Like most guys here, I grew up as a pro-wrestling fan. I'd watch it every chance I could and discovered that I was usually a fan of the mid and upper card but not necessarily the top stars. For some reason, they always seemed to have the best matches: the most technical and were the most likely to mat wrestle. I was a fan of the action and not the talk.
Here's a list of some of my favorite wrestlers.
1) Lance Storm
From the first time I saw him in ECW, I thought he was awesome. He looked like an army action figure come to life. When he teamed with Justin Credible in the Impact Players, I liked seeing him fight dirty and stress that he was "a serious wrestler" who didn't need gimmicks. His physique always impressed me as I learned that he lived a clean life and was against steroids. To this day, I love seeing a good Lance Storm match, especially since he liked making his opponents submit. He was all about the techniques of wrestling and couldn't stand the dog and pony show it had become.
2) Jamie Noble
Now this guy liked to scrap, and I enjoyed his gimmick of being a tough guy from the trailer park. He struck me as a guy who could be from the bad part of town, a guy I might have to wrestle. He had a great submission move that was wrapping his opponent up in a body scissors while applying a guillotine choke. I loved it when he applied that move.
3) Jerry Flynn
No, not Jerry Lynn. Jerry Flynn was a mid-carder in WCW who was a black belt in karate, and he'd often wear karate pants with his belt to the ring. He had some great kicks, but he usually went down in defeat. He sported a mullet but seemed to get a relative push when he changed his hairstyle to a standard military hairdo. He never got the push he deserved, but he had a nice body and cool look that made him memorable and also relatable. Like Noble and Storm, he looked like a tough guy you could meet in person, not a larger than life TV persona.
4) Dean Malenko
According to some fans, Malenko is boring, but to me he was the epitome of what a wrestler should be–a guy who had a thousand holds in his arsenal, a guy who can tie you up in a knot and make you cry for mercy. A guy who doesn't waste time saying he was going to beat you, he just beat you. No talk necessary. One match of his I love is where he went toe-to-toe with William Regal, move for move and hold for hold. It struck me as everything a cool wrestling match would be.
This blog feels incomplete without pictures. I wish I could post favorite pics of these guys.
In writing this blog, I realized that I tended to like guys I felt I could meet on the street. Guys who looked tough but not so over-the-top that they didn't feel relatable. They all seemed like guys who liked to wrestle rather than talk on TV. Maybe that's why they were the guys I looked up to the most.