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Top 8 1980s Wrestlers

Updated on July 9, 2011

Wrestling is one of the greatest pastimes for Americans and people all over the country. Up until the 1980s, however, wrestling was not as widespread as it is today. There were “territories” where certain wrestlers wrestled and the fanfare just wasn’t there. But that all changed in the 80s and only became more prominent in the 90s. Here are some of the wrestlers from those two decades that helped shape the world of wrestling into what it was then and what it is today.

1. Randy “Macho Man” Savage

1. One has to wonder if Randy Savage would have been the popular figure that he was had it not been for him being led to the ring each week by the beautiful Miss Elizabeth. However, watching the Macho Man do his thing in the ring, he didn’t need a gimmick like a stunning lady at his side when he came to the ring, but it sure didn’t hurt. The now late Macho Man was one of the greatest champions in the WWE because he gave everything he had in each match and it really showed. He was one of the last to come down to the ring in the extravagant robes with sequins sewed in throughout. Savage was also one of the best personalities when it came to getting on the microphone and talking trash against his opponent.

2. Ric Flair

It seems like Ric Flair has been around forever and that’s not too hard to believe when you see his face and physique these days. But Flair is probably one of the most accomplished and recognized wrestlers in the entire world today. He was the inspiration for the Mickey Rourke movie “The Wrestler” and he continues to keep wrestling despite the fact that he has retired more than once. I guess when you can wrestle in an event where your great grandkids came to see you in action, it’s hard to hang up the boots for the last time.

3. Andre the Giant

The “Eighth Wonder of the World” had some of the greatest matches in WWE history. But not only that, he probably had the most recognizable moniker in all of wrestling. When you say “Andre the Giant,” even non-wrestling fans know who you are talking about. Many say he was one of the nicest guys in the industry despite the fact the he lived in pain for many years in his life. It was tough for him to fit into bathrooms and get comfortable on airplane flights but he didn’t give it up until he absolutely had to because he enjoyed the industry so much. There may never be another one like Andre the Giant.

4. Rowdy Roddy Piper

Along with Andre the Giant, Hulk Hogan, Junkyard Dog and a few others, Rowdy Roddy Piper comprised one of the most famous eras in the entire history of wrestling. Piper was a great wrestler and he still makes appearances in the WWE from time to time. He was part of the main event in WrestleMania 1 as he and Cowboy Bob Orton squared off against Hulk Hogan and Mr. T. That was nearly three decades ago and the yearly Super Bowl of wrestling is bigger and more popular today than it has ever been. Piper was a wrestler ahead of his time with his cocky attitude and microphone skills. His character from the 80s could be transplanted to today’s wrestling world with no problem at all.

5. Jake “The Snake” Roberts

Jake Roberts probably had the most unforgettable gimmick in wrestling history. Sure, there were guys that would shave their opponent’s head after defeating them in a match or spray paint something on their back or chest. But Roberts perfected the post-match ridicule with Damien. Everybody looked on in fear as Jake walked down the ring with that potato sack-looking bag and the huge snake wiggling around inside it. Combine that with his expert execution of the DDT and that’s a perfect recipe for being one of the most memorable wrestlers ever to emerge from the 1980s wrestling scene.

6. Hillbilly Jim

There aren’t many guys who can wrestle in a pair of overalls, a huge beard and unruly hairdo, but Hillbilly Jim pulled it off magnificently. He was the “nice guy” of wrestling but he could still beat an opponent down unlike any other. Of course, the nickname “hillbilly” probably wouldn’t go over too well in today’s politically correct world of the WWE. These days he would probably have to be called “Arkansas Jim” or something like that.

7. Iron Mike Sharpe

Mike Sharpe wasn’t a superstar like the others on this list, but he was one of the greatest jobbers in the industry. He was tough and he knew how to wrestle so it seemed like there was always a chance that he could win a match. But he last the overwhelming majority of the matches he was in because he was wrestling someone that the WWE was trying to push. On a side note, he was obsessed with personal hygiene and got locked in the sports arena several times after an event because he would be in the shower for hours (according to the Hulk Hogan autobiography).

8. Junkyard Dog

There weren’t many wrestling fans during the 80s that didn’t like Junkyard Dog. He was a fun-loving wrestler who liked to play to the crowd. His fun personality helped make the 1980s wrestling scene one of the most popular times in the industry’s history.


Submit a Comment
  • Efficient Admin profile image

    Michelle Dee 

    5 years ago from Charlotte, NC

    And then there was Ricky Steamboat......remember the saga he and Ric Flair had for a few years!

  • ParadigmEnacted profile image


    6 years ago

    Fun read and interesting list. The first three would be on anybody's list of the best 80's wrestlers, the rest are debatable to say the least, but it's cool that you bring them up for personal reasons.

    Iron Mike Sharpe...very unexpected inclusion. Surely a grand accomplishment on his part to be in the upper echelon.

  • CapCooL profile image

    Edwin B Lowry 

    6 years ago from PA

    Nice list. Macho man was one of my favorites.

  • Dannytaylor02 profile image

    Daniel Nathan Taylor 

    6 years ago from United Kingdom, Liverpool

    Aww what about the Undertaker? in my opinion he is the most Characterful Wrestler that has ever graced the ring!

    Good hub, Voted up!


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