigning World Champion just behind Lou Thesz & Bruno Sammartino. Just like Ric Flair, Verne Gagne was also a 16x World Champion, besides the AWA Title he also held the World Heavyweight Championship (Omaha version) and the IWA World Heavyweight Championship.
Besides the AWA though, he also competed in the WWF,AJPW,CWA,and Maple Leaf Wrestling. After a long almost 5 decade run in wrestling, he retired in 1986 where his final match was in a 6 Man Tag-Team Match where he teamed up with his son Greg and Jimmy Snuka to defeat the team of Boris Zhukov,Nord the Barbarian (aka The Berzerker),and Sheik Adnan Al-Kassie (aka General Adnan.)
Verne was a great wrestler indeed, one of the top technicians of his generation but he was also one of the best trainers in wrestling having trained multiple future World Champions such as Ric Flair,Ricky Steamboat,Bob Backlund,The Iron Sheik,Scott Norton,and Curt Hennig.
The AWA also acted as the "unofficial developmental territory" for the WWF as a lot of their multiple stars came from there the biggest is of course Hulk Hogan! In 2006 he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. During his final years, Verne suffered Alzheimer's disease and was a shell of his former self. He passed away on April 27,2015.
Fun Fact: Another one of Verne's students was Brad Rhenigans who would later train Brock Lesnar to become a pro wrestler!
Birthday: March 24,1915
Death: December 26,1963
Weight: 215 lbs
It was the late great Gorgeous George who brought the "entertainment" into "sports entertainment!" The man with the very first gimmick ever in professional wrestler, if we're talking about paving the way then this man really did paved the way for pretty much all wrestlers with a gimmick for the past five decades or so!
George Wagner wasn't exactly what was looked at as a "wrestler" during his day so he decided to give himself a new look and portrayed on the character: Gorgeous George. A very flamboyant character (predecessor to Buddy Rogers and later on Ric Flair) which the fans really hated! George was probably the most hated wrestler back then.
He didn't really started as a great wrestler but as the years go by he became a solid worker while also perfecting his portrayal of his gimmick. Besides the usual cheating, George had a lot of other heelish antics he would always do either before or even during matches such as spraying perfume in his body or robe,getting his nails done,look in the mirror his wife always had at ringside,etc.
George was a "heat magnet" if you will, every little thing he does the crowd will go boo, he was a genius! His character even got more well known when the television started to kick in, becoming one of the top draws during his era!
Accolades wise, George had won a few belts (although he didn't really needed them because he was such a huge attraction already) such as the AWA World Heavyweight Championship (not Verne Gagne's but George Tuohey's AWA),NWA Georgia Southern Heavyweight Championship,NWA Gulf Coast Heavyweight Championship,and the Rocky Mountain Heavyweight Championship.
He also has faced a lot of great legends during his 3 decade career most notably Lou Thesz,Freddie Blassie,Jim Londos,and Lord James Blears,and also a young upstart Bruno Sammartino! He even challenged "Whipper" Billy Watson for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship but was unsuccessful. Gorgeous George's final opponent in the ring was The Destroyer in a Hair vs Mask match which he loss!
George retired in 1962 after his health started to deteriorate and financial troubles got in the way. He unfortunately passed away just a year later in 1963 after suffering a heart attack at the age of 48. He was posthumously inducted into the WWE HOF in 2010, one of the few inductees who never wrestled for the WWE.
Gorgeous George's influence wasn't only in the wrestling business though as boxing legend Muhammad Ali and musician James Brown have told that Gorgeous George was a huge inspiration for their similar flamboyant characters they portrayed during their careers. George's great nephew would also wrestle as The Maestro in WCW who still wrestles today.
Fun Fact: There was a Looney Tunes character called "Ravishing Ronald" based off Gorgeous George.
Birthday: July 17,1969
Weight: 255 lbs
Another situation of whether you like Triple H or not you cannot argue that he is one of the biggest names in wrestling history!
It all started for a young Paul Levesque when he was trained by Killer Kowalski after a reccomendation from powerlifer/wrestler: Ted Arcidi. Triple H wasn't a main eventer when he first started out as he was often used as a jobber in his early years as "Terra Ryzing" and "Jean Paul Levesque."
Everything changed for him though in 1995 when he brought his rich blood persona to the WWF as Hunter Hearst Helmsley. His first major run with the company was being Intercontinental Champion after defeating his then rival Marc Mero for the belt. He would win this belt 4 more times in his run with the WWE.
Things would escalate more for him in 1997 when he founded the "D-Generation X" stable along with Shawn Michaels,Chyna,and Rick Rude. As we all know DX is one of the all time greatest stables in wrestling history and it's creation gave birth to what we know as the Attitude Era! From 1999 onwards, Triple H would become one of the top superstars of the WWE!
He is a 14x World Champion, having won the WWE Championship 9 times and the World Heavyweight Championship 5 times! He had 19 matches at WrestleMania, 7 of those he main evented! HHH is also a 2x Tag-Team Champion and 2x European Champion.
Besides DX, he has also been involved in a lot of other memorable storylines such as him getting married to Stephanie (for real!),creating The Evolution,etc. He also had so many memorable feuds from Shawn Michaels to The Undertaker,John Cena,and Daniel Bryan, you name it!
Triple H isn't that bad in the ring too in my opinion, sure he isn't like a technical wizard like Bret Hart but he can surely go with anyone you put him the ring with! Just maybe not Marty Garner...
We all know he is also credited for making NXT the hottest brand in WWE today! But with some good, there's also some bad. I think you all know where I'm going with this, yes him burying some talent. I know it's a running gag among the wrestling community but that's really the only downside there was on Triple H, it's his ego.
Nowadays he has been rarely competing in the ring and more on doing backstage roles being he is one of the owners of the WWE now. I gotta admit, I am a fan of Triple H growing up. The Ruthless Aggression Era is what made me into a wrestling fan and I really thought him and Taker were some of the coolest wrestlers ever, still do!
He may not be loved or liked by everyone in the wrestling business, but they can't deny how big of a star and household name Triple H is.
Fun Fact: HHH was supposed to be partnered with William Regal in WCW but his contract expired and went to the WWF.
If you missed the previous countdowns, check out the links below:
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Thanks For Reading.