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Top 50 Superstars DVD


Jingus
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Well this is worth a laugh. WWE is putting out a new 3-disk set about the greatest superstars in history. And here's their list:

 

1. Shawn Michaels

2. Undertaker

3. Steve Austin

4. Bret Hart

5. Rock

6. Harley Race

7. Ricky Steamboat

8. Andre the Giant

9. Rey Mysterio

10. Roddy Piper

11. Eddie Guerrero

12. HHH

13. Gorgeous George

14. Randy Savage

15. Curt Hennig

16. John Cena

17t. Ric Flair

17t. Dusty Rhodes

19. Edge

20. Jerry Lawler

21. Lou Thesz

22. Terry Funk

23. Hulk Hogan

24. Bruno Sammartino

25. Chris Jericho

26. Ted DiBiase

27. Fabulous Moolah

28. Fred Blassie

29. Randy Orton

30. Pat Patterson

31. Iron Sheik

32. Jimmy Snuka

33. Mick Foley

34. Kurt Angle

35. Buddy Rogers

36. Gorilla Monsoon

37. JYD

38. Billy Graham

39. Jake Roberts

40. Big Show

41. Jack Brisco

42. Sgt. Slaughter

43. Kane

44. Nick Bockwinkle

45. Jeff Hardy

46. Dory Funk Jr.

47. Bob Backlund

48. Rick Rude

49. Batista

50. Killer Kowalski

 

I don't even need to make any jokes, they make themselves. Hulk Hogan at #23 is the most obvious one, but there's plenty of LOLWHUT material here.

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The Top 5 listed, given who's on good terms and who isn't, isn't all that surprising.

 

Mysterio at #9, ahead of even Eddie AND HHH, is quite surprising. Not that I'm necessarily overly upset with it. But it's been mentioned here and elsewhere how Mysterio isn't always booked as strongly as he is over. Will be interested to see his summary when this thing comes out. (Judging by Edge's, whose description on the DVD got leaked out, each guy will get a 3-5 minute summary plus a match.)

 

Savage at #14 is another surprise. I expected him on the list. But very surprised at him being that high. And I'm not someone who believes all the Savage-Steph jibber-jabber.

 

Hogan at #23 is obviously amusing. Even more amusing might be Sammartino just below him. Feels like WWE saying, "You won't play nice, fine, we'll look at you even lower than Hogan."

 

Also generally surprised at the number of mainly non-WWWF/WWF/WWE older stars on the list. Guys like Thesz, Bock (where's Gagne?), Brisco, Funks, etc. When I first heard of this set, I was expecting more focus on WWE careers. So less of those guys and more of your Roccas, Morales, Strongbows, Putskis, etc. Pleasant surprise, for the most part.

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The list is too random to really get worked up about. Backlund near the bottom of the list would be the real headscratcher. If we just alphabetized the thing and forgot the rankings, who would look really out of place here? Hardy? Sheik? The Fabulous Moolah I can forgive because its reasonable to accept kayfabed accomplishments on something like this.

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Yeah, it's not worth getting worked up over, but the randomness of it all sure is confusing. Even accepting that the list is going to be heavily influenced by who is and isn't in the good graces of the company, kayfabe accomplishments, promoting active guys who can make money for the company now, and what fits the WWE version of wrestling history, it still seems like they didn't know what they wanted this list to be.

 

I am kinda amused at HHH falling out of the top ten. I wonder if someone gets fired over that, or at least if he gets to squash Rey when he comes back.

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Yeah, it's not worth getting worked up over, but the randomness of it all sure is confusing. Even accepting that the list is going to be heavily influenced by who is and isn't in the good graces of the company, kayfabe accomplishments, promoting active guys who can make money for the company now, and what fits the WWE version of wrestling history, it still seems like they didn't know what they wanted this list to be.

 

I am kinda amused at HHH falling out of the top ten. I wonder if someone gets fired over that, or at least if he gets to squash Rey when he comes back.

We can do PWI-esque narratives until the cows come home but do you think HHH switched his place with Harley Race or is Race the substitute Ric Flair?

