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Top Five Favorite Wrestlers


Coffey
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You know you want to participate. NO HONORABLE MENTIONS (which includes "just missed the list). That's cheating! PUT THEM IN ORDER, damnit! "I can't put them in order" is a fucking cop-out, man.

 

1. Vader

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Vader is the best big man to ever wrestle in my eyes. Seeing as how I'm a big guy myself, and pretty much always have been, I looked at Vader as sort of a role model. He was the reason that I started watching WCW over WWF. He was also a big reason why I started looking for japanese matches.

 

2. Michael "P.S." Hayes

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The Fabulous Freebirds are my favorite tag team of all-time. That alone is enough to include Hayes. Still, his character, love him or hate him, made you want to tune in. He just screamed charisma to me. He was a playboy but he backed up his mouth in the ring. Or at least cheated to win.

 

3. Nikita Koloff

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He was fucking crazy. I believed it when he snapped on people. He wasn't the greatest wrestler but I marked hard for his promos. I'll never forget when he snapped on Lex Luger and told him that it was HIS US title. He had "the look."

 

4. "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka

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I don't like him for the same reasons that Foley did. Although I thought that cage match leap was cool, by the time I'd seen it, I'd already watched TLC matches and shit. So it wasn't that big of a deal to me. When you look at it's time frame it was. I liked Snuka because I thought he was a great flyer. I liked him because he was different. Hell, he never even really talked. He just seemed like a crazy, cracked out flying samoan.

 

5. The Great Muta

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The Muta in WCW was fabulous. Next to Jushin Liger, I think Muta was the first japanese wrestler that I ever saw. He was a great wrestler with a larger than life entrance. He was wrestling ahead of his time. He was just so fresh. He didn't need to talk. The language barrier didn't matter because his ring work was so great.

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Chris Benoit -- Intensity and a pretty much unparalled work ethic

 

Mayumi Ozaki -- Wrestles bigger than she is, fantastic heart, the best actress in the buisness

 

Bret Hart -- For absolutely everything he did and his ability to make everything seem so real in "cartoon land"

 

Dynamite Kid -- Intensity, ring presence, pure insanity, could do anything and was a trendsetter

 

Johnny Smith -- Super heel, great wrestler and interview

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Guest Some Guy

1. HBK - Great performer and I've pretty much always found him entertaining. He was the only reason I watched Raw in 96.

2. Bret Hart - The best worker WWE has ever had. He was able to both get over and get his opponent over in a match better than anybody. Look at the matches he's had with guys who HBK has wrestled and you'll see the difference.

3. Rock - Most charimatic guy in wrestling and became a damn fine worker.

4. Savage - Intensity. He was the most believable nutcase I've ever seen. The guy always seemed like he would snap at any moment and kill someone.

5. Hulk Hogan - The guy who I idolized as a kid.

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1) Chris Benoit- Probably for all the same reasons as everyone else.

 

2) Curt Hennig- Hell of a bumper, seller, and athlete which would make his matches always fun to watch.

 

3) Randy Savage- Similar to what "Some Guy" said, just the fact that Savage has always seemed on the brink of insanity, and how he incorperated that into his matches was just so genius. The first wrestler I ever marked out for.

 

4) Eddy Guerrero- I respect how much Eddy has overcome to be where he is today. He makes my list just for inspirational reasoning alone.

 

5) Rick Martel- I think he could have amounted to so much more. He should have had at least one single intercontinental title run along with his tag team title runs. I might be thinking too much but I wonder of Hogan had some say on his career in the WWE. I can't imagine that Hogan was humble towards him after the entire AWA situation.

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Jumbo Tsuruta - the only wrestler where I can watch matches from three different decades that are all incredible.

 

Mitsuharu Misawa - The Misawa from 1993-1996 is the best "man" and babyface I have ever seen.

