Fifty Greatest Professional Wrestlers of All Time - Book

UCJOE

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Fifty Greatest Professional Wrestlers of All Time
By Larry Matysik

1. Lou Thesz
2. Ric Flair
3. Strangler Lewis
4. Hulk Hogan
5. Bruno Sammartino
6. Steve Austin
7. Jim Londos
8. Buddy Rogers
9. Gene Kiniski
10. Frank Gotch
11. Verne Gagne
12. Harley Race
t-13. Dory Funk Jr.
t-13. Terry Funk
15. Shawn Michaels
16. Johnny Valentine
17. Bill Longson
18. Nick Bockwinkel
19. Jack Brisco
20. The Rock
21. Bret Hart
22. Dick the Bruiser
23. Edouard Carpentier
24. Andre the Giant
25. Randy Savage
26. Triple H
27. Killer Kowalski
28. Fritz Von Erich
29. Whipper Billy Watson
30. Joe Stecher
31. John Cena
32. Bruiser Brody
33. Kurt Angle
34. Danny Hodge
35. Bob Backlund
36. The Undertaker
37. Gorgeous George
38. Pat O'Connor
39. Ted Dibiase
40. Roddy Piper
41. Ray Stevens
42. Fred Blassie
43. Ray Steele
44. Dusty Rhodes
45. Ricky Steamboat
46. Bill Miller
47. Superstar Billy Graham
48. Brock Lesnar
49. Stan Hansen
50. Randy Orton

 

Pigdango

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I've never heard of 6 of the top 10.
 

UCJOE

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Here is an explanation from Meltzer regarding the author being on his webcast
Here is an upload if you care to hear
http://www2.zshare.ma/mog74tmri8q4



The list, as he said, is weighed heavily toward people who could have headlined in any era.

That's his reasoning on Thesz, he was in the pre-TV era as a major star, was the most recognized world champion of the national TV era, and still on top during the territorial TV era. Flair was in the ring as long but not a consistent main eventer and world champion as long.

Guerrero and Mysterio arguments, as were said on the show, were based on the fact they couldn't headline in any era but this one, and Rey headlined but was not a consistent main eventer for years, as would be most of the people on the list. Rey couldn't have even gotten a U.S. job in any other era. Eddy, and he'd have been the first to admit this since he said this to me, could not have been the star Chavo was in the 70s, physically smaller and not as good a talker until late in his career, and Chavo was a star but not a legend. I question that if it wasn't for Heyman, Eddy may not have even gotten into a major U.S. promotion as anything but a talented job guy, and without Heyman I could tell you almost for sure Rey would have never gotten in even as a job guy.
Lesnar and Rock would have been stars in every era. We made that clear in the Cena discussion.

Any book not having Rock in the top 50 is worthless. Lesnar you can certainly argue, but as far as a guy who would have headlined everywhere no matter what the era, there is no argument. And saying he hasn't done enough is pretty silly when he brought up making money with less dates as arguing for Shawn, and Brock makes more money in 3 matches as Shawn did in his best 3 years.
 

UCJOE

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If you just look at the modern "mania" era of wrestlers

2. Ric Flair
4. Hulk Hogan
6. Steve Austin
15. Shawn Michaels
20. The Rock
21. Bret Hart
25. Randy Savage
26. Triple H
31. John Cena
33. Kurt Angle
36. The Undertaker

39. Ted Dibiase
40. Roddy Piper
44. Dusty Rhodes
45. Ricky Steamboat
48. Brock Lesnar
50. Randy Orton

I took out those who were bigger names pre-mania (Andre, Harley, Backlund)

If you look at the top 11, I can see all of them as the top 11

I am surprised Sting wasn't in top 50, but its a decent list
 
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Randy Orton has no business being on anyone's Top 50 of All Time list unless it's a list of people posing like a douche while looking like a retarded caveman staring at a fire.
 

Biff Hardslab

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Here's where the list fucks up according to its logic and criteria. I'd pay money to see the Mulkey brothers. I wouldn't to see John Cena or Randy Orton.
 

