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The Piledriver Report 03.04.09: The Fourth Annual Ultimate March Madness Tournament - The First 32 Contenders
Posted by Ronny Sarnecky on 03.04.2009



This year's tournament will crown the greatest wrestler to never win a World title, meaning WWWF/WWF/WWE, NWA, AWA, TNA, WCW, and ECW (once they became "extreme," but BEFORE it became the WWECW version). As far as the NWA World title is concerned, I decided to count the NWA title as a World Championship from the time of its existence up until WCW separated from the NWA. After that point, the NWA title was more of an indy belt, or a secondary title (as you saw during it's second run in the NWA). However, I am considering the TNA-NWA title a World title since it is NOT a secondary title to the company, and it is not an "indy" belt. I am including the WWE World title as a World championship, obviously, as well as the World Heavyweight belt as a World belt, since each are the main title of their respective brands. The ECW title, I am only including as a World title from the time they were no longer Eastern Championship Wrestling up until the time Paul Heyman closed the company's doors in 2001. Even though the WWE brought back ECW as a separate brand, this version is not a true World title belt, as event though the WWE included the word "World" in the name, they treat it as a secondary title on their main shows. This week, due to the length, I am including an in-depth description of the first 32 contenders in the tournament. Next week, I will include an in-depth description of the final 64 entrants, along with ROUND ONE's brackets.

THE FIRST THIRTY-TWO CONTENDERS
Bryan Danielson: Trained under Shawn Michaels at the Texas Wrestling Academy. He is seen as one of the best workers of this decade. His list of championships and honors include: All Pro Wrestling Internet Championship, APW King of the Indies tournament, All Star Wrestling Heavy Middleweight Championship, Full Impact Pro Heavyweight Championship, Memphis Championship Wrestling Southern Light Heavyweight Championship, National Wrestling Alliance Canadian Junior Heavyweight Championship, NWA Southern Junior Heavyweight Championship, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla World Championship, Pro Wrestling Noah GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship, Pro Wrestling Report Independent Wrestler of the Year (2006), Ring of Honor, ROH World Championship, Survival of the Fittest winner (2004), World Series Wrestling Heavyweight Champioship, Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards- Best Technical Wrestler (2005–2008), Match of the Year (2007) vs. Takeshi Morishima on August 25, Most Outstanding Wrestler (2006–2008).

Christopher Daniels: Trained by Sam DeCreoat the Windy City Wrestling School. His list of championships and honors include: All Pro Wrestling Worldwide Internet Championship, APW King of the Indies, Ballpark Brawl Natural Heavyweight Championship, East Coast Wrestling Association ECWA Heavyweight Championship, ECWA Hall of Fame (Class of 2001), ECWA Super 8 Tournament (2000 and 2004), Empire Wrestling Federation Heavyweight Championship, Frontier Wrestling Alliance British Heavyweight Championship, Michinoku Pro Wrestling British Commonwealth Junior Heavyweight Championship, NWA Florida Heavyweight Championship, New Age Wrestling Federation CT Cup Co-Holder, Premier Wrestling Federation United States Championship, Pro-Pain Pro Wrestling 3PW Heavyweight Championship, Pro Wrestling Illustrated Tag Team of the Year (2006) with A.J. Styles, PWI ranked him # 15 of the 500 best singles wrestlers of the year in the PWI 500 in 2006, Pro Wrestling Report Tag Team of the Year (2006) - with A.J. Styles, Pro Wrestling ZERO1-MAX United States Openweight Championship, Ring of Honor World Tag Team Championship (2 times), Total Nonstop Action Wrestling NWA World Tag Team Championship (6 times), TNA X Division Championship (3 times), TNA World X Cup (2004) with Jerry Lynn, Chris Sabin and Elix Skipper , Ultimate Pro Wrestling Heavyweight Championship (2 times), Windy City Pro Wrestling League Championship, WCPW Lightweight Championship, WCPW Middleweight Championship, World Power Wrestling Heavyweight Championship, Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards- 5 Star Match (2005) vs. A.J. Styles and Samoa Joe at Unbreakable on September 11.

