Review of the 50 Greatest Professional Wrestlers of All Time
Feb 14, 2013 - by Steve Gerweck
by Alan Wojcik
Talk to wrestling fans while they’re watching the WWE or TNA or ROH event and pop quiz them, “who’s on the top wrestlers list ever?” You will get stars of the current products maybe mixed in with people my generation (I am 38 so 1980’s kid) with a smattering of the legends your grandparents watched on the Dumont Network (go ask them not me.) Now get them some paper and pens to write out 50 of the best. They’ll need some time and some criteria to what is “the best.” Is it box office draw, in-ring talent, microphone skills, championships won or all of the above? Wrestling author, former WWF staffer & Sam Muchnick disciple Larry Matysik decided for his next book to undertake just that topic. Hence “The 50 Greatest Professional Wrestlers of All Time: the Definitive Shoot” (ECW Press, 464pp, $19.99 CDN/US.)
The opening nine chapters are background on Mr. Matysik’s roles in wrestling and the criteria he used to create his top 50. Let’s get out of the way who is NOT on the list:
Paul Orndorff, Rick Rude, Owen Hart, Larry Zbyszko, Jerry Lawler, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko, Rey Misterio, Jushin Liger, Great Muta, Chris Jericho, Curt Hennig, Barry Windham, Edge, CM Punk, Ivan Koloff, Dick Murdoch, Sgt. Slaughter, Ernie Ladd, Mick Foley, Junkyard Dog, Jimmy Snuka, Jake Roberts, Jeff Hardy, Gorilla Monsoon, Karl Gotch, Sting and nearly the entire modern roster of WWE/TNA/ROH.
So who is on the list?? Well the people the average fan would name off (John Cena, Randy Orton, Brock Lesnar, Steve Austin, the Rock, Undertaker) and the smart fans will name off legends of the old NWA and WWWF. Some selections irked me especially who number one (not telling you, read the book) is and that is purely a generational thing as I saw number two perform throughout my childhood and adulthood.
Mr. Matysik says in the opening chapters he wrote this after seeing the WWE DVD on the same topic that listed Shawn Michaels as the best ever and buried Hulk Hogan & Bruno Sammartino. He claims the WWE list is eschewed towards selling DVD’s across North America (Mexico included) but I take umbrage with a few of his choices as some of them were pushed heavily by his former boss Mr. Muchnick so his list is eschewed as well. But isn’t that the beauty of being a writer with an open forum. Because my list would include current stars like Nigel McGuinness, Christopher Daniels and some of the names Mr. Matysik omitted. I enjoyed his previous work where he wrote the biography of the late Bruiser Brody (who does make the list) and I hope you enjoy it, because it will surely spark conversation which is a good thing among passionate wrestling fans.
In addition to reviewing DVD and books since 2001, Alan Wojcik is part of Kayfabe Wrestling Radio heard weekly on Wild Talk Radio (www.wildtalkradio.com) , Go Fight Live (www.GFL.TV) & www.PWMania.com we can be heard all over the world plus your smartphone through Tune In Radio and iTunes for your Apple equipment (https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wild-talk-radio-network-on/id580051506). Be sure to check out www.facebook.com/kayfabewrestlingradio, Follow us on Twitter @MyNameIsWojcik @Bruiser_Schmidt @Kevin_K_Scott @WildTalkRadio