Top 5 Favorite Wrestlers!

Today’s top 5 list will be all about that fake/real sport wrestling. Wrestling is one of those things that I think was so popular for a while there it made that jump into popular culture. I was so fortunate enough to experience it live a number of times back in its glory days.

Before you close out of this list and say, “I have never watched or cared for wrestling,” just know that a lot of the wrestlers could be named by people that have never even seen one single wrestling match. There are a ton of wrestlers that have made the leap into actual acting. The Rock is one. I think there were some in the Expendables. Everyone knows Hulk Hogan and The Macho Man. So give it a chance!

Plus, if you don’t know anything about wrestling, my guest lister today is the PERFECT person to give you a quick education. Nic Thorson is a real good friend of mine out here in Los Angeles and still an avid fan and somewhat of a wrestling historian. Nic also has a fun website that I have been a part of personally, and you can find that here: http://boozinreviews.wordpress.com/. If you like the idea and concept, make sure to follow the site on facebook. That can be found here: http://www.facebook.com/BoozinReviews.

Let’s get to Nic’s list of his top 5 favorite wrestlers. Here it is:

1.  “Macho Man” Randy Savage – I don’t think anyone could ever top the Macho Man in my book.  I guess you can say he was my first love as a wrestling fan.  He was the flashy, wild persona that could actually back it all up in the ring.  He always played second fiddle to Hulk Hogan, but Terry (Hulk) could count the moves in his arsenal on his fingers and toes with one sock on.  Randy delivered in the ring and on the mic like no one else of his time.  He was what makes a hero to me.  He stood up against Hogan even when he was the popular guy, he stood by his love – Miss Elizabeth, he took his title reigns (even the lesser ones) seriously, and he did it with an unmatched passion and intensity.

If you’ve never watched a wrestling match, a good place to start would be Wrestlemania 3.  In front of the largest indoor audience of all time, Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat challenged Randy Savage for the Intercontinental Championship.  Savage lost, but its considered by many (including myself) to be the standard for match execution.

Favorite moment – SummerSlam ’92, Macho Man vs. The Ultimate Warrior.  Ric Flair helps Savage, but he sends a “no thank you letter” in the form of an elbow off the top rope.

2.  Ric Flair – No other wrestler’s body of work holds up to Ric Flair’s.  He’s the top heel (bad guy) ever.  Story telling 101 – your protagonist’s accomplishments are only as meaningful as the threat of the antagonist.  Without the ominous stature of most heels, Flair was the antagonist who built heroes like Sting, Randy Savage, and Ricky Steamboat (and pushed Hulk Hogan and Dusty Rohdes to their best).  Everyone hated Ric Flair.  He has held more World Championships than anyone, and the self proclaimed “dirtiest player in the game” used his power to stay on top.  He lead the original stable, the Four Horsemen, to dominate NWA and WCW for decades and he is the only person to be inducted into the WWE/F Hall of Fame twice (once with the Horsemen).  If this were a list of the greatest of all time, Ric would be untouchable.

Favorite moment – There’s never been a better retirement match ever.  Ric Flair vs. HBK at Wrestlemania 24.

Ric Flair

3.  Chris Jericho – I’m a Jerichoholic Ninja.  There’s an inherent humor in wrestling. The Lionheart gets that.  The squared circle has seen a lot of dumb beefcakes walk in and tell everyone how much tougher they are.  They usually suck.  Jericho still tells everyone how great he is, but he never takes his character too seriously.  His performance in the ring, though, is another story.  At this year’s Wrestlemania, Jericho and CM Punk put on a clinic of a wrestling match.  His early matches with Rey Mysterio, Dean Malenko, and Juventu Guerrera are spectacular.

Favorite moment – Nitro, Jericho walks to the ring with his personal security, imitating Goldberg’s iconic entrance.  They get lost on the way and end up locked out of the building.

Chris Jericho

4.  Kurt Angle – Kurt Angle could carry a match with a grilled cheese sandwich if he was booked to do so.  The guy has an incredibly rare versatility with his strength, mat skills, and high-risk game that makes his able to wrestle anyone and make a good matchup.  He came in at a point where pro wrestling was dying down and he managed to be a huge success regardless.  Angle is also believable in just about any spot he needs to be in story-wise.  He’s a great face and an even better heel.  He’s as believable as wrestlers get.  He wears true emotion on his sleeve and isn’t afraid to cry once in a while.