Buddy Roberts: Trained by Ivan Koloff. Roberts was primarily known as one third of the Fabulos Freebirds team, along with Michaels Hayes and Terry Gordy. Despite Hayes and Gordy being the more popular members of the trio, Roberts was arguably the best worker in the group. Roberts held numerous tag championships throughout his career. However, he did hold countless singles belts. NWA Texas Heavyweight Championship, WCCW Television Championship, UWF World Television Championship, SPW Arkansas Heavyweight Championship, SCW Southwest Television Championship, SCW Southwest Heavyweight Championship.

Paul Orndorff: Played football for the University of Tampa, where he was inducted into their Hall of Fame in 1986. During the mid-eighties, Orndorff was arguably Hulk Hogan's greatest rival in the pre-pay per view day. Major titles includes: AWF Heavyweight Championship, NWA National Heavyweight Championship (4 times), WCW World Television Championship, AWA Southern Heavyweight Championship, NWA Southern Heavyweight Championship, Mid-South North American Heavyweight Championship, NWA North American Heavyweight Championship (2 times), Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum (Class of 2009), Pro Wrestling Illustrated Feud of the Year award in 1986 - vs. Hulk Hogan, PWI Match of the Year award in 1985 - with Roddy Piper, versus Hulk Hogan and Mr. T at WrestleMania, PWI Most Hated Wrestler of the Year award in 1986, PWI ranked him # 38 of the 500 best singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 1993, UWF Southern States Championship, WWE Hall of Fame (Class of 2005), Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards- Feud of the Year in 1986 - vs. Hulk Hogan.

Roddy Piper: Best known as Hulk Hogan's main foil during the Rock n' Wrestling Connection storyline. Piper was also involved in one of the hottest storylines in the WWF in 1984 when he smashed a coconut over Jimmy Snuka's head on a Piper's Pit segment. Titles and accomplishments include: NWA Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship (3 times), NWA Television championship (2 times), NWA United States Heavyweight Championship (2 times), WCW United States Heavyweight Championship, NWA Americas Heavyweight Championship, NWA Americas Heavyweight Championship (4 times), NWA World Light Heavyweight Championship, Pacific Northwest Wrestling Heavyweight Championship (2 times), Pro Wrestling Illustrated Most Inspirational Wrestler of the Year (1982), PWI Most Hated Wrestler of the Year (1984), PWI Most Hated Wrestler of the Year (1985), PWI Match of the Year (1985) with Paul Orndorff vs. Hulk Hogan & Mr. T at WrestleMania, PWI Most Popular Wrestler of the Year (1986), PWI ranked him # 17 of the 500 best singles wrestlers during the "PWI Years" in 2003, Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum Class of 2007, World Wrestling Federation|World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Fame (Class of 2005), WWF Intercontinental Championship, Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards Best Interviews (1981) tied with Lou Albano, Best Interviews (1982, 1983), Best Heel (1984, 1985) , Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame (Class of 1996), Worst Worked Match of the Year (1997) vs. Hulk Hogan at SuperBrawl, Worst Worked Match of the Year (1986) vs. Mr. T in a boxing match at WrestleMania.

David Schultz: He's probably best known for attacking 20/20 reporter John Stossel during an interview where Stossel asked Schultz if professional wrestling was fake. Titles and accomplishments include: Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling United States Heavyweight Championship, NWA Canadian Heavyweight Championship (Halifax version) (2 times), Canadian International Heavyweight Championship, NWA Southeastern Heavyweight Championship (Northern Division), NWA Southeastern Heavyweight Championship (Southern Division), Stampede North American Heavyweight Championship (3 times), Stampede Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Dick Murdoch: While he was known for he's "Texas Outlaws" tag team with Dusty Rhodes, Murdoch was one of the best big men of his era. Among the titles and accomplishments that he held throughout his career: NWA United National Championship, NWA Central States Heavyweight Championship, NWA Southern Heavyweight Championship (Florida version), Mid-South North American Championship (2 times), NWA North American Heavyweight Championship (Tri-State version) (3 times), NWA Tri-State Brass Knuckles Championship, NWA Amarillo Brass Knuckles Championship (2 times), NWA International Heavyweight Championship (Amarillo version) (3 times), NWA Western States Heavyweight Championship, Pro Wrestling Illustrated Most Inspirational Wrestler of the Year, NWA Missouri Heavyweight Championship (3 times), World Wrestling Council Universal Heavyweight Championship, WWC World Television Championship (2 times).

