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Greatest Wrestler Ever: THE LIST!

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50 - BIlly Robinson



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2006 Ranking: 36




Points: 5066

#1 Votes: 0

#2 Votes: 0

#3 Votes: 0

Top 10 Votes: 4


# of Ballots: 91

Average Vote: 45.37


High Vote: 6 (Rob AnimalGlue)

Low Vote: 100



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Discussion Thread



"I love watching him wrestle. Every little thing he did felt smooth and yet intense." MoS



"Basically invented modern pro wrestling, or at least serves as a forerunner for the style I enjoy the most. Wish I had more Robinson at my disposal as he always looks amazing and has immaculate character work, as well." Jon Burr



"I would have absolutely no problem with Robinson ending up on people's top tens. His 1980 match with Bockwinkel is one of my favorite of all time and he has a ton of other good stuff. Of course one thing that came out of the Melzter bio of him recently was the sheer, painful realization of how much of his most classic runs we'll never see." Matt D



Recommended Matches:


Billy Robinson vs Giant Baba (AJPW, 7/24/1976)


Billy Robinson & Horst Hoffman vs Terry Funk & Dory Funk Jr. (AJPW, 12/6/1977)


Billy Robinson vs Nick Bockwinkel (AJPW, 12/11/1980)


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49 - Aja Kong




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2006 Ranking: 18




Points: 5085

#1 Votes: 0

#2 Votes: 0

#3 Votes: 1

Top 10 Votes: 3


# of Ballots: 83

Average Vote: 39.89


High Vote: 3 (anarchistxx)

Low Vote: 89




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Discussion Thread



"My favorite monster heel and an absolute gem on the big stage. I'll never forget her backfist securing that first fall." Jon Burr



"A bigger blank spot for me than lucha is all areas of women's wrestling. I'm trying to give it a chance, and two names have quickly convinced me. Aja's my favorite so far." Danish Dynamite



"Kong had several good to great matches in the early '90s. The look on her face when she and Bison Kimura got their heads shaved after losing a hair match was one of wrestling's priceless moments." Moonsault Marvin



"Aja is the type that I think does better than she should in these types of things because she has an in-ring style that's more accessible for people who don't like Joshi. And there's plenty to like about her for sure - she was an excellent world champion taking on all comers for 2 1/2 years, which is really where the bulk of her case resides. Outside of that, her two-year chase of Bull produced some genuinely great matches and she had one-offs against wrestlers like Satomura, Kyoko Inoue and Yoshida after 1995 that I think were also excellent. I have no doubt she will make my top 100. But I'm not 100% sure she is in the first tier for Joshi. It's possible she is, but she has quite a few annoying habits, the most obvious of which are the crowdhugging brawls and excessive garbage can shots. I don't think Aja as #1 overall in the world of Joshi is a ridiculous idea, but I also hope people who like her on the surface will give some others a chance too." Loss



Recommended Matches:


Aja Kong vs Bull Nakano (Cage, AJW, 11/14/1990)


Aja Kong & Bull Nakano vs Akira Hokuto & Shinobu Kandori (AJW, 3/27/1994)


Aja Kong vs Manami Toyota (AJW, 6/27/1995)


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48 - Fit Finlay



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2006 Ranking: 55




Points: 5216

#1 Votes: 0

#2 Votes: 0

#3 Votes: 0

Top 10 Votes: 1


# of Ballots: 101

Average Vote: 49.40


High Vote: 6 (El Dragon)

Low Vote: 97




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Discussion Thread



"Best wrestler in the world in 2006, which is saying a lot because Bryan Danielson was incredible that year. Master of detail, stiff as fuck, and an awesome mat worker. His indie run provided my 2011 and 2012 MOTYs; both vs Sami Callihan in EVOLVE. I think his post-comeback run was much better than his pre-comeback run , but even then he had awesome matches with Regal on PPV and Benoit on Worldwide/Nitro." Venegas



Recommended Matches:


Fit Finlay vs Steven Regal (WCW Uncensored, 3/24/1996)


Fit Finlay vs Lorenzo (WCW, 3/17/1998)


Fit Finlay vs Sami Callihan (EVOLVE, 4/13/2012)


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47 - Brock Lesnar



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2006 Ranking: honourable mention (143)




Points: 5265

#1 Votes: 0

#2 Votes: 1

#3 Votes: 0

Top 10 Votes: 2


# of Ballots: 110

Average Vote: 53.32


High Vote: 2 (Scott Bernard)

Low Vote: 100



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Discussion Thread



"You know how most wrestling fans view Undertaker matches as must-see, spectacular events? Pssssttt, that's Brock Lesnar's reality. Appointment viewing." Jon Burr



"He's one of those guys who has such an aura about him that makes him endlessly watchable. He's an amazing big man who can do so much and give so much. His first WWE run is great, his current run has chock full of superlative matches that look like nothing else in WWE history. He's just something else." Jimmy Redman



"His career somehow feels less complete than Han's, though I'm not sure that's right. There's something special about Brock that makes him hard to dismiss, despite the limited weight of his resume. I can't imagine anybody else having those matches with Cena, for example." Childs



