To make this mountain you have to have transcended wrestling. Your achievements and accolades would have to have made this bigger and more mainstream. That certainly makes this list smaller. I can’t go back 100 years because obviously I wasn’t alive so I will start with the 1970’s til now. Three of the names are easy. The last one can be debated.
There is no doubt that Vince McMahon is the first on this list. He was the game changer and completely made wrestling what is today and effectively wiped out most of his competition by breaking the gentleman’s agreement. Hey anyone could have done what he did. But what he did with how we saw wrestling on television and with pay per views plus taking a chance on the right guy in Hulk Hogan is a story in itself. To wrestling fans we know what WrestleMania week is and what it has become and how it grows every year. To others who don’t follow or bash wrestling they need to understand what Vince has created. I recall a caller on Mike Francesa’s show bring up WrestleMania 29 at Met Life stadium and how Francesa had no idea the building sold out in a half hour or less. And as the caller tried to explain the whole week is just like the Super Bowl with events and parties etc he could not understand the fascination. We know nothing is bigger than the Super Bowl but this has grown so huge because of Vince’s drive. With the network now up and running and how WWE constantly draws more fans and hits on social media there is no end in sight. Also Vince was involved in one of the greatest story lines in history when he went up against Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Is there any real doubt that Hulk Hogan is the next one on the mountain. Hogan was the hand selected poster boy of Vince McMahon and boy was he right. Hogan worked for Vince’s father and bounced around and was not under WWE contract when he appeared in Rocky 3 as Thunderlips. Hogan was energetic and charismatic and the fans took to him big time. Forever in the hearts of the kids those same fans still love him. Not a good in ring wrestler but the perfect person at that time. His mantra of training, say your prays and eat your vitamins endured him to the youth and their parents. Of course he got caught with steroids but by then the scope of wrestling was forever changed. Hogan will always be the Immortal One that every one of the boys in the back owes a debt of gratitude to.
Can You Smell What The Rock Is Cooking. This is an easy choice for the third member of the mountain. The Rock is the only wrestler to successfully make it in Hollywood. By making it I mean actually have movies that make money. Hogan’s movies never drew at the box office. Rock thrives at the box office. Others like Terry Funk and Jerry Lawler had their moments but nothing like what the Rock has done. His 5.5 million salary in his movie debut is still the highest in history. The Rock’s promos are still great no matter how long he is away from the ring. Rock has more in ring ability than Hogan ever did and his mic work is top 5 overall all time. He is the more cool and hip version of Hogan. The fans will always love the Rock.
This one was hard and it came down to between Ric Flair and Bruno Sammartino. I picked Flair because basically he would work matches in all the different territories while he was champion and Bruno didn’t. Perhaps the problems Bruno had with Vince Sr prevented him from doing so. But the Nature Boy can still cut a mean promo and his ability to thrive in the old days and the current days gives him the nod. Bruno would not last in today’s world of wrestling. Bruno was a wrestler. So was Flair but Flair was also an entertainer who could put over a broom stick.