We are certainly hitting the home stretch! Now that we are getting into the top 40 of the Greatest Wrestlers of All Time, we are starting to get to the point where we know who is in the Top 40… We just wonder where they are going to fall. Please be sure to check the other links as well to get the full list.
40. Jerry Lawler
If there was a list of iconic feuds that legitimized professional wrestling as a universal spectacle and not just a random watch in the “smokey bingo halls,” as people love to call it, it would Andy Kaufman vs. Jerry Lawler. Together the two men blazed a path for future professional wrestlers and lead to the show that we see today.
But the Kaufman v. Lawler feud only scratches the surface of Lawler’s accomplishments. The “King of Memphis Wrestling” Lawler has a list of accomplishment as long as my torso to my leg. The man was a legend of the territories and became one of the most well known commentators in WWE history along with his partner, Jim Ross, and later Michael Cole and company. Lawler may have had his share of legal troubles in the past, but that does not discount the fact that Lawler is one of the best wrestlers of all time who has certainly left his mark on numerous aspects of the industry.
39. Chris Jericho
Who can now lovingly be called WWE’s middle-aged-crisis dad is a man who has been a mainstay in professional wrestling since the early 90’s. What started out as an amazing cruiserweight, working in the WCW’s Cruiserweight division during the height of its success, Chris Jericho transitioned into one of the greatest wrestlers to ever live.
The man’s talent was through the roof, generating some of the greatest matches of all time. He was a star on the stick and still is to this day. He is able to get fucking paper over for goodness sake! Plus, no matter what, Chris Jericho fits in perfectly wherever the WWE puts him. They need him as the main event level talent, he is there; they need him to build another character; he is there; They need him to be a comedy act; he is there. No matter what Jericho has the ability and charisma to mold himself to whatever situation a company needs which easily earns him a spot as one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, whose spot is only going to keep rising.
38. Shane Douglas
Shane Douglas is the voice and the symbol of an era of professional wrestling. While not having a great deal of success beyond ECW, Shane Douglas was the franchise that spearheaded a counter cultural icon. While Paul Heyman was the brains, Shane Douglas was certainly the brawn. Sure, wrestlers like Sabu and Sandman may have been the more embodiment of the promotion, Shane Douglas was the first to truly drive what it means to be extreme.
His promo, throwing the NWA belt down and championing the ECW belt as the true belt worth having is one of the most iconic moments in wrestling history. Being a wrestler that ruled the roost and was a figure head for a counter cultural generation that was the early to mid 90’s earns him a spot in the top 50.
37. Roddy Piper
One of the best talkers of all time, nobody competed with the charisma and raw emotion that Roddy Piper brought on a daily basis. A true maestro that could play face and heel, no matter what, Piper was easily able to back up what he said on the stick in the ring as well. Often considered to be one of the greatest wrestlers to never win the big belt, Piper did not need a world championship reign to define the fact that he was one of the best foils to any hero in pro wrestling, which included the likes of Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage.
36. Tatsumi Fujinami
The product of Antonio Inoki, Tatsumi Fujinami is an innovator of Japanese style wrestling who is a recent addition to the WWE Hall of Fame. Fujinami was one of the first wrestlers to truly blend the Western and Eastern styles of professional wrestling. He was one of the fore bearers of New Japan Pro Wrestling and was the head of WWE’s international presence, winning the WWF International Championship three times before it was retired in the mid 80’s.
35. Big Daddy
American fans might only have a general knowledge of who Big Daddy was, only rarely mentioned when British Wrestling is brought up, but the truth is that Big Daddy may very well be the biggest British wrestler in the history of wrestling. The man was larger than life in many ways. He was a mammoth of a man who played rugby, is in the book of world records for having a 64 inch chest, and was the living embodiment of big British men who was out to dominate.
34. Genichiro Tenryu
Genichiro Tenryu may very well be one of the greatest wrestlers in the history of All Japan Pro Wrestling. While the company has fallen on hard times over the years due to poor management and the exodus that would become Pro Wrestling Noah, back in the day, AJPW was twice the size and strength of NJPW. Tenryu was the flagship of when this occurred and made several appearances in WWE, NWA, and WCW. As his career began to wind down, he would later be one of the big names for NJPW at the turn of the millenia.
33. Gory Guerrero
The patriarch of the Guerrero Family dynasty, Gory Guerrero may very well have been the most well known Guerrero until Eddie Guerrero took that legacy into the mid 2000’s. The innovator of the Gory Special as well as the camel clutch, Gory Guerrero was one of the most well known Mexican wrestlers during the early days of professional wrestling in the 1930’s and into the 1960’s. He would later go on to have six children such as Chavo Guerrero Sr, Hector Guerrero, and Eddie Guerrero.
32. Lou Thesz
Lou Thesz may very well be one of the biggest wrestling names from the early era of the 1930’s. This may primarily be for the fact that Stone Cold Steve Austin habitually used the Lou Thesz Press in his repertoire and Jim Ross would sell it like a boss… But still, beyond that, Lou Thesz was a pioneer in the business. Championing the early day National Wrestling Alliance, Thesz was a three time NWA Champion in an era when one time holding the belt was enough to mean the wrestler was a legend. The man was a beast who wrestled from the 30’s all the way up to 1990. He would later pass away due to complications with a triple bypass, but he left behind a legacy that would pave the way for wrestling today.
31. Ricky Steamboat
Representing one of the biggest names of wrestling during the seventies, eighties, and into the nineties, Ricky Steamboat was one of the more reserved of wrestlers. While he was certainly great on the microphone, Steamboat let his mechanics do the talking for him. His traditional ideals made him the perfect foil for the high styling Ric Flair, creating one of the greatest feuds in wrestling history. While Dusty Rhodes and Ric Flair’s personalities carried the wrestler to higher heights, Ricky Steamboat may very well be one of the most underrated wrestlers of all time.
Thank you for reading, if you enjoyed this please return for the top 30 greatest wrestlers of all time and be sure to check out 100-41!