There’s no doubt about it, wrestling stars are both in a world and league of their own. So when it comes to ranking these legends it’s not always that easy! We need to take into account a lot of things, as its not just about their strength and skills. Nevertheless, it would be virtually impossible to include every single wrestler on the list. Take a look at the wrestlers we consider to be the most impressive icons in the business, the ones who often made the biggest noise both in and out of the ring. See if your favorite made the cut.
In the beginning, Kane was created to rival another superstar known as The Undertaker. Kane is famous for his popular moves called Tombstone Piledriver and Chokeslam. His storyline is quite bizarre which is essentially what kept the character so important. How can anyone forget the time he set fire to a WWE Hall of Famer? But what is even more strange is the fact that he is currently the Mayor of Knox County in Tennessee.
‘Ravishing’ Rick Rude (1982-1999)
The most distinctive move that was performed by “Ravishing” Rick Rude was called Rude Awakening. This seems so fitting because it suits him so perfectly, specifically the way he maneuvered himself around the ring. A very memorable moment from this icon was the time that he smeared the face of Jake “The Snake” Robert’s wife to his tights! That was definitely quite a moment! He sadly dies on April 20, 1999, at the young age of 40.
Jake “The Snake” Roberts (1974-2008)
Jake “The Snake” Roberts created the infamous DDT. But he was also notorious for the soft tone of voice he used, which was the total opposite to his counterparts who very frequently yelled all the time. He probably wasn’t the best wrestler with the quickest moves, but we decided that we couldn’t leave him off our list- mainly because of his pet snake and his aggressive behavior.
Brock Lesnar (2000-2007, 2012-Present)
Before Brock Lesnar joined the UFC octagon, he was actually the youngest star in WWE. Not only was he so famous for his persistence but also his F5 finishing move. When speaking about his matches against Big Show, Kurt Angle, and The Undertaker, we should probably tread lightly as in our opinion they are probably considered to be the best out there. Lesnar truly makes some good entertainment!
Big Van Vader (1985-2018)
Big Van Vader was definitely one massive, strange dude who unfortunately had his career halted by Vince McMahon. Some question whether this is true or not but either way he was an outstanding wrestler in both WCW and in Japan. He stunned fans with his “Vadersault”. He was also selected by the L.A. Rams during the 3rd round of the NFL Draft and made a guest appearance on Boy Meets World. he sadly passed away in 2018.
Rey Mysterio (1989-Present)
Believe it or not but it really been three decades and Rey Mysterio is still smashing the pro wrestling universe. Before making his WWE debut, he was thrilled to be the next big thing. His overwhelming story to get the WWE title at Wrestlemania is one for the history books. But he’ll be sure to never let you down as he is always ready to put on a good performance.
Million Dollar Man (1974-1999)
Ted Dibiase is probably the only man who could have taken the role of the Million Dollar Man. His laugh, his boldness and his facial expressions just screamed confidence. But that’s why we love him! This unique wrestler gave Hulk Hogan a run for his money… get it? He also went on to become the manager in WCW.
The Ultimate Warrior (1985-1998)
Yes, we know! The Ultimate Warrior was heavily debated when considering whether to add him to the list or not. So before you all add your opinions, just take a look at what we have to say. Besides the fact that he may not have been the best wrestler, he did indeed have an amazing face. Honestly, he did only have a handful of matches that are definitely worth watching but he was for sure a massive star for many during the ’90s. And we can’t mention the fact that he really did beat Hulk Hogan in Wrestlemania!
Frequently Chyna was also called the “Ninth Wonder of the World”. She definitely reformed the roles of females within pro wrestling. She first joined the league as the bodyguard for Triple H and Shawn Michaels, and she definitely had the ideal physique along with incredible strength. In 2016, she sadly passed away, her lifeless body was discovered in her California home. May her soul rest in peace!