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For some of these guys, I find myself wondering what they'll choose for their match. Gorgeous George being the most obvious one; does he even have any matches which aren't black & white? Rogers's footage would be similarly limited. Thesz wrestled longer and in more places, but you'd probably still have to dig pretty deep to find a match with him that the WWE owns. I assume they control the copyrights to Vince Sr's old Capitol Wrestling tapes, but I don't know how well that stuff has been archived. None of Lawler's best work would be available either, due to the old legal quagmire over the Memphis footage rights.

 

Harley Race being that high on the list is another head-scratcher. I understand he's on good terms with them, but really, putting him above Andre? Curt Hennig seems similarly out of place, way above lots of guys that he shouldn't be beating on practically any level.

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For all the ballyhoo about how silly and petty this list is, it's not like WWE purposefully erased anyone major from their history (apart from Chris Benoit but that's understandable). Would Frank Shamrock crack a top 50 UFC fighters DVD? I mean it's perfectly understandable for WWE to not want to put over too strong their former wrestlers who are working for their current competitors.

 

I'm not surprised by Hennig's high ranking, he was always ridiculously overrated as a performer by people within the business.

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Working on a post about this for Cageside Seats I noticed that Owen Hart was conspicuous by his absence. Given that the equally beloved Eddie Guerrero and Curt Hennig cracked the top 15 that may mean WWE are taking his ex wife Martha's lawsuit seriously.

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I know that these lists are essentially meaningless, put the politics of who's where and who did and didn't make it are fascinating to me.

 

They were pretty fair to Angle and Foley all things considered, but man, they really stuck it to Hogan, Flair and Sammartino. A lot of these placements make sense when you look at it the way the company is, but then there's stuff like Rey Mysterio ahead of HHH and Cena, and Harley Race and Ricky Steamboat being in the top 10 that I have no explanation for. I know Rey gets special treatment, but I didn't think he was that special. And I know Harley and Ricky are on good terms with the company, but they're the top 2 guys from (mostly) outside of the WWF?

 

What's the deal with Pedro Morales, is he on bad terms with Vince? He was WWWF Champion for close to 3 years at a time when that really meant something, and if I'm remembering correctly he was the first guy to hold the World, IC and Tag titles.

 

Besides Pedro, WWWF/WWF/WWE champions omitted are Ultimate Warrior, Yokozuna, Kevin Nash, Brock Lesnar, Ivan Koloff, Stan Stasiak, JBL, RVD and Sheamus. Kind of surprised at the first 4.

 

Hall of Famers Antonio Inoki, Vern Gagne and Ernie Ladd didn't make it. I think Ladd makes me sadder than any of them. And I'm kind of surprised Vince didn't put himself on the list.

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Something terribly odd I just noticed this last time: where the fuck is Bobby Heenan? Monsoon's on there, so you'd figure the Weasel would be a shoe-in. Then again, he's got his own DVD coming out soon, so maybe they excluded him because of that. But it's still odd, and Jesse Ventura ain't on there either.

 

I know that these lists are essentially meaningless, put the politics of who's where and who did and didn't make it are fascinating to me.

Yeah. Funny little stuff like how every babyface who ever main evented Wrestlemania (not counting celebrities) is on the list, except for three guys: Benoit is the first, and as previously mentioned his absence is understandable. But the others are Warrior and Diesel, and it's good for a chuckle to see how much the office currently dislikes those guys.

 

And then there are the "hey, if they've got This Guy, why not That Guy?" comparisons. Curt Hennig opens up plenty of them, as do some of the undercarders like Jake and Rude. I could see arguments for everyone from both British Bulldogs to Lou Albano to Kerry Von Erich to, heck, to Don Muraco or Tito Santana or Adrian Adonis or Jim Duggan or Stan Hansen or Ivan Koloff or Bam Bam Bigelow or someone like that.

 

Hall of Famers Antonio Inoki, Vern Gagne and Ernie Ladd didn't make it. I think Ladd makes me sadder than any of them.