Recommended Matches:


Brock Lesnar vs Eddie Guerrero (WWE No Way Out, 2/15/2004)


Brock Lesnar vs John Cena (WWE Extreme Rules, 4/29/2012)


Brock Lesnar vs CM Punk (WWE SummerSlam, 8/18/2013)


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46 - CM Punk



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2006 Ranking: honourable mention (425)




Points: 5334

#1 Votes: 0

#2 Votes: 0

#3 Votes: 0

Top 10 Votes: 3


# of Ballots: 105

Average Vote: 50.22


High Vote: 7 (jpchicago23)

Low Vote: 100



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Discussion Thread



"Punk, Danielson and Joe are like the three musketeers of the indy dream style. Punk has been the most successful of the three at the highest level and I think he will be appreciated even more with time." Dave Musgrave



"CM Punk's rise in WWE saved my wrestling fandom after several years of WWE declining in quality." Moonsault Marvin



"One of the few wrestlers whose character comes through in almost everything they do in the ring, jumping up several levels beyond what his matches would be otherwise. And, for all the knocks his in ring work takes from a lot of people, there is a pretty solid list of wrestlers who had their best matches against Punk, and I think that might end up being a big part of my voting criteria." Shining Wiz



"I ended up having him way, way higher than I thought I would but as I was doing head-to-heads with him and other wrestlers I kept convincing myself that he had the stronger argument. Consistency is pretty clearly his weakest point, and it's one of the things I have found I most look for it, so it was odd to me to see him where I had him in the end. But as I looked at the guys around him I couldn't argue against it. Being able to make me give a shit about his character AND deliver great matches at least a half dozen times in major feuds/storylines over this ten year period is a massive plus to me given where wrestling is right now." Dylan Waco



Recommended Matches:


CM Punk vs Samoa Joe (ROH, 10/16/2004)


CM Punk vs John Cena (WWE Money in the Bank, 7/17/2011)


CM Punk vs The Undertaker (WWE WrestleMania, 4/7/2013)


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45 - Harley Race



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2006 Ranking: 12




Points: 5374

#1 Votes: 1

#2 Votes: 0

#3 Votes: 0

Top 10 Votes: 8


# of Ballots: 93

Average Vote: 43.78


High Vote: 1 (Manatee)

Low Vote: 97



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Discussion Thread



"Arguably the greatest NWA World Heavyweight Champion. One of the best American workers of the 1970s. Continued to be a great worker throughout the early 1980s. Still gave fun performances during the mid and late 1980s." stunning_grover



"The King of not only 70s wrasslin' but also of the big bumpin' heel style. Enjoyed him much more when he wasn't a touring champion, but his offense and presence were undeniable at no matter what phase of his career one encounters." Jon Burr



"I've been plodding through Harley's career on tape in the microscope. I think he's a very easy to watch guy because he worked such an action heavy style. I think he's been a bit unfairly maligned as "the Kurt Angle" of the 70s / early 80s. Near complete wrestler insomuch as he was superb bumping and selling and superb on offense, both things that people can take too easily for granted. If "psychology" means working a body part, it's true that most of the time it's not there. But Harley has other skills, such as making it seem like any opponent no matter how scrub-like has a chance, making babyfaces look like world beaters and still somehow coming out looking like a tough guy. If I have a problem with him it's not that he had no psychology, it's that he worked far too weak, which if nothing else is a real waste of all those big bombs in his arsenal. I hate the bouts vs. Steamboat and Backlund for this reason. Much better when he's allowed proper periods on offense like vs. Martel in 85 and vs. Hogan in 87. Also has great clips vs. Terry Funk and DiBiase, both of whom he had great chemistry with." Jerryvonkramer



Recommended Matches:


Harley Race vs Jumbo Tsuruta (AJPW, 6/11/1977)


Harley Race vs Giant Baba (AJPW, 10/31/1979)


Harley Race vs Rick Martel (AWA, 4/20/1986)

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44 - Tully Blanchard




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2006 Ranking: 57




Points: 5610

#1 Votes: 0

#2 Votes: 0

#3 Votes: 1

Top 10 Votes: 1


# of Ballots: 109

Average Vote: 49.64


High Vote: 3 (Scarlet-Left)

Low Vote: 98




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Discussion Thread



"As a heel performer he did a lot of cheating, begging off and exaggerated selling. In other words, he was a great classic heel." stunning_grover



"One of the ultimate heels of his era and a guy who you knew every time he got in the ring would deliver whether it was against Dusty Rhodes or Buzz Tyler. Tully was one of the best workers in a promotion that was filled with great workers and then when he became a tag-team wrestler with Arn Anderson they formed one of the best teams of the decade." Kris Zellner



Recommended Matches:


Tully Blanchard vs Ricky Steamboat (NWA Starrcade, 11/22/1984)


Tully Blanchard vs Magnum TA (I Quit Cage, NWA Starrcade, 11/28/1985)


Tully Blanchard & Arn Anderson vs Lex Luger & Barry Windham (NWA Clash of the Champions, 3/27/1988)


