100 Greatest Wrestlers of the ’90s
If you’re a man above the age of 20, chances are you watched professional wrestling at some point during the ’90s. If you’re like me, you basically watched nothing but professional wrestling.
It was the golden era of the sport, and every Monday night we all tuned in to see who was jumping from the WWF to WCW, or what Degeneration X was going to pull off that night. It was something that you could watch with your dad or your little brother and everyone would find something they loved. With that being said, after much time and deliberation, here are the 100 Greatest Wrestlers of the ’90s.
100. Alex Wright
Why he’s on the list: After finding success in Germany, “Das Wunderkind” captured the WCW Cruiserweight & Television Titles. Let’s just try to forget that awful dancing.
99. The Nasty Boys
Why they’re on the list: Despite what may have been the worst entrance music ever, the Nasty Boys were incredibly successful winning both the WWE and WCW Tag Team titles through their career.
98. Marcus Bagwell
Why he’s on the list: “Buff” Bagwell started out in WCW partnering with Scotty Riggs in what appeared to be a Chippendales commercial. He later became the leader of the nWo Wolfpac, along with Scott Steiner.
97. Marty Jannetty
Why he’s on the list: Although never achieving the level of his partner, Shawn Michaels, he did return to the ring in 1993 to defeat Michaels and win the Intercontinental title.
96. Ultimo Dragon
Why he’s on the list: Although much more successful in Japan, Ultimo Dragon was one of the marquee cruiserweights in WCW feuding with Dean Malenko, Rey Mysterio, Jr., and Eddie Guerrero.
95. Jushin Liger
Why he’s on the list: Debuting at age 19 in New Japan Pro Wrestling, Jushin Liger is still going strong 28 years later. He has feuded with everyone from Brian Pillman to Sting to Owen Hart.
94. Abdullah the Butcher
Why he’s on the list: With successful stints in the WWE, WCW, ECW and NWA, Abdullah may be best known for his 1991 feud with Sting where, at Halloween Havoc, Cactus Jack accidentally electrocuted him in an electric chair.
93. The Pitbulls
Why they’re on the list: If you didn’t get to watch ECW wrestling in the ’90s, before the WWE, bought the wrestling world do yourself a favor and check them out on YouTube. The Pitbulls had an incredible feud with The Eliminators that could have headlined any pay-per-view event.
Why he’s on the list: Despite numerous terrible gimmicks and constant underachieving, Mabel was a fan favorite and always fun to watch while a group tried to eliminate him during a Royal Rumble.
91. Bob Holly
Why he’s on the list: Starting out as a virtual unknown, Holly eventually found success in the WWE’s Hardcore division, winning the title six times.
90. The Gangstas
Why they’re on the list: The Gangstas were known for bringing everything from guitars to crutches to the ring as weapons and I’m pretty sure they joined every post-match brawl that occurred in ECW.
89. Val Venis
Why he’s on the list: Yes, he had several successful title runs but is there anyone that won’t remember Val Venis for his entrance music and video?
Why he’s on the list: Probably the wrestler that gave me the most nightmares as a kid, Kamala feuded with Hogan in the WCW and battled the Undertaker in the very first casket match.
Why he’s on the list: This luchador feuded with Rey Mysterio, Jr., and Chris Jericho during the early part of his WCW career, including winning the Television title on a November 1998 Monday Nitro.
86. The Sandman
Why he’s on the list: Known for drinking and smashing numerous beers over his head before every match, The Sandman was best known for his lengthy feud with Raven that included several reigns as the ECW World Champion.
85. Harlem Heat
Why they’re on the list: Booker T and Stevie Ray dominated the tag team field of WCW battling the Outsiders, Steiner Brothers, Public Enemy and many others during their tenure in the organization.
84. D’Lo Brown
Why he’s on the list: Joining the WWE in the Nation of Domination with the Rock and Mark Henry, Brown later went on to simultaneously hold the European and Intercontinental title.
Why he’s on the list: The legends about Meng are like that of a Greek warrior. There was more than one incident where he was said to have bitten a nose off, lifting Brutus Beefcake two feet off the ground while choking him and knocking grown men across rooms with a single head butt. Oh, he also had a successful wrestling career, as well.