Favorite moment – Milk Truck.  

5.  Christopher Daniels – “The Fallen Angel” never really made it big.  They used to call him king of the indies, now he’s a TNA mainstay.  Great heel.  Great in the ring. Weird looking. In an industry where image is everything, Daniels is small and oddly shaped.  He was a favorite of mine during the rise of Ring of Honor and TNA.  He lead the Triple X stable to dominate the tag division in TNA, and Daniels had some incredible matches (one cage match in particular with Elix Skipper vs. America’s Most Wanted comes to mind) with both tag partners.  He’s stuck around TNA to become a real workhorse for the company.

Favorite Moment – TNA Unbreakable – Daniles vs. AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe

Christopher Daniels

Honorable mentions: CM Punk, Norman Smiley, Konan, Austin Aries, DDP

Great List there Nic. My list will not compare as far as the detail goes, but that is why you were perfect for this category.  Here is my personal wrestling top 5:

1. Sting – I always liked Sting. I started watching wrestling as a young child with some of my friends way back when I was in 5th grade. FIFTH GRADE! Sheesh. Anyway, back then, in WCW things were starting to happen. The NWO (New World Order) started to show up and its main opposition was a crazy looking phantom Sting who would be perched up in the rafters with a baseball bat. He was the first defender of the WCW against the NWO and people rallied to him. I really liked that about him…and the stinger splash!

Sting

2. Rey Mysterio Jr. – One of the coolest aspects of wrestling were the high flying luchadors from Mexico. These undersized but super-fast wrestlers relied more on high risk maneuvers to bring down the more normal sized wrestlers. Rey Mysterio Jr. was always my favorite of this bunch. He was a masked wrestler that could just fly around the ring. He has a sweet finishing move called the hurricanrana where be swung around a guys neck and folded them down into a pinning move. Rey was also my favorite character to play in the video games. (NWO vs WCW World Tour for the N64 anyone?)

Rey Mysterio Jr.

3. Shawn Michaels – Perhaps small and undersized himself, Shawn Michaels just went out about his business all day every day. And his business was being the Showstopper. From moves like Sweet Chin Music to awesome iron man matches, this dude did it all. And he did all being the sexy boy!

Shawn Michaels

4. Hacksaw Jim Duggan – This guy is like a fine wine…he got better with age. Or perhaps he is more like vegetables, you don’t appreciate him until you are older. Either way, this guy wasn’t all that good in the ring, but he is memorable. From his patriot flag waving, 2×4 toting, and “HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO “ bellowing, this guy was money. He was a little before his time perhaps, but whenever I hear one of those “USA! USA! USA!” chants, the only thing I can think of is this man. Thumbs up to you Mr. Duggan. HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Hacksaw Jim Duggan

5. LaParka – The Chairman of the WCW. He got his nickname from always bringing a chair into the ring. Please take a moment to enjoy this WONDERFUL clip of him getting crushed by Bill Goldberg in the ring. Hilarious. Also, his dance is one of the best dances in sports. I am surprised it is not imitated more in other sports like football.

That will do it for today! Time to make your own list of wrestlers and join in below in the comments!

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3 Comments

  1. I don’t think macho man could have gone out any other way than having a massive heart attack, crossing over the center divider, and crashing his car in the forest.

    Reply
  2. Brian

     /  July 17, 2012

    Keep in mind I was only into the WWF for a few years during my junior high days…

    1. Stone Cold Steve Austin
    2. Mankind (Mick Foley really and any of his characters)
    3.Devon and Bubba Ray Duddley.
    4. D-Generation X’s tag team champion’s of the WOOOORRRLLLDDDD… The Road Dog Jesse James and BAD. ASS. BILLY. GUN.
    5. The Rock.

    Reply
  3. Brian

     /  July 17, 2012

    which is why I, sadly, do not have any WCW wrestlers on the list.

    Reply

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