Wrestling in the 2000s was a new era in wrestling where the World Wrestling Federation bought their competition WCW and ECW, changed their name to “World Wrestling Entertainment,” and the Attitude era ended so soon. This was a really up and down time in wrestling where new faces can never be as good as the old stars of Attitude (mainly blame Cena, Orton, Batista) and many of those wrestling fans stopped watching wrestling all together because of bad storytelling, predictable outcomes seen in so many matches, and backstage politics destroying the inevitable throughout the decade. Hell if the resurrection of ECW even made old ECW fans turn away from wrestling it should tell you how much wrestling has fallen having nothing but WWE and no real competition. But on the plus side, we did had old faces of yesteryear giving their best matches in this decade with Shawn Michaels having the best comeback of any wrestler, Undertaker back as the deadman, and Kurt Angle having the best matches of the decade. Mainly those three individuals saved this decade of wrestling from being so awful. While WCW and ECW has faced their demise, new wrestling companies rose to be number 2 wrestling organizations in America like Total Nonstop Action Wrestling and Ring of Honor offering new faces and show the world a brand new style of indie wrestling. Stuff like TNA’s X-Division and ROH’s code made us appreciate in-ring work more than storytelling, which is missing in wrestling today. I have a lot of mixed feeling about this decade of wrestling, but I must say that 2002-2003, or the Ruthless Aggression era, was the best era since Attitude and quite possibly the last good wrestling era.
Even though the Monday Night Wars is the center point of the battle between WWF and WCW, it’s really the Pay Per View buys that makes the most money. The attitude era would have been nothing without these pay per views that many episodes of Raw did their damnedest to promote! Without the edge and excitement going around Raw is War each week, it wouldn’t encourage us to buy these shows. As stated in the last blog, The Attitude Era was a huge pond filled with big fishes and if you wanted to see these stars put to the test, more times than not the Pay Per Views in the Attitude Era certainly delivered their fullest potential. You could never see so much recklessness and variety match ups before with many of these pay per views and modern wrestling today lacks all excitement and entertainment value that these shows form this era upholds. It was an ultimate party that everybody wanted to see and the show certainly delivered many of things that we don’t get a chance to see on Raw like title changes, impact moves that really cause a huge reaction to the crowd, and match finishes that were incredibly creative and given an everlasting impression more so than any other television broadcasting. And that’s why I’m here to count down the ten of the best pay per view shows in the Attitude Era that everyone needs to see!
There are only three things about the Attitude Era that everyone should definitely watch; the storytelling that was a significant improvement over the New Generation Era, the segments/promos that were incredibly entertaining, and the matches had were so varied and physical than any other time in the WWF. Because crash tv in the late 1990’s was so popular, WWF had to final stick with the times to survive in rivalry with WCW. It is considered one of the most dangerous times of being a wrestler because of all the stunts and bumps they all took, but because they made its audience so vicarious and entertained, it left all of us a huge impression. So huge in fact that it was more historic than anything that the WWF could ever do nowadays and still remains timeless. Many wrestling fans cherish these moments of the Attitude Era so passionately because there never was a better time of wrestling where finishes were creative, the action going on keeps us on the edge of our seats, and the storytelling in the match always feel different in each and every one of those matches. All of the sudden we’ve gotten a brand new audience who never watched wrestling before now wanting to see these matches. There were so much exposure to the WWF/WWE product during this era because nobody in mainstream television was doing all the things that they were doing. It was not just strategy of how to win the match that’s now in play, but how much pain and punishment could they endure when the hardest bumps and so many foreign objects hits you. If there’s one thing that the Attitude Era avoided perfect, they avoided repetition. All of the matches from King of the Ring 1996 to Wrestlemania 17 were different and 100% watchable, if not entertaining. And these are the ten best wrestling matches that exceeds my love for the Attitude Era as a whole!
There was never a better time to be a pro wrestling fan than during the period from 1996-2002, when WWF was in the midst of its legendary Attitude Era. This era of wrestling made it in number 4 of the best things of the 1990s and still to this day I can go back and watch any episode, segment, or match from the Attitude Era and remind myself why I am a wrestling fan. Though I do have a very soft spot for the New Generation Era, it was important for the company to change from the family-friendly image to keep up with the times. TV ratings were at an all-time high, it was cool to be a fan and you could find a good wrestling product on TV just about any time you wanted to. Sit through one three-hour episode of Monday Night Raw, and you’ll be longing for the old days, even if you weren’t a wrestling fan in the old days. This era captures everything that I truly miss about wrestling; proper storytelling, amazing in-ring work, varied match stipulations, and outrageous character that definitely felt bigger than life. Outlandish things were happening, but there was always a reason behind them, and the stories were most often very interesting. These are not just story lines, these were epic sagas that was happening in wrestling and never again did we ever felt the same with the media again. If that’s not enough, the matches in this era took risks. In the Attitude Era, WWE climbed back to the top of the wrestling world by taking chances. People got hit with chairs, set on fire, thrown off the top of gigantic structures and run over by cars on a weekly basis. All of these things kept my interest and mixed that up with a good story, you’re presented with the most awesome moments in life! Sure, The Attitude Era ripped off Extreme Championship Wrestling’s hardcore wrestling phenomenon, but for the fact that this single era brought the highest ratings that the WWE has ever had should tell you about the success and reception it deserved. And who do we have to thank for all that was given to us in the Attitude Era? None other than Vince McMahon. Sure, the man has done some of the most questionable decisions in the business, but starting this trend in wrestling was the best thing he’s ever done for the company and wrestling itself. This was an era of wrestling that was so innovative, captivating, and so entertaining, that it’s always worth coming back to. Wrestling fans to this day are still waiting for another era like this but unfortunately since WWE went back to the times of PG, not giving two shits about telling good stories, and over enthuses on pointless in-ring work more-so than anything else. As a result of seeing wrestling getting worse and worse, it makes going back to the Attitude Era a lot better than we remembered. And these are the ten wrestlers that are responsible for making the Attitude Era so great!
One of the big reasons why I have a really soft spot for the New Generation Era is the fact that matches were more physical, technical, high flying, and aggressive than anything seen in the Golden Era of Wrestling. A lot of people over looks what this era had to offer because they’re more fond to the Attitude Era. Many of the smaller guys in the Golden Age were able to show what they were capable of and it made the whole professional wresting scene in the World Wrestling Federation look more sportsman like. Not to mention, that in the later years of the New Generation, many of the star were actually doing hardcore stipulations one at a time that was slowly evolving into the Attitude Era that we all know and love. I’ve already named ten of the best wrestlers of the New Generation Era so go check that list out. In the mean time, I can easily say that this is the most underrated and under appreciated era of wrestling and you should watch these ten matches that came from this era (mid 1992 – early 1997) to realize what wrestling today lost that this era had.