Bob Orton, Jr. : He is best known as Roddy Piper's cast wearing body guard "Ace." While many view him as being Piper's lackey, "Cowboy" Bob is one of the most underrated wrestlers in the eighties. Titles and honors include American Wrestling Federation Heavyweight Championship, NWA Florida Heavyweight Championship, NWA Georgia Junior Heavyweight Championship, ICW Southeastern Heavyweight Championship, ICW Television Championship, Mid-South Mississippi Heavyweight Championship, Midwest Powerhouse Wrestling Heavyweight Championship, Powerhouse Championship Wrestling Heavyweight Championship, Pro Wrestling Illustrated Rookie of the Year (1973) tied with Anthony Garcia, PWI ranked him # 121 of the 500 best singles wrestlers of the "PWI Years" in 2003, Old School Wrestling Alliance Heavyweight Championship, UWF Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship, UWF Southern States Championship (2 times), WWE Hall of Fame (Class of 2005).

Greg Valentine: "The Hammer" was a very good worker. While never considered for the top spot in the company that he worker for, he was usually given the second top spot in the organization. When he wasn't working as one of the top singles heels, he usually was involved in the tag team division. Titles and accolades include: International World Class Championship Wrestling Heavyweight Championship, NWA Canadian Heavyweight Championship (Toronto version), NWA Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship (2 times), NWA Mid-Atlantic Television Championship (2 times), NWA Television Championship (2 times), NWA United States Heavyweight Championship (2 times), NWA North American Heavyweight Championship, NWA Hollywood Wrestling NWA Americas Heavyweight Championship (2 times), NWA Beat the Champ Television Championship (2 times), NWA North American Heavyweight Championship, Pro Wrestling Illustrated Most Hated Wrestler of the Year (1975, 1979, 1983), World Wrestling Council Caribbean Heavyweight Championship, WWC Universal Heavyweight Championship, WWF Intercontinental Championship, WWE Hall of Fame (Class of 2004).

Don Muraco: The "Magnificent Muraco" was probably best known for his violent feud against Jimmy Snuka for the WWF's Intercontinental championship. Muraco held the distinction of a unique first in professional wrestling. He was the very first WWF King of the Ring. Titles and awards include: NWA Florida Heavyweight Championship, NWA Florida Television Championship, ECW Heavyweight Championship (2 times), NWA Americas Heavyweight Championship, NWA Pacific International Championship, NWA British Empire/Commonwealth Heavyweight Championship, NWA United States Heavyweight Championship (San Francisco version), Stampede North American Heavyweight Championship, WWE Hall of Fame (Class of 2004), WWF Intercontinental Championship (2 times), WWF King of the Ring (1985), Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards- Best Heel (1981).

Ken Patera: The Olympic Strongman, who won several medals at the Pan American games, was a serious contender in weightlifting at the 1972 Summer Olympics. Although he failed to medal, the name he made for himself served him well in the world of professional wrestling. His list of titles and awards include: CWA International Heavyweight Championship (2 times), NWA Georgia Heavyweight Championship, NWA Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship (2 times), NWA American Heavyweight Championship, NWA Tri-State Brass Knuckles Championship, Pro Wrestling Illustrated Most Hated Wrestler of the Year (1977, 1981), PWI ranked him # 75 of the 100 best tag teams of the "PWI Years" – with Jerry Blackwell in 2003, Southwest Championship Wrestling Brass Knuckles Championship, NWA Missouri Heavyweight Championship (2 times), WWF Intercontinental Championship, Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards- Match of the Year award in 1980 – vs. Bob Backlund (Texas Death match, May 19, 1980, New York City, New York).

John Studd: Trained under Killer Kowalski, "Big" John Studd was the main rival of Andre the Giant. Studd taunted Andre by proclaiming himself to be the true giant of professional wrestling and offering $15,000 to anyone who could bodyslam him. This led to a televised tag team match featuring Studd and fellow Heenan Family member Ken Patera against Andre The Giant and S.D. Jones. The match ended by disqualification after persistent rulebreaking by Studd and Patera, who attacked Andre afterwards and cut his hair. Titles and honors held by Studd include: European Wrestling Union World Super Heavyweight Championship, NWA Canadian Heavyweight Championship (Toronto version), NWA American Heavyweight Championship, NWA North American Heavyweight Championship (Hawaii version), NWA Tennessee Southern Heavyweight Championship, Pro Wrestling Illustrated Tag Team of the Year (1976) - with Killer Kowalski, WCW Hall of Fame (Class of 1995), WWE Hall of Fame (Class of 2004), Royal Rumble winner (1989).

