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Where contemporary wrestlers rate historically


Al
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The Lawler/Meltzer discussion got me thinking. While the crop of great wrestlers is undoubtedly thinner than in the past, there are a few outstanding performers currently. I'd be curious to hear what some of you think. Are they top 100 or so all time? (US/Canada specifically) Mostly I consider this a general opinion thread, but that's the angle I'm looking at. Feel free to add others.

 

John Cena

 

Randy Orton

 

Bryan Danielson (Is he a comparable worker among Dynamite Kid, Johnny Valentine, etc.?)

 

The Big Show

 

Kane

 

Trish Stratus

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Rey is not only a top 100 pick, he's likely a top 30 pick. I forget where I had him in the SC poll, but I remember having him ranked right next to Vader.

 

Cena I would likely not put in a top 100 because the period where I enjoyed him was pretty short, but there is an argument for him in the lower rungs I'd think, assuming it's a US/Canada-only list.

 

In terms of star power and HOF eligibility, I do think Cena's a lock, and he's eligible for the first time next year.

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I’m not at all sure what you’re asking:

Are you asking would these guys make my top 100?

Are you asking if these guys will end up making Meltzer’s top 100 in a world where his criteria were consistent?

???

 

Is he a comparable worker among Dynamite Kid, Johnny Valentine, etc.?)

DK and Valentine aren't comparable. DK was a influential showcase midcarder while Valentine was a guy people built promotion around.

 

Rey would definitely make my 100 and if Meltzer were consistent he would make his. It should be said Rey took till 2010 to get in the WON HOF and Meltzer didn’t ever really push him as a strong candidate.

 

Cena is interesting:

 

In the May 26, 2008 Observer, Meltzer wrote about drawing in the WWF:

 

Wrestling today is a huge entertainment brand event and it is the brand name, and not the wrestlers, who are the primary draw. SummerSlam tops 500,000 buys because it's SummerSlam. They did the same business last year without Hogan as they did the year before with Hogan wrestling Orton, so the days of any individual making a huge difference all by himself are over and I think that's a big part of the issues, because McMahon essentially told him that

Later in same issue he pointed out that in recent PPV when they had Cena work a match on the lower part of the card, you could see people leave after the Cena match.

 

Mcmahon has decided that no one should make a difference and yet Cena is the guy who makes a difference.

 

I think the conclusion is that at this point (for better or worse) that Mcmahon has decided that it is a better business move to coast on the brand name and not put all the eggs in one basket, not have one person anchor his promotion. But that said Cena is the one guy on the roster who they could build around. Loss’ statement about Cena’s period being short is accurate. He’s the one guy who they could anchor the promotion around, but the promotion would rather sail without an anchor.

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I’m not at all sure what you’re asking:

Are you asking would these guys make my top 100?

Are you asking if these guys will end up making Meltzer’s top 100 in a world where his criteria were consistent?

???

What I'm really asking is where they rate among similar wrestlers. Where would the Big Show rank among big men? Where does Trish Stratus rate among US females? That kind of thing.
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  • 3 weeks later...

John Cena- Cena is a guy who sells really well and can do a good walking tall babyface act. At his best he is as good as Bruno, Mid South Hacksaw. or best of Taker. He isn't booked to his strengths particularly well (he should be programmed against monster heels and brawling heels instead given technical tweeners), and really not given the ball at top the way those other three were. I don't know what you do with guy who is best main event worker of modern generation who hasn't been given long runs in main event.

 

Bryan Danielson-he's been working small indies for most of last decade. That said I agree with Childs. While he is I think understood to be the cream of the crop. I'm curious to see how influential he will be. I can't watch WWE wrestling (Randy Orton, Cena, Edge, whoever ) and not see the degree to which Benoit influenced U.S. main event wrestling. If I plop in a Evolve or PWG tape (where Danielson isn't booked) I don't know if I see the same level of influence.

 

The Big Show- I think he drew well opposite Karl Malone and Floyd Mayweather. I assume he will eventually draw a good gate opposite Shaq. That's three big programs over a huge span of time. So as qualified (if not more) for HOF as Konan, and a better worker to boot.

 

Kane-Unless he ends up marrying Stephany then no.

 

Trish Stratus-It's Us women's wrestling. I'd say Sable was probably historically important. But yeah. Maybe 50 years from now wrestling will have completely collapsed and Trish will be embraced by hipster girls of 2060 in amateur shoot wrestling leagues similar to current Roller Derby revival. But otherwise...

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I think you can make an argument that Stratus made Vince et al think that Stratus was proof that you can train models to work, since the Diva Search and whatnot were after she developed into a solid worker and a strong personality. Granted, if they think this, they're wrong, since she was a fan who decided to become a wrestler on her own and had started training to some degree, but I can see McMahon and Dunn thinking this.

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The Big Show- I think he drew well opposite Karl Malone and Floyd Mayweather. I assume he will eventually draw a good gate opposite Shaq. That's three big programs over a huge span of time. So as qualified (if not more) for HOF as Konan, and a better worker to boot.

Malone tagged with DDP vs Hogan & Rodman.
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I can tell you for sure that pretty much everyone on that list except for Cena and maybe Rey is a no. Especially not Kane/Show/Trish/Punk.

Trish Stratus might be the most overrated wrestler ever, not just female wrestler. It is almost a parody at this point.

 

I agree with you. I could see an argument for Cena. Not the rest. Even if you exclude other countries, you still have a lot of years with a lot of great wrestlers to narrow it down to 100.