UCJOE

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Here's where the list fucks up according to its logic and criteria. I'd pay money to see the Mulkey brothers. I wouldn't to see John Cena or Randy Orton.
YOU wouldn't, but obvious many do for Cena & to a lesser extent (a lot) Orton
 

topher520

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Im so Tired of the Lou Thez shit..Have you ever watched a match with him? Its a back and forth Punch and Headlock fest and is Boring as Fuck. Yet everybody always brings his name up as one of the greatest wrestlers. I guess if I was 70 years old I would disagree.

I guess I hate everyone who wrestled before 1980 or so.
 

UCJOE

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Im so Tired of the Lou Thez shit..Have you ever watched a match with him? Its a back and forth Punch and Headlock fest and is Boring as Fuck. Yet everybody always brings his name up as one of the greatest wrestlers. I guess if I was 70 years old I would disagree.

I guess I hate everyone who wrestled before 1980 or so.
Thesz was the first person to do a lot of moves on a big scale
Head scissors, dropkicks, etc.
Until him a lot was strongman carny stuff
 

Steam

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May 18, 2003
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A list like this is incredibly difficult to compile. I tried to do it after watching the WWE's horrible attempt and never really was motivated to follow through after deciding Michaels and Flair as 1 and 2. I wasn't even going to throw in anybody from before my time as the standards of what made a great "wrestler" has changed (well, not really as DRAW MONEY is still #1 but how you actually do that has changed).

Not sure how Thesz would stack up in this era but I'll let the author have his opinion. Not sure how anyone can fault him for having Cena on the list given the criteria he used. In fact, I'd argue he's lower than he should be using that criteria. If you were able to put Cena in the Hogan spot in the 80s, how big of a difference would there have been? I think Hogan was a better fit due to size and charisma but I don't think its as big of a difference as some would think.

One other pairing that I find interesting is the placement of Hart and Savage. Is he really weighing Hart's babyface ability to give him an edge over Savage? That's the only difference I could think of.
 

UCJOE

I have a lot of business with the Chinese
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A list like this is incredibly difficult to compile. I tried to do it after watching the WWE's horrible attempt and never really was motivated to follow through after deciding Michaels and Flair as 1 and 2. I wasn't even going to throw in anybody from before my time as the standards of what made a great "wrestler" has changed (well, not really as DRAW MONEY is still #1 but how you actually do that has changed).

Not sure how Thesz would stack up in this era but I'll let the author have his opinion. Not sure how anyone can fault him for having Cena on the list given the criteria he used. In fact, I'd argue he's lower than he should be using that criteria. If you were able to put Cena in the Hogan spot in the 80s, how big of a difference would there have been? I think Hogan was a better fit due to size and charisma but I don't think its as big of a difference as some would think.

One other pairing that I find interesting is the placement of Hart and Savage. Is he really weighing Hart's babyface ability to give him an edge over Savage? That's the only difference I could think of.
My Mania era top 15 (popularity, money drawn, importance, longevity, merch) would be:
  1. Hogan
  2. SCSA
  3. Rock'
  4. Flair
  5. Taker
  6. Michaels
  7. Hunter
  8. Savage
  9. Sting
  10. Hart
  11. Foley
  12. Angle
  13. Warrior
  14. Goldberg
  15. Piper

Hogan is far from my fav but 30 years is a long career
SCSA & Rock were too short-lived at the top
Flair & Taker deserve top 5 for longevity & uniqueness
Michaels had two-careers in WWE & while never at the SCSA level, he meant more to PPV than most realize bc people knew they would get money's worth from him
Hunter, Savage, Sting & Hart could be interchangeable
Foley if healthier could have been bigger
Angle if he stayed in WWE would be bigger
Warrior & Goldberg were HUGE short-term draws & Piper deserves to be there
 

Gorilla Pimp

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Throw in Rick Rude. Rude was a great heel.

What about Sting? Say what you want about Sting but he's been a top guy forever, just never wrestled in WWF.... I'd put fucking Earthquake on the list before I put Randy Orton on that list.
 

