Greatest Modern-Day Professional Wrestlers (Male Edition)

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Cena, Bryan, Punk
[Image via WWE]

A lot of lists out there involving the best wrestlers tend to break down the best wrestlers of all time. Yet there is a distinct period where the focus will be on performers from the 1980s or Attitude Era. We felt that it would be better to break down the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers instead.

This list will be focused on men who had their biggest impact on professional wrestling AFTER the Attitude Era. For those unaware, the Attitude Era was roughly from 1996 to 2000 (McMahon-Helmsley Era happened afterward).

While “modern-day” in the case of the WWE or other companies tend to be 1992 to the present day, we made our cut off a few years later than this to avoid including just another Attitude Era list.

While some of these men have retired, others are still wrestling today! The most important thing is that “most” of their career or a “significant portion” of it happened after 2000. We made some exceptions to this rule, depending on the situation, however.

We based our criteria on a couple of major factors, which are:

  • The Impact Made On Pro-Wrestling (will most know who you are)
  • Success They Had (title wins)
  • Longevity Of Career (10+ year vets and up preferred)
  • Did You Win The Big One? (WrestleMania/Wrestle Kingdom main event, World Title[s], etc.)
  • How Long Did They Perform After The 2000 Cutoff? (wrestling before is fine, we just made post-2000 time prime)

We decided not to include very new acts (2017 debuts and on) or tag teams. As much as we love the Young Bucks, Briscoe Brothers, Hardy Boyz, New Day, The Revival, Undisputed Era, and many other tag teams…this is more of a solo thing. If any member of these teams were to be notable singles competitors, they’ll likely be on the list.

Without further delay, let’s get started on our list of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers! (in no particular order)

 

Bobby Roode (Robert Roode)

Bobby Roode - NXT
[Image via WWE]
  • 2x TNA World Champion
  • WWE NXT Champion
  • WWE United States Champion

Bobby Roode has been wrestling since 1998 and has shown no signs of stopping soon as of this writing. He is mostly known for his time in TNA, now referred to as Impact Wrestling. He eventually joined the WWE after more than a decade with the TNA brand. Although he did have a small spell on the independent scene first. Upon arrival, he was everything we all thought he could be for the NXT brand.

Since being with WWE, he won the NXT World Title along with the WWE United States Championship. On top of this, Roode has also had a lot of success in the tag world. In TNA, he was one-half of Beer Money. The two won 5 tag titles together. In WWE, he even won the WWE RAW Tag Title a few times as well. Based on his impressive work, we feel Roode is one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers going today!

 

Joey Janela

Joey Janela
[Image via All Elite Wrestling]
  • 3x DDT Ironman Heavymetalweight Championship
  • 3x CZW Wired TV Championship
  • WWN Championship

For Joey Janela, it is not about winning championships. Sometimes, it’s just about stealing the entire show. Sometimes, even doing so in the most barbaric way possible. Joey cut his teeth, sometimes literally, in CZW. This is a hardcore wrestling company a lot like ECW was back in the day.

We knew Janela could perform in a hardcore match, but he also proved he could be a pure wrestler too. This was noticed in WWN, where he won the WWN Championship. Yet Janela also had a lot of great success in Japan. In particular, with the compelling company DDT Pro.

Today, you can see him compete in All Elite Wrestling a lot where he mixes in his hardcore-based style with pure wrestling that proves he’s one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers in the world.

 

Kaito Kiyomiya

Kaito Kiyomiya
[Image via Etsuo Hara – Getty Images]
  • GHC Heavyweight Champion
  • Global League Tournament Winner (2018)

Kaito is one of the most gifted Japanese wrestlers you’ll have the pleasure to see. He is a pure Pro Wrestling Noah product, having been trained by their staff and mostly competed for them. He has already proven to be a valuable member of the Noah roster, as he won the Global League Tournament back in 2018.

This was the last year it was called this, as most know it as the N-1 Victory Tournament today. This led to a huge opportunity for Kaito to become the Global Honored Crown Heavyweight Champion. This title has been defended across numerous territories in Japan but is now only a Noah championship. Kiyomiya would go on to hold his first heavyweight title for around 1 year.

Today, he is still killing it in Japan. If you have not seen any of his work, we highly recommend doing so as soon as possible.

 

EC3

EC3
[Image via WWE]
  • 2x TNA World Champion
  • AIW Absolute Championship
  • HOG World Heavyweight Champion

EC3 began his career, truthfully, with the WWE. He never really exposed himself to the independents as much before going to WWE. Due to having the right look, he was kept there and never really developed. When he was finally let go by WWE, he ended up in TNA where he truly shined. Long gone was Derek Bateman, as Ethan Carter III was born.

EC3 came in as the nephew of real-life TNA President Dixie Carter, who had become a villain on TV by that point. This gave EC3 enough momentum as a heel to get over and become an eventual 2-time World Champion. He’d go back to WWE to try again after this extreme development.

Sadly, they did not use him correctly. Yet in spite of this, he is still tremendous and one of the best wrestlers in the world right now!

 

WALTER

WALTER
[Image via Online World of Wrestling]
  • 3x wXw Unified World Wrestling Champion
  • 3x Progress Atlas Champion
  • WWE NXT United Kingdom Champion
  • Progress Unified World Champion
  • PWG World Champion
  • OTT World Champion
  • wXw 16 Carat Gold Tournament Winner (2010)

WALTER is one of the single greatest modern-day professional wrestlers going today. He’s quite a large man, yet can often move like a cruiserweight when he wants to. He has mostly competed in Europe throughout his career. The big Austrian was known for his time in wXw in Germany before navigating to the United Kingdom.

There he became a staple for OTT & Progress, both relatively hot UK territories at the time. WWE then wanted to expand its reach in The UK and WALTER became an eventual target for them. Once he signed, WALTER quickly became a favorite among the WWE fanbase.

He’d then beat long-time NXT UK Champion Pete Dunne to capture the NXT UK Title. As of this writing, he has yet to lose it. With his group, Imperium, it might be a long time before he does.

 

Karrion Kross (Killer Kross)

Karrion Kross & Scarlett
[Image via WWE]
  • 2x MPW World Champion
  • WWE NXT Champion

While Karrion Kross has been wrestling for several years, he did not make a huge impact initially. It took an appearance for Jeff Jarrett’s promotion, Global Force Wrestling, to get him on people’s radar. That occurred in 2015, and he has been getting bigger opportunities ever since.

Kross would go to Lucha Underground & AAA in Mexico afterward where he made an even bigger impact.

Yet Kross’ biggest opportunity happened when he jumped to Impact Wrestling, with a small spell in MLW. Here he was able to have some impressive matches and prove himself to be a legit star. Once WWE caught wind of the man, he ended up signing with them and had an amazing first year.

He captured the NXT Championship in record time. However, he was injured in the battle for the title and had to vacate it. Most feel that Kross is one to keep your eye on for years to come. We most certainly agree!

 

Maxwell Jacob Friedman (MJF)

MJF
[Image vis All Elite Wrestling]
  • MLW World Middleweight Champion
  • CZW World Heavyweight Champion
  • CZW Wired Champion
  • Dynamite Diamond Ring (2019)

Many will tell you that MJF is the best heel in the business today. It’s hard to disagree, as he certainly “lives” the character he plays in the ring. MJF truly made himself known during his big run in All Elite Wrestling. However, those in the know will say that they have been watching this promo genius since his time in MLW & CZW!

In CZW, in spite of his good looks and promo work, he did not mind getting into insane hardcore matches. This is a bit of a shock to see for someone like him. Yet he did well with it and won a few titles along the way. Meanwhile, MLW allowed him to truly show his genius on the microphone as well as his impressive wrestling ability.

MJF is one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers in the world right now. If you have not seen him yet, you really need to check him out immediately!

 

Rocky Romero

Rocky Romero
[Image via Etsuo Hara/Getty Images]
  • 3x CMLL World Super Lightweight Champion
  • IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • NWA World Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • New Japan Best of the American Super Juniors Winner (2006)
  • Young Dragons Cup Tournament (2004)

You likely see Rocky Romero in places like Ring of Honor & New Japan Pro-Wrestling. He is notable for his work as a tag team performer. In fact, he has held the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Titles 8 times! Romero even did this with 3 different partners. Today, he teams with Beretta to make up the team of Roppongi Vice.

Not only have they won the IWGP Tag Titles 4 times but they also won the Super Jr. Tag Tournament in 2016. On top of this, Romero is an accomplished singles wrestler. This includes a stint as the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion as well as a run as the NWA World Junior Heavyweight Champion.

During his time with Mexico’s CMLL promotion, he held the World Super Lightweight Title 3 times. Ultimately, if you’re looking for one of the best Junior Heavyweight wrestlers in the world…Romero is your guy. This is why we believe he is one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers on the planet!

 

Montel Vontavious Porter (MVP)

MVP - WWE
[Image via WWE]
  • 3x WCR Heavyweight Champion
  • 2x WWE United States Champion
  • APW Universal Heavyweight Champion
  • IWGP Intercontinental Champion

While you often see MVP running The Hurt Business in WWE, he will even tell you that he is lucky to be in wrestling at all. Of course, MVP got into professional wrestling fairly late in life. This was due to a legitimate run-in with the law when he was young.

Despite being the son of a Police Officer at the time, a young MVP got involved in a small gang at just 12 years old. When he turned 16, it turned into a full-on street gang. He served some time in juvenile hall for his actions. However, while in the gang, he was arrested for armed robbery and kidnapping at just 16 years old.

He was supposed to serve 18 years for this but luckily for him, he only served a little over 9 years. He’d eventually land in WWE where he became a top star for WWE’s SmackDown brand.

After a big run as the WWE United States & Tag Team Champion, he mostly stuck around as a mid-carder. He left WWE and ended up working for several major brands including Ring of Honor & TNA Wrestling. Yet Porter also ended up in New Japan where he won the company’s inaugural IWGP Intercontinental Championship.

Ever since leaving WWE, MVP has mostly been a mentor for wrestlers even while he held gold. While he is getting a lot of time in WWE today, a lot of it has been helping younger talent or unused talent get over. Truly, MVP is a person we need more of in pro-wrestling.

 

PAC

PAC
[Image via Beyond Gorilla]
  • 2x WWE Cruiserweight Champion
  • 2x wXw World Lightweight Champion
  • NXT Champion
  • Open The Dream Gate Champion
  • Open The Brave Gate Champion

PAC was always a really good independent performer. He was killing it in Japan and The UK for years before coming to the United States for a small spell. A lot of his most notable work happened for Dragon’s Gate & wXw, however. A smaller performer, a lot of people felt WWE would not have a lot of interest. WWE noticed him when Triple H took over talent relations, however.

This resulted in PAC being signed and renamed Adrian Neville, which was eventually shortened to Neville. He stood out heavily for the NXT brand and would go on to become the NXT Champion. He had a notable run with the title before going to the main roster and getting kind of lost in the shuffle. Yet WWE eventually “brought back” to the Cruiserweight Division and even added an entire show around them.

This was when Neville came in and had the best work of his career. Sadly, WWE still did not show him a lot of respect, resulting in Neville wanting out. WWE allowed this and a new PAC hit the independents. PAC arrived at WWE relatively small, but now he was a muscle-bound monster that the indies were certainly not ready for.

He has been putting out brilliant work ever since! Today, PAC is clearly one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers in the world.

 

Matt Taven

Matt Taven
[Image via Andrea Kellaway – Ring of Honor Wrestling]
  • 2x NEW Heavyweight Champion
  • ROH World Champion
  • NWA World Historic Welterweight Champion
  • Chaotic Wrestling New England Champion
  • ROH Television Champion

Matt Taven, compared to some on this list, has not been around a long time on the independent scene. Yet he has actually been wrestling a little over a decade now. In that time, he has been all over the place and had some impressive success along the way. The first notable place to look to is Northeast Wrestling where he held their World Title twice.

From there, you can see his success in Mexico as he won CMLL’s NWA World Historic Welterweight Title. Yet most people know Taven from his time in Ring of Honor where he held both the Television and World Championships. Of course, Taven is also notable for his tag team accomplishments as well.

In fact, he held both the Ring of Honor & IWGP Tag Team Championships with Mike Bennett. Overall, Taven has proven he can do it all in this business. Therefore, in our book, he is one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers on the planet.

 

R-Truth (Ron Killings)

R-Truth
[Image via WWE]
  • WWE 24/7 Champion (we aren’t even going to try keeping up with the count)
  • 2x NWA World Champion
  • 2x WWE United States Champion
  • NWA Wildside Champion

R-Truth began his career on the Independent circuit but managed to get hired by WWE pretty early into his career. He went by the name of K-Kwick initially but did not spend long in the company before going back to the Indies.

There he was asked to join a small, up and coming company called TNA. They happened to be working with NWA at the time, allowing Ron Killings to join and instantly be given an opportunity to main event shows. During this period, he won a few NWA World Championships.

Yet Ron always wanted to go back to WWE, which he would do a few years later. In WWE, his role has pretty much been to help younger stars. However, he has also stood out as a comedic performer, and has been a long-time favorite of Vince McMahon’s.

WWE has given him incredibly crazy stuff to do that he always hit the mark with. While he is proving this nowadays with the 24/7 Championship, R-Truth has always been a funny guy. In WWE, he is also known to be ageless. In spite of being the oldest full-time guy on the roster, Truth still acts and performs like he’s in his 20s. That is incredible on its own.

 

Big Show (The Giant)

Big Show
[Image via WWE]
  • 2x WCW World Heavyweight Champion
  • 2x WWE World Heavyweight Champion
  • ECW World Champion
  • 2x WWE Champion
  • 3x WWE Hardcore Champion
  • WWE Intercontinental Champion
  • WWE United States Champion
  • Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal Winner (2015)
  • WCW World War 3 Winner (1996)
  • WrestleMania 2000 Main Eventer

If we were counting total career accomplishments, it would be hard to keep Big Show from the Top 20. He has been a major success in this business for many years. During his initial time in WCW, referred to then as The Giant, he was billed as the son of Andre the Giant. He was even able to win the WCW World Championship a few times.

Once arriving in WWE, he managed to win the WWE Title a few times before later on in his career winning the World Heavyweight Championship a few more times. Throughout his career, Big Show has been involved in singles or tag team wrestling, with several heel/face turns along the way.  In fact, he’s a 3-time WCW Tag Champ & 8-time WWE Tag Champ.

He is also one of the only men to ever win the WCW World Title, WWE Title, WWE World Heavyweight Title, and ECW Championships. In fact, he might even be the only one to have done this. While there are many opinions on who the best big man in history is, it is clear Big Show is Top 5 in that conversation.

 

Dragon Lee

Dragon Lee
[Image via OnlineWorldOfWrestling.com]
  • 2x CMLL World Lightweight Champion
  • CMLL World Welterweight Champion
  • IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • ROH Television Champion
  • Azteca Champion
  • 2x APW King of the Indies Winner (2018, 2019)

We’re huge fans of Dragon Lee. While he has yet to work for WWE, we’ve seen Lee work for pretty much every other major wrestling company besides them. He did not debut as a wrestler until 2014, yet this Mexican wrestler has had some wild success already at such a young age. This includes a run with Ring of Honor as the ROH Television Champion.

With CMLL, he has been a 2-time World Lightweight Champion & a World Welterweight Champion. Yet in New Japan, he held the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship too. Lee even won APW’s infamous King of the Indies tournament twice in recent years. He is actually the second person to use the name, as his brother used it previously. Well, before he became Mistico II.

Lee is more than a luchador and has been able to do quite well in Japanese Strong Style and American Style Wrestling as well. We’ll certainly be seeing more of him for years to come. Yet Dragon Lee is already one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers in the world.

 

Andrade (La Sombra)

Andrade - WWE
[Image via WWE]
  • 2x NWA World Historic Welterweight Champion
  • WWE NXT Champion
  • WWE United States Champion
  • IWGP Intercontinental Champion
  • NWA World Welterweight Champion
  • NWA World Historic Middleweight Champion
  • CMLL Universal Champion
  • 2x Reyes del Aire Winner (2013, 2015)
  • La Copa Junior (2012)

Andrade has been killing it in the WWE for the last few years, which is quite impressive. Mexican performers do well in Japan due to often training alongside Japanese wrestlers. They also work on the same side, which is wrestling terminology for the side of the body one leads with or does most of their move-set from. In America, especially WWE, this is completely in reverse.

He had great success in Mexico & Japan at first. In CMLL, he won pretty much everything he was qualified for. Meanwhile, in New Japan, he captured the IWGP Intercontinental Title. The man they called La Sombra then signed with WWE and struggled for his first few months yet once he had the hang of things, he has been impressive to see ever since.

Now called Andrade, he was able to win the NXT Championship before going on to have a nice run as the WWE United States Championship. Many feel Andrade will only go on to have a lot more success in WWE if the company gives him proper opportunities. To us, he’s surely one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers today!

 

Zack Sabre, Jr.

