These Wrestlers Are All-Time Legends
What's that you say? Wrestling is fake? Sure it is, but that has never stopped wrestling fans from embracing the unrivaled theater of it all. And what’s more, some wrestlers take things to the next level. They’ve left an indelible mark on wrestling, and they should be recognized.
Whether their trademark of choice was bravado, intimidation, or sheer flair, these legends of wrestling did what needed to be done to put on a show.
Andre The Giant
André René Roussimoff wasn't a man who had to seek out wrestling, as his giantism left him few career options. Born in a French town called Coulommiers, Andre was nearly seven feet, though he was usually listed as seven feet, four inches.
Randy "Macho Man" Savage was of the brash, bodacious school of wrestling popularized by Ric Flair and later The Rock. After he died, Bill Simmons called him "one of the greatest pro wrestlers who ever lived."
Before Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson was the world's foremost action movie star, he was just ...The Rock. Once a college football player at the University of Miami, The Rock parlayed his family history in wrestling as well as his 6 feet 5 inches and 260-pound frame into a legendary wrestling career.
Bruno Sammartino may be a name unknown to casual wrestling fans. Still, if you're a wrestling purist who followed the sport during the Kennedy White House era, there is no way that you don't recall Bruno Sammartino.
Ric Flair was a clever play on the wrestler’s real name: Richard Morgan Fliehr. He debuted in 1972, but nobody could have known that his trademark bravado and catchphrase ("Wooo!") would catapult him into the pro wrestling pantheon.
Bret Hart is one of the few wrestlers who hail from Calgary, Canada. Hart comes from a lineage of Hart family wrestlers, and while he once wanted to be a cartoonist or filmmaker, it seems that wrestling was always in the cards for the man known as "Hitman."
While wrestling was originally a game by men and for men, it evolved to include the gentler sex. The greatest female wrestlers are anything but gentle, however, and Chyna tops the list of the most well-respected females to ever grace pro wrestling.
Speaking of iconic female wrestlers, the stunning Lita was one of the trailblazers of the sport. Born Amy Christine Dumas, she loved Pee-Wee Herman and engaged her thrill-seeking side by imitating a stunt from one of his movies.
In any sport, old school fans may be hesitant to bestow praise on new school fans. Still, nobody could deny that John Cena is not only an iconic pro wrestler, but one of the best crossover talents ever to grace the sport.
Hulkster is a real American, as the song goes, and you can argue that he is the most iconic wrestler of all time. His blonde mane gave way to a bandana look that lives onto this day, but some things never changed: the bravado … and the guns.
The Iron Sheik
Just as the antagonist in a book is equally as important as the protagonist, for every Hulk Hogan, there must be an Iron Sheik. This wrestler played the bad guy throughout his career, though he had the opposite personality outside of the ring.
Trish Stratus made her debut in 2000, serving as part of a duo not-so-subtly acronymized as T&A. But Stratus was much more than T or A, as she was a seven-time WWE Women's Champion, making her one of the most successful wrestlers of any gender.
The Undertaker is still going strong as a pro wrestler due to his amazing, freakish shape. He doesn't just have one of the most intimidating acts; he is one of the largest, ripped-est, most intimidating human beings in wrestling history.
Triple H started as a wrestler, but he is now upper management within the WWE empire. He also married the daughter of the founder of the league, Vince McMahon. However, it seems Triple H was destined to spread his wings thanks to an unrivaled work ethic and vision.
The Fabulous Moolah
Let's take it back, way back, to the old school for a moment. The Fabulous Moolah, an iconic figure in female wrestling, made her debut in 1949. She had four separate title reigns, each lasting a substantial amount of time.
Charlotte Flair came from a lineage of pros, as her dad is an icon: Ric Flair. Known for her notable athleticism, Charlotte carved her own lane in the wrestling game, becoming one of the most popular female wrestlers in today's version of the sport.
Batista has clearly taken cues from the likes of The Rock and John Cena in beginning to get his name out beyond wrestling circles. Dave Batista has a consummate body for wrestling at 6 feet 6 inches and 290 pounds, but he's also turning out to be something of a movie star.
Brock Lesnar keeps trying to follow his heart to the UFC, but a combination of poor conditioning and a penchant for using performance-enhancing drugs keeps bringing him back to the league that made him a star: the WWE. Lesnar is a country boy from Webster, South Dakota, and he's attracted a loyal fanbase.
AJ Lee first appeared alongside the likes of John Cena in a supporting role — arm candy, if you will. But Lee made the jump to true wrestling status, mastering the moves and schtick necessary to make her a four-time WWI Divas Champion.
Steve Borden, better known by his stage name of Sting, became an icon of WWE during the 2000s for, among other things, having a terrifyingly made-up face. His signature move was the Stinger Splash, but even his moves didn't measure up to the terror his make-up artist imposed on the audience.
Kane is another wrestler who perfected the art of menace. His penchant for wearing a red mask made him appear more fitting for a horror flick than the a wrestling ring, but it worked during a time when fear sold as far as WWE was concerned.
While the ladies don't always get global recognition, we'll make sure they get some shine. Sasha Banks may not be a name you hear in discussions about wrestling's all-time greats, but it probably should. Her nickname is "The Boss," after all!
Goldberg is one of only a few wrestlers who used their real name (William "Bill" Scott Goldberg) as a wrestling moniker. He had a 6-foot-4 inch, 270-pound body that was ideal for wrestling domination.
Vince McMahon is most known as the creator of the WWE, a master businessman and even as the mind behind the failed (but soon-to-be revived) XFL. However, he’s also thrown down in the ring at times. Wrestling fans certainly noticed when Vince transformed into Buff Vince.
Wendi Richter is an iconic female wrestler that fans of 80s wrestling will never forget. She was a key figure in the Rock 'N Wrestling era, and she was involved in a storyline that included Cindy Lauper of all people.
Mick Foley played a big role in the growth of so-called backyard wrestling. Unregulated, dangerous takes on the pro sport are certainly not advisable, but being a backyard wrestler cemented Mick's reputation as one of the most real men in the game.
Sensational Sherri truly was sensational when it came to being a trailblazer and legend in the sport of wrestling. Born Sherri Martel, she was the rare talent that was both an in-ring wrestler and a manager of some of male wrestling's most iconic figures.
Born in El Paso, TX in 1967, Eddie Guerrero became a favorite of many wrestling fans because of his ability to manipulate the crowd's emotional scale in a good way. At 5-foot-8, he was also one of the most diminutive wrestlers around.
Michael Shawn Hickenbottom is known to most wrestling fans as Shawn Michaels, and he is considered by most to be among the greatest showmen that the sport has ever known. Michaels had a plan to wrestle from a young age and began his training for the sport when he was only 19 years old.
"Stone Cold" Steve Austin
"Stone Cold" Steve Austin, The Texas Rattlesnake, was an integral player in defining the so-called Attitude Era in professional wrestling. He grew up in Edna, Texas and claims to have had his first beer at the ripe age of 14.