82. Papa Shango/Kama
Why he’s on the list: Before becoming the street fighting Kama, Papa Shango tormented the Ultimate Warrior with black magic. He also made black ink drip out of Mean Gene’s jacket sleeve while Gene cried, which was one of the funniest moments in wrestling history.
81. The Warlord
Why he’s on the list: Before suffering a career-ending neck injury, the Warlord had numerous successes in tag teams with partners like Ivan Koloff and Karl Kovac.
80. The Eliminators
Why they’re on the list: As one of the most decorated tag teams in ECW history, the Eliminators were one of the most exciting, high-flying tag teams in the history of the sport.
79. Brutus Beefcake
Why he’s on the list: Although most of his success was due to his friendship with Hulk Hogan, the Barber became a fan favorite in the WWE. We’ll try to forget his time in the WCW, however.
Why he’s on the list: Taking what may be the most unexciting gimmick ever, I.R.S. took the taxman concept and became one of the most well-known villains, feuding with the Undertaker, Bret Hart and numerous other stars.
Why they’re on the list: The WWE’s answer to the Road Warriors, Demolition dominated the tag team division and held the titles for an unbelievable 478 days.
Why he’s on the list: Best known for his time in Degeneration X, X-Pac held over a dozen titles in the WWE, WCW and TNA.
75. Rick Martel
Why he’s on the list: After nearly 20 years in professional wrestling, Martel adopted the model gimmick which put him over as one of the most well known villains in the ’90s for the WWE.
74. The Dudley Boyz
Why they’re on the list: Bubba Ray and D-Von are the most decorated tag team in wrestling history, with 23 tag team championships in every major wrestling company in the world.
73. Steven Regal
Why he’s on the list: Regal found success in his blue blood character, which continually insulted his opponents, as well as the fans, for being lower class than him. He is still involved with the WWE at present day.
72. Bob Backlund
Why he’s on the list: Backlund returned from retirement in 1992 as an insane man who could snap at any moment, and actually won the WWE Championship from Bret Hart at the 1994 Survivor Series.
Why he’s on the list: Tatanka was a huge fan favorite for most of the ’90s and found quite a bit of success in the WWE, including an undefeated streak that lasted for over a year from 1992–1993.
70. Jim Neidhart
Why he’s on the list: Although Neidhart had stints in both the WWE and WCW, he is best known for his time in the Hart Foundation, and his tag team championships with his partner, Bret Hart.
69. 2 Cold Scorpio
Why he’s on the list: His signature Scorpio Splash separated him from other high flyers in his career and led to four ECW World Television Titles.
68. Greg Valentine
Why he’s on the list: Valentine was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004 after a nearly 30-year professional career that included feuds with just about any superstar you can think of.
67. The Natural Disasters
Why they’re on the list: Earthquake and Typhoon, while enjoying successful singles careers, created one of the largest tag team combinations ever seen in the WWE with the Natural Disasters.
66. Jeff Jarrett
Why he’s on the list: Jarrett, who still actively wrestles in TNA, has held almost every major world championship including the WCW Heavyweight Championship on four different occasions.
65. Dr. Death Steve Williams
Why he’s on the list: Steve Williams holds what may be the most unbreakable streak in professional wrestling. He didn’t lose a single match for the TEN YEARS spanning from 1987–1997.
Why he’s on the list: As one of the most recognizable ECW wrestlers, Raven held the world championship twice in very popular feuds with the Sandman and Tommy Dreamer.
Why he’s on the list: Probably the most infamous character of the ’90s, Goldust debuted in 1995, feuding with Razor Ramon for the Intercontinental Title. He still makes occasional appearances today.
62. Barry Windham
Why he’s on the list: Although Windham enjoyed most of his success in the NWA, he was also a member of the Four Horsemen in 1990 with Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, and Sid Vicious.
61. Ahmed Johnson
Why he’s on the list: Johnson was instant star in the WWE, debuting in 1995 and eventually winning the Intercontinental title from Goldust.
60. Big Boss Man
Why he’s on the list: Although not greatest physical specimen, Big Boss Man’s charisma as a hero and villain helped him become one of the most recognizable wrestlers of the ’90s.
