One would be hard-pressed to find a more passionate group of fans than those who love professional wrestling. And the entertainment has evolved as the audience got older. Some of the most heated debates you’ll hear are adults talking about WWE. Everyone has opinions on who the greatest WWE wrestler of all time is, but these five take the cake.
While Hogan’s reputation might’ve taken a dive in recent years, there was a time where he was an unstoppable force in the world of wrestling, reports Bleacher Report. Not only was he the sort of charismatic, lewd, and rambunctious personality wrestling fans eat up, but he expanded his brand past wrestling into the worlds of sports, entertainment, and food.
Part of Hogan’s appeal is his longevity. Since joining the wrestling world nearly 40 years ago, he has been in and out of the spotlight. Heel turns, famous matches against Andre the Giant, and brief marriages with other brands make him a wrestling world staple.
‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage
Randy Poffo, The Spider, The Big Geno, Bonesaw, Mr. Madness, Destroyer, Executioner, Macho Man Randy Savage was a man of many names. He was flamboyant, loud, and raspy. While the staged nature of wrestling draws the ire of people who don’t understand, Savage put his body on the line for entertainment. And he became a fan-favorite because of it.
When Savage died of a heart attack in 2011, millions of fans mourned as one of the most popular names in the history of wrestling was taken from them. To this day, tributes pour in as a testament to the fallen hero.
Like Savage, Bret Hart was a force in changing how wrestling was viewed by a mainstream audience. Athleticism was always part of the game. But Hart showed that while the storylines may be scripted, wrestling’s technical skill was not. When the WWF saw a spike in the ’90s, it was largely thanks to Hart’s acrobatic persona.
Hart held championships in five different decades. Although he retired in 2000, he’s appeared in the ring sporadically, even winning another belt in 2010. Hart remains in the spotlight doing wrestling events and occasional publicity stunts to this day.
Stone Cold Steve Austin
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If ’80s kids had Hulk Hogan to look up to, ’90s kids had Stone Cold Steve Austin. Just as much a caricature as Hogan and Savage were, Austin’s persona had a believable tint. While people didn’t know him, they likely knew somebody similar in tone and aesthetic to him. Austin loved to be hated and embraced his villainy to the applause of fans everywhere.
Like Hogan, Austin became a household name outside of the wrestling ring. He appeared in television and movies at the height of his popularity. To this day, he is a staple at wrestling events, film shoots, and nostalgic interviews reflecting on his glory days.
The other names on this list were caricatures of believable people, but The Undertaker ventured into the undead realm when he reached the height of his popularity. From family feuds with his half-brother Kane to the ever-popular 21-match streak at WrestleMania, The Undertaker built a career on fear, brute strength, and larger-than-life size.
The Undertaker is equal parts frightening and endearing to fans. When he lost to Brock Lesnar in 2014, an era ended for one of wrestling’s most decorated fighters. To this day, The Undertaker graces the ring with his morbid aesthetic and brutal stylings despite being in his mid-fifties.