 

Toshiaki Kawada - The smartest wrestler I have ever seen. After watching his 7/24/95 match with Misawa about 4 times in the past 2 weeks, it amazes me how fast they can work and how they can throw out so many moves but still sell everything almost perfectly.

 

Eddy Guerrero - this is the first different pick from the above three. Jumbo, Misawa, and Kawada have a resume of great matches pages long. Eddy is very hit and miss with me sometimes (particularly some older work) but when he hits, he hits. He is in my top 5 if just for 6/11/96 vs. Benoit, 10/26/97 vs. Rey Jr., 4/15/04 vs. Big Show, and 5/16/04 vs. JBL.

 

I am torn on #5 so I will list a few guys that depending on the day can be in this spot.

 

- Jerry Lawler: I still haven't seen enough but what I have seen has been US wrestling as great as I have seen it.

 

- Rey Misterio Jr: The best flyer ever.

 

Tim

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When I dropped these names yesterday, I really didn't have time to elaborate on why they mean that much to me. Now I do, so...

 

1. Ricky Steamboat- Steamboat was my favorite wrestler as a kid. I don't know if it was his style or his "exotic" look or what. I was just drawn to the way he presented himself in the ring. Mabe I was too naive to recognize his comic martial arts skills. Either way, he was the only wrestler who's poster hung on my wall. When Savage-Steamboat happened, as I watched it live, I knew it was the best match I had ever seen even if I couldn't articulate that feeling. Today, I feel validated, almos, to know that there are thousands of people who also give Steamboat glowing reviews. I never knew. I thought I was the only one.

 

2. Toshiaki Kawada- The ability to break through to another culture. The ability to convey meaning in every move without knowing a word of Japanese. This is what Kawada does for me. He is the reason I continue to hunt down Japanese wrestling. The first time I saw him was the Ganso Bomb match. I read on the net he broke his arm in that match. Then I saw him take and dish out ungodly abuse. I didn't know there were matches out there that blew this out of the water but I had to find out. Hundreds of All Japan hours later, I still seek out anything that has Kawada's name on it.

 

3. Mick Foley- Foley's book coincided with my wrestling "smarkdom". I read Foley's book and I automatically connected with this guy. Maybe it was the cheesy humor or the honesty I felt in his words. Then I saw him terrorize the ring and, for good or bad, his work affected me. Then I watched the ECW promos or the Cactus Jack promos leading to his retirement or the Christian and Edge comedy skits and now it is a must that I watch Foley anytime he is on TV... even in retirement. Some say he is a joke, that he is working the smart fans. If h is, then he has been successful because I believe in Foley.

 

4. Bret Hart- I have a special place in my heart for Bret more for the stuff outside the ring than inside it. I appreciate his wresting ability and his work made it easier for me to watch all of the old WWF stuff I missed when I took a wrestling hiatus. With that siad, he was the first wrestler I ever felt sorry for. It wasn't his fault that he was tortured in his father's basement as a kid. It wasn't his fault wrestling was in his blood and he believed his own hype. It wasn't his fault he was screwed (and I side with Bret here). It isn't his fault he has to continue to fight to prootect his legacy as Shawn and Flair try to undermine it. The only falut was giving a shit about a business that cares for nobody.

 

5. Eddie Guerrero -Overcoming demons and deaths and drugs ca be a painful thing to do. I know, I have been there. Everytime Eddie is in the ring, I root for him. Maybe not vocally but most certainly in my head. He has given us the best matches WWE has had to offer in the last few years and some of the best matches on North American soil. He is a great heel to boo and an easy babyface to cheer for.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Guest Dorian

1) Bret "The Hitman" Hart - Although I watched wrestling, it wasn't till I saw Bret Hart in action that began my need to watch wrestling. To be honest he really was the best packaged wrestler. He could cut good promos, he could wrestle and make anyone look good. Simply put, he had the "it" factor. To me he'll always be: best there was, is and forever will be.