Number 10. – Roddy Piper vs Goldust (with Marlena) – Hollywood Backlot Brawl- Wrestlemania 12
Back in 1994, the infamous the OJ Simpson chase was huge! It got media press everywhere when it happened and the OJ Simpson trial was the biggest trail of the century. The OJ Simpson incident and trial went on for over a damn year. This was everywhere where it dominated American pop culture and it’s a huge inspiration for this match. The Hollywood Backlot Brawl was a parody of the OJ Simpson White Bronco chase where the fight began after the Cornette Camp vs. Yokozuna’s team where it lead to a car chase, that’s similar to OJ’s chase. The rivalry between Piper and Goldust was intense because Goldust had a huge “thing” for someone as manly as Piper and Piper was so sick of it that he wants to make a man out of him by beating the life out of him. Throughout Steven Austin vs. Savio Vaga’s match, Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawer at commentary got phone calls of Piper while he was chasing down Goldust by car, only to have them perfectly comeback to the Wrestlemania event that start the whole match. This match was chaotic, it was brutal, physical, and the kind of stuff that you get a chance to see in the attitude era. This was a certainly different direction for the WWF to do that certainly amazed everyone watching. Of course if you had this match in Wrestlemania 15, 16, 17, or 18 when Attitude era and hardcore wrestling was still around, this would of been another one of those matches that blends well with the them of the show, but when we’re talking about having a hardcore match during the New Generation Era, it was not only innovative for the WWF, but it was a precursor of what will be the standard of the Attitude Era’s hardcore wrestling. They both brought the fight all the way to the ring where the fight finished. I loved this match because it was dynamic and the built-up towards this match more than just delivered, it came beyond expectations. This was our very first hardcore wrestling match in the WWF. Although it was bizzard to see Piper rip-off Goldust’s attire and revile that he’s wearing a lingerie underneath (for humiliation purposes), it didn’t have a proper finish, but it didn’t need to. After that brutal beatdown, it’s obvious who won the fight. It was an impact for Wrestlemania that was the steppingstones to the Attitude Era the following year and for it to be a first time ever done in the WWF, it was historic!
Number 9. – Hart Brothers vs. Steiner Brothers – Wrestlefest 1994
Time for what should be an excellent tag team match and there are no introductions in this match. It should be noted that this match was taped prior to the 1994 Royal Rumble on Jan 11th 1994 in Florence SC. It’s was incredibly sportsman like to see a brotherly team up of technicians (Owen and Bret) against the brotherly team up of powerhouses (Rick and Scott). It’s a shame to see how forgotten the Steiner Brothers are over the years because they were definitely the best tag teams of WCW that only had a brief run in WWF. It’s wonderful that these tag teams were 100% pure wrestling, instead of the traditional face vs. heel. It’s impressive to see how these four men worked together like no other tag team wrestling match ever. The slams, the submissions, and the team work displayed in this very match is phenomenal to watch. Not only were the moves pulled by both brothers were physical, but it was vicious causing a huge impact when going back and watching what they were doing. The best part of this match was when the Steiners go for the double team bulldog on Owen and Bret comes in for the rescue to just have all four men brawl in the ring like crazy. All four men brawl out of the ring ending up being counted out. It was smart to have a double count out because I’m such a huge fan of these brothers and I can’t imagine any one of them being better than the other. Fantastic Tag Team Match here between these four great back and forth match between everyone although the finish was a bit of a let down the rest of the match was excellent and probably one of the best tag team matches to never be seen on television (only on VHS). After the match Scott Steiner gets the microphone and calls the Harts back into the ring thus having all four men continue to brawl and referees and agents come out to break it up because we couldn’t get enough of it. After the fight cooled off, all of these four men celebrated and I couldn’t have it done any better. If there’s any match not seen on TV that you need to see, it has to be this match.
Number 8. – Shawn Michaels vs. Diesel – In Your House: Good Friends, Better Enemies
Diesel (or Kevin Nash) is responsible for destroying WWF’s popularity in his reign as Champion throughout 1995. He was never a draw for the company and for the fact that he put a lot of potential stars (outside of the Kliq) down and thus not creating stars. He’s definitely one of the worst WWE Champions ever, but whenever he’s working with Kliq and any of the Hart family members (Bret, Owen, Davy Boy Smith) he really makes good matches. Though these two had a really overrated match at Wrestlemania 11, this is the rematch that seriously set the bar for the New Generation Era. The story of the match is that Shawn pretty has to stick and move but he keeps getting overpowered at every turn. Shawn takes Hugo Savinovich’s boot and clobbers Big Daddy Cool with it. Nash keeps talking trash to Vince in a sort of worked-shoot angle between them. Then he lays in some brutal shots on Michaels’ back. Diesel swings a chair which ricochets off the top rope and back into his face. Shawn grabs the chair but gets blowed low. Diesel Jackknifes Shawn through the table in a pretty big spot for the time. He gets back in the ring and puts on the belt. Vince is screaming at Shawn to “let it be over,” but Shawn crawls and scrapes his way over to the ring and grabs a fire extinguisher. Diesel gets blinded by it and now Michaels can lay in some stiff right hands. Flying forearm! Kip-up! Crowd is rockin’. Michaels counters a Jackknife attempt and hits the Savage Elbow off the top. He’s warming up the band!!! SWEET CHIN MU— No! Diesel blocks it and nearly rips Shawn’s friggin’ head off with a clothesline. The great thing about that spot is it certainly FELT like the end of the match. Diesel heads out and RIPS OFF MAD DOG VACHON’S LEG!!!! He would probably get huge face heat for that these days but this was a different time. Shawn lowblows Diesel before he can us it and then Shawn clubs him with it himself. Sweet Chin Music finishes moments later. Shawn stands in the ring taunting Hogan and Hall and defiantly challenging all comers. This is the standard for all big man vs. little man matches, but what made this match work is the fact that these two were former best friends and they knew each other very well to tell a such a great story. I can’t think of any that surpass it.
Number 7. – Bret Hart vs. Mr. Perfect – King of the Ring 1993
The first everKing of the Ring is famous for Yokozuna destroying Hulkamania and establishing Bret Hart as the new face of the WWF. The best part of the whole PPV is the second round tournament with Bret Hart vs. Mr. Perfect. These two both had a tremendous match in Summerslam 1991 and this rematch was bound to happen again. The sad thing is that there has never been a better King of the Ring match that the one with these two. It seemed that whenever Mr. Perfect and Bret Hart got into the ring, the match was going to steal the show. En route to Hart winning the 1993 King of the Ring, he had to defeat three superstars in one night. Perfect would be the second wrestler Hart faced that night, and though it wasn’t their best bout, it had the same feel as the battle these two had at the 1991 SummerSlam for the Intercontinental Title. In Hart’s WWE DVD he talks about this night and how he felt he had three great matches with three completely different superstars in terms of style. His favorite and many others was his match with Mr. Perfect in the semifinals, and it’s not difficult to see why. The match was technically classic, with many submissions and counters that you’d expect from these two. Often an underrated match, this battle deserves to be mentioned among the best of Hart & Hennings’s career.
