50. Chris Jericho
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Top 50 pro wrestlers of all time

50. Chris Jericho
The first undisputed world champion since the 1950s was one of the industry’s top stars of the past decade. (Getty photo)
49. Randy Orton
The youngest world champion in WWE history is among the biggest stars of the post-Attitude era. (Getty Images)
48: Goldberg
His time in the spotlight was short, but Goldberg was a key player during wrestling’s boom period in the late ‘90s. Even now, more than six years after his last match, fans still speculate as to whether he will make a comeback. (Getty photo)
47. Kurt Angle
He was one of the top stars in WWE from 1999 to 2006 before departing for TNA. While Angle hasn’t had a huge impact on buy rates and TV ratings in TNA, his mere presence there adds legitimacy to the company. (Handout photo)
46: The Ultimate Warrior
Regardless of what you may think of his wrestling ability, there’s no denying that he was one of the most memorable and talked-about wrestlers of the late ’80s and ’90s. (Handout photo courtesy of WWE.com)
45. Jimmy Snuka
A revolutionary high flyer who was perhaps the industry’s most popular wrestler for a couple years before Hulkamania exploded, his leaps off the top of a steel cage at Madison Square Garden in the ‘80s have become iconic. (Getty photo)
44. Jerry Lawler
One of the most successful stars of the territory days, “The King” was a legend for two decades in Memphis, where his popularity transcended wrestling. (Getty photo)
43. Mad Dog Vachon
Vachon (right), one of wrestling’s most vicious villains, won the AWA world title twice in the ’60s and remained a top star there into the early ’80s. (Getty photo)
Photo courtesy of WrestlingMuseum.com">42. Edouard Carpentier
Combing innovative high-flying moves with solid mat wrestling skills, Carpentier was one of wrestling’s top draws in the ‘50s and ‘60s. (Photo courtesy of WrestlingMuseum.com)
41. Mick Foley
Foley brought hardcore wrestling to the mainstream and became one of the most famous wrestlers in the industry during the boom period of the late ‘90s. Foley went on to become a best-selling author. (Getty photo)
Photo courtesy of WrestlingMuseum.com">40. Mil Mascaras
A legend in his native Mexico, Mascaras also was a popular attraction in the U.S. in the late ‘60s, ‘70s and early ‘80s, especially in areas with large Hispanic audiences. (Photo courtesy of WrestlingMuseum.com)
39. Fritz Von Erich
The patriarch of wrestling’s most famous family and the master of the Iron Claw was one of the leading heels of the ‘50s and ‘60s. (Handout photo courtesy of WWE.com)
38. Killer Kowalski
One of the top villains in wrestling for three decades, his reputation as a sadistic heel was established in the early ‘50s when he “ripped off” a portion of his opponent’s ear. (Handout photo courtesy of WWE.com)
37. Bob Backlund
“The All-American Boy” held the WWF title for nearly six years (1978-1983), although his career before his reign began and after it ended was far less distinguished. (Baltimore Sun photo by J. Pat Carter)
36. Ricky Steamboat
One of wrestling top babyfaces from the late ‘70s to the early ‘90s, he had a long, classic rivalry with Ric Flair and participated in what many regard as the greatest WrestleMania match in history against Randy Savage in 1987.  (Handout photo courtesy of WWE.com)
Photo courtesy of WrestlingMuseum.com">35. The Crusher
The barroom-brawling, cigar-smoking tough guy was a huge star in the AWA, where he held the world title three times between 1963 and 1965 and formed a legendary tag team with beer-drinking partner Dick The Bruiser. (Photo courtesy of WrestlingMuseum.com)
Photo courtesy of WrestlingMuseum.com">34. Dick The Bruiser
In a career that began in the ‘50s and spanned four decades, the former NFL star and one of wrestling’s all-time great brawlers was a big draw in numerous territories both as a singles and a tag team wrestler. (Photo courtesy of WrestlingMuseum.com)
33. Sting
The biggest star of the past 20-plus years to never work for WWE, he was the franchise player in the NWA/WCW from 1988 to 2000. In recent years, the 25-year veteran has been one of the top guys in TNA. (Getty photo)
