I started watching wrestling when I was about 5 years old and was hooked. It started with Goldberg and Sting in WCW back when they were winning the Monday Night War. It didn’t take long to get hooked on to WWF (now WWE). I watched that until I was maybe 13-14. I took about a five year hiatus and then fell in love with it all over again in college. Now, I am 26 and a grown ass man. But damn it, I still love me some good ole wrastling.
The 25th Anniversary of Monday Night Raw airs Monday, which means we will get a little nostalgia kick as dozens of superstars are set to return. I always love the anniversary episode of Raw, especially the big milestones like 25. They are always a lot of fun. With that being said, I decided to put together a list of my top 25 favorite wrestler to ever grace a ring.
I was a huge APA fan as a kid and when the group was starting their split up, I almost didn’t recognize Bradshaw during his transition to JBL. After looking like your typical bar room biker for so long, he went blonde and clean cut. It was different. He also became a total nut sack after that. He became one of the biggest heels on Smackdown. He was this cocky wall street fuck boy who would kiss the babies, shake hands and then proceed to put sanitizer on after touching anyone. It was very Donald Trumpesque. It also helped the Clothesline From Hell is such a great finisher.
24. Dolph Ziggler
As far as in ring performers go, it is tough to put most people over Ziggler. He is one of the best technicians I have ever seen. Unfortunately, he has been one of the most under utilized performers in recent memory. If he would have gotten the push he deserves, he could have been just as good if not better than Shawn Michaels.
23. Diamond Dallas Page
Going back to WCW, DDP was one of my favorites easily. I remember loving him during his heel run in 1999. Although he never really had that heel turn moment. It just kind of happened. Plus, who didn’t love him pitted against Jimmy the King in Ready to Rumble?
22. Mick Foley
Mrs. Foley’s baby boy!! How can you not love Foley. He brings new meaning to split personality disorders. From Mankind to Cactus Jack to Dude Love, this was one sadistic son of a bitch in the ring. Although, I didn’t get to experience a lot of Dude Love, my earliest memory is Cactus Jack. I had just begun to watch WWE heavily when HHH was having his title run and feuding with Foley. I went ape shit when Foley announced that The Game wasn’t facing him at Royal Rumble. He ripped off his shirt to reveal that Cactus Jack was coming back for the street fight. That is one of my favorite Foley moments.
21. Daniel Bryan
Watching him win the gold Wrestlemania 30 still sends chills down my spine as a WWE fan. For so long, a title run was teased for him and they broke the fourth wall playing up the whole B+ superstar which kind of broke kayfabe to some degree. I think this is one of the times where fans hijacked the script. I don’t think the plan was to have Bryan win the title, but they felt they had to. Doing the YES chant with 70,000 is something I will never forget.
20. Chris Benoit
We all know how this story ended. As fucked up as it was, it doesn’t mean I won’t be making jokes every Royal Rumble. He was truly one of my favorite in-ring performers. I know Brock Lesnar coined the phrase suplex city, but Benoit was doing that shit long before Brock.
19. Brock Lesnar
Although I am tired of current Brock, he was awesome when he bursted on to the scene. I remember him demolishing Spike Dudley in his debut on Raw. The second I saw him, I was terrified. That is a big fucking dude. He brought new meaning to Here Comes The Pain.
18. Eddie Guerrero
Viva La Raza! If you’re not cheating, you’re not trying. Love me some Eddie Guerrero. Watching him win the world title will always be one of my favorite Mania moments. I don’t know that there was anyone who was more deserving. Typically looked at as a top mid carder, it was awesome to see him in the main event scene for a while. He was always good for a laugh during his matches thanks to dirty tactics.
17. Razor Ramon
“Hard works pays off. Dreams do come true. Bad times don’t last. But bad guys do.” I just finished watching his documentary and you want to talk about a fucked up story. The fact he is alive and doing well now is a miracle. I can’t watch his HOF speech without crying. I can’t even read that quote without crying. Razor Ramon/Scott Hall was one of those guys who could’ve been so much more. But even despite all the drama, he is still one of the best ever. If you’re a wrestling fan, you’ll never put a toothpick in your mouth the same once you know about Razor Ramon. (Flicks toothpick at screen)
16. Roddy Piper
Oh man, this was a tough pill to swallow when I heard he passed. One of the best heels to ever grace a ring. You can’t mention wrestling and fun without mentioning Hot Rod. Always remember, this guy came to kick ass and chew bubble gum…and he was always out of bubble gum.
15. Stone Cold Steve Austin
The second you hear the glass shatter, you know shit is about go down. The baddest son of a bitch WWE has ever seen. This guy got in the face of Mike Tyson and gave him his favorite sign language. He was the focal point of the attitude era and a HUGE reason why WWE eventually won the Monday Night War. Austin 3:16 says I just whipped your ass.