Number 6. – Shawn Michaels vs. Mankind – In Your House: Mind Games
Mick Foley brought a taste of some ECW wrestling to the WWF in his match with Shawn Michaels at In Your House: Mind Games in 1996. This match grew a cult following over the years because this was the time when both of these men where at their prime and they delivered one of the most surprising match of the decade. Although there was some action outside the ring, it was essentially a normal wrestling match, which is something Foley has never been known for. To make things even more difficult, he had to keep up with Michaels in his prime, which was no easy task as many consider HBK to be the greatest in-ring worker of all time. Foley got strangled on the middle and top rope, brawls were very physical, and both men went through the announcer’s table at ringside. Despite that, Mankind was able to hang in there with Michaels and acquitted himself extremely well. On top of that, he made Michaels look like a million bucks and put him over as a great champion. I can understand why Mick Foley considers this one of his favorite matches and that is because of the storytelling that made it a classic. The only thing that prevents this contest from being a little higher is the ending. Michaels was obviously going to win regardless as Mankind wasn’t yet world title material, but having Michaels win via disqualification due to interference from Vader was a bit unsatisfying. Aside from that, this was Foley’s best pure wrestling match in the WWE.
Number 5. – Razor Ramon vs. Diesel (w/ Shawn Michaels) Summerslam 1994
Everyone in the locker room hates the Kliq and their politics, but if there’s one positive about the faction, it has to be the fact that they were all so good together whenever they wrestle. I can honestly say that this is definitely one of my favorite Razor Ramon matches because the team up with Shawn and Diesel was so wild and fast paced. Diesel was just starting to catch on around this point after having a great match with Bret Hart at the King of the Ring, so he was rewarded with not only the Intercontinental title, but he and Shawn also won the tag titles. Right from the get go, the match refuses to slow down and the whole crowd was right behind this match all the way through! Even match to start off with both men trading clotheslines and elbow until Diesel hits a backs suplex and sends Razor to the outside. While the ref is giving Razor the count, Shawn uncovers the pad from one of the turnbuckles. Shawn Michaels was very part of the match as these two were and his involvement just makes the match crazier and crazier. Hell, HBK grabbed the IC title to hit Razor with the superkick, but Razor moves out of the way and he hits Diesel instead! The ref slides back into the ring and before Shawn can stop him, Razor drapes an arm over Diesel for the 3 count, winning his second Intercontinental championship. The typically good match you’d expect from two Kliq members around this time, though a bit of a forgotten match. If you want to see many more of them like this match check out the Diesel vs Razor in an episode of Raw and WWF Superstars. Diesel & Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon is still one of my all time favorite rivalries and this is one of my all time favorites with the three of them together!
Number 4. – Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart – Cage Match – Summerslam 1994
If Shawn Michaels is “Mr. Wrestlemania,” then just call Bret Hart “Mr. Summerslam,” because as showcased by this list, Hart produced some of the most memorable matches at WWE’s premier Summer pay-per-view. His fees with Owen was one of the most well-written feuds in WWE history. Owen had defeated his much highly publicized brother at WrestleMania 10 and in between then and SummerSlam, he had won the King of the Ring tournament. He was completely ready for a shot at his brother’s World title. The match would take place inside a steel cage and it went for over a half an hour, with the two brothers having an excellent contest. When Owen got his leg caught inside the cage, Bret was able to climb out to win the match, avenging the WrestleMania loss and retaining the title. If you’ve never seen this match, go out of your way to do so. The two Hart brothers would have perhaps their greatest match against one another on this night, battling for the then-WWF Championship inside a steel cage. As Bret has said, this was perhaps his favorite match against his brother in the WWE, and he felt that they were able to give the audience something different than the stereotypical cage match. The two sold the sibling rivalry to the audience and showed that there doesn’t need to be weapons and bloodshed involved to have a historic cage match.
Number 3. – Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon – Ladder Match – Wrestlemania X
And speaking of Diesel, Shawn Michaels, and Razor Ramon, none could have been better than this match. Being that this was the first ladder match ever on WWE PPV, is probably one of the best one ever as well. Shawn Michaels had been the Intercontinental Champion until he got suspended and had to forfeit the belt. Razor Ramon was the new Intercontinental Champion with Michaels out and when the Heartbreak Kid returned, their was dispute over who was the real champion. There was so many creative ways that they used the ladder against each other that left an imprint on both of their careers. HBK went out there and had a match with the ladder. For that time in wrestling, it was one of a kind and nothing we have ever seen before! The bumps these two were taking were amazing and had our eyes glued to the TV. No wrestling fan will ever forget the splash HBK took from off the ladder to Razor. That image will remain as one of the most important images in WWE history. No matter how many times they used the ladder against each other, each of them kept coming back after each other and punish each other some more. I’ll never forget that ingenious finish at the end where Shawn Michaels got caught up on the ropes as he struggles to free himself as Razor climbed on the ladder to reach the Intercontinental Championships. Although Shawn Michaels put on one of his best performances ever, Razor Ramon won the match and became the undisputed Intercontinental Champion, a fine finish to some of the most talented and appealing wrestlers in the WWF. This was the very match that embodies the New Generation Era. Razor and Michaels had a second Ladder Match again in SummerSlam ’95 but it wasn’t as beautifully worked as their match at WrestleMania X.
Number 2. – Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart – Wrestlemania X
It has been debated which match was the best part of Wrestlemania X? Well since I’ve already mentioned the ladder match in the Number 5 pick, obviously I had have to go with Bret vs. Own as the best match of WMX. This is without a doubt the best opening match that I’ve ever seen! We’re talking about two brothers going at it one-on-one by delivering the best technical match you can possibly ask for! On any other night, the classic between Bret “Hit Man” Hart and his brother Owen Hart would have been considered the match of the night. The Hart brothers put on a memorable clinic in their opening match of WrestleMania X. Owen had an early advantage and worked on Bret’s injured leg for much of the match, but Bret looked to have things going his way as the match progressed. Both brothers connected with a bulldog, piledriver, superplex, sharpshooters, and almost every wrestling move that I can imagine all put in here but nothing could keep each other down. You have to see this match to believe how much of a masterpiece of a match that they’ve created. Bret tried to send Owen into the corner with an Irish whip, but Owen countered and followed him in. Bret went for a victory roll, but Owen reversed into his own pinning combination and scored the major upset, but it still is today the best opening match in any PPV. We’ll never see Owen be a main eventer, but Bret unselfishly gave his brother a moment to remember, even despite the fact that he had a main event match on the same night. I mean it when this match is very good and it deserved to last as long as it needed to be because it was a fantastic feud between the two. It was all athleticism in wrestling at it’s purest and it should be watched if you want to get into the wrestling business. love this match and this holds up as the best match of Wrestlemania X! For the fact that we have Wrestlemania X matches in this Top 10 should show you why Wrestlemania X is one of the best wrestling shows of all time!
