Featuring Canada's Greatest Athlete and the greatest African-American wrestler of all time!
I'm going to be ranking the wrestlers with the following criteria:
*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!
Death: March 15,1977
Weight: 227 lbs
One of the most popular styles of wrestling in the past decades is "highflying" and it's all thanks to the man that made it popular: "Argentino" Antonino Rocca!
Born in Italy and later on moved in Argentina, Antonino Rocca was one of the most popular wrestlers during his time. He built a huge following and was always a top draw wherever he goes.
He main evented Madison Square Garden shows for seven years! He mainly competed for WWWF under Vince McMahon Sr. and Toots Mondt where he became one of the top babyfaces of the company, having matches with the likes of Buddy Rogers,Dr. Jerry Graham,and Dick the Bruiser just to name a few.
Rocca also had a decent tag-team run with Miguel Perez, they never won a tag title but were still a famous tag-team in the late 50's. He would later have a "friendly feud" with the upcoming star Bruno Sammartino. Bruno would go over Rocca in the end as if it was a "passing of the torch" moment if you will.
In the mid 70's he worked as a commentator for WWWF and later on went to Japan as a wrestler and referee. In his last days he officiated a boxing match between Gorilla Monsoon & Andre the Giant. Rocca passed away in March 1977 at the age of 49.
Often noted as the man who does the best dropkick in history, Antonino Rocca left a legendary legacy that will forever be remembered by wrestling fans! He was a true pioneer of the business.
Fun Fact: He is the only known wrestler to ever have a "fight" with Superman in the comics!
Birthday: May 10,1968
Weight: 244 lbs
Johnny Saint may be the greatest British technical wrestler but William Regal is one of the all time best all-around competitors in pro wrestling!
William Regal started wrestling at the young age of 15. By the late 80's he was already wrestling all over the world including places such as Germany and South Africa. In 1992 he finally went to the USA and wrestled for WCW as "Lord Steven Regal."
His first stint was forming the tag-team of "The Blue Bloods" with Dave Taylor, they were a good tag-team but never really got the success they deserve in my opinion. Later on Regal would become WCW Television Champion and would win the belt 3 more times.
In 1998 he wrestled Goldberg in a controversial "shoot" match wherein Regal wrestled Goldberg stiffed in what was supposed to be a quick squash match. To this day people still don't know which side of the coin is saying the truth as Regal says it wasn't a shoot while Goldberg likes to differ.
On June 1998 William Regal made his debut on WWF and would have an almost 2 decade career with the company which is still ongoing to this day! Whether as a wrestler,on-air official,road agent,or commentator Regal would fit the role well and has always been one of the most respected wrestlers in the locker room.
My favorite run in his whole WWE career was when he played the "Real Man's Man" gimmick, just the theme song alone would make you love the gimmick even though he's such a great heel! Regal would become a 2x Intercontinental,4x European,5x Hardcore,and 4x World Tag-Team Champion in his whole run with the WWE. He wrestled for the company until in 2014 when he finally decided to retire from active competition.
Nowadays we all know William Regal in his role as the General Manager for the rebranded NXT! He is also one of the trainers at the WWE Performance Center.
It seemed like William Regal has done it all in his illustrious career but there is actually one thing he wasn't able to do and that is become a World Champion! He is definitely one of (if not the) best wrestler to not become World Champion! But still, Regal is a massive influence to a lot of other wrestlers and has built a respectable reputation which lands him on this countdown.
Fun Fact: Regal is the first (and only) non-American wrestler to become Memphis Wrestling's Southern Heavyweight Champion which he held for 59 days.
Kerry Von Erich
Birthday: February 3,1960
Death: February 18,1993
Weight: 254 lbs
The Von Erichs were one of the most well known and successful families in the wrestling business and have left a huge legacy. Out of Fritz and his sons though, one man rose up and became a huge name was "The Texas Tornado" Kerry Von Erich!
Kerry had it all: in-ring skills,charisma,and the looks of what people would initially think what a "wrestler" is. He was a part of one of the most legendary feuds in wrestling as him and his brothers took on The Fabulous Freebirds in many memorable 6 Man Tag Matches!
Speaking of his brothers, we all know David was the one groomed to become the World Champion someday but after his unexpected passing Kerry was the one who took on his brother's shoes and later on won the NWA World Title in front of a sold out stadium, defeating Ric Flair. Such an iconic and unforgettable moment!
But Kerry would only hold the World Title for a short time because of his personal issues. He would still continually to become a top draw though for his father at WCCW, he would win the World Class World Title four times and also had a successful run in USWA and became the Texas Heavyweight Champion three times for said promotion.
