Our Top Five Favorite Wrestlers

Normally, we prefer to highlight the shameful side of wrestling, rather than the parts we enjoy. But it's the holiday season, so we figured we'd be a little more positive today. Besides, after the kind of year 2017 was, some positivity is needed. Something tells us 2018 might just be worse...

Anyway, back to positive. We decided that each of us (JDP2, Rick, and Jay) would list our top five favorite wrestlers of all-time. This isn't "best" wrestlers or "most popular" wrestlers or anything. It's a list of personal favorites.

We hope you enjoy it.

JohnDosPassos2's Top Five Favorite Wrestlers

CM Punk

I've said this before on this website, but Punk was the reason I got back into pro wrestling after a nearly ten-year hiatus. He was compelling as a wrestler for a lot of reasons, but primarily because you genuinely believed him when he said he was pissed-off. I'd also argue that unlike most performers today, Punk would have thrived in the territory area -- a good worker who could earn the love or hate of a crowd so easily and been able to maintain his own persona no matter where he went. If he comes back to pro wrestling, I sincerely hope it's to New Japan because fuck the WWE.

Nick Bockwinkel

I didn't grow up in the AWA's footprint, but I do have some vague memories of seeing Nick Bockwinkel on some WCW broadcasts in the early 1990s. It wasn't until the last few years when I started to watch old AWA footage that I began to understand how great Bockwinkel was both in the ring and on the microphone. The "intellectual heel" is basically an extinct species in professional wrestling, but Bockwinkel was the best at projecting his superiority to any audience (and if you aren't familiar with his work with Bobby Heenan then you have homework to do).


While I listened to NWA, Nirvana, and Pearl Jam, my major connection to 1990s counter-culture was ECW: it was brash, anarchic, and in-your-face, but it also produced one of my favorite wrestlers. I'm not sure if I -- in 1995-96 -- consciously made the connection that the former Johnny Polo was drawing inspiration for his character from Poe's "The Raven" and Patrick Swayze's character in Point Break, but I was nonetheless compelled by his promos and work in the ring. And when he jumped to WCW, I was legitimately happy for the guy -- even if his time there was sorta underwhelming.

Randy Savage

Savage may be the most unique personality in wrestling history. He was great in the ring. He was great in promos. He projected a wild, yet incredibly complicated character -- one who projected paranoia and arrogance at nearly every turn. And it's unfair that Hogan overshadowed him at every turn.

Rick Rude

When I was growing up, I was solidly behind the "Faces" of pro wrestling -- even though I totally understood why Randy Savage was pissed at Hulk Hogan during the break-up of the Mega Powers. But it wasn't until Rick Rude came on my tv screen that I fully sided with the heel. Rude was certainly arrogant, but he seemed somehow legit to me whereas other wrestlers of the WWE from that area (hello Ultimate Warrior) seemed like total cartoons. When he went to WCW (and eventually helped form the Dangerous Alliance), I couldn't help but root for him.

Honorable mentions: Arn Anderson, Rowdy Piper

Jay's Top Five Favorite Wrestlers

Chris Jericho

I think the first time I was introduced to professional wrestling I was about 11 or 12 years old. Y2J was a thing and I was into it. I used to watch wrestling with a friend from school and I was so happy to see when I came back to watch years later, Chris has aged like fine wine, and still has a wrestling career, still has his band, a podcast. and I believe he posted on Instagram about a food network type show. (I'm team Omega though for the Tokyo Dome match)

Steve Austin 

Same scenario. Steve was pretty popular at the time I first discovered wrestling as a kid and I thought Steve was pretty dang cool. I like when Buzzfeed gets him to do stuff like drink martinis. 

CM Punk 

You probably don't even need me to explain why I feel this way. Punk was a one of a kind incredible guy. He was so genuine and so good at what he did. He made things really memorable and when he left, there was a piece of my heart with him.

Roman Reigns

Because screw you, that's why.
I love garbage.
Stop for a minute though. Everyone always talks about how hes the corporate made heavily pushed guy that Vince likes, and I get that. But at the end of the day, Roman goes out there and he works hard and takes his role as a leader seriously. There is a special chemistry between Roman, Seth, and Dean and its good to see brotherhood bonds in a world where everything is hyper masculine.