Jimmy Snuka: The fans biggest memory of the "Superfly" has to be his two super fly leaps from the top of the steel cage in matches against the WWF World Champion Bob Backlund and the WWF Intercontinental Champion Don Muraco. It was a sight that inspired Mick Foley to one day leap from the top of the cage at SummerSlam 1997 in a match against Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Titles and accolades include: NWA Texas Heavyweight Championship, ECW World Heavyweight Championship (2 times), ECW Television Championship, NWA United States Heavyweight Championship (Mid-Atlantic version), NWL Heavyweight Championship, NWA Pacific Northwest Heavyweight Championship (5 times), Pro Wrestling Illustrated Match of the Year (1982) vs. Bob Backlund in a cage match on June 28, PWI Most Popular Wrestler of the Year (1983), PWI Tag Team of the Year (1980) with Ray Stevens, PWI ranked him #29 of the 500 best singles wrestlers during the "PWI Years" in 2003, World Wide Wrestling Alliance Heavyweight Championship, WWF Hall of Fame (Class of 1996), Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards- Tag Team of the Year (1981) with Terry Gordy, Best Flying Wrestler (1981), Best Wrestling Maneuver (1981, 1983) Superfly Splash, Tri-State Heavyweight Championship, USA New York Championship, USA Pro Heavyweight Championship, SXA United States of America Championship.

Dynamite Kid: He has been called the greatest pure wrestler in the history of the business. Kid's English training, combined with an aerial arsenal that was perfected during his tours in Japan, influenced a generation of current wrestling stars. The most famous wrestler he influenced was the late Chris Benoit. While most fans recall Dynamite's days as part of the tag team the British Bulldogs with Davey Boy Smith, Kid's matches as a singles competitor were even more thrilling. Titles and awards include: NWA Pacific Northwest Heavyweight Championship, Pro Wrestling Illustrated ranked him # 5 of the 100 best tag teams of the "PWI Years" with Davey Boy Smith in 2003, Stampede British Commonwealth Mid-Heavyweight Championship (5 times), Stampede North American Heavyweight Championship, Stampede World Mid-Heavyweight Championship (4 times), Stampede Wrestling Hall of Fame, WWF Junior Heavyweight Championship, Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards- 5 Star Match (1983) vs. Tiger Mask I on 23 April, Best Flying Wrestler (1984), Best Technical Wrestler (1984) - tied with Masa Saito, Best Wrestling Maneuver (1984) Power clean dropkick, Match of the Year (1982) vs. Satoru Sayama on 5 August, Tokyo, Japan, Most Underrated (1983), Tag Team of The Year (1985) - with Davey Boy Smith, Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame (Class of 1996)

Tito Santana: He started his professional wrestling career in 1976. Three years later, he would enter the World Wrestling Federation. It was a job he would until 1993. During that time, he would hold numerous tag team championship. From 1984-86, while Hulk Hogan provided the sizzle in the World title matches, Tito Santana would give the fans the steak in the Intercontinental contests. Titles and honors held: American Wrestling Federation Heavyweight Championship (2 times), ECW Heavyweight Championship, International World Class Championship Wrestling Heavyweight Championship, Northern States Wrestling Alliance Heavyweight Championship, Pro Wrestling Illustrated Tag Team of the Year award in 1979 – with Ivan Putski, PWI ranked him # 70 of the 100 best tag teams during the PWI Years with Rick Martel in 2003. WWE Hall of Fame (Class of 2004), WWF Intercontinental Championship (2 times), WWF King of the Ring (1989), Rio Grande Valley Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2007.

Dominic Denucci: Denucci was one of the top wrestlers of the sixties and seventies. After his career ended, Denucci became a trainer, where he trained Shane Douglas and Mick Foley, among others.. Titles and awards that Denucci held are: American Wrestling Alliance United States Heavyweight Championship, National Wrestling Federation Heavyweight Championship, NWF North American Heavyweight Championship, IWA World Heavyweight Championship (3 times).