On a similar note, one could make an argument that Bobo Brazil merits a spot. He paved the way for Ernie, and was certainly the first black main eventer in the WWWF.

 

 

Also, Jericho tweeted this:

I'd like to see a Bottom 50 WWE DVD. Mantaur, Silent Brian Macnee, Moppy, Joe Mirto, Beaver Cleavage, Harvina, Big Bully Busich...

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Something terribly odd I just noticed this last time: where the fuck is Bobby Heenan? Monsoon's on there, so you'd figure the Weasel would be a shoe-in. Then again, he's got his own DVD coming out soon, so maybe they excluded him because of that. But it's still odd, and Jesse Ventura ain't on there either.

Gorilla Monsoon had a 20 year wrestling career before he became a commentator. And legitimately he was one of the company's top stars in the 1960s. It's not hard to see why he would rate above Ventura and Heenan.

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He's above Ventura, sure, Jesse just wasn't there long enough to make an in-ring impact before he retired. But Heenan? He did tons of stuff outside of his commentary. He managed all the top heels for nearly a decade, filmed endless comedy sketches and talk shows and other ancillary material, and wrestled a surprising number of matches for an old manager with a bad neck.

 

Anyway, as shown by the Harley Race inclusion, this isn't all about just their WWE exploits. Harley had one fairly brief run as a mostly-midcard heel which lasted only about a year. I'd say his incredibly high place on the list is more likely due to his years as a promoter and trainer in his unofficial developmental territory, along with always being willing to show up for whatever legends stuff the company wanted him for. I mean, dude let Randy Orton spit right in his face, that's gotta be worth some cred.

 

And anyway, Gorilla's part of WW(W)F/E history is cemented with him being one of Vince's backers when he bought the company from his father, not so much due to his in-ring career in the glory days. There were plenty of top performers in the 60s and 70s who are missing from the list.

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The more I think about this - and yes, I do think about it, and no, I don't know why - I find my brain going to two places.

 

1. As you may or may not remember, WWE Magazine did a "Top 50 WWE Superstars of All Time" issue back in 2003. The list, which was unranked, looked like this:

 

Bret Hart

Hulk Hogan

Andre The Giant

Honky Tonk Man

Ultimate Warrior

Killer Kowalski

Bob Backlund

Sgt. Slaughter

Roddy Piper

Don Muraco

Kurt Angle

Chief Jay Strongbow

Chris Jericho

Bobo Brazil

Bruno Sammartino

Mick Foley

Ivan Putski

Superfly Snuka

Razor Ramon

Argentina Rocca

Jake Roberts

Pat Patterson

George Steele

Billy Graham

Triple H

Steve Austin

Ted DiBiase

Wendi Richter

Yokozuna

King Kong Bundy

Buddy Rogers

Undertaker

Jesse Ventura

Shawn Michaels

Ricky Steamboat

The Rock

Fabulous Moolah

Randy Savage

Brock Lesnar

Rick Rude

Iron Sheik

Ernie Ladd

Pedro Morales

Ken Patera

Gorilla Monsoon

Ric Flair

Kane

Junkyard Dog

Paul Orndoff

Haystacks Calhoun

 

Again, some strange omissions there. Still no Nash, despite him actually being on the roster at that point (and despite Hall being on the list), still no Owen, and particularly germane to this discussion, no Hennig (especially strange since he had died earlier that year). And as Jingus notes, the inclusion of Undercarder X might make you wonder about the exclusion of Undercarder Y. But overall, considering that the list is going to be heavily influenced by who is and isn't in the good graces of the company, kayfabe accomplishments, promoting active guys who can make money for the company now, and what fits the WWE version of wrestling history, etc., it's a pretty sensible list. The fact that it's not ordered might help that, but either way, it doesn't have the obvious head-scratcher qualities that this DVD has. And as I'm inclined to think that's at least partially because it was a "Best WWE Superstars" list....