Photo courtesy of WrestlingMuseum.com">32. Nick Bockwinkel
One of the greatest performers in the history of the AWA, he was world champion four times between 1975 and 1987 (including one reign that lasted nearly five years) and also formed a highly successful tag team with Ray Stevens. (Photo courtesy of WrestlingMuseum.com)
Photo courtesy of WrestlingMuseum.com">31. Pat O’Connor
The only wrestler in history to hold the NWA and AWA world titles simultaneously, the New Zealand native was a big star in the ‘50s and ‘60s and is considered one of the greatest scientific wrestlers ever. (Photo courtesy of WrestlingMuseum.com)
30. John Cena
Love him or hate him, almost every fan is passionate about him. The industry’s biggest star over the past five years and one of the top stars of the past decade, he also has become somewhat of a crossover celebrity. (Handout photo courtesy of WWE)
Photo courtesy of WrestlingMuseum.com">29. Harley Race
Rugged, no-nonsense wrestler is regarded as one of the legitimate tough guys in the business. He also is one of the most accomplished, having won the NWA world title eight times between 1973 and 1984. (Photo courtesy of WrestlingMuseum.com)
28. Bobo Brazil
Often referred to as “the Jackie Robinson of pro wrestling,” he is credited with breaking the color barrier in the industry and becoming its first African-American superstar. One of the leading babyfaces in the ‘60s and ‘70s, Brazil technically was the first black world champion, as he won the NWA title in 1962, but the change was never officially recognized.  (Handout photo courtesy of WWE.com)
Photo courtesy of WrestlingMuseum.com">27. Terry Funk
Perhaps more than any wrestler in history, he was able to adapt to the industry’s ever-changing landscape and remain a vital part of it. Performing in parts of five decades, Funk was NWA world champion from 1975 to 1977. Years later, he reinvented himself as a hardcore wrestler and was a key figure in putting ECW on the map. (Photo courtesy of WrestlingMuseum.com)
Photo courtesy of WrestlingMuseum.com">26. Bret Hart
One of the industry’s biggest stars as a singles competitor in the ‘90s, he also formed one of the all-time great tag teams with Jim Neidhart as The Hart Foundation. Hart participated in perhaps the most famous and controversial match of all time -- the Montreal Screwjob -- in 1997. (Photo courtesy of WrestlingMuseum.com)
Photo courtesy of WrestlingMuseum.com">25. Gene Kiniski
One of the top stars of the ‘60s, he is one of only two men to have held the NWA and AWA world titles in his career, and he also was a top contender for the WWWF title. The rugged performer was NWA champion from 1966 to 1969, which at the times was the second-longest reign in the promotion’s history. (Photo courtesy of WrestlingMuseum.com)
Photo courtesy of WrestlingMuseum.com">24. Johnny Valentine
He was one of the top stars and most hated heels in the business from the ‘50s to the mid ‘70s. Although he never won a world title, Valentine was a big draw in every territory he performed in and he held numerous regional championships. (Photo courtesy of WrestlingMuseum.com)
23. The Sheik
Long before the word “hardcore” entered the wrestling vernacular, he was specializing in violent matches filled with foreign objects and bloodshed. One of the most famous heels during the early days of television, he remained a big box office draw throughout the ‘70s. (Handout photo courtesy of WWE.com)
Photo courtesy of WrestlingMuseum.com">22. Ray Stevens
Regarded as one of the best all-around performers in the business in his prime and also one of the West Coast’s biggest drawing cards, his career spanned 42 years. Stevens participated in main event programs with everyone from Gorgeous George in the ‘50s to Jimmy Snuka in the ‘80s, and also was one half of two legendary tag teams, with Pat Patterson and Nick Bockwinkel. (Photo courtesy of WrestlingMuseum.com)
21. Superstar Billy Graham
With his bleached-blond hair, colorful ring attire, sculpted physique and gift of gab, the charismatic Graham is among the most influential figures in wrestling. Years before Hulkamania exploded, Graham was a true superstar at the box office in a number of promotions, including the WWWF, where he consistently sold out Madison Square Graden during his 10-month run as champion in 1977 and 1978. (Handout photo courtesy of WWE.com)