Gorilla Monsoon: He did it all. Gorilla one of the great super-heavyweights. After retirement from the squared circle, he became an announcer for the World Wrestling Federation. He would later serve the role of the on-screen WWF President, and backstage manager during the 1980s and 1990s. In professional wrestling, the staging area just behind the entrance curtain at an event, a position which Marella established and where he could often be found during WWF shows late in his career, is named the Gorilla Position in his honor. Aside from being one of the top professional wrestlers in his day, Gorilla was a standout amatuer wrestling champion, as he finished second in the 1959 NCAA Wrestling Championships. Titles and honors held: IWA World Heavyweight Championship, World Wrestling Council North American Heavyweight Championship (2 times), WWF Hall of Fame (Class of 1994).

Killer Kowalski: Kowalski was one of the greatest heels in professional wrestling history. Throughout the 60s and 70s, Kowalski played the role of the antagonist against the WWWF World champion Bruno Sammartino. Despite being a heel, in real life, Kowalski was one of the kindest men around. He also helped teach others about the business. Several of his students included "Big" John Studd, Triple H, Perry Saturn, John Kronus, Chris Nowinski, A-Train, Kenny Dykstra, Frank Kazarian, and Chyna. Titles and accolades include: Atlantic Athletic Commission World Heavyweight Championship, Cauliflower Alley Club Iron Mike Mazurki Award (2002), NWA Central States Heavyweight Championship, NWA Southern Heavyweight Championship (Florida version), Montreal Athletic Commission World/International Heavyweight Championship (12 times) NWA United States Heavyweight Championship (Hawaii version), NWA Americas Heavyweight Championship, NWA Pacific Coast Heavyweight Championship (San Francisco version), Pro Wrestling Illustrated Tag Team of the Year award in 1976 - with Big John Studd, Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum (Class of 2003), NWA Brass Knuckles Championship (Texas version), NWA Canadian Heavyweight Championship (Calgary version) (2 times), World Championship Wrestling (Australia) IWA World Heavyweight Championship (5 times), WWF Hall of Fame (Class of 1996), Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards- Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame (Class of 1996).

Pat Patterson: Patterson is probably best known as being "Mr. McMahon's" lackey, and the innovator of booking the Royal Rumble battle royal. However, Patterson was also a very accomplished wrestler. His greatest feud in the WWF was against Sgt. Slaughter, where the two men clashed in a classic brawl that still holds up today. Titles and honors include: NWA Florida Television Championship, NWA Americas Heavyweight Championship, NWA United States Heavyweight Championship (San Francisco version) (5 times), NWA North American Heavyweight Championship(Amarillo version), NWA Pacific Northwest Heavyweight Championship (3 times), Pro Wrestling Illustrated (2004), PWI Ranked him #110 of the 500 best singles wrestlers of the PWI Years in 2003, WWF Hardcore Championship, WWF Intercontinental Championship, WWF North American Heavyweight Championship, WWF Hall of Fame (Class of 1996), Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards- Match of the Year (1981) vs. Sgt. Slaughter in an Alley Fight on April 21, Worst Match of the Year (2000) vs. Gerald Brisco at King of the Ring on June 25 in Boston, Massachusetts, Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame (Class of 1996).

Davey Boy Smith: His first national exposure came as part of the tag team with the Dynamite Kid, the "British Bulldogs." Once the team disbanded, Davey Boy became an underrated, solid worker in both the WWF and WCW. Titles and accomplishments include: Pro Wrestling Illustrated Match of the Year (1992) vs. Bret Hart at SummerSlam, PWI ranked him # 5 of the 100 best tag teams of the PWI Years, with The Dynamite Kid in 2003, Stampede British Commonwealth Mid-Heavyweight Championship, Stampede North American Heavyweight Championship (2 times), Stampede World Mid-Heavyweight Championship, Stampede Wrestling Hall of Fame, WWF European Championship (2 times), WWF Hardcore Championship (2 times), WWF Intercontinental Championship, Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards- Best Wrestling Maneuver (1984) Power clean dropkick , Feud of the Year (1997) with Bret Hart, Owen Hart, Jim Neidhart, and Brian Pillman vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin, Tag Team of the Year (1985) with The Dynamite Kid.