Number 1. – Bret Hart vs. Davy Boy Smith – Summerslam 1992
This is without a doubt the best Intercontinental Championship match, best main event, and best SummerSlam match of all time all at once! It was in London, England and a lot of people may not know this but it was taped on August 29th and then shown on August 31st in 1992 with just over 80,000 fans in attendance. The main event wasn’t the Savage/Warrior match for the WWF Title, but the Intercontinental Title match between champion Bret Hart and challenger the British Bulldog , who was wrestling in his home country. It was a face vs. face match with the added dynamic of Bulldog’s wife Diana being at ringside, who was also the sister of Bret Hart. The work in the match was special from the beginning. Through a lot of it, Bret was working as a heel because I think he realized he needed to in order to get the crowd totally behind Smith. It wasn’t aggressive heel work, but it was basic stuff that helped the match because it built up the support for their countryman. It’s interesting to note that Bret Hart wrote in his book about how Bulldog was blown up (aka tired) very early in the match, so he forgot a lot of the things that he had to do. You could tell Bulldog had lost it a little bit because of the bump where Bret did a slingshot over the top rope and Bulldog was supposed to catch him. Instead, he was hunched over against the side of the ring where he was trying to catch his breath. Hart ended up grabbing him by the shoulder to pull him down. Like he says on his DVD, he could have easily tore his knee. Let’s jump to the awesome finishing sequence. After a double clothesline spot, Bret wrapped Bulldog up in the Sharpshooter while they were on their backs. He sits in it, the crowd is going NUTS freaking out and Bulldog gets the ropes. Bret whips him into the ropes, does a sunset flip, Bulldog drops to his knees, hooks the arms, leans forward for the one, two and three for what might be the loudest ovation I’ve ever heard. The new Intercontinental Champion was the British Bulldog. Post match, Bret sold dejection and he even teased leaving, but he hugged his brother-in-law and the crowd popped huge for it as Diana went into the ring for the big family celebration. The match went 25 minutes. One guy went over (Bulldog), but the other guy became a bigger star after it was finished (Hart). That’s the point of wrestling. It’s not about the wins and losses; it’s about telling stories, getting over and creating memories to last a lifetime. That’s exactly what they did here. I’ll never forget how loud that pop was when Bulldog countered Bret, dropped down and cradled him up to get the victory. At the end of the match, Vince McMahon called it one of the greatest wrestling matches of all-time and for once, Vince McMahon made a statement that all fans can agree!
From 1992 to 1996, this was a whole new era of professional wrestling that tries it’s best to differ away from relying on Hulk Hogan and many of their old stars for the purpose of creating a new image for the company and try to keep up with the times. This was the era of wrestling that started Monday Night Raw and went in a televised ratings competition against WCW Monday Night Nitro. This was also an era where they delivered more pay per views than ever before with the awesome and underrated “In Your House” PPV’s. At first this was going to look like World Wrestling Federation’s path to the right direction, but unfortunately, this short lived era of wrestling has dealt with the worst characters, story lines, and even booking decisions that really damaged the company’s popularity and finance. The audience were not interested in super clean and G-rated materials that almost had the company go out of business. WCW really kicked WWF’s ass by using WWF’s former stars against their own stars, story lines were more tasteful, and the product was more appealing to the wrestling fans. But for some odd reason, I just have a great appreciation for what is known to be the WWF’s worst era. I started to become a wrestling fan in this era with Wrestlemania X being my first ever wrestling viewing, but it’s not just nostalgia that this era has over all the other eras in wrestling. When you focus on the good from this era, this was actually a time where wrestlers delivered a more physical, technical, and high flying style of wrestling as opposed to slow paced wrestling seen in the Golden Era of Wrestling. All of the sudden, the new generation era offered a much more diverse roster instead of a line of wrestlers that were jacked with steroids. We had matches that was all about more than one signature moves, strategies of how to win matches to make the experience varied, and even the spectacle felt down to Earth. I can easily say that this is the most underrated and under appreciated era of wrestling and you should watch some of the best matches that came from this era to realize what wrestling today lost that this era had. With that being said, here are the ten wrestlers that help made this era special to many wrestling fans around the world!
Number 10. – 123 Kid
Starting this list, we finally have our first member of the Kliq. The 123 Kid character was inspirational for the fact that he was an underdog that tries his very best to be good. He was a little guy with big dream and what’s so inspiring is that even though all the odds are against him, he still chases after them. He was the original common man that we know that he can’t win, but we route for him because his heart was in it. He took bumps that made you sympathetic and he captures your emotions by trying to hard. It’s one of the reasons why when he defeated Razor Ramon in an episode of Monday Night Raw, it was a big deal. You feel like you’re like the 123 Kid and whenever he makes success in his career, it makes our day. Not only that, but he has a unique style of martial arts and high-flying moves that shows how much of a talent he really is. He even had great matches against legends like Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, and so many big stars in the business. Sure, Shawn Waltman had a better wrestling character names with Syxx, X-Pac, and so many more, but I still have a deep soft spot for the Kid.
Number 9. – Macho Man Randy Savage
Macho Man was my number 1 pick for as the best wrestler in the Golden Age and it’s a shame that he didn’t have that many great moments in the New Generation Era, even though he stuck around. One of the biggest mistakes Vince McMahon has ever done has been putting Macho Man in commentary. Admittedly, I love to hear Macho Man’s voice all day, but he was born to perform. However, Macho Man did indeed contributed to the New Generation by putting new talents over like Yokozuna winning the Royal Rumble 1993, Shawn Michaels, Crush, and many more. To show some important to the New Generation era, he was WWF Champion when the era started. Even though we didn’t get much to see him and Miss Elizabeth like we did in the Golden Age, Macho Man Randy Savage was still the same hero that we all know and love. Hell, he even made those famous slimjim commercials that made him an icon in the wrestling world. But for the fact that Vince McMahon put him in commentary (and issues with the Kliq), is one of the big reasons why he never came back to the WWF and made better matches in WCW. But for the fact that Randy actually did help some of the talents to make this era stand out, he deserves to be on the list.
Number 8. – “The British Bulldog”
Davey Boy Smith
Where do I even begin with the late, great Davey Boy Smith? He was built like a freight train and was as strong as an ox. He was EVERYTHING Vince McMahon looks for in a World Champion. He had the look, power, charisma and he was over in a big way. People loved The British Bulldog. Once he branched out of his tag team with the Dynamite Kid, Davey Boy Smith was thrown into the upper mid card almost immediately. He had some great feuds with Vader, Bam Bam Bigelow and most notably Bret Hart and their incredible match in England at Summerslam in 1992, where Bret would drop the Intercontinental Championship to The Bulldog. If you get a chance, you must watch the crowd’s reaction, it was AMAZING. Needless to say, that match was the highlight of The Bulldogs career which is really just sad to say. Even though he never goth a better spot in the wrestling world, he did contribute to the New Generation Era by giving some of the best mid card machos in the mid 90s. If you seen how he wrestled, it made watching all of his matches worth your time. Such a talented, athlete and a guy with a phenomenal physical presence. In the end, his internal demons got the better of him and Davey Boy has since past. However that won’t tarnish his legacy as one of the top WWE SUPERSTARS of the 90′s.