Gorgeous George (1932-1962)
George “Gorgeous” Wagner had quite a flamboyant character! We feel because of this, he felt the need to promote pro wrestling into the domain of “sports entertainment” during the First Age of Wrestling. And eventually, he was considered to be the first person to make wrestling an authentic sport. His frugal moves and somewhat dishonest moves turned him into a wrestler that fans really loved to hate!
The Sheik (1949-1995)
As a matter of fact, many wrestlers over the past few decades have embraced the name ‘The Sheik’. But if we must know, it was actually this affluent Syrian wrestler that laid the foundation. He was so famous for how he gripped his contenders in submission even after the referee counted down. On many occasions, he used the ropes to get leverage, which is a tactic used by many wrestlers today.
Rob Van Dam (1990-Present)
It is hard not to enjoy the entertainment given to us by Rob Van Dam, especially with his amazing “Five Star Frog Splash” finishing move. He is great to watch thanks to his powerful, martial arts skills and acrobatic moves. During the past few years, he had a few issues that were related to law enforcement and substance abuse, this was the reason why he didn’t accomplish what was set out to be. Regardless of having the opportunity to headline a WWE match.
Samoa Joe (1990-Present)
Samoa Joe has remarkably taken home every single title imaginable, with the exclusion of the WWE Championship. Do not let his appearance fool you, he is actually considered to be one of the best strikers since Brock Lesnar! At the moment, he is on the top of the NXT ranks, and he has quite a good chance of getting the WWE belt…so keep your eyes peeled!
Kevin Nash (1984-Present)
Kevin “Diesel” Nash was actually called Razor Ramon in the WWE. His first fight was against Scarface which is what made him famous, but at the moment, he is more well-known for moving to WCW and teaming up with Scott Hall to form NOW. Kevin Nash’s influence within pro wrestling goes a lot further than his time in the ring. Did you know he was part of the motive behind creating talent contracts?
Chris Jericho (1990-Present)
For all those who intensively follow wrestling, you’ll know just how incredible his finishing move is, ‘The Walls of Jericho’. It is often considered to be one of the most distinctive wrestling techniques in history. Roll him a microphone and Chris Jericho will entertain you just as well as he does inside the ring. In the end, he left ECW and WCW to join WWE. Without a doubt, he made an amazing appearance there too: Y2J!
Superstar Billy Graham (1969-Present)
Billy Graham is one of the moguls who initially set the stage for mighty wrestling stars. Hulk Hogan and Triple H often recognize him as their true inspiration! Mr. “Superstar” is seen as being one of the initial pro wrestlers to dominate interviews as well. Additionally, his bodybuilding background raised the bar for pro wrestlers. He occasionally makes non-wrestling appearances in WWE.
Bill Goldberg (1996-2004, 2015-2017)
Fun fact, this volcanic wrestler was actually a former NFL lineman. Bill Goldberg’s explosive energy and appearance always got the audience on their feet. His Jackhammer and Spear finishing moves were some very serious dangers. Many a time, a lot of people were not his biggest supporters, especially in the ring. However, it seems as though his backstage persona made up for it all!
The Great Khali (2000 – present)
Indian native, The Great Khali began his professional wrestling career in 2000 and has most notably associated with WWE. The 48-year-old, 7 ft, the 1-inch superstar has managed to accomplish some incredible thing as a wrestler. What does the universe have in store for The Punjabi Playboy? Well, guess we’ll all just have to keep our eyes and ears peeled to find out!
Eva Marie (2013 – present)
Eva Marie was actually a former model before making her way into the wrestling ring in 2013. Her fiery red hair is probably what first caught most of her fans’ attention, but that was most likely before they really got to see her vicious personality. Those, who have witnessed this superstar will know exactly that nothing can ever get in the way of this wrestling diva.
Randy Orton (2001-Present)
At one time he was the youngest World Heavyweight champion after beating Chris Benoit during the 2004 SummerSlam. Randy Orton is also known as the “Legend Killer.” He was able to challenge and defeated numerous legendary wrestling stars. If you haven’t done so yet, make sure to watch some of his videos of his RKO finishing move!