20. Triple H
He’s been one of the industry’s biggest stars for well over a decade. In addition to being a 13-time world champion, Triple H has participated in world title matches at eight WrestleManias and was on top during WWE’s peak year of 2000. He also was a member of DX, one of the most famous factions of all time. (Getty Images)
19. Randy Savage
The colorful and intense “Macho Man” was one of the most recognizable performers of the ’80s and ’90s. He worked memorable programs on the big stage with the likes of Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair, and his WrestleMania III match against Ricky Steamboat is considered by many to be the greatest in the history of the marquee event. (Handout photo)
Photo courtesy of WrestlingMuseum.com">18. Jack Brisco
A national amateur wrestling champion at Oklahoma, the two-time NWA world champion was one of the top stars of the ’70s. He also formed a highly successful tag team with his brother, Jerry. (Photo courtesy of WrestlingMuseum.com)
Photo courtesy of WrestlingMuseum.com">17. Dory Funk Jr.
He held the NWA world title from 1969 to 1973, the second-longest reign in the history of the promotion. As champion, he and Jack Brisco engaged in a classic series of matches that included a number of one-hour draws. (Photo courtesy of WrestlingMuseum.com)
16. Fred Blassie
The man who coined the term “pencil-neck geek” was among the vilest villains ever and one of wrestling’s biggest names from the ’50s to the ’70s. He was a top draw in several territories and was especially huge on the West Coast, where he became the area’s top babyface after years as a heel. (Handout photo courtesy of WWE.com)
15. Roddy Piper
He was Hulk Hogan’s main rival in the WWF during wrestling’s boom period in the mid ’80s. Prior to that, Piper was a top star in various NWA territories. Regarded as one of wrestling’s best heels, he also achieved huge success as a babyface. His “Piper’s Pit” segments were ground-breaking, and the one in which he smashed a coconut over Jimmy Snuka’s head is still talked more than 25 years later. (Handout photo)
14. Dusty Rhodes
The charismatic “American Dream” was one of the leading babyfaces of the ’70s and ’80s. He was a big draw everywhere he went, and at one point in the late ’70s he was a top star in the WWWF and NWA simultaneously. (Handout photo courtesy of WWE.com)
13. The Undertaker
“The Dead Man’s” 20-year run as a major star in WWE has been nothing short of phenomenal. One of wrestling’s all-time great big men, his undefeated streak at WrestleMania has become a key element of WWE’s signature event. (Photo by Steve Ruark / Special to The Baltimore Sun)
12. Shawn Michaels
Perhaps the best all-around performer in the history of the business, his high-flying style and bump-taking ability influenced a generation of wrestlers. He earned the moniker of “Mr. WrestleMania” for his show-stopping performances on the grand stage. Michaels also was a member of the incredibly popular DX, and he participated in perhaps the most controversial match of all time (the Montreal Screwjob in 1997). (Handout photo)
Photo courtesy of WrestlingMuseum.com">11. Antonino Rocca
Having introduced high-flying maneuvers into wrestling, he is among the most influential performers of all time. With a unique style in which his bare feet were used as weapons, Rocca was one of the key figures in wrestling’s popularity surge during the early days of television. Especially popular in the Northeast, he was a top draw all over the country in the ’50s, and his fame went beyond wrestling into the mainstream. (Photo courtesy of WrestlingMuseum.com)
9: The Rock
Only a handful of wrestlers in the history of the industry have achieved as much mainstream recognition as The Rock. Although his wrestling career lasted just eight years, “the most electrifying man in sports entertainment” left an indelible mark and was a key figure in the wrestling boom that began in the late ’90s. (Getty photo)
8. Steve Austin
