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  #11  
Old 09-19-2016, 02:30 PM
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See, I just can't get behind Austin as the GOAT. Everyone else in the thread has a case, but IMO, not Austin.

Sure Austin was massively popular. Probably the most over in wrestling history; and he made a shit ton of money too. What takes him out of the conversation for me, though, is his lack of longevity and his lack of putting people over. Now, I know he was injured and that's why he didn't have the longevity, but it doesn't matter how or why, it matters that he didn't have it. Next, who did Austin help to make popular? The Rock got over with Mankind. Trips got over with DX then the Rock. Kane got over with 'Taker. Angle got over off of Trips and Steph. So who did Austin bring to the dance? I can't think of anyone. IMO, that is a vital ingredient in the GOAT soup.

Don't get me wrong. He jump started WWE's eventual victory over the Monday Night Wars and he changed the game in 97 onwards, but he didn't have longevity and he didn't bring anyone to the dance.

Just my opinion.
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  #12  
Old 09-20-2016, 05:56 AM
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Originally Posted by SSJPhenom View Post
See, I just can't get behind Austin as the GOAT. Everyone else in the thread has a case, but IMO, not Austin.

Sure Austin was massively popular. Probably the most over in wrestling history; and he made a shit ton of money too. What takes him out of the conversation for me, though, is his lack of longevity and his lack of putting people over. Now, I know he was injured and that's why he didn't have the longevity, but it doesn't matter how or why, it matters that he didn't have it. Next, who did Austin help to make popular? The Rock got over with Mankind. Trips got over with DX then the Rock. Kane got over with 'Taker. Angle got over off of Trips and Steph. So who did Austin bring to the dance? I can't think of anyone. IMO, that is a vital ingredient in the GOAT soup.

Don't get me wrong. He jump started WWE's eventual victory over the Monday Night Wars and he changed the game in 97 onwards, but he didn't have longevity and he didn't bring anyone to the dance.

Just my opinion.
You make a good point, and I guess this was Austin's key downfall during his WWE career - and if I remember, prior to his retirement, there was a quite a bit of animosity about him refusing to put people over which led to quite a few disagreements/walkouts etc. On thing is for sure, Brett Hart DEFINITELY put Austin over, in a big way. Cena wasn't exactly great at putting people over until fairly recently, and he certainly wasn't afraid to bury someone from time to time.

I dunno, it's tough, Austin was just so influential in such a short amount of time, and I'm not sure anyone has ever replicated that. Maybe Lesnar but not on anywhere near the same scale. I guess it comes down to what you think is important. I would say Austin was to WWE what Eric Cantona was to Manchester United in the 1990's (forgive me if that's above anyone here but it's the best comparison I can think of to emphasise my point). It's all about timing and influence and Austin had these in abundance. He was one in a million in terms of what he achieved.
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  #13  
Old 09-24-2016, 03:28 PM
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Wow, tough question.

I would have to go for Bret 'The Hitman' Hart.

The excellence of execution, the best there is, the best there was & the best there ever will be.

I chose Bret Hart because the guy worked his way right up the ranks, from a rookie, to tag-team champ, intercontinental champ, world champ.

When Bret was in the ring, it didn't seem to matter if the opponent was an athletic type like Mr. Perfect, a fellow ring technician like Chris Benoit, a giant (for Bret anyway) like Undertaker or Sid, or a brawler like Stone Cold Steve Austin, the match was interesting to watch, I can't ever remember myself skipping through a Bret Hart match.

The match against Steve Austin at WrestleMania 13 is a big favourite of mine, but then so is the match against Chris Benoit on Nitro in memory of Owen Hart.

The King of The Ring Tournament win shows just how Bret Hart could adapt, 1st Round against Razor Ramon, Semi-Final against Mr Perfect & then the final against Bam Bam Bigelow.

Bret Hart will not be remembered as a guy who sold out massive stadiums or venues, but I'm sure we won't see any like him again, inside the square circle.
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  #14  
Old 09-26-2016, 02:54 AM
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I'd argue that the greatest of all time was Lou Thesz, based on a combination of a number of factors: His power as a drawing card, his mainstream popularity, his longevity in the industry, his consistency and adaptation across several different eras, his accomplishments in the wrestling world, and his impact on the industry.

I'll elaborate a bit on each.

Drawing power itself can be tricky to define. Like wrestling, drawing power has changed and evolved. Marketing strategies used to promote matches and wrestlers have changed. From radio to television to national syndicated programming to pay per view to internet streaming. What can be applied to a worker in the current era cannot be applied to a worker in the past eras. For example PPV buys cannot be used to define Thesz's drawing power because he preceded PPV's, and there's no way to normalize that either. Same with TV ratings. Cena saw ratings that were much lower than Austin's, who saw ratings that were much lower than Hogan's, who saw ratings that were much lower than anything Thesz would have seen. Thesz and Dozan drew a TV rating of 87.0 when they locked up in Japan. And of course there's a reason for the decrease over time, as technology evolves, so TV ratings alone can't be a measurement of quality. What has stayed constant through wrestling history is live attendance. Fans have always paid money to gather in droves to watch wrestling. And it's simpler to adjust the inflation prices of tickets over the years, the population growth in major wrestling cities over time, and the natural ebb of the wrestling industry through hot and cold periods.