Bruiser Brody (1973-1988)
Bruiser Brody was crazy, fuzzy, and one big mess. But no matter what, fans still loved him anyway! he made it very obvious that he was not a rule follower and didn’t care about any of the wrestling techniques. The man would bolt into the ring, kick, punch and swing some moves around until he claimed victory. A lot of people often thought that there was something definitely wrong with him… rumors also appeared that he once stabbed Jose Gonzalez to death. Yikes.
Trish Stratus (2000-2010)
Did you know the youngest person to join the WWE Hall of Fame was a woman? Her name was Trish stratus. Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, and Carmella would not have managed to be inducted if it were not for Stratus and her world-shattering methods. Numerous people believed she was only there for her good looks. But fortunately for her, she proved them otherwise.
CM Punk (1994-2014)
Many people gave acknowledgment CM Punk for developing wrestling into something so amazing. His impulsive Pipe Bomb, unexpected speech with a mic will more than likely go down in the history books as one of the most flabbergasting moments in WWE. Although he had a terrible attitude, he somehow made fans love him even more. Keep your eyes peeled for his big comeback!
Bob Backlund (1973-2007)
Bob Backlund was given recognition for being responsible for carrying WWE on his back until the appearance of Hulk Hogan. What an amazing wrestler he was, who held onto the WWE Championship title for four years. He also hung around for long enough to take the WWE Championship title back after defeating Bret Hart.
Mick Foley (1983-2012)
There’s so much to say about Mick Foley? This may take many by surprise by he actually has 3 different personas: Mankind, Cactus Jack, and Dude Love. Each and every one of them was really loved by the crowd. What enthralled people so much was his high pain tolerance as well as his easygoing attitude about his body, which shocked so many. What was even more astonishing is the time when he dropped 16 feet from the top of the steel cage through a table.
‘Mr. Perfect’ Curt Hennig (1980-2003)
Curt Hennig aka “Mr. Perfect,” which the best way to describe him. His powerful and smart wrestling technique made it different to find fault in his style. However much of his wrestling career was full of injuries, he had a courageous attitude that was a massive success. Sadly he did not manage to reach his full potential because he passed away at the young age of 44.
Eddie Guerrero (1987-2005)
Eddie Guerrero began his profession as a much smaller wrestler but as time went by he got bigger and received a lot more attention. Some of his career highlights involve his romance with Chyna and his argument with his old friend, Rey Mysterio. Regardless, it was hard to not like him so much. Sadly he died because of acute heart failure when he was only 38 years old.
Edge was a true entertainer. He had some disputes with Undertaker, Kurt Angle, Foley, and Cena, which clearly made some of the best matches in the world of pro wrestling. He started his career as the odd half of a tag team duo with Christian before going solo. From this moment on, he became a real superstar. He was forced to take early retirement in 2011, due to neck problems.
Daniel Bryan (1999-2016, 2018-Present)
Daniel Bryan had some great abilities all of which helped him gain international stardom. A lot of people will agree that Bryan had the Ring of Honor performance down to a tee which is why he made our list. For some time, he went into retirement, but it seems as though he’s made a permanent comeback! We have no doubt he’ll accomplish great things!
‘The American Dream’ Dusty Rhodes (1967-2010)
He may not have won the award for being the most attractive person but Dusty “The American Dream” Rhodes was notorious for his taglines that often made the “everyday man” feel extremely uncomfortable. Regardless, he most certainly made audiences enthralled. His most well-known rival is Ric Flair.
Lou Thesz (1932-1990)
Without a doubt, Lous Thesz has unsurpassed stamina, unlike no other wrestler. He has been praised for the creation of moves such as the STF, the Thesz Press, and the German Suplex. Steve “Stone Cold” Austin imitated the Thesz Press. Nonetheless, this older legend was the NWA Heavyweight Champion on 3 occasions that added up to 3,700 days! Modern-era wrestling won’t be the same without him, that’s for sure!
