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The Top 25 Wrestlers


The Pain

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Good morning all and welcome to another classic edition of Thoughts From The Top Rope. Last week saw the first of a 3-part series chronicling my wrestling fandom; the top ten pay-per-views feature got a lot of feedback and that will be address along with feedback of this and next week's column, in a special feedback column in a few weeks. But one thing that needs point out is that these lists are not "best ever" lists. It's the Top 10 Pay-per-view/Top 25 Wrestlers/Top 50 Matches of my time as a wrestling fan; June 1998- June 2008. So please, nobody ask me why Ricky Steamboat doesn't make this list.

Thoughts From The Top Rope: The 25 Greatest Wrestlers (1998-2008)

Note: Chris Benoit was not considered for this list due to the fact that I don't want anyone to be offended by the potential of me celebrating the career of a man who murdered his family and killed himself, regardless of the circumstances. If you're offended by the lack of Benoit in this list, sort your priorities out. However, Chris Benoit's matches will be considered for the Top 50 Matches (1998-2008) because not doing so would be a discredit to the people he worked with. I would also appreciate it if we didn't have another major debate about this in the comments section. Thank you for your understanding.

Unfortunately, I'm still in the middle of exams, so I had no time to blurb for all the list, just the top ten. But obviously if any of this is question, it will be addressed in thr forthcoming feedback column. Let's get to the countdown.

25. Ric Flair

24. The Big Show

23. Samoa Joe

22. Christian Cage

21. The Dudley Boyz/Team 3D

20. Lita

19. Jeff Hardy

18. AJ Styles

17. Batista

16. Rob Van Dam

15. Eddie Guerrero

14. Randy Orton

13. Trish Stratus

12. Rey Mysterio

11. Chris Jericho

10. Mick Foley

My wrestling fandom essentially began with the image of this man being thrown from the top of Hell In A Cell and ten year's later the guy remains one of my favourites. And although for the past eight years, he has not been a fully active competitor, he has provided dozens of memorable moments both inside and outside of the squared circle. Whether it was hilarious segments with The Rock in the late nineties, or backstage skits with Kurt Angle, Edge and Christian as commish, Mick always managed to make me laugh while watching wrestling, and few people can say they did that. But aside from Foley's character, he's also been a big part of making new stars. His matches in 2000 with Triple H solidified The Game as a main eventer and a star, and his brawls with Randy Orton, Edge and Ric Flair since have all been epic encounters filled with cringe-worthy moments involving barbed wire, thumbtacks and yes, fire. Foley's still a crazy son of a bitch, and one of the reasons wrestling is as enjoyable as it is.

9. Vince McMahon

Controversial? I don't think so at all. Mr. McMahon is arguably the greatest heel in the history of professional wrestling, and he and Stone Cold Steve Austin produced one of the best feuds of all time in the nineties. McMahon was the catalyst Austin needed to rise to the top and he never looked back. Vince obviously played his role to perfection, and it's an angle that is often imitated, but its quality has never been matched. That being said, Vince remains one of the most over heels in the company and always will do; he's a recognizable face and truly the driving force of WWE. His feuds with the likes of Lashley, DX, Ric Flair, Undertaker and more have produced memorable moments even if they are simply a rehash of something that's already been done. He has as much ability to make a star out of a performer as anyone else, because anyone who opposed him becomes a huge face. While we may not appreciate the on-screen character, it does have eternal usefulness and at one time in the last ten years, was the best heel in the history of wrestling.

8. Kurt Angle

Where do I start with this guy? Few pro wrestlers get so good so quickly, but Angle's rise was meteoric, and his numerous classic matches are epic in their viewing. This is a guy that always brought the good and always had the best match on the card, whether he was wrestling Shawn Michaels, Brock Lesnar, Chris Benoit or The Undertaker. Few men in this business can say they've had as many great matches as Kurt has, and many of his wars with Benoit, Shawn, Jericho, Austin and Shane McMahon remain some of my favourite matches ever. And even after numerous neck injuries, the guy continues to do the business and make half the guys in TNA look bush league. And while I can't give enough praise to his in-ring ability, his personality and charisma are also spot on most of the time, and whether he's been a heel or a face, Angle usually gets it right (except when he goes on screen saying he doesn't support the troops to get cheap heat). Kurt Angle's a legend and one of the best in-ring performers ever.