Thesz wasn't the top drawing card in wrestling history. Most historians will cite Jim Londos as wrestling's biggest draw, adjusted for inflation of course, but Lou lands himself in the top 5. He was a top draw everywhere he went, and as NWA champion he wrestling all over the US, and in Japan, Australia, Mexico, Canada, across Europe, India, and Australia.

During his peak as NWA champion in the 50's the NWA was a $25 million a year organization, with Thesz being responsible for most of that revenue. The 1950's saw a huge boom for the wrestling industry that Thesz lead.

Thesz broke into the industry in the early 30's and won his first world title [the Boston version of the Strangler Lewis belt that Gorgeous George would later hold] at the age of 21. The same decade marked the downturn of the popularity of wrestling in the eyes of the general public with the combination of Jack Pfefer exposing the work and the 1936 double cross on wrestling's top star at the time, Danno O'Mahonny, by Dick Shikat. The industry would survive thanks to gimmick wrestlers and attractions like Maurice Tillet until the end of WWII.

Following the war Thesz would gain popularity and notoriety and would win the National Wrestling Association's world title on 3 separate occasions. Defeating wrestling's top star Wild Bill Longson, who pioneered the cocky and cool bad boy character that Austin, Nash, and Rock would all come to emulate decades later. The Association differed from the Alliance in that, while the Association did try and create a unified undisputed champion, fans and promoters alike generally ignored it. The promoters that made up the National Wrestling Alliance did see their belt as the undisputed championship, but it was Thesz's efforts and success as he traveled the world that got the fans believing this too. By the time his career had ended Thesz would have amassed more than 2 million miles as a headliner touring the planet. He was instrumental in the growth of the business in numerous territories in the US, Canada, Japan, and all over the world during the 50's and 60's.

Thesz held the NWA world title for a combined 10 years, and held a major recognized world for a combined 18 years, longer than anyone in history. He would win his last world title in Mexico at the age of 63. Fans knew and identified Lou Thesz as the top wrestling champion even when he wasn't holding the belt. He was considered to be the top sports star in the world at his peak in the 50's, with boxing and MMA legends like Joe Lewis and Judo Gene Lebell singing his praises. Wrestlers today may work on average 3 matches a week and 150 matches a year. It wasn't uncommon for Thesz to wrestle 8 a week. Sometimes wrestling up to 350 matches a year or more. During his historic 7 year run with the NWA belt in the 50's he amassed a 937 match winning streak, which is a major contender for the longest stretch of uninterrupted dominance in wrestling history.

Part of the reason why Thesz was chosen as NWA, other than his drawing power and popularity, was his skills as a shooter. Double crosses were still common in the 50's and thanks to the NWA's shady business dealings many promoters had enemies. Thesz needed to be able to protect the title from rogue promoters and wrestlers looking to go into business for themselves, and he did. But what many modern fans overlook about Thesz is that he had a colorful personality, was well spoken, and had the ability to spark emotion in fans wherever he went. He was as much a showman as he was a shooter. Didn't matter whether he was working face or heel. And as the industry evolved so did the matches and the wrestlers. A Thesz match from the 30's would not look the same as a Thesz match from the 50's. Or 60's or 70's. Thesz had signatures maneuvers and spots that he would do routinely just like modern wrestlers. And he adjusted and refined his in ring style as time went on. Being credited with maneuvers like the STF, the Thesz press, and what would become the powerbomb.

Thesz's career spanned 7 decades. He promoted cards in St. Louis in the 40's, refereed matches in the 80's and 90's, one being the NWA title match between Flair and Dusty in in Kansas City in 1981, and sat on the board of the Cauliflower Alley Club as its president until 2000. He's been inducted into the Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum in Texas, The NWA Hall of Fame, the WCW Hall of Fame, and as of this year the WWE Hall of Fame.

For his popularity, his accomplishments, his appeal, his longevity, his level of showmanship, his domination and consistency, and his lasting impact on the industry I struggle to find anyone greater than Lou Thesz.
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  #15  
Old 09-30-2016, 02:39 AM
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For me, Bret Hart. Best there is, best there was and best there ever will be. The excellence of execution. Always said he never injured an opponent, so a safe worker, technically sound, can tell a story in the ring, and my brothers and I used to do the sharpshooter on each other as kids. The Hitman was the best of all time. A gutter that another favourite Goldberg helped end his career early, and if he was still in wwf, Owen wouldn't have died that night.
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  #16  
Old 10-01-2016, 09:26 AM
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As good as some of the men were from the previous Eras of Pro Wrestling the thing that makes me not want to throw names out is the time period at hand. The marketing, opportunity, and momentum a wrestler is given can entirely change our perspective as fans towards them. With bigger crowds and more pay and competition the talent thrives. In the modern day of internet and spoilers very few of them make it seem like it's more than just a big match.