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43 - Rick Martel



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2006 Ranking: 96




Points: 5636

#1 Votes: 0

#2 Votes: 0

#3 Votes: 0

Top 10 Votes: 1


# of Ballots: 104

Average Vote: 46.82


High Vote: 8

Low Vote: 100



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Discussion Thread



"His pre-Model gimmick work is what makes him an easy pick for this list. I like his WWF work as the Model and as a babyface tag team worker too, but it's his AWA work that makes him an all-time great." stunning_grover



"Just a remarkable career, starting with incredible babyface runs and ending with an improbable late renaissance in WCW. And The Model stuff isn't THAT bad!" Jon Burr



"Perennially underrated with excellent work in many different countries. One of the best babyface wrestlers of all time. I wish his Model run went a little better though..." Dylan Harris



"He is thought of as a classic scientific babyface but i think he is underrated for being a great-wrestling big man." Dave Musgrave



"phenomenal babyface, think he's been great in 80-81 WWF, and a lot of good performances in the AWA. One of the very best comebacks in the business. Great sense of fire and energy in everything he does. Will potentially finish above Ricky Steamboat. The embodiment of everything I think a babyface should be. Jack Brisco will do well to finish above Martel -- even if Brisco fathered the style that Martel mastered. He was pretty sexy too." Jerryvonkramer



Recommended Matches:


Rick Martel vs Jumbo Tsuruta (AWA, 5/13/1984)


Rick Martel vs Ric Flair (AJPW, 10/21/1985)


Rick Martel vs Jake Roberts (Blindfold, WWF WrestleMania VII, 3/24/1991)


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42 - Ted DiBiase

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2006 Ranking: 40

Points: 5637
#1 Votes: 0
#2 Votes: 0
#3 Votes: 0
Top 10 Votes: 2
# of Ballots: 110
Average Vote: 49.77
High Vote: 7

Low Vote: 99

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Discussion Thread

"I wish we had access to matches from alternate universes so we could see what it would have been like if he had gotten Flair's spot as NWA Champion." Dave Musgrave

"I'd highlight five aspects of his work that are generally outstanding:

1. Intensity of offense.
2. Bumping and feeding.
3. Execution.
4. Character work (i.e. in the ring).
5. Involvement in legendary feuds and angles (in and out of the ring)." jerryvonkramer

Recommended Matches:

Ted DiBiase vs Jim Duggan (Mid South, 3/22/1985)

Ted DiBiase vs Ric Flair (Mid South, 11/6/1985)

Ted DiBiase vs Tiger Mask II (AJPW, 7/19/1987)

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41 - Riki Choshu



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2006 Ranking: 100




Points: 5647

#1 Votes: 0

#2 Votes: 0

#3 Votes: 0

Top 10 Votes: 1


# of Ballots: 97

Average Vote: 42.79


High Vote: 8 (GOTNW)

Low Vote: 85



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Discussion Thread



"A wrestler who revolutionized AJPW once and NJPW twice in the 1980's. A great submission wrestler who always wrestled at a great pace. He had one of the best series in wrestling history with Fujinami." Dave Musgrave



"Choshu brought that almost unparalleled ability to make everything feel important. Wherever he was seemed to be the eye of the storm in Japanese wrestling. Great tag wrestler, worked with an intensity that made his limited move set irrelevant. As I worked through every last bit of footage from '80s NJ and AJ, I was always excited when I saw his name in a match listing." Childs



Recommended Matches:


Riki Choshu vs Tatsumi Fujinami (NJPW, 4/3/1983)


Riki Choshu & Yoshiaki Yatsu vs Jumbo Tsuruta & Genichiro Tenryu (AJPW, 1/28/1986)


Riki Choshu vs Tatsumi Fujinami (NJPW, 1/4/1992)


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40 - Yoshiaki Fujiwara




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2006 Ranking: honourable mention (119)




Points: 5647

#1 Votes: 1

#2 Votes: 0

#3 Votes: 3

Top 10 Votes: 14


# of Ballots: 81

Average Vote: 32.64


High Vote: 1 (A Stock)

Low Vote: 100



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Discussion Thread



"Fujiwara was/is a wrestling genius. He's incredibly skilled at making his opponents look great whether they are the focus of the match or not. He is great as a supporting player in a tag and fantastic when pushed into the spotlight. His selling is incredible. Probably some of the most realistic selling I've ever seen. He is capable of a wild violent brawl, strategic mat wrestling, and even comedy." A Stock



"I know many consider him a strong GOAT contender. I won’t go that far though. He is one of the best mat workers ever. He could make shoot style matches more entertaining than almost every other shoot style worker. He could work regular puroresu matches, mat-based puroresu matches, shoot style puroresu matches and he could even incorporate some comedy into his matches from time to time." stunning_grover



"One of the most unique and charismatic workers. Unpredictable, but in a good way. The only thing I expect from a Fujiwara match is greatness." Jon Burr