7. Undertaker

His reputation goes before him, but The Undertaker is one of the greatest characters in the history of wrestling. It was his demonic, sadistic nature that first drew me to wrestling and over the years he would find ways to entertain fans that no one would see coming, be it riding down at Judgment Day on a motorcycle, having a classic with Kurt Angle in 2006 or flying from a ladder through four tables in his final match ever (for now). The Deadman is a true legend in this business and a consummate professional. And while he hasn't always been a fantastic in-ring performer, his matches hold an element of drama that few wrestlers can bring to the table. While many would argue that he doesn't like to put people over, anyone who steps into the ring with Taker is automatically elevated simply by being in the ring with him, and they know they have to bring their A game to keep up with him because when he wants to be, he's the best.

6. Shawn Michaels

In 2002, Shawn Michaels returned to in-ring action. I don't think there are too many who would have thought that he'd be able to perform on the level he has done since, but as far as I'm concerned, he's level of awesomeness has far surpassed his performances of the mid-nineties. Every night, Michaels goes out with the one goal of having the best match on the card, and practically every time, he does just that. His feud with Triple H produced a plethora of classics in its own right, and will go down as one of the best in history, while he's also produced utter greatness against the likes of Kurt Angle, Ric Flair, John Cena, Chris Jericho and many, many more. For my money, there's never been anyone better inside the ring, and his natural charisma is similarly unparalleled. While Shawn may not have been a main event mainstay like Austin, Rock and Cena were/are, his desire to go out there is that of a champion.

5. Edge

Unlike most of other guys on this list, Edge actually debuted after I began watching wrestling, and in the last 10 years has gone on to become the company's biggest heels. Edge is one of few people who can claim that they were in the one of the greatest tag teams in recent history and is one of the greatest singles competitors in the same era, but the Rated R Superstar can do just that. While he made his name as part of Edge and Christian (guess which part), since he's broken out, he has proved that he more than able to carry a show on his back and do things that people have never seen before. As part of E&C, Edge produced many breathtaking moments in the form of TLC and ladder matches and captured countless tag titles. As a singles competitor, he's managed to refine his in-ring work to become one of the most consistent performers in WWE. His feuds with John Cena and Undertaker have been fantastic, and his matches with those two, Shawn Michaels, Kurt Angle, Ric Flair and others have been modern classics that won't be soon forgotten.

4. The Rock

When it comes to pure entertainment, no one matches the ability that The Rock has. No one. His ability to electrify a crowd and get 20,000 people rabid tops that of Hulk Hogan, John Cena, Steve Austin and all the rest. The man was born with such amazing natural charisma and he's taken full advantage of it, so much so that he only had to spend a couple of years in the wrestling business before moving on to making bad movies. But for the few years that The Rock was on top, he was also the most electrifying man inside the ring. His over-the-top selling and mannerisms were so good and got the crowd to believe in him. This was part of the reason that his 2003 heel turn produced another version of The Rock that was hugely successful. Heel Rock was awesome. A 9-time world champion, The Rock was never far from the top of the mountain, as the company had no choice but to keep him there because of his immense popularity. I have no doubt that The Rock is the most charismatic performer in wrestling history.

3. John Cena

John Cena over The Rock? Really? Yes, really. Cena's meteoric rise was a result of a connection with the fans, and nowadays that connection is so unique that he drives him to be the best. Never before has mainstream wrestling seen a character like Cena, someone who has wrestling fans absolutely split. The guy's like marmite and I love it. "Oh, but your top face isn't supposed to get booed!" Who gives a shit? When John Cena's in the ring, arena's stand up and they're into the show. And let's not forget that Cena's rapper gimmick was one of the best mid-card gimmicks the company has seen in the last ten years and actually served its purpose in getting Cena over enough to the point that they could put a world title on him. And even though he's only been a main eventer for just over three years now, his list of great matches is ridiculously long. His bouts with JBL, Chris Jericho, Edge, Shawn Michaels, Umaga, Triple H and Randy Orton are as good as you'll see and a true testament to the man's ability. It may not be to everyone's taste, but the man entertains like no one else in the business right now can. By the time his career is over, expect his name to be among the list of all-time greats.