In the 90's Kerry would have his biggest exposure as he wrestled for the WWF as "The Texas Tornado." Just months after his debut, Kerry was already pushed to become the next Intercontinental Champion as he replaced an injured Brutus Beefcake in a title match in SummerSlam against Mr. Perfect in which he successfully won! He would successfully defend the title for 84 days before dropping it back to Perfect.
Kerry would continue a top mid-carder run for the WWF until in 1992 beating numerous heels like Kamala,Boris Zhukov,and Col. Mustafa. He made his Mania debut on WrestleMania 7 as he defeated Dino Bravo. Another notable part of his run with the WWF was being a part of "Team Warrior" at Survivor Series with Ultimate Warrior and The Road Warriors defeating Mr. Perfect & Demolition. In August 1992 Kerry left the WWF and went back to Texas.
His final run was with Global Wrestling Federation, his last match was in a tag-team match where he and Chris Adams loss to Black Bart and Johnny Mantell. This match occurred 6 days before Kerry took his own life at his father's ranch.
I feel like if wasn't for the amputation and his personal demons, Kerry would easily been a top guy in the WWF especially as they were moving on to the Attitude Era. He had it all but sadly he was really depressed and wasn't the man we saw on TV.
But still Kerry may be long gone but it is only right to remember him for his legacy in the wrestling business and all the great matches and moments he left with us. The Texas Tornado is gone but shall never be forgotten!
Fun Fact: Kerry along with his brother Kevin are the first and only Von Erichs to be featured in a WWE Game where they are DLC characters for WWE 2K17.
Death: April 14,2010
Weight: 270 lbs
Sorry "Iron" Mike Sharpe, but the title of "Canada's Greatest Athlete" only belongs to Gene Kiniski!
After playing for the Edmonton Eskimos, Gene Kiniski began a wrestling career in 1952 his trainer was Dory Funk Sr. In his early years he already defeated big names such as Wilbur Snyder and Bobo Brazil! He also later on challenged Lou Thesz for the NWA World Title twice but loss.
He did however become NWA World Tag-Team Champions three times in 1955 with Lord James Blears. In 1960 he wrestled for the AWA and defeated Verne Gagne for the AWA World Title and was also an AWA Tag-Team Champion with Hard Boiled Haggerty.
Kiniski also had a long feud with Bruno Sammartino for the WWWF Championship, they've had several matches for the belt and headlining and selling out Madison Square Garden multiple times. The biggest moment in his whole career though was finally beating Lou Thesz for the NWA World Title in January 1966 in front of 11,612 fans at St. Louis,Missouri!
Unlike his predecessor Lou Thesz, Gene Kiniski was a heel champion and a good one at that! He had a long three year reign as the champion and defended it all over the world against other big names such as Lou Thesz,Pat O'Connor,Dick the Bruiser,Bobo Brazil,Don Leo Jonathan,The Funks,and Abdullah the Butcher just to name a few. After 1,131 days as World Champion Kiniski finally loss the belt to Dory Funk Jr. in February 11,1969.
He continued to wrestle in the 70's mainly in Japan and Canada. Kiniski would later portray a masked wrestler gimmick "The Crimson Knight." He would wrestle until in the early 80's mainly teaming up with his sons: Kelly and Nick. He would continue to be a part of the business such as being a referee,promoter,appearing on documentaries/interviews,etc.
On April 14,2010 Gene Kiniski loss his battle to cancer. Before the likes of Bret Hart,Edge,and Kevin Owens dominated the wrestling world there was first Gene Kiniski who represented Canada all over the world! He was truly an under appreciated legend and should be recognized more for his efforts and contributions to the business.
Fun Fact: Gene Kiniski was the second man to become AWA World Champion, the first being of course Verne Gagne.
Birthday: June 19,1938
Death: April 18,2002
Weight: 235 lbs
Before Ric Flair or Kenta Kobashi came along, the man with the most deadliest chops in the business was the late great Chief Wahoo McDaniel!
In my opinion Wahoo was the most influential Native American wrestler there ever was. Sure guys like Chief Big Heart,Don Eagle,and Tatanka were some recognizable Natives who competed in the squared circle but they just cannot top the legacy that Wahoo left in the business.
While he was playing football, Wahoo decided to try out pro wrestling as well, he was trained by Dory Funk Sr. Some of his early work was wrestling for the WWWF and defeated well known heels like Boris Malenko,Waldo Von Erich,and Dr. Jerry Graham.
After retiring in football, Wahoo focused on wrestling. He was a frequent challenger to Dory Funk Jr's NWA World Title but never got to hold of the belt. He also had a good run in AWA feuding with "Superstar" Billy Graham.
