CM Punk at Raw, Miami, 2 April 2012 (via interbeat)
With Wrestlemania fast-approaching, many wrestling fans, me included, become nostalgic and reflective. I've had the pleasure of watching a lot of pro wrestling over my 22 years. I was sucked in during the peak of the Monday Night Wars, I enjoyed the highly entertaining WWF Attitude Era, and I've seen some of the best of the current WWE. Through it all, if I ever come up with a ranking of my favorite wrestlers in my head, four names come to mind faster than the rest. I have different reasons as to why those three stand out for me, and I will explain those in detail in this article.
Jeff-Hardy-tna-wrestling-16296741-456-342 (via Extradeportes)
His personal demons and battle with drug addiction aside, Jeff Hardy is one of the most entertain in-ring performers in the history of wrestling. He's etched numerous jaw-dropping moments into the minds of wrestling fans by coupling his unparralled athletic ability with his willingness to task high-risk maneuver upon high-risk maneuver. Jeff Hardy takes huge bumps regularly and puts his body on the line. Whether he takes flight from the top rope, the top of a ladder, or the top of a cage, he never seems to find something too high to take off from.
Hardy is a daredevil, an enigma, and as he properly puts it, a "Whisper in the Wind." There is not a stunt in wrestling he wont attempt. Not a level of danger he wont cross. And the fans of wrestling, whether TNA of WWE, love him for it.
Dwayne The Rock Johnson (via irfan.nasir05)
The Rock is entertainment personified. The Great One is one of the best ever on the mic. Over his incredible in-ring career, he's delivered countless memorable promos. It's a skill that he can still bring at a high level to this day. From "FINALLY..." to "Just Bring It!" to "IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT YOUR NAME IS," the man is simply the biggest library of catchphrases. It's his charisma, innovation, conviction, and eloquence in his delivery that's gotten him so over with the crowd during his career. He's made fun of and shown up countless wrestlers to the delight of fans for years.
The Rock finds a way to put his creative stamp on just about anything he does. He's funny, engaging, and down right riveting at times.
It's The Rock's unique ability to connect with the fans and constantly get the crowd involved that's made him one of the most popular superstars of all time. He exuded so much star power for so long, it's no wonder he made the jump to Hollywood. But whenever he's decided to come back, the magic comes back too as he electrifies the arena with his presence.
CM Punk at Wrestlemania XXVIII (via interbeat)
Punk has never had anything just handed to him in his life. And you can see that whenever he's out there. He always performs with a chip on his shoulder, like he's out there to prove something every night. Punk never seems to give less than his all.
His in-ring work is stellar. He's the kind of wrestler who not only shines in his own right, but makes his opponent look good too. Whether he's wrestling a top-notch veteran like Chris Jericho, or a less-than-ideal worker like Brodus Clay, I don't think I've ever seen a CM Punk wrestling match that I didn't enjoy.
Punk does all the little things right as well. He's got an incredible repertoire of moves, from his Muay Thai kicks down to his rare submission maneuvers like the Koji clutch. And Punk sells moves so well. In an age of wrestling where it's almost a lost art, Punk makes wrestling look painful. If his opponent targets his knee early on in the match, he sells the gimp knee for the rest of the contest. And for me, that adds to the quality of the bout.
Mic skills -- just awesome. The "pipe bombs" Punk delivers on the mic, whether he's a heel, tweener, or face, make you want to watch. He commands attention with everything he says. It never seems as if there's a wasted word in any of his promos. What's more is that Punk has the rare ability to stand in the face of a crowd that loves him, and make the people hate him in an instant. I think what makes Punk so special on the microphone is whenever he says something, he says it with the conviction and swagger to the point that you believe that HE believes what he's saying is true. Whether he's the good guy who's Voice of the Voiceless, or the man who thinks he's better than any worthless member of the WWE Universe, he says it like it's fact.
Shawn Michaels (via marc.benton)
Shawn Michaels is known by many wrestling fans as the greatest of all time. And rightfully so. The Showstopper has put on numerous classic matches with a variety of wrestlers. He was the perfect combination of charisma and athleticism. Simply put, wrestling may never see another man close to the caliber of Shawn Michaels.
Michaels was a great all-around performer. He was a high-flyer, a submission guy, a good grappler, and he could even brawl with the best of them. The fact that he could do anything in the ring was a big reason why he meshed well with just about any superstar.
But arguably the most important aspect of Michaels' persona was how he could connect with the audience. During every match, he could get the crowd so invested in what he was doing, even if it was just reaching his hand out for a reaction when he was placed in a submission hold.
And who would've thought one of the best finishing moves in the history of sports entertainment would be a simple side kick? But the devastating sudden impact of Sweet Chin Music won over the hearts of fans throughout his entire career. He could make a spectacle out of it by "tuning up the band" for the big finish. Or many times, he would hit the move from as J.R. put it time and time again, "From outta nowhere!!"
If you watched a Shawn Michaels match, the dramatic effect he would elicit was always palpable. He could enhance the story with a subtle smirk or gesture during the match. How many times were you on the edge of your seat when HBK hit Sweet Chin Music when he was seemingly reeling? And how many times were you anxious as he fell to the floor in agony after landing the kick, rooting for him to crawl over to make the cover?
He had some of the most compelling rivalries ever, especially the storied battles with Bret Hart and Triple H. When he would fight someone over an extended period of time, he could sustain that rivalry so well. You could cut the tension with a knife during Michaels' rivalries because he had the uncanny ability to make it feel so personal.
He also created one of the most famous stables in D-Generation-X. Not to mention Michaels also won every major belt the company had to offer him.
It's no wonder why they call him Mr. Wrestlemania. It didn't matter who he faced. It didn't matter whether he won or lost (because he lost his fair share, especially later in his career). Michaels couldn't help but put on a show for all the fans to remember. In any moment or any arena. But especially on the "Grandest Stage of Them All."
The debate as to who's the best in wrestling history will always be arguable. But for me, there's no question that Michaels gets that top spot.
Hulk Hogan @ Impact! TV Taping (via simononly)
So let me hear it! These are my favorite guys. Who are yours?
Who got you to start watching pro wrestling as a kid? Who put on the most entertaining matches, or cut the most scintillating promos? Who keeps you watching to this day?