Zack Sabre, Jr.
[Image via Pinterest]
  • 4x British Heavyweight Champion
  • NWA United Kingdom Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • PWG World Champion
  • Evolve Championship
  • wXw World Heavyweight Champion
  • wXw Lightweight Champion
  • PWG Battle of Los Angeles Winner (2015)
  • New Japan Cup Winner (2018)
  • Progress Super Strong Style 16 Tournament Winner (2018)
  • NWA Hardcore Lottery Tournament Winner (2008)
  • IPW: UK Super 8 Tournament Winner (2014)

Zack Sabre, Jr. is recognized as the greatest technical wrestler in the world, along with one of his ideals…Daniel Bryan (Bryan Danielson) in WWE. Sabre can pretty much do anything submission or grapple-oriented. This has made him exciting to watch for British fans, who tend to enjoy the European “catch-as-catch-can” style of wrestling.

Sabre mixes in well with Japanese and Mexican performers, who also focus a lot on holds, submissions, and strikes. Although quite small, Zack has managed to succeed against larger wrestlers for years. This allowed him to become a top star for Revolution Pro Wrestling, NWA, and wXw in Europe. That got him noticed by Americans, who brought him over.

There he competed in more NWA territories, Pro-Wrestling Guerilla, and Evolve. He became a champion in every territory and has been known for winning massive tournaments. Among them is the New Japan Cup and the highly touted Battle of Los Angeles. He’s incredibly fun to watch and clearly one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers in the world.

 

Rey Fenix

Rey Fenix
[Image via Reddit]
  • 2x Gift of the Gods Champion
  • 2x Crash Cruiserweight Champion
  • Lucha Underground Champion
  • AAW Heavyweight Champion
  • AAA Mega Champion
  • AAA Fusion Champion

Rey Fenix is one of the best young Mexican performers on the planet. While he and his brother have won tag team gold in places like Impact Wrestling, MLW, PWG, and House of Glory…Fenix has managed to stand out on his own too. Most of his success has been in AAA Wrestling and their American counterpart, Lucha Underground.

In AAA, he held both the Mega and Fusion Titles each for over a year. Yet he also killed it in Lucha Underground where he became the Gift of the Gods Champion twice before capturing the Lucha Underground Title itself. Despite other success elsewhere, Fenix is also tagging off and on too. A lot of his recent American work has been in All Elite Wrestling.

Many feel that the best is yet to come with Fenix, and this is hard to argue. He is cited by us as one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers for a reason. He’s thrilling to watch and well worth checking out. Fenix is surely one to watch this year and every year he remains active.

 

Titán

Titán
[Image via Nuevo Monarca Welter – CMLL]
  • 2x CMLL Mexican National Welterweight Champion
  • CMLL World Welterweight Champion
  • CMLL Occidente Middleweight Champion
  • En Busca de un Ídolo (2012)
  • Reyes del Aire (2019)

Titán happens to be one of the best young luchadors on the planet today. Like Dragon Lee, he has not been on the indies for terribly long. It has been nearly 12 years since he made his debut. When he first began his career, he worked for the CMLL promotion and was given major opportunities immediately.

He only worked there from 2008 to 2013 but managed to win 4 major singles championships, as well as a Trios or 6-Man Tag Team Title in the company. This is not even mentioning the tournaments he won. He left CMLL for New Japan Pro Wrestling where he has been ever since, while still working for other independent companies from time to time. That includes ROH.

Overall, Titán has not yet won a title in Japan but that might very well happen sooner rather than later. Either way, due to his amazing success thus far and how fun he is to watch, we feel Titán deserved to be on our list. He truly is one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers on the planet right now.

 

Sami Callihan

Sami Callihan
[Image via Andrea Kellaway/San Antonio Express-News]
  • 3x AAW Heavyweight Champion
  • 2x CZW World Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • Impact World Champion
  • DDT Pro KO-D Openweight Champion
  • HOG Crown Jewel Champion
  • NWA Force-1 Heavyweight Champion
  • wXw 16 Carat Gold Tournament Winner (2011)

Sami Callihan initially grew to popularity due to his impressive hardcore work on the independents. This resulted in getting offers from European and Japanese promotions, such as wXw & DDT Pro. His impressive work in these promotions allowed him to win major titles or tournaments.

In fact, he won wXw’s 16 Carat Gold Tournament in 2011. This set him up for huge opportunities.

Stateside, Sami managed to develop a huge following that led to WWE calling him up. Callihan left the comfort of the indies for a shot at the big time but his time in WWE never seemed to work out for him. Many feel the company had no idea how to use a guy like Callihan but Impact Wrestling sure did. He came into the company with a splash and had a memorable World Title reign.

Although Sami had a small run in Lucha Underground among other independent territories, Impact seems to be his home for now. Many believe we’ll see Sami on more independent dates in the future, however.

 

Davey Richards

Davey Richards
[Image via DEFY Wrestling]
  • 2x FIP World Heavyweight Champion
  • PWG World Champion
  • ROH World Champion
  • CZW World Heavyweight Champion
  • PWG Battle of Los Angeles Tournament Winner (2006)

Davey Richards initially gained popularity as a tag team performer alongside his partner Eddie Edwards in the American Wolves, but due to an injury with Eddie…Davey went into singles wrestling. This was thought to be short-term, but Richards became so impressive that Ring of Honor asked him to become the ROH World Champion and things escalated from there.

Richards had been a 2-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Champion, 3-time PWG Tag Team Champion, and 3-time ROH Tag Team Champion. However, he was too good as a singles performer to stop. Richards won a lot of singles gold from CZW to PWG and FIP along with his big ROH World Title.

The 2006 Battle of Los Angeles winner has competed in TNA, Evolve, and GFW since then. Even adding 5 TNA World Tag Team Titles to his list of accomplishments. Of course, Richards has other interests outside of pro-wrestling. He had been a trained paramedic for years but decided to become a doctor back in 2017.

Sadly, due to injuries combined with his educational interests, we have not seen Davey return to the ring since he announced his decision to seek a larger medical career.

 

Nigel McGuiness

Nigel McGuiness
[Image via Impact Wrestling]
  • 2x HWA World Champion
  • 2x HWA European Champion
  • ROH World Champion
  • ROH Pure Champion
  • King of Europe Cup Winner (2007)

Nigel McGuiness might be known by many fans as merely a commentator for the WWE today, he was once one of the badest SOBs in the world. The British Strong Style performer was known for knocking people’s lights out a clothesline that rivaled any you’d see. He originally gained popularity in places like the Heartland Wrestling Association.

He would then get major opportunities with Pro Wrestling Noah and Ring of Honor.  Yet it was ROH that made him an independent kingpin. McGuiness became an ROH Pure Champion and ROH World Champion, holding each for over a year. The World Title he even held for 545 days! This made him quite a commodity and WWE had a huge interest.

He could not pass a medical exam, resulting in his decision to go to TNA. Sadly, he contracted Hepatitis B while there and had to take 14 months off from wrestling. Nigel has since been able to remove it completely but years of damage to his body and brain made him feel like he needed to hang up his boots after a final tour in 2011.

Due to always being an incredible promo, he found success at the announce desk for Ring of Honor, and now he works for WWE as a commentator for NXT & NXT UK.

 

Carístico (Mistico, Sin Cara)

CARISTICO
[Image via Twitter – CARISTICO MX Oficial]
  • 2x NWA World Middleweight Champion
  • NWA World Historic Middleweight Champion
  • IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • CMLL World Welterweight Champion
  • CMLL Mexican National Light Heavyweight Champion
  • WWA Middleweight Champion
  • IWRG Intercontinental Super Welterweight Champion
  • 3x CMLL Leyenda de Plata Tournament Winner (2006, 2007, 2008)
  • AAA Copa Antonio Peña Winner (2014)
  • 12-0 Lucha de Apuestas Record

While he goes by the Caristico name these days, many fans first learned of Luis Ignacio Urive Alvirde as his original wrestling name, Mistico. He had a lot of success in his early wrestling career in Mexico. This included winning several major titles in the CMLL and being known as the biggest box office attraction in Lucha Libre wrestling at the time.

WWE caught wind of this and signed him, but they made the mistake of putting him on television before he had really learned the style. Now called Sin Cara (meaning faceless), he was referred to as a joke in the industry and only lasted around a year in WWE before being released. WWE owned the character, so another wrestler took on the role.

Yet the original Mistico’s name was unavailable when he returned to Mexico, causing him to go by the name has used ever since, Caristico. He is back to the same level he was wrestling before his WWE period. He is now working with CMLL and having great success yet again.

We feel due to his impressive career and the fact that he has been so terrific, Caristico deserves to be called one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers on the planet today!

 

Nick Aldis (Magnus)

Nick Aldis - NWA
[Image via Twitter – Nick Aldis]
  • 2x NWA World Heavyweight Champion
  • TNA World Heavyweight Champion
  • RKK World Heavyweight Champion
  • GFW Global Champion
  • Xplosion Championship Challenge Tournament Winner (2011)

Nick Aldis became relatively well known in the United Kingdom as part of the show Gladiators. It was the UK version of American Gladiators. He was already wrestling but this allowed him to get more eyeballs upon him, resulting in an opportunity with TNA. Aldis was taken at a pretty young age and spent a long time developing. Luckily getting a chance to learn from some incredible performers.

It took a while but eventually, Aldis, going by Magus in TNA, was able to step out as a legit main eventer. Yet he and Jeff Jarrett were pretty close, resulting in Aldis being a champion in Ring Ka King and Global Force Wrestling. This was not the place he was best and that resulted in Nick jumping to the NWA. He is now THE MAN in Billy Corgan’s revitalization of the brand.

Aldis has been the champion for over 700 days (as of this writing), the longest reign with the title since Dan Severn in 1995. It is clear that Aldis is an impressive and compelling performer who has only improved every single time people see him.

 

Cesaro (Claudio Castagnoli)

Cesaro
[Image via WWE]
  • 2x wXw World Heavyweight Champion
  • PWG World Champion
  • WWE United States Championship
  • Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal Winner (First-2014)

Known today as Cesaro, the “Swiss Superman” has always been one of the most underrated wrestlers out there. This is in spite of being one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers on the planet. He speaks multiple languages fluently, can wrestle with literally anyone at any size, and can pretty much do anything in a ring.

For some reason, he has been okay with being a tag team specialist. He has been able to do this with several teammates too. All in all, Cesaro has won 19 tag team titles across multiple companies. That includes ROH, RevPro, wXw, and WWE among many others. This is not even touching the numerous tag team tournaments he and a partner won.

Yet many feel Cesaro deserves a proper singles run in his career. He has been a World Champion for various brands in the past and could likely do the same in WWE if given the chance. With a new system in place, who knows what will happen with Cesaro in the future? If he is on some badass singles run by the time you’re reading this, enjoy every second of it!

 

Frankie Kazarian (Kaz)

Frankie Kazarian
[Image via Ring of Honor Wrestling]
  • 5x TNA X-Division Champion
  • 2x PWG World Champion
  • EWF Heavyweight Champion
  • UPW Lightweight Champion
  • ROH Honor Rumble Winner (2017)

Frankie Kazarian might be killing it in the tag team realm with Chris Daniels right now, but he has also been an incredibly successful singles wrestler too. A lot of his independent work is impressive, but Pro Wrestling Guerilla is perhaps the most notable. There, Kaz won the PWG World Championship twice. In fact, he is the company’s very first World Champion too!

During his time on the indies, Frankie eventually began to work with TNA Wrestling. He managed to stand out in a big way for the TNA X-Division, where he won the division’s title 5 different times. While many feel he deserved to be given far more singles title runs, Kaz still had a lot of success and worked everywhere he wanted.

The great thing is that Frankie still has a lot more left in the tank and could remain in the ring for years to come. Either way, we feel he deserves to be listed here. Why? It is hard to find someone who has been able to succeed at a high level in all areas of wrestling in multiple different companies. Thus, it is clear he is one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers going today.

 

Hiromu Takahashi

Hiromu Takahashi
[Image via Alchetron]
  • 3x IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • CMLL World Lightweight Champion
  • Best of the Super Juniors Tournament Winner (2018)

Hiromu Takahashi is easily one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers on the planet. He has mostly been a standout for the Mexican company CMLL, and the Japanese company New Japan Pro-Wrestling. Hiromu had to deal with a horrific neck injury in 2018, but before this, he was one of the best Junior Heavyweights that NJPW had ever seen.

He’d return to the ring in 2019 and prepped for a huge run to regain the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title he never lost. He’d get his wish, as he captured the title at Wrestle Kingdom 14 in January of 2020. Takahashi would go on a roll, beating all comers until August of 2020. Something tells us that he’ll remain one of the company’s top players for a while.

Takahashi has massive potential even being this deep into his career. He is already a brilliant performer, but the sky is surely the limit for this man.

 

Takashi Sugiura

Takashi Sugiura
[Image via Superluchas]
  • 4x GHC World Heavyweight Champion
  • 2x GHC Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • GHC National Champion
  • Global League Tournament Winner (2014)

Takashi Sugiura is one of the finest pro-wrestlers you can watch. At first, places like Pro Wrestling Noah and All Japan Pro Wrestling liked him but had no idea how to use him. This was a difficult issue to be in, resulting in a lot of tag team matches for Sugiura to begin his career.

He managed to have some pretty good success and managed to win a lot of tag team titles with numerous partners. Yet he was also good enough to be a singles champion. Noah agreed and made him a Junior Heavyweight Champion. However, the fans knew that Takashi was more than a Junior Heavyweight. In 2009, he had his chance at the main event scene.

Noah gave him a run with the GHC World Heavyweight Title, which he held for over 500 days! From this point on, Takashi Sugiura has been a main eventer who has held the GHC Heavyweight Title 3 more times. Now in his 50s, he may not be in the ring much longer. If you have not seen him perform yet, you should very soon!

 

Kyle O’Reilly

Kyle O'Reilly
[Image via WWE]
  • 3x NWA Canadian Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • ROH World Champion
  • PWG World Champion
  • ECCW World Champion
  • PWG Battle of Los Angeles Winner (2013)

Kyle O’Reilly has gained massive popularity due to his time in WWE NXT as a member of Undisputed Era. However, before jumping to the WWE both he and Bobby Fish as well as Adam Cole were close friends. O’Reilly and Fish won the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Titles twice and ROH Tag Titles three times. Everyone knew for years that O’Reilly was a tag master.

However, before he made it to PWG or ROH, Kyle was an impressive solo performer. Eventually, he had a chance to prove it and captured both the PWG & ROH World Championships. It was after the Battle of Los Angeles win where Pro Wrestling Guerilla felt compelled to give O’Reilly a shot to hold their World Title, which he’d do for over 200 days.

While O’Reilly has been impressive as a wrestler for the WWE, they are also now seeing how great he can be as a solo performer too. WWE fans notice him in that area finally. This could result in big solo opportunities for O’Reilly in the future. He surely deserves it, as he’s one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers still active today!

 

Keith Lee

Keith Lee - Double NXT Champ
[Image via WWE]
  • WWE NXT Champion
  • WWE NXT North American Champion
  • PWG World Champion
  • WWN Champion

Talk about a guy who can move gracefully at a larger size. Keith Lee is still right in the middle of his professional wrestling career and has proven to be quite impressive. He has wrestled for a lot of independent companies, but truly made a name for himself in Ring of Honor, Pro Wrestling Guerilla, and WWN Live’s Evolve.

Lee held the World Title in each before joining the WWE in 2018.

He became a fan favorite right away due to his impressive in-ring style. Lee is around 350lbs but is out there doing Senton Bombs from the top rope as well as moonsaults, even from the middle rope! Naturally, Keith has a terrific powerhouse game too. He is capable of picking up pretty much any bigger athlete with ease too.

Overall, Lee can hang with literally any wrestler of any size. NXT allowed him to prove this as he faced off with Donovan Dijavovic to show what he could do against men near his size. Then he faced off with guys like Adam Cole, who is far smaller. Each time, showing he could have brilliant matches.

Truly, Lee is one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers in the world today!

 

Chris Benoit

Chris Benoit
[Image via The Associated Press]
  • 4x Stampede British Commonwealth Mid-Heavyweight Champion
  • 4x WWE Intercontinental Champion
  • 3x WCW Television Champion
  • 3x WWE United States Champion
  • 2x WCW United States Champion
  • WWE World Heavyweight Champion
  • WCW World Heavyweight Champion
  • IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • WWE Royal Rumble Winner (2004)

We can already hear the boos from people reading this. Trust us, we’re not massive fans of Chris Benoit and what he did in the slightest. However, it would be wrong for us to completely ignore how impressive he was as a pro-wrestler. Therefore, we have to call to attention that he accomplished a lot of things post-Attitude Era.

This includes most of his title wins in the WWE, among them being a Royal Rumble & World Heavyweight Title win. In the ring, few were better as wrestlers. The “Rabid Wolverine” would have some of the best technical wrestling matches you could ever see, making him one of the top in-ring technicians in history. Sadly, Benoit was sick and had a brain that was as close to dementia as it gets according to his autopsy.

It is because of what Benoit did that WWE instituted a Wellness Policy that checks for problematic drugs. They also have wrestlers get proper medical checks before returning to the ring. They even pay for Rehab. Benoit’s horrific murder-suicide taught us a lesson about just how human these athletes are.

Benoit was a fantastic wrestler, but his brutal style caused him to get numerous concussions and eventually CTE. We hope what happened with Benoit never happens again.