 

2. I'm starting to think that they made a mistake by not making this a "Top 50 WWE Superstars of All Time" DVD, and then later releasing a separate "Top 50 WCW/NWA/Whatever Superstars of All Time" set, theoretically making twice the money while clearing up a jumbled list.

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I was planning on skipping this one until i saw the match listings. now It's a guarenteed buy for me if i don't get it for the holidays especially with the first half of the match listing

 

Match listing

 

NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match Lou Thesz vs Argentina Rocca Buffalo, NY

 

 

 

NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match Jack Briscoe vs Dory Funk Jr. Championship Wrestling from Florida

 

 

 

Women's Championship Match The Fabulous Moolah vs Susan Green Madison Square Garden – June 16, 1975

 

 

 

Gorilla Monsoon vs Muhammad Ali Philadelphia, PA – June 2, 1976

 

 

 

NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match Harley Race vs Terry Funk Championship Wrestling from Florida – February 6, 1977

 

 

 

Boxing Match Gorilla Monsoon vs Andre The Giant Puerto Rico – September 23, 1977

 

 

 

WWE Championship Match "Superstar" Billy Graham vs "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes Madison Square Garden – September 26, 1977

 

 

 

WWE Championship Match The Iron Sheik vs Hulk Hogan Madison Square Garden – December 28, 1984

 

 

 

Six Man Tag Team Elimination Match Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, Rowdy Roddy Piper & Junkyard Dog vs Randy "Macho Man" Savage, "The King" Harley Race & Adrian Adonis Madison Square Garden – February 23, 1987

 

 

 

"Ravishing" Rick Rude vs Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat Madison Square Garden – December 26, 1987

 

 

 

AWA Heavyweight Championship Jerry "The King" Lawler vs "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig AWA – August 13, 1988

 

 

 

No Disqualification Match Jake "The Snake" Roberts vs "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase Madison Square Garden – December 28, 1989

 

 

 

WWE Championship Match Ric Flair vs Bret "Hit Man" Hart Saskatoon, CN – October 12, 1992

 

 

 

Empty Arena Match for the WWE Championship Match The Rock vs Mankind Halftime Heat – January 31, 1999

 

 

 

Fatal 4-Way Match for the WWE Championship Stone Cold Steve Austin vs The Rock vs Undertaker vs Kurt Angle Smackdown – December 7, 2000

 

 

 

Eight-Man Tag Team Match Undertaker, Kane, Matt Hardy & Jeff Hardy vs Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H, Edge & Christian RAW – April 23, 2001

 

 

 

Edge & Triple H vs Kurt Angle & Chris Jericho Smackdown – May 16, 2002

 

 

 

Eddie Guerrero vs Big Show Smackdown – April 15, 2004

 

 

 

Triple Threat Match for the World Heavyweight Championship Kurt Angle vs Rey Mysterio vs Randy Orton WrestleMania 22 – April 2, 2006

 

 

 

John Cena & Shawn Michaels vs Undertaker & Batistia No Way Out – February 18, 2007

 

 

 

World Heavyweight Championship Match Edge vs Undertaker WrestleMania XXIV – March 30, 2008

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Anyway, as shown by the Harley Race inclusion, this isn't all about just their WWE exploits. Harley had one fairly brief run as a mostly-midcard heel which lasted only about a year. I'd say his incredibly high place on the list is more likely due to his years as a promoter and trainer in his unofficial developmental territory, along with always being willing to show up for whatever legends stuff the company wanted him for. I mean, dude let Randy Orton spit right in his face, that's gotta be worth some cred.

7/86 – 1/89. Definitely more than a year, with him inaugurating the King title as something to be defended and having a main event run with Hogan. But yeah, I get your point.

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Also, I think it's past time to just label Curt Hennig as an above average wrestler who was really good for most of his career and had a great gimmick in the WWF, but bombed anytime he was put in a headlining position. This is also a guy who it took a long time to get over in the WWF (really, it happened with adding Lanny Poffo to his act with limited success) and was considered a disaster in Japan.

 

Hennig does not compare favorably to Savage, DiBiase, Rude or any other workhorse heel of his era.

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