Way back when I started this blog, I listed wrestling as one of my interests. I thought with WrestleMania not far away, this would be a great time to talk about my favorite wrestlers.
First, some disclaimers.
- I started during the “Attitude Era.” So I know very little of the 80’s “Rock and Wrestling” era.
- I can’t afford the WWE Network, so you won’t see any current NXT wrestlers.
- I can’t afford El Rey, so no Lucha Underground wrestlers.
- I can’t afford the network Ring of Honor is on.
10. Booker T
Finishers: Bookend (Kneeling side slam), Axe Kick (Spinning kick)–Booker T started out as one half of WCW tag team Harlem Heat (with his brother Stevie Ray) and eventually broke out on his own to win the WCW heavyweight title 5 time-5 times! He got into WWE pretty late in his career, but he still proved to be a formidable opponent.
9. Samoa Joe
Finisher: Muscle Buster, Rear-naked choke
There’s two names that made TNA Impact Wrestling worth watching, Samoa Joe and AJ Styles. AJ Styles is honorable mention for me, and Samoa Joe had a huge undefeated streak that rivals Goldberg’s in WCW. (Not to mention, Joe is much better in the ring than Goldberg ever was.) The man is impressively fast for someone his weight, especially when you consider he was a 5-time X-division champion, a division usually reserved for smaller wrestlers. I can’t wait to see him on Raw or Smackdown.
8. AJ Styles
Finisher: Styles Clash (fall forward mat slam), Calf-crusher
As I said above, AJ Styles was another name that made TNA. In fact, Styles pretty much carried the company on his back! I was disappointed when he didn’t even bother renewing his contract, but I understood his reasoning. Now that he’s with WWE, (where he actually started out as a jobber, believe it or not) I hope they realize the gold mine they have here. He’s already started out on a good foot with his feud with Chris Jericho.
7. Goldust (Dustin Runnels)
Finishers: Curtain Call (Falling inverted DDT), Final Cut (Swinging vertical suplex) Golden Age (Reverse STO)
Goldust has never gotten to the top of card, but as far as I’m concerned, that doesn’t matter, because the man is brilliant in the ring and out. I love the mind games he plays with his opponents–you’re never really sure what he’s going to do and he just loves to get in people’s heads. He’s a great comic relief partner (just look at the skits he did with Booker T and the skits he’s doing with R-Truth as they try to get a team started).
6. William Regal
Finisher: Regal Stretch (Arm trap cross-legged STF) Why has Regal never been a WWE Heavyweight champion? Actually, I doubt he ever needed it. He is so skilled at making people hate him with his dirty tricks, his elitist attitude, that on the rare occasions where he is the face (wrestler lingo for “good guy”), you don’t believe it. I love his evil-sounding entrance music and he really was one of the best evil managers on Raw, too.
5. Shawn Michaels
Finisher: Sweet Chin Music/Superkick
He is the show-stopper! The main event! For years, Michaels was THE guy to watch. His matches with Eddie Guerrero, Rey Mysterio, the Undertaker, and Ric Flair are the stuff of legend. He’s the main reason Degeneration X is my favorite stable.
4. Mick Foley
Finisher: Mandible Claw (aka “Mr. Socko!”, Double-arm DDT–as Cactus Jack and Dude Love)
Only Mick Foley could make a sock puppet finisher a good idea. Only Mick Foley could make a fun-loving hippie work. He never had the build of Brock Lesnar or Triple-H, but man could he put on a show!
3. Kurt Angle
Finishers: Angle Slam, Ankle-lock
Kurt Angle is the only pro wrestler to start out in the Olympics as a gold medalist. He may seem like a goofy figure with his patriotic colors reminiscent of Captain America, he’s a great worker. He had an awesome sixteen-minute iron man match with Brock Lesnar on Smackdown that still holds up to this day. He has many people who respect him in both WWE and Impact wrestling and I hope to see him in the Hall of Fame someday.
Finisher: Lion-tamer/Walls of Jericho (elevated Boston Crab), Codebreaker (double knee facebreaker) When Jericho was in WCW, he was evidence of what would eventually lead to its downfall–the only reason he never got the heavyweight title was that he didn’t have the pull that Hulk Hogan and his pals had. He was wasted there, and it wasn’t until he got to the WWE that he finally got to show his true potential. He talks a good game and backs it up–in WCW, he had stints as TV champ and cruiserweight champ. In WWE, he’s held the Intercontinental Championship belt a total of 9 times, and he’s a 3-time World Champion as well. He’s also pretty funny too. My two favorite moments come from his WCW days, his stint as TV champ when he had a moment right out of the movie This is Spinal Tap and walked out the wrong door to almost wind up in the parking lot (and then when he finally did get to the arena, they couldn’t even get the pyro to work!), and when he named off all “1004 holds” he knew. He was also pretty funny in WWE as well.
- The Rock–Finisher: Rock Bottom (Fall forward side slam), People’s Elbow (running elbow drop) Believe it or not, the Rock was once WWE’s most hated wrestler! “Die, Rocky, die!” chants broke out all over arenas when he started out as Rocky Miavia. The WWE wisely turned him heel and he joined both the Nation of Domination and later the Corporation, acting as someone who thought everyone, including the audience, was beneath him. He made it work and earned the fans’ respect. When he finally did become face and a champion, he kept that attitude and it made him so funny. (Really just look up his moments on the mic on YouTube) While his career in movies has been up and down (don’t bring up Tooth Fairy), I still enjoy seeing this guy in action.