Terry Funk (1965-Present)
Terry Funk in the same league with the likes of people like Lou Thesz. Occasionally, this wrestler still enters the ring despite being 75 years old. He’s just not ready to give quite yet! It’s true that nearly every wrestler has come face to face with Funk in the past. During 1994, he is also responsible for helping the ECW to take off after it expanded from NWA.
Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat (1976-2005)
If you ever thought about asking Ric Flair about the best wrestler he ever competed within the ring, he would probably automatically say Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat. To be honest, Steamboat’s three tedious rounds in the ring with him are the best wrestling matches the world has ever seen. However, he didn’t have the best stage persona and charisma but it was still worth seeing all his presence and charm, it was certainly worth seeing his very ambitious moves.
Harley Race (1960-1991)
Harley Race, like Funk and Thesz, is often connected with the way in which modern wrestling has developed. His determination and bravery assisted by making pro wrestling as popular as it is today, even though most people thought it was nothing more than just silly entertainment. During his childhood, he was diagnosed with polio and was told that he would never walk again. Fortnyelty for him, he was able to prove so many people wrong. After he retired, he became Vader and Lex Luger’s manager in WCW.
Antonio Inoki (1960-2005)
Antonio Inoki’s finishing move is known as the Back Brain Kick. Everyone knows that no wrestler should ever turn their back on him! Between the ‘70s to the ‘90s, he tested some of the best wrestlers such as Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, and Bruno Sammartino. He also got to compete against some legends from other styles like WBA legend Muhammad Ali. Additionally, Inoki helped improve New Japan Pro Wrestling or NJPW.
Buddy Rogers (1939-1969, 1978-1992)
Ric Flair was motivated by the original wealthy, presumptions wrestler by the name of Buddy Rogers. Fun fact but this youngest adopted his “Nature Boy” persona and his figure-four leg lock. Currently, there have only ever been three wrestlers who won both the WWE and NWA World Heavyweight Championship, and he is one of those tycoons! Some of his disturbing moves include the famous body slam and piledriver.
‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper (1969-2011)
Roddy “Rowdy” Piper was a real little devil that everybody loved to hate and the wrestling icon enjoyed every minute of it! Togetehr with Hulk Hogan, he headlines the first-ever Wrestlemania during the ‘80s. His attitude and charisma have truly motivated many wrestlers. Piper loved his job, and the world of wrestling would definitely not be the same if he wasn’t in it. Sadly, in the summer of 2015 he passed away in his sleep.
Triple H (1992-Present)
Hunter Hearst Helmsley or alternately known as Triple H certainly gave wrestling fans many mind-blowing and exciting WWE moments. He took any chance he had to show he was the best! After Steve “Stone Cold” Austin and Shawn Michaels were injured, he took full responsibility when it came to battling against The Rock. This was the reason why they took over during the Attitude Era. His backstage and wrestling made him become one of the best wrestling superstars in history!
Sting only made the big move to WWE later on in his career. Before that, he was a WCW mainstay even after his colleagues had already switched over. He battled against Cactus Jack, Jake Roberts, Rick Rude, Flair, and Vader to form a path of his own. He succeeds in his Crow rip-off alter ego and became an icon in his own right.
Andre the Giant (1966-1993)
Whether you’re a wrestling fan or not, you’re bound to have heard about Andre the Giant. On many occasions he has been called “The Eighth Wonder of the World,” He has been unbeaten for 15 years! It was not until Wrestlemania III that he met his match when he battled against Hulk Hogan, who bodyslammed and leg dropped him into submission. Did you know that he also played Fezzick in The Princess Bride? He died in 1993 and was nothing short of tragic.
John Cena (1999-Present)
We cannot argue this fact, John Cena is one talented and conscientious wrestler. For the past decade, he has been the face of WWE. However skilled he may be inside the ring, he is also quite successful with the mic. And even 10 years later he still triumphant after giving people “Attitude Adjustment.”
‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage (1973-2005)
Randy “Macho Man” Savage had a massive personality because he needed to make up for his small 5’10” physique. He had wiry hair that he always tucked behind his sunglasses and bandana. No doubt an iconic look, right? He could give any wrestler a taste of their own medicine, despite his size. Sadly his career was stopped when he joined WCW. Regardless, we are sure that people will never forget the way he was “snapping into a slim jim.”
Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart (1978-2000)
Often people say that Bret “The Hitman” Hart would have been a lot more successful if he did not peak during one of the most boring times in the world of pro wrestling. In 1992 he had an amazing win against Ric Flair in the WWE Championship which was most certainly a significant moment in the industry. He was then responsible for carrying the torch that Hulk Hogan left behind after that. During 1999, he was sadly forced to retire earlier than expected when he suffered a concussion.
Bruno Sammartino (1959-1987)
With a mighty name like Bruno and a hairy chest, pro wrestling is what he was destined for. This icon’s trademark was his finishing move called the Bear Hug! Nicknamed the first big star of WWE, he was the longest-reigning champ with a record of nearly 15 years! He was also the predecessor of John Cena and Hulk Hogan!
The Rock (1996-2004, 2011-2013)
There is no doubt that this incredible legend has no limits! He was born to take on anything. He mostly knows exactly how to entertain a crowd, not only with a microphone but with is fantastic showstopping matches. His storyline is more along the lines of an underdog but has amazed us all by the way he has come back from a broke ex-football player to quite a terrific movie star! People believe that The Rock possibly wasn’t the best in the wrestling business, but his inane climactic buildups and eyebrow raises definitely made for some awesome entertainment.
‘The Heartbreak Kid’ Shawn Michaels (1984-2010)
Shawn Michaels was so popular for taking the crowd “inside the ring” with him, as they were able to experience everything that he did, whether it was a good or something more bad and painful. He most certainly knew how to satisfy their entertainment needs. Many people thought that his career was over because he suffered a back injury and on top of that was dealing with substance abuse, but the Heartbreak Kid came back with a vengeance and gave us all some more thrilling Wrestlemania matches!
The Undertaker (1984-Present)
Here’s something new you may have missed before, Undertaker was initially meant to be another bad-guy that all the other legendary wrestlers were meant to despise and crush. but things took a turn and so this zombie character was born- he has last for more than 4 decades! His rivalries against Shawn Michaels, Mankind, and Triple H were simply astonishing. Besides having several physical limitations, he still manages to steal the spotlight at Wrestlemania.
‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin (1989-2003)
Steve “Stone Cold” Austin is certainly a wrestling star that no one can forget. He initially was one of the most underestimated wrestlers during his time at WCW and believe it or not even got fired. No one ever wants to mess with a furious Stone Cold. His Austin 3:16 promo did remarkably well for WWE, because this bald wrestler went on to become the greatest star of the best moments in pro wrestling. He is often given recognition for establishing the WWE into the spotlight it receives today!
Hulk Hogan (1977-2013)
No questions asked, Hulk Hogan, is certainly a true Champion of Champions. He was the paradigm of everything amazing and brought down all the evil in the world of wrestling. He was also considered to be one of the most famous wrestlers in the world. Despite not having competed in 15 years, no one will ever forget the “Hulkster.” He will always be a tremendous icon and not just in the wrestling world.
Ric Flair (1972-2012)
Ric Flair has probably claimed victory to every single title there is to be won. He has been a huge part of the wrestling world for more than 40 years and gave audiences a treat to some of the best matches in wrestling history- occasionally he even traveled to different regions to do so. Ric Flair is still currently very popular except no one is more worthy of the G.O.A.T. title than Ric Flair himself.
John “Bradshaw” Layfield
John “Bradshaw” Layfield aka JBL has become famous for being half of the Acolytes Protection Agency which then led to a being a massive fan favorite as a result of his anger and everyman persona. Besides wrestling, JBL actually wrote a book on finance and redefined himself into a Wall Street professional. Sadly he actually began looking down on people are were not as high status as he was, which then naturally made him a lot less popular.