 

Ricochet

Ricochet - WWE North American Champion
[Image via WWE]
  • 2x Lucha Underground Champion
  • 2x Open The United Gate Champion
  • NXT North American Champion
  • WWE United States Champion
  • Open The Dream Gate Champion
  • Open The Freedom Gate Champion
  • HOG World Heavyweight Champion
  • PWG World Champion
  • Chikara Young Lions Cup Winner (2017)
  • 2x PWG Battle of Los Angeles Winner (2014, 2017)
  • New Japan’s Best Of The Super Juniors Winner (2014)
  • Lucha Underground Aztec Warfare I Winner (2015)
  • Lucha Underground Cueto Cup Winner (2017)

Ricochet is one of the more popular wrestlers in the world today due to his high-flying style. Currently, he’s in the WWE where he has already won the NXT North American & WWE United States Championships. Yet before he came to WWE, he was a big standout in Lucha Underground as the Prince Puma character.

There, he was able to become a top act almost instantly. He’d even win a few tournaments and capture the Lucha Underground Championship on two occasions. Ricochet’s time with Dragon’s Gate allowed him to win pretty much every title they had. If you could open a gate, Ricochet could win it.

On top of this, he won some of the biggest tournaments on the independent scene. This includes Chikara’s Young Lions Cup as well as New Japan’s Best of the Super Juniors Tournaments. However, the biggest tournament he won was PWG’s Battle of Los Angeles. As of this writing, Ricochet is STILL the only man to have won it twice.

Everyone knows the sky is literally the limit for him, and he has gone from a potential “spot monkey” to a legitimately impressive in-ring performer well worth your time.

 

Texano Jr.

Texano Jr.
[Image via AAA Wrestling]
  • 2x AAA Mega Champion
  • NWA World Historic Light Heavyweight Champion
  • NWA World Light Heavyweight Champion
  • Copa Antonio Peña Winner (2012)
  • Rey de Reyes Winner (2015)
  • Guitarra de Oro Winner (2017)

Also known as El Texano, the Mexican native has been a major deal in the Mexican nation for years. There are two main promotions there, CMLL & AAA. The latter is considered the best and involves more than just your highflying luchadors with seemingly no rules.

This is why a lot of the best Mexican performers seem to be frequently found in AAA these days, with Texano being one of them. While Texano, Jr. can fly with the best of them, what makes him stand out is how he can blend his style. He can work with your standard luchador and fly around or he can get down and dirty into some submission-based wrestling.

He also tends to hold titles for a while. On his first reign with the AAA Mega Title, he was champion for 735 days. In his second reign, he held the championship for just under a year at 361 days. Texano held the NWA Lightweight Title for 494 days while competing in CMLL. Truthfully, Texano’s impressive success and his ability in the ring make him one of the best of his era.

 

Taiji Ishimori

Taiji Ishimori
[Image via Etsuo Hara – Getty Images]
  • 3x GHC Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • 2x IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • TNA X-Division Champion
  • UWA World Welterweight Champion

Taiji Ishimori happens to be one of the best Japanese wrestlers on the planet. While he might not be as well-known as some of the big names out of Japan, he has been very impressive nonetheless. He has been in the top Japanese companies like New Japan as well as Pro Wrestling Noah, where he was a champion in both.

In NJPW, he won the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship twice. Yet in Noah, he managed to win the GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship on three occasions. You should not assume he was done there, as he also made an “impact” for TNA Wrestling as well. He won the TNA X-Division Title and stood out as a top performer.

In spite of his singles wrestling success, Ishimori is also known for his impressive tag team performances as well as his inclusion in the Bullet Club faction. As a tag wrestler, he has been a AAA World Tag Champion, IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team, & NEVER Openweight Tag Team Champion once.

Meanwhile, he held the GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Titles 6 times! That is on top of winning the Nippon TV/NTV G+ Cup Jr. Heavyweight Tag League 4 times with multiple partners!

 

Eddie Edwards

Eddie Edwards
[Image via Impact Wrestling]
  • 2x TNA World Champion
  • 2x TNA X-Division Champion
  • ROH World Champion
  • GHC Heavyweight Champion
  • ROH World Television Champion

Like his American Wolves partner Davey Richards, Eddie Edwards made his name truly as a tag team performer. He was never assumed to be a great solo act until he was given the chance to show it. This began in Ring of Honor in 2011 while Richards was essentially injured. Edwards would defeat then-champion, Roderick Strong. The win proved he could hang with the big dogs.

Richards returned a few months later and would beat his partner for the title too. Of course, Edwards and Richards both eventually ended up in TNA, now Impact Wrestling. However, Richards was in and out due to school commitments which allowed Edwards to go solo a lot. Eddie eventually captured a few X-Division Championships. Though short reigns, they were important.

Edwards used this momentum with Lashley at the time to essentially defeat him for the World Title and remained a solo star ever since, in spite of tagging a bit with Davey. He’d win the World Title yet again in the Summer of 2020. Most feel that Edwards, when given the chance to prove it, is one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers on the planet today. We cannot disagree.

 

Go Shiozaki

Go Shiozaki
[Image via Pro Wrestling Noah]
  • 4x GHC Heavyweight Champion
  • FIP World Heavyweight Champion
  • WLW Heavyweight Champion
  • AJPW Triple Crown Heavyweight Champion

In spite of being one of the elder statesmen in Japan these days, Go Shiozaki has been tearing up the Japanese wrestling scene for over 15 years now. Making his debut in 2004, Shiozaki has spent time all around the country performing. While he has occasionally gone outside the nation to perform…he has always found his way back to Japan.

The two major areas he performed outside Japan include his stints in companies like Full Impact Pro & World League Wrestling where he won each promotion’s World Championship. His biggest time in the squared circle has been with Pro Wrestling Noah. He began his career with them and worked there until 2012 when he tested the waters outside the company.

This was when he also decided to try a stint in All Japan Pro Wrestling where he captured their World Championship too. He returned to Noah a few years later and has wrestled for them ever since. He has captured the GHC World Title, Noah’s World Title, 4 times now!

Shiozaki has a hard-hitting style mixed with submissions and holds that make him a true Japanese Strong Style performer. If you want to watch a clinic in this style, Go is likely the guy you want to pay attention to.

 

Roderick Strong (Roddy Strong)

Roddy Strong - Survivor Series
[Image via WWE]
  • 3x FIP World Heavyweight Champion
  • 2x ROH World Television Champion
  • ROH World Champion
  • PWG World Champion
  • NXT North American Champion

While a lot of people know Roderick Strong for his stint in WWE these days, he used to be one of Ring of Honor’s top stars. He worked for the company for around a decade before deciding to jump to WWE. However, while with ROH he also spent time in Pro Wrestling Guerilla, Full Impact Pro, and several other companies all over the world…from Europe to Asia.

Everyone could see how impressive he was from the start. For a while, however, there was only one thing that set him apart from his peers. While it is often referenced in WWE, Strong has always had impressive cardio. The dude could do a match for an hour and barely be winded it seems. He decided to his this to his advantage and began employing a style to break down his opponents.

That consisted of doing impressive suplexes and spending time finding ways to vary them up. Fans would watch never knowing if Strong was going to hit a specific suplex or a random version. This famously made its way into several versions of the backbreaker move. His insane amount of variations on the move resulted in the nickname “The Messiah of the Backbreaker.”

To us, Strong’s incredible wrestling ability and success in the ring makes him one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers going today!

 

Jay Lethal

Jay Lethal - ROH Champ
[Image via ROH Wrestling]
  • 6x TNA X-Division Champion
  • 2x ROH World Champion
  • 2x JAPW Heavyweight Champion
  • ROH Pure Champion
  • 2x ROH World Television Champion
  • FWE Heavyweight Champion
  • JAPW Light Heavyweight Champion
  • ROH Survival of the Fittest Tournament Winner (2012)

Jay Lethal is one of the most entertaining wrestlers you can watch today. He has also gone through an impressive change over the years. He has been lucky enough to have been on television in some form for around a decade. Lethal may have not begun his career with TNA but his career surely took a shot in the arm when he became a featured player for them.

While many saw the potential for Jay to be a top name for the brand, most only saw him as a mid-carder. This still resulted in 6 different X-Division Title wins and some success as a tag team performer. The dreadlocks and Macho Man-inspired persona was fun to see but it did not make him a “Star.” That was when he decided to jump to Ring of Honor.

Not only did he drop the “Macho Man” gimmick, but he also shaved his head bald. Jay showed a different side of himself and that made ROH take notice. He has since held 2 TV Titles & 2 World Championships. The man is hard to dislike and has been one of the best independent wrestlers on the planet for years.

 

Pete Dunne

Pete Dunne - NXT: UK Champion
[Image via WWE]
  • 2x OTT No Limits Champion
  • WWE NXT UK Champion
  • Progress World Champion
  • FCP Champion
  • RPW British Cruiserweight Champion
  • wXw Shotgun Champion
  • 4FW Junior Heavyweight Champion

When you think about “pure” British Strong Style wrestlers, Pete Dunne is likely the first man that will pop into your head. The reason? He has mastered the style. While he is known for being able to throw strikes with anyone, what really makes Dunne a threat to opponents is all the insane and impressive holds and submissions he employs.

More likely than not, fans have been witness to seeing him go after digits like fingers as well as major locks around normally unmoving parts of the body. Every move he does looks real and painful, likely because if he really wanted to apply more pressure to them…they would be horrific to deal with. Dunne has been wrestling for a LONG time, in spite of his still very young age.

He began training in 2006 and was wrestling professionally all over the place. That puts his training at the age of just 16 and his first major wrestling being done by 17 to 18. It is not a wonder how he has become so impressive, eh? That has come with a lot of success.

Dunne has popped around promotions like Over the Top, Progress, and wXw…managing to win titles in all. Of course, most now know him for his WWE NXT work where he held the NXT UK Championship for a historic 685 days!

 

Pentagon, Jr.

Pentagon, Jr.
[Image via Impact Wrestling]
  • 2x Lucha Underground Champion
  • Impact World Champion
  • AAA Latin American Champion
  • LU Gift of the Gods Champion
  • The Crash Cruiserweight Champion
  • AAW Heavyweight Champion
  • AAW Heritage Champion
  • AAA Rey de Reyes Tournament Winner (2016)
  • Aztec Warefare IV Winner (2018)

Pentagon, Jr. and his brother Fenix have been killing it on the independent scene for years. However, we’ve seen Pentagon have a lot of success in the solo realm, just like his brother. Most people were first introduced to Pentagon, Jr. during his time in Lucha Underground. There he became a top name almost immediately yet he had been getting it done in Mexico for years prior.

It was his success in AAA that led to him working with Lucha Underground. Of course, LU was popular but taped a lot of their shows. This gave them what is essentially an off-season, allowing wrestlers to work elsewhere. They made a deal with Impact Wrestling that allowed talent to work there. This gave Pentagon, Jr. a chance to work with them and become a top act there too.

He won the Impact World Championship as well as their tag titles. Ultimately, he ended up jumping to All Elite Wrestling where he wrestles a lot to this day. Overall, Pentagon’s style is unique. Rather than fly around like other Mexican performers, he prefers staying on the ground to collect arms that he wants to break as often as possible.

He hits hard and goes for the tap-out rather than a pin if it can be helped.

 

Shelton Benjamin

Shelton Benjamin
[Image via Corbis – Getty Images]
  • 3x WWE Intercontinental Champion
  • 3x WWE 24/7 Champion
  • 2x NCAA All-American Wrestler
  • NJCAA National Wrestling Champion
  • WWC Universal Heavyweight Champion
  • WWE United States Champion

Shelton Benjamin came from the world of amateur wrestling where he was highly impressive. He went to Minnesota, a college wrestling powerhouse. In fact, he became a coach for the team the year Brock Lesnar joined them! He impressed a lot as both a wrestler and track athlete, which landed him a Junior College scholarship before he finally earned one with Minnesota.

He was able to earn this by becoming the Junior College 100 Meter Champion & Junior College National Wrestling Champion. It was easy to see how Benjamin could become a top athlete that the Golden Gophers had to have. There he became a two-time All-American wrestler!

This caught the eye of WWE which landed him a contract. He went on to become a multi-time Intercontinental Champion as well as a United States Champion. This includes a slew of Tag Team Titles.

When Benjamin left WWE years back, he wrestled in Ring of Honor, New Japan, Noah, and everywhere else he could as both a tag team and singles performer. His style has always been based around the amateur wrestling concept with tons of suplexes and grapple moves.

That made him an asset wherever he went. Benjamin returned to WWE where he is to this day as of this writing, and he is still putting on terrific matches whenever possible.

 

Michael Elgin

Michael Elgin - NEVER Openweight Title
[Image via New Japan Pro Wrestling]
  • 2x IWA Mid-South Heavyweight Champion
  • 2x GCW National Champion
  • ROH World Champion
  • AAW Heavyweight Champion
  • AAW Heritage Champion
  • IWGP Intercontinental Champion
  • NEVER Openweight Champion
  • 2x ROH Survival of the Fittest Winner (2011, 2015)
  • New Japan Rumble Winner (2017)
  • CMLL International Grand Prix Tournament Winner (2018)

Michael Elgin has had quite a career in professional wrestling. It is truly hard to keep up with all of his accomplishments in the squared circle. He has worked for pretty much every major wrestling company except WWE (as of this writing). He has held the ROH World Championship & is the only man to have won the Survival of the Fittest Tournament twice!

Of course, he was a big deal in Japan for NJPW. He won the IWGP Intercontinental Championship & NEVER Openweight Championship while there. This goes along with a tag team championship. He has one of those in PWG as well. While his Japanese work was pretty impressive, Elgin also jumped to CMLL where he managed to win their International Grand Prix in 2018.

Ultimately, there are very few people more talented than Elgin. He is a tremendous athlete for his size and moves like a cruiserweight trapped in a heavyweight body. His power is incredible too. The man is a true main event talent for sure.

However, Elgin does have issues outside the ring. He was caught up in the big Wrestling “SpeakOut Movement” in June of 2020. As a result, Impact Wrestling cut ties with him and he has worked for Pro Wrestling NOAH in Japan ever since. It’ll be interesting to see how he comes back from this.

 

Sheamus (Sheamus O’Shaunessy)

Sheamus & Triple H
[Image via WWE]
  • 3x WWE World Heavyweight Champion
  • 2x IWW International Heavyweight Champion
  • 2x WWE United States Champion
  • WWE Champion
  • FCW Florida Heavyweight Champion
  • Royal Rumble Winner (2012)
  • WWE King of the Ring Winner (2010)
  • WWE Money in the Bank Winner (2015)

Sheamus has quietly put together a Hall of Fame career in his time with WWE. However, he has been wrestling for a very long time dating back to his days wrestling across the United Kingdom. He truly started his career with Irish Whip Wrestling and became a 2-time World Champion for the brand before being hired by WWE.

While Sheamus has gone on to capture 6 Tag Team Championships with WWE, he spent most of his career as a solo act where he became a 4-time World Champion & 2-time United States Champion. He is also one of the few men to ever win the King of the Ring, Money in the Bank, and Royal Rumble in their careers. Only a select few are part of that list.

Sheamus has sadly battled through several injuries in his time with WWE. That has resulted in numerous surgeries, the last of which made his career have to take a slight turn. It is why he competed mostly as a tag wrestler. In spite of this, we feel he is one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers. The hard-hitting Irishman deserves our respect!

 

Averno

Averno
[Image via CMLL]
  • 2x NWA World Middleweight Champion
  • NWA World Historic Middleweight Champion
  • CMLL World Middleweight Champion

Averno is a highly accomplished Mexican performer who made his name originally in Mexico’s CMLL promotion. He has been notable for his time as a Middleweight wrestler, where he has won just about every title he could win under the weight class. In CMLL, they had a deal with NWA for a while that allowed them to control the Middleweight Title.

Averno would hold onto this title for 120 days in his first reign then 986 days in his second, after the NWA took back the title upon the deal completing they switched it with the “Historic” title. Averno would win and hold onto this title for over 400 days. Of course, Averno also went on to capture CMLL’s World Middleweight Title, which he held for 1,038 days.

That is the third-longest for a single reign but might very well be the fourth-longest due to El Cuatrero. Of course, he also worked for a bit in TNA before joining AAA, CMLL’s rival promotion. That happened after losing a Luchas de Apuestas (loser removes mask) match. Averno has been with AAA ever since.

Overall, Averno’s in-ring style is hard-hitting with nods to Lucha’s high-flying style. He has always been gifted at telling a story in the ring, making his matches incredibly fun to watch.

 

KENTA (Hideo Itami)

Kenta Kobayashi
[Image via New Japan Pro Wrestling]
  • 3x GHC Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • GHC Heavyweight Champion
  • NEVER Openweight Champion
  • Global League Winner (2012)
  • New Japan Cup USA (2020)

KENTA has been all around the world, but he is most famous for his work in Japan. In particular, for Pro Wrestling Noah. There he became a 3-time GHC Junior Heavyweight Champion. However, he eventually held the GHC World Heavyweight Title as well. During his time with Noah, even as their Junior Heavyweight Champion, he worked a great deal in America.

