I'd have to go with the popular choice - DiBiase. But I'm shocked no one has mentioned Benoit yet. He'd be close to the top of my list, at least in the top ten, and he hasn't gotten his name dropped yet. Or does his non-WCW title run count?
"Don't eat crackers in the bed of your future, or you might get scratchy" - The Tick
1) Owen Hart was a great wrestler. But I think his death has distorted his career. He was a great tag wrestler and a very good underneath wrestler. But he wasn't main event. I do agree that the best time to have put him over was at the 98 Rumble. But I agree with Vince's logic, you want a strong champion to pass the torch. Just like IMO Luger's defeat of Hogan on Nitro lessened the impact of Sting finally beating him four months later at Starrcade.
2) I think the AWA title died when they stripped Lawler and gave it to Larry Z in a battle royal. If anything the title was gaining in importance when they merged with World Class, and Superclash 3 was on ppv. If they had kept doing business the right way there is no reason why the AWA couldn't have held out a lot stronger than it did. God I hate Larry Zybzsko (I don't care about the spelling cause I don't care about him)
Paul Orndorf is a good call...kind of the Lex Luger of his day and federation. So is Arn Anderson, but Arn was never a good singles wrestler (at least not in the 80s, when he did most of his stuff). But Arn and Ole were a BADASS, unstopable tag team for awhile in the NWA. I hated them with a passion.
"Jack you are a scientist! Do you not think there are things in this universe which you do not understand and yet which are true?" -Abraham VanHelsing
Arn Anderson. Someone said that he was a Best Supporting Actor, not a lead. Well that is because that was the role he was asked to play, and Arn was/is a team player. If he was asked to play the lead, I have no doubt that he had all the skills to do it, and would have done an outstanding job, particularly in the '80's and early 90's.
Wasn't he scheduled for a title feud with Bret then?
He had a huge feud with Bret that lasted over a year. It was more of a "Vince/Austin" feud though, where they didn't wrestle each other so much (although they did wrestle each other more than a few times, especially at house shows) as try to go out of their way to make life miserable for th other. Owen cost Bret a million matches, and might have even cost him the title, I can't really remember.
Owen vs. Bret was kind of just part of the backstory of the WWF (much like Austin vs. McMahon or the HHH/Steph/Angle/Jericho quadrangle) until the Hart foundation reformed. Even when they weren't feuding, Owen would still needle Bret. Example: when he introduced his mystery tag-team partner Yokozuna (this was sometime in 95 or 96) he introduced him as "someone who's done what I've always dreamed of doing, and that's beat my brother Bret for the title."
Farooq is the man so hit your knees and start praying!
Had Arn Anderson come up in the 60s or 70s, he would have been right up there with the top people. But his look was wrong for the 80s and 90s, and though he had the skills in every other area, I don't think he would have made an acceptable world heavyweight champion to the majority of the fans. It's probably not fair, but looks matter in the wrestling business.
Bill Savage went over to the (Stu Hart) house and one of the Hart kids was running around with his hair wet. Savage asked why his hair was wet. Stu said, "The little bastard broke a vase this morning, so I stuck his head in the toilet. Want me to show you again?" From the Ring Around the Northwest newsletter
Whiel I think our "professor" here sounds like an asshole, I must defend him here. How many arenas we sell out is irrelevant to the conversation. I don't recall the "professor" ever once claiming to be a good wrestler.