That’s right. WWF, not WWE. That’s what it was back in the day so that’s what we’re calling it for this list. This is such a subjective list as it is purely the wrestlers that I personally enjoyed watching during the 80s and 90s in the WWF. Back when wrestling was fun, over the top and pretty damn crazy at times.
If you’re a fan of wrestling then I can tell you here that, in honour of the 2015 Royal Rumble which is on Sunday night, I am planning on doing a live-tweet tomorrow night (Saturday) at about 8pm UK time where I will be watching and live-tweeting the 1990 Royal Rumble with updates of who enters the ring and any other big things that happen in the event in real time. Hopefully should be a fun experiment. Check my Twitter account for updates nearer the time. @Retromash #RoyalRumbleRetro10. Mr Perfect It was a very tough call between putting Mr Perfect or The Big Boss Man into the no.10 spot. I went for Mr Perfect in the end because I think he was a bit better to watch. He really was a fantastic wrestler. Often underrated. Some of the moves he pulled off were just amazing to watch. His interviews to camera sometimes were a bit annoying but they still worked because I don’t think he took himself too seriously. A very 90s look too with that permed blonde hair and the neon one piece. A true character.
9. Rowdy Roddy Piper What Roddy Piper may have lacked in technical wrestling ability he made up in guts, attitude and sheer bravado. He was always entertaining to watch. I gravitated towards him early on because I’m Scottish and I respected the whole kilt thing of course but my respect for the man grew even more when he started doing acting roles such as in the awesome John Carpenter movie ’They Live’. “I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass…and I’m all out of bubblegum.” A proper wrestling personality that never let the fans down.
8. Jake The Snake Roberts The guy brought a snake into the ring for goodness sake. And he also has one of the best finishing moves. The DDT might not be the most technically amazing finishing move but it was cool, had a cool name and he hyped it up so well that the crowd always ended up chanting for it. His interviews with Mean Gene Okerlund were great too. Jake was this totally chilled guy but Mean Gene was always freaking out about the snake. Great stuff. Pretty cool theme tune too. ’Snake in the Grass’.
7. Macho Man Randy Savage I never really liked Randy Savage all that much back in the early days. I just wasn’t quite sure about him. But as the years went on I realised how good a wrestler he was and also just how cool he was. The whole storytline of the Mega Powers with the love triangle between him, Hulk Hogan and Miss Elizabeth is wrestling history 101. I’ve now actually got a massive, stylised art poster of him on my wall. That’s how cool he is. “Ooooh, yeeeaah!”.
6. Hulk Hogan Hulk Hogan basically WAS wrestling back in the 80s and early 90s. He was the golden boy. He was a living legend. My main memory of every big pay per view event was Hulk Hogan strolling round the ring at the end doing his twirly hand ear thing and his muscle man poses to the audience at each side of the ring whilst ‘Real American’ played in the background and the credits started to roll. He just use to win everything. It was a given. He was everywhere. I mean, he even appeared on The A-Team twice! I never actually found him all that amazingly exciting to watch personally in terms of actual wrestling but he was such an omnipresent force of the WWF and one of the first images that pops into my head when I think of wrestling back in the day, Brother!
5. The Undertaker I remember watching Mean Mark Callous in the WCW, before he joined the WWF and became The Undertaker. I remember being stunned by how someone so tall could do some of the moves that he was doing. His trademark move being holding someone in an arm lock and then walking along the top rope before jumping down on the arm. Impressive stuff for someone who is 6’10”. His original entrances to the WWF are stuff of legend. Pure lack of emotion and impervious to pain. Paul Bearer by his side. Casket matches too. It was a great persona. He’s gone through his changes through the years but the fact that he had a 21-0 winning streak at WrestleMania is something that will never be matched.
4. Legion of Doom Legion of Doom, or The Road Warriors, were just badass. Total badass. Firstly their outfits looked like something out of Mad Max. And their finishing move, the Doomsday Device, was awesome. Animal would pick somebody up and put them on his shoulders while Hawk would climb up onto a turnbuckle and flying clothesline the guy off Animal’s shoulders. “Ooooooh, what a rush!”
3. Superfly This is perhaps more of a nostalgia pick for me, but it’s right up there. Jimmy ‘Superfly’ Snuka maybe wasn’t the best all round wrestler and didn’t win a huge amount of silverware, but the character, and in particular his finishing move, were just awesome. He would jump from the top turnbuckle and do a flying belly splash onto his opponent’s rib cage. Unbelievable to a young kid like myself when watching this stuff. Definitely one of the most exciting people to watch, even if it was just for that finishing move. Great intro tune too. “Super-Super-Superfly!”.
2. The Ultimate Warrior The Ultimate Warrior was very close to taking my no.1 spot. He was just a force of nature. There is no other way to describe him. When he got introduced to the WWF in 1987 he was like a breath of fresh air. Very soon he was up there challenging Hulk Hogan himself. That’s how popular he was. His monologues are infamous too. Totally insane. Nuts. Crazy. He was like a cartoon character, completely over the top in every way, but that’s why every little boy wanted to be a Little Warrior. The passion and drive that he showed was phenomenal. Great to watch. Incredibly sad how he died recently but very satisfying that he managed to get inducted to the Hall of Fame just days before.
1. Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart Bret Hart basically had it all. The wrestling pedigree from one of the biggest wrestling families of all time, brilliant technical ability, tough as nails, cool as ice, and loved by the ladies too. And those sunglasses that he used to give a lucky kid before each match were ultra-awesome too. And what’s more, that man could rock the pink and black without losing an iota of machismo. But in terms of wrestling, some of the greatest matches of all time involved the Hitman. Whether as part of the Hart Foundation or just on his own, Bret Hart is my no.1 WWF wrestler.
Big Boss Man – Awesome theme tune, great outfit.
The Rockers – The start of Shawn Michael’s high flying career.
The Steiner Brothers – I loved these guys, although I actually watched them more in the WCW. Their finishing move, the Frankensteiner, was all kinds of awesome.
The British Bulldogs – I was never a huge fan of Davey Boy Smith when he went on his own, but his early tag team matches together with The Dynamite Kid are pretty damn great.
SPECIAL MENTION – Sting – Brilliant wrestler that I used to watch in the WCW but only just sneaks into the list because he has started working with WWE in 2014.
Let me know in the comments who you would have had in your list.