Mostly, he worked for Ring of Honor Wrestling. He never won a title in ROH but challenged for a lot of them and has some memorable feuds and matches with numerous top independent wrestlers. Some of them went on to become major names in the WWE. That led KENTA to think he could give WWE a try, which made sense. He had all the tools to do this.

While he did not speak a lot of English, by the time his WWE run came to a close, he was incredibly fluent. Now branded Hideo Itami, he was unable to stay healthy. KENTA sustained a lot of injuries in WWE and never could get past them. They wanted to push him so much, as Triple H was a huge fan.

Sadly, it could never work, so they mutually parted ways in 2019. KENTA then jumped back to Japan where he has been impressive yet again, this time for NJPW!

 

Matt Hardy (Broken Matt)

Broken Matt Hardy
[Image via Matt Hardy]
  • 2x TNA World Heavyweight Champion
  • MCW Heavyweight Champion
  • WWE Cruiserweight Champion
  • ECW Champion
  • WWE United States Champion
  • WWE European Champion
  • Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal Winner (2018)

If there is one thing Matt Hardy has been famous for doing, it is reinventing himself. For many years, he was one half of one of the best tag teams in WWE history, The Hardy Boyz. Even during his time with his brother as a tag team, Matt was achieving a lot of singles success.

Eventually, WWE wanted Matt to become a singles performer as well as Jeff. Both proved they could do this. Yet Matt became Version #1 Matt Hardy, which involved Matt-Facts and a run as the Cruiserweight Champion. Matt truly stepped out in his rivalry with Edge, which was due to a real-life relationship triangle where Lita (Matt’s then GF) cheated on him with Edge.

This real-life drama resulted in him being fired, for real, but the fanbase was into him and Vince McMahon was forced to bring Matt back. The rivalry set Matt on a nice path. He eventually won the United States & ECW Championships before leaving WWE.

He found success in the Indies but the biggest change in his character happened in TNA. Where he became “Broken,” a character change that became the hottest thing in pro-wrestling. WWE brought Matt & Jeff back, eventually allowing the gimmick which Matt has utilized ever since.

 

Samoa Joe

Samoa Joe
[Image via WWE]
  • 5x TNA X-Division Champion
  • 2x WWE NXT Champion
  • 2x WWE United States Champion
  • TNA World Heavyweight Champion
  • TNA Television Champion
  • ROH Pure Champion
  • ROH World Champion
  • UPW World Heavyweight Champion
  • TNA King of the Mountain Winner (2008)
  • TNA Super X Cup Winner (2005)

Samoa Joe is most known for his work with TNA Wrestling, but before this, he was a major name for Ring of Honor. In fact, he is one of a small fraction of top names from ROH who held both the World Title and the Pure Championship there. Joe still has the longest single ROH World Title reign with 645 days as the champ.

In TNA, however, he came in as a part of the Ring of Honor talent exchange. Eventually, some people decided to leave ROH behind for TNA due to a rule at the time. Joe was a huge part of their early X-Division history, as he was able to help the company set itself apart from others due to it. This earned him 5 reigns with the X-Division Title but he eventually won the TNA World Title as well.

Upon jumping to WWE, he went to NXT and dominated. He is one of only a handful of people (as of this writing), to have been NXT Champion on two occasions. Yet he also has a few WWE U.S. Title runs to his credit too. Joe is incredibly fast for his size and has an MMA-style. This includes multiple fast and hard strikes along with several submissions, suplexes, and holds that make him a handful for any opponent.

 

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin

Austin WWF Title
[Image via WWE]
  • 6x WWE Champion
  • 2x WWE Intercontinental Champion
  • 2x WCW United States Champion
  • WWE Million Dollar Champion
  • 3x WrestleMania Main Eventer (WM12, WM13, WM17)
  • 3x Royal Rumble Winner (1997, 1998, 2001)
  • WWE King of the Ring Winner (1996)
  • WWE Hall of Famer (2009)

While “Stone Cold” Steve Austin is obviously one of the greatest wrestlers ever, most of his accomplishments happened during the Attitude Era. In fact, one could say that Steve Austin WAS the Attitude Era. Therefore, he ranks in the middle of our list due to the massive respect we have for him.

He also did hold gold in the 2000s and even main evented major PPVs for WWE. His last big WWE Championship runs happened in 2001 too!

Before he came to WWE, however, he was a pretty good hand in WCW. He won both their Television & United States Titles twice each. However, they did not see him as a man that could go beyond the mid-card. If only they knew how big a star Austin would one day become, right? Upon jumping to WWE, they set him right into the mid-card as well to see what he could do.

He excelled and after winning King of the Ring and delivering his infamous “Austin 3:16” promo, he became a star. One of which Vince McMahon could no longer ignore. If not for numerous knee injuries, a neck surgery, and other issues he faced along the way…Austin might have wrestled far longer.

Yet in his relatively short full-time WWE career (only 7 years) he accomplished everything one could ever hope to achieve.

 

El Mesías

El Mesías as Mil Meurtes
[Image via Lucha Underground]
  • 6x IWA World Heavyweight Champion
  • 4x AAA Mega Champion
  • 3x IWA Intercontinental Champion
  • Lucha Underground Champion
  • IWC World Heavyweight Champion
  • WWC Universal Heavyweight Champion
  • UWA World Light Heavyweight Champion
  • WSX Champion
  • Copa Antonio Peña Winner (2008)
  • Rey de Reyes Winner (2013)

El Mesías has been wrestling for quite a long time. He had his largest success with WWE Wrestling, where he held the AAA Mega Championship 4 times. You may know him best for his two runs on American television. First when he was in TNA as Judas Mesias. He would wrestle off and on there for a few years while working in and out of Mexico.

Eventually, he went back to Mexico full-time where he wrestled for the World Wrestling Council.  Another American opportunity opened up by 2014 with Lucha Underground. They needed a Hispanic star who could fit their physically imposing Mil Muertes character.

Mesias was perfect for this and quickly stood out as the promotion’s top act. He was their main champion for quite some time.

After LU closed its doors in 2008, Mesias jumped to the CMLL where he has been ever since. However, his role has significantly reduced in recent years. Overall, Mesias’ style was power-driven. Yet he had to keep up with guys half his size, which is likely why he was capable of impressively athletic Lucha Libre high-flying.

To us, he clearly sets himself apart as one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers.

 

Alberto El Patron (Alberto Del Rio, Dos Caras, Jr.)

Alberto El Patron
[Image via Impact Wrestling]
  • 2x WWE Champion
  • 2x WWE World Heavyweight Champion
  • CMLL World Heavyweight Champion
  • AAA Mega Champion
  • Impact World Champion
  • WAW Undisputed World Heavyweight Champion
  • 2x WWE United States Champion
  • GFW Global Champion
  • WWE Money in the Bank Winner (2011-RAW case)
  • CMLL La Copa Junior Winner (2006)
  • Royal Rumble Winner (2011)
  • 3x First Place Finisher at the Central American and Caribbean Games
  • World Junior Championships Gold Medalist (1997)
  • 9-6 MMA Record

Alberto El Patron is a second-generation wrestler. His father, Dos Caras, was an amazing wrestler in his own right. Alberto honored his family by starting his career as Dos Caras, Jr. for a while. Starting in CMLL, he won their Heavyweight Champion and stood out for years.

WWE tried to recruit him to jump for a few years before he finally did. In WWE, he became the WWE Champion & World Heavyweight Champion twice as well as won a Royal Rumble & United States Championship. WWE pushed Alberto Del Rio as they needed a new Hispanic star, but he left after about 3 to 4 years.

He returned in 2015, however, and won the United States Championship. He met and got into a relationship with Paige then and the two began what is now known as an abusive relationship, both mentally and physically. In spite of his treatment toward Paige, he became a star for Impact Wrestling & AAA Wrestling (and won their Mega Championship).

Today, El Patron is still wrestling sparingly and even returned to MMA. He previously had 9 wins in MMA before retiring from the sport in 2010. He lost in his return to Tito Ortiz. Alberto has also served as President of Combate Americas since 2016, to which he holds no actual power and serves mostly in a media capacity in Mexico.

 

Chris Sabin

Chris Sabin - TNA Champ
[Image via Impact Wrestling]
  • 8x TNA/Impact X-Division Champion
  • 2x MCW Cruiserweight Champion
  • TNA Heavyweight Champion
  • NWA Great Lakes Heavyweight Champion
  • WWA International Cruiserweight Champion
  • AJPW Junior League Tournament Winner (2007)
  • TNA Super X Cup Winner (2003)

Chris Sabin has been known mostly as a top-tier tag team wrestler with Alex Shelley as a member of the Motor City Machine Guns. The two have won the TNA Tag Team Titles twice, as well as had a run with the ROH & IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Titles. Yet people often forget that Sabin has been a tremendous singles performer too.

This includes a record 8 TNA/Impact X-Division Championships. He is one of the main fixtures of the division and was key in helping it become one of the best divisions in wrestling. Yet many felt Sabin deserved more, which resulted in a run with the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.

The one thing that always hurt Chris was his injuries. He has had numerous knee injuries, which has led to him missing some of the most prime moments in his career. In spite of this, Sabin has still managed to be a successful wrestler for numerous companies. This is why we feel he is one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers on the planet!

 

Dolph Ziggler

Dolph Ziggler - WWE U.S. Champ
[Image via WWE]
  • 6x WWE Intercontinental Champion
  • 2x WWE World Heavyweight Champion
  • 2x WWE United States Champion
  • WWE Money in the Bank Winner (2012)
  • 3x Mid-Atlantic Conference (MAC) Wrestling Champion – 165lbs (2000, 2002, 2003)
  • 2nd All-Time In Wins For Kent State University (121 wins)

Dolph Ziggler began his wrestling career truthfully as an amateur wrestler in high school, then college. He still has the record for career pins at his High School. Ziggler also set what was then the career record in wins for Kent State University with 121. He was actually a Political Science major and Pre-Law Minor and had already been accepted to Law School when he signed with WWE.

Due to being a multi-time conference champion in amateur wrestling and having a good look, WWE felt confident that Dolph could be impressive for them. However, they put him in the Spirit Squad as a male cheerleader with a bunch of others, giving him the name “Nicky.”

He finally had the chance to try the Ziggler character, which managed to work, especially when WWE saw his promo skills. Ziggler has now won 6 Intercontinental Titles, 2 United States Titles, and 2 World Championships.

His style has always utilized his amateur background. Yet he also mastered the ability to tell stories in the ring. Ziggler is notable for being “the master of the sell job,” as he quite literally will oversell anything to make it look good. Yet this ability to act has helped him in more dramatic moments, sucking in the crowd in an impressive way.

To us, that’s more than enough to be considered one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers ever!

 

Ultimo Dragon (Yoshihiro Asai)

Ultimo Dragon J-Crown
[Image via Twitter – @WrestlingIsKing]
  • 5x UWA World Middleweight Champion
  • 3x WAR International Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • 2x IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • 2x NWA International Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • NWA World Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • 2x NWA World Middleweight Champion
  • 2x NWA World Welterweight Champion
  • British Commonwealth Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • 2x AJPW World Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • WWF Light Heavyweight Champion
  • 2x WCW Cruiserweight Champion
  • 2x WCW Television Champion
  • WWA World Junior Light Heavyweight Champion
  • UWA World Welterweight Champion
  • IWA Heavyweight Champion
  • IWA Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • J-Crown Champion (unified the major 8 Junior Heavyweight Titles in Japan)
  • 5-1 Luchas de Apuestas Record

Ultimo Dragon accomplished more in the 1980s and 1990s than in the 2000s. However, due to his impressive 2000s run in both America & Japan…we could not ignore him. At one point in history, Ultimo Dragon held every major championship in the Junior Heavyweight category. This was due to the fact that he held the J-Crown, which combined 8 Junior Heavyweight Titles from across Japan.

While it was not technically a Japanese title, WWE’s then “WWF Light Heavyweight Title” was being defended in Japan & Mexico only. It was added to the J-Crown. Ultimo also held the WCW Cruiserweight and NWA World Middleweight Titles at the same time, giving him every credible wrestling title at the Junior Heavyweight size. Ultimo Dragon is most famous for his work in Mexico & Japan as well as his short WCW career.

However, he did compete in WWE for a year to have the chance to wrestle at Madison Square Garden & a WrestleMania event. He competed sparingly in Japan upon departing WWE. He’s also partially behind Dragon’s Gate Wrestling, originally called Toryumon. Dragon trained all the talent in the Toryumon Gym. After leaving in 2004, he saught ownership of the licensing, and the company merely changed the name.

 

Tommaso Ciampa

Tommaso Ciampa - NXT Title
[Image via WWE]
  • WWE NXT Champion
  • Chaotic Wrestling Heavyweight Champion
  • Chaotic Wrestling New England Champion
  • UPW Heavyweight Champion
  • ROH Television Champion
  • ROH March Mayhem Tournament Winner (2012)
  • ECWA Super 8 Tournament Winner (2011)

Tommaso Ciampa is a favorite among WWE NXT fans for good reason. He is a lot of fun to watch perform and has been impressive for over a decade. Before he ever became the major name we know today, Ciampa was part of WWE almost immediately upon leaving wrestling school. He signed a developmental deal in 2005 and worked under the OVW banner until 2007.

As an independent wrestler, he competed in a lot of major promotions. His first major independent work was with Ring of Honor, where he competed from 2011 to 2015. After a small stint in TNA Wrestling, he also competed for WWN. Mostly, he could be seen working under Evolve Wrestling. Luckily, Triple H (who had begun his career as Head of Talent Relations) had a deal in place with Evolve. Both he and William Regal scouted talent there quite often, which allowed him to see Ciampa.

The rest, as they say, is history. Upon turning on his then DIY tag team partner, Johnny Gargano, the heel Ciampa massively got over with fans. He held the NXT Championship for 238 days until a neck injury forced him to vacate the title and miss nearly a year of action. He made his way back and has returned to his impressive ways. Overall, it is clear that Tommaso Ciampa is one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers.

 

Sami Zayn (El Generico)

Sami Zayn - IC Titles
[Image via WWE]
  • 2x PWG World Champion
  • 2x WWE Intercontinental Champion
  • WWE NXT Champion
  • wXw United World Wrestling Champion
  • ROH Television Champion
  • DDT KO-D Openweight Champion
  • DDT Extreme Division Champion
  • PWG Battle of Los Angeles Winner (2011)
  • wXw 16 Carat Gold Tournament Winner (2012)

As El Generico, Sami was quite an accomplished independent performer. He did not seem like he was a true Mexican Luchador, considering his tall, white, and lanky frame combined with red hair. However, the character got over with fans. This was due to the comedic abilities Sami had combined with complete brilliance in the ring.

While he was a multi-time tag team champion with Kevin Steen(now Kevin Owens), the two were also spectacular enemies.

It only went on to further make Generico a star when Steen turned on him. Generico was an over babyface that could do it all, so when WWE signed Sami to a contract everyone assumed he’d have some version of the Generico character. To everyone’s surprise, WWE took the mask off of him and had him simply go by the name of Sami Zayn.

It did not seem to work well until a huge series of amazing matches with Cesaro for the NXT brand.

From here, Zayn was on a roll and had some of the greatest NXT matches you’ll ever see. His run to becoming NXT Champion was amazing and his last NXT Takeover match with Shinsuke Nakamura is still talked about. Sami hasn’t had a bad main roster run, as he has 2 WWE Intercontinental Title runs to his credit. It is clear that Sami Zayn is one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers around.

 

John Morrison (Johnny Mundo, Johnny Nitro)

John Morrison - Multiple AAA Titles
[Image via AAA Wrestling]
  • 3x WWE Intercontinental Champion
  • Impact World Champion
  • ECW World Champion
  • AAA Mega Champion
  • Lucha Underground Champion
  • WSW Heavyweight Champion
  • FWE Heavyweight Champion
  • AAA Latin American Champion
  • AAA World Cruiserweight Champion
  • Lucha Underground Gift of the Gods Champion
  • WWE Tough Enough III Co-Winner (2003)

John Morrison started his wrestling career mostly with WWE after co-winning WWE Tough Enough III alongside Matt Cappotelli. He eventually debuted as part of the tag team, MNM. This stood for Melina, Johnny Nitro, and Joey Mercury. Nitro and Mercury were very successful in their time with WWE, winning multiple tag team titles. Yet everyone could see Nitro and Melina were stand-out solo acts.

WWE finally gave into this and took Nitro to the mid-card where he won a few WWE Intercontinental Titles. Finally, his name changed to John Morrison as a change of character to more of a rocker gimmick. The name was a nod to Jim Morrison, lead singer of “The Doors.” He’d see an ECW Championship out of it as well as another IC Title, and a few more Tag Team Titles alongside The Miz before he ultimately left WWE.

Morrison’s time on the indies was incredibly successful. He won the AAA Mega & Latin American Titles, Impact World Title, & Lucha Underground Championship. He is back in WWE as of this writing, yet again working as one-half of a tag team. Yet many feel WWE will eventually use him as a singles act sooner rather than later. Morrison certainly deserves it, as he is one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers on the planet!

