IGN's TOP 50 WRESTLERS OF ALL TIME!!

focusfocus Posts: 4,266
edited November 2012 in Off The Turn Buckle
IGN sorts through all the Nature Boys, Dead Men, Texas Rattlesnakes, Heartbreak Kids and Great Ones to bring you the best of the best.

by Matt Fowler NOVEMBER 2, 2012

Hulk Hogan body-slamming Andre the Giant. Stone Cold nailing Vince McMahon with a Stunner. Randy Savage winning a 14-man tournament to become WWE Champion. The Undertaker kicking out of the Pedigree. The Rock raising up the "People's Eyebrow."

Let’s face it. It’s hard to try and explain pro-wrestling to the non-initiated. Because not only does it exist within its own world – its own bubble – but we all love it for different reasons. We all prefer certain styles, attitudes, looks and tones over others. Many of us started watching it in different eras, with different heroes and icons. We favor one type of match over another. So compiling a list of the Top 50 Wrestlers of All Time is no easy endeavor.

Because even though we might all, guardedly, unite under the common banner of “wrestling fan,” we can bicker and quibble with the best of them. We can judge wrestlers by pure athleticism, mat technique, psychology, mic skills, in-ring storytelling ability, trailblazing innovation, excellence of execution, adeptness at falling through tables, best at bleeding… the list goes on and on. And while once upon a time, success in the wrestling industry might have been measured by the number of titles won, that metric doesn’t fully account for other aspects of the business that matter. In pro wrestling, titles are gifts; rewards for doing the most important thing one can do in the industry: Captivate. Captivate audiences on a large scales within the best of your abilities, whatever they may be.

But we’ve done it. The list. The insurmountable. And it’s filled with Dead Men, Texas Rattlesnakes, Hardcore Legends, Nature Boys, Macho Men, Cerebral Assassins, Next Big Things, Rated R Superstars and many more. So here’s your Battle Royale; featuring stars from the present day, the Attitude Era, the ‘80s, yesteryear and international territories. So say your prayers and eat your vitamins, because that’s the bottom line, if you can smell what The Rock is cookin’! Woooo!

50. Rick Rude
49. Samoa Joe
48. Arn Anderson
47. Rob Van Dam
46. Jerry Lawler
45. Jeff Hardy
44. Antonio Inoki
43. The Big Show
42. Gorgeous George
41. The Great Muta
40. Jake Roberts
39. Brock Lesnar
38. A.J. Lee
37. Bob Backlund
36. Ultimo Dragon
35. Jimmy Snuka
34. Mil Mascaras
33. Goldberg
32. Terry Funk
31. Jushin Liger
30. Verne Gagne
29. Chris Benoit
28. Randy Orton
27. Rey Mysterio
26. Lou Thesz
25. Harley Race
24. Mick Foley
23. Curt Hennig
22. Dusty Rhodes
21. Eddie Guerrero
20. CM Punk
19. Edge
18. Chris Jericho
17. Buddy Rogers
16. Roddy Piper
15. Kurt Angle
14. John Cena
13. Andre the Giant
12. Ricky Steamboat
11. Bruno Sammartino
10. Triple H
9. Randy Savage
8. Sting
7. The Rock
6. Ric Flair
5. Bret Hart
4. Steve Austin
3. Hulk Hogan
2. Undertaker

Wrestlemania-12-Shawn-Michaels_2069.jpg

#1 When Shawn Michaels felt pain in the ring, we felt pain. No one sold agony, heartache or triumph like The Heartbreak Kid. Michaels was the most athletic, inspired and daring storyteller in the business; raising the bar for the entire industry with each match. We don't have to look much farther than the descriptors "The Showstopper," "The Headliner" and "Mr. WrestleMania" to know that HBK was someone who has performed above and beyond. As the WWE's first ever Grand Slam Champion, Michaels competed in more PWI Match of the Years (11!) than anyone in history while also birthing the Ladder Match, Hell in a Cell and Degeneration X. The emotion one felt while watching a Shawn Michaels match was unlike anything else. There was one man Ric Flair himself wanted to end his career in the WWE with - HBK.

Michaels created art in that ring. He was a gifted performer who took wrestling to athletic heights never imagined. And his legacy is made all the sweeter knowing that it was almost all over for him in 1998 when he retired due to two herniated (and one crushed) discs in his back. He returned to the ring five years later and faced Triple H at SummerSlam. Not. Missing. A. Single. Step.

Thank you, Shawn Michaels. We felt your wounds and basked in your glory.
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