As a kid, I was always a big wrestling fan. I haven’t watched much lately, but I still do enjoy it whenever I get a chance to see it. Anyway, Sara was busy with school work last week, so I had some time to kill. I popped in my Shawn Michaels “From the Vault” dvd. I got to thinking and decided to come up with a list of the top 30 WWF champs. By the way, I forever will continue to call it WWF. I don’t care how many animal agencies try to sue me. I think I have all of the WWF champs along with a few that have won the Raw championship and the Smackdown championship. It really got confusing for a while who had what, but I think we’re good now. By the way, I fully realize that making a list like this gives me absolutely no street cred. I realize this. I am comfotable being a closet wrestling fan.
30) Bob Backlund – His finishing move was a cross-face chickenwing. From my 5th grade wrestling days, I seem to remember that move hurting a bit, but I can’t exactly say it’s all that impressive or anything.
29) Yokozuna – This was the WWF’s darkest hour. Yokozuna wasn’t a star. He was a Japanese version of Vader. Plus, he only had the belt for approximately one minute the first time. The second time, though, he had it for a while…
28) Vince McMahon – For the record, the “Evil McMahon” character was the funniest and best thing that ever happened to the WWF. I just think that having him as a champ was a joke.
27) Eddie Guerrero – I in no way am trying to mock Eddie Guerrero or say he was a bad wrestler. I almost always enjoyed Eddie’s matches. I just never saw him as a champion type.
26) Kane – This probably has more to do with the fact that I’ve never liked Kane. Well, let me change that. I loved it when he came in and feuded with the Undertaker. Unfortunately, that feud went on about five years and fifty matches too long. I also loved his red pyro that came out of the ringposts. Other than that, I’ve thought he was pretty worthless.
25) Chris Benoit – I’ve always thought he was talented and I enjoyed most of his matches. I just don’t think he was all that charismatic.
24) John Bradshaw Layfield – I got out of wrestling for a while. When I came back, I saw this JBL dude was dominating. I’m wondering who is JBL? Then I see him wrestle and I realize that it’s Bradshaw from the old WCW days. I remember him coming to the WWF and feuding with Ken Shamrock. Plus, his gimmick is based on being a real-life successful investment banker. Yeah… because most people I know watch wrestling because they care about how he’s doing on Fox News and CNBC.
23) Sgt. Slaughter – He was 43-years old when he won this title. If I remember correctly, this when the Sarge made a heel turn and pretended to side with Saddam Hussein and Iraq. He was good in the mid-80’s and the name “Sgt. Slaughter” has to be one of the coolest wrestling names ever. The title just came a little past his prime…
22) The Big Show – I could never get over the fact that he was nothing more than an Andre the Giant-knockoff. He could’ve been so much more. He’s consistently one of Conan’s funniest guests.
21) Ric Flair – I consider him more of a WCW champ than a WWF champ. He’s a legend. He survived a plane accident. His backhand to the chest might be one of my favorite non-finishing moves. He’d be much higher if this were a WCW/WWF comination list.
20) Goldberg – Again, he’s much more of a WCW guy. I started watching wrestling a bit again once he made a comeback although the Goldberg/Lesnar match at Wrestlemania (I think it was Wrestlemania…) was weak.
19) Diesel – He was Shawn Michael’s bodyguard, yet he won the title before HBK. He won the WWF championship in just 8 seconds. His two nicknames sounded like bad adult actors (“Big Daddy Cool” and “Big Sexy”).
18) Randy Orton – I like the “Legend Killer” angle. Plus, I like that is completely heartless. For example, last week on Smackdown (not that I watched it), Rey Mysterio drove Eddie Guerrero’s low-rider down to the ring in honor of Eddie. Randy Orton backed it into the set setting the car on fire. How can you not love professional wrestling?
17) Batista – I hated him in Evolution, but I’ve got to admit the guy is a monster. I couldn’t believe he’s 39 years old, though.
16) Chris Jericho – On a list of favorite wrestlers, Chris Jericho would be top 5. He defeated the Rock and Stone Cold in the same day to win his title. That’s awfully impresive. Still, he was never a rock solid “champ” in my mind.
15) John Cena – I’m not a huge fan of the whiteboy rapper gimmick. It’s tired plus it’s fakey. John Cena is a decent champ, though. He is funny and he has a lot of personality. To me, he’s just a small step away from being one of “the legends.”