 

Austin Aries

Austin Aries - Multiple Titles
[Image via Pinterest]
  • 6x TNA X-Division Champion
  • 3x TNA World Heavyweight Champion
  • 2x ROH World Champion
  • 2x WSW World Heavyweight Champion
  • Impact Grand Champion
  • IPW: UK  World Champion
  • NWA Midwest X Division Champion
  • TNA X-Division Showcase Winner (2011)
  • TNA Gold Rush Tournament Winner (2014)

Austin Aries has wrestled for every major promotion that has existed in the modern-day it seems. He truly began his major independent wrestling journey with Ring of Honor in 2004. While doing this, he was also part of the talent that worked with TNA Wrestling. Sadly, a time came when the two were no longer working allies and wrestlers had to choose which to go to.

Aries ultimately chose ROH where he wrestled until 2010 before jumping to Dragon’s Gate USA and eventually to TNA. He worked with TNA until around 2015. Aries then joined WWE in 2016 where he was utilized well but never held gold in his two years with the company. Since departing in 2018, he has been all over the place..winning titles all over the world. That includes in TNA and across Europe!

Aries jumped from TNA back to the independents where he has yet again been all over the place. The promotion he mostly works for as of this writing is Major League Wrestling. Ultimately, Aries has always been great in the ring. He is capable of telling stories as well as anyone.

Despite being smaller, he always made up for it due to his skill. This is why we feel he is one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers.

 

Bray Wyatt (The Fiend)

The Fiend - Universal Champ
[Image via WWE]
  • 2x WWE Universal Champion
  • WWE Champion

While his title record may not look as impressive as others on this list, it is not due to the fact that Wyatt has not been good. A lot of things have gotten in his way over the years. He debuted in WWE as Husky Harris, which took a while to remove. He changed his name to Bray Wyatt and became a cult-like leader with his gimmick. It was super impressive to fans and got him over quickly!

He went on to win a few Tag Team Titles and even a WWE Championship with this character. However, injuries plagued most of Wyatt’s career. In spite of being impressively athletic for a man his size, the size was ultimately hurting him. Many feel it was causing a lot of his injury issues. During his last recovery, he dropped weight and returned with a new character.

Bray played a Mr. Rogers type who had an odd show where he was upbeat and positive. That was then twisted by another personality where he became The Fiend. This is some supernaturally powerful figure that cannot be stopped. He is so imposing that he changes all who compete against him.

Due to the brilliance that Bray has shown as a story-teller and performer over the years, we could not avoid naming him one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers.

 

Kushida

Kushida
[Image via New Japan Pro-Wrestling]
  • 6x IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • ROH Television Champion
  • 2x Best of the Super Junior Tournament Winner (2015, 2017)
  • New Japan Super-J Cup Winner (2016)
  • ZST Genesis Lightweight Tournament Winner (2004)
  • Pro Wrestling World Cup Winner (2017)
  • 6-0-2 MMA Record

Kushida has been one of the best Junior Heavyweight wrestlers in Japanese wrestling history. However, before he got involved with pro-wrestling…he was a Mixed Martial Artist. He mostly fought between 2003 to 2005 when MMA was growing in popularity for Japanese audiences but had not caught on in other places. He actually won the ZST Genesis Lightweight Tournament in 2004 and retired from the sport in 2005.

That was when he jumped into professional wrestling, where New Japan snatched him up pretty quick. He picked things up relatively fast and went on to become one of the best Junior Heavyweights in NJPW history. Not only has he won the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title 6 times, but Kushida also won the Super-J Cup & on two occasions won the Best of the Super Junior Tournament.

Kushida left New Japan after feeling he accomplished everything he could back in 2019. He works for the WWE as of this writing. While he has yet to win gold in WWE, many feel this is likely to happen sooner rather than later. WWE is unlikely to make the same mistake they made with KENTA.

 

Adam Pearce

Adam Pearce
[Image via Scott Finkelstein]
  • 5x NWA World Heavyweight Champion
  • 2x NWA Heritage Champion
  • NWA British Commonwealth Heavyweight Champion
  • PWG World Champion
  • IWA Mid-South Light Heavyweight Champion
  • UPW Heavyweight Champion
  • NWA Reclaiming The Glory Tournament Winner (2007)
  • NWA Hall of Fame (2015)

While you mostly see Adam Pearce serving as an “authority figure” for the WWE these days, he was a tremendous wrestler in his own right. The man was only the second-ever PWG World Champion. He also held the NWA British Commonwealth Heavyweight Championship, which he never lost. It was given back to the previous title holder due to Pearce winning the NWA World Championship.

He has held the title 5 times. Considered the most prestigious World Title in all of pro-wrestling due to its longevity in the sport, to win it 5 times is saying a lot. Three of those reigns went for nearly a year! Ultimately, Pearce has always been an incredible performer and NWA realized that.

Of course, realizing his humanity and need for security as a talent, he took a job with WWE as a coach and producer. While he was initially a coach for WWE’s Performance Center, he was later upgraded to a traveling agent or producer to help with matches. Due to WWE’s lack of Commissioners or General Managers for the current brand split, he has acted as an authority figure on behalf of the networks.

Many are hoping to see him in the ring again one day, but for now, he is only in a speaking role for WWE. He still operates as a producer and coach behind the scenes.

 

Batista (Dave Batista)

Batista
[Image via WWE]
  • 4x WWE World Heavyweight Champion
  • 3x WWE Champion
  • 2x Royal Rumble Winner (2005, 2014)
  • 2x WrestleMania Main Eventer (WM21, WM30)
  • WWE Hall of Famer (2020)

Dave might be starring in a ton of movies these days but before he was a bonified movie star, he was a pretty impressive professional wrestler. He’s a 7-time World Champion in the WWE, which should not be overlooked. He won two Royal Rumbles and main evented WrestleMania twice.

He truly made his WWE splash as a member of Evolution, but quickly stood out on his own. Going from “The Heavy” for Evolution to his own solo act was a bit tough, but Batista figured it out pretty well and became a top player for the WWE during his time with the company. When you go to Hollywood to become a star, a lot of people will say you were great simply for only knowing you there. Yet Dave was actually a special performer.

He was mostly a power wrestler but he could work with both big and small wrestlers alike. In fact, he preferred working with smaller athletes as it allowed him to do far more technical work. Meanwhile, he also enjoyed brutal matches against men near the same size.

Overall, we feel he stood out as one of the best of his era. Making him one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers ever.

 

Rob Van Dam (RVD)

Rob Van Dam
[Image via WWE]
  • 6x WWE Intercontinental Champion
  • 4x WWE Hardcore Champion
  • WWE Champion
  • ECW Champion
  • TNA World Heavyweight Champion
  • ECW World Television Champion
  • TNA X-Division Champion
  • WWE European Champion
  • WWE Money in the Bank Winner (2006)

Rob Van Dam, better known by many as RVD, has been one of the most popular wrestlers of his time. While he is semi-retired today and sparingly works a part-time wrestling schedule, he was once quite active. RVD worked a short time with WCW as well as ECW. In fact, he went to ECW a few years before they shut their doors for good.

He was their longest-reigning World Television Champion at 700 days, which he only lost because of an injury when he was forced to vacate it. Van Dam was absorbed in the ECW acquisition when Vince McMahon purchased the company.

He’d become one of WWE’s hottest new stars and went on to win 4 Hardcore Titles, 6 Intercontinental Titles, and even a WWE Championship. He actually held the ECW & WWE Championships at the same time!

RVD was forced to drop both due to being pulled over with cannabis in his possession. He’d ultimately leave WWE a short time after and did not wrestle under a contract until he worked with TNA in 2010. Van Dam won their World & X-Divison Titles. Overall, he was brilliant in the ring and likely had one of the best finishers ever.

To us, Rob Van Dam will always be one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers on the planet!

 

Tetsuya Naito

Tetsuya Naito
[Image via New Japan Pro Wrestling]
  • 6x IWGP Intercontinental Champion
  • 3x IWGP World Heavyweight Champion
  • NEVER Openweight Champion
  • 2x G1 Climax Winner (2013, 2017)
  • New Japan Cup Winner (2016)
  • Wrestle Kingdom Main Eventer (WK12)

Tetsuya Naito was mostly trained by the New Japan Dojo, which has its “youngboys” train in both Japan & Mexico. Thus, Naito was a great performer in both nations and has never actually left New Japan Pro Wrestling since he began working for them on television. Naito has won the G1 Climax twice, the last of which allowed him to main event Wrestle Kingdom 12.

He would win the IWGP World Championship there, which he won two times since. Naito has also been one of the best IWGP Intercontinental Champions too, although he never seems to care for the title. Despite this, he has won the championship on 6 different occasions.

His in-ring style is quite interesting. Naito is a very charismatic performer, so he uses a lot of charisma and overacting in his matches. Heel or Face, Naito knows how to tell a fun story in the ring. He is a big fan of impact strikes as well as impressive submissions and suplexes. Naito likely would not even care that he is on our list, but we feel it is granted. As he is one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers ever!

 

Roman Reigns

Roman Reigns & Paul Heyman
[Image via WWE]
  • 3x WWE Champion
  • 2x WWE Universal Champion
  • WWE Intercontinental Champion
  • WWE United States Champion
  • Royal Rumble Winner (2015)
  • 4-Straight WrestleMania Main Events (WM31, WM32, WM33, WM34)

In spite of his relatively short career in the WWE, Roman Reigns has accomplished quite a lot. He not only won a Royal Rumble back in 2015 but he also main evented 4 straight WrestleMania events. The only other person to do this was Hulk Hogan in WWE history. That is some impressive company to be when it comes to pro-wrestling history!

Roman has also held an IC and U.S. Title, along with 3 WWE Titles & 2 Universal Titles. He was also a member of The Shield faction, considered by many to be one of the greatest factions in WWE history. Reigns was not very impressive in his initial solo career in WWE, in fact, he kinda sucked. Fans hated him and WWE shoved him down our throats.

Yet he was finally catching on to what fans wanted to see…then tragedy struck. Roman admitted that he had been dealing with Leukemia.

This rare blood cancer was an issue before in his life but now it was back, so he had to not only give up his newly won Universal Title. He also had to fight for his life, which ended up working…allowing him to go into remission. Since his most recent return to WWE after he took time off due to the COVID Pandemic…Roman has been incredible. Today, it is clear that he is one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers alive!

 

Eddie Guerrero

Eddie Guerrero
[Image via WWE]
  • 2x WWE Intercontinental Champion
  • 2x WWE European Champion
  • WWE Champion
  • WWE United States Champion
  • 2x WCW Cruiserweight Champion
  • WCW United States Heavyweight Champion
  • 2x ECW World Television Champion
  • New Japan Best of the Super Juniors III Winner (1996)
  • WWE Hall of Fame (2006)

Sadly due to his early passing, Eddie Guerrero did not compete a lot in the 2000s. However, a lot of his most impressive WWE material happened in this era. That includes a U.S. Title, a few Tag Team Titles, and especially his well-deserved WWE Championship run. WWE was even planning to make him a WWE Champion once again before he passed away.

Eddie passed from a heart attack, which is said to have been linked to his time using steroids and painkillers. While he did not use them for a long time, his heart had already been damaged. In spite of this, Eddie had been performing for a long time without fail. He was a brilliant comedic performer who could wrestle well with literally anyone.

Eddie was part of a storied wrestling family, which had been impressive performers in both the United States & Mexico. The Guerrero Family STILL has major respect in the wrestling business. Eddie might have been the best of them all. There are very few people who will ever say a negative word about Eddie, which shows the respect he had among the men he worked with.

It is clear that even though he passed far too soon, Eddie was one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers ever!

 

Drew McIntyre (Drew Galloway)

Drew McIntyre
[Image via WWE]
  • 2x ICW World Heavyweight Champion
  • 2x BCW Heavyweight Champion
  • WWE Champion
  • WWE NXT Champion
  • TNA World Heavyweight Champion
  • Evolve Champion
  • Scottish Heavyweight Champion
  • Impact Grand Champion
  • WWE Intercontinental Champion
  • European Heavyweight Champion
  • Open The Freedom Gate Champion
  • WrestleMania 36 Main Eventer
  • Royal Rumble Winner (2020)

Drew McIntyre has been wrestling on television in some form or another for over a decade. He began his career in The UK wrestling for places like ICW, BCW, and many more. He’d eventually get signed by WWE where they felt he was potentially going to become “The Man” in WWE. Vince McMahon himself even went on TV and called him “The Chosen One.” Talk about building expectations.

Drew won the IC Title right away but trouble with his home life affected his work, causing numerous problems like too much partying and alcoholism. He was even fired by WWE as a result. Yet Drew did not let this hold him back and decided to get in great shape and fix his party habit. Drew then signed with and won titles in both TNA & Evolve. Putting him back on WWE’s radar.

He then returned to WWE in 2018 as a part of NXT. McIntyre quickly won the NXT Championship and eventually moved back to the main roster. A Royal Rumble win and WrestleMania main event later, he finally captured the WWE Championship. Today, many feel he has led up to The “Chosen One” moniker. To us, all of this makes him one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers in history.

 

Kofi Kingston 

Kofi Kingston
[Image via Andrew Mills – NJ Advance Media]
  • 4x WWE Intercontinental Champion
  • 3x WWE United States Champion
  • WWE Champion

While most people know Kofi Kingston for his time with the New Day, he was once a terrific singles wrestler. In fact, he held 4 IC & 3 U.S. Titles. With New Day, Kofi stood out even more as a terrific performer. Dedicated to bringing tag team wrestling back to the top level it used to be, New Day has become one of the greatest teams in pro-wrestling history.

He has 13 total WWE Tag Team Championships, holds the tag title reign record for the most time as champion, and with New Day, holds the record for the longest single title run in WWE history. Yet Kofi was deserving of more, and due to an injury with Mustafa Ali, Kofi had the chance to shine by taking his spot in an Elimination Chamber match. Before this, he had an impressive gauntlet match where he lasted over an hour.

With numerous gauntlet matches and near wins for the WWE Championship, he finally earned a match for the title once again. This resulted in Kofi beating Daniel Bryan for the WWE Title at WrestleMania 35. It was one of the greatest moments in WWE history.

Many feel that Kofi could win a lot more singles titles before he is done as well. Due to his impressive matches and major ability to do anything, we feel he is one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers in the world today!

 

Will Ospreay

Will Ospreay
[Image via New Japan Pro Wrestling]
  • 3x IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • 2x Lucha Britannia World Championship
  • 2x British Cruiserweight Champion
  • British Heavyweight Champion
  • Progress Champion
  • MCW Intercommonwealth Champion
  • PWA Heavyweight Champion
  • NEVER Openweight Champion
  • ROH Television Champion
  • 2x New Japan Best of the Super Juniors Tournament Winner (2016, 2019)

Will Ospreay seems to be killing it on the Independent scene as of this writing. He’s currently working in New Japan Pro Wrestling and might be one of their new top foreign aces. He has been wrestling all over the world for many years but you mostly will see him in the United Kingdom or Japan, yet he has also competed in America, Australia, and many others.

If there is an independent company with a name behind them, they likely have worked with Ospreay. Considered to be the best high-flying wrestler on the planet, he’s already won the Best of the Super Junior twice & he has been the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion on 3 occasions. This comes along with a slew of other major championships too.

Not the least of which is the major British championships he won in RevPro and the TV Title he won in Ring of Honor. To us, Will deserves to be mentioned among the best of his time. He truly is one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers on the planet.

 

Shawn Michaels

Shawn Michaels - WWE RAW
[Image via WWE]
  • 3x WWE Champion
  • 3x WWE Intercontinental Champion
  • WWE World Heavyweight Champion
  • WWE European Champion
  • 5x WrestleMania Main Eventer (WM12, WM14, WM20, WM23, WM26)
  • 2x Royal Rumble Winner (1995, 1996)
  • 2x WWE Hall of Famer (2011-Individually, 2019-with D-Generation X)
  • WWE’s First Grand Slam Champion

Shawn Michaels managed to begin his career as a member of a tag team, but WWE felt he could be a great solo act. This allowed him to become a mid-card talent that, if he got over well enough, could get a seat at the main event table. He did not need to wait for long and soon he was a regular main eventer. His high-profile rivalries were impressive and that led to big matches with Bret Hart, Steve Austin, and many more. He was even a major part of DX.

Yet a back injury sidelined Michaels in the prime of his career. He would not come back to WWE until 2002, but no one knew if he could be the impressive athlete he was in the 90s. Not only was he just as good, but he might also have even been better. A new man with a new attitude, this was a new Shawn that could be a reliable company man.

This is why he’s on our list. While he main evented WrestleMania 3 times in this modern era, he also won his only singles title in the 2000s in the first Elimination Chamber. There he captured the World Heavyweight Title. He has been a multi-time tag team champion too. Yet the big thing for Michaels was match quality.

He has had some of the best matches in history at WrestleMania. Namely with Jericho, Angle, Flair, and the two with Undertaker. That is not even including the 90s classics!

 

Low Ki

Low Ki - MLW
[Image via Major League Wrestling]
  • 5x TNA/Impact X-Division Champion
  • 3x IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • ROH World Champion
  • PWG World Champion
  • MLW World Heavyweight Champion
  • PWF Heavyweight Champion
  • NWA/UPW/Zero-One International Junior Heavyweight Championship
  • wXw Cruiserweight Champion
  • World-1 Openweight Champion
  • PWG Battle of Los Angeles Winner (2008)
  • ECWA Super 8 Tournament Winner (2001)

Low Ki has made a massive impression on the world of professional wrestling since his debut in 1998. He accomplished pretty much everything we know him for today during the 2000s, and he did quite a lot. Not only did he win the ROH & PWG World Championships, but he also won both the Battle of Los Angeles and Super 8 Tournaments.

