MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - The Top 10 Wrestlers, Tag Teams, and Matches of the Wrestlemania Era (since 1985)

MR. TITO STRIKES BACK – The Top 10 Wrestlers, Tag Teams, and Matches of the Wrestlemania Era (since 1985)

WWE

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Welcome back to the column that is HOTTER than the 18-49 demographic in television, the Mr. Tito experience exclusively here at WrestlingHeadlines.com, a LordsofPain.net company. Almost 2 years ago, heading into my “almost retirement”, I started doing my All Time 10 Ten Lists on my way out. Of course, as you may know, the appearance of All Elite Wrestling gave me “hope” that competitive wrestling was on its way back again. Or at the very least, the trainwreck trying would be interesting to write about. I’ll have to admit, the appearance of AEW has rejuvenated me not just as a wrestling fan but as Mr. Tito again as a writer. I feel that my stuff from 2020 has been among my best work within the 21+ years here at WH/LoP.

But anyway, getting back to the Top 10… For the brief moments that I’ve had the WWE Network to cover the bigger Pay Per Views, I usually binge older events to get my $9.99 worth… Since the Fall of 2018, I’ve consumed a ton of older wrestling that has given me some perspective on my all time lists. I have also read a few books and publications as well that helped convince me to revise a few positions or members of my top 10 lists.

For today’s column, just for fun, I’m going to run down my Top 10 Wrestlers, Tag Teams, and Matches of ALL Time…

Well, I should be careful of that “ALL TIME” listing. Usually, I stick with the Wrestlemania Era for all of my lists (1985 and beyond). For one, it wasn’t until late 1988 when I became a fan. Secondly, I have not tried to watch anything pre-1980 with the exception of an occasional match here or there. Therefore, I don’t feel right commenting on the greatness of Lou Thesz, Gorgeous George, Andre “the Giant”, or Bruno Sammartino. Besides Andre briefly, none of them were able to enjoy working for a company that tried to go national. Each of those wrestlers were mostly territory driven and were more reliant on local television or ticket sales.

To me, wrestlers BEFORE and AFTER 1985 are like apples and oranges. Completely different because how they were presented and marketed was way different.

Thus, my lists are for the Wrestlemania Era (1985 and beyond).

I also want to stress that I’ve tried to watch New Japan Pro Wrestling and other Japanese promotions. Honestly, it’s not my cup of tea… I tried it during the late 1990s with tapes that were available after the NWO had a few New Japan wrestlers in the stable. I’m a huge fan of Great Muta since his NWA/WCW days and tried to keep up with his work when I could. In modern times, anytime that I hear of a great match, I find a way track it down or find a friend with AXS access. I’ve tried it, some of it that I’ve seen has been good… But in my opinion as a wrestling fan, none of their wrestlers, tag teams, or even matches make my list.

And that’s the bottom line because these lists are MY LISTS and very subjective to my personal opinions. You are more than welcome to Comment your top 10 lists down below to contradict my choices. Go for it!

I want to personally post my Top 10 Lists to maybe encourage younger fans to check out wrestlers, tag teams, and matches of the past. WWE Network is a great asset to have for wrestling fans and it wouldn’t hurt for me to point them in the right direction during this quarantine era.

I hope that you enjoy…

Real quick, here is how I rank GREATNESS…

For wrestlers…
– Did they draw money?
– Cultural Impact, obtaining casula fans
– Influence on future wrestlers
– Charisma
– Personality
– In-ring Ability

For matches…
– Match Quality
– Impact on the wrestling business
– Influence on future wrestlers
– In-ring Psychology
– Replay Value

Away we go…

Mr. Tito’s GREATEST TAG TEAMS

10) Midnight Express (various teams with Jim Cornette)
9) Hart Foundation
8) The Hardy Boys
7) Edge & Christian
6) Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard (aka Brainbusters)
5) Steiner Brothers
4) Demolition
3) Rock N Roll Express
2) Road Warriors / Legion of Doom
1) Dudley Boyz

TAG TEAM THOUGHTS: Harlem Heat just missed the cut. Good team, but Booker T was clearly the standout member. I really like the Revival, but they need more time and mileage. Team Angle/World’s Greatest Tag Team should be on this list based on in-ring fundamentals but they split up too much.

The Dudleys are the most accomplished tag team and in my opinion, the best overall tag team to ever do it. While the Road Warriors might have been a bigger draw, they always won each and every match and sometimes didn’t work well with certain types of tag teams. The Dudleys could work with anyone and make any team look great in the ring. Their intensity as a team pushed the Hardys and Edge & Christian to the limit during 2000-2001.

Rock N Roll Express are probably the most influential team on the list… Given their smaller size, they really taught the wrestling industry how to make a tag team presentation look great. I’d give the same honors to the Midnight Express if htey didn’t have a partner change in the middle of their run. Midnight Express was GREAT and Jim Cornette was magnificent as their manager.