Number 7. – Mr. Perfect
Mr. Perfect was the best intercontinental champion and one of the best technical wrestler the WWF has ever had. Even his name lives up to his reputation even despite the fact that he never won a WWF Championship. Mr. Perfect is the wrestler that introduced technical wrestling to the golden age and that opened door to the New Generation Era with the similar style and attitude. As one of the most famous in ring technicians, everyone loved working with Curt. He could have a great match with anybody. His charisma shined through every time you saw him. Not only that, Mr. Perfect had one of the best personality that suits incredibly well for a heel. He always constantly love to brag about how perfect he is just to anger everyone. Whether that’s true or not (and most likely isn’t), it makes for a good story. What makes it so interesting is trying to picture anyone else as Mr. Perfect. It didn’t matter if it was baseball, basketball or bowling, he was simply the best. Perfect could have been an all-star in any sport, but he came to the WWF to show off his skills. While he had a great run in the AWA, it was Hennig’s cocky Mr. Perfect persona in the WWF that truly made him worthy of the Hall of Fame. It’s almost sad to write about such an amazing man, athlete and competitor who is no longer with us. Especially knowing he deserved to be treated so much better while in the WWE. Mr. Perfect is easily one of the most under appreciated talents in wrestling history. Hopefully by you reading this, you can get a glimpse of just how good he was. One thing’s for sure, the 2007 WWE Hall of Famer will never be forgotten.
Number 6. – The Undertaker
The Undertaker was all spectacle that everyone wanted to see. He was that character that haunted our nightmares, but we couldn’t stop watching because the believability was all in there. However the reason why I can’t put him any higher in the list is because he didn’t have that many good matches in the New Generation Era. But we forgive Undertaker’s slow pace wrestling that didn’t get physical till the Attitude era because his character was so precise and demeaning that we put our fullest attention upon him. What he brought in the wrestling world is the bizarreness and unusual storytelling in his matches. Such as Paul Bearer losing his urn to control the will of the Undertaker, dealing with creeps like Mankind, and even doing untraditional gimmick matches like bury alive matches & casket match. This was the first time ever where a wrestler could ever stay so much into character and made all of use believe that he was from beyond the grave. It scared all of us fans of WWF and little did fans know the terror he would unleash for over two decades. He has a long lasting streak in Wrestlemania and brought satanic references in pro-wrestling, which is all innovative. In his early days, he almost looked as he was impervious to pain. When he was ambushed by Yokozuna and half the roster in Royal Rumble 1994, he was put in a casket, but the whole arena blacked out to show a titan-tron of Taker still in the casket saying that he’ll return and then he popped out of the screen ascending over the crowd was actually the scariest moment in pro-wrestling.
Number 5. – Yokozuna
Yokozuna has got to be that wrestler that’s under everybody’s radar. This is the heel that DESTROYED Hulkamania after Hulk Hogan departed to WCW and reigned as WWF Champion. Whenever somebody defeats Hogan for the WWF Championship, it really means that this guy is a big deal. It was incredibly amazing what the guy could do in the ring early on in his career with his enormous size. The only huge wrestler that can move as much as Yoko can is Bam Bam Bigelow and Big Van Vader, but Yokozuna has more significance than any large man since Andre The Giant. He won the Royal Rumble in 1993, won the WWF Championship twice, main event Wrestlemania twice, and even squashed countless opponents using the best finisher of all time; The Banzai Drop! Yokozuna is an important figure to the New Generation Era where he displayed culture to the main stream wrestling. Even though he was Samoan in real life, Yokozuna embellished the Japanese culture with his manager, Mr. Fuji by showing what Sumo Wrestling training is all about, the behavior a honorable Japanese athlete acts, and even shows a unique style of intensity only seen outside of North America. But what I really admire about Yokozuna is for a guy that large, he has moves like side kicks, running leg drops, belly to belly suplexes, and of course, the feared banzai drop that nobody has ever broke out of it. The fact that he was so massive and could still keep up with Bret and The Undertaker and make the matches interesting proves he was good in the ring. Whenever he collapses from a big move, it really has a huge impact. And unlike any other heels, he didn’t Mr. Fuji interfering in his matches to save the day all the time; Yoko carried all of his matches and he was not a chicken-shit heel that we constantly see in wrestling. He deserved to be the main heel spot for that period of time and one of my favorite times with Yokozuna was when he partnered up with Owen Hart, making it one of the most underrated tag teams of all time. He deserves to be on this list because he was inspirational that not all wrestlers need to be jacked or close to 7’feet tall. Because he showed that even obese wrestlers can even make it to the same spotlight is why he’s this high on the list!
Number 4. – Owen Hart
In my opinion is the most underrated wrestler of all time. Maybe it’s because he was stuck behind his big brother Bret (at least, storyline wise, it was to Owen) or maybe not, but critics often look past Owen when mentioning the major stars of the 90s and right to the older Hart. He was an amazing heel, was involved in some of the greatest matches of the mid-90’s with Bret, HBK and Bulldog, and could cut a great promo to boot. His style in the ring was also detrimental to the evolution of the quality of matches in professional wrestling. His natural sense of humor also took his on screen character to new heights (stealing slammy’s was priceless). Let’s not forget his achievements in the ring; 2 Time Intercontinental Champion, 4 Time Tag Team with Yokozuna (my favorite underrated tag team) and British Bulldog, 1 Time European Champion, King of the Ring Winner, Match of the Year with brother Bret in 1994 in Summerslam 1994 Cage Match, and 2 Time Slammy Award winner. He was also involved in huge storylines with The Hart Foundation and Nation of Domination. He went toe to toe with HBK, Bret Hart, Stone Cold, The Rock and pretty much any other big name in WWF during his time with the company. I honestly cannot recall ever seeing a bad Owen Hart match. He was a high quality wrestler, a high quality worker and an overall great superstar of the 1990’s that got overlooked by far too many critics while he was alive. I miss Owen with a great passion. Seeing him wrestle against Bret in Wrestlemania X was my first wrestling match that I’ve ever seen and it got me emotional to see two brothers fighting each other, while I was watching the whole storyline with my younger brother with me. I always blame Vince’s decision to make it an on and off decision in deciding to put him as Owen or the Blue Blazer. Either way, Vince had the perfect opportunity to make Owen a star, but he had too many bigger fishes in the pond with him. I will alway honor and remember what Owen delivered in the wrestling world and without him, the New Generation Era wouldn’t be a special as it once was.
Number 3. – Shawn Michaels
I’m really conflicted about Shawn Michaels during the New Generation Era. On the one hand, he was the most talented and best in-ring worker of whole company. On the other hand, he was a spoiled brat that gave Kliq a bad name. Back when he took the name Heartbreak Kid and departed his ways with Sensational Sherri, he was one of the coolest bad guys since Razor Ramon. His streetwalker gimmick attracted a lot of female audiences to tune into Monday Night Raw and see him dance and move around. His team up with Kliq member Diesel was some of the best wrestler-body guard partnerships that I’ve ever seen in wrestling. Though I refuse to put Diesel in the list because having him as WWF Champion for an entire year in 1995 was both selfish and stupid, his team up with HBK was highly entertaining. Not only that, but he was an innovator by being the first to win the Royal Rumble more than once, being in the WWF’s first Ladder Match, and so many more! As a fan, I really enjoyed watching Shawn Michaels with my family because he did high flying technical wrestling like nobody else. It’s amazing that he’s able to wrestle this style throughout the rest of his career in the 2000’s which is proof why he’s one of the best of all time. But his personal rivalry with Bret Hart is what I find most uncomfortable. Shawn Michaels was getting really spoiled with demanding a lot of attention, getting all credit, and putting a lot of guys down in the roster. It’s no wonder why Kliq’s backstage politics is infamous among all the wrestlers who suffered during their reign. If you don’t believe me, look at Shawn when he defeated Bret Hart in Wrestlemania 12 and told him to get out of my ring ,or when he faced Vader in Summerslam 1996, he kept shouting him “Move” like an immature man-child. Nevertheless, whenever he’s well behaved during the New Generation era, watching him wrestle is gold. Shawn Michaels just had everything that you can consider talent and it’s the reason why people watches wrestling today! Shawn Michaels just continue to live on the legacy giving us terrific matches many years to come.
