We ranked the top 25 WWE pro wrestlers of all-time this week, with names like Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage and CM Punk finding their way onto the list. These rankings combine just about everything – how good they were in the ring, on the microphone, their mainstream appeal, and how much money they made their companies.
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25. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat – His battles with two of the top five on this list, Randy Savage and Ric Flair, are simply legendary.
24. Bob Backlund – The WWF’s white meat baby-face just prior to the Hogan era.
23. Bruno Sammartino – Bruno held the title for something like 92 years. Unfortunately his work doesn’t hold up in 2017.
22. Brock Lesnar – Gave the WWE a feeling a realism during the weak PG era.
21. Jake “The Snake” Roberts – When he was on (i.e. not hammered), there was no one better on the stick.
20. CM Punk – Punk more or less saved WWE from falling into obscurity in 2011 with his Pipe Bomb speech.
19. Scott Hall – The man that got the ball rolling for the NWO, Hall was also a tremendously underrated performer in the ring.
18. Mick Foley – You always had the feeling that something bad was going to happen when Foley was in the ring.
17. Chris Jericho – He might not have even made this list if it weren’t for “the list” and what he did in WWE over the past year.
16. Triple H – Triple H was the face of the company in the early and mid-2000s. It wasn’t the company’s best era, but it wasn’t its worst either.
15. The Ultimate Warrior – The only guy to steal the spotlight completely from Hulk Hogan during Hulkamania.
14. Kurt Angle – His in-ring work was as good as you’ll ever see, and his comedy on the mic proved that “funny” sometimes does equal “money” in wrestling.
13. Andre the Giant – He was a walking, talking (well, mumbling) main event.
12. Sting – Was the face of WCW during the company’s hottest period.
11. Bret “The Hitman” Hart – WWE business declined with Bret as the champ, but people forget it began to pick up again during his heel run in the summer of 1997 – just prior to the Screw Job.
10. John Cena – He’s been a modern day Hulk Hogan (white meat babyface) for the WWE for the past 15 years. WWE’s mainstream popularity hasn’t been great under his watch, but the business isn’t exactly in the toilet either.
9. Dusty Rhodes – No one was more entertaining with a microphone in their hand and Rhodes got over everywhere he went.
8. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper – Piper always made a good point in that Hulk Hogan wouldn’t have been as loved if he (Piper) hadn’t been so hated. Piper was the ultimate heel.
7. Shawn Michaels – Arguably the best in-ring worker ever, he was very good on the mic. Very good, but not great.
6. The Undertaker – He owned the coolest gimmick of all-time and took the thing to the next level. Bonus points, too, for longevity.
5. The Rock – He’s Ric Flair-level on the mic. If he hadn’t gone to Hollywood and had stuck around for a few more years he easily could have been No. 1 on this list.
4. “Macho Man” Randy Savage – Endlessly entertaining on the mic and in the ring. Nobody had a better combo of both.
3. Ric Flair – Not as athletic as Savage, but better on the mic. Flair is No. 1 on a lot of people’s lists, but he did most of his great work in the minor leagues of the NWA and WCW.
2. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin – Austin was the face of the WWF/WWE during its most popular period ever in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Great on the mic, great in the ring.
1. Hulk Hogan – Sorry wrestling geeks. It’s true. If you took a survey of 100 people on the streets of New York today – in 2017 – and asked them to name one pro wrestler, Hulk Hogan would still be mentioned more than anyone else. He was the first person in the history of man to take pro wrestling mainstream.