2. Stone Cold Steve Austin

Steve Austin essentially was the reason to watch Monday night Raw for several years in the late nineties. There's only one man in the history of wrestling who could be argued for as being as big a name as Steve Austin, and we don't talk about him in this column. Austin's star rose because of a combination of brilliant booking and Austin being a brilliant character. Austin's antics in the McMahon feud years are a highlight reel of the best Raw moments ever and few people will ever reach the heights that Austin did again. Austin took a role and perfected it. And although he was never the best in the ring, he was always able to have a match that entertained any and all crowds. Steve Austin's had some amazing rivalries with the likes of McMahon, Rock and Triple H, and those will go down in history as some of the best ever. Austin may be a wife-beater and a piece of shit, but his contribution to modern wrestling is almost unmatched.

1. Triple H

I've got a funny feeling that I might get some stick for this one but hear me out. This list is looking at the twenty-five greatest wrestlers of the last ten years. Over those ten years who has been there the entire time? Triple H. And how many people have had as many title reigns as Triple H? No one. And how many people have had as many fantastic matches as Triple H? Maybe one or two. And who's had the same level of success as Triple H has as both a heel and a face? Again, no one. And no matter how much people say he's only where he's at because of his relationship to Stephanie McMahon, there's in no disputing that this is a man who has done a hell of a lot for the business and provided as much entertainment over the years as anyone else on this list.

The Rise of The Game: Towards the back-end of the 20th century, Triple H was looking to find himself after his running-buddy Shawn Michaels left the business with a back injury. Triple reformed D-Generation-X with good friend X-Pac, and Chyna, Road Dogg and Billy Gunn all joined the group, which would go on to become one of the most popular stables in wrestling history. A feud over the Intercontinental Championship in the summer of 1998 with The Rock and his stable, The Nation, allowed Triple H to establish himself as one of the top talents in WWF. The pair had a fantastic ladder match at Summerslam that year where Triple H was victorious. Soon enough, Triple H was in the main event as a heel and by the summer of 1999, he would be crowned WWF Champion for the first time and The Game was born. Soon after, Triple H aligned himself with Stephanie and Vince McMahon and the McMahon-Helmsley regime was in full effect. During this era, Triple H was in tremendous physical shape and putting on some of the best matches of his career. In the year 2000, The Game had memorable matches with Cactus Jack, The Rock, Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit and Steve Austin. Triple H wrestled Austin early in 2001 and they gave us one of the greatest matches of all time in a 3 Stages of Hell war.

The Injury and the Return: After a run as a tag champion with rival Steve Austin and a couple of cups of coffee as Intercontinental Champion, Triple H suffered in an injury during a tag team match that would sideline him for nine months. The Game underwent surgery on his quadriceps and missed the entire Invasion angle, but on January 7th 2002, he made a triumphant return in Madison Square Garden. On that night he announced that he would compete in the Royal Rumble. A couple of weeks later and The Game won the Rumble match. Going into Mania, Triple H and Stephanie were going through a divorce and McMahon aligned herself with Triple H's opponent, Chris Jericho. At WrestleMania X-8, the Game won the Undisputed Championship and hit the Pedigree on Stephanie to put the exclamation point on a successful return from injury.

From here, The Game would quickly lose the title to Hulk Hogan before going to Raw in the summer where he would engage in a war with old pal Shawn Michaels. The rivalry would last several years and is one of both men's greatest. In September 02, Triple H was crowned the first ever World Heavyweight Champion, a title he has held on four separate occasions. In the months that followed, The Game feuded with the likes of Kane, Rob Van Dam and Booker T and beat them all to retain the gold.

The Formation and Demise of Evolution: One of the things that Triple H will be remembered for was the creation of Evolution. During the course of a title match with Rob Van Dam, Ric Flair aligned himself with Triple H to help him retain the title. Soon enough, the group had added up-and-comer Randy Orton and powerhouse Batista, but injuries to Orton and Batista meant that Evolution would only consist of Flair and The Game for most of 2003. Orton returned in June and helped Ric Flair pick up a victory over Shawn Michaels. Batista came back towards the end of the year to take out Triple H's rival, Goldberg. At Armageddon 2003, Randy Orton won the IC title, Batista and Flair the tag titles and with a little help from the rest of the group, Triple H regained the World Championship.

The group was going strong. Orton's title reign would last a lengthy seven months while Flair and Batista would hold the tag straps on a couple of occasions. But The Game lost the World Championship at WrestleMania XX and would fail to regain several times over the summer of 2004. However, Randy Orton would win the World Championship at Summerslam, a moment that would lead to him being brutally kicked out of Evolution. The Game beat Orton for the title at Unforgiven and would beat Orton several times after that.