14. The Miz
Ever since his days on Real World and The Challenge, I have always been a big Mike The Miz Mizanin fan. When I started watching again, he was the WWE champion and having his run with John Cena. He instantly became one of my favorite heels. The last year he has had with the IC title run has been nothing short of spectacular and it is awesome to see him relevant again.
13. Finn Balor
Coincidence that my son is named Finn? I think not. I love everything about this Irish son of a bitch. His name is bad ass. His look is bad ass. He is a bad ass. Although he is early in his career, I can’t wait to see where he goes. I have no doubt he could end up in the top 10 before it is all said and done.
12. CM Punk
After being screwed time and time again, the cult of personality called the quits on WWE still in his prime. We have no idea if and when he will return. It absolutely sucks that the fans were robbed of what could have a been an even more amazing career. Punk will always be one of my favorites. He was the modern day Stone Cold.
11. AJ Styles
I never really watched TNA so I only heard how great AJ Styles was. When he finally made his debut with WWE at the Royal Rumble, I was hooked. I just don’t know that there has been a better active superstar in the past two years. Just remember that Smackdown is the house that AJ Styles built.
The ultimate opportunist was amazing when he and Christian were top of the tag team division. He is one of the funniest superstars to grace a ring and then he adopted the Rated R Superstar gimmick to legitimize him as a singles competitor. Needless to say he didn’t disappoint. His farewell speech on Raw when he retired is still one of the saddest days in wrestling injury. Another career cut a little too short.
9. Kevin Owens
Raw or Smackdown, it doesn’t matter what show he is on. It is always the KEVIN OWENS SHOW! He is truly one of the best heels in WWE history. He plays a bad guy better than just about anyone. He is doing it in a time where it is hard to not break kayfabe. But even with the internet, he uses his Twitter account to mercilessly insult fans and opponents. During a dark match, he was screaming about his bank roll to a fan while he had Reigns in a headlock. You could see Reigns had to drop his head because he was laughing hysterically at Owens.
8. Randy Orton
Although the Viper gimmick suits him well, Orton won me over when he became the legend killer. I loved the cocky kid who didn’t care who you were because no one was safe from an RKO.
7. Seth Rollins
Seth Freaking Rollins aka Crossfit Jesus is easily my favorite active superstar. When he turned heel on the Shield, it was the biggest heartbreak but one of the most exciting moments because I wanted to see him as a heel. He didn’t disappoint. He is one of the most entertaining in ring performers thanks to his ability to mix it up between power, speed and agility. Not to mention, he has the CURB STOMP back!
6. Triple H
He is the game and he is that damn good. Growing up, Triple H was the top heel in WWE. On the microphone, he didn’t miss a beat. In the ring, he always delivered. Even in his seasoned age and corporate role, he is still delivering on both of those fronts. Anytime I hear his music hit, that is something to get excited about.
5. Kurt Angle
For a long time, it became a matter of if, not when Kurt Angle would return. For me, I couldn’t wait. Angle was one of my favorites the day he walked into WWE talking about his olympic gold medals and how he won them with a broken freaking neck. It didn’t take him too long to get a big push. One of my favorite things about Kurt Angle is his willingness to make fun of himself.
4. The Rock
I don’t know that anyone can cut a promo quite like The Great One. He was MY IDOL growing up. I have always loved people who knew how to run their mouth like a boss. The Rock can certainly do that. I remember we had a dress down day in middle school and it was “favorite person day,” I wore the glasses, a just bring it T-Shirt and the warm up pants. Even as an adult, I can still quote a ton of his promos. My buddy Trevor and I did this all the time when we worked for a radio station down in Houma. We would cut up commercials while doing our best Rock impressions.
3. Shawn Michaels
As far as someone who could deliver on the big stage, there is a reason he is known as Mr. Wrestlemania. He is one of the most entertaining performers in WWE history. He is incredible at selling any move. He put that on display at Summerslam when out of spite he over sold every single move done to him by Hulk Hogan. He did it to the point where Hogan was fuming. It was amazing because fuck Hogan.
2. Chris Jericho
Like a fine wine, he just gets better with age. He went on record and said his favorite run was his last with Kevin Owens. I would agree. For a year, Jericho was must see TV in WWE. He is a great in ring performer, no doubt about that. But where he gets it done is on the microphone. From a comedy standpoint, I don’t think anyone makes me laugh more in WWE history. The List of Jericho was an absolute work of genius and the only reason I still tell people who annoy me “YOU JUST MADE THE LIST.” Anyone on the list is going to get…………………..IT!
1. Ric Flair
There is no question who takes the top spot and always will for me. Ric Fucking Flair is a god. He is who everyone aspires to be. He is the rolex wearin, diamond ring wearin kiss stealin, wheelin dealin, limousine ridin, jet flyin son of a gun and there is no one who holds the alligators down better than the Nature Boy. WOOOOOO!