Many consider Demolition to be a “Road Warrior” ripoff but I personally like Ax and Smash better than Hawk and Animal. Those guys were talented in-ring workers and had better matches than the Legion of Doom. Steiners could have been the #1 tag team but they just moved around too much and somehow didn’t make it work in the WWE together during the early 1990s. That’s a shame.

If you LOVE the Revival, check out how smooth Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard were during the late 1980s. Smooth as hell… You can definitely see the heavily influence on the Revival from the Brainbusters and also a little Midnight Express mixed in. Arn and Tully had that Four Horsement swagger going and were even effective in the WWE during 1989. In my opinion, their feud with Demolition made Ax and Smash better tag team wrestlers (if that was possible).

*****

Mr. Tito’s GREATEST WRESTLERS

10) Bret “The Hitman” Hart
9) Shawn Michaels
8) “Macho Man” Randy Savage
7) Brock Lesnar
6) The Undertaker
5) The Rock
4) John Cena
3) “Nature Boy” Ric Flair
2) Steve Austin
1) Hulk Hogan

GREATEST WRESTLER THOUGHTS: Edge, Kurt Angle, Mick Foley, and Triple H are all on the outside of this list. I’m a personal fan of Sting but as I get older, I struggle to enjoy his past work like I used to. He should have joined the WWE earlier rather than later.

Since my last list, I’ve gained a better appreciation of Bret Hart‘s total career and in-ring work. I’ve regressed on seeing HHH’s work, as I’m quickly realizing the repetitiveness of his work. Bret had a stellar midcard career before being elevated to WWE Champion and I’d argue that he endured dysfunctional creative during the time he was champ.

Many will question my placement of John Cena over the Rock. Rock had a great dance partner with Steve Austin… Cena also did it longer and in my opinion, had a weaker supporting cast. Fact is that WWE imploded on Attendance, Merchandise Sales, and Viewership after John Cena was not longer featured as the #1 guy. Rock doesn’t have longevity on his side, too, like John Cena does.

I’d have Undertaker higher on my list, but he was never the #1 guy in the WWE. Longevity is amazing and he’s a tremendous performer, but he was a side attraction when other top guys were pushed. I was very close to placing Brock Lesnar higher than him on my list. He has had quite a run during the 2010s.

I always wonder how Macho Man Randy Savage would draw on his own without Hulk Hogan always in the way… Macho was quite the talent. His 1987-1992 storyline arc is just amazing to watch. Shawn Michaels‘s 2nd life as a wrestler during the 2000s was inspirational and salvaged what could have been a disappointing 1990s career.

Mr. Tito’s GREATEST MATCHES

10) Edge/Christian vs. Hardy Boys – Ladder Match – WWE No Mercy 1999
9) Steve Austin vs. The Rock – WWE Wrestlemania 15
8) John Cena vs. CM Punk – WWE Money in the Bank 2011
7) CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar – WWE SummerSlam 2013
6) Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels – WWE Wrestlemania 25
5) Ricky Steamboat vs. Ric Flair – WCW WrestleWar 89
4) Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Michaels – WWE Wrestlemania 21
3) Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels – Hell in a Cell – WWE Badd Blood 1997
2) Ric Flair vs. Terry Funk – I Quit Match – WCW Clash of the Champions 9
1) Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart – WWE Wrestlemania 13

GREATEST MATCHES THOUGHTS: There are sooooooo many tag matches that are just equal in greatness. The Midnights/Fantastics match at Clash 1, HHH/Austin vs. Benoit/Jericho at a RAW, any variation of Dudleys/Hardys/Edge & Christian, any variation of the Smackdown 6 from 2002, and many from the late 1980s and early 1990s WWE and WCW which were LOADED with tag teams. Sadly, I only have 1 and that’s my personal favorite Ladder match of all time that made Hardys and Edge/Christian into household names.

Many, many great matches missed the cut here… The other 2 1989 Steamboat and Ric Flair matches… Foley vs. HHH at Royal Rumble 2000. Any of the Austin vs. Angle, Benoit vs. Angle, or Benoit vs. Austin matches from 2000-2003. Just pure in-ring classics. HHH vs. HBK at SummerSlam 2002. HBK had many, many great matches throughout the 2000s to list and even from basic RAW matches. I really love CM Punk’s match with the Undertaker at Wrestlemania 29. Stole the show, in my opinion.

*****

I hope that you enjoyed that… By all means, present your top 10 down below in the comments section or follow me on Twitter @titowrestling to debate my lists as well.

That’s all I have for today… I’ll see you next time for an all new addition of ASK MR. TITO unless I feel the need to write another column before that.

So just chill… Until the next episode!

Comments and feedback are welcome. Follow and Tweet me @titowrestling or login in below to post comments.

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