Finn Balor 

Obviously this was coming. Shut up. This was the guy who drew me back in. If you've ever seen him wrestle in Japan you know the guy is an incredible heel and an incredible athlete. There's more to Finn than what you've seen on display on Raw, which is drop kicks and Coup De Gras. Hes able to do incredibly technical stuff and keep a chain of moves going at the same time. This guy is absolutely number one in my heart and I hope to see him do great things.

Rick City's Top Five Favourite Wrestlers

Yes, that's favourite with a U. When I was putting together this list, the top four came to me really easily. Picking number five was tough. I first thought of Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock, because they were obviously incredibly entertaining, but they each had phases where they really annoyed and/or bored me, so that leaves them off. (Also, Steve Austin is a terrible person. Don't forget that.)

Then I strongly considered Edge. His debut gimmick and Brood phase seemed cool to be back when I was watching as a teenager, and his "Awesomeness" gimmick with Christian was hilarious. He had a terrible face run after that, but the "Rated-R Superstar" and even the "Ultimate Opportunist" were very entertaining runs. Edge could do serious and funny, which is a plus in my opinion. But he didn't make the list either. Find out why later on.

Anyway, here's my list, in no particular order.

Bret Hart

I'm Canadian, so this is kind of a given. But even without the Canadian aspects of the man, Bret Hart was a joy to watch. He made wrestling feel "real." Not "this is an actual fight" real, but "this man wants to hurt you with wrestling moves" real. He wasn't great at promos (though his 1997 run with the Hart Foundation had some great moments on the mic) but he told a story in the ring unlike anyone else could. Everything Bret Hart did felt like it mattered.

Shawn Michaels

While I said that this list was in no particular order, Bret and Shawn are definitely 1A and 1B. They were very different in many ways, which makes it hard for me to choose which was is my overall favourite. While Bret Hart was serious and made his matches look real, Shawn Michaels was a show off and made his matches a highlight reel. Bret wanted you to respect him because he could hurt you, HBK wanted respect for stealing the show.

They were both incredible.

Shawn Michaels put on brilliant performances in the ring. If you're reading this and don't already know that, I'm not sure why you're on a wrestling site. Not only did he have an insane number of great matches and moments, but his return after leaving wrestling following WrestleMania XIV just cemented his legend.

Randy Savage

Randy Savage was the first wrestler that I liked who wasn't Hulk Hogan. And he was better than Hogan in basically every way that mattered. Not only could he "electrify" on the mic long before The Rock did, but he could put on amazing matches too. He was just as skilled in a technical match (such as the Steamboat classic at WrestleMania III) as he was in a brawl (such as the match with Hogan at WrestleMania V) but that wasn't why he was so great. He was great because his character had range.

He got angry. He got jealous. He got sad. He got excited. He sometimes fought as the underdog and sometimes as the favourite. This was unheard of in the 1980s WWF (as well as today, to be honest). It seemed like Savage was an actual person, not a gimmick.

CM Punk

CM Punk brought me back to wrestling. I stopped watching around the Chris Benoit horrors, but his "pipe bomb" brought me back. And I'm not the only one. I've talked to many, many people who feel the same way. (See above) Much like Savage, he had range. He could flawlessly work heel or face. He could be dominant or cowardly. His straight edge gimmick could be adapted to whatever his current personality was without too much adjustment, which meant he was consistent. He didn't totally change everything about himself because he was a heel or a face. He was also cool, which is hard to be. I still miss him in a WWE ring.

Kurt Angle

I almost excluded Kurt Angle because his WWE run was short and I didn't watch him in TNA/Impact Wrestling/Global Force Wrestling/Impact Wrestling/Whatever it's called now. But I included CM Punk, and his WWE run was also short and I didn't watch him in Ring of Honor, so how could I exclude Kurt Angle?

Angle was another guy who could do it all. Heel or face, cool or cowardly, serious or funny, he was great at everything. I mentioned earlier that Edge nearly made the cut for those same reasons, but Angle was even better. I've never had another wrestler make me laugh AND make me mark out as much as Kurt Angle. I've talked about how great he was in length on this site already, so I'll leave it at that.

What's your top five? Tell us in the comments or let us know on Twitter or Facebook.

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