Number 2. – Razor Ramon
One of the biggest things that the New Generation Era that wrestling today doesn’t have is great characters. I can’t name a better character in wrestling that had the coolness factor to the max. Razor Ramon’s personality was similar to Scarface and his fake Cuban accent was none other than priceless whenever he spoke on the mic. Even the look of this guy was like an idealized version of a real man come to life. He made being a heel or “The Bad Guy” the coolest position in wrestling and it’s no wonder why he grew so much popularity. It was like Star Wars fans loving to route for the villains because they were so much cooler than our heroes. Throwing tooth picks at his opponents, feel relaxed whenever he speaks, and had a hard-hittle style, that even influenced The Rock to copy his style, shows how significant Razor really is. To me, Razor Ramon is the embodiment of The New Generation era. I still will always remember how mind-blowing his match against Shawn Michaels in Wrestlemania X is still one of my favorite matches of all time. They even had another ladder match together in Summerslam 1995 which was the best match in that horrible year in wrestling. Hell, his rivalry with his Kliq colleagues with Diesel, 123 Kid, and Shawn Michaels was some of the most entertaining things in wrestling! As a kid, I always routed for Razor Ramon to defeat the “Dudes With Attitude” because it was so much fun seeing the way they wrestled and handled the intense rivalry. To even show even more importance to Razor Ramon, he even made wrestling history in the Madison Square Garden Curtan Call Incident when he came in and hugged the Kliq members to establish the backstage faction. Sometimes I really wished that Razor Ramon can continue his journey to winning the WWF Championship instead of making history of the NWO in WCW, but what ever the case, Razor Ramon remains one of the best gimmick of all of wrestling!
“The best there is, the best there was, the best there ever will be” truly lives up to the name. Bret Hart is the milestone for the new direction for the WWF after the Golden Age has ended. It started when Bret Hart departed his ways with Jim Neidhart from the Hart Foundation and became one of the best solo wrestlers of all time. He began to win the Intercontinental Championship, win the first ever King of the Ring, won the WWF Championship multiple times, and even told the best story lines the WWF has had during this era. Bret Hart style really separated 80’s to the 90’s and he earned that spot to become the face of the company. Bret Hart was a really fantastic storyteller where he showed a lot of emotion whenever he get hurt that caused the entire audience to sympathize with him. It’s wondrous to see that when his character evolves, the company evolves along with him. He told really personal story lines such as Davey Boy Smith’s relationships with his sister, Owen Hart brotherly jealousy, and so many more. Not only that, but Bret Hart’s matches were the best parts of the New Generation Era. I don’t ever recall seeing a bad Bret Hart match from 1993 to 1997, even despite the fact that some of the story lines he’s been involved in were badly written. Heck one of the reasons why there was an attitude era to begin with was because of his involvement with Stone Cold Steve Austin knocking him out cold. Part of his in-ring storytelling being so good is that Bret has the best versatility of this era. Bar none while I think Bret’s best years were occurring when the WWF was not at its very best commercial success-wise. Bret was a competitor that made the WWF a watchable program even in the WWF’s dark ages where you had garbagemen, plumbers and hog farmers as the staples of the Federation. Bret Hart while in today’s WWE gets a lot of praise for his contributions it wasn’t until 2010 when he’s truly been given the acclaim he’s deserved. To me Bret Hart made every match just look like an all out actual fight, no matter who he was wrestling be it Yokozuna, Owen Hart, Jeff Jarrett, Diesel, Shawn Michaels or Razor Ramon, Hart had a flare to show just how his style was a breath of fresh air after Hulk Hogan left the WWF and the title scene needed new faces. Bret brought the title scene back to something it had not seen since Bob Backlund’s days as the champion. People who might knock The Hitman’s lack of personality I implore to just watch his body language in the ring and the way he would perform his move set that are always different in everyone of his matches. Everything Bret did had a reason and a method and the way he’d react to a loss in the ring just spoke better than any words he could ever say. That combined with the fact that he wrestled three different matches at King Of The Ring with three very different opponents and they all ended in their own unique way. This led to him winning the tournament and in my mind this legitimized him just as much as his World Title win over Ric Flair if not more so to be honest. WrestleMania X was another showcasing of Bret’s resourcefulness in the story lines, he goes from losing one match to Owen (and showing the best reaction I’ve ever seen a wrestler display after a loss) and afterwards in the same evening avenging his loss from the year before by beating Yokozuna in a rematch to win back the strap. His subsequent World Title feud with Owen in a cage match was a great showing too and I remember those days just like they were yesterday. For this alone I don’t think there’s anyone better at working within different dynamics than Bret Hart, yes I do indeed hold in high regard individuals like Shawn Michaels and all the other from the New Generation Era, but when it comes to this category I don’t think anyone touches Bret Hart. I can only wonder what things would have been like had he stayed with the WWF further into the Attitude Era instead of leaving during its transition point. Bret Hart has always been my biggest hero and there hasn’t been another individual that did more for me as a wrestling fan than Bret Hart!
Now you know who are the best wrestlers of the New Generation Era, be sure to check out the Top 10 Matches of the New Generation Era!!
If you can go out on the street and tell anyone about any wrestler that’s currently in any wrestling organization, chances are they won’t even know who you’re talking about. However, if you instead talk about wrestlers that came from the 1980s to the early-1990s, chances are, people would recognize who you’re talking about. Just what is it that makes these wrestlers more iconic and recognizable than the wrestlers of today? How about the fact that each of them had a diversity of characters that felt bigger than life itself. Many of these wrestlers are the image and embodiment of professional wrestling and still to this very day we talk about each of their legacy. Even the WWE knows the impact that these wrestlers given us for making wrestling as big as it is today. We call this the Golden Age of Wrestling because WCW and WWF were in big rivalry with each other and they did almost everything to beat the competition. Dusty Rhodes created the Super Bowl of Pro Wrestling called StarCade in 1983 and Vince McMahon wanted to make a bigger event calling it Wrestlemania. Since then, wrestling started to deliver bigger events like The Big Four PPV’s and many more. This was the first time professional wrestling went on mainstream by getting celebrity involvement (Cindi Loper, Muhammad Ali, Mr. T, etc.) and also putting wrestlers in public appearances outside of the ring and backstage area. Each of these wrestlers really felt like real-life superheroes and it drew huge attendance records and television ratings. It’s all thanks to these wrestlers that made wrestling huge as it once was and it’s time for me to pay respects to ten of my favorite wrestlers of the Golden Age of Wrestling (from 1983 – 1991).
