Pro wrestling has given us some fantastic performers over the years, and many of the talented people that have graced the squared circle have gone on to achieve legendary status. When all is said and done though, there are some types of worker that seem to rise to the top time and time again. As such, we’re going to be looking at three legendary acts and who on the modern WWE roster could fill similar roles if given the right opportunities.
Both these roughnecks utilized a nasty looking big boot as an integral part of their arsenal and proved themselves to be far more diverse in their offence than first impressions may make you think.
Active until his unfortunate death in 1988, Bruiser Brody was a special talent. Despite having a reputation for being uncooperative, he was never without work, and the reason was simple: he could pull in a crowd with ease. Brody was one of the original innovators of the brawling ring style, and many remember him for his wild battles with everyone from Abdullah the Butcher to Antonio Inoki. Don’t let that fool you though; Brody was also surprisingly agile for a man of his size and was perfectly capable of not only working at speed, but throwing out leap frogs, dropkicks, and flying knee drops with ease.
When you look at the modern WWE roster, there is certainly one man that could step into a similar role if given the right opportunities: Harper. Debuting in 2002, the former ‘Big Rig’ Brodie Lee certainly shares some physical similarities with Bruiser Brody; he’s a big, beardy guy that looks imposing when standing across the ring from most of the roster, after all. But the similarities don’t end there. Like Brody, Harper regularly mixes up a power-based offense with some high-speed moves that you wouldn’t expect from a man of his stature. While Brody threw out dropkicks and high knees though, Harper prefers suicide dives and high speed discuss clotheslines.
While these two superstars were more than capable of busting out memorable matches, it was their mouths that first drew people to them.
With a glittering 42-year ring career, Rowdy Roddy Piper was one of the most enduring stars in the wrestling world. Equally adept at drawing a crowd in whether a heel or face, Hot Rod wowed audiences for years with his performances both in and out of the ring. For many though, he is remembered as one of the true great talkers of the industry. His Piper’s Pit segments set the world on fire in their day and led to some of the most memorable moments in WWE history.
Dean Ambrose cut his teeth on the indie circuit under the name Jon Moxley. Like Piper, he was not shy of drawing blood when a match required it but was also adept at less brutal performances. It was the unhinged persona that he presented that got the fans talking though, with his promos dripping with a believable edge that really made it easy to suspend disbelief with him. Prior to his recent injury, he had mostly moved away from his previous intensity and was connecting with fans through humour. While not everyone’s cup of tea, his prop gags were really just the modern equivalent of when Piper used a ‘shock proof vest’ to best The Mountie and his shock stick. Now that he’s back and showing his vicious side again, who know where his character will take him. If fate is kind though, the former world champion could be a star for years to come.
The Best In The World
While one is among the most recognizable faces of multiple eras of wrestling, and the other is one of the biggest break out stars of the last ten years, both combined charisma and pure talent.
When asked to name the best wrestler of all time, there’s a good chance that many people will say Ric Flair. From 1972 to 2012, The Nature Boy had a seemingly unparalleled ability to not only have audiences eating out of the palm of his hand, but to pull out main event quality matches, no matter who he wrestled. From his ever-memorable promos to his masterclass in-ring performances, he is a living legend in the truest sense of the word and remains one of the most well-regarded stars of all time.
In the modern era, few have had the same connection with the crowd as Daniel Bryan. Originally a part of WWE’s developmental system from 2000 to 2003, he finally made the leap to the main roster in 2010 and immediately set about gaining a reputation as a reliable in-ring worker. By the end of 2011, he already won the world title and established himself as the fan’s choice for top superstar. Like Flair, he seemed just as comfortable as a face or heel, and now that he’s been cleared to return to the ring, it seems likely that he could carve out his own impressive legacy.
So, those are my picks. But do you agree? Are there any others you can think of? Let me know in the comments below.