Yes he was arrogant and yes he might not have been the easiest to work with, but if you look purely at match quality and his overall game, he was the best.
Wrestling has been a passion of mine for the last 11 years of my 20 year life so this isn’t an easy task, but based on mic skills and wrestling ability, here we have the top 10 wrestlers of all time.
10. Hulk Hogan
Say what you want about Hogan, but he is without a doubt the face of wrestling. His body slam of Andre the Giant is the most iconic photo in wrestling history, and despite being the worst worker on this list, he made up for it by being the greatest face in history, drawing massive pops whenever he wanted, he was almost super hero level of loved. His heel work with NWO managed to be the coolest thing ever as well, so yeah he isn’t the best wrestler, but boy is he an important piece of history to the men ranked from nine to one.
9. Kurt Angle
I can only think of Brock Lesnar that can match Angle in terms of picking up the business so quickly. In a short space of time, Angle came in became one of the very best workers anyone’s ever seen and managed to get the entire crowd to hate him as he picked up titles left right and centre. His heel work was grating and his face work was hilarious, his wrestling machine persona was the most intense thing in wrestling. Kurt had the ability to put on a clinic. When he parted ways with WWE on bitter terms he went to TNA and put on amazing matches with the likes of Samoa Joe, Bobby Roode, AJ Styles and Sting. Now he’s back and just wrestled at TLC, expect to see a handful of matches from him before he calls it a day.
8. John Cena
Say what you want about Cena but the numbers don’t lie. He’s a 16 time world champ. He might be coming towards the end of his career and fans may have turned on him, but when it’s all said and done he’ll be remembered as one of the best. In recent years he’s put on amazing matches with AJ Styles, Seth Rollins and KO, before that he was having the most marketable feud of all time with The Rock, and before that he was a prime champ going against the likes of Michaels, Triple H and Edge. People can say he buries talent but that’s not only untrue but it’s not his fault. He’s put over countless stars, KO, Nakamura, RVD, Lesnar and Roman Reigns. He’s given everything to the company in his 15 year stint, let him be a part timer and appreciate him while you can, love him or hate him he’ll be missed when he retires.
7. Chris Jericho
This is my personal favourite wrestler of all time. Jericho has to be in discussion constantly for the best of all time. He is a triple crown champion and a grand slam champion, he’s the first ever undisputed champion. Jericho has won 32 titles in his career both in single and tag team action. He is one of the best on the mic and I’d personally think that he is the best at keeping up with the times. His act never grew stale, his persona always changed to stay relevant and his mic work got better and better. Even in his forties he’s managing to have amazing runs in WWE. He’s my favourite heel of all time and one of my favourite faces, I’m hoping for one more title run before Jericho calls it quits.
Before 2014 Sting was often described as the greatest wrestler to never be in WWE, and if I had it my way he never would’ve went. He is the face of WCW and he is the face of TNA, he was beyond reliable, he is probably the most professional man on this list. He worked solidly for his entire career. His loyalty to WCW was clear when he refused to sign with WWE in the early 2000s, but it didn’t stop him putting on amazing matches in TNA. He is a TNA and WWE Hall of Famer, and he has been massively praised by every single legend he’s worked with. When he didn’t sign in the 2000’s I didn’t want him to sign ever. WWE horribly used him when he finally signed, as he had a record of one win and two losses.
5. The Rock
The Rock isn’t as good at wrestling as most the people on this list, but I’d say he’s easily the most charismatic wrestler in history. He was a very good worker, not the best but he still had the ability to put on a five star match. He wasn’t around long enough, had he stuck to this and not went to Hollywood we could have one of the greatest resumes of all time. He left for years and came back and still put an iconic rivalry with John Cena to the forefront of sports news.
4. Stone Cold Steve Austin
Probably the most marketable wrestler of WWE’s attitude era. Everyone love Steve Austin, he was the man who drank beer and beat people up, and he did an amazing job of it. He was a brilliant technical wrestler which people might forget because of the gripping brawls that he had. He was a 6 time champ and triple crown winner, on top of that he’s the only man to win 3 Royal Rumble matches. A lot of people say he was WWE’s biggest star for the 90’s and his rivalry with Michaels and then Mcmahon is what won WWE the Monday Night Wars. Had injuries not stopped his career early, he could’ve been the best to ever do it.
3. The Undertaker
Perhaps we’ll have seen the last of the Undertaker, maybe he’s got one or two matches left, I like to think it’s the end. It’s sad to watch him now, he’s given everything he had to WWE so now it’s time to rest up and enjoy life. He’s been WWE’s most reliable man, he was always there for them when need, he was a safe and entertaining worker. His character as ‘The Deadman’ worked to perfection and evolved through different times. He put on some of the best matches I’ve ever seen and he had some of the best rivalries to match that. The legendary Wrestlemania streak might have died in recent years, but there’s no denying it was one of the best streaks in wrestling history, if not the best.
2. Ric Flair
In an in ring career that spanned from 1972 to 2012, Flair was widely regarded as the greatest of all time. He’s a 16 time world champ, 2 time Hall of Famer, and triple crown champ for both WCW and WWE. He was the OG of wrestling, he inspired pretty much everyone, not just wrestlers but rapper too. Flair was involved in countless amazing matches with the likes of Ricky Steamboat, Barry Windham and Sting. He was more than a wrestler, he was an amazing entertainer. Perhaps his career went on for a bit too long, his work in the 2000’s and particularly his awful work in TNA might be what knocks him off the top spot in the end, he even said himself the TNA run is his biggest regret.
1. Shawn Michaels
The cream of the crop. Shawn Michaels is the GOAT for me, let’s begin with his actual wrestling skill and how entertaining his matches were. I did a little research looking at Dave Meltzer’s match ratings. From 1987 to 2010, Michaels only had seven PPV matches considered to be below average, and each of those was down to a poor worker or bad booking. There is only six, five star matches in the history of WWE/WWF, and Shawn was in two of those. Basically everything Shawn did in 20 years was either good, or better than that. If we move away from the wrestling skills to his character, Michaels was one of the best on the mic. He was the one of the most charismatic workers in WWE when he was there, whether it was as a face or heel, he could have you in stitches or hating you. His work as a solo act was amazing, his rivalries with Undertaker, Chris Jericho, Triple H and John Cena were all the biggest rivalry for the company, and that’s just to name a few. Who could forget the amazing work with Triple H and co as part of DX. Had it not been for injuries in the 90’s that took a few years of Shawn’s career, he could’ve been even better. His dedication was absolutely second to none. Yes he was arrogant and yes he might not have been the easiest to work with, but if you look purely at match quality and his overall game, he was the best.