 

2) Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson - Sure, he wasn't the greatest in-ring performer, but the man always made sure that I gave a damn about his feuds and matches. And come on, whenever he was a heel, how could you not cheer for the man? I'll miss him cause he'll probably never come back due to HHH burrying everyone on the roster.

 

3) AJ Styles - I've only seen a few matches and a few promos by AJ, but I must admit that he's definitely got everything it takes to become the next great star of wrestling. Hopefully with TNA, he'll propel it to greatness.

 

4) Owen Hart - Nearly as good as his brother in the ring, but definitely better on the mic, he was someone who I always thought sooner or later would get that lone World title reign (like Benoit). Sadly, he left us too soon (RIP).

 

5) Blitzkreig - Perhaps one of the greatest "prospects" in that he only knew a little bit about wrestling and still went out and performed some great feats. I feel kinda sad that we'll never get the chance to see what would've happened if he was still wrestling.

 

(Note: This All-Time List, will probably change every now and then)

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Guest Cuban_Linx

In no particular order, other than probably the first two:

 

1. Toshiaki Kawada- Probably the guy who got me hooked on Japanese wrestling more than anyone else, seeing him the first time was one hell of a kick to the face and i haven't turned back since. In just about everything i've seen of him he's working on a level above all but a very small amount of wrestlers, and i'm yet to even see alot of his best stuff. What i have seen is incredible though.

 

2. Eddy Guerrero- Everywhere he goes and whatever style he works he seems to instantly become one of the best. Awesome as a junior in New Japan, plenty of great matches in WCW highlighted of course by Eddy/Rey HH '97, i greatly enjoy the Lucha i've seen him involved in with Art Barr, now he's putting out some of the best work the WWE has seen in a long time, the way he's overcome his personal demons just adds to my fandom of him. He can get a whole crowd behind him or hating his guts as well as anyone, if i had to make a list of my favorite matches i'm sure Guerrero's name would be mentioned an awful lot.

 

3. Chris Benoit- Back in my more markish days of watching basically nothing but WCW i still recognised how great he was and he was almost immediately one of my favorites, and as i watch and learn more my appreciation of him just continues to grow by the day.

 

4. Vader- The ultimate big man, like with Kawada i'm yet to see much of his best work (the Sting series and much of his Japan stuff mostly), but the matches i do have of his from NJPW, UWF-i, WCW, WWF and wherever else are more than enough to give him a place on this list, probably the best and most convincing unstoppable monster i've seen.

 

5. Bryan Danielson- Perhaps an odd choice considering he hasn't been really been around for that long, i could have put someone like a Bret Hart/Mysterio/Kobashi/Taue/Misawa, or guys like Jumbo & Hansen who i think extremely highly of but have only seen a very small handful of matches from each, but when i think of who my favorites are Danielson's name is almost always the first to jump into my mind. I love damn near everything he does and he's constantly getting even better, with guys like American Dragon around it gives me hope for the future of wrestling.

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1) Mitsiharu Misawa

 

Bottom line is, I've seen Misawa in more so-called "5 Star" matches than any other wrestler ever could, I think. He's in my two all time favorite singles matches, (vs. Kenta Kobashi, AJPW 26th Anniversary Show for the Triple Crown on 10/31/98 and vs. Toshiaki Kawada for the Triple Crown on? 6/6/97) and he's also in my favorite Tag Team Match of all time (with Kenta Kobashi vs. Toshiaki Kawada/Akira Taue on 5/21/94 for the World Tag Titles.) Hell, he's even in my favorite Six Man Tag of all time! (Jumbo Tsuruta & Akira Taue & Masa Fuchi vs. Mitsuharu Misawa & Toshiaki Kawada & Kenta Kobashi on 4/20/91) He's part of my two favorite feuds of all time (The Super Generation Army vs. Jumbo & Co. and Misawa vs. Kawada.) You could write a book on all the great matches he's been involved in, and on that basis alone, he's my favorite. I've seen more of his stuff than I have of any other wrestler ever. When he was "on" he was incredible, and even now, he's capable of pulling the odd classic out, such as his GHC Tag Title Match last year with Ogawa vs. Kenta & Marifuji. Misawa is the man, period.

