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Shawn Michaels tops the list of WWE top 50 superstars of all time

Shawn Michaels tops the WWE list of top 50The WWE revealed its list of Top 50 superstars of all time for an upcoming DVD. If you expected names like Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Ric Flair, Bruno Sammartino or Stone Cold Steve Austin to be at the top you were wrong. Shawn Michaels tops the list followed by the Undertaker.

The NFL recently did a similar list of top 100 NFL players naming Jerry Rice as number one. The biggest difference between the NFL list and the WWE list is the authenticity. The NFL list was comprised by feedback from former players and members of the NFL media. The WWE list of top 50 greatest superstars was created in a board room or production meeting. Something tells me that if the WWE used the same criteria for its list, Shawn Michaels would barely crack the top five.

As a big Shawn Michaels fan I have to say that ranking the Heartbreak Kid up top is a bit of a joke. Unfortunately when it comes to the WWE they do whatever they want so if they want HBK to be on top, he is on top. I just can’t imagine under what set of criteria that Shawn Michaels would top anyone’s list of pro wrestling superstars

In terms of business alone, Michaels was one of the worst drawing WWE champions and main-event pro wrestlers of all time. Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan, and Bruno Sammartino (taking inflation into consideration) were all much bigger draws. Sammartino and Hogan don’t even appear in the top 20! I really hate to get all bent out of shape about a make believe list of pro wrestlers but not ranking Bruno Sammartino and Hulk Hogan in the top 20 is just ridiculous. On my list, both of those guys would be in the top five.

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If you are creating a list based purely on who had the best or most exciting pro wrestling matches than maybe you do put Shawn Michaels at the top of the list. That is thrown out the window when The Undertaker is ranked number two. The Undertaker was surely not the biggest draw in pro wrestling or WWE history, certainly wasn’t the most popular, and definitely didn’t have the best matches. So what exactly is this list based on?

The list just keeps getting stranger and stranger as guys like Harley Race, The Rock (who only had about a six year career on top), Andre the Giant, Roddy Piper, Eddie Guerrero, Gorgeous George and John Cena are ranked ahead of Hogan, Sammartino, Ric Flair, and Dusty Rhodes. It is fair to say that without the influences of Rhodes, Flair, Sammartino, and Hogan that pro wrestling may not even exist as we know it today.

The list has gotten to be quite a hot topic inside of the WWE. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin said of the list, “i dont know the criteria for the WWE top 50 list…but i disagree with 85% of it.” via his Twitter account.

Look I realize at the end of the day that this list really doesn’t mean a whole heck of a lot in the grand scheme of things. At the same time the list comes off as a big slap in the face to a lot of pro wrestlers that if not for their success, pro wrestling may not have ever achieved the level of success it has today. Dishonoring greats like Flair, Hogan, and Sammartino is truly representative of the twisted view that Vince McMahon has on the history of pro wrestling.

The full top 50
1. Shawn Michaels
2. The Undertaker
3. Steve Austin
4. Bret Hart
5. The Rock
6. Harley Race
7. Ricky Steamboat
8. Andre the Giant
9. Rey Mysterio
10. Roddy Piper
11. Eddie Guerrero
12. Triple H
13. Gorgeous George
14. Randy Savage
15. Curt Hennig
16. John Cena
17. Ric Flair and Dusty Rhodes (tied)
18. ?
19. Edge
20. Jerry Lawler
21. Lou Thesz
22. Terry Funk
23. Hulk Hogan
24. Bruno Sammartino
25. Chris Jericho
26. Ted DiBiase
27. Fabulous Moolah
28. Freddie Blassie
29. Randy Orton
30. Pat Patterson
31. The Iron Sheik
32. Jimmy Snuka
33. Mick Foley
34. Kurt Angle
35. Buddy Rogers
36. Gorilla Monsoon
37. Junkyard Dog
38. Billy Graham
39. Jake Roberts
40. Big Show
41. Jack Brisco
42. Sgt. Slaughter
43. Kane
44. Nick Bockwinkel
45. Jeff Hardy
46. Dory Funk Jr.
47. Bob Backlund
48. Rick Rude
49. Batista
50. Killer Kowalski

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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