The 100 Greatest Professional Wrestlers of All-Time

Methodology.

RankingWrestler
1Hulk Hogan
2Ric Flair
3“Stone Cold” Steve Austin
4The Undertaker
5The Rock
6John Cena
7Shawn Michaels
8“Macho Man” Randy Savage
9Bret Hart
10Andre The Giant
11Lou Thesz
12Buddy Rogers
13Bruno Sammartino
14Triple H
15Harley Race
16Dusty Rhodes
17Sting
18Mick Foley
19Gorgeous George
20Chris Jericho
21Kurt Angle
22Randy Orton
23Ted DiBiase
24Roddy Piper
25Terry Funk
26Brock Lesnar
27Daniel Bryan
28Edge
29Scott Hall
30Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat
31Seth Rollins
32Roman Reigns
33Nick Bockwinkel
34Jake “The Snake” Roberts
35Kane
36Jerry “The King” Lawler
37AJ Styles
38John Moxley
39Bob Backlund
40The Big Show
41“Superstar” Billy Graham
42Mr. Pefect
43CM Punk
44Chris Benoit
45Big Van Vader
46Dory Funk Jr.
47Jack Brisco
48Bruiser Brody
49Pedro Morales
50Kevin Nash
51Rick Rude
52The Ultimate Warrior
53Vern Gagne
54The Miz
55Stan Hansen
56Jimmy Snuka
57Dick the Bruiser
58Ray Stevens
59Booker T.
60Rey Mysterio
61DDP
62The Sheik
63Jeff Hardy
64Eddie Guerrero
65Kenny Omega
66Drew McIntyre
67Goldberg
68Lex Luger
69Bam Bam Bigelow
70Ed “the Strangler” Lewis
71Abdullah the Butcher
72Cody Rhodes
73Kerry Von Erich
74Bray Wyatt
75Batista
76Bobby Lashley
77Scott Steiner
78The British Bulldog
79Sgt. Slaughter
80Goldust
81RVD
82Rick Martel
83Rick Steiner
84Arn Anderson
85Sabu
86Ron Simmons
87Killer Kowalski
88Road Warrior Hawk
89Dynamite Kid
90Terry Gordy
91JBL
92The Crusher
93Wahoo McDaniel
94Owen Hart
95Gene Kiniski
96Michael Hayes
97Kevin Von Erich
98Junkyard Dog
99Tully Blanchard
100Paul Orndorf

25 thoughts on “The 100 Greatest Professional Wrestlers of All-Time

  1. Goldust Brian Pullman Tully Blanchard The Crusher Rick Martell Cody Rhodes Chris Benoit and several others not in top 100

  2. I appreciate the comment.

    It’s hard to make that argument for each of the wrestlers you mentioned, let alone all of them. There’s no question that it becomes akin to splitting hairs the further down the list you go. It’s not a coincidence that six of the seven you named are outside of the top 70.

    I would love to hear who belongs in the place of the seven you mentioned. Keep in mind…

    Benoit is a top-100 wrestler of all-time by any standard that doesn’t include personal transgressions.

    Cody is the brains and the face behind the WWE’s first legitimate competition since WCW died. He was a decent wrestler in the WWE (the “Dashing Cody Rhodes” gimmick is underrated) but his WWE work is not what gets him on the list. He did the unthinkable and created WWE’s first legitimate competition in nearly two decades. His impact on the industry is significant and it’s likely only to go up from here.

    Goldust’s character is one of the most controversial and longstanding in the history of professional wrestling. If you were around in ’95 when it debuted, you know how cutting edge it was. All told, Dustin has wrestled for 33 years and won 18 belts between WWE and WCW. It would be very difficult to argue that someone else should be on this list ahead of him.

    I’d be happy to go on about Martel, Tully, Pillman, and The Crusher but I’ll leave it at that for now.

      1. Any comment on a top 100 list advocating for Greg The Hammer Valentine is completely illegitimate.

        As tempting as it is to put as much thought and effort into my comment as you did yours, I’m going to choose to support my viewpoint with words. I love me some Hammer. First and foremost, there have been thousands of professional wrestlers over the years. Valentine would be one of the next 5-10 on the list if I expanded it to 150 or so which is pretty lofty considering all of the great performers who have come and gone. There are many reasons why Valentine doesn’t rate higher on my list. He had some notable feuds in the territories with Ric Flair, Roddy Piper, and Wahoo McDaniel. However, when wrestling took off in the mid-80s, Valentine was quickly relegated to mid-card and tag-team status. From 1984 until he left the big-time scenes in 1998, Valentine was too much in the background to beat out the other players on this list. After a brief IC run in the WWF, he was never in the title picture, he essentially stopped dropping promos, and didn’t evolve his character in any way unless you count dyeing his hair black to appease Elvis. If you go down the list of qualities tht make for an elite top-tier performer, Valentine doesn’t score high in any category. He was a consummate professional with a good nickname. To hit the top-100, you gotta bring more to the table.