 

 

2) Toshiaki Kawada

 

See above, I actually fluctuate between he and Misawa as my all time favorites, I think Misawa wins out simply because of his role in the SGA vs. Jumbo & Company feud, and his TC matches with Kobashi...but still, I just flat out LOVE to watch "Dangerous K" work, and he (for me) brings the element of excitement and emotion to his matches that Misawa doesn't sometimes.

 

3) Jumbo Tsuruta

 

I'd probably rate Jumbo higher if I'd seen as much of his older stuff as I have of Misawa and Kawada. I have seen pretty much all of his matches against Misawa and Company, but my 70's and 80's Jumbo collection is weak. I have his classic 1976 match against Terry Funk, and I have his matches against Tenryu and Flair from the 80's, but that's it. From what I hear, if I had seen more of his 70's stuff he might be at the top of my list and as it stands right now, the stuff I have seen was awesome...even if he was "lazy." :P

 

4) Terry Funk

 

My Funker fanboyism is well documented. It's faded considerably since my introduction to the "King's Road" style a few years back, but I still love me The Funker. Whether it's his aforementioned 1976 classic against Jumbo for the NWA Title, his matches with Dory vs. Abduallah & The Sheik, his goofy 80's feud with JYD in the WWF, his feud with Flair in WCW in 1989, his 90's Garbage Matches in FMW, his ECW run, or his feud with Foley...for me, there are so many different sides to him to enjoy and like, I have to include him. It helps that I had the chance to meet him live, and what I have heard of him outside the ring makes him a good guy to idolize as a fan. His 674 retirements aside.

 

5) Atushi Onita

 

Onita is my "guilty pleasure." Somebody who I shouldn't like, but for some reason I still do. His over the top theatrics and insane death matches, his shouting, screaming and bloodletting in FMW just appealed to me for some reason (in limited doeses of course.) Every few months I can throw my four volume "Best Of Onita" set in the VCR and sit back and enjoy some insane Garbage Wrestling, and if you like that kinda stuff, he's pretty much the master.

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Wolverine, I've been meaning to ask you, what would you consider the essential ARSION to pick up? It's obvious PUNQ is not a fan, but he's the only guy I know of who's gone through all of the stuff, although Chris Coey has covered some of it.

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Wolverine, I've been meaning to ask you, what would you consider the essential ARSION to pick up?

Mariko Yoshida vs. Candy Okutsu, 12/18/98 (Carnival ARSION '98)

Mariko Yoshida vs. Mika Akino, 1/17/99 (Stardom '99)

Mariko Yoshida vs. Hiromi Yagi, 2/18/99 (Stardom '99)

Mariko Yoshida vs. Mikiko Futagami, 4/14/99 (Starlet '99)

Mariko Yoshida vs. Yumi Fukawa, 5/4/99 (ARS '99)

Mariko Yoshida vs. Aja Kong, 8/6/99 (Zion '99)

 

This covers Yoshida's incredible hot streak in ARSION. She had really become such a marvelous technician at the time - the best I've ever seen in Joshi - consistently weaving together difficult mat sequences with an uncanny amount of grace and fluidity.

 

She was also a terrific seller - not just in terms of facials and body language, but in maximizing near-falls by kicking out at the last possible instant. Yoshida was just aces at creating doubt and making herself look vulnerable at the right times - much like Jumbo in the early 90s against the Misawa/Kawada/Kobashi crew. Seeing her fight with her back to the wall was often awe-inspiring, simply because of how intelligently she worked her matches.

 

I would recommend getting a comp of this stuff but if you wanted to try just one tape, Stardom '99 is the perfect intro. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask - I always love pimping Yoshida!

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