So after basking in the glory of becoming the WrestleCircus Sideshow Champion, I had wrestling on my mind again. Now I’ve said it before, I try not to talk about wrestling on this page too much, because I wanted to stick to anime and games as the major subjects on the page. But hey, it’s Top 10 time and it can be about anything, so allow me to indulge myself a little bit as I gush about my all-time Top 10 favourite wrestlers!
And to those who know wrestling well enough to know most, if not all the guys on this list, yes I’ve been watching since the 90s and no, this list is not being skewed by the recency effect. This is a legitimately unbiased Top 10.
Also going by Prince Puma in Lucha Underground, Ricochet may just be one of the most amazingly athletic and agile wrestlers I have ever seen and may ever see. The amazing things I have seen this man do in the ring are just astonishing, flips and twists galore, of course the main move being his 630° senton, basically a double somersault in the air. Also, he just looks fantastic, he’s the kind of guy that each passing year it amazes me that WWE has not signed this guy. He’s got the look, he’s got the swagger and he’s certainly got the moves.
One of the old guard from my childhood, the biggest name in the legendary Hart wrestling family, Bret “The Hitman” Hart was my first favourite wrestler ever. He had the advantage of being a fellow Canadian, but I always thought he looked so cool coming out to the ring in that leather jacket and those ridiculous shades. On top of that, he was at the time one of the best technical wrestlers in the world when he was in his prime. There just wasn’t anybody better when they shared a ring with Bret, which made it such a shame to watch his career go so sour after the infamous Montreal Screwjob and a very lackluster run in WCW that was cut short to injury.
Another fellow Canadian and a guy who’s grown on me more and more over the years. “Y2J”, “The Ayatollah of Rock and Rolla”, Chris Jericho from the moment he debuted in WWE (WWF at the time) got my attention with his insanely high charisma and his unique look. I knew of him in WCW, but I didn’t watch enough to really get into him until his WWE run. Over the years, there’s few people who have been able to stay relevant and able to completely change gimmicks so seamlessly as Chris has been able to do. When it was finally time to become a bad guy after years of being a crowd favourite, he changed his hair, changed his wrestling attire and went from speaking with all that charisma, hard and fast, to speaking very slowly and using big words that the average fan would never use in their own speech. Now, Chris is getting a scarf and a fictitious list over with the crowd. A list of names is one of the biggest things in wrestling right now. He’s that talented.
I’ve only been aware of Kenny for a few years now, but holy freaking hell has he made an impression on me. For starters, he’s currently one of the best wrestlers in the world, is Canadian and oh, HE’S A GIANT GAMER!!! Yep, I like this guy already. There’s no one I have seen in wrestling who’s been able to go from wrestling a blow-up doll and a nine year-old girl (both of these are 100% true and real) to becoming a top star in the biggest wrestling company in Japan that is 100% about being a serious, hard-hitting promotion. He’s gone from being a cheesy over-the-top character who uses the Hadoken from Street Fighter, to one of the most badass looking guys…who once in a while still uses the Hadoken. He’s recently become my current favourite wrestler and will continue to climb the all-time ranks at the rate he’s going, especially if he ever makes a trip to WWE before he retires.
There is no tag team in the history of professional wrestling that has given me more entertainment value than Matt and Nick Jackson, The Young Bucks. A tag team that at best I can describe as walking, talking, wrestling representations of all the silly things and cliches of wrestling, ranging from the tassels, to overly colourful outfits, to constant flexing, to over-the-top moves that make no sense, they cover so many bases and yet they manage to still be extremely entertaining and very polished wrestlers. They single-handedly made the superkick the most iconic move in wrestling, one worthy of partying over. Superkick Party, anyone?
Before his WWE debut in 2016, I remember watching AJ Styles when he was really starting to get going in TNA as the company was also developing. He was so damn impressive back then and to think what would come of him with more experience and understanding the business better, it blew my mind. Then he left TNA and went to New Japan Pro Wrestling and I saw just that, a man of many years of experience, knowing what he has to do to get himself over. So in 2015, I’ve never been more happy in my life to see the debut at the Royal Rumble of “The Phenomenal” AJ Styles. Now in WWE, he truly is the best wrestler in the world right now, I don’t feel there’s anyone even close to him.
