Wrestling since then has always been about a showcase and competition of physical prowess. Then again there is a thin line between professional wrestling and wrestling entertainment. Wrestling in entertainment has been dubbed by a lot of people as fake and stupid. Just to clear up the fact that it isn’t fake because people get injured and some even die. The only difference is that it is scripted and the outcomes are already predetermined. Never the less the wrestlers that have entered this competition has left a legacy for people to follow. There have been hundreds of wrestlers that have come and go and some are still active even to this day despite being over 60 years old. There have only been a few that have solidified their names in the annals of history. The people that have made a legacy are still remembered even to this day.
1. Bruno Sammartino
Bruno Sammartino was dubbed as the Italian Stallion as he was born in Pizzoferrato, Abruzzo Italy. His family migrated to America as they escaped from Germany during the mid-1950s. Bruno made his big break as he often competed in local strong man competitions. He became an eye for wrestling promoters back in the day. In 1959 was where he entered his first wrestling match against Dmitri Grabowski. He then made his way to the WWWF where his career really took off to great heights.
The greatest achievements of Bruno was winning the WWWF title and held it for 4,000 days and the other one was selling out Madison Square Garden for numerous times. Bruno Sammartino was recently inducted in the class of the 2013 WWE Hall of Fame despite his resentment with the company back during his retirement days.
2. Hulk Hogan
Despite Hulk Hogan being a subject of ridicule and obscurity nowadays, its undeniable of how much he has contributed to the wrestling industry. Hogan made his debut in the ring with minor promotions such as the AWA and New Japan Pro Wrestling. His main breakthrough was the birth of the Hulkamania Era back in 1983. Hulk Hogan’s return to the WWF winning the title against the Iron Shiek. Hogan would later have a feud with the Shiek which was one of the best feuds of all time.
Hogan would then solidify his name as the classic American hero icon. He would portray honor, friendship, and courage as his key traits. Hogan would also enter several different forms of media. Hulk Hogan was then inducted in the 2005 WWE Hall of Fame and is still currently in the wrestling scene specifically in TNA.
3. Bret “The Hit Man” Hart
Bret Hart started his wrestling career in local amateur contests back in Canada. He has then made his way to New Japan Pro Wrestling back in 1976. It was in 1984 where he debuted in the WWF along with his stable the Hart Foundation. It was in 1991 where he got his big break winning the Intercontinental Title defeating the late Mr. Perfect Curt Henning. Bret Hart had since made waves as the main event WWF events until 1995. He was involved in the infamous Montreal Screwjob where he lost the title to Shawn Michaels at a very controversial finish.
Bret has then moved on to WCW until he retired in 2000. Bret is known to be one of the best technical wrestlers of all time and his trademark slogan “The Best There Is, The Best There Was and The Best There Ever Will Be.” and he was inducted in the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006.
4. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
The Rock is a third-generation wrestler with his father and grandfather being wrestlers in their own right. The Rock made his debut in the WWF back in 1996. He used the name Rocky Maivia and he was constantly being booed by the crowds because he played the heel or villain role back then. The Rock has made his impact around 1998 as he won the Intercontinental title and became one of the company’s top wrestlers. He later became one of the most fan favorites back in 1999. It was in 2000 where The Rock really solidified his name, not just as an in-ring wrestler but as a good person on the microphone. The Rock’s promos were some of the best in the business whether he was making jokes or talking trash.
The Rock is also one of the few wrestlers that made it big in Hollywood paving the way for other wrestlers to enter the movie and television industry. Despite his 9-year wrestling career, his name is one of the most revered in the wrestling and entertainment industry.
5. Stonecold Steve Austin
Stonecold made his debut in wrestling back in 1991 at WCW. He was later fired in 1995 due to a series of injuries where he then joined ECW. He didn’t stay long there as well as he made his way to WWF in late 1995. Stonecold’s claim to fame was after his victory in the King of the Ring tournament in 1996 and after his infamous Austin 3:16 speech. Austin would rise to the main event scene in 1997 feuding with the likes of Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels. He would then dominate the WWF with his foul mouth, beer-drinking, and finger gesturing ways. His most memorable moment was his feud against the owner of the WWF himself.
People had never seen anything like it where the employee (Stonecold) would beat the hell out of their boss and make their way back to work on the next episode. Stonecold retired in 2003 due to his neck injury and he was inducted in the WWE Hall of Fame in 2009.
Wrestling is known today as a form of entertainment. Despite some people saying how fake it is, it’s undeniable that the people that help make up this industry deserve the notoriety.