Winning one is impressive enough, but both? That is incredible. Yet perhaps his most notable time period in wrestling happened in New Japan & TNA. In Japan, he won the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title on 3 occasions. This puts him among the better champions of his era. Yet in TNA, he won the X-Division Championship 5 times. While it is not a record, it is still among the most reigns with the title.

Ultimately, while Low Ki did try his hand in WWE it did not work out. Yet he was still able to put on impressive matches and likely could have become a bigger deal had he stuck around longer. Either way, Low Ki’s impressive time in multiple top independent companies puts him among the most elite in the era. This is why we feel he is one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers.

 

Jon Moxley (Dean Ambrose)

Jon Moxley - AEW
[Image via All Elite Wrestling]
  • 3x HWA Heavyweight Champion
  • 3x WWE Intercontinental Champion
  • 2x CZW World Heavyweight Champion
  • 2x IWGP United States Champion
  • WWE Champion
  • AEW World Champion
  • FIP World Heavyweight Champion
  • WWE United States Champion
  • WWE Money in the Bank Winner (2016)

When Jon Moxley jumped from the independents to WWE, a lot of people were worried. We knew he could cut a promo with the best of them. We also knew that in spite of his major hardcore wrestling connections, he could put on a brilliant technical match too. Yet we could not expect WWE to acknowledge this or use him well. Yet he managed to succeed impressively.

Now called Dean Ambrose, a name of which he picked himself, he became a member of the historic faction known as The Shield. He was the only member of the group to hold singles gold and was often the voice of the faction. In spite of this, Ambrose spent years in mid-card hell and was forced to rest for mid-card titles. That was until 2016 when he won MITB and cashed it in the very night he won it to become the WWE Champion.

Yet unhappy with his position in WWE, he decided to leave. Today Ambrose is now back to his indy name of Jon Moxley and has been all over the independent scene. This has resulted in 2 IWGP U.S. Titles and the AEW World Title just to name a few things. Truly, there are very few like Moxley in the business right now.

He’ll likely continue to add to his title collection. Due to his impressive run, we have to recognize him as one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers going!

 

Johnny Gargano

Johnny Gargano
[Image via WWE]
  • 2x Open The Freedom Gate Champion
  • 2x AIW Intense Champion
  • WWE NXT Champion
  • WWE NXT North American Champion
  • CWE Undisputed Champion
  • AIW Absolute Champion
  • Smash Wrestling Champion
  • First NXT Triple-Crown Champion
  • Most NXT TakeOver Matches Ever
  • Most NXT TakeOver Main Events

Johnny Gargano has been wrestling for an incredibly long time. In fact, he’s been around since 2005 yet Gargano seemed to hit the ground running. His incredible time in his native Cleveland for AIW led to major accomplishments as well as opportunities with both Chikara and Dragon’s Gate USA. He was a champion wherever he went but he truly set himself apart in Dragon’s Gate.

Gargano carried the Open the Freedom Gate Championship longer than anyone before him and longer than anyone has ever since. He carried his first reign for 873 days or a little over 2 full years. This allowed him to get noticed further by independent territories and, of course, WWE.

While Johnny did spend time in Pro-Wrestling Guerilla, his time with Evolve Wrestling allowed Triple H & William Regal to see him more. That gave him a shot in WWE, initially as part of the DIY tag team with Ciampa.

The two were incredible together but eventually, Gargano went solo. Many relate him to HBK when it comes to NXT TakeOver, where he has wrestled more than anyone. He has a terrible win/loss record but tends to have the best match on the card. This is why WWE often put his matches on last.

If they didn’t, he’d steal the show anyway. Gargano eventually became the NXT Champion and even held the North American Title, allowing him to become the first and still only NXT Triple-Crown Champion.

 

Kota Ibushi

Kota Ibushi - G1 Climax
[Image via BBM]
  • 3x IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • 3x KO-D Openweight Champion
  • IWGP Intercontinental Champion
  • IMGP World Heavyweight Champion
  • NEVER Openweight Champion
  • Independent World Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • 2x G1 Climax Winner (2019, 2020)
  • New Japan’s Best of the Super Juniors Winner (2011)
  • New Japan Cup Winner (2015)
  • DDT-Pro’s Go-1 Climax Winner (2014)
  • Wrestle Kindom 14 Main Eventer

At one point, Kota Ibushi competed under a mask, so many did not know how good he truly was. In spite of this, he has shown an ability to perform at a high level in the ring both seriously and in comedic form. Ibushi has won DDT-Pro’s KO-D Openweight Title three times. At one point, while working with DDT, he also worked with New Japan under a dual deal. He is one of only a few who could do so.

During his original DDT run, he became the Independent World Junior Heavyweight Champion. This is a title that is defended in companies all over Japan and has been on a start-stop basis since it was first introduced. Yet it has remained active since 1999 and Ibushi held it for nearly a year.

When he left both companies to work with WWE for a short period, New Japan paid top dollar for him to return.

He’d do so and eventually won the NEVER Openweight & IWGP Intercontinental Titles. Ibushi has also won the G1 Climax twice and is one of only two men to win it in back-to-back years. He is also the only man to have won the G1, Best of Super Juniors, and New Japan Cup tournaments. He is deserving of all the praise people throw upon him.

Ultimately, Kota should be recognized as one of the single greatest modern-day professional wrestlers in the world today.

 

Christian (Christian Cage)

Christian - NWA/TNA World Champion
[Image via National Wrestling Alliance]
  • 4x WWE Intercontinental Champion
  • 2x WWE World Heavyweight Champion
  • 2x NWA/TNA World Heavyweight Champion
  • ECWA Heavyweight Champion
  • WWE Light Heavyweight Champion
  • 2x ECW World Champion
  • WWE European Champion
  • WWE Hardcore Champion

Christian proved himself in the 1990s as a great performer alongside his best friend Edge. The two were top tag champions in their time, even winning the gold 7 times together. That includes two big WrestleMania matches as well. Eventually, WWE saw the potential Christian had as a singles performer and allowed him to win the Light Heavyweight & European Championships to show more.

Yet eventually he managed to win the Intercontinental Title a few times too. Sadly, Christian felt undervalued and decided to leave for a then fresh new company called TNA Wrestling. There he ended up winning the NWA/TNA World Championship on two occasions. Doing all of this under the “Christian Cage” name he used previously on the indies. However, he always wanted to go back to WWE to finish up his career.

His return in 2009 was impactful and he ended up being part of the WWE’s ECW brand, where he’d go on to win the ECW Championship twice. Christian would even win 2 more IC Titles as well as finally capturing the World Heavyweight Title, which he did twice as well.

Sadly, Christian’s career ended shorter than he wanted it to due to concussion problems. Yet it is clear he was one of the best modern-day professional wrestlers we could see.

 

Kane (Glenn Jacobs)

Kane - WWE Champion
[Image via WWE]
  • 2x WWE Intercontinental Champion
  • WWE Champion
  • WWE World Heavyweight Champion
  • USWA Heavyweight Champion
  • ECW Champion
  • WWE Hardcore Champion
  • WWE Money in the Bank Winner (2010-SmackDown Case)
  • Most Cumulative Royal Rumble Eliminations (44-Currently)
  • Most Royal Rumble Appearances (19-Currently)
  • Mayor of Knox County, Tennessee (Elected in 2018)

Kane might be the Mayor of Knox County as of this writing, but he’ll always be one of the most notable wrestlers of his time. It was odd when he first arrived. He had one of the best debuts ever, ripping off the Hell in a Cell door and attacking The Undertaker. WWE kept to the two being storyline brothers ever since, even had them win the Tag Titles together.

Yet Kane also had a lot of tag team partners. He ended up winning WWE Tag Team Titles with 7 of them.

Kane was also a major singles star, managing to win the WWE Championship & World Heavyweight Championship, along with a stint as the ECW Champion too. While his World Title wins were impressive, he has also been a legendary force in the Royal Rumble match. For years, he held the record for the most eliminations in a single Rumble until Roman Reigns took the crown in 2014 (which has since been topped).

In spite of this, he still has the most cumulative eliminations at 44 as of this writing. He has also appeared in 19 Royal Rumble matches, the most by a wide margin. A lot of these were in a row too!

He was always one of the most reliable, consistent performers in WWE history. In spite of his large size, he is also one of the most agile big men professional wrestling has ever seen.

 

Booker T (King Booker)

King Booker
[Image via WWE]
  • 6x WCW World Television Champion
  • 5x WCW World Heavyweight Champion
  • 3x WWE United States Champion
  • 2x WWE Hardcore Champion
  • WWE World Heavyweight Champion
  • WWE Intercontinental Champion
  • WCW United States Champion
  • TNA Legends Champion
  • WWE King of the Ring Winner (2006)
  • 2x WWE Hall of Famer (2013-Individually, 2019-with Harlem Heat)

Booker T is clearly a legend in the wrestling business and was one of both WCW and WWE’s favorite stars. In WCW he went on to win 6 Television Titles, a United States Title, and 10 Tag Team Titles with his brother as part of Harlem Heat. When WCW was bought by Vince McMahon, he absorbed a lot of the contracted stars of WCW.

That included Booker T. WWE really liked Booker, so they made the call to have him win the WCW World Title a 5th time.

This is what gave birth to the “5-time WCW Champion” bit he used for years. In WWE, he’d become both an Intercontinental Champion and 3-time United States Champion. Yet, more importantly, he won his 6th World Heavyweight Title…this time as part of the WWE handle. Booker also had some memorable rivalries with people like Steve Austin, Triple H, JBL, and several others.

One of his shining moments for fans was as King Booker, a character he played upon winning the 2006 King of the Ring. He clearly butchered UK-English. However, it is still one of the best versions of Booker for fans and likely the reason we still see him use the character from time to time. Booker T is now a 2-time WWE Hall of Famer, both richly deserved.

Overall, it is clear that Booker T is one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers.

 

Kevin Owens (Kevin Steen)

Kevin Owens
[Image via WWE]
  • 3x PWG World Champion
  • 3x IWS World Heavyweight Champion
  • WWE Universal Champion
  • WWE NXT Champion
  • ROH World Champion
  • AAW Heavyweight Champion
  • 3x WWE United States Champion
  • 2x WWE Intercontinental Champion
  • CZW Iron Man Champion
  • IWS Canadian Champion

Kevin Owens might be killing it in the WWE these days but before that, he was known as Kevin Steen, one of the top independent wrestlers on the planet. In the International Wrestling Syndicate, he won their World Title 3 times. He also captured Pro Wrestling Guerilla’s World Title on 3 separate occasions. That is still a PWG record for most reigns.

He also had a memorable run in Ring of Honor, especially when he won the ROH World Championship. Soon, his time on the indies came to a close and he made the jump to WWE. He won the NXT Championship almost immediately and even hit the main roster soon after. From there, the rest is history. Now known as Kevin Owens held the IC Title twice & U.S. Title 3 times.

His biggest opportunity came when he won the WWE Universal Championship after the inaugural champion, Finn Balor was hurt and had to vacate it. Owens took the title a long way, from then on he has enjoyed top rivalries with some of WWE’s biggest current-day stars.

Overall, it is clear that Kevin Owens is one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers. How could we possibly ignore such a charismatic, impressive performer?

 

Christopher Daniels

Chris Daniels
[Image via ROH Wrestling]
  • 4x TNA X-Division Champion
  • 2x ECWA World Champion
  • ROH World Champion
  • British Commonwealth Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • ROH Television Champion
  • WWC Television Champion
  • EWF Heavyweight Champion
  • NWA Florida Heavyweight Champion
  • Zero1-Max United States Openweight Champion
  • 2x ECWA Super 8 Tournament Winner (2000, 2004)
  • APW King of the Indies Tournament Winner (2000)

For years, Christopher Daniels was known as the “King of the Indies” once Bryan Danielson jumped to the WWE. Daniels truly earned that moniker as he wrestled for several wrestling companies throughout his impressive career. Daniels has held the British Commonwealth Junior Heavyweight Championship and even became a two-time ECWA World Champion.

Yet the big money wins came when he won the ROH World Championship and eventually held the TNA X-Division Championship 4 times. However, Daniels might be an excellent singles wrestling act…but he’s also a talented tag team performer too.

Daniels is a 4-time ROH Tag Team Champion & 8-time NWA/TNA World Tag Team Champion. He even held the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Title with Bryan Danielson once.

An accomplished wrestler, Daniels has also been great at winning tournaments. This includes ECWA’s Super 8 Tournament, which he won twice. Of course, he also truly earned that King of the Indies moniker even more after winning the APW King of the Indies Tournament.

Overall, it is clear that Christopher Daniels deserves to be mentioned as one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers on the planet today!

 

Jushin “Thunder” Liger

Jushin "Thunder" Liger
[Image via FW4Online]
  • 11x IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • 2x NWA World Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • 2x British Commonwealth Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • CMLL Universal Champion
  • CMLL World Middleweight Champion
  • NWA World Welterweight Champion
  • WWF Light Heavyweight Champion
  • UWA World Junior Light Heavyweight Champion
  • WWA World Junior Light Heavyweight Champion
  • WAR International Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • GHC Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • WCW Light Heavyweight Champion
  • J-Crown Champion
  • Open The Dream Gate Champion
  • 3x New Japan Best of the Super Junior Winner (1992, 1994, 2001)
  • New Japan Young Lion Cup Winner (1986)
  • Super-J Cup Winner (2000)
  • RevPro’s British J Cup Winner (2017)
  • WWE Hall of Famer (2020)

One of the greatest Cruiserweight/Junior Heavyweight wrestlers of all-time, Jushin “Thunder” Liger has wrestled for pretty much everyone. Of course, his biggest career accomplishments come mostly from New Japan Pro-Wrestling. There, he held the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship a record 11 times.

Of course, he also held the NWA’s World Junior Heavyweight Title twice as well as their World Welterweight Championship. It might also surprise you that it was Liger’s idea to put together the J-Crown. This put all the major Junior Heavyweight Titles in the world together.

Liger won it, allowing him to win the IWGP, GHC, WAR, & WWA Junior Heavyweight Titles along with the WCW Cruiserweight and WWF Light Heavyweight Championships. People also forget that Liger started his career in both Japan & Mexico. In CMLL he was a top-tier wrestler and won the World Middleweight Title as well as the CMLL Universal Champion tournament.

Liger also wrestled Tyler Breeze at an NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn in 2015. This allowed him to have one match in WWE, also giving him the ability to be added to the WWE Hall of Fame. He was inducted in 2020.

 

Adam Cole

Adam Cole - NXT Champion
[Image via WWE]
  • 3x ROH World Champion
  • WWE NXT Champion
  • PWG World Champion
  • WWE NXT North American Champion
  • ROH Television Champion
  • CZW World Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • CZW Best of the Best X Winner (2011)
  • PWG Battle of Los Angeles Winner (2012)
  • ROH Survival of the Fittest Winner (2014)

It is hard to find a better overall performer in the last few years than Adam Cole. The man has been excellent during his run in the WWE as the leader of The Undisputed Era. He has won the NXT North American Championship, NXT Tag Team Championships, & the NXT World Championship. The latter of which he held for a year!

However, before jumping to WWE, Cole was a big start on the independent circuit. He worked in Pro-Wrestling Guerilla where he held the PWG World Championship and even won the company’s infamous Battle of Los Angeles Tournament in 2012. Of course, he was also a huge star for Ring of Honor too.

There he also won the Survival of the Fittest Tournament in 2014 and even the ROH Television Title. Yet Cole’s big claim to fame in ROH is winning the ROH World Championship a record 3 times. His last win even came at a Wrestle Kingdom event for New Japan.

Cole is certainly one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers on the planet. He might very well be among the greatest of all-time when his career is over.

 

Finn Balor (Prince Devitt)

Finn Balor - NXT Champion
[Image via WWE]
  • 3x IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • 2x WWE NXT Champion
  • 2x NWA British Commonwealth Heavyweight Champion
  • WWE Universal Champion (inaugural)
  • NWA World Historic Middleweight Champion
  • 2x WWE Intercontinental Champion
  • British Cruiserweight Champion
  • ICW Zero-G Champion
  • 2x New Japan Best of the Super Juniors Winner (2010, 2013)
  • Founder & Former Leader of The Bullet Club

Finn Balor has been wrestling for a long time. Yet he did not end up in WWE until several years into his career. He actually did have a chance to jump in his late-20s but chose not to. He wanted to do a few big things on the Indies first and develop as a talent.

This was certainly the right move. He was trained as a young boy in New Japan initially, which also resulted in Balor working for CMLL a bit too. There, he held the NWA World Historic Middleweight Championship. Upon returning to New Japan, he went by the name Prince Devitt and was inserted into the Junior Heavyweight Title division.

He was an instant success, capturing the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship 3 times, holding each for long periods of time. This was also the period in which he started and led the now-infamous Bullet Club faction. Balor also won New Japan’s Best of the Super Juniors Tournament twice.