"He's the one wrestler I've seen who really made defense feel like a vital, exciting thing. In a way, his signature is shielding his body in the corner, eating strikes and waiting to snare his overly aggressive opponent. But yeah, the NJPW stuff showcases how good he was in a more traditional setting, just with facial expressions, ramping up the aggression of a match, etc. As I recall, he was unbelievable in the 1986 5-on-5 gauntlet. His '87 match with Choshu is one of the great brawls of all time." Childs



Recommended Matches:


Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs Super Tiger (UWF, 9/7/1984)


Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs Riki Choshu (NJPW, 6/9/1987)


Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs Shinay Hashimoto (NJPW, 6/1/19940


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39 - AJ Styles



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2006 Ranking: honourable mention (301)




Points: 5759

#1 Votes: 0

#2 Votes: 0

#3 Votes: 0

Top 10 Votes: 4


# of Ballots: 109

Average Vote: 48.20


High Vote: 6 (Hasan Mulla)

Low Vote: 98



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Discussion Thread



"I can't believe Republican Hoot has made his way into my top half, but here we are. His latest runs have cemented it. Whether it's at Royal Rumble or a bingo hall in rural Georgia, AJ always gives his all." Jon Burr



"He has always been great and has shown us in the past couple years what TNA was missing. He has not only had one of the best runs for his time, it has been one of the best runs in decades." Dave Musgrave



"AJ to me is a perfect example of a statement that has been tossed around recently - wrestling isn't a zero sum game. There's sometimes a false dichotomy that says that a wrestler is either spot-heavy and mindless, or less-is-more with excellent psychology. It doesn't have to be one or the other, and AJ is a guy who has both sides to his game: a fast pace and cool highspots, as well as babyface selling and neat psychology. Portrayals of him as a spot monkey (which have been tempered by his stint in a more fashionable company in NJPW) are really missing the mark.


He stands out from a crowd of his peers precisely because of his babyface fire, timing of big spots, his selling. He adds a certain...gravitas to matches that you wouldn't expect. He's great as a babyface ace of a division, great as an underdog against a bigger dude, great in workratey stuff, great in spotty exhibitions, great as a bumping heel, great as a fired up face in a grudge match, great as a tag worker, great jumping off high places." Jimmy Redman



Recommended Matches:


AJ Styles vs Abyss (Cage, TNA, 4/24/2005)


AJ Styles vs Samoa Joe (TNA, 12/11/2005)


AJ Styles vs Minoru Suzuki (NJPW, 8/1/2014)


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38 - Mick Foley



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2006 Ranking: 70




Points: 6003

#1 Votes: 0

#2 Votes: 0

#3 Votes: 0

Top 10 Votes: 2


# of Ballots: 121

Average Vote: 51.44


High Vote: 5 (Beast)

Low Vote: 96



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Discussion Thread



"Mick Foley is one my five favorite wrestlers of all time. He was not only better than he should have been, he was better than he needed to be. The best brawler off all time in my opinion." Dave Musgrave



"The ultimate ambitious storyteller in wrestling. When it all comes together he can create some magic, and magic that nobody else would think or dare to create. Has some all time brawls, garbage matches and WWE main events to his name." Jimmy Redman



"He had plenty of great matches and before his body started letting him down he was the kind of wrestler you could count on to give an all out performance regardless of venue, opponent, or placement on the card. What really makes Mick shine is his ability to have different types of matches with different wrestlers where his base approach remained much the same. As Dude Love he had some great comedy matches, of particular note is his MOTYC against HHH at One Night Only, where he was able to generate great crowd interest through comedy spots. As Mankind he was the crazy bumper and madman who then turned into a beloved sympathy machine. Finally there's his Cactus Jack persona, which is my favorite, and the forebearer to his time as plain Mick Foley, where he was all three personas at the same time encompassing a very complete pro wrestler." Bill Thompson



Recommended Matches:


Cactus Jack vs Sting (WCW, 6/20/1992)


Mankind vs Shawn Michaels (WWF Mind Games, 9/22/1996)


Mick Foley vs Randy Orton (WWE Backlash, 4/18/2004)


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37 - El Satanico



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2006 Ranking: 89




Points: 6041

#1 Votes: 0

#2 Votes: 3

#3 Votes: 2

Top 10 Votes: 16


# of Ballots: 83

Average Vote: 29.73


High Vote: 2 (Elliott, A Stock, & Microstatistics)

Low Vote: 97



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Discussion Thread



"My reason for Satanico at number two is pretty similar to my thoughts about Fujiwara at number one. His catalog of matches shows immense variety, he brings out the best in his opponents, and always fills his matches with details worth your attention. The only reason Fujiwara is higher is that I like his five best matches more than Satanico but it's pretty close." A Stock



El Satanico's great argument by Elliott



Recommended Matches:


El Satanico vs Gran Cochise (EMLL, 9/14/1984)


El Satanico vs El Dandy (CMLL, 12/14/1990)


El Satanico vs Pirata Morgan (AAA, 11/26/1993)


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36 - "Playboy" Buddy Rose




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2006 Ranking: honourable mention (239)




Points: 6142

#1 Votes: 0

#2 Votes: 1

#3 Votes: 1

Top 10 Votes: 12


# of Ballots: 92

Average Vote: 34.66


High Vote: 2 (Devon Hales)