Over the next few months, Batista would start to rebel against The Game. In 2005, he won the Royal Rumble and in memorable fashion, he turned on The Game and announced he would beat him at WrestleMania 21. He did just that. Having put Batista over on 3 separate occasions, The Game removed himself from the limelight before returning on October 3rd. During an episode of Raw, he turned on his friend Ric Flair and battered him with a sledgehammer. The pair would have two fantastic matches at Taboo Tuesday and Survivor Series, winning one match each. From there, Triple H would go back to challenging for championship gold but he failed to beat John Cena at WrestleMania 22.

The DX Reunion and Further Injury: Both Triple H and Shawn Michaels had had several altercations with Vince McMahon over the course of 2006 so it was inevitable that the pair would reform DX and they did so in June of that year, much to the anger of McMahon. The duo ran riot over the next couple of months, pissing off McMahon at every opportunity and creating some light-hearted humor along the way. After beating the McMahons and Big Show in Hell in a Cell at Unforgiven, DX were faced with new adversaries in Rated RKO – Edge and Randy Orton. Rated RKO would beat DX at Cyber Sunday but their 5-man Survivor Series team would be wiped out. The two teams met in a tag team match at New Year's Revolution 07. The match was heading for classic territory until Triple suffered a second quad injury delivering a spine buster to Orton. The match fell apart and although The Game finished the match, it was clear that he would be out for a while.

Second Return and Regaining The Gold: Triple H returned to action 8 months later at Summerslam. He defeated Booker T with a Pedigree. Triple H then had a brief feud with Carlito and Umaga where he would come out on top on both occasions. When John Cena relinquished the WWE Championship prior to No Mercy 07, The Game saw an opportunity to insert himself back into the title hunt. He wrestled Randy Orton for the title at No Mercy and won the gold to become an 11-time world champion. He would have to defend the gold again that night, defeating Umaga. But old rival Vince McMahon informed the Game that he would have to defend the title again that night against the man he beat to win it – Randy Orton. The pair closed the show with a hellacious Last Man Standing match, which Orton would ultimately win, ending the Game's title reign.

Triple H would continue to chase the title, but lost to Jeff Hardy in a number one contender's match at Armageddon. He then failed to win the Royal Rumble when John Cena shocked the world with his return. But at No Way Out 2008, he won an Elimination Chamber match to earn a title shot at WrestleMania, but Randy Orton bested The Game and Cena in a triple threat match. One month later, The Game wrestled in a Fatal Four Way match for the gold, also involving Orton, Cena and JBL. JBL was eliminated first, soon to be followed by Cena. And after hitting Orton with a Pedigree, The Game dethroned the young champion for the third time. Orton has kept coming back at The Game, but Triple H has defeated Orton in a Steel Cage and Last Man Standing match in recent weeks.

Triple H's Greatest Matches

Originally I was going to list off The Game's 5 greatest matches, but there were just too many that didn't deserve to be left off of the list. So, ordered chronologically, here are some of Triple H's best matches.

* Ladder Match, vs. The Rock at Summerslam 1998

* Street Fight, vs. Cactus Jack at Royal Rumble 2000

* Hell in a Cell, vs. Cactus Jack at No Way Out 2000

* vs. The Rock at Backlash 2000

* Iron Man Match, vs. The Rock at Judgment Day 2000

* Last Man Standing, vs. Chris Jericho at Fully Loaded 2000

* vs. Chris Benoit at No Mercy 2000

* vs. Kurt Angle at Royal Rumble 2001

* 3 Stages of Hell, vs. Steve Austin at No Way Out 2001

* vs. Undertaker at WrestleMania X-Seven

* with Steve Austin, vs. Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho on Raw, May 2001

