A hero in Mexico, a patriarch of a wrestling lineage, and the master of the chop, Blue Demon is immediately iconic. You might snort at this, but I actually think The Miz has become a truly idiosyncratic part of the WWE. 10 funny mockumentaries to remind us about the absurdity of life, Family-friendly Halloween films for boos big and small. Community Rules apply to all content you upload or otherwise submit to this site. The greatest foreign heel ever, mostly because he was actually foreign. He’s not even the one who did it best, (that designation probably belongs to Brock Lesnar.) We have to give it up to Wild Bill. He understands audience dynamics better than anyone on earth, and obviously that quickly translated across all mediums. Underrated on the mic, in the ring, athletically, technically and emotionally. Like you, I’ve heard the horror stories about how the Fabulous Moolah treated other, younger female wrestlers, but she did hold a belt for 30 years. I love Rob Van Dam because he’s an outsider. At the time in the late 1960s, her parents had to get permission from then-Texas Gov. If it wasn’t for Trish, people wouldn’t take talent like Alexa Bliss or Carmella seriously. All Rights Reserved. Styles, it never mattered–at 45 he’s still the kid with whom we fell in love. Fred Delchamps Center, 2401 Gordon Smith Drive, Mobile. But below, like, Daniel Bryan. We can talk up Abdullah The Butcher and Bruiser Brody, but the original Sheik was where hardcore wrestling began. Douglas Kirkland/Corbis, Credit: She said she enjoyed her occasional visits to Mobile, Dothan and Pensacola. He was the single best thing about New Japan Pro Wrestling, and now he’s the single best thing about NXT. A bald-headed everyman with a chip on his shoulder and a whole lot of contempt for limp-wristed authority. He had neither the underdog fighting spirit of Chris Benoit nor the undeniable charisma of Eddie Guerrero, which means that Malenko was always left on the outside looking in when it came to big pushes. Valentine was a top-star through the ‘70s, mostly because he was willing to put his body on the line. Rick Rude was a dependable worker, but he deserves most of his credit for being an absolutely amazing character. "Almost after the reunion, there will be two or three of us who will die. His ring-work was suspect, his politicking was contemptible, but that doesn’t change the fact that Hulk Hogan captured imaginations more than any other wrestler before or since. Things fell off quickly after Savage went to WCW, but his golden age stands tall over nearly everyone. "We're a brotherhood, so this is kind of a legends night," said Richard Bailey, who wrestles as "Mountain Man" in independent promotions around the region and who also operates Suncoast Championship Wrestling, which is sponsoring Thursday night's event. I don’t like how people have turned Benoit’s murder-suicide into a sympathetic tragedy just because of how messed up his brain was after all those concussions. Honestly, in a couple years it wouldn’t surprise me if A.J. Daniel Bryan, Samoa Joe and A.J. The Iron Sheik was born in Tehran, and eventually fell in the business under Verne Gagne. belongs in the top 20. Jeff Hardy recently told the world what his dream retirement match would be, and it involved Swanton Bombing Undertaker from the top of a Hell in a Cell, climbing back on top of the cage, Swanton Bombing Taker again and missing, and then getting pinned after a Tombstone. When people talk about the golden era of NWA, they’re talking about the 35-minute cage matches between Harley Race and Ric Flair. All it takes is a couple power moves to conquer the world. She said it's unlike any other professional wrestling reunion event in the U.S., including the more high-profile Cauliflower Alley Club reunion held in April in Las Vegas. If I had to pick one wrestler to go 30 minutes in a serious, no-chicanery main event, I’d take The Dragon every time. He wasn’t like The Rock, but after great programs with John Cena, a fantastic Undertaker streak match and some of the most pure evil heel moves ever, I can’t think of many people who had a better career. In 10 years I expect to see Seth in the top 20, maybe the top 10. When they finally had a match in 1980, Zbyszko blindsided his mentor with a wooden chair, turning him into a humongous heel. Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images, Credit: "It's almost a bittersweet blessing," Green said. That alone is enough. But still, the Ultimate Warrior is iconic, and pro wrestling is about icons. We’re still a little sore about the Randy Orton feud, but hey, no big deal I guess. But he wants to make sure his team has a good showing during the legend's show. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin is responsible for the greatest run in the history of pro wrestling. The risk of a riot was too great. This industry is dangerous, but if you embrace that, it can make you pretty undeniable. Joe has put on a number of great matches in TNA, but like a lot of former stars of that company, he’s currently enjoying a renaissance carrying the NXT title. ShinsukeNakamura has created so much wrestling joy over the last few years, and even if tomorrow he explodes or goes back to MMA or something, his peak will be remembered forever. Anderson was the most physically gifted of the Four Horsemen, but unfortunately his in-ring career was cut short after a number of injuries in 1997. What would a Bret Hart/Daniel Bryan match be like? Hitman proved he could work with anyone, and in a perfect world he’d be wrestling hour-long barnburners for the rest of time. Call 251-214-1275, 251-802-6256 or 251-610-2477. Someone had to invent the idea of fixed fights, okay? Not that it matters though, because Malenko could wrestle circles around 95 percent of the people on this list, and for a certain type of fan, that’s all that mattered. If we were just going by matches, Muta wouldn’t have any trouble landing on this list. Like Inoki, Akira Maeda had a background in MMA, and worked hard to protect puroresu as a legitimate