But if you’re curious who is sitting behind him as the second-best wrestler in the world today…
I was introduced to New Japan Pro Wrestling in 2015 after hearing so much about the upcoming “Japanese WrestleMania” in Wrestle Kingdom 9 through various wrestling podcasts and was really excited to see what the Japanese were doing in pro wrestling. I enjoyed the show all the way through, but in the second last match of the night, I got introduced to quite possibly the most charismatic wrestler I will ever see in terms of showmanship and swagger. Shinsuke Nakamura does speak a little English, but quite frankly he doesn’t have to in order to get the message across that not only is he a star, he’s THE star. Some people may think he’s a little goofy, but in my eyes he truly is the shining star of professional wrestling, Jim Ross put it best, linking him to legends like Michael Jackson and Freddie Mercury. And on top of that mountain of charisma is one of the best wrestlers I’ve ever seen, mixing solid technical wrestling with a flurry of MMA strikes, holy shit watch how this guy uses his knees! I actually got the chance to see him live at NXT Takeover: Toronto and words cannot describe the aura that he carries and how the crowd is literally in the palm of his hand before he even walks out onto the entrance ramp.
The top guy for so many wrestling fans. Side note, I’m just gonna semi-spoil the final two spots, The Rock isn’t on this list. I like The Rock, but I was never a big Rock fan, he didn’t capture me the same way these ten guys have. But anyways, if there’s anyone from the Attitude Era of WWE that people remember the most, obviously it’s the trash talking, middle-finger waving, beer drinking redneck in Stone Cold Steve Austin. There was no one back then who was more loved and given the ratings today in comparison to back then, I don’t know if there ever will be a wrestler so universally loved by so many fans. Was he the greatest wrestler? I don’t think anyone would ever say that, but he sure as shit was the best wrestling character in the history of professional wrestling and still is to this day.
It’s funny too because as I’m writing this, it’s March 16th, aka Austin 3:16 day.
A guy that’s way higher on my list compared to the vast majority of people’s lists, Edge is a guy that I always liked as my sleeper favourite. When he first started out in WWE, I thought he was the coolest guy I’d ever seen, his look was so badass with the long leather jacket, long hair, glasses, just an enigmatic character. Then you put him in the vampire group the Brood, who I loved to death mainly because their music was so awesome. Then pair him with Christian in a tag team and they became two of the funniest tag teams of all time, basically what the Young Bucks are today. Lastly, he went away from all that and became one of the most hated wrestlers in that era. I know this because for a number of years I hated him, even though before that he was one of my favourite wrestlers. That’s how good a bad guy he was, he managed to make the teenage fan in me hate one of my favourite wrestlers. And to be fair, he also has the unfair advantage of having two themes done by Rob Zombie (“Never Gonna Stop”) and Alter Bridge (“Metalingus”) respectively.
He was at one point the best wrestler in the world. He was at one point the best talker in the world in terms of professional wrestling. He was at one point the hottest name in wrestling, even beating the legendary John Cena in merchandise sales. He beat the Cena kids in sales! At that time, no did that! For those reasons and for admittedly reasons that paint him like the ultimate martyr of professional wrestling, my favourite wrestler of all-time is CM Punk. When I first saw him in WWE on the ECW brand with his Killswitch Engage (“This Fire Burns”) music blaring and he had such a unique look, I was immediately interested and followed him. He toiled in near obscurity so many times and became the ultimate underdog, or as the higher-ups in WWE would call him, an “internet darling”. Finally, after the Straight Edge Society and the new Nexus, he did the ultimate thing that no one thought would ever happen, he got a mic put in his hand and was allowed to speak his mind. And boy oh boy he didn’t disappoint.
At that moment, it didn’t matter, he was my #1. Why? Because he at that time was the only person in the business that was visibly voicing the opinion of myself and the other wrestling fans out there who feel like our voices aren’t being heard. In an era where the only opinions cared about are that of kids and their mothers (which for a “violent” show like wrestling is hilarious to me), CM Punk was our voice, he was the voice of the voiceless. And then when he felt like even after bringing more attention to the WWE than they’d had in years, being the top of merchandise sales and easily having the loudest following in a long time, the WWE still didn’t give two shits about him, he left. Didn’t give his notice, he just quit on the spot. He wasn’t going to be held down and decided that it was time to leave. Obviously since then he’s been pursuing an MMA career in the UFC and it’s gone about as well as I think it ever could have, but the guy does what he wants and works his ass off to get there.
And as a fellow straight edge guy myself, it makes me so happy to see someone who accomplished so much and yet didn’t follow the usual stereotypes of being a drinker, or a smoker.
So that’s all for this week’s Top 10, thank you very much for checking it out and I hope I didn’t bore the majority of you with my wrestling banter. See you next week!