Low Vote: 92




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Discussion Thread



"Everyone told me he was one of the best of all time. I watched his matches and saw they were right." Dave Musgrave



"Only held back by health issues. Relatively short career keeps him from being a contender for #1. Other than Funk & Satanico probably understood wrestling better than anyone." Elliott



"Buddy Rose was Mr. Variation, with every match different to an unusual extent in wrestling." Moonsault Marvin



"One thing worth noting about Buddy is that we have a fair amount of footage of him going back to 77. This is relevant because as soon as he starts popping up he is great, and he is great through the end of his AWA run in early 87. So despite being someone who many might identify as having a short peak, I actually think his peak/years as a really strong worker are well documented, diverse and much longer lasting than is usually assumed. I don't think I could rate him in the top five or anything like that, but I also don't think it would be weird at all for someone to rate him that highly." Dylan Waco



"Genuine top 10 contender, possibly top 5. Such a talented wrestler. Great at working the mat. Has lots of longer matches with a lot of working holds, and what I really like about Rose is that he never just sits in a hold. Whether he's applying the hold, or the recipient of the hold, he's always working, selling, mugging, grabbing for some hair, wrenching, looking for an out. The guy had an abundant supply of shit he could do to fill a match. He could stall, play to the crowd, beg off, primp and pose, and my favourite, the challenge his opponent to a contest of athletic feats spot (here's a nip-up, can you do a nip-up?). Buddy Rose doing athletic spots even when the pounds really starting to pile on is one of my favourite things in wrestling. Only Porky is a more entertaining fat guy doing athletic things. Rose has great comedy spots, and was a great stooge, but he could turn it on and get serious, had a great mean streak, and was really effective targeting an injured body part or a cut, and just looking like a real dangerous guy. Could brawl. Excellent tag worker. I've never seen Buddy shit the bed, and it's not like he was in there with great talents a lot of the time. To me, Buddy is the quintessential territory heel, the guy you love to hate who can have a good match with just about anyone. The only possible knock against him is I don't know how well he worked as a babyface, but if you're an all-time great heel, it maybe doesn't matter that much." Yo-Yo's Roomie



Recommended Matches:


Buddy Rose vs Matt Borne (Lumberjack, Portland, 6/12/1982)


Buddy Rose vs Curt Hennig (Portland, 3/26/1983)


Buddy Rose & Doug Somers vs Midnight Rockers (AWA, 8/30/1986)


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35 - El Dandy



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2006 Ranking: 67




Points: 6368

#1 Votes: 0

#2 Votes: 0

#3 Votes: 0

Top 10 Votes: 6


# of Ballots: 96

Average Vote: 34.70


High Vote: 7 (Tim Evans)

Low Vote: 88



Dandypimp.jpg




Discussion Thread



"Without a doubt, one of the best mat workers in lucha. While inconsistent at times, he never lets you down when it's time to blow off one of his many classic feuds. To my eye, the most technically sound luchador, as well." Jon Burr



"The dude is one of the more well rounded wrestlers ever. He does have some footage issues, but man what we have is mostly pretty damn great. 90 Dandy alone is a contender for my top 100. Add in a decent portion of other good to great stuff and he's solidified a spot. Guy can sell, bump, work the mat, and throw a mean punch." Exposer



Recommended Matches:


El Dandy vs Angel Azteca (EMLL, 6//1/1990)


El Dandy vs El Satanico (EMLL, 12/14/1990)


El Dandy vs El Hijo del Santo vs Negro Casas (CMLL, 12/6/1996)


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34 - Chris Benoit




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2006 Ranking: 3




Points: 6396

#1 Votes: 0

#2 Votes: 2

#3 Votes: 0

Top 10 Votes: 10


# of Ballots: 93

Average Vote: 32.88


High Vote: 2 (anarchistxx & Mrzfn)

Low Vote: 100



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Discussion Thread



"I find it strange how people say he did not have charisma. His intensity always made for great viewing, and his actions had a lot of physical charisma." MoS



"An unstoppable buzzsaw of a wrestler for many, many years. Could tell a fast-paced story better than anyone." Jon Burr



"Non-wrestling stuff aside, he really was a tremendous worker for a long time. He was great at so many things: mechanics, impactful offense, intensity, grit, selling, and was really great at constructing matches to be both epic and a struggle. So many great matches, and could drag something good out of anyone on Earth." Jimmy Redman



"This is one time when controversy did not seem to leave a black mark on my list. Benoit has always and will always be one of the best wrestlers I have ever seen. His promos were always lacking but he could show off in the ring nearly better than anyone." mprice



"Benoit had beautiful technique and a long run of good matches." Moonsault Marvin



Recommended Matches:


Chris Benoit vs Eddie Guerrero (WCW Nitro, 10/16/1995)


Royal Rumble Match (WWE, 1/25/2004)


Chris Benoit vs Shawn Michaels (WWE Raw, 5/3/2004)