Number 10. – Bam Bam Bigelow
Bam Bam Bigelow was one of professional wrestling’s most unique individuals. With his tattooed head and large frame, Bigelow was unlike anyone or anything else in the world of professional wrestling. His uniqueness went beyond his looks, however. In an era of lumbering big men, Bigelow broke the mold, demonstrating a work rate and level of agility never before seen, by a man of his size. During the late eighties and early nineties, it was rare to see wrestlers in the United States pulling off moonsaults, much less 350+ pound monsters doing so. Bigelow’s matches never cease to amaze me with the things he was able to do in the ring, and the matches he put on. He’s the only wrestler from the Golden Age that managed to keep himself relevant in the later years of wrestling such as The New Generation Era, Attitude, WCW’s Bishoff-era, and even ECW’s top star. He was everything you wanted in a monster heel and a great babyface. He was the stuff that your mother’s nightmares are made of. Every movement he made and syllable he uttered just gave off the impression of a bad ass mofo who was there to absolutely raise hell. There was no wrestler whose character fit his look better than Bam Bam Bigelow.
Number 9. – Jake “The Snake” Roberts
So what makes Jake the Snake Roberts such an iconic name in the wrestling world? He didn’t have a good wrestling ability, didn’t have the look, he lost a lot more matches than winning them, and he didn’t have the “it” factor which is why he never won a WWF Championship. What Jake Roberts offered as a truly dark character in wrestling. His dark persona inspired many future stars like The Undertaker & Stone Cold Steve Austin that being the happy, smiling wrestler can’t be the only wrestler to love. Jake’s interviews simply give us chills down our spines and he was intimidating none the less. If his interviews didn’t get you at ease, then his python, Damien will. Damien and Roberts were a huge attraction when tuning into the WWF product because it was terrifying to see it but we want to know who’s Damien was going to get. Better yet, Jake Roberts introduced in-ring psychology where what’s happening in the ring was just as well telling a story as much as an interview. Jake Roberts was a true innovator of the wrestling world and he became famous for it. Even despite the fact that he never won a WWF Championship, it’ was his character that made him such a big name today. At the end of the day, it isn’t about the wrestling’s appearance or skills, it’s his character and how he slivers to our hearts.
Number 8. – The Ultimate Warrior
Most people would like to look at the Ultimate Warrior like a 1990’s comic book character or He-Man come to life, but Ultimate Warrior was simply the most intense wrestler of all time! No one had as much energy and intensity as Warrior did and we all believed that he was that powerful. It’s always so damn exciting to see Warrior do what he does best because as soon as you hear his entrance music, you know he’s rushing in the ring and shaking the ropes like no tomorrow! Every young WWF fan loved the Warrior’s character, even though he doesn’t make any sense most of the time, he captured our attention because of his undying passion to wrestle. His powerhouse style was completely freakish. He was the second best baby face the company had, right behind Hogan. I’ll never forget Ultimate Warrior finally defeated Honky Tonk Man’s Intercontinental Championship streak and went on to face Hulk Hogan. For the first time ever, babyface vs. babyface in Wrestlemania 6 and it was a defining moment for the wrestling world. A year later, Warrior took on Macho Man in Wrestlemania 7 in the best match of his career. He sure had a lot of backstage problems with Vince McMahon, but that didn’t’ stop him from being as awesome as he was. There was so many great moments of the Warrior that made him one of the biggest names ever! His character was so unearthly and his style was so fiery, it made you believe the power of the Warrior.
Number 7. – Sting
I really want to put Sting higher on the list, but he had a much better time after this era has ended. But if there was a star that WCW built up extremely well, it had to be Sting. Sting, in his early year, was a unique mixture of flying, technical, and powerhouse style of wrestling. It was like he was WCW’s version of the Ultimate Warrior, but much more understandable and relatable. I know a lot of wrestling fans prefer Sting in black and white instead of blonde and colorful, but I really enjoy Sting’s presence before the Bishoff-era. He really was a star that really gets us engaged. He wrestling like no other individual as he flew and slammed his opponents with so much energy. Sting just simply had the it factor for WCW and there were a lot of people that tuned into the product just to see Sting do what he does best. He’s also the innovator of the Scorpion Death Drop (reverse DDT) and the Scorpion Death Lock before it was even called the Sharpshooter. No other young wrestler grew as much popularity fast as Sting did. He faced legends like Ric Flair, The Great Muta, and many more WCW wrestlers and pushed each of his opponents to the limits. I really think blonde Sting is unappreciated because he’s one of the few WCW stars that made World Championship Wrestling so big.
Number 6. – Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat
Steamboat may be the least iconic or memorable wrestler in the list, however he delivered technical martial arts in the ring making him look like the Bruce Lee of wrestling. Ricky brought nothing less than intensity in each and every one of his matches that makes the all worth coming back and watching them. No one shall ever forget that he stole the Wrestlemania III show with his match against Randy Savage winning the Intercontinental Champion. It’s remembered as one of the best greatest matches of the 1980s. Despite his Wrestlemania 4’s poor tournament structure, he didn’t make it pass Round 1 and all of the sudden started to loose fame in the WWF. However, he did kept the momentum going when he joined WCW and delivered matches that were so much better than his time in the WWF! Ricky made tremendous legacy in wrestling in WCW with rivals with Ric Flair. Steamboat and Flair never had a bad match with each other, rather they were all a series of 5-star matches that all rivalries wishes they have. I argue that his time in WCW is so much better than his time in WWF, even despite the fact that WWE wants everyone to forget about it. Anyone can watch any of his matches and want to be a professional wrestler. The is one of the most recognizable Intercontinental Champions and NWA World Champion of all time.
Number 5. – Andre The Giant
Before Hulk Hogan was the biggest star in professional wrestling, Andre the Giant was the most popular and iconic wrestler in the world. Without him, wrestling and Wrestlemania wouldn’t be as big as it is today! Even people who doesn’t watch wrestling know who this guy is! Before Wrestlemania III, Andre The Giant was undefeated for 15 years. Sure his style is slow, but there was so athlete that was as big or as strong as Andre was. He was a huge attraction to the masses because he was unlike any human being ever seen and even his opponents were scared of what he was capable of. It was certainly a wise move to turn Andre heel by betraying Hulk Hogan to side with Bobby “The Brain” Henan, it made him the most despised man in the whole wrestling industry. He made Wrestlemania III to have the attendance record of 93,173. Sporting events ever had an attendance record that big until the 2010 NBA All-Star series. The show also delivered by having him get body slammed by Hulk Hogan and for the first time became defeated. His feud with Hulk Hogan continued by creating the big four PPV’s in main eventing the first ever Summerslam, Royal Rumble, and Survivor Series. He really made the big four PPV’s happen, but unfortunately, after his rivalry with Hulk Hogan was over with, Andre’s popularity faded because Hulk Hogan began to have bigger rivalries with heels like Macho Man, Ultimate Warrior, and many more. Andre also showed that his back is hurting and it affected his wrestling ability. He deserved a retirement in the early 1990s. To even show how much of a legend Andre is, when he passed away in 1993, he was the first ever inductee in to the WWE Hall of Fame. We did have 7′ footer wrestlers, like Big Show, Great Kahli, Giant Gonzalez, etc., that reminded us of Andre, but nobody can match up to the Eight Wonder of the World. Nobody has done more for the wrestling business than Andre the Giant and it’s all thanks to him that me made wrestling all possible!