Jake Roberts: This second generation wrestler is known as much for his out of the ring "demons," as he is for being a master at "ring pyschology. When he was on the top of his game, Roberts was one of the best performers in the industry. Titles and honors include: All-Star Wrestling Network (Georgia) World Heavyweight Champion, Americas Wrestling Federation Puerto Rican Heavyweight Championship, NWA National Television Championship, NWA World Television Championship (Georgia version) (2 times), Pro Wrestling Illustrated Most Inspirational Wrestler of the Year (1996), PWI ranked him # 100 of the 500 best singles wrestlers of the PWI Years in 2003, Mid-South Louisiana Heavyweight Championship, Mid-South North American Heavyweight Championship (2 times), Mid-South Television Championship, Smoky Mountain Wrestling Heavyweight Championship, Stampede North American Heavyweight Championship, World Class Championship Wrestling Television Championship.

Blackjack Mulligan: Mulligan played football for Texas Western University, and later the New York Jets. He was one of the best big men wrestlers of the 1970s. Titles and accolades include: NWA Brass Knuckles Championship (Florida version), European Wrestling Union World Super Heavyweight Championship, International Wrestling Federation Heavyweight Championship, NWA United States Heavyweight Championship (Mid-Atlantic version) (2 times), NWA American Heavyweight Championship, NWA Texas Heavyweight Championship, NWA International Heavyweight Championship (Amarillo version) (2 times), Pro Wrestling Illustrated Most Inspirational Wrestler of the Year (1978), PWI ranked him #159 of the 500 best singles wrestlers during the "PWI Years" in 2003, World Wrestling Association World Heavyweight Championship, WWE Hall of Fame (Class of 2006).

Owen Hart: The brother of Bret Hart, Owen was originally known as one of the best up and coming high flying wrestlers in the business. Owen came into his own in an angle where he turned on Bret Hart. Owen surprised many people with his great portrayal as a heel wrestler, after a career as a fan favorite. Unfortunately, Owen will probably be most remembered for falling from the rafters of the Kemper Arena to his death on May 23rd, 1999. Titles and awards include: New Japan Pro Wrestling IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship, Pro Wrestling Illustrated Editor's Award (1999), PWI Feud of the Year (1994) vs. Bret Hart, PWI Rookie of the Year (1987), PWI ranked him #10 of the 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 1994, PWI ranked him # 84 of the 100 best tag teams of the PWI Years with Davey Boy Smith in 2003, Stampede British Commonwealth Mid-Heavyweight Championship, Stampede North American Heavyweight Championship (2 times), Stampede Wrestling Hall of Fame, United States Wrestling Association Unified World Heavyweight Championship, World Wrestling Federation Slammy Award winner (2 times - Squared Circle Shocker, 1996; Best Bow Tie, 1997), European Championship, Intercontinental Championship (2 times), 1994 King of the Ring, Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards- 5 Star Match (1994) vs. Bret Hart in a cage match at SummerSlam 1994, Best Flying Wrestler (1987, 1988), Feud of the Year (1997) with Bret Hart, Jim Neidhart, Davey Boy Smith, and Brian Pillman vs. Steve Austin.

Ted DiBiase, Sr. : Best known as the "Million Dollar Man" in the World Wrestling Federation, Ted DiBiase was a complete wrestler. He had the working ability, charisma, and promo skills to hold a World championship. If it wasn't for the Honky Tonk Man refusing to drop the Intercontinental championship to Randy Savage in February 1988, DiBiase would have become the WWF World champion at WrestleMania IV. Titles and awards include: NWA United National Championship, NWA Central States Heavyweight Championship, NWA National Heavyweight Championship (2 times), Mid-South North American Heavyweight Championship (4 times), NWA North American Heavyweight Championship (Tri-State version), Pro Wrestling Illustrated Most Hated Wrestler of the Year (1982), PWI ranked him # 17 of the 500 best singles wrestlers of the year in the PWI 500 in 1991, Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame (Class of 2007), NWA Missouri Heavyweight Championship (2 times), Texas All-Star Wrestling Heavyweight Championship, World Wrestling Federation North American Heavyweight Championship, Million Dollar Championship (2 times), WWF King of the Ring (1988), Slammy Award for Humanitarian of the Year (1987), Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards- Best Heel (1987, 1988), Best Technical Wrestler (1981), Feud of the Year (1982) vs. Junkyard Dog, Feud of the Year (1985) vs. Jim Duggan, Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame (Class of 1996).