Why he’s on the list: Edge made his WWE debut in 1997, when he feuded with Gangrel and eventually partnered with Christian, winning 12 tag team championships.
58. Tommy Dreamer
Why he’s on the list: Known as the Innovator of Violence, Tommy Dreamer was the face of ECW for its entire existence and was inducted into the Hardcore Hall of Fame in 2010.
57. Paul Orndorff
Why he’s on the list: Mr. Wonderful had an illustrious career as part of the Four Horsemen, with several title reigns and induction into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005.
56. Hacksaw Jim Duggan
Why he’s on the list: Not only did Duggan win the first-ever Royal Rumble, he also had the most bizarre TV title reign after he found the belt lying in the trash and declared himself the champion.
55. Kerry Von Erich
Why he’s on the list: One of the most tragic stories in wrestling, the Von Erich family suffered tragedy after tragedy. Yet despite their troubles, the Texas Tornado was one of the most exciting wrestlers ever in the WWE.
54. Marc Mero
Why he’s on the list: His Johnny B. Badd persona made him hugely popular in WCW. Eventually going under his real name in the WWE, he feuded with Diamond Dallas Page over the Television Title during the peak of his career.
53. Ron Simmons
Why he’s on the list: The All-American football player debuted in the NWA in 1989 and was ranked #20 in Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s Top 500 wrestlers of 1992 when he captured the WCW Heavyweight Championship.
52. Ken Shamrock
Why he’s on the list: With a smooth transition from UFC to WWE, the World’s Most Dangerous Man lived up to his nickname and was a top WWE superstar for most of the ’90s.
51. Diamond Dallas Page
Why he’s on the list: In addition to holding the WCW World Heavyweight Championship title, and being the tag team partner of Jay Leno for a battle with Hulk Hogan, Page’s best work was during his feud with Randy Savage which lasted nearly 4 years.
50. The Honky Tonk Man
Why he’s on the list: The Honky Tonk Man holds the record for the longest Intercontinental Title reign, one that will probably never be broken. His incredible feat lasted 454 days.
Why he’s on the list: His feud with Sabu is considered by many to be the greatest in the history of ECW. He held every major title for the company and also enjoyed later success in the WWE.
48. Arn Anderson
Why he’s on the list: Anderson spent over 20 years in WCW, where he was part of the Four Horsemen and named PWI’s Tag Team of the Year in 1991, along with Larry Zbyszko.
47. Tito Santana
Why he’s on the list: Santana not only held most of the WWE championships, he was also the only man other than Hulk Hogan to be involved in the first nine Wrestlemanias.
46. The Big Show
Why he’s on the list: He is the only wrestler to ever hold the WWF, WCW, ECW and WWE Heavyweight Championships and was named PWI’s Rookie of the Year in 1996.
45. Terry Funk
Why he’s on the list: The Hardcore Legend has been inducted to just about every wrestling hall of fame there is, and was also awarded the honorary lifetime of ECW Champion for all the work he did for the company.
Why he’s on the list: Feuding with Taz and Rob Van Dam for the majority of his ECW career, Sabu put on some of the most memorable table matches in the history of wrestling.
43. The British Bulldog
Why he’s on the list: Before his tragic death in 2002, Davey Boy Smith had numerous jumps from the WCW to the WWE, where he headlined numerous pay-per-views and feuded with numerous top superstars.
42. Jake The Snake Roberts
Why he’s on the list: Known for tossing his boa constrictor onto opponents (not a euphemism), Roberts was always a fan favorite and claims to have invented his finishing move, the DDT.
41. The Great Muta
Why he’s on the list: One of the first Japanese wrestlers to gain major success in the United States, the Great Muta won the AJPW Triple Crown three different times.
40. Eddie Guerrero
Why he’s on the list: The youngest of the Guerrero brothers, Eddie won 23 different titles during his career, which was cut tragically short when he was found dead in 2005.
39. Bam Bam Bigelow
Why he’s on the list: Bigelow dominated ECW as a member of the Triple Threat and then went on to headline Wrestlemania XI against Lawrence Taylor.