Upon jumping to WWE, he won the NXT Championship and eventually became the first WWE Universal Champion. Of course, he held the WWE Intercontinental Title twice and returned to NXT to capture the NXT Championship for a second time. Balor also has the most NXT TakeOver wins in history.

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to see that Finn Balor is one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers on the planet.

 

The Rock (Dwayne Johnson)

The Rock - WWE Champion
[Image via WWE]
  • 8x WWE Champion
  • 2x WCW World Heavyweight Champion
  • 2x WWE Intercontinental Champion
  • Royal Rumble Winner (2000)
  • 5x WrestleMania Main Eventer (WM15, WM2000, WM17, WM28, WM29)

While The Rock might be a big star in Hollywood, he did not wrestle a ton in the 2000s, so how did he make it this high? You’d be surprised how much he actually did perform in the 2000s honestly. He main evented WrestleMania 4 times in this era. Once was against “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and the other two with John Cena.

The other was a major Fatal 4-Way at WrestleMania 2000 where there was “a McMahon in every corner.” Not the best match in WWE’s history but still, he main evented the show.

He also held the WCW World Heavyweight Championship twice when Vince McMahon bought WCW and merged talent and titles into WWE. Of course, The Rock also held quite a few WWE Championships from 2000 on. His most recent was a little before WrestleMania 29. However, he held a few in the early 2000s as well.

People also forget his big Royal Rumble win happened in the year 2000 too.

Of course, we now know him mostly as Dwayne Johnson in this era. However, we should not forget the major impact he had on the 2000s in the world of wrestling too. Johnson has even come back to WWE whenever possible as he has promised to “never leave the WWE fans ever again.”

For this and his major accomplishments, we feel The Rock is one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers.

 

The Miz

The Miz - WWE Intercontinental Champion
[Image via WWE]
  • 8x WWE Intercontinental Champion
  • 2x WWE United States Champion
  • WWE Champion
  • WWE Money in the Bank Winner (2010-RAW Case)
  • WrestleMania 28 Main Eventer

Truthfully, people seem to really be sleeping on The Miz. Yet he has gone from some random reality television star to a true WWE staple that has put in over a decade of his time. Truly, you know he loves wrestling and always wanted to be part of the WWE. Initially, he was an after-thought and even WWE’s locker room was not a fan of the kid.

However, he matured and found who he was. His work on the mic was impressive as he delivered top-tier promos on a nightly basis. It resulted in two WWE United States Title runs. They were so long that if he has another long run, he’ll have the WWE reign time record.

Of course, he also held the WWE Championship and successfully defended it in the main event of WrestleMania 28 against John Cena. Yet Miz’s true claim to fame is completely revitalizing the WWE Intercontinental Championship. Sometimes, it is the title that “makes the man.” However, other times it is the man that makes the title.

During Miz’s 8 reigns as champion, he completely elevated everything. His last few runs with the title were absolute gold!

One more reign for like a month and Miz will have the total reign-record for the IC Title too! He’d even tie for the most IC Title reigns overall. We shall see if Miz can accomplish this. His career is still going on, so we do not know how much greatness he’ll achieve by the time he retires.

It is quite clear that The Miz is one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers on the planet!

 

Cody (Cody Rhodes)

Cody Rhodes - NWA World Champion & IWGP United States Champion
[Image via New Japan Pro-Wrestling]
  • 2x WWE Intercontinental Champion
  • 2x AEW TNT Champion
  • NWA World Heavyweight Champion
  • ROH World Champion
  • NEW Heavyweight Champion
  • IWGP United States Champion
  • GFW NEX*GEN Champion
  • 2x Georgia State Amateur Wrestling Champion at 189lbs (2003, 2004)
  • All Elite Wrestling Executive Vice President (2019-Current)

AEW’s most notable Executive Vice President, Cody Rhodes, is the son of the WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes. Those are some massive shoes to fill. The “American Dream” was truly an icon of the industry…yet his son may not be too far off on this honor himself. While in the WWE, he won numerous WWE Tag Team Titles with several partners.

Yet Cody wanted more and that led to a few notable WWE Intercontinental Championship runs. However, in 2016 he noticed the independent wrestling scene exploding and felt he could stand out too. He was not wrong, as he was able to travel around to numerous promotions and eventually became a top-ranking member of New Japan’s Bullet Club. At the same time, he was also making waves in Ring of Honor, even winning the ROH World Championship.

He’d also win the IWGP United States Championship and even the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. With this win, Cody & Dusty became the only father & son to hold the NWA World Title. Although WWE did try to get Cody to return, he decided to help start All Elite Wrestling.

On top of this, in late 2020, WWE gave up the “Cody Rhodes” trademark that they had held for the last 4 years. This gave Cody his father’s last name back and he has since gone by the Cody Rhodes moniker again.

 

Brock Lesnar

Brock Lesnar 2020 Royal Rumble
[Image via WWE]
  • 5x WWE Champion
  • 3x WWE Universal Champion
  • IWGP World Heavyweight Champion
  • NCAA Division-1 Heavyweight Champion (2000)
  • NJCAA Heavyweight Champion (1998)
  • 2x Big Ten Conference Wrestling Champion (1999, 2000)
  • 2x NCAA All-American Wrestler (1999, 2000)
  • UFC Heavyweight Champion
  • WWE King of the Ring Winner (2002)
  • Royal Rumble Winner (2003)
  • WWE Money in the Bank Winner (2019)
  • 4x WrestleMania Main Eventer (WM19, WM31, WM34, WM36)
  • 5-3 MMA Record

Say what you will about Brock Lesnar and his problems with people, as well as his schedule. However, it cannot be overlooked just how good this man has been. It is clear that he has been successful. Lesnar won pretty much all one could win in a small 2-year career initially. Eventually, he returned to WWE. Yet this was after being a Heavyweight Champion in the UFC!

Brock brought legitimacy to WWE, which made his matches mean a lot more. Beating him, therefore, made the opponent more legit as well. WWE did this to help the likes of Roman Reigns, Drew McIntyre, Seth Rollins, and many more. Due to the rarity of seeing him, every single event he took part in was special.

4 WrestleMania main events, 8 WWE World Titles, and many more honors on top of that…Lesnar is certainly one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers. We should commend him for his time in the squared circle as we never know when it’ll be his last.

 

Rey Mysterio

Rey Mysterio - World Heavyweight Champion
[Image via WWE]
  • 5x WCW Cruiserweight Champion
  • 3x WWE Cruiserweight Champion
  • 2x WWE Champion
  • 2x WWE World Heavyweight Champion
  • 3x WWA Lightweight Champion
  • 3x WWA Welterweight Champion
  • 2x WWE United States Champion
  • AAA Mexican National Welterweight Champion
  • WWC World Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • 10-1 Luchas de Apuestas Record
  • Royal Rumble Winner (2006)
  • AAA Hall of Fame (2007)

Rey Mysterio has wrestled in pretty much every major professional wrestling company there is. ECW, WCW, TNA, AAA, CMLL, and obviously the WWE all have had the chance to see Rey perform for them. That is only referencing a few, as there are many more we did not list.

Mysterio, according to many, is one of if not THE best luchadors to ever exist.  He could do it all in the ring, and his ability to consistently perform at a high level in spite of numerous injuries he has faced is incredible. Unlike others similar to him, Rey can wrestle pretty much anyone in any different style. This is something many Lucha Libre performers simply cannot do.

Of course, due to his smaller size…he has been a notable cruiserweight. In total, he has held about 12 different cruiserweight or junior heavyweight championships. Yet due to his popularity, WWE finally gave him the chance to be a World Champion in 2006 after having him win the Royal Rumble that year. He managed to win 3 more World Championships in WWE afterward.

Overall, due to his success and impact on the world of pro-wrestling…it is clear Rey Mysterio is one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers on the planet!

 

Bobby Lashley

Bobby Lashley - WWE Intercontinental Champion
[Image via WWE]
  • 4x TNA/Impact World Champion
  • 2x ECW World Champion
  • TNA X-Division Champion
  • TNA King of the Mountain Champion
  • 2x WWE Intercontinental Champion
  • 2x WWE United States Champion
  • 4x NAIA All-American Wrestler (1995, 1996, 1997, 1998)
  • 3x NAIA Collegiate National Champion (1996, 1997, 1998)
  • Shark Fights Heavyweight Champion
  • XFN Heavyweight Champion
  • CISM Armed Forces Championships Senior Freestyle Gold Medalist (2003)
  • CISM Military World Championships Senior Freestyle Silver Medalist (2002)
  • 15-2 MMA Record (5-0 in Bellator MMA)

Bobby Lashley had a similar run to Brock Lesnar. Lashley also competed in college wrestling where he won 3 NAIA Heavyweight Championships. He came in second the year he did not win the title, yet he was an All-American all 4 years. Lashley, of course, was also in the United States Armed Forces for a while too.

He was actually a CISM Military Gold & Silver Medalist. Bobby’s resume is clearly impressive and due to his look, WWE wanted him. They would sign Lashley to a deal that went around 3 years. Yet he would leave the company after the first contract, seemingly to jump into MMA a lot like Brock Lesnar. Yet unlike Brock, Lashley had quite a lot of fights.

He has a 15-2 record with 5 of those wins in Bellator MMA without a loss. While competing in MMA, TNA allowed him to wrestle and thus, he became a top player for the brand. He captured 4 World Championships there but eventually decided to go back to WWE.

Bobby previously held 2 ECW Championships & a United States Title in WWE. Upon returning, WWE gave Lashley a shot to win more. So far, he has held another United States Title and 2 Intercontinental Titles. More is likely to come too.

 

Kenny Omega

Kenny Omega - IWGP World Heavyweight Champion
[Image via New Japan Pro-Wrestling]
  • 2x IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • IWGP World Heavyweight Champion
  • AAA Mega Champion
  • PWG World Champion
  • KO-D Openweight Champion
  • IWGP Intercontinental Champion
  • IWGP United States Champion
  • AJPW World Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • DDT Extreme Division Champion
  • G1 Climax Winner (2016-First Western Winner)
  • PWG Battle of Los Angeles Winner (2009)
  • King of DDT Tournament Winner (2012)
  • 2x Wrestle Kingdom Main Eventer (WK11, WK13)

Kenny Omega has only made a massive impact on pro-wrestling for about 5 years as of this writing, but it is clear that it has been impressive. Omega did something few beforehand were able to accomplish, he managed to become a massively well-known pro-wrestler without working for WWE. In fact, Kenny was working with New Japan Pro-Wrestling at the time.

He became the leader of the Bullet Club when AJ Styles left NJPW for WWE. From here, he became a solid heavyweight title contender where he was considered no better than a Junior Heavyweight by New Japan before this. Upon getting his shot to show what he could do, Omega won the IWGP Intercontinental Title and even the G1 Climax. He is still the first and only Westerner ever to win the G1.

Kenny has also main evented 2 different Wrestle Kingdom events and finally captured the IWGP Heavyweight Title after years of attempts. This is not even discussing his impressive work in PWG, AAA, DDT Pro, and many other places. Today, Kenny is an EVP and talent for All Elite Wrestling.

Of course, based on his impressive resume and matches, we felt he deserved to be mentioned among the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers.

 

Kazuchika Okada

Kazuchika Okada - IWGP World Heavyweight Champion
[Image via New Japan Pro-Wrestling]
  • 5x IWGP World Heavyweight Champion
  • 2x G1 Climax Winner (2012, 2014)
  • 2x New Japan Cup Winner (2013, 2019)
  • Young Dragons Cup Winner (2005)
  • 6x Wrestle Kingdom Main Eventer (WK7, WK9, WK10, WK11, WK12, WK14) 
  • Longest Single IWGP World Title Reign (720 days)
  • Longest Total Reign Time as IWGP World Heavyweight Champion

Like Omega, Kazuchika Okada has become well-known without working for WWE. Of course, he has worked in America before when he took part in TNA for a little bit. It is said that some higher-ups in TNA told Okada that he’ll never be a main eventer in this business. Clearly, they did not see the potential in New Japan’s Rainmaker.

Upon returning to Japan, he was given a few shots to show his worth. This includes beating the likes of Tanahashi and Nakamura as well as winning the G1 Climax. He eventually won the IWGP Heavyweight Championship and had a nice first run but his second went for over one year! However, it is his fourth reign that makes him a record holder.

He held the title for a record 720 days and had 12 successful title defenses, also more than anyone. Due to being a 5-time Champion with long reigns each time, he now has the all-time reign length record. If that is not enough, Okada is the only person other than Tanahashi & Ibushi to have won multiple New Japan & G1 Climax tournaments.

Okada is also currently a 6-time Wrestle Kingdom main eventer, which is in the top 5 for the January 4th show. Due to all of his accomplishments and brilliant work, it is easy to say he’s one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers alive today!

 

Seth Rollins (Tyler Black)

Seth Rollins
[Image via Getty Images]
  • 2x WWE Champion
  • 2x WWE Universal Champion
  • ROH World Champion
  • FIP World Heavyweight Champion
  • 2x AAW Heavyweight Champion
  • 2x WWE Intercontinental Champion
  • WWE United States Champion
  • WWE NXT Champion (first)
  • Royal Rumble Winner (2019)
  • WWE Money in the Bank Winner (2014)
  • ROH Survival of the Fittest Winner (2009)
  • **Technical** WrestleMania 31 Main Eventer

Seth Rollins is well-known today by most pro-wrestling fans. However, some hardcore wrestling fans have been watching him for over a decade. This is due to Rollins competing in great independent promotions like FIP & ROH in his younger career. He, of course, won the World Championship in each promotion.

When he jumped to WWE, he became the first NXT Champion and would jump to the main roster as a member of the infamous Shield faction. He was brilliant in the group and most responsible for it splitting when he turned on his partners to join WWE’s “Authority” faction. After doing this, Rollins’ career took off!

He won the Money in the Bank and actually cashed it in during the main event of WrestleMania 31, where he won the WWE Championship. Later on, he captured the United States Title and actually held it at the same time he held the WWE Title. Of course, Rollins would later become a top asset to the Intercontinental Championship division too.

If that is not enough in the accomplishment sector, Rollins has also held two Universal Championships with potentially more titles coming his way. He has been great as both a heel and face for WWE and is obviously one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers on the planet.

 

Jeff Hardy

Jeff Hardy - WWE Champion
[Image via WWE]
  • 5x WWE Intercontinental Champion
  • 3x TNA World Heavyweight Champion
  • 3x WWE Hardcore Champion
  • 2x WWE World Heavyweight Champion
  • WWE Champion
  • NEW Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • WWE Light Heavyweight Champion
  • UWA World Middleweight Champion
  • WWE United States Champion
  • WWE European Champion

Jeff Hardy has clearly dealt with his demons in the world of drugs and alcohol addiction over the years. In spite of his hardcore past, he is somehow still here. Today, Hardy is clean yet his entire history in pro-wrestling is almost movie-level compelling. It is not shocking why so many wrestling fans love the guy.

During his initial run, he was a multi-time tag team champion with his brother, Matt. However, he had a shot at singles success several times while still tagging. This included a run as Hardcore, European, Light Heavyweight, and Intercontinental Champion. Yet when Hardy left WWE for TNA, many thought he might never come back.

They did not do drug tests, which helped a lot. Yet Jeff did return, which worked out well for him as he finally captured a World Championship in WWE. Heck, he won 3 of them! Drug tests combined with the WWE schedule made Hardy leave for TNA again, but this time he was automatically put in the main event and would win 3 World Titles in TNA as well.

However, TNA’s Victory Road was a new low that finally made Jeff get help. This helped for a while, so much so that Hardy felt he could return easily to WWE. He did just that and won even more titles. We do not know when he will call it quits, but it is clear due to his work and sacrifice, Jeff Hardy is one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers known to mankind.

 

CM Punk

CM Punk & Paul Heyman
[Image via WWE]
  • 5x IWA Mid-South Heavyweight Champion
  • 3x WWE World Heavyweight Champion
  • 2x WWE Champion
  • 2x IWA Mid-South Light Heavyweight Champion
  • ROH World Champion
  • ECW World Champion
  • RCW World Champion
  • IWC World Heavyweight Champion
  • WWE Intercontinental Champion
  • 2x WWE Money in the Bank Winner (2008, 2009)

The man they call CM Punk has made quite a stir in the professional wrestling world over the last number of years. He began his career as a backyard wrestler, but quickly realized he needed training. He decided to pursue this and eventually learned the craft professionally.

Realizing he was now a trained performer, he took part in independent shows. This caught the eye of Ring of Honor Wrestling, which was trying to bring in the best independent performers on the planet under one roof. Punk would have killer matches with the likes of Chris Hero, Bryan Danielson, Samoa Joe, and many others.

The call for WWE came and CM Punk. He decided to jump but not before he left ROH on a high note. In WWE, it took time for Punk to be given some trust by Vince McMahon. After his infamous “pipebomb” promo, Punk became a massive star in the world of wrestling.

