Thursday, September 8, 2011

Top 5 Favorite Wrestlers


Let me be clear--I primarily watched wrestling in the late 90s when the WCW/WWF feud was in full force.  This list necessarily leaves off the best wrestlers of today because I have seen 3 matches in the last 5 years.  But I think most wrestling fans will remember these guys.

5: Bill Goldberg - When Goldberg came on the scene, they made a big deal about his undefeated streak--as though such a thing matters in a scripted "sport."  Regardless, Goldberg completely captivated my attention.  He'd enter the ring through a cloud of smoke, inhaling and visibly exhaling as he stood for a moment before running to the ring.  What I remember about him most was that his trapezoids were enormous, and his bald head and goatee made him look ferocious.  The spear, normally a lame and poorly-executed move, was a thing of beauty when he did it.  A lot of people said he was a "Stone Cold" Steve Austin clone (even Stone Cold himself on Stern's radio show), but it wasn't true--they were very different personalities and very different fighters.  Goldberg was the better of the two for pure excitement.

4: Bret "The Hitman" Hart - He just seemed cool--a guy who could get away with wearing hot pink because he was just so good at kicking ass.  His sharpshooter was a good finishing move, and he was a great technical wrestler.  Also, the (real) drama with him and Vince McMahon outside the ring was interesting.  Who can forget a late-eighties Bret Hart coming to the ring and giving his (then) cool wraparound shades to a young fan before each match.

3: Diamond Dallas Page - I swear DDP was drunk for most of his career.  He'd stumble into the arena in jeans, flash his "diamondcutter" sign, sprint to the ring, then fall into a corner, hammered.  He'd wrestle for a bit then ultimately perform the diamnondcutter, one of the best finishing moves ever.  He got a bit lame as he got more popular, swapping the jeans for shiny blue pants, but he was still part of the best match I've ever seen, earning this high ranking.

2: The Rock - The Rock had it all--he was a good wrestler, he looked like a good wrestler, and he could talk like a movie star (which he became).  He is the coolest guy ever to wrestle.  Ever.  How cool is the Rock?  He's so cool that if he jumped the shark, Happy Days would still be on t.v.  He kicked ass.

1: Rowdy Roddy Piper - Piper made his living less through his wrestling and more through his mic skills.  As the host of Piper's Pit, he revolutionized the way wrestlers are interviewed.  He was really funny and sarcastic at a time when guys like Hulk Hogan were telling kids to eat vitamins and say prayers.  He was years ahead of his time.  Finally, he was the star of the cult sci-fi classic They Live--how can it get any better.

Who are your favorites?  Anyone on this list make you want to choke slam me?  By the way, props to Macho Man, RIP.

7 comments:

  1. Now you need a follow-up of "The Kooz Top 5 Wrestler Finishing Moves". Also, I like that you included an off-site link in the article. It allows the readers to see more of what you're referencing. Keep up the good work.

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  2. Allright. In the spirit of this list I'm only going to talk about the late 90's WCW/WWF guys however CM Punk is skyrocketing up my list of all time favs. His storyline this summer was one the best in wrestling history (similar to Hart/McMachon storyline you had no idea what was real or not, which as you is extremely rare and difficult to pull off) so good it was even discussed in mainstream media (espn, jimmy kimmell, bill simmons, etc), he's on the verge of becoming this era's Steve Austin and has single handedly made wrestling cool again. This is a video of his entrance at the MITB PPV this summer at the height of the storyline, I get chills when I watch it.

    http://facebookvideoindir.gen.tr/wwe-money-in-the-bank-2011-cm-punk-entrance-hq.html

    That's my plug to get you to watch wrestling again Dave, anyway.....

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  3. Are you crazy??? Goldberg was more exciting than Austin??? Goldberg was a great story for a time with a good look but he was all marketing and hype. The wrestling equivlant of Jerry Bruckheimer movie. He only wrestling 4 minute matches because he couldn't do more than that, His promos were lame, He's the person that recklessly permantely injured Bret Hart and ended his career. Watch anything (match or promo) from Austin from late 96-99 and there's no way your gonna tell me Goldberg was more exciting.