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33 - Ricky Morton



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2006 Ranking: 75




Points: 6613

#1 Votes: 0

#2 Votes: 0

#3 Votes: 0

Top 10 Votes: 0


# of Ballots: 116

Average Vote: 43.99


High Vote: 13

Low Vote: 92



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Discussion Thread



"I respect Robert Gibson's spot in the Rock N Roll Express but Morton truly defined his role." Dave Musgrave



"but Ricky Morton got pro wrestling in a way very few have. He deserves all the praise for his classic babyface tag work and his great series with Flair (one of Ric's five best opponents for my money), but I was impressed by how seamlessly he made the transition to heel with the York Foundation. He delivered a fantastic heel performance in his match with Robert Gibson from Bash '91, even if shitty booking and a stale promotion made it feel meaningless. The guy just knew what he was doing." Childs



Recommended Matches:


Ricky Morton & Eddie Gilbert vs Atsushi Onita & Masa Fuchi (Tupelo Concession Brawl, Memphis, 9/4/1981)


The Rock 'n' Roll Express vs Arn & Ole Anderson (Cage, NWA Starrcade, 11/27/1986)


Ric Flair vs Ricky Morton (Cage, NWA Great AM


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32 - Dustin Rhodes




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2006 Ranking: honourable mention (137)




Points: 6861

#1 Votes: 0

#2 Votes: 0

#3 Votes: 0

Top 10 Votes: 2


# of Ballots: 124

Average Vote: 45.69


High Vote: 7 (jackwebb)

Low Vote: 98




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Discussion Thread



"Even better than his legendary father. Could play almost any role, which got taken to extremes by Vince & Co. Amazing tag worker. In the brightest timeline, he got a run on top in WCW." Jon Burr



"He was my favorite wrestler in the early 90s. I thought he was great for a lot of his run as Goldust. It is absolutely his 2013-2014 run that puts him on my list." Dave Musgrave



"Dustin has primarily worked in an era where pulp TV matches that are meant to be disposable have become commonplace. He peaked early in 90s WCW which had too much television. He peaked late in 10s WWE which has too much television. So he's the master of the good match to fill television time. I think there's an argument that he's the most consistent TV match wrestler of the past quarter century, which sounds like hyperbole until you really think about it. The knock on him would be that there's no classic 30-minute world title match epic on his resume, but it's hard for me to come down too hard on him for that because he's never been asked to fill that role at all. Still, I think it's a feather that the other contenders will likely have in their cap that he won't." Loss



Recommended Matches:


Dustin Rhodes vs Vader (WCW Clash of the Champions, 11/16/1994)


Goldust vs William Regal (WWE Superstars, 5/17/2010)


Goldust vs Randy Orton (WWE Raw, 9/9/2013)


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31 - Shawn Michaels



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2006 Ranking: 46




Points: 7187

#1 Votes: 2

#2 Votes: 4

#3 Votes: 3

Top 10 Votes: 13


# of Ballots: 111

Average Vote: 38.11


High Vote: 1 (Jimmy Redman & ElHijodeGorgeousGeorge)

Low Vote: 100



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Discussion Thread



"Since I'm probably one of the bigger Shawn defenders turning in a ballot, I feel obligated to fill this part out for him. Even with a 4 year gap in his career, he has over 15 years where I think he was a great performer. Shawn is phenomenal at selling who he is through his mannerisms. His post-Rockers heel run he's great at being self absorbed, in his 90's DX heel run he's great at being completely obnoxious. Where his biggest case lies however in my opinion is when he was working as a face. To me he's the best "face in peril" performer of all time in both a tag setting and a singles setting and possibly the best "big match" wrestler of all time. Had this ability to bump ridiculously, but also sell the actual beatdown and the wear and tear on his body better than anyone else. The way he would completely collapse after being bloodied, try to mount offense, but get cut off and go right back to selling, perfectly timed comebacks and a sequence that's as enjoyable to watch as anyone out there, his facial expressions are among the best of all time. He has moments where he conveys immense pain in his back or leg or is selling a concussion and looks like he could actually needs to be helped out of the arena because he won't make it with how damaged his head is. Shawn is the absolute best at selling you his struggle to stay alive. The fact that he came back after not wrestling for 4 years and to have as great a run as he did is mind blowing. Part of one of the greatest tag teams of all time in The Rockers and worked great as either the FIP or hot tag. Execution may not be the best, but he makes up for that in knowing how to add drama to every single match he's in no matter the situation. Whether it's retirement matches like Ric Flair's, working the monster heel (Umaga in 2006, Batista in 2003), or his own or when he's working a ridiculous angle with the McMahon's, he brings the needed drama to it. Great sense of how to escalate a feud. I'm not a defender of the Triple H feud, but the way they kept raising the feud until they reached a very definable crescendo is undeniable. The Chris Jericho feud in 2008 is his best feud ever and where Shawn did most of his great selling in facial expressions where you saw nothing, but pure rage in his eyes and ends with a very fitting and highly dramatic ladder match. He's also very underrated in his ability as a TV worker. Very reliable for at the very least a decent TV match dating back to the early RAW's and he has several great matches on RAW as well. I get why people don't like him. Him putting the focus on himself too much during the match is a valid criticism, but if you're someone that values babyface wrestling and what that entails, I don't see how you could say Shawn doesn't have as great a resume as anyone else in that field." Quentin Skinner