In spite of his success in WWE, the two had a falling out. Punk has been out of wrestling pretty much ever since. Yet he has said time and time again if the price is right…he might return to the squared circle. We shall see…

 

Shinsuke Nakamura

Shinsuke Nakamura
[Image via WWE]
  • 5x IWGP Intercontinental Champion
  • 3x IWGP World Heavyweight Champion
  • 2x WWE NXT Champion
  • 2x WWE United States Champion
  • NWF Heavyweight Champion
  • WWE Intercontinental Champion
  • IWGP 3rd Belt Champion
  • IWGP Under-30 Openweight Champion
  • G1 Climax Winner (2011)
  • New Japan Cup Winner (2014)
  • Royal Rumble Winner (2018)
  • **Technically** 6x Wrestle Kingdom Main Eventer (WK2, WK4, WK8)
  • 3-1-1 MMA Record

Shinsuke Nakamura began his career as a “Youngboy” in Japan. Of course, youngboys are trainees that have to do a lot of dirty work as they work their way up. Once they are done training, they are given a shot to perform on whatever show the company they’re with is behind.

Nakamura, of course, wrestled for New Japan Pro-Wrestling. He was a top name there for years and was considered the best strong style wrestler on the planet at one point. This led to Nakamura taking on the “King of Strong Style” moniker.

Of course, his impressive performance led to numerous championships. He’s a 3-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion and main evented the January 4th show 6 times! Yet he also helped New Japan expand its mid-card division with their IWGP Intercontinental Championship. Nakamura held the title a total of 5 times!

In fact, this was the title he dropped before he jumped to WWE. In WWE, he held the NXT Championship twice, a few United States Championships, and the WWE’s Intercontinental Title too. Not to mention Tag Team Title gold!

Nakamura is clearly one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers on the planet.

 

Daniel Bryan (Bryan Danielson)

Daniel Bryan - Yes Movement!
[Image via WWE]
  • 4x WWE Champion
  • 2x PWG World Champion
  • ROH World Champion
  • ROH Pure Champion
  • WWE World Heavyweight Champion
  • wXw World Heavyweight Champion
  • FIP Heavyweight Champion
  • IWA Puerto Rico Heavyweight Champion
  • WWE Intercontinental Champion
  • WWE United States Champion
  • NWA Canadian Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • NWA Southern Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • GHC Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • New Japan Best of the American Super Juniors Winner (2004)
  • ROH Survival of the Fittest Winner (2004)
  • WWE Money in the Bank Winner (2011-SmackDown Case)
  • APW King of the Indies Tournament Winner (2001)
  • WrestleMania 30 Main Eventer

It seems if there is a title to win, Daniel Bryan has won it! As Bryan Danielson on the independent scene, he worked for pretty much every company. Along the way, capturing gold everywhere he went.

NWA, ROH, FIP, wXw, you name it! At one point in time, the man was called the “King of the Indies” due to his clear domination everywhere he went! It shouldn’t shock anyone that he was able to translate his independent success to success in the WWE.

It was a rough start at first, but his idea to start the NO! & YES! Movement truly made him a star in WWE. As part of Team Hell No!, the world wanted Bryan to step out to become a major player. It became too big for WWE to ignore, resulting in Daniel main eventing WrestleMania 30.

Since then, his career nearly ended. Yet he found his way back to the ring and has won numerous titles ever since with the WWE. Not to mention, he got married and now has two children with his wife, Brie Bella.

It’s clear to state that Daniel Bryan is one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers. Who could argue otherwise?

 

AJ Styles

AJ Styles WWE Title
[Image via WWE]
  • 6x TNA X-Division Champion
  • 5x NWA/TNA World Heavyweight Champion
  • 4x IPW Heavyweight Champion
  • 2x WWE Champion
  • 2x IWGP Heavyweight Champion
  • ROH Pure Champion
  • PWG World Champion
  • RPW British Heavyweight Champion
  • IWA Mid-South Heavyweight Champion
  • NWA Wildside Heavyweight Champion
  • AAW Heavyweight Champion
  • 4x IWC Super Indies Champion
  • 3x WWE United States Champion
  • 3x NWA Wildside Television Champion
  • 2x TNA Legends/Global Champion
  • WWE Intercontinental Champion
  • WWA International Cruiserweight Champion
  • NKPWA Junior Heavyweight Championship
  • First TNA Triple-Crown Champion
  • First TNA Grand-Slam Champion
  • WrestleMania 36 Co-Main Eventer (Day 1 Main Event)

Like others before him, AJ Styles was an independent wrestling icon. Yet he found a home in TNA Wrestling where he became one of the top names in the company. This resulted in numerous championships. Yet Styles’ relationship with the company turned sour.

This resulted in the Phenomenal One leaving TNA for New Japan Pro-Wrestling among other independent events. He became the leader of the Bullet Club, as Prince Devitt was leaving NJPW for the WWE at the time.

He won a few IWGP Heavyweight Championships along the way and had some epic matches at New Japan’s Wrestle Kingdom event. Yet he wanted to return home to America and WWE came calling. He jumped at the chance and debuted in the 2016 Royal Rumble match.

He eventually won a few WWE Championships as well as the United States & Intercontinental Titles. Styles even managed to become a “technical” WrestleMania main eventer. As he and The Undertaker main evented Day 1 of WrestleMania 36 in 2020.

It is not a stretch to say that AJ Styles has been one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers on the planet.

 

Hiroshi Tanahashi

Hiroshi Tanahashi
[Image via Masashi Hara – Getty Images]
  • 8x IWGP Heavyweight Champion
  • 2x IWGP Intercontinental Champion
  • 2x IWGP U-30 Openweight Champion
  • 3x G1 Climax Winner (2007, 2015, 2018)
  • 2x New Japan Cup Winner (2005, 2008)
  • British Heavyweight Champion
  • CMLL Universal Champion Tournament Winner (2013)
  • G2 U-30 Climax Winner (2003)
  • **Technically** 10x Wrestle Kingdom Main Eventer (WK2, WK3, WK5-WK10, WK13)

If you are not familiar with the infamous Japanese wrestler Hiroshi Tanahashi, you really should get to know the man. He has been one of the most successful wrestlers on the planet. Tanahashi had been the main leader and top name New Japan Pro-Wrestling for over a decade.

This allowed him to win a record 8 IWGP Heavyweight Championships! Not to mention the two Intercontinental Title wins. Tanahashi is also the only man to win the G1 Climax 3 times. Yet he also won the New Japan Cup on two occasions.

Of course, Tanahashi has been a success everywhere he has been. In the CMLL years ago, he managed to win the CMLL Universal Championship tournament. Which crowned the best overall champion in the promotion. He also won the British Heavyweight Championship in Revolution Pro and held numerous tag team titles in places like CMLL, GHC, and obviously NJPW.

He also has the record for the most main events at the January 4th show with 10!

It’s pretty obvious that Hiroshi Tanahashi has been one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers on the planet!

 

Randy Orton

Randy Orton Titles
[Image via WWE]
  • 10x WWE Champion
  • 4x WWE World Heavyweight Champion
  • WWE Intercontinental Champion
  • WWE United States Champion
  • 2x Royal Rumble Winner (2009, 2017)
  • WWE Money in the Bank Winner (2013)
  • 2x WrestleMania Main Eventer (WM25, WM30)

“The Viper” Randy Orton has been one of WWE’s biggest stars for the last 15 years. While his attitude behind the scenes was always been problematic in his younger career, he is looked at today as a great locker room leader.

In fact, Orton goes above and beyond to help younger talent out both behind the scenes and in the ring. Randy is so incredibly smooth in the ring and understands in-ring psychology perfectly, making him an amazing opponent for pretty much any performer on the roster.

While he was part of a faction coming up, Evolution did not technically aide Randy. It was his “Legend Killer” gimmick and the ability to learn from Ric Flair & Triple H.

Orton went on to become a major singles star, resulting in 10 WWE Championship wins as well as 4 World Heavyweight Title wins. Not to mention, he has held both the Intercontinental and United States Championships.

He won the Royal Rumble twice & even main evented WrestleMania twice. While it should go without saying, Randy Orton is obviously one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers on Planet Earth!

 

The Undertaker

The Undertaker - WM Souls
[Image via WWE]
  • 4x WWE Champion
  • 3x WWE World Heavyweight Champion
  • WCWA Texas Heavyweight Champion
  • USWA World Heavyweight Champion
  • WWE Hardcore Champion
  • Royal Rumble Winner (2007)
  • **Technically** 5x WrestleMania Main Eventer (WM13, WM24, WM26, WM33, WM36-Day One)
  • Most WrestleMania Appearances (27)
  • Most WrestleMania Wins (25)
  • All-Time WrestleMania Win Streak (21 wins)

The Undertaker recently retired from the ring after spending over 30 years of his life wrestling at a high level. Nearly 30 years of Mark Calloway’s career was spent playing The Undertaker, a character that was seemingly some magical undead wizard.

The Phenom was a bit odd at first, but quickly became a fan favorite and cornerstone for the WWE. Many believe Taker is one of if not THE greatest big man in professional wrestling history. It is hard to argue either one, as his in-ring work was always spectacular.

The respect level for Undertaker is high in WWE and all of pro-wrestling, where you could not find a person to say one bad thing about him if you paid them! Of course, Undertaker is most known for his work at WrestleMania.

He went to 27 straight WrestleMania events and won his first 21 matches. This is a record that will likely never be broken. He actually has 25 overall wins, making him 25-2 in his career at WrestleMania. On top of this, he has main evented the show technically 5 times!

It’s clear to most that The Undertaker is one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers in the world.

 

Triple H

Triple H - WrestleMania 32
[Image via WWE]
  • 9x WWE Champion
  • 5x WWE World Heavyweight Champion
  • 5x WWE Intercontinental Champion
  • 2x WWE European Champion
  • IWF Heavyweight Champion
  • 2x Royal Rumble Winner (2002, 2016)
  • WWE King of the Ring Winner (1997)
  • WWE Hall of Fame (2019 – as member of D-Generation X)
  • 6x WrestleMania Main Eventer (WM2000, WM18, WM20, WM21, WM22, WM25)

“The Game” Triple H had been the measuring stick for all other pro-wrestlers in the WWE for more than two decades. While many like to say he was only able to get where he is today due to “marrying the boss’ daughter,” he was already a well-established wrestler before he met Stephanie McMahon.

Their relationship on-screen only came about because of Triple H’s growing status in the WWE at the time. That said, he was also someone you could trust as the face of your company. Thus, he held the top man role down, whether he was heel or face, for years.

If you needed a man to make someone else look good or to bring a show extra star power, he was your guy. Many times, he would be inserted into an event to give fans a great match because everyone knew Triple H could deliver whether he opened or closed the show.

Triple H is now a 14-time WWE World Champion, won a few Royal Rumbles, and main evented WrestleMania 6 times. Yet he’s also known for helping other stars grow. He helped get the likes of Randy Orton, Batista, John Cena, Edge, Jeff Hardy, and many others over. He’s also the brain behind WWE’s NXT brand! He even hired some of WWE’s biggest talent today!

If there is one man you must recognize as one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers, it damn sure needs to be Triple H.

 

Chris Jericho

Chris Jericho - AEW Champion
[Image All Elite Wrestling]
  • 9x WWE Intercontinental Champion
  • 4x WCW Cruiserweight Champion
  • 3x WWE World Heavyweight Champion
  • 2x WCW World Heavyweight Champion
  • 2x WWE United States Champion
  • WWE Champion
  • AEW World Champion
  • WWE European Champion
  • IWGP United States Champion
  • NWA World Middleweight Champion
  • IWA Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • WAR International Junior Heavyweight Champion
  • WCW Television Champion
  • ECW Television Champion
  • WWE Hardcore Champion
  • Current WWE Record Holder For Most IC Title Reigns
  • WrestleMania 18 Main Eventer

Another man that could be called a “measuring stick” is Chris Jericho. There are very few people who accomplished more than this man in his career. He is the only man on this list to have been under contract in WWE/WWF, WCW, ECW, NJPW, CMLL, & AEW.

Oh yeah, and he won one or more championships in all of them! There is very little Jericho has not accomplished, making him one of the most respected wrestlers ever. He was always able to work well with pretty much anyone, regardless of their size.

He could work a match in the WWE or on the Independents, and the quality of the match never differed. Y2J has mostly wrestled big shows in his career. In fact, Jericho wrestled at numerous WrestleMania events but managed to main event the WrestleMania 18 show. Jericho also co-main evented NJPW’s Wrestle Kingdom 13 event.

He has helped companies start, such as AEW. Chris has also helped elevate the indies with his presence alone. Truly, there are very few wrestlers to be so giving at his level. Jericho is truly one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers in history.

 

Edge (Adam Copeland)

Edge - WWE Champion
[Image via WWE]
  • 7x WWE World Heavyweight Champion
  • 5x WWE Intercontinental Champion
  • 4x WWE Champion
  • WCW United States Champion
  • WWE Money in the Bank Winner (2005)
  • WWE King of the Ring Winner (2001)
  • Royal Rumble Winner (2010)
  • WWE Hall of Famer (2012)
  • WrestleMania 24 Main Eventer
  • WWE Record Holder For The Most Championships Won By A Single Wrestler (31) [We don’t count R-Truth]

We do not mean to be terrible here, but we do not consider R-Truth to be the most decorated champion in WWE history. Truly, the man that honor belongs to is Edge. He won a total of 31 championships in his career.

This includes 14 Tag Team Titles (10 alone with Christian), as well as 1 United States Title, 5 Intercontinental Titles, 7 World Heavyweight Titles, and 4 WWE Championships.

Edge is one of the few men to have ever won King of the Ring, Money in the Bank, and The Royal Rumble match in their career. Not to mention, he main evented WrestleMania 24! Of course, he has competed in several WrestleMania events.

Overall, Edge proved himself to be an amazing promo artist and talent in the ring. It’s almost impossible to find someone who did not like working with him. He elevated everyone he worked with and brought some amazing matches out of people.

He was the master of the TLC match, which led to injuries that eventually forced him into early retirement. Yet he worked his way back and Edge is now focused on leaving wrestling on his own terms. We cannot wait to see how he does it!

 

John Cena

John Cena WWE World Titles
[Image via WWE]
  • 13x WWE Champion
  • 5x WWE United States Champion
  • 3x WWE World Heavyweight Champion
  • 2x Royal Rumble Winner (2008, 2013)
  • WWE Money in the Bank Winner (2012)
  • 5x WrestleMania Main Eventer (WM22, WM23, WM27, WM28, WM29)
  • WWE Record Holder For The Most World Championships Won By A Single Wrestler

There has not been another bigger name in the world of pro-wrestling since the 2000s on the full-time roster. John Cena made himself into a huge household name while in WWE. Of course, it helped that he came up in an era filled with stars.

While some might say that John Cena was overused at the top of the roster, it is clear that the dude was a star. Although polarizing, he became a massive name for kids and that allowed WWE to go into a PG market. Something they could have never done without him.

His wrestling was always criticized, yet a lot of the issue with it came down to WWE holding his ability back. Cena proved later in his career that he could pull out a 4-star match with literally anyone and a 5-star match with the right dance partner.

John wrestled major matches with WWE’s best over a 20-year span, but also helped to elevate younger talent too. Especially over the last decade. Of course, Cena also has the record for the most World Championships in WWE history and tied Ric Flair for the most recognized World Titles overall with 16.

Today, he is not in the ring as often as we mostly see him in TV & Movie roles. Yet it’s clear John Cena is one of the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers on the planet.

 

Kurt Angle

Kurt Angle - TNA & IWGP World Heavyweight Titles
[Image via Twitter – @WrestlingIsKing]
  • 6x NWA/TNA World Heavyweight Champion
  • 4x WWE Champion
  • WCW World Heavyweight Champion
  • IWGP World Heavyweight Champion
  • WWE Intercontinental Champion
  • WWE European Champion
  • WCW United States Champion
  • TNA X-Division Champion
  • WWE Hardcore Champion
  • 2x TNA King of the Mountain Winner (2007, 2009)
  • WWE King of the Ring Winner (2000)
  • 2x NCAA Division-1 Champion (1990, 1992)
  • 3x NCAA All-American (1990-1992)
  • 2x USA Senior Freestyle Wrestling Champion (1995, 1996)
  • USA Junior Freestyle Wrestling Champion (1987)
  • FILA World Championships Gold Medalist in Freestyle Wrestling (1995)
  • Summer Olympics Gold Medal for Heavyweight Freestyle Wrestling (1996)
  • USA Wrestling Hall of Fame (2001)
  • National Amateur Wrestling Hall of Fame (2001)
  • International Sports Hall of Fame (2016)
  • WWE Hall of Famer (2017)
  • One of Only 4 To Complete Amateur Wrestling Grand Slam

Before Kurt Angle ever considered pro-wrestling, he was a great amateur wrestler who won two NCAA Championships and even the gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics. When he jumped to WWE, he quickly took to everything like a duck to water.

He put on amazing matches with countless wrestlers and became one of the most consistent men to put on a 5-star classic. Yet Angle left WWE and became the top guy for TNA Wrestling, where he captured several championships and helped to elevate a younger company.

The matches he had there were also legendary and Kurt proved yet again that no one could touch him in the ring. He returned to WWE later in his career where he wrestled his last few matches.

While he is retired today, there is no doubt that Kurt Angle is among the greatest modern-day professional wrestlers. During his prime, no one could come close to what he could do in the ring. Angle could wrestle with anyone, giving them their best match.

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