Pro Wrestling's been going on for a long time. Definitely since 1900, and certainly before that.
Obviously, Pro wrestling takes in a lot of things. Workrate, skills, showmanship, speaking, charisma, bumping, willingness to accept danger, hard work and helping others out.
I'm going to go with one of the obvious choices, because, frankly, I have marked out for him since I was in my early 20s. Hulk Hogan.
When he was younger he could work a little bit and took some pretty strong bumps and he worked a hell of a lot. I bet that between he and Flair they have worked an unbelievable amount of matches for major feds. And no one can match his showmanship and charisma. While he's been accused of holding others down, he's helped, in one way of another, a lot of guys become big stars - Hillbilly Jim, Ed Leslie, Paul Orndorf, Nick Dinsmore, Paul Wight and many others.
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I'd have to say Bruno Sammartino for holding the WWWF belt for EIGHT YEARS. Thesz had the NWA belt for seven, and has a hold named for him that's still used today. But Bruno's reign, I believe, trumps all others.
"To be the man, you gotta beat demands." -- The Lovely Mrs. Tracker
I just reread Ric Flair's book a few nights ago...when you read that, and realize how for the last 30 years he has been the common thread to the business, when you realize that it was basically his work that kept VKM from having a monopoly 10-15 years before he did, when you go back and watch the matches with everyone under the sun, I don't think anyone else can be in the discussion.
Right now, it's Kurt Angle. He is the total package.
All time...it's either Michaels or Hogan. Michaels had the best matches and promos, but Hogan made so much money. I'll give it to Michaels cause I'm biased.
"He is the most overrated piece of crap in the league. He bitched and whined after he got his ass beaten in New England last year, so the NFL changed the rules. Then he got his ass beaten in New England again. Every year he's the top MVP candidate. Every year he's supposed to be the best. Every year he's going to carry the Colts to the Super Bowl. And every single year he goes to New England and gets his ass beaten. And his brother's a whiny little bitch." -A friend of mine, on Peyton Manning
For all your CZW and Nickels Trivia information. I am now the Sex Division Trivia Champion, and on September 10 I face someone who actually works part time in the WWE! Will I be starstruck, or will I hold him down worse than the WWE holds down Val Venis? STAY TUNED!
"Look guys, it's 'Lake Man!' Hope you can fit into our NARROW office, Mr. Big Lake" --MST3K The Collection V. 7
Considering the question is greatest wrestler, not favorite or best in a certain category (workrate, promos, drawing, charisma), I have to give the nod to Hogan. He's the Babe Ruth or Wayne Gretzky of wrestling -- the guy who stands out above everyone else because he was on a whole different level. As much as we love Flair, he was never quite as huge as Hogan was in his heyday. A better worker and a better promo (depending on what you like), but never that big. Sammartino's twelve years as champ pretty much doubles Hogan's combined reigns, but that was when WWE was a territory rather than a(n) (inter)national phenomenon. I guess the argument could be made for Thesz, but I really can't say anything about Thesz because I know next to nothing about him.
I love watching Flair. The guy's 50+, his offense consists of solely of chops at this point, he has the body of your average middle-aged Joe Six-Pack, I can't understand half of what comes out of his mouth at times, and yet I still can't turn off the TV when he's on.
The only other guy that comes close is Bret Hart. ALso not much to look at, not much to listen to, but you could throw him in the ring with Jim Ross and still have me spellbound for a 20-minute match.
Man's most valuable trait is a judicious sense of what not to believe. - Euripides
"Well, you can't involve friendship with business. It has to be one or the other. It's either business or friendship, or hit the bricks!" --Life Lessons from Bobby the Brain Heenan WCW Uncensored 2000 preview
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Wait, as in one thousand, nine hundred seventy-four dollars? How many hours did that take? Several hours a day could be 700-900 hours - do you think you are clearing $2 per hour? I was making around $.20/hour when I was doing it.