Rick Rude: Rick Rude was one of the greatest heels in wrestling history. Rude was known for his washboard abs, his colorful tights, and an extremely arrogant and egotistical attitude. Rude was usually placed as the #1 or #2 heel in each company he worked for. Titles and acheivements included: NWA Southern Heavyweight Championship (Florida version) (2 times), AWA Southern Heavyweight Championship, WCW International World Heavyweight Championship (3 times), WCW United States Heavyweight Championship, Pro Wrestling Illustrated Most Hated Wrestler of the Year (1992), PWI ranked him # 57 of the 500 best singles wrestlers of the PWI Years in 2003, NWA American Heavyweight Championship, WCCW Television Championship, WCWA World Heavyweight Championship, World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship, Slammy Award (Jesse "The Body" Award 1987), Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards- 5 Star Match (1992) with Stone Cold Steve Austin, Bobby Eaton, Larry Zbyszko, and Arn Anderson vs. Sting, Ricky Steamboat, Dustin Rhodes, Barry Windham, and Nikita Koloff (February 24, WarGames match, WrestleWar), Best Heel (1992), Worst Worked Match of the Year (1992) vs. Masahiro Chono at Halloween Havoc.

Arn Anderson: After arriving in the Carolina territory, Arn was billed as being a member of wrestling's Anderson family. Instead of caving under the pressure of being given such a grand spot at a young age, Arn thrived. The "Anderson" name may have given Arn credibility. However, the crowd would have seen through his "name" if Arn could not bring in the goods to the ring. Arn Anderson was a very solid worker. His workrate was one of the factors that led to Anderson getting the biggest break of his career. Arn became the "enforcer" member of arguably the greatest heel faction in wrestling history. Titles and acheivments include: Pro Wrestling Illustrated Feud of the Year (1987) Four Horsemen vs. Super Powers and the Road Warriors, PWI Tag Team of the Year (1989) with Tully Blanchard, PWI Tag Team of the Year (1991) with Larry Zybszko, PWI Stanley Weston Award (1997), NWA World Television Championship (2 times), WCW World Television Championship (2 times), Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards- 5 Star Match (1992) with Rick Rude, Steve Austin, Bobby Eaton, & Larry Zbyszko vs. Nikita Koloff, Sting, Ricky Steamboat, Barry Windham, & Dustin Rhodes (May 17, WarGames match, WrestleWar), Best on Interviews (1990), Worst Worked Match of the Year (1996) with Ric Flair, Meng, The Barbarian, Lex Luger, Kevin Sullivan, Z-Gangsta and The Ultimate Solution vs. Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage, WCW Uncensored, Towers of Doom match, Tupelo, MS, March 24.

Scott Hall: Hall was one of the better workers of his generation, when he wanted to be. He was always looked at as the #2 heel or babyface during his prime. Although, he could never reach the status of being the top dog. Hall was one of the founding members of the "Clique," as well as the New World Order. Unfortunately, like Jake Roberts, Hall had too many demons that would prevent him from being trusted as holding the top title in the company. Titles and achievements include: Pro Wrestling Illustrated Match of the Year (1994) vs. Shawn Michaels in a ladder match at WrestleMania X, March 20, PWI Most Improved Wrestler of the Year (1992), PWI Tag Team of the Year (1997) with Kevin Nash, PWI ranked him # 7 of the 500 best singles wrestlers of the year in the PWI 500 in 1994, PWI ranked him # 40 of the 100 best tag teams of the PWI Years with Kevin Nash in 2003, United States Wrestling Association Unified World Heavyweight Championship, World Championship Wrestling United States Heavyweight Championship (2 times), WCW World Television Championship (1 time), winner of WCW's World War 3 Battle Royal (1997), World Wrestling Council Caribbean Heavyweight Championship, WWC Universal Heavyweight Championship,World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship (4 times) Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards- Match of the Year (1994) vs. Shawn Michaels in a ladder match at WrestleMania X, March 20

Brian Pillman: This former Cincinnati Bengal started his professional wrestling career was an aerial high flyer. By the time of his death, Pillman trasformed himself into the "loose cannon." He became an unpredictable force in wrestling. Titles and accolades include: WCW Light Heavyweight Championship (2 times), Stampede Wrestling Hall of Fame, Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards- 5 Star Match (1991) with Sting, Rick Steiner, and Scott Steiner vs. Ric Flair, Larry Zbyszko, Barry Windham, and Sid Vicious (February 24, WarGames match, WrestleWar), Feud of the Year (1997) with Bret Hart, Owen Hart, Jim Neidhart, and Davey Boy Smith vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin, Most Underrated (1994), Rookie of the Year (1987), Tag Team of the Year (1993) with Steve Austin as the The Hollywood Blonds.