38. Chris Benoit
Why he’s on the list: Benoit is one of four men to win the WWE and WCW Triple Crowns and also won the 2004 WWE Royal Rumble. Only Shawn Michaels and Benoit have entered the Royal Rumble at #1 and won the battle royale.
37. Nikita Koloff
Why he’s on the list: The Russian Nightmare spent the majority of his career in the NWA and, unfortunately, had his promising career cut short in 1992 at Halloween Havoc when Vader hit him with a stiff closeline, resulting in a severe neck injury.
36. Dean Malenko
Why he’s on the list: Known as the Man of 1,000 Holds, Malenko had success in the major organizations and was named Wrestler of the Year in 1997 by Pro Wrestling Illustrated.
35. Shane Douglas
Why he’s on the list: The Franchise helped transition ECW from Eastern Champion Wrestling to Extreme Championship Wrestling when he won the NWA title and threw it down, claiming he didn’t want to be champ of a dead organization.
34. Lex Luger
Why he’s on the list: After a successful run in the WWE, Luger made his WCW debut on the first Monday Nitro, where he went on to win the WCW Triple Crown.
33. Owen Hart
Why he’s on the list: Considered by many of his peers as one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time, Hart won the 1994 King of the Ring and WWE Intercontinental Title.
32. The Steiner Brothers
Why they’re on the list: Winning ten World Tag Team Championships, the Steiners are one of two tag teams to ever hold the WCW, IWGP and the WWF championships.
31. Brian Pillman
Why he’s on the list: Pillman won the WCW Tag Team Title with Steve Austin as a member of the Hollywood Blondes, then later in the WWE adopted the title of the Loose Cannon, and created some of the most infamous promo spots ever for the company.
Why he’s on the list: Even beyond his highly decorated championship career, Kane’s Royal Rumble records are enough to make him a legend. He once eliminated 11 of the 30 Royal Rumble participants by himself, including the quickest elimination of another competitor.
29. Sid Vicious
Why he’s on the list: One of the most intimidating men ever to step inside the ring, Sid has feuded with the top names in wrestling and headlined numerous Wrestlemanias, as well as WCW’s Starrcade.
28. Jimmy Snuka
Why he’s on the list: Superfly Jimmy Snuka is probably best known for his long-running feud with Roddy Piper but he was also the very first ECW Heavyweight Champion. He later went on to be inducted into the WWF Hall of Fame.
27. Chris Jericho
Why he’s on the list: Jericho is credited as the first undisputed WWF Champion after he unified the WCW and WWF Championships. He is also a record nine-time Intercontinental Champion.
26. Rob Van Dam
Why he’s on the list: One of the most innovative and exciting wrestlers of all time, Van Dam held the ECW Television Title for an astounding 700 days and was the only wrestler ever to be voted PWI’s Most Popular Wrestler of the Year as a heel.
Why he’s on the list: Although marketed as a Japanese sumo wrestler, the Samoan superstar went on to win the 1993 Royal Rumble, and then defeated Bret Hart and Hulk Hogan to win the WWF Championship twice.
24. Rey Mysterio
Why he’s on the list: His acrobatic and high-flying moves are considered the birth of cruiserweight wrestling’s popularity in the U.S., which led to successful stints in WCW, WWE and ECW.
23. Triple H
Why he’s on the list: After gaining huge popularity as a member of Degeneration X, Triple H became a main event headliner, going on to win the WWE World Championship a record 13 times. He is currently the Executive Vice President of Talent and Live Events for the WWE.
22. Scott Hall
Why he’s on the list: As successful as his Razor Ramon character was, Hall gained the most attention when he jumped to WCW and started the nWo along with Kevin Nash and Hulk Hogan. His ladder match against Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania X was voted Match of the Year by PWI.
21. Rick Rude
Why he’s on the list: The “Sexiest Man Alive” as he called himself, was known for some of the best interviews and promos in the ring, as well as being a four-time World Heavyweight Champion.
20. Mr. Perfect
Why he’s on the list: Also known as Curt Hennig, he pretty much did it all. He was a member of the Four Horsemen, the nWo, and while holding the WWF Intercontinental Title, was the longest-reigning champion of the ’90s.