"The Rockers are one of the 10 greatest tag teams ever. Shawn's singles stuff was really good too most of the time." stunning_grover



"He was the first person to come to mind when I heard the question, "Who is the greatest wrestler ever?", and to me that means something." Steven White



"I always thought he was the greatest, and after 18 months of this project that hasn't changed. He has 25+ years of quality work in three distinct runs of The Rockers, his 90s singles run and the post-comeback run. He has a gargantuan list of great matches and genre-defining gimmick matches. He reached for the stars like few others ever did - athletically as well as in terms of storytelling and match building - and I think he totally landed it. " Jimmy Redman



"Michaels was definitely one of the wrestlers I started watching near the beginning of my wrestling fandom. He is one of the main ones that I can go back to watching at any time and get even more fond of his style. " mprice



"Shawn is one the greatest all around wrestlers of all time. He can grapple, fly, suplex, and wrestle. He was the ace when no one else could be and that gets some mad respect. " Danny Kuchler



"While Michaels may be a flawed wrestler, his pure entertainment value overwhelms the criticisms for me." Moonsault Marvin



"When at the top of his game, Few could come close. Tons of great matches." TheU_2001



Recommended Matches:


Team Austin vs Team Bischoff (WWE Survivor Series, 11/16/2003)


Shawn Michaels vs John Cena (WWE, 4/23/2007)


Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker (WWE WrestleMania, 4/5/2009)


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30 - John Cena




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2006 Ranking: unranked




Points: 7502

#1 Votes: 0

#2 Votes: 0

#3 Votes: 1

Top 10 Votes: 8


# of Ballots: 126

Average Vote: 41.70


High Vote: 3 (James Derbyshire)

Low Vote: 95



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Discussion Thread



"Is he booked right down our throats? Sure. But the big goof can go, and clearly takes an immeasurable amount of pride in his work. Big time main event performer, too. " Jon Burr



"The best working WWE ace ever, he was made for the big time and has a ridiculous laundry list of great main events with basically everyone who has walked through the doors. He knows how to work big but also adds a million little touches. Insane charisma, great selling, great timing, great everything. I love this man, he'll always be my favourite wrestler." Jimmy Redman



"John Cena is the single name that I'm the most interested in seeing where they finish on the final list. If someone were to put him at number one, I wouldn't argue. John Cena might just be the greatest wrestler of all-time. If we look at body of work, great matches, promos, drawing power/merch sales, longevity, popularity, etc. I mean... he's been really good, for a really long time, on top in the biggest promotion in the world & having great matches with many different wrestlers. I often can't see the forest from the trees but I realize I'm watching greatness with John Cena. Sure, he's had some stinkers & cringe-worthy one-liners but as an overall package, for someone that we can pretty much see the entirety of his career (all in good quality even), Cena is pretty damn great. He's also been booked like a mammoth too and I could see some holding that against him." Coffey




Recommended Matches:


John Cena vs Umaga (Last Man Standing, WWE Royal Rumble, 1/28/2007)


John Cena vs CM Punk (WWE Money in the Bank, 7/17/2011)


John Cena vs Brock Lesnar (Extreme Rules, WWE Extreme Rules, 4/29/2012)


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29 - El Hijo del Santo



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2006 Ranking: 20




Points: 7579

#1 Votes: 1

#2 Votes: 0

#3 Votes: 2

Top 10 Votes: 24


# of Ballots: 95

Average Vote: 22.52


High Vote: 1 (Jetlag)

Low Vote: 98




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Discussion Thread



"I did not have time to look at a lot of lucha, but he and Casas were the two who impressed me the most. " MoS



"While Santito lacks the variety that I think a number one candidate needs he has a long list of great matches over the course of twenty plus years. I think he is the best babyface wrestler of all time with a match formula that really works. His spectacular high flying is perfect babyface offense and he has a tremendous charisma that makes every one of his matches (and by extension, his opponents) seem important." A Stock



"Best luchadore, babyface, high flyer ever. Best formula wrestler ever. " Elliott



" definite contender for the best luchador in history. I wouldn't laugh at a ballot that had him number one overall either. To be fair though, I think people who complain about Flair formula should check out some Santo singles matches, because they're going to notice a lot of patterns in those. His best stuff is as good as just about anyone's in wrestling. Outstanding mat worker, to the point I'd even rank him ahead of guys for whom that's a supposed calling card like Blue Panther. When trios matches weren't really storyline-driven, I found that he often ended up falling into the background. He probably has a higher quantity of great matches than anyone in lucha libre (or most outside of it), but that number is also slightly misleading because he has the benefit of being in some fabulous trios matches where he mostly hugs the apron. I say all that and he'll probably end up my #1 overall among the Mexican candidates. He's neck and neck with Casas, so that could flip based on a compelling argument. There are guys like Dandy and Satanico who peaked much higher for short periods of time, but I'd probably put them below Santo because they weren't really consistently great." Loss



Recommended Matches:


El Hijo del Santo vs Negro Casas (CMLL, 7/18/1987)


El Hijo del Santo & Octagon vs Eddie Guerrero & Love Machine (AAA, 11/6/1994)


El Hijo del Santo vs Negro Casas (CMLL, 9/19/1997)


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28 - "Beautiful" Bobby Eaton

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2006 Ranking: 49

Points: 7630
#1 Votes: 0
#2 Votes: 0
#3 Votes: 0
Top 10 Votes: 0
# of Ballots: 128
Average Vote: 41.39
High Vote: 13 (Matt D & ???)