So a lot of these things may be amazing in comparison today or even at the time, but the things surrounding it truly affect the product of a Pro-Wrestler and their matches. Their body is a brand and they use it to obtain their status whether it be their speaking, the decoration, or the movement. With all things considered as far as I can as just a fan I will throw out the name, AJ Styles.

TNA, WWE, WWF, WCW, NJPW, ROH, NWA, PWG, and CZW.

Safe worker? People criticize the Styles Clash, and say it is dangerous. Out of over 1000 matches in a career spanning over a decade he's injured few and most have claimed they were at fault.

Ability: Look up his age and the style he wrestles in and find me a comparison that is as fluid as he is and still doing wonderful. Anything from straight punching, to kick and punch combos, high-flying, and technical is under his belt and much more in his arsenal.

He was having beyond amazing matches with detailed storytelling with or without a build since 2005. He is the man in the ring, and his actions speak louder than any wrestlers words do today.

He does make some bad promo's that's true. He's never had a voice geared towards a person who should be talking often, but somehow he still gathers people rallying behind him and hating him as much as they can. Feel free to show me someone with a voice similar or maybe a little worse on the public speaking aspect and be sure they have at least half of his ability.

He connects with crowds all over the globe and doesn't seem to do so bad at making a name for himself with just his skill alone. He's worked with the worse and the best and it seems like he's still thriving at the peak of the mountain regardless of who won or loss. He's still here, and he's the current Smackdown Champion.

He has the ability to rebound and maintain momentum, and can and has worked with awful material given to him to pull out some of the best. Even with spoilers people still tune in and the match he gives is real. The storytelling sinks you in, and that is what makes Pro-Wrestling more than just some low brow entertainment. Whether you see it that way or not obviously people tune in and are lifetime fans, because of people like AJ Styles.

Sure people can reinvent themselves and some make gimmicks work for a long time changing perspective like The Undertaker, Triple H, or John Cena.

At some points of these peoples careers it was pretty apparent how great they were, but as an entire span some of these guys aren't as great as they are played out to be. From advertisement to bandwagon hate, and being a company favorite maybe they aren't that good. I mean I recall Undertaker having some good matches, years ago and he still seems to be around. Before that he even had long-span career lows.

John Cena is a star, and a great competitor. With all that has been given to him I honestly couldn't consider him above someone like Steve Austin and the gimmick he had or someone like Mick Foley.

Flair, Hart, Shawn have all been great at a point, but they've had some intense career lows that nearly made no sense. I'd feel ridiculous to even include flair in a discussion like this entire span wise. If we are just picking an era that is so unfair and even in his prime there were a few just as good.

Styles has everything people seem to latch onto to define their great or their favorite, and for what he lacks or doesn't he seems to shine through and thrive while that person dwells on the nostalgia or the past.

Overcoming bad booking? Well Decorated? Good at nearly every aspect of pure in ring ability? Connect with a global audience? Made a name for himself and much more? Can go from an entirely different atmosphere and fly across an ocean and wrestle an entirely different match? Well decorated? Good matches? Indy and WWE, and Casual fans? Bullet club Leader? Wrestled Greats? Flows beyond well for his age and seems to be peaking? Pointed out as great by people considered above his level? Able to not only rebound, but completely reinvent himself in a way that retains character qualities and stays fresh?

A main reason: In an Era of fake, he remains real. The accolades and the magical Promo that made the best he may not have or couldn't do, but somehow he still accomplishes more just because of who he is. The workhorse turned into a star. I can picture Styles almost anywhere and everywhere in Wrestling and I could say that for no one else. The facts, the fans, and accolades are there. As well as the performance.

The Legacy is there and he doesn't need people to cite him. He is the legacy.
This truly proves that AJ Styles is the best wrestler ever.

Make me remember the last wrestler who main evented a PPV in WWE just after 4 months? It's AJ.

And then he went on to defeat Cena twice. The last feud of Cena where Cena was winless? He went on to become the WWE World Champion in 8 months after his debut.

He was the face of TNA as Cena is of WWE. He carried TNA along with help from the likes of Angle, Sting, Joe etc. TNA suffered a big loophole in it's roster when Styles left it.

A great in-ring worker. Be it on mat or in air. He does it all and does it with great efficiency.

He has has multiple 4+ star matches in this year. There's a special aura around him that's only present in great wrestlers.

He's the face that runs not only the place but whole pro wrestling, dammit.
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  #17  
Old 10-01-2016, 12:42 PM
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My kid brother used to do backyard wrestling just before AJ broke out in tna and spoke to him on msn. When i showed him an episode of tna years ago his response was "is that AJ? He's an actual pro wrestler now? And the champ? Fair play!!" No word of a lie.

Edit;

His face when i told him AJ was wwf champ now was an absolute picture :-)

Last edited by SharpShootingCrossface : 10-01-2016 at 12:46 PM.
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