Wayne's World: The Greatest WWE Wrestler of All Time - Grand Final
Jan 2, 2014 - 3:05:28 PM
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Well here we are, after a couple of months of voting we have made it to the Grand Final of the tournament to name the Greatest WWE wrestler of all time. Back at the beginning we started with 432 different wrestlers who had competed for the WWE and now we have made it to the final 3. One of the following guys will outlive 431 wrestlers to be named The Greatest WWE wrestler of All-Time.
Steve Austin 74 beat Bruno Sammartino 17 & Mick Foley 5
The Undertaker 45 beat Shawn Michaels 32 & Randy Savage 19
Bret Hart 47 beat John Cena 34 & Chris Jericho 14
Now before you vote let's take a look at our three finalists. I have asked three other writers all to argue the case for their choice of winner, so let's get this show on the road.
(63) Steve Austin
6*WWF Champion, 2*Intercontinental Champion, 4*Tag Champion, Million Dollar Champion
3*Royal Rumble winner, King of the Ring winner
Hall of Fame (class of 2009)
R1: beat Shannon Moore, Shawn Stasiak & Killer Khan
R2: beat Randy Orton, Roddy Piper & Headbanger Thrasher
QF: beat Mark Henry & CM Punk
SF: beat Bruno Sammartino & Mick Foley
Subho: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin is a name that rings true with every Attitude Era fan; one of the most iconic names in the history of WWE. He is credited as being the torchbearer of the Attitude Era and he lived that notion. His brash style of wrestling, captivating promo delivery and just his overall badassery drew many fans ranging from all generations. It is no surprise that he has made it this far in this tournament and there should be no doubt in your mind about who to vote for…
Perhaps the biggest point in Austin’s career was the “Austin 3:16 Promo”. One promo that changed the course of the wrestling industry forever. The catchphrase that was heard ‘round the world. Austin became an overnight sensation and his merchandise sales blew the roof. Austin soon became the biggest star WWE had seen since the days of Hulk Hogan and many believed that he was on his way to eclipse him. In the ring, he surely did. Austin’s matches with the likes of Bret Hart, Owen Hart and The Rock are still remembered as being some of the best matches ever seen. And it is not even about how successful he was in kayfabe (zzzorf will handle that part to perfection); the effect that he had on the wrestling industry cannot be ignored. Austin turned his growing popularity into mainstream success for WWE. It is because of him that WWE was able to takeover WCW and the wrestling business was brought to the heights it currently resides in.
There is no question really about whether Austin is the Greatest Ever or not. He was instrumental in bringing about the paradigm shift in WWE programming; he was the protagonist of one of the most impactful feuds in the history of wrestling with Mr. McMahon, glimpses of which we still see in today’s programming. WWE’s revenues broke record numbers during his time at the top; in fact WrestleMania 17 was the first WrestleMania to do more than a million buys. And like I said, he was perhaps the biggest reason that WCW was forced to handover its business to WWE. Sure, Bret Hart can be called the ‘best’ wrestler of all time, but he failed to truly cement himself as a major star. The Undertaker can be called the greatest ‘performer’ of all time, but he was never seen as the face of the company. Austin did it all; he delivered whether it was in the ring or when it came to sell tickets and merchandise.
Austin’s name is symbolic with the wrestling revolution. He defied idiotic midcard booking and became, perhaps the greatest example of success that you’ll ever see in this industry. His effect is echoed even to this day, and you are living in a wrestling world that Austin helped create. Without him, the wrestling landscape will certainly not be the same, and it is the exact reason why fans still want him to wrestle on the big stage one more time. Steve Austin is truly an icon, and it is thus that he should be named the ‘Greatest WWE Wrestler of All Time’.
(8) The Undertaker
3*World Champion, 4*WWE Champion, Hardcore Champion, 6*World Tag Champion, WCW Tag Champion
Royal Rumble winner, 21-0 at Wrestlemania
R1: beat One Man Gang, Eugene & Dory Funk Jr
R2: beat The Godfather, Crash Holly & Hulk Hogan
QF: beat Owen Hart & Ted DiNiase St
SF: beat Randy Savage & Shawn Michaels
Macho Mourn: So, I was given the unenviable task to explain why The Undertaker deserves to be considered better than Bret Hart and Steve Austin. The man is as professional as they come. He stays in character outside the ring better than anyone I can think of in the contemporary WWE. He is the example of what a wrestler should be. He wrestles the best, or second best match on any show he is on and can cut a money promo without needing much to go off of. He has been around for 23 years. I’m 34. That means I was 11 when he graced the Survivor series.
Now, when digging deeper into his accomplishments, there are few that can touch his level of success. Not only is he a 7 time world champ, he is also a great tag wrestler. His teaming with Kane is stuff of legends, and his match with The Shield this last year was on the short list of his greatest TV matches he has ever had. He had a match against Dean Ambrose that made him. He stole that show too. Not bad for a man who because of father time is now a part time performer.