    Agreed Piper was way ahead of his time. If 1980's Roddy Piper existing in the late 90's he would have been the most famous wrestler ever. I'm convinced.

    Top 5 of the late 90's (favorites, not necessarily best wrestler. for the sake of avoiding controversy I'm going to leave Benoit off this)

    Honorable Mention:
    Chris Jericho - Aside from being a great wrestler, one of the funniest ever. One of my favorite moments was when he was feuding with "the man of 1000" holds Dean Malenko. Jericho, in an effort to show him up decided that he would proclaim himself the man of 1004 holds. To prove his point, he decided to list every one of them. The best part was when they cut to commercial. 4 minutes later, they came back and he was still talking. classic.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUcTHmZ9luY

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  4. 5) Bret Hart - The best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be. The top wrestler of the early to mid 90's. His feud with Steve Austin in late 96 started the so called attitude era and lead to the wrestling resurgence of the 90's. His greatest accomplishment in the ring might be his I quit match at Wrestlemania 13 against Steve Austin. Hart booked the whole match and came up with the idea of the now famous double turn ending ending of the match (where Hart started the match as a good guy but ended as the match as a hated villain while Austin went from Villain to Hero in one night) The match is a true classic and is widely regarded as one of the best matches all of time.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzk-qKmbV5M&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL

    4) Sting - Anyone that watched WCW in the late 90's know's about this storyline. Possibly the best WCW storyline ever (or second to the NWO storyline of which this was an offshoot off)
    Hogan's NWO took over WCW and used an imposter Sting to cause all the wrestler's/fans to believe that the top hero of the company - the squeeky clean good guy Sting had abandoned the fans and joined the NWO. In protest for no one believing him, Sting stopped talking, changed his look, and started skulking around the rafters. While his look was clearly derived from the move the Crow. It was bad ass. He didn't wrestle a single match or say a single word for 18 months and somehow unbelievably he became the most interesting character the wrestling world had seen in years. You never knew what he was going to do next. He would just hang in the rafters, show up every once and in a while, kick some ass (often times after propelling from the rafters) and then leave. Occasionally he would give his bat to the good guy wrestlers, turn his back and then dare them to attack him. It was creepy and cool as hell at the same time. His initial attacks while seemingly random were part of effort to cause confusion and ultimately galvanize an army to fight the NWO, leaving up to an epic match against Hulk Hogan at Starcade 97.

    Video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Db_DMzE7b04&feature=related

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  5. 3)Mick Foley - Very few have truly understood the business like Foley. One of the best promo men in the wrestling history. While he might not have the most physical talent, he made up for it with passion, guts and creatively. Very few people could captivate an audience with their words like Foley. He's most well known for his time WWF but his ECW promos are legendary, twisted and captivating.

    Here's an example
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80s30rAEvxU&feature=results_video&playnext=1&list=PLE912A8795CA50E6E

    Also one of the craziest that ever lived. This guy would do anything including sacrificing his own body to please the fans. You have to respect that. The 1996 Hell in the Cell is legendary. I was watching it when it happened and just sat there with my jaw on the floor unable to speak after foley was launched from the cage.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANJs7a27im8&feature=fvst

    2) The Rock - Dave said it all.

    Favorite Rock Interview ever:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76TX_4qo2Pw

    1) Steve Austin - The biggest wrestling star of all time. Eclipsed every accomplishment Hogan ever did. Didn't give a damn about anything, just drank beer, kicked ass, cut hilarious promos and delivered epic matches. Everything did he from 96-00 is solid gold. The Austin- McMachon is classic and has been imitated numerous times.

    Austin stunning the entire McMachon Family (yes, even Linda)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkQFblyFQFM&feature=related

    Also, to the guy that asked: Kooz's top 5 wrestling finishing moves would begin and end with 1 move. The dreaded Koozable Claw.

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