Danger Guerrero has been running Friday Conversations for a few weeks now over at Warming Glow, so I wanted to borrow (read: totally yank) the concept to engage the With Spandex commenting community in some meaningful pro graps conversation. Or engage them in calling each other morons, one or the other.
This week’s question: Who is the greatest pro wrestler of all time, and why?
You’ve got a reason for your answer, I’m sure. Maybe they were your favorite wrestler when you were a kid. Maybe they’ve been in all of your favorite matches. Maybe they high-fived you when you ran up to the railing and you’ve never forgotten it. There are no wrong answers. I think my criteria for attempting to objectively find a “greatest pro wrestler of all time” would take into consideration as many aspects of pro wrestling as possible … it’s hard to narrow down what being “good” at wrestling means, but you can say someone had good matches, drew money, had a long career, worked a lot of different styles, worked in a lot of different places, played both heel and face well, held championships, and so on.
Judging by all of those things at once in a big jumble, these are my top two picks:
Jushin Thunder Liger. He started wrestling in 1986 and is still going strong. His style helped revolutionize what junior heavyweight wrestling could be. He has a great look, an iconic character and he’s been in tons of memorable storylines. He’s worked babyface and heel (CTU represent) and has competed — and succeeded — all around the world. Japan, Mexico, the United States … the big leagues (WCW), the independents (ROH, NWA), everywhere. He’s drawn money. He’s held countless championships. He’s been one of the best high-flyers in the world, and when he got older he changed up his style to a more MMA, strike-based attack. Now he’s an amalgam of it all. He’s starred in movies and invented the shooting star press. You can’t get a much broader spectrum than that.
My other choice:
Rey Mysterio Jr. It’s a controversial choice because the last few years have been garbage, but everything you can say for Liger, you can say for Rey. He helped revolutionize cruiserweight wrestling in the United States. He’s competed everywhere, succeeded everywhere and held titles everywhere. He’s iconic. You can recognize him anywhere. While he never had a great heel run and has worked primarily as a face, he took that to a higher level in the US than Liger … the guy’s a multiple time champion in WWE, holding both the World Heavyweight and WWE Championships. He’d accomplished more by age 25 than most wrestlers accomplish ever, and the fact that his leg is made out of cardboard and he has to wrestle in a shirt now shouldn’t diminish that.
So, who do you think is the best wrestler ever?
Your choices below. Feel free to update and amend as you see fit, defend your selections, and talk it out amongst yourselves. Make your pick based on YOUR criteria, or see if you’ve got better choices that fit mine. Have fun with it. If you think Norman Smiley’s the best ever, defend it to the death.