I’ve been watching pro wrestling since I was three years old. Probably earlier than that, but my very first memory of a live event was at that age, when my dad took my brother and I to the then Maple Leaf Gardens to catch a house show. Well over three decades later, while times and house shows have evolved greatly since, I still remember the feeling of fascination I had, watching those stories unfold in the ring for the first time. The beauty is, I still get those goosebumps, whether I attend a house show, pay-per-view (PPV) event, or televised program live.
As a wrestling blogger, I’ve been a fan of the WWE during times where everyone was a fan and during those times where many snubbed the company and fluffed sports entertainment off as ‘fake’. While we die-hard wrestling fans might prefer the term ‘pre-determined’, the truth is, whenever I tell people what I do for a living, the question I always get is, “So, who’s your favorite wrestler?” And then it follows with who their favorites were when they watched.
Being a fan for so long, this is a very difficult question answer. Also, who has twenty minutes to hear me ramble, right? There are performers that I liked as a little girl, young woman, and many talents that rock it today. So, here goes, to anyone who has ever wondered … ‘who’s my favorite wrestler?’:
The Best There Is: If anyone of you WNZ fans follow my columns, you may have an inkling on who I am high on within the current roster. I’m fascinated with Bray Wyatt’s character and think he has a unique persona, wrestling style, and promo selection. I’m also a huge fan of women’s wrestling, with Charlotte, Becky Lynch, Bailey, Alexa Bliss, and Natalya leading the pack in terms of my personal favorites. Finn Balor, Seth (Freakin’) Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Shinuke Nakamura, and AJ Styles are doing incredible things on the main roster right now. I also have mad respect for The Miz’s mic skills and character development. There is still a soft spot for Dolph Ziggler in my heart; while he may be at a low point, he’s still fantastic on the mic and incredible in the squared circle. I’m also rooting for Cesaro to at some point break away from tag team action and shine as a high-level champion in singles competition.
The Best There Was: Now, this may be a longer list. When I was little, my dad had all kinds of wrestling on the television. He loved the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), World Class Wrestling Championship (WCCW), and others, including the WWE, then known as the World Wrestling Federation. Ric Flair was one of the first superstars I could remember as catching my attention, but I fondly remember Dusty Rhodes, the Fabulous Freebirds, Rock and Roll Express, and Andre the Giant. As I grew, we would watch more of WWF, some NWA, and less of other wrestling shows on television, but when Hulkamania hit, I caught the training, saying your prayers, eating your vitamins, and ‘believing in yourself’, mantra ‘hook, line, and sinker’ as they say.
Yup, I was a Hulkamaniac and I’m not afraid to admit it. I still have a huge Hulkster flag someone got me for a birthday in my basement and brought that thing to Wrestlemania 18 when he was fought The Rock and Hulkamania was officially re-born. I like to think that it’s because of that flag, but we all know that isn’t the case.
Yes, I adored Hulk Hogan, but as time wore on, I would grow to be fascinated with other superstars. I have mimicked the “Macho Man” Randy Savage’s voice and tried to recreate his promos while playing with my dollies in my bedroom (even though I secretly wanted to be Miss Elizabeth). I adored Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat and I loved the Ultimate Warrior, but was torn at Wrestlemania 6 as whether to cheer for him or Hulk Hogan. The Rockers would soon make my list as favorite tag team, and when they broke up, I hated Shawn Michaels … but that soon would change! Interestingly enough and despite being heel, Mr. Perfect was also a huge favorite of mine and I was constantly trying to master the spitting out of my gum and hitting it with my hand … still can’t do it … I’m so terrible with co-ordination!
Rounding off this list of favorites in the past: DX, The Hardy Boyz, Sting, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Eddie Guerrero, and despite the controversy I’m still going to list Chris Benoit. He was one of my favorites before the incident that rocked the wrestling world occurred in the summer of 2007; and I cried like a baby when he won the World Heavyweight title at Wrestlemania 20.
Best There Ever Will Be: Now, I know I’ve listed a lot of wrestlers, but I have over 35 years of viewership under my belt! Most long-time fans struggle with their ‘Mount Rushmore’ of wrestling, and I am one that has difficulty around this too. So, when it comes to my all-time favorites, I’d have to say, Ric Flair was definitely the reason I fell in love with wrestling. Hulk Hogan was the reason I stayed a wrestling fan … and Triple H kept me hanging on from my late teens, into my early twenties, and still amazes me now – both in the ring, on the mic, and behind the scenes. The interesting thing about HHH though, I was fascinated by his Hunter Hearst Helmsley gimmick from the get-go. I remember when I first saw him debut, I thought, “This guy is going to be big”; my fellow wrestling buddies at that time thought I was nuts.
Being a typical Canadian girl, I’ve always loved Bret Hart (even when he was a ‘heel), Edge and Christian, Chris Jericho, and Trish Stratus made me take a second look at women’s wrestling. In the mix and along the way, Shawn Michaels and John Cena have won my heart as a fan, and respect as a wrestling journalist. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Stephanie McMahon. While not considered a ‘wrestler’ per se, she is definitely a character I have enjoyed watching evolve over the years. One of the best of all time on that mic, and I respect what she’s done both inside and outside that squared circle.
So, there you have it, in a 1000 words or more, my favorites: the ones I like now, the ones I’ve loved, and the ones I think are the GOATs when it comes to sports entertainment.
You know mine, now I want to know yours! WNZ fans, list YOUR ‘best there is, best there was, and the best there ever will be’ wrestling superstars over the years, I’d love to hear them!