Number 4. – Rowdy Roddy Piper
I simply love Rowdy Roddy Piper. He’s a wrestler of many sides, many wrestling abilities, and dared to be the most hated wrestlers above all else. I admire Roddy for being such a wild character that is willing to be all over the place. From main event heel, become a lovable face, to Piper’s pit, to even helping the mid-cards like Bret Hart to become a big name. He was such a rebellious individual and this was around the time where the public won’t stand for it. He went wild with this direction and became the most hated guy. It’s highly entertaining to see Roddy Piper do what he does best because nobody else was doing it. Piper’s Pit is always one of the best wrestling interview segments ever as it continues to surprise fans who gets interviewed with Piper that continues to created history. Piper’s responsible for making the Rock and Wrestling Connection work and make Wrestling big as it is today because who else would take the job as being so hated the people would want to pay money to see him get beat? He knows very well that controversy creates cash and because he became such a different character, it certainly made him stand up against all else. And as for his wrestling skills, it also lives up to the name as he introduced technical brawling style before Stone Cold Steve Austin flipped the bird on camera. Today, Piper still is part of the wrestling world and does all he can to keep the business going. Hell, even when the Golden Age era was over, Piper did not slow down as he continued to be part of both WCW and WWF and make Wrestlemania moments like in Wrestlemania 12 against Goldust. I always have a lot of fun watching Piper and never was I ever bored watching what he does.
Number 3. – Hulk Hogan
Surprised to see Hogan not number 1? I really have nothing against Hulk Hogan, I just like a few other wrestlers more than Hogan from this era. When Hogan became the top star in the WWF, he was a big fish in a huge pond. To make him the top star, he had to be main event, give promos unlike any other, win his matches, and had to become a fan favorite no matter what the cost. That’s what Hogan did. Andre The Giant used to be the biggest name in the wrestling world, but after he allowed Hogan to put him over in Wrestlemania III, he passed the torch to Hogan and became a bigger star than Andre was. People who never watch wrestling knows very well who this guy is. Hogan really is the face of professional wrestling and he’s the measuring stick of what other wrestlers strived for. Everyone remembers him ripping off his shirt, putting his ear to the crowd, his poses, and his interviews about “Eating your vitamins, saying your prayers” & “Whatcha gonna do when Hulkamania comes after you!” Everyone loves to impersonate the Hulkster like Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Beatles, and more. He is what everyone wishes to be and to be with. He was such a babyface that definitely is a positive influence to the masses around the world. He really made routing for the good guy cool and to see him fight for what’s right was so damn engrossing. Hogan is such an amazing storyteller as he dealt with betrayals that is after his popularity and faced the most hated heels that deserved the Hogan treatment. No one has ever accomplished as much as Hogan did. He had the most WWF title reigns of the era, held it the longest, and main evented in almost every Wrestling event that he’s been in. You might think Hogan was too invincible, but you have to remember that in the Golden Era of Wrestling, fan everywhere took their babyfaces extremely seriously. If there was anyone that was to save the day, it had to be dear old Hulkster. We always relied on Hogan to do the job and he always effortlessly deliver the goods. Hulk Hogan is responsible for all the success that the wrestling world has succeeded and still to this day people tune into a wrestling show if Hulk Hogan is in it. Even though all of his matches isn’t exactly the best that we seen in wrestling, what mattered was to see Hogan defeat the odds and show that fighting for what’s right is meaningful to all the Hulkamaniacs. What Hulk Hogan does, that not many wrestler can do, is really connect with the crowd and because he was so good in presenting himself to be very likable, he earned that reputation as being the greatest and most successful wrestler in the industry. Only little number wrestlers can live up to Hulk Hogan’s stature and we all strive to be as big as him.
Number 2. – Ric Flair
I’m one of those wrestling fans that argues that Ric Flair is a better wrestler than Hulk Hogan. While WWF’s biggest star was Hulk Hogan, WCW’s star was Ric Flair. Flair, is just like Rowdy Roddy Piper, in which he’s all all the map in his wrestling career. He’s very good in being the main event, help the mid-cards to become a bigger star, he was a really good heel, a very good babyface, his interviews were incredibly intense, and his wrestling stills were gold. Flair just did a lot better things than Hogan did. He was a pioneer of main eventing StarCade before Hogan even started a Wrestlemania, he created and lead the Four Horsemen, and he never stopped fighting his spot in the World Heavyweight Championship. Flair also is iconic for his wrestling abilities for the Figure Four Leg Lock, turning upside down when running into a turn buckle, and slapping his opponents in the chest to shout “Woo!” This is a man with class and style and throughout his career, people want to see it again and again. He continue this trend for over 2 decades and he became successful for it. Even more important, Ric Flair just had very good rivalries with many of the best talents in the WCW like Sting, Ricky Steamboat, Dusty Rhodes, Terry Funk, and so many more. There’s no doubt in my mind that because Ric Flair has accomplished so much in the wrestling world, he has to be the second greatest wrestler of the 1980s.
Number 1. – Macho Man Randy Savage
There’s simply no other wrestler that is at all similar to the Macho Man. Macho Man is such an amazing storyteller where he knew how to cut promos and had the charisma to engage us in it. Macho Man just has everything that I want to see from a wrestler; charisma, storytelling, in-ring ability, emotion, and the ability to connect with the audience. Savage is such a unique character that he can really endure the toughest challenge, but at the same time grab sympathy to the audience because he tries harder than anyone in the business. I always loved seeing his partnership with Miss Elizabeth because they were the best romantic couple of the wrestling world. Still to this day they both capture all our hearts by showing how much they love each other on screen. More importantly, Randy Savage has been involved in some of the best matches of the ’80s/early ’90’s like Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat, Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, Jake Roberts, Ric Flair, Honkey Tonk Man, Hart Foundation, Tito Santana, and so many more that each of them had a relatable story into them. Even though Savage had a match against Steamboat that stole the Wrestlemania III show, he had his big break by winning the Wrestlemania IV tournament and holding the WWF Championship for an entire a year. I’m also a big fan of his Macho King persona when he betrays Hulk Hogan and Miss Elizabeth. He was such a ferocious heel and his King gimmick was so lovable. I still will never forget his match against Ultimate Warrior in Wrestlemania VII where he lost but we route for him when he reunited with Miss Elizabeth that always gets me that emotional feeling. Not to mention that in Summerslam in that year, both of them had the best on-screen marriage in Wrestling period! If people didn’t know who Hulk Hogan is, they surely would know who Macho Man Randy Savage is because of his entertaining slimjim commercials, many movie/television appearances, and his merchandises that sold millions. Savage such a tremendous storytelling and a very entertaining wrestler that inspired every single man in professional wrestling today. His spirit will live on in the squared circle forever as the best professional wrestler of all time!