* Street Fight, vs. Shawn Michaels at Summerslam 2002

* Elimination Chamber, vs. Shawn Michaels and others at Survivor Series 2002

* Hell in a Cell, vs. Kevin Nash at Bad Blood 2003

* vs. Shawn Michaels on Raw, December 2003

* Last Man Standing, vs. Shawn Michaels at Royal Rumble 2004

* vs. Shawn Michaels and Chris Benoit at WrestleMania XX

* vs. Shawn Michaels and Chris Benoit at Backlash 2004

* Hell in a Cell, vs. Shawn Michaels at Bad Blood 2004

* Hell in a Cell, vs. Batista at Vengeance 2005

* Cage Match, vs. Ric Flair at Taboo Tuesday 2005

* Last Man Standing, vs. Ric Flair at Survivor Series 2005

* vs. John Cena, WrestleMania 22

* vs. John Cena and Edge at Backlash 2006

* Last Man Standing, vs. Randy Orton at No Mercy 2007

* vs. Jeff Hardy at Armageddon 2007

* vs. Randy Orton, John Cena and JBL at Backlash 2008

* Last Man Standing, vs. Randy Orton at One Night Stand 2008

And I'm sure that there are others I've missed out.

Legacy?: I think it's safe to say that Triple H's legacy will always be underestimated due to his family relations. Having said that, by helping along future stars like Randy Orton, Batista, John Cena and Jeff Hardy, The Game will have had a lasting effect on the progression of the business. And while it's unlikely his name will ever be mentioned alongside the likes of Ric Flair, Lou Thesz and others, Triple H is undoubtedly one of the biggest names of modern times and for periods, he was they best worker in the business; much like Flair in the late-eighties and Michaels in the mid-nineties, Triple H was untouchable in the ring in the early part of the decade. And whether it's as a part of an influential stable (DX, Evolution) or on his own, The Game has always been one of the most valuable names in the company and regardless of who his other half is, one of the most entertaining performers of all time.

Не особено точна класация,но пък е интересна да се види :)

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За някои места не съм съгласна, но класацията като цяло не е зле :)

[img]http://i218.photobucket.com/albums/cc181/Martz_/orton.jpg[/img]

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Човекът си е дал мнението. Разбира се всеки един си има различно и всеки мисли, че той е прав. Аз лично съм съгласен от части с класацията и е добре, че някой е дал такава...

3xTNA prediction champion 3xWWE prediction champion 1xUniversal champion 6xPrediction tag team champion

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Хм, интересно мнение си има човека... Но точно с последното място не съм съгласен въобще, иначе като цяло, мисля че Cena трябваше да е по - назад, за сметка на AJ Styles.

the_miz_signature_by_undeaddesignz-d5syf

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Shawn_Michaels

Съгласен съм с класацията като цяло,поне подбора на кечисти е добър

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"Doin' what I want to do, When I want to do it."

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Cena е 3ти ... хахахахаа . Джо е 23 ... гг ... като цяло класацията е що годе добра ... неми харесва че "зад колисния heel" HHH е 1ви ...

[img]http://i87.photobucket.com/albums/k126/WrestleMation/cm_punk/finishers/CPF_AlFyiavb_3.gif[/img]

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corruptedshadow

Съгласен съм за това, което казва за HHH, и аз го признавам, човека си скъсва г*за, за тоя бизнес, но никога не бих сложил в личната си класация кечист, който не съм виждал да се качва на най - горното въже на ринга (разбира се изкл. гимик мачовете).

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Бива класацийката.Някои са наредени доста странно де,но това е според вкуса на на всеки човек.Разбираемо е Triple H да е на първо място.През тези 10 години той беше най-активния в МЕ.

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До топ 5 всичко е почти наред. Там трябваше да бъде така

6. John Cena

5. Samoa Joe

4. The Undertaker

3. The Rock

2. Stone Cold

1. Triple H

Да, колкото и да не искате Трипъл наистина го заслужава. От 12 години (13 май) е в тоя бизнес и постигна много. Най-вече през тези 10. Джо заслужава да е пред Сина най-вече заради 3-те си ***** мача. Едж пасти 'Балкан' да яде, Тейкър го заслужава много повече. Роки на трето място-ако не се беше отказал през 2004 щеше да е и на първо, но се отказа. Ледения на 2-ро без никакви съмнения, а Трипси както казах-може да е Vince's bi*ch, но постигна най-много от всички тук.

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BigPoppaPump

Като цяло съм съгласен с класацията.Подредили са ги в горе-долу точен ред.

[img]http://img145.imageshack.us/img145/446/williamstron7wl.jpg[/img]

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Това да сложат Сина пред Скалата е голяма простотия, както и Shawn Michaels & Undertaker.. какво толкова е направил Сина, че да бъде по-добър кечист от тях само не мога да разбера, да хората го харесват, но това не е достатъчно.. класацията ми се струва нереална.

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