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The Big Show- I think he drew well opposite Karl Malone and Floyd Mayweather. I assume he will eventually draw a good gate opposite Shaq. That's three big programs over a huge span of time. So as qualified (if not more) for HOF as Konan, and a better worker to boot.

Malone tagged with DDP vs Hogan & Rodman.

 

 

bah! I was thinking Rodman/Hogan v Luger/Giant which didn't do the number that Malone v Rodman tag did but I think it did so well that they decided to do the follow up.

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Did Show vs Akebono have any measurable business impact, ie. in Japan? Fascinating to think that Akebono, coveted sumo superstar, debuted in WWE at Wrestlemania.

As a sumo fan, I thought it was godawful. I have nothing against him turning pro-wrestler obviously, but this fake-ass shit "sumo" match was eye-gouging to me.

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I can tell you for sure that pretty much everyone on that list except for Cena and maybe Rey is a no. Especially not Kane/Show/Trish/Punk.

Trish Stratus might be the most overrated wrestler ever, not just female wrestler. It is almost a parody at this point.
How so? Of course people who just watch WWE will think she's the best female wrestler ever. I don't think other people place her any higher than best female wrestler in WWFE history, which in that context isn't a reach given the other options, as the better female workers who came through didn't really get to do nearly as much there as she did. Sure, Nakano was better, but all she did was wrestle Madusa a few times and not much came out of it other than a really good TV match to end the program. Jumping Bomb Angels had a better run that was basically the same thing, just more prolific. Sherri was a really good worker but didn't have the opportunities to do much. Ditto all of the better Moolah trainees except maybe for Kai and Martin, but even then, it was really just the one program with the Angels. From the last decade, Molly Holly and Mickie James were better fundamental workers, but Stratus wasn't incredibly far behind and was a much stronger personality. Victoria's post-Trish stuff proved her to be a lie created by Stratus and Finlay.
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Best WWE female worker is such a backhanded compliment to begin with. But quite frankly, the infamous Trish vs Mickie WM match was much better than any Alundra Blayze match that wasn't about her getting killed by Bull. And even then, I think Trish vs Mickie was much more interesting as a match. I'm not sure I would call Madusa a *good* worker anyway, never been impressed by her japanese work, and her US stuff isn't exactly stellar despite working with Bull and Hokuto. And Moolah's trainees were all vastly inferior to anyone trained in Japan, Moolah's style really sucks. So, yeah, Trish being the best woman worker in WWE history isn't very far fetched (I don't include the Jumping Bomb Angels, of course, who were outsiders). But it's not like it means much in the grand scheme of things. She worked a style that was good for what it was in the WWE setting. I would have been very curious to see her tour Japan a bit, just to see if she was any better than Cheerleader Melissa or Bionic J (who worked ARSION tours in 2002 or so). I think she would have done ok but would have also been exposed as a much lesser worker than she was pimped to be.

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Leilani Kai was a good worker. She had two excellent title matches against Chigusa which I'm sure will make the DVDVR Joshi set. Most of the American girls who toured Japan in the 80s were capable to one extent or another. They just wrestled a really American style. Malenko was a 90s style worker and so her stuff looks better, but she really wasn't that good.

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I'm not upto the Chigusa/Leilani matches on AJW classics just yet... but, yeah, Debbie has to be the pick for best. Not that she was "great", but she slotted in nicely fairly quickly in AJW at a time when they were on fire (or, rather, starting to catch fire). Of course, that was a much better environment for development, even Terri Power was coming along OK. She was never going to be as good as Debbie got, but the difference in 6/8 months from her debut to her match with Debbie in February '93 was certainly noticeable.

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I knew someone would brought up those Chiggy matches, which I haven't seen, but on paper it doesn't tell me much, as having an excellent match with Chiggy in her prime is like having an excellent match with Hokuto in her prime, something Rumi Kazama was able to have so...

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On the subject of Chigusa vs. Americans... has anyone got the "Chigusa Tours US" tape/DVD? For completist sake (I've got every other comm that I know of through to 1993) I've been meaning to grab that and her handhelds with Madusa, but, y'know... Madusa. :/

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Chigusa didn't have a huge number of great singles matches and Malenko had none, so I wouldn't discount Kai so lightly. Rumi Kazama was talented enough to have a decent singles match, but the Hokuto matches aren't in the same ball park as Leilani/Chigusa. The Leilani/Chigusa matches are good on a "God, this is so much better than Chigusa vs. Asuka" level, whereas the Hokuto matches are nothing special.

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Is Leilani Kai still the safe choice for best American female ever?

Wow, that's an out of left field statement. Have never heard anyone praise Kai to that degree.

 

So what Leilani stuff do I need to see to back that up. Haven't seen a ton of her work but i've watched the Chiggy matches, seen a bunch of the Glamour Girls vs Jumping Bomb Angels tags, Glamour Girls vs Hotta & Hokuto, a lot of Glamour Girls in LPWA vs Team America, vs Wendi Richter & Rockin Robin, Kai vs Wendi singles, etc...

 

Certainly enough to convince me she's really good but if we're judging greatest of all time not even close, maybe of her era but that's about it.

 

Malenko had none

Kind of unfair criteria to judge her by. She was very rarely booked in singles to begin with in AJW or atleast in ones that made tape.

The few times she was that i've seen she usually delivered. Dunno if i'd go as far as to say they were great but her vs Takako was always really good. Debbie & Bull had a rockin little "awesome for a 5 min match" match too.

 

And on the Chigusa not having many great singles front i'll just say I disagree :)

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