    1. I’ve got a solid explanation on RVD and it goes something like this… I mistakenly deleted his name. 🤷‍♂️ I have a master list that I transfer names to and from and somehow he got lost in the wash. He was a candidate for the back half of the top 100 for sure. I’ll definitely get him properly rated for the next update (whether he ends up in the top 100 or HM will depend on a few factors). The next update will probably happen after WrestleMania; there are some current superstars who have made major moves since the initial list was revealed (Bobby Lashley etc.) which I suspect will ultimately decide RVDs fate. Thanks for pointing out RVD’s omission!

  3. Hey Inferno!

    There is a separate women’s list. Chyna (2) and Lita (4) feature prominently.

    Rey Mysterio is #60! Jeff Hardy is #63!

    X-Pac and Matt Hardy are on the fringe.

    X-Pac is an interesting case. On one hand, he was in DX and the NWO. On the other hand, the biggest accomplishments of his career were being in DX and the NWO. He was a fantastic wrestler and had a few memorable angles (the 1-2-3 Kid/Razor angle that put him on the big stage was one of the better angles ever) but he was a support guy. For me, he’s just outside of the top 100.

    Matt Hardy hasn’t had the same singles spotlight as Matt even though I think his Broken Matt Hardy gimmick could’ve been much, much bigger with the right creative.

  4. Hey Sally!

    Bobby Lashley will be moving into the top-100 after my next update (after WrestleMania). It took him a while to get here but he’s a superstar and has made enough of a mark to crack the list. Given what he’s accomplished in the last year, he’ll likely debut in a strong position.

    Braun Strowman was criminally underutilized in the WWE. He is a sure-fire top-100 talent but the creative failed him. I was hoping he’d land with AEW where he could realize his potential as the top heel in a company. His WWE run had some good moments but it was unsatisfying overall and I don’t think his career is strong enough to break into the top-100, yet. Lashley laid the blueprint for a massive talent to find his groove late in his career so hopefully, we’ll be seeing the same from Braun.

    Given Samoa Joe is #100 and given Bobby Lashley (at a minimum) will be entering the list as of the next update, it’s safe to say Joe’s time on the list will be coming to an end soon. However, it’s important to recognize his talent and contributions to the industry. Although his WWE run ended unceremoniously and without the same success we were used to seeing from him, he was a massive star in promotions all over the world for nearly two decades. After WCW died in 2001, the WWE’s consolidation of talent made it virtually impossible for a competitor to emerge. That didn’t mean wrestling outfits weren’t trying. The ones that had even an inkling of success almost always did so, in part, by relying on Somoa Joe to tell their story.

  5. The Iron Sheik is worthy of consideration on a list like this and he does nab a spot on “The Next 100” list. However, he’s just not in the same category as the rest of the wrestlers in the top 100. He did a great job filling the foreign heel role in the 80s with Nikolai Volkoff but he’s probably most known for being the wrestler that Hulk Hogan beat to win his first WWF Heavyweight Championship. Sheik held the belt once for less than a month and then was quickly tossed into the tag team ranks with Volkoff. It’s hard to come up with a defining angle that Sheik was a major player in. Volkoff and Sheik were relevant for a few years as a tag team but beyond that, his career is pretty nondescript. I’d argue the most significant angle he ever participated in was Sgt Slaughter’s betrayal of America angle when he portrayed Colonel Mustafa. That’s not going to cut it on a list as talented as this one.

  6. Your list is pretty good and I can’t argue with it too much. But an honorable mention could be made for Jesse The Body Ventura, Mad Dog Vachon, Tommy Wildfire Rich, Michael Hayes, Marty Jannetty and Larry the Ax (aka Pretty Boy) Henning. Those guys were all champions and stars in their day.

    1. Hey Josiah,

      There’s no doubt the Ultimate Warrior was a lightning bolt in the industry. Like a lightning bolt, he was flashy, electric, powerful, and memorable. However, also like a lightning bolt, he was short-lived and destructive. This what I wrote when describing the methodology for this list:

      “The Ultimate Warrior was a pop culture icon. At Wrestlemania 7, he became the first person to cleanly pin Hulk Hogan in nine years. He would send Macho Man into retirement the following year in the first and only career vs. career match in Wrestlemania history. He starred in Slim Jim commercials, appeared on Regis & Kathy Lee and the Arsenio Hall Show, and was adorned to Wrestling Buddies and Hasbro figures alike. His popularity would eclipse even that of the Immortal Hulk Hogan. So, it would make sense if his legacy was mistaken for more than what it was.