Low Vote: 92

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Discussion Thread

"Great tag team wrestler. He was part of two of the top 25 tag teams ever (two versions of the Midnight Express)." stunning_grover

"Eaton's in-ring timing was so good and usually so spot-on that he was able to get great reactions regardless of whether or not he had charisma in the more "traditional" sense. The way he'd take a perfectly timed, right-sized bump off of Lane for a mis-communication spot or the way he'd hit a cutoff move at the precise right time to get a big reaction were almost unparalleled, particularly by tag workers. Charisma in wrestling is more than just facial expressions, big movements, and emotion. Strong timing and smoothness, for example, are two qualities that can help a wrestler connect with a crowd and Eaton had those in spades." stomperspc

Recommended Matches:

The Midnight Express vs The Fantastics (NWA Clash of the Champions, 3/27/1988)

The Midnight Express vs The Southern Boys (WCW Great American Bash, 7/7/1990)

Bobby Eaton vs Terry Taylor (WCW Halloween Havoc, 10/27/1991)

NOTE: The highest ranking wrestler who did not receive a top ten vote.

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27 - Jun Akiyama



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2006 Ranking: 50




Points: 7686

#1 Votes: 0

#2 Votes: 0

#3 Votes: 2

Top 10 Votes: 9


# of Ballots: 114

Average Vote: 33.97


High Vote: 3 (Tanner Teat & Alan Counihan)

Low Vote: 93




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Discussion Thread



"I love how his never reaching the heights of his mentors' careers led to him having an equally interesting if not as flashy second act, wherein he consistently put on great matches all over Japan." Jon Burr



"The single biggest PWO inspired high jumper for me. Two years ago he was around nr. 80. Six months ago probably about 40. I asked online who I should devote most time to catching up on post-2000, and Akiyama was pretty much the only respone I got. That won him a deep dive into his career, and he came out the better for it." Danish Dynamite



"Akiyama is fucking amazing and I'll probably be the high vote for him. I have some bias which I shall now explain. You see, a lot of the characters in Japan are based on the idea of being "the strongest" and workers seem to have the mindset of wanting to be eternal champions of their promotions, which is a perfectly normal thing to strive for. Akiyama, while immensely talented, was slightly different. His character was never presented in that vein, he would regularly lose most of the strike exchanges and tests of strenght and have to use tactics and intelligence to overcome his "stronger" opponents. His anxiety issues prevented him from ever becoming the top guy. So, I find him somewhat relatable and he is a favourite of mine." GOTNW



Recommended Matches:


Jun Akiyama vs Mitsuharu Misawa (AJPW, 2/27/2000)


Jun Akiyama vs Yuji Nagata (NJPW, 1/4/2002)


Jun Akiyama vs Naomichi Marufuji (NOAH, 9/9/2006)


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26 - Akira Taue

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2006 Ranking: 26

Points: 7850
#1 Votes: 0
#2 Votes: 0
#3 Votes: 0
Top 10 Votes: 3
# of Ballots: 121
Average Vote: 36.16
High Vote: 6 (Ismael Retana)

Low Vote: 98

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Discussion Thread

"He may be the least of the 4 Pillars but, my word, could this curmudgeon captivate a crowd! One of the meanest and most purposeful bastards to ever step in the ring." Jon Burr

"Possibly the most underrated wrestler I can think of. He is thought of as the "other guy" in the four pillars but did as much to get that group over early on as anyone, especially in the six-man matches. Other than Tenryu, he would be the best ex-sumo wrestler to enter pro wrestling." Dave Musgrave

"The ranking does not do justice the awesomeness that I have seen with Akira Taue. He is a great big man who I could watch destroy other guys time after time." mprice

"I love the big bastard. Another one of my inherent weaknesses is for big, stretched out, goofy looking giants. Taue looks like the son of Baba, and I mean that in the best possible way. I love his size and how he can just amble over and chop people, but then turn around and get into the AJ-style dropping of bombs. He's great in these long AJ epics, great at brawling, and also just so great at working sprints. And for such a big guy, he's surprisingly sympathetic when it's his turn to actually get beaten on. He's also a total dick and that is always great." Jimmy Redman

Recommended Matches:

Akira Taue vs Mitsuharu Misawa (APW, 4/15/1995)

Akira Taue & Toshiaki Kawada vs Mitsuharu Misawa & Kenta Kobashi (AJPW, 6/9/1995)

Akira Taue vs Naomichi Marufuji (NOAH, 3/5/2006)

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