Wahoo wrestled in many different promotions throughout his career and also held a plethora of championships such as the NWA National Heavyweight,NWA Florida Heavyweight,NWA Wildside Heavyweight (2x),and NWA World Tag-Team Titles (4x.) Wahoo also wrestled in Japan and Puerto Rico.
In the near-end of his career, he became a manager/mentor to Tatanka along with Chief Jay Strongbow in the WWF.
He officially retired in the business in 1996. Wahoo will also always be remembered as one of the true legit "tough guys" in the business and he was also one of the most universally respected wrestlers ever as you never hear a bad word from anyone about Wahoo.
In my opinion Wahoo should have definitely been a World Champion but he unfortunately never held one. But even then, he is still remembered as a legend and paved the way for a lot of Native Americans in wrestling.
Fun Fact: Wahoo McDaniel was the inventor of the famous "Tomahawk Chop" used by other well known Natives in wrestling such as Tatanka!
Birthday: June 19,1952
Weight: 240 lbs
When people talk about Lucha Libre the names that usually pop up first in ther minds are the Big 3 (Santo,Demon,Mascaras),Rey Mysterio,or The Guerreros but I think El Canek is one of the "unsung heroes" of the Lucha Libre history.
Most wrestling fans probably know the great El Canek for his 2 decade run in Universal Wrestling Association (UWA) where he held the UWA World Title a record of 15 times, his longest reign lasted for 1,976 days!
Not only has he fought fellow Lucha Legends for said title but also legendary names such as Lou Thesz,Antonio Inoki,Tiger Jeet Singh, and Vader.
In the 80's Canek was one of the biggest draws in the wrestling scene on Mexico, he was the top guy of the UWA and was usually booked against incoming foreign wrestlers.
Some of his biggest rivalries though were against Mil Mascaras and Perro Aguayo Sr. Canek also wrestled for other promotions such as AAA,CMLL and even NJPW! To this day Canek is still actively wrestling on independent promotions in Mexico and is close on having a half a century career! The only man that I knew who has done this is Abdullah the Butcher.
Fun Fact: His real name: Felipe Estrada was revealed in his first and only MMA match at the DEEP 2001 promotion where he defeated Osamu Kawahara. He also fought with a mask on!
Death: July 16,2001
Weight: 297 lbs
At the young age of 14, Terry "Bam Bam" Gordy started off his pro wrestling career after being trained by "The Mongolian Stomper" Archie Gouldie. Gordy was again one of those people who had a great career in both singles and tag-team competition.
He was best known for his time as 1/3 of The Fabulous Freebirds where they dominated WCCW and had one of the greatest feuds of all time against The Von Erichs! In my opinion, Gordy was the best out of the three members (four if you include Jimmy Garvin) he had both the talent and charisma a good wrestler should have.
Gordy was also 1/2 of The Miracle Violence Connection along with "Dr. Death" Steve Williams where they dominated the tag-team division of AJPW in the early 90's and have won the AJPW World Tag-Team Titles five times! They also won the NWA and WCW World Tag-Team titles once.
But like I said Gordy didn't only had a successful tag-team run but also in singles competition. Some of his most significant singles run was with Smokey Mountain Wrestling and Universal Wrestling Federation where he won the Heavyweight titles for both companies. He was also a 2x Triple Crown Champion in AJPW but only had short reigns, still impressive though as he was only one of the few "gaijins" who has held said belt.
He also had a very short stint in the WWF back in the late 90's as "The Executioner" the gimmick didn't go far and was also used by other wrestlers, kind of like Doink if you will.
Whether in the United States or Japan, Terry Gordy did one thing and that was KICK ASS! Sadly he passed away at an early age of 40. He was posthumously inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2016 as a member of The Freebirds.
Fun Fact: His son: Ray Gordy wrestled for the WWE as "Jesse" 1/2 of the Jesse and Festus tag-team who would later be re-packaged as "Slam Master J."
Birthday: December 3,1951
Weight: 264 lbs
For 42 years, "The Revolution Warrior" Riki Choshu has been competing in the squared circle all over the world!
Trained by the Masa Saito, Choshu began wrestling on 1974 in NJPW. He was sent to North America to gain experience, there he wrestled as a heel and later returned to Japan being the first "traitor heel" gimmick in Japan's wrestling history.
Choshu had a lengthy career with NJPW, becoming a three time IWGP Heavyweight Champion! He also won the IWGP Tag-Team Titles three times with 3 different partners: his mentor: Saito,Takashi Iizuka,and Kensuke Sasaki.
He also wrestled for other promotions and won titles there such as in AJPW where he became the PWF Heavyweight Champion,in the UWA he became the company's World Champion,he also held the now obscure WWF International Heavyweight Champion. Choshu also wrestled for WCW,NWA,and CMLL.
