30: Bam Bam Bigelow
Criminally underrated. He was a big guy who could really move. He was able to work with power and speed. It seemed like WCW and WWF didn’t ever quite know how to use him. He really excelled wrestling guys like Taz in ECW. He never got the push he really deserved, but does click off a box as being one of the immortals to main event a Wrestlemania. The reason they had Bigelow wrestle Lawrence Taylor? Bigelow had a reputation of being able to get a good match out of nearly anyone. A less appreciated Bret Hart.
Greatest Match/Feud: It’s actually super impressive watching him carry Lawrence Taylor to a good match at Wrestlemania 10. Bigelow vs. Barry Windham at Starrcade 88. Bigelow vs. Taz at ECW Living Dangerously 98.
29: Jerry Lawler
Lets put aside his WWF run, which was fine. He is back as an announcer on Raw. He has been with WWE in some capacity since 1993, and that’s what he is most known for. But that really doesn’t do justice to how great of a wrestler he was, and how important he was to the Memphis wrestling scene. In the 1970’s and 1980’s, Jerry Lawler was THE GUY. Whether he was running as a face or heel, he was the marquee attraction during the waning years of the territory era. Most wrestlers would travel from territory to territory to stay fresh and start new feuds. Lawler was able to do it while staying in Memphis.
Greatest Match/Feud: His feud with Andy Kaufman. His feud with Terry Funk in Memphis.
28: Bruiser Brody
Bruiser Brody is the prototype for where Japanese wrestling would peak over the ensuing three decades after his murder. Beyond that, he put up epic matches in WCCW in the 80’s against everyone that mattered, like the Von Erichs and Ric Flair. WCCW originated out of Dallas and, in it’s prime, was able to sell out old Cowboys Stadium. Brody was always on those shows, usually high up the card, the culmination of a blood feud.
It’s worth remembering that in its day, WCCW was the second or third biggest wrestling company in the country, behind only WWF and Crockett Promotions. Part of what made them great was their ability to bring in stars like Brody, who played their character just one degree off of being a serial killer, and could make you genuinely believe he was going to kill someone in the ring.
Greatest Match/Feud: Brody vs. Great Kabuki in a Texas Deathmatch Style Cage Match for WCCW in 1981.
27: Brock Lesnar
Hate him all you want, Brock Lesnar makes your current favorite WWE wrestler matter. Since he started leaving WWE to fight in MMA, his appearances have taken on more meaning, as have his rivalries. Not just anyone was going to break the Undertaker’s Wrestlemania streak.
The complaints are that he isn’t around enough and doesn’t defend the title enough, which is kind of turning a blind eye to the glory days of wrestling in the 80’s. Hulk Hogan very rarely defended his title, at least not in any kind of serious way. Beating The Genius in four minutes on an episode of Saturday Night Main Event does not count. There was a time that when the Heavyweight Title was on the line, it was at a major show, not every Raw episode originating out of Poughkeepsie.
Greatest Match/Feud: Lesnar vs. Undertaker at Wrestlemania 30. Lesnar’s rivalry with Kurt Angle in 2003.
26: Rey Mysterio Jr.
The only reason he isn’t higher on the list is due to the massive blind spot much of his WWE run was for me. He was absolutely fantastic in WCW, in the incredibly, incredibly underappreciated-in-it’s-time cruiserweight division. He was great in the early ECW days in his matches with Juventud Guerrera.
It’s a shame he didn’t get a bigger run in WCW and got saddled with racially stereotyped gimmicks, because it wasn’t hard to see then how big of a star he could be.
Greatest Match/Feud: His feud in WCW with Juventud Guerrera. Any match with Mysterio and Eddie Guerrero or Psicosis in ECW. Mysterio in the 2006 Royal Rumble.
25: CM Punk
Yes, everyone. I’m from the Chicago Suburbs. I love the Cubs and Black Hawks. I love great mic work and anti-heroes. CM Punk should be higher on my list, but let me give a brief timeline of my experience watching Punk. In 2001-2002, I was him wrestle in the Lunatic Wrestling Federation in Lemont. Then next time I saw him wrestle was in 2013, when I got back into wrestling, which coincides with when he was starting to get out of wrestling. That being said, it doesn’t take much to go back and watch how brilliant he was when he was locked in to a feud that really interested him. If Punk had come around 5 years later and was hitting his absolute stride right now in 2019, then he would be the biggest star in the world and the prospect of a Kenny Omega/CM Punk match would be the only thing people talked about when they fantasy booked.
Greatest Match/Feud: Pipebomb on Raw. His entire feud with John Cena in 2011.
24: Kurt Angle
He is only this low because of his lack of longevity. The work he did do was phenomenal. **Note: No, I’m not counting his TNA run. This is my list, and I didn’t watch TNA. Don’t like it? Make your own list** Beyond the fact that he was a fantastic wrestler, Angle played the perfect comic foil in the Attitude Era. He was able to elevate feuds with everyone from HHH, to Stone Cold, to the Rock by being such a great character on the mic.
Greatest Match/Feud: Angle vs. Eddie Guerrero at Wrestlemania 20. Angle vs. Chris Benoit at the 2003 Royal Rumble. All of his backstage stuff with Steve Austin and Vince McMahon over the years.
23: Scott Steiner
Lost in the bizarre promos, chain mail, and terrifying sized muscles is the fact that Scott Steiner was completely ahead of his time. He was doing hurricanranas and backflip power slams when guys like PN News and Norman the Lunatic were sitting on people as a finisher.
Steiner evolved into one of the most underappreciated wrestlers in WCW back when WCW mattered. He was prone to having great matches with everyone from DDP to Goldberg.
Greatest Match/Feud: Steiner Brothers vs. Sting and Lex Luger at Superbrawl 1. Scott Steiner vs. Goldberg at Fall Brawl 2000.
22: Kenny Omega
Omega is the guy at this point in the list most likely to jump into the top 10 when it’s all said and done. His style combines everything that every smark is looking for in wrestling. He is a high flyer. He is a brawler. He is a bruiser. His ability to combine these styles makes him a wrestling unicorn, and one of the biggest stars in the world.
There is no doubt that he is going to be the superstar that gets pushed most heavily in AEW. Omega is the Sting of this generation in the sense that he is going to be fantasy booked against WWE guys forever.
Greatest Match/Feud: The Omega vs. Okada trilogy is the modern Flair/Steamboat. Any of the matches. They are all epic.
21: Jake the Snake Roberts
Jake Roberts scared me as a kid. Him and Undertaker were nightmare fuel for 6 year old me. As I grew older, I was able to wrap my head around the brilliance of what he was, and how he went about doing his job. He was a near perfect promo cutter. Instead of the bombastic, over-the-top promos that Randy Savage and Ultimate Warrior cut over the years, Roberts was measured, and quiet sometimes to the point of whisper. He was a master of psychology and his in-ring skill was incredibly underrated. When people talk about the greatest wrestlers of all time to never win the WWF title, his name is always one of the first ones mentioned.
Greatest Match/Feud: Roberts vs. Randy Savage. Roberts vs. Ricky Steamboat in a snake pit match.
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