I would like to think that the guys I grew up watching (Bobo Brazil, Bruno Sammartino, Toro and Tanaka, Ivan Putski, Chief Jay Strongbow) could beat any of the sterioded and bloated guys wrestling today, but I’m not sure it would happen. Perhaps there could be a fantasy wresting league, pitting the oldies against the current wrestlers.
The best match I ever saw? Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat against Randy “Macho Man” Savage, at Wrestlemania III I believe.
IMHO, only one mahn deserves the title “Best Pro Wrestler Ever” and that’s “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair.
A 14 time World Champion who made the good guys great everywhere he went. He took some of the stiffest, clumsiest guys and made them look like geniuses in the ring. His mic skills are incredible, even if, admittedly, he did become a bit of a caricature of himself towards the end of his career.
He was able to maintain a career over 25 years without ever having to reinvent himself.
“In order to BE the man, you’ve got to BEAT the man! WHOOO!”
SC didn’t get many of the better ones in that organization, though. The good ones went to GA or FL.
But, anyway, there was one guy who called himself “The Destroyer” who came thru this area in the early 70s. If anyone could beat him (other than by disqualification), he would unmask. But no one ever beat him.
A guy I went to school with said that he found out his identity, though. We all said, “Yeah, right.” He told us that his father had a friend who worked at a car dealership that had sold “The Destroyer” a car under his real name of (OK, it’s been over a quarter of a century, now) “Don Jardine” or “Dan Jardine.”
After he left our area, the local announcers did tell who the masked man was, though–and our schoolmate had been right!
I also found that he wrestled in other areas under “The Spoiler,” and possibly some other masked names.
I also remember Johnny Valentine. He was a bad guy, but the kind you really had to admire.
Now, if we were going to pick best wrestling announcer of all time–that would be Gordon Solie. No one else even came close.
George “The Animal” Steele - remember him? He’d chew on the turnbuckle and slobber all over the place. Haystacks Calhoun was another terrific one. And the managers? Captain Lou Albano, the Grand Wizard of Wrestling, and Classy Fred Blassie. Now those were entertaining characters. And don’t forget Vince McMahon (sp?) when he was just the doofus promoter and announcer with the pompadour and liver lips.
“McMahon, you pencil-necked geek? No one can beat my man, McMahon.”
Channel 20, WWDC, Washington D.C. Saturday mornings.
Of course, throw in a women’s match featuring The Fabulous Moola or a tag team made up of dwarves and you’ve got yourself some serious sport.
I’m a fairly old school fan of wrestling, but I can’t stand the new stuff. Anyway, I personally think my favorite wrestler is Sting. But, if we’re talking about the best wrestler ever, it’d have to be Ricky The Steamboat Dragon. Too bad he had to retire since his amazing match with Randy Savage. That was the best wrestling match ever.
Also, I believe, if you use all of Ric Flair’s titles (between both Feds), it’s 17 time world champion. I may be one or two off though. I haven’t been in to wrestling in a long time.
The Nature Boy Rick Flair is the standard people need to measure up too. Equally perfect face and heel, his technical skills were fabulous in the day, he could stand up to the best of them for long long periods of time. And lets not forget those mike skills…he could get people to buy Amway if he wanted to with that stare and that voice.
For team, I vote for the 4 horseman(originals). Again Flair, Arn Anderson (one of the best heels around and the original DDT finisher), Chris Benoit (a wonderful versatle wrestler and just now really shining after nearly 15 years under his belt), and Dean Malenko (another well conditioned wrestler and a consumate professional).
Some others of note:
-The Von Ericks (Bare foot Kerry with his gymnastic like moves)
-Sgt Slaughter (early years- perfected the USA vs Russia standard fare with Nikoli Volkoff and rode it to well done heights. Should have retired a bit sooner though)
-Rowdy Roddy Piper (he is horrible now but man he was good back in the day)
-The Road Warriors (anyone remember their legendary 20 foot ladder match for the tag team supremacy in the early days of wcw? What a work of art that was)
When I saw the title of the post, I expected to see a debate over Stone Cold vs. the Rock.
Ivan Putski? Superfly Snuka? Bob Backlund?
You guys make me proud.
Allright, here are a few for you.
For all-time great heals you can’t forget Greg the Hammer Valentine or [Don “the Rock” Morocco. Both of these guys could kick serious ass and remained -for the duration of their careers- bad through and through.
A great good guy/Baby Face was the lefty Pedro Morales. Also does anyone remember Rowdy Roddy Piper??? He blurred the lines between good guy / bad guy and hasn’t had anyone even remotely approach his level of charisma.
Based on a combination of wrestling skills, character presence, quality of gimmick and name:
#367 Koko B. Ware (a bit undersized and had some drug problems, but he’s got such a cool name, he has to be in the top 500) #1285 The Red Rooster (should have been higher on the list, but got stuck with a very awful gimmick) #502 Doink the Clown (his stock fell when he turned face and all the miniature clowns started popping up) #666 Hulk Hogan (even with the renewal of patriotism, most people would root for the Iron Sheik if they had a rematch today, his matches have always been predictable) #1286 Akeem the African Dream/One Man Gang (Akeem was one of the few gimmicks worse than the Red Rooster, One Man Gang was a little better, but could be likened to John Candy with a mohawk) #402 Dino Bravo (A natural blonde, just like Butch Reed)
Randy Savage was a hard worker who had a lot of great matches. Rowdy Roddy Piper was an awesome heel in his prime, though he tarnished his image a bit toward the end. (How many times did he retire and un-retire?) Ted Dibiase was a great heel in his early WWF days. Rick Rude was also good at drawing heat from the crowd. You’ve got to be amazed at anyone who can survive all the abuse that Mick Foley has taken in his career. George the Animal Steele’s apelike ring persona was rather interesting, considering that in real life he has a graduate degree in English literature. I would draw a lot of parallels between Honky Tonk Man and Kurt Angle as a heel (a special knack for being annoying), though Angle obviously has better ring skills than HTM ever did.
Thanks Heath, but the orginal 4 horseman were Flair, Arn Anderson, Ole Anderson and Tully Blanchard. Yes, they were the greatest small clique ever in wrestling. Benoit and Malenko, two other personal favorites of mine, along with Steve “Mongo” McMichael, were only horsmen for a very short time. Other notable horsemen include, Lex Luger, Brian Pillman and Paul Roma. There may have been others that are escaping me at the moment.
Of course, the greatest large clique, and possibly the grestest story line EVER in wrestling, was the NWO. But that’s a whole other thread in itself.
The best wrestler ever career-wise has to be Terry Funk. Who else can claim to have won major championship titles in the 60’s (NWA World, NWA Tag Team with his brother Dory) and the 90’s (ECW World, WWF Tag Team with Cactus Jack).