Is HBK The Best Ever? Not By a Longshot!

Matthew HesterSenior Writer IAugust 16, 2010

I have been told by many over the years that I know my pro wrestling. When I started writing a couple of years back, I found that many enjoy my history, and recap reads. The one knock I would seldom get is that I’m not opinionated enough.

I guess I can see some reasoning to this thinking. I never really go out of my way to bash wrestlers; even if they probably deserve it. I decided that today I would throw this read out to the critics who have claimed this.

When I  do an article I give it my all. I don’t like to short change the readers who take the time to read what I have put down. So I decided that I will take on one of the most well loved figures in wrestling: Shawn Michaels!

Before I start I think I should say that he is one of my all-time favorites. There is no doubt in my mind that he is a legend in this business.

With that said, it drives me nuts whenever I hear people claim that he is the best wrestler in the over 100 year history of this business.

I have news for all of you folks; he isn’t even sniffing that category. In this article I will break it down for you in a non biased way on why HBK isn’t the best in wrestling history.

If you’re going to say someone is the best ever in any sport. It is because they did something that revolutionized what they competed in. I can’t think of one thing HBK did that changed the business. You doubt me? Well let’s look at some facts that may back my case up.

When I think of the godfathers of wrestling a few names pop up. Guys like Lou Thesz, Buddy Rodgers, Verne Gagne, Hulk Hogan, Antonio Inoki, and Mil Mascaras pop in my head.  These men changed the business in ways we can’t even imagine.

Lou Thesz is the main reason why we have a wrestling business. He may have been chosen by the NWA to run the circuit, but make no mistake about it, his larger than life persona made the NWA big. Half the moves used in wrestling today were invented by Thesz.

Buddy Rodgers is another legend that would help wrestling progress to new levels. In the golden age of TV, wrestling would be a main staple of all its programming. 

There were a lot of wrestlers shown on TV, but it was Rodgers that drew the attention of all the fans. You can also make an argument for Gorgeous George in that respect.

HBK can’t be compared to what those two guys did for the business!

Let’s move on to more modern times, shall we? I will travel all the way into the ‘80s. Wrestling was on its death bead in the early ‘80s. Promotions were dropping like flies and the ratings were almost dead across the country. If you doubt my word please feel free to look it up.

There was one guy that pulled wrestling on his back and took it to levels never seen before. That man is Hulk Hogan. Now before I hear the argument that “others made it great also.” Let me just say that I agree 100 percent, but make no mistake about it Hulk Hogan was the guy selling the tickets, making the ratings big, and getting people to buy the PPVs.

Hogan would lead wrestling all the way into the early ‘90s.

HBK wouldn’t even be in the spotlight until the mid to late ‘80s. Even then he was mainly recognized for his tag team wrestling.

Also for the record, Marty Jannetty was just as good in the ring as HBK if not better at the time. True wrestling fans know I’m right on that point. So I think even the HBK marks can agree that he did NOT rule the ‘80s.

Let’s move on to the ‘90s now. This is arguably HBK’s best run as a wrestler. It was during this period he became most famous in the business. He would capture the title a few times, and outshone anyone else when it came to cutting a promo.

He had legendary WM matches that I will remember as some of the best seen. It was also during this period he would be coined with the term “Mr. Wrestlemania.”

Here is my question that I ask you fine people. At what point did he ever dominate? Let’s break down some of the big key players during the ‘90s.

In the early to mid 90’s, we had guys like, Hogan, Hart, Savage, Yokozuna, and Diesel holding the strap.  HBK would even get a taste of the heavyweight gold until 1996. So that is almost five years of him playing the undercard role. His longest run was his first one when he held the belt for eight months.

He would capture the title two more times with both runs adding up to around six months. I can already hear the rumblings going on in everyone’s head.

I know he would get injured and miss a lot of time. Had he not gotten hurt than maybe I wouldn’t be writing this. In wrestling injuries happen, it is a sad aspect in every sport. That does not change the fact that HBK wasn’t around for a long time.

Now that I have safely ruled out the ‘90s, let’s move on to the new millennium.

Towards the late ‘90s and new millennium we would see a new brand of pro wrestling. During this decade guys like Stone Cold, The Rock, HHH, Jericho, and many others become stars.

The man known for being the leader of this era was Stone Cold. Some may argue the Rock, but that is another debate for another time.

HBK wouldn’t even take place into this equation. He wouldn’t return into the ring until 2002. Even during his return he wasn’t anything more than a part time wrestler. His main claim to fame would be once again his WM matches.  He had some great feuds for sure, his bouts with Jericho are some of the best ever seen.

Let’s not get things twisted though. During his last seven years he has been nothing more than a part time wrestler. He was unable to wrestle full time because of his injuries. I know this is not his fault, but to say that he was the best during the last seven years would be unfair to the other guys on the roster.

Even the almighty HBK would have to admit that if asked.

So tell me folks; what makes HBK the best ever. He never revolutionized wrestling like the Thesz’s of the world. He also never dominated WWE for more than a year or two. All he has to hang on his hat is his WM matches. Please, if I am missing something please let me know.

HBK is not the best wrestler ever period. Sorry HBK marks, I know the truth hurts, but it is what it is.


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