19. Ted Dibiase
Why he’s on the list: The Million Dollar Man is considered by many to be the greatest wrestling villain of all time. He headlined multiple pay-per-views, including winning the King of the Ring before creating his Million Dollar Championship belt.
18. Ricky Steamboat
Why he’s on the list: One of the hardest working wrestlers in the ring, Steamboat’s match against Macho Man Randy Savage at Wrestlemania III is considered by many the greatest match in the history of wrestling.
17. Roddy Piper
Why he’s on the list: Piper is one of the most recognizable faces in professional wrestling, appearing in movies and television shows, as well. His interview segment, known as Piper’s Pit, was used to create rivalries with numerous opponents and was resurrected at Wrestlemania 21, when he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.
16. The Road Warriors
Why they’re on the list: The top tag team on the list, the Road Warriors had incredible success in the major U.S. companies, as well as Japan. Many consider them the greatest tag team of all time; they were inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011.
15. Cactus Jack
Why he’s on the list: No wrestler ever sacrificed his body for a match more than Cactus Jack. His ECW matches against Terry Funk and his Hell in a Cell match against the Undertaker are a must-see for any fan of hardcore wrestling.
Why he’s on the list: As one of the most agile super heavyweights of all time, Vader dominated the WWF, WCW and Japan, using his signature moonsault, powerbomb and, for a short time, the inverted powerbomb.
13. Kevin Nash
Why he’s on the list: After an impressive Royal Rumble debut in 1994, Diesel went on to defeat Bob Backlund for the WWF Championship in an astounding eight seconds. He later went on to form the nWo with Hulk Hogan and Scott Hall in WCW and remained there until the close of the company.
Why he’s on the list: After his explosive debut in WCW, Goldberg went on an undefeated streak when he went 173-0 and became the first undefeated world champion in the history of professional wrestling.
11. The Undertaker
Why he’s on the list: Beyond all of his accomplishments, the Undertaker holds what may be the most impressive and unbreakable record in professional wrestling; he is 20–0 at Wrestlemania events.
10. Andre the Giant
Why he’s on the list: Although he only wrestled for a short time in the ’90s, Andre the Giant won the WWF Tag Team Championship with Haku and Bobby Heenan, until they attacked him at Wrestlemania VI and resulted in Andre’s turn back to a fan favorite.
9. The Ultimate Warrior
Why he’s on the list: The Ultimate Warrior became a megastar at Wrestlemania VI, where he defeated Hulk Hogan for the World Championship. He feuded with Randy Savage and Mr. Perfect over the title for most of the early ’90s.
Why he’s on the list: A 15-time world heavyweight champion, Sting is the only man to hold the WCW, TNA and NWA titles. He was known as the franchise of WCW, as he never wrestled in a WWF event.
7. Shawn Michaels
Why he’s on the list: Michaels is the only wrestler to win back-to-back Royal Rumbles in 1995 and 1996. His in-ring work has always been praised, as he won the PWI Match of the Year award a record eleven times.
6. Bret Hart
Why he’s on the list: Hart has held an unbelievable 32 different championships over a span of five decades. His career reached its pinnacle in the ’90s, as he was champion for 654 days during the decade.
5. The Rock
Why he’s on the list: Debuting in the WWF in 1996, the Rock quickly became a fan favorite with entertaining promos. His matches against Steve Austin for the WWF Championship are some of the greatest the company has ever produced.
4. Ric Flair
Why he’s on the list: What hasn’t Ric Flair done? He’s first-ever double inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame and was the first-ever WCW Heavyweight Champion.
3. Macho Man Randy Savage
Why he’s on the list: The Macho Man was a brilliant mix of charisma and in-ring ability. He headlined Wrestlemania multiple times, as well as winning WCW’s 60-man battle royale known as World War 3. He also won 20 championships during his career.
2. Stone Cold Steve Austin
Why he’s on the list: Austin may very well be personally responsible for transitioning the WWF into the Attitude Era in the ’90s. He became insanely popular, winning three different Royal Rumbles and 25 championships.
1. Hulk Hogan
Why he’s on the list: The most recognizable name in professional wrestling, Hogan is not only the most popular wrestler of the ’90s, but of all time. He held the WWF title for 1474 days and the WCW title for a record 469 days.