UCJOE

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Throw in Rick Rude. Rude was a great heel.

What about Sting? Say what you want about Sting but he's been a top guy forever, just never wrestled in WWF.... I'd put fucking Earthquake on the list before I put Randy Orton on that list.
I was surprised about Sting too
Rude was too short-lived & was never the "guy"
DiBiase was for a bit, Rude was second-tier (even though I liked him better)
 

Gorilla Pimp

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I was surprised about Sting too
Rude was too short-lived & was never the "guy"
DiBiase was for a bit, Rude was second-tier (even though I liked him better)
I mean the things you can say about the earlier guys, who paved the way before wrestling became mainstream deserve a spot on that list, as far as going back and being able to tell the history of wrestling... But seriously, Orton?? If Orton never wrestled again, how long would it take for people to notice? Vader was more important to wrestling than Orton is and will be.
 

UCJOE

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I mean the things you can say about the earlier guys, who paved the way before wrestling became mainstream deserve a spot on that list, as far as going back and being able to tell the history of wrestling... But seriously, Orton?? If Orton never wrestled again, how long would it take for people to notice? Vader was more important to wrestling than Orton is and will be.
I cannot discuss wrestlers prior to Mania era since I do not know them as well
I can see your point about Orton
 

MayrMeninoCrash

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Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan should be top two on any respectable metric other than "these guys wrestled a long time ago so they must've been good"
 

UCJOE

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Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan should be top two on any respectable metric other than "these guys wrestled a long time ago so they must've been good"
If Flair was ever the #1 guy during the Mania era I would agree, but there was always someone bigger as a draw
Hogan, Warrior, Savage, Austin, Rock, Goldberg

He is one of my all time favorites but never the "guy"

Top 5 in the modern era for sure
I'm surprised at Hogan #4 on his list but Thesz & Flair ahead of him seems fine if you add in every era
 

VicVinegar

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Like him or not, Hogan has to be #1 on any list. He did more to make wrestling mainstream than anyone. I'd bet he is still the most recognized wrestler to the average person, despite The Rock's exposure through movies. My guess is that quite a few people wouldn't know that Dwayne Johnson wrestles. Everyone knew Hulk Hogan was a wrestler.
 

UCJOE

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Like him or not, Hogan has to be #1 on any list. He did more to make wrestling mainstream than anyone. I'd bet he is still the most recognized wrestler to the average person, despite The Rock's exposure through movies. My guess is that quite a few people wouldn't know that Dwayne Johnson wrestles. Everyone knew Hulk Hogan was a wrestler.
No huge fan of Hogan & SCSA broke his records for his big 2 years, but Hogan's first 6 years in WWF & his NWO run put him ahead of everyone
 

MayrMeninoCrash

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Id argue that without Flair there would be no Hogan. If the NWA hadnt chosen to consolidate power and threaten the WWFs territory, I'm not sure Vince would've taken the steps to push wrestling into the spotlight. Remember before that he was happy with boring Bob Backlund being the top guy for 6+ years. Hence, no Flair, no Hogan.
 

UCJOE

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Id argue that without Flair there would be no Hogan. If the NWA hadnt chosen to consolidate power and threaten the WWFs territory, I'm not sure Vince would've taken the steps to push wrestling into the spotlight. Remember before that he was happy with boring Bob Backlund being the top guy for 6+ years. Hence, no Flair, no Hogan.
I disagree completely
Backlund was a Vince Sr. guy & within a year after buying his Dad out he took the belt of Backlund
Vince Jr. always wanted to go National

It is well documented & even Vince says his Dad would have been pissed at Jr. doing that


In 1982, McMahon sold the parent company of the then-WWF (having been rechristened the World Wrestling Federation) to his son Vincent Kennedy McMahon and his company Titan Sports, Inc. The younger Vince, much to his father's initial concern, set out to make the WWF national and eventually worldwide in scope. "Had my father known what I was going to do," the younger McMahon told Sports Illustrated in 1991, "he never would have sold his stock to me