Matt Hardy: One half of the Hardy Boys, along with brother Jeff, Matt has been wrestling in the singles division for most of the past eight years. When compared to Jeff, Matt seems to be more dedicated to professional wrestling. Matt's best characters seem to be when he develops a heel persona. His Matt Hardy Version 1 character was unique. The current Matt Hardy heel character seems more deep and serious then the face Matt Hardy. Despite his ability, Matt will forever be remember for his relationship with Lita, and him being the victim when Lita cheated on him with Adam Copeland. Titles and awards include: National Championship Wrestling Heavyweight Championship, New England Wrestling Alliance Championship, New Frontier Wrestling Association Championship, Organization of Modern Extreme Grappling Arts OMEGA Heavyweight Championship, Pro Wrestling Illustrated Feud of the Year (2005) vs. Edge and Lita, PWI Match of the Year (2000) with Jeff Hardy vs. The Dudley Boyz and Edge and Christian at WrestleMania 2000 on April 2, 2000, PWI Match of the Year (2001) with Jeff Hardy vs. The Dudley Boyz and Edge and Christian at WrestleMania X-Seven on April 1, 2001, PWI Tag Team of the Year (2000) with Jeff Hardy, PWI ranked him #17 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2003, World Wrestling Federation /World Wrestling Entertainment ECW Championship, WWF European Championship, WWF Hardcore Championship, WWE Cruiserweight Championship, WWE United States Championship, Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards- Best Gimmick (2002), Worst Feud of the Year (2004) with Lita vs. Kane.

William Regal: Regal started his career wrestling on the carnival circuit in England, then moved onto wrestle around the world in countries such as Germany and South Africa, before being called up to World Championship Wrestling, and later the WWF. Regal overcame a drug addiction to ressurect his career with WCW in 1999 and the WWF in 2000. Regal is known as one of the legitimately tough guys in the business. Titles and achievements include: Memphis Championship Wrestling Southern Heavyweight Championship, Pro Wrestling Illustrated ranked him #18 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 1994, World Championship Wrestling World Television Championship (4 times), World Wrestling Federation/World Wrestling Entertainment WWF Hardcore Championship (5 times), WWF/E European Championship (4 times), WWF/E Intercontinental Championship (2 times), King of the Ring (2008).

Shelton Benjamin: One of the most underused, underappreciated, and underrated performers of the past decade. Benjamin has a tremendous amateur wrestling background where he achieved a 36–6 win-loss record at the University of Minnesota. If anything has been a downfall for Shelton, it has to be his promo skills. However, in between the ropes, very few wrestlers can touch Shelton Benjamin. Titles and awards include: Black Athlete Sports Network African–American Wrestler of the Year award in 2005, Pro Wrestling Illustrated ranked him # 9 of the 500 best singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2005, World Wrestling Entertainment Intercontinental Championship (3 times), WWE United States Championship, Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards- Most Underrated Wrestler (2005–2007).

David "Fit" Finlay: Finlay is a third generation professional wrestler. Like William Regal, Finlay made a name for himself in several countries before plying his trade in the United States. Also like Regal, Finlay is seen as one of the toughest men in the business. After a twenty-one year career, Finlay finally made a name for himself in the States when he debuted in WCW in 1995 as the Belfast Bruiser. Titles and honors include: All–Star Promotions British Heavyweight Championship, British championships World Middleweight Championship (4 times), Catch Wrestling Association Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship, Commonwealth British Commonwealth Heavyweight Championship, CW World Middleweight Championship (4 times), FIGHTING SPIRIT magazine- LL Cool J Award, Irish National Championship, British Heavy Middleweight Championship (5 times), British Light Heavyweight Championship (2 times), Pro Wrestling Illustrated ranked him # 278 of the 500 best singles wrestlers of the "PWI Years" in 2003, World Championship Wrestling World Television Championship, WCW Hardcore Junkyard Invitational Trophy winner (Listed by World Wrestling Entertainment as one WCW Hardcore Championship title reign), World Wrestling Entertainment United States Championship.





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