His greatest gift though to all of us is his legend at Wrestlemania. If you don’t even mention his match against Punk at Wrestlemania, his matches against HHH and HBK, you still have the matches against Kane, Mark Henry, and Batista that were excellent exhibitions into how to work with a big man. Yes, he had clunkers, but that was not his fault. Nobody could have had great matches at the time of the careers that King Kong Bundy, Jake Roberts, and Jimmy Snuka were in. They, for different reasons, should never have been in a ring with him at the event. But, he did his role. He did it exactly as you should. He is an example of what everything I love about this business.
He bridges the territory era to the modern, more glitzy, sideshow the WWE has become. He is revered by generation. He is the best the WWE has seen from not only quantity, but quality. My first wrestling show had Taker at it in 1994. He closed the show over the world champion… that champion, Bret Hart. He was the real reason everyone was there. To see him and Paul Bearer come to the ring and be the most agile big man any of us had ever seen. He was a silent assassin of evil who lived in darkness because it was the only way anyone could have the power to combat the things he did. This mystique gives us the ability to suspend our disbelief in an industry that wants us to think of the wrestlers as playing a role. This transparency will be remembered by the next generation of fans.
He is the lifeblood of the WWE; Then, now, forever.
(42) Bret Hart
5*WWF Champion, 2*Intercontinental Champion, US Champion, 2*Tag Champion
Royal Rumble winner, 2*King of the Ring winner
Hall of Fame (class of 2006)
R1: beat Essa Rios, Danny Basham & Blackjack Mulligan
R2: beat Billy Gunn, Tajiri & Haku
QF: beat Batista & Kurt Angle
SF: beat Chris Jericho & John Cena
Lunchbox1981: I know that to some it might appear as if I’ve drawn the short end of the stick in this final three way match to determine a winner and that might be the case. Because truthfully Bret Hart is probably the least likely winner of the three remaining wrestlers left to choose from. However a strong and yet fairly simple case can be made for why he should be crowned the greatest WWE Superstar of all-time and I am going to lay that out for you.
Bret Hart did it the old fashioned way. He started at the bottom in what he says was at first a thrown together tag team by the office after he turned down the opportunity to wrestle as “Cowboy” Bret Hart. Apparently no one in the front office thought much would become of this tag team that we’d come to know as The Hart Foundation. History of course tells us how wrong they ultimately were. As they went onto capture the WWF Tag Team Championships on two separate occasions. Holding the belts for a combined 483 days. They were a mainstay in the glory days of the tag team division in the 1980’s and became one of the most successful and beloved tag teams in company history. The Hitman demonstrated in ring expertise early on in his WWE career during The Hart’s memorable clashes and feuds with teams like Demolition, The British Bulldogs and Strike Force.
When it came time to branch out on his own he had no problem at all making the transition from tag team to singles wrestlers. Within months of parting ways with The Anvil in 1991 he had captured his first Intercontinental Championship in what still rates as arguably the best match ever contested for that title at SummerSlam against Mr. Perfect. Bret would also hold the Intercontinental championship on two different occasions and for a combined 290 days having some of the best matches ever contested over that title with the likes of Shawn Michaels, Rowdy Roddy Piper and The British Bulldog. The IC Championship was long thought of as the workhorse title and not many people were a better representation of that claim than The Hitman.
Having shown himself to be more than capable of connecting with the audience and possessing the ability to deliver in the ring the WWE rolled the dice with him once more when they decided to put the WWE Championship around his waist during the early dark days of the post Hulkamania era. A five time WWE Champion Bret would hold the belt for a combined 654 days and remain the face of the WWE from 1992 until his departure from the company in 1997. Wrestling all over the world and with every opponent they could think to throw at him whether big or small, a technician or a brawler, a scrub or a superstar he managed to work well with all of them. Jerry “The King” Lawler, Owen Hart, Yokozuna, Diesel, Razor Ramon, Sid Justice, Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin are just some of the names he worked with during that time period and in the case of Owen, Yokozuna, Shawn Michaels and of course Steve Austin had a hand in making.
Bret Hart did it all during his thirteen year career in the WWE. Tag Champ, IC Champ, WWE Champ, Two time King of the Ringer winner, Royal Rumble winner and he main evented multiple WrestleMania events. He was someone who did it the old fashioned way and worked for everything he got in the WWE scratching and crawling his way to the top of the card. It’s that work ethic along with his technical aptitude in the ring that still has him regarded as one of the greatest to ever lace up a pair of boots.
So who will it be? Who will be crowned the Greatest WWE Wrestler of All Time? Will it be Stone Cold, The Phenom or The Best There Is? As per usual you can vote either in the comments section below, through any of my feedback methods or through the thread in the forums. Also don't forget to leave a reason why you voted the way you did for I will be using some if your comments in the winners reveal next week. Until then don't forget to check out my daily columns counting down the 30 best WWE wrestlers of 2013.
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