Perhaps his greatest rivalry in his decorated career is Tatsumi Fujinami. They had excellent matches over the years, mainly for the IWGP Heavyweight Title. Choshu also had memorable matches with guys like Vader,Hashimoto,and Great Muta.
In 2004 he created his own promotion called "RIKI PRO" and it ran until 2010. His most memorable stint there was teaming up with another legend: Genichiro Tenryu.
As of the writing of this blog, his last match was in 2015 but we could never assume that he is retired for we never know when will Riki Choshu come back and kick some more ass in the ring!
Fun Fact: Besides being a pro wrestler, Riki Choshu also has a background in Judo.
Weight: 298 lbs
With all due respect to Nikolai Volkoff, but the greatest Russian character in all of wrestling is none other than Ivan Koloff, in my opinion. And guess what? He's not even Russian, but Canadian!
Anyway, ever since he was 8 years old Ivan Koloff has been a wrestling fan. He actually started out in wrestling as an Irish character called Red McNulty it wasn't until in 1967 where he became "The Russian Bear" Ivan Koloff!
Koloff is mainly remembered for two things, the first is being the man to beat Bruno Sammartino's long 8 year reign as WWWF Champion. He was only used as a transitional champion as he loss the belt days later to Pedro Morales but it's still an amazing feat to be the man to beat Bruno's record.
He left the whole crowd in dead silence when he pinned Bruno in front of a sold out Madison Square Garden! The second thing he is probably best remembered for is his tag-team run with his kayfabe nephew: Nikita Koloff where they became NWA World Tag-Team Champions.
Bruno Sammartino wasn't his only memorable feud though but also against the likes of Dusty Rhodes,Road Warriors,and Rock N' Roll Express.
He has held multiple titles in his illustrious career mainly from various territories of the NWA. Some of the most notable ones being the NWA Georgia Tag-Team Championships (7x) and NWA Florida Tag-Team Championships (5x.) Later on he would also become the EWA Heavyweight Championship and held the belt for 495 days, he won and loss the belt to George South.
By the time TV was popular, Koloff was already past his prime but was still able to put on entertaining matches and put over young talent. He may not be the best technician or high flier but had a lot of heat which made him one of the biggest names in the business! In fact he even competed in the early days of ECW!
Koloff officially retired in 1994 but has made a few comeback matches in 2005,2009 and 2013. It's shocking to know that as of the writing of this blog, he is still yet to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame!
Fun Fact: He is born Oreal Perras but later on would legally change his name to "Ivan Koloff." Talk about living the gimmick!
Birthday: March 1,1965
Weight: 256 lbs
Up next we got the FIVE TIME (well actually six time) World Champion: Booker T!
In an old countdown I did two years ago, I ranked Booker T as the best black wrestler of all time and I still hold that opinion to this day! The man has it all: wrestling skills,charisma,promo,and overall just a nice guy! What else is there to ask for?
Booker T has held a total of 35 championships in WWE,WCW,and TNA alone! In fact he is the most decorated champion in WCW's history, some of the most accomplishments of his, is holding the record for most reigns as WCW Television Champion with 6 and also being the first African-American to hold said belt! He has held a total of 21 championships in his time on WCW.
He didn't only had a great singles career but also as you all know, Booker has been involved in multiple memorable tag-teams over the years. The best one is of course with his brother: Stevie Ray as Harlem Heat where they held the WCW Tag-Team Titles a total of 10 times!
Later on in his WWF run he would team up with Goldust and would have a fun whacky duo that will always be unforgettable! Booker is a 15-time world tag-team champion, ain't that amazing?
In his singles run, Booker T had many great feuds against wrestlers from different promotions from the likes of Triple H,Batista,Kane,AJ Styles,Chris Benoit,Christian,and Jeff Jarrett just to name a few.
My all-time favorite thing about Booker T's whole career though was in 2006 where he won the King of the Ring Tournament and became the one and only KING BOOKAH! His feud with Batista has been my favorite, this was the era I started watching WWE and those two along with The Undertaker really made me love watching wrestling!
Besides the World Heavyweight Title, Booker T held the Intercontinental,US,Hardcore,and World Tag-Team Championships in the WWE. He also held titles in TNA,SCW,PWA,and his own promotion: Reality of Wrestling (ROW.)
Booker T also had a short stint as a commentator, a lot of people didn't like his work but I'll take him over David Otunga all day!
He was headed into the path of darkness at a young age but thanks to pro wrestling, Booker T became an icon and one of the greatest of all time in wrestling history! Now Can You Dig That SUCKA?!
Fun Fact: Booker T is one of the only four men to become Triple Crown Champions in both WWE and WCW!
If you missed out the first part of 100 to 90 then click here.
Thanks For Reading.