sport. Bailey, owner and operator of Suncoast Championship Wrestling, is putting on a charity show Thursday that accompanies an annual Gulf Coast Championship Wrestling reunion in Mobile next weekend. CM Punk, Triple H, A.J. I often wish Hennig were still alive just so he could be around the NXTKids. He was their superhero, the guy who could beat all those American wrestlers. It’s a shame because he’s great in the ring and capable of a solid promo. But since entering the WWE, he’s been a perennial world champion and capable of putting on good matches with anyone in front of him. For better or worse, this is the face of wrestling. Johnny Valentine loved to work stiff. He was a brilliant promo, a great character and capable of working big hammy main events with Hulk Hogan and technical masterpieces with Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat. A semi-chubby stoner bro who brings tight strikes, superfluous high spots and great selling into his legend. Green likens the Gulf Coast wrestling group as "family" where many competitors at the time traveled together to and from the wrestling territory. Yeah, he’ll always be the Macho Man to Cena’s Hogan, but honestly, I kinda prefer it that way. In the ‘70s he wrestled title matches around the NWA, in the ‘80s he made it to WWE, and by the ‘90s he was laying the groundwork in ECW. But he certainly has cast a long shadow. "I've been in the business for 48 to 50 years," said Bass. She could also wrestle like crazy, (ask Chris Jericho.) The victory established Green as a top woman's wrestler during the 70s. Years of frightening back bumps and unprotected chair shots have left him semi-crippled, but his legacy is untouchable. Kane won’t ever achieve the singular fame as The Undertaker, but there’s no question that Glenn Jacobs has proved to be a super useful asset to the WWE. For years Zbyszko was Sammartino’sprotege—a spunky kid tagging along and taking notes. Thirteen years after his death, Curt Hennig remains ‘Perfect’. I will never get tired of watching him stalk around the ring and hit clutch RKOs. I don’t think there’s a single person in the history of WWE who’s had a more contentious journey up the ranks. It just comes off like an easy way to deflect blame. He was a big hairy dude who punched and kicked his way across the country. SI.com's ranking of the top 101 wrestlers of all time. Yes, he turned out to be a raging homophobe and alienated everyone in the industry. Kevin Von Erich was the oldest brother (and one of the best wrestlers) out of the talented and tragic Von Erich family, and their legendary feud with the Fabulous Freebirds has a rightful place in the lore. John B. Connally to allow Green to wrestle on weekends. It’s hard to think of a guy who witnessed more history in more places than Kiniski. But that familial relationship didn't always extend to her toughest nemesis, Moolah. That feeling is few and far between in this industry, but between his groundbreaking promos, erudite wit, excellent ring psychology and, yeah, a great sense of style, Punk is responsible for one of the most unique runs in the history of WWE. Bass wrestled in the territory - which included cities like Mobile, Pensacola, Dothan and Gulfport, Miss. this link is to an external site that may or may not meet accessibility guidelines. Dusty Rhodes’ eldest son trades in his one-in-a-million pedigree for a ballgag and facepaint and accidentally invents the Attitude era. No, that’s why he’s up here at 101, but I feel like someday we’ll look back on Miz the same way we look back on Ted DiBiase. He was the best promo ever, and a core influence on guys like Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, Dean Ambrose, Chris Jericho, etc. He was the Wrestling Machine, but he could also inject a career’s worth of emotion into a single ankle lock. The closest pro wrestling ever got to being real. Mick Foley was the ultimate everyman. Yes Seth Rollins has only been in the WWE for a few years, but he has a bunch of great work in PWG and Ring of Honor, and his matches with Dean Ambrose, John Cena, and Brock Lesnar already speak for themselves. Maybe that’s disrespectful, or maybe it’s just honest. He came up in the Vaudeville days, back when wrestling was trying to be as realistic as possible, and invented the Piledriver, which might be the least realistic looking wrestling move ever. I know there were a lot of things wrong with Goldberg’s streak, but there’s no denying that the guy was white-hot for a while, and in pro wrestling, ephemeral success is plenty legitimate. He was a brilliant heel, a brilliant man, and this business is a sadder place without his mind. "She reached up and slapped me for no reason," Green recalls. This video of a young A.J. In fact, Green holds a distinction that was never considered official: She defeated Moolah in 1975 in Texas to win the NWA World Woman's Championship. Davey Boy Smith, or The British Bulldog, was one of the great technical wizards of the ‘80s and ‘90s, wrestling great matches all across the world. And honestly, after watching Liger for three decades, none of us are all that surprised. One of those 7-foot tall projects brought in for refinement and maybe a monster heel run. Brooke Shields? Hulk Hogan will always be synonymous with the industry that made him famous. Rest in peace Misawa, we hope you’re still throwing stiff forearms. He’s sort of hard to gauge because his greatest matches happened in the ‘30s, ‘40s and ‘50s. In part two of a three-part series, vote for the woman who has what it takes to compete with hotties of other eras in a future gallery poll, then tell us who we missed, Credit: It’s also super iconic, which is why he’s on the list. Short, pallid, ordinary, but still capable of some of the most thrilling offense one will ever see. Bailey said adding a wrestling show was a way to give the old timers - some who have been retired from wrestling since the 70s and 80s; others who still sparingly compete - something to do when they arrive for the reunion.
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