      The reality is that Warrior had a reputation for working stiff (unintentionally hurting his opponent). His skill-set was limited to a few basic moves. He gassed himself out sprinting to the ring, leading to short matches. He delivered rambling promos that did nothing to further storylines. Worse yet, he was notoriously unreliable. Without this additional context, it would be easy to overrate his legacy.”

  7. Two things I’m curious about. Why does Hawk outrank Animal so much? Super surprised by that. What a rush! Secondly, what puts Nash at 50? I thought he was pretty impacted. Am I misremembering Big Sexy?

    1. Hey Anthony!
      Great questions, specifically on the difference in ranking between Hawk and Animal. Obviously, they are by most accounts the greatest tag team in North American wrestling history. They made their mark in the tag team ranks and their work there carries the most weight when evaluating their careers. FWIW, Animal would likely rate in the first 10-15 spots outside the top 100. Hawk edges Animal for a few reasons. Here they are in no particular order:

      1). Hawk had more singles success both in North America and overseas. He challenged Ric Flair for the NWA World Heavyweight Title at two major NWA events in 1987 and 1988 and challenged Rick Rude for the WCW International World Heavyweight Championship in 1993. Animal never got that kind of spotlight outside of the Road Warriors.

      2). Hawk was the mouthpiece for the tag team, he was the stronger worker in the ring for the tag team, and his iconic, grizzly, “Oooooh, what a rush!” hook is in the pantheon of wrestling catchphrases.

      Obviously, Animal was a huge part of the Road Warriors and is an absolute legend in his own right. I just think there is a bit of a difference between their resumes.

      As for Nash, there is no doubt he was impactful. The NWO angle might be the greatest in history. He thrived both as a singles and a tag team performer. The reason he doesn’t rate higher than 50 is based on a few factors. First, he was never THE guy. Second, he was not an elite worker. Third, there wasn’t a lot of character versatility. Yes, he won world championships but that is different than being THE guy and, yes, he was a good worker for his size, but that’s different than being an elite worker. I look at a guy like Scott Hall (Nash’s cohort in the NWO and “The Outsiders”) and Hall is superior in just about every category I used to evaluate wrestling resumes. IMO, Hall is Nash’s ceiling on a list like this. Then it comes down to what other big men rate ahead of Nash. That might be something I revisit in the future. I currently have Vader, The Big Show, and Kane ahead of Nash. There are compelling arguments he should be rated behind all three and, frankly, equally compelling arguments he should be rated ahead of all three. It really just comes down to how much credit you give Nash as the third-best player in the original NWO and how much you factor in his limited in-ring work. Longevity plays a big part, too. Nash stuck around for a minute but nothing compared to the runs near the top by Kane and The Big Show.

  8. Hey man. I just have one question….How in the hell is Abdullah the Butcher on this list? AND he’s higher than Batista? Batista is ranked 75 out of 100??? Please explain….

    1. Abdullah the Butcher wrestled for 62 years. He wrestled everyone from Lou Thesz to Mick Foley. He was a special attraction known for his brutal feuds with the likes of The Shiek and Bruiser Brody. Abdullah the Butcher was hardcore before hardcore was hardcore. Batista had an exceptional physique and certainly moved well for his size. He was a headliner for a brief run before moving on to Hollywood. Comparing these two is like comparing Apples to Pepperoni. Both have vastly different career resumes and character types. I’ll go with the guy who pioneered a style decades before it would be embraced by wrestling fans and in-ring performers.

  9. No list is ever going to make everyone happy. I’ve looked at a number of top 100 wrestlers and am usually so sick to my stomach by the time I get up to #80 that I quit reading and just flash to the top 10 before throwing up in my mouth. I’m sure I could find 10-15 guys who may be more deserving than some near the bottom of your list but I’m not going. Instead I’m going to salute your list as of all the ones I’ve looked at it is clearly the best one I’ve seen. So hats off, job well done sir!

  10. Hey Carl!

    The advantage that Bray Wyatt has in terms of creativity and evolution of character is substantial. In fact, I think it’s such that it offsets any advantage Batista has over Wyatt in other areas. Although, I’m not sure in what areas Batista does have an advantage. The only negative for Wyatt is that he was badly misused in the WWE. Otherwise, he’d be much, much higher on the list.

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