For the first seven years of his career, he was a successful and respected wrestler, but main event status was elusive. Then he adopted the “Stone Cold” persona and became the biggest star during the industry’s biggest boom period. At his peak, Austin sold more merchandise than even Hulk Hogan at his peak. Unfortunately, chronic neck injuries forced him into retirement in 2003 at age 38. (Handout photo)
Photo courtesy of WrestlingMuseum.com">7. Buddy Rogers
The original “Nature Boy” is perhaps the best-drawing heel ever and is among the most influential performers of all time. Rogers, the top box office attraction of the ’50s and early ’60s, held the NWA world title in from 1961 to 1963, and he became the first WWWF champion in 1963 after losing the NWA belt. For nearly 30 years, he held the distinction of being the only man to have held both titles. (Photo courtesy of WrestlingMuseum.com)
6. Gorgeous George
The flamboyant bleached-blond is credited with revolutionizing the industry with his showmanship. In addition to blazing a trail in the late ’40s and early ’50s with his cocky, effeminate heel persona, he also was the first wrestler to become a household name and rub elbows with the top celebrities of the day. George helped make wrestling was one of the biggest hit shows on network TV during the early days of television. (Photo courtesy of wwe.com)
5. Andre The Giant
Billed at 7 feet 4 and anywhere from 400 to 500 pounds, he truly was a larger than life figure and one of the most famous wrestlers and top gate attractions of all time. Andre was under contract to the WWWF, but he also drew big crowds in territories all over the country in the ’70s and early ’80s. He participated in two of the most famous matches of all time, both against Hulk Hogan, at WrestleMania III in 1987 and the following year on an NBC prime time special. (Photo courtesy of wwe.com)
4. Ric Flair
The words “world champion” and “Ric Flair” have been synonymous ever since he won the first of his 16 world titles in 1981. “The Nature Boy” is perhaps the industry’s most complete performer when it comes to combining showmanship, microphone skills and in-ring ability. Flair, who still mixes it up in the ring on occasion, has wrestled in five decades. (Photo courtesy of wwe.com)
Photo courtesy of WrestlingMuseum.com">3. Bruno Sammartino
The appropriately named “Living Legend” is one of the most beloved wrestlers ever. He won the WWWF title for the first time in 1963 and went on to sell out Madison Square Garden more times than anyone in history. Sammartino continued to be one of wrestling’s top draws into the early ’80s. His first title reign didn’t end until 1971, and then he regained the championship in 1973 and held it until 1977. (Photo courtesy of WrestlingMuseum.com)
Photo courtesy of WrestlingMuseum.com">2. Lou Thesz
For several decades during his active career, Thesz was considered the greatest wrestler and most respected world champion in the industry. He became the youngest world champion ever when he won the NWA title in 1937 at the age of 21. During a subsequent NWA title reign that lasted from 1948 to 1956, he won several unification matches against world title claimants from other promotions to become recognized as the undisputed world champion. Thesz’s victory over Buddy Rogers for the NWA title in 1963 forever changed the wrestling landscape, as it led to Northeast promoters pulling out of the NWA and forming the WWWF. (Photo courtesy of WrestlingMuseum.com)
1. Hulk Hogan
The biggest star in the history of the industry and an iconic figure in pop culture, the 12-time world champion’s name has become synonymous with pro wrestling. When Vince McMahon needed a charismatic babyface world champion to build around as he was taking the Northeast-based WWF national in 1983, Hogan was the perfect choice. With Hogan on top, wrestling’s popularity soared to an unprecedented level, including a return to network television after a 30-year absence. After more than a decade as wrestling’s top babyface, Hogan turned heel in WCW in 1996 and again was a key figure in a huge resurgence in mainstream popularity for wrestling. Hogan eventually returned to WWE in 2002, and he and The Rock engaged in one of the most memorable matches of all time at WrestleMania X-8. (Handout photo)
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