14) Sycho Sid – I actually believed he was a psycho. He has been fired a few time because he’s skipped matches due to softball games (dead serious). I think because of him (or was it Diesel?), the powerbomb was allegedly “banned” for a short period of time.
13) Kurt Angle – Now we’re starting to get to the legendary champs. His best match I’ve ever seen was when he defeated The Rock, Triple H, Stone Cold, the Undertaker and Rikishi in a 6-man Hell-in-a-Cell match. Plus, I still use his “…it’s true, it’s true” catchphrase to this day.
12) Randy Savage – Ohhhhhhhhhh, yeahhhhhhhhhhhh! I love “Mach” as I call him. I loved his fueds with Hogan and Warrior. I loved his god awful rap career. I loved his ridiculous glasses with the neon greens and hot pinks in his outfit. I loved how he came back to the WCW and looked like the most juiced guy not named Scott Steiner that I’ve ever seen.
11) Mankind – Mick Foley wasn’t a classic great wrestler. He could sure take a mean beating, though. Plus, he was absolutely hilarious. The only thing that prevents him from being a top-10 guy is the fact that he’s not overly athletic and he’s not a “number one” guy.
10) Brock Lesnar – This guy is THE guy I think of when I think of human growth hormone. I don’t know if he’s on it or not, but his head is about twice as big as a normal head should be. He is absolutely gi-nor-mous and he’s extremely athletic although he almost missed the Seven Year Itch in ugly fashion at Wrestlemania 19. He was a little personality away from being higher up on the list.
9) Triple H – He’s been extremely versitale. He started off as a spoiled rich kid. He then moved into being a leader of DX (my favorite stable ever, by the way). He was one of the most loved wrestlers around. Later on, he joined Evolution and became one of the most hated. Plus, he’s married to the boss’s daughter!
8) Andre the Giant – His defining moment, of course, was his role in Princess Bride. As a wrestler, though, he was good because he was one of the first larger than life characters. I remember when Hogan bodyslammed him for the first time. I thought it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen. He also was one of the ugliest men I’ve ever seen. True story.
7) Bret Hart – The excellence of execution. I was never a huge Hitman fan. I did like the pink lightning bolts and the mirrored sunglasses, though. He didn’t have the charisma of other wrestlers, but I always believed he was the man in the ring. I like him, though, because he taught me how to do the sharpshooter which I used on my little sister for years to come.
6) The Undertaker – He’s worn out his welcome, a bit, but he was a beast when he first joined the Federation. I loved the gothic Undertaker with Paul Bearer as his manager. I loved the Tombstone Piledriver followed by that thing where he flipped his hair back and you saw his twitching eyes. The new Harley-driving Undertaker isn’t as much fun.
5) Hulk Hogan – Some people will scoff at not having Hogan number one. I can’t put him at number one for a few reasons. First, his wrestling skills were lame. I didn’t realize it at the time, but now I know. Second, he was never my favorite or the favorite of any of my friends. He was a solid number two, but we all liked the Ultimate Warrior more. You had to love his schtick – telling kids to eat their vitamins, calling his fans Hulkamaniacs, and tearing his shirt off.
4) The Rock – It didn’t matter if he was a good guy or a bad guy, he always made the show. His matches were usually pretty decent. He cut a promo like absolutely nobody else. He was quite possibly the funniest wrestler I’ve ever seen.
3) Shawn Michaels – Easily my favorite wrestler ever. He was a great champ because the fans got behind him. It wasn’t hard to believe he could defeat guys that were much bigger than him. He had more charisma than any other WWF star – the Rock is the only person who even comes close.
2) Ultimate Warrior – He wasn’t champion long enough. If you ask me, he, not Hogan, should’ve been the face WWF pushed hardest during the 80’s. It didn’t matter if his promos were mindless banter. By the way, if you ever get a chance, visit ultimatewarrior.com wear you’ll learn more about the guy that actually legally changed his name to “Warrior.” By the way, he was apparently on steroids. I don’t know if there was any truth to that or not, but it’s a rumor.
1) Stone Cold Steve Austin – To me, Stone Cold was the ultimate champ. His title reign brought the WWF the most success it’s ever had. He had a few great feuds with other wrestlers on this list and you always cheered for him to win. He was so popular, they couldn’t even make him into a bad guy.