The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Wrestlers of all time. This list of famous Wrestlers is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Wrestlers.
With an HPI of 56.63, Rocky Johnson is the most famous Wrestler. His biography has been translated into 19 different languages on wikipedia.
Rocky Johnson (born Wayde Douglas Bowles; August 24, 1944 – January 15, 2020) was a Canadian professional wrestler. Among many National Wrestling Alliance titles, he was the first Black Georgia Heavyweight Champion as well as the NWA Television Champion (2 times). He won the World Tag Team Championship in 1983, along with his partner Tony Atlas, to become the first Black champions in WWE history. He was the father of actor and former WWE wrestler Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Una Sparks had 2 children with Johnson, Wanda Bowles (1964) and Curtis Bowles (1966).
With an HPI of 53.14, Chris Benoit is the 2nd most famous Wrestler. His biography has been translated into 42 different languages.
Christopher Michael Benoit (; May 21, 1967 – June 24, 2007) was a Canadian professional wrestler and murderer. He worked for numerous pro-wrestling promotions during his 22-year career including most notably the World Wrestling Federation/World Wrestling Entertainment (WWF/WWE), World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) in America, as well as for New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) in Japan. Bearing the nicknames The (Canadian) Crippler alongside The Rabid Wolverine throughout his career, Benoit held 22 championships between WWF/WWE, WCW, NJPW, and ECW. He was a two-time world champion, having been a one-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion, and a one-time World Heavyweight Champion in WWE; he was booked to win a third world championship at a WWE event on the night of his death. Benoit was the twelfth WWE Triple Crown Champion and seventh WCW Triple Crown Champion, and the second of four men in history to achieve both the WWE and WCW Triple Crown Championships. He was also the 2004 Royal Rumble winner, joining Shawn Michaels and preceding Edge as one of three men to win a Royal Rumble as the number one entrant. Benoit headlined multiple pay-per-views for WWE, including a victory in the World Heavyweight Championship main event match of WrestleMania XX in March 2004.In a double-murder and suicide, local law enforcement officials concluded "based on evidence found within the [Benoit family] home", that Benoit had murdered his wife in their residence on June 22, 2007, had murdered his 7-year-old son on June 23, and on June 24, had committed suicide, reportedly hanging himself using equipment in a weight-training area inside the residency basement. Later research undertaken by the Sports Legacy Institute (now the Concussion Legacy Foundation) suggested that depression and CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), a condition of brain damage, from numerous concussions Benoit had sustained during his professional wrestling career were both likely contributing factors of the tragedy.Due to his murders, Benoit's legacy in the professional wrestling industry has remained incredibly controversial and heavily debated. Benoit has been renowned by many for his exceptional technical wrestling ability. Prominent combat sports journalist Dave Meltzer considers Benoit "one of the top 10, maybe even the top five, all-time greats" in pro-wrestling history.Benoit was inducted into the Stampede Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1995 and the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame in 2003. Benoit's WON induction was put to a referendum-style re-vote for WON readers in 2008 to determine if he should remain a member of the WON Hall of Fame. Ultimately, the threshold percentage of votes required to remove Benoit wasn’t met; he remains in that Hall of Fame.
With an HPI of 51.47, Bret Hart is the 3rd most famous Wrestler. His biography has been translated into 40 different languages.
Bret Sergeant Hart (born July 2, 1957) is a Canadian-American retired professional wrestler, currently signed to WWE under a legend's contract. A member of the Hart wrestling family and a second-generation wrestler, he has an amateur wrestling background, wrestling at Ernest Manning High School and Mount Royal College. A major international draw within professional wrestling, he has been credited with changing the perception of mainstream North-American professional wrestling in the early 1990s by bringing technical in-ring performance to the fore. Hart is widely regarded as one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time; Sky Sports noted that his legacy is that of "one of, if not the greatest, to have ever graced the squared circle". He was a face of the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) during the New Generation Era and the early Attitude Era. For the majority of his career, Hart used the nickname "Hitman". Hart joined his father Stu Hart's promotion Stampede Wrestling in 1976 as a referee and made his in-ring debut in 1978. He gained championship success during the 1980s and 1990s in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE), where he helmed The Hart Foundation stable. He left for World Championship Wrestling (WCW) following the controversial "Montreal Screwjob" in November 1997, where he remained until October 2000. Having been inactive from in-ring competition since January 2000, owing to a December 1999 concussion, Hart officially retired in October 2000, shortly after his departure from the company. He returned to sporadic in-ring competition from 2010 to 2011 with WWE, where he won his final championship, headlined the 2010 SummerSlam event, and served as the general manager of Raw. Throughout his career, Hart headlined WrestleMania IX, X, and XII, and participated in the main event of Starrcade 1997 and 1999 – as a special enforcer and referee in the former. Hart was inducted into the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame upon its inception in 1996, while still an active performer. Hart has held championships in five decades from the 1970s to the 2010s, with a total of 32 held throughout his career, and 17 held between the WWF/WWE and WCW. Among other accolades, he is a five-time WWF Champion and a two-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion. Hart has most combined days as WWF Champion during the 1990s (654), and was the first WCW World Heavyweight Champion born outside the United States. He is the second WWF Triple Crown Champion and fifth (with Goldberg) WCW Triple Crown Champion, and the first man to win both the WWF and WCW Triple Crown Championships. Hart is also the 1994 Royal Rumble match winner (with Lex Luger), and the only two-time King of the Ring, winning the 1991 tournament and the first King of the Ring pay-per-view in 1993. Stone Cold Steve Austin, with whom Hart headlined multiple pay-per-view events as part of an acclaimed rivalry from 1996 to 1997, inducted him into the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2006. In 2019, Hart became one of seven people to enter the WWE Hall of Fame twice, when he was inducted again as a member of The Hart Foundation, with brother-in-law Jim Neidhart. Outside of wrestling, Hart has appeared in numerous films and television shows such as The Simpsons as well as featuring in several documentaries, both about himself specifically and others about his family or the wrestling industry in general. Hart also helped found and lent his name to the major junior ice hockey team the Calgary Hitmen, and has written two biographies along with a weekly column for the Calgary Sun for over a decade. After his retirement, Hart has spent much of his time on charitable efforts concerning stroke recovery and cancer awareness, due to his personal experiences with the two. Hart chronicled his wrestling life and the Montreal Screwjob in his best-selling autobiography.
With an HPI of 50.61, Roddy Piper is the 4th most famous Wrestler. His biography has been translated into 29 different languages.
Roderick George Toombs (April 17, 1954 – July 31, 2015), better known as "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, was a Canadian professional wrestler, amateur wrestler, and actor. In professional wrestling, Piper was best known to international audiences for his work with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE) and World Championship Wrestling (WCW) between 1984 and 2000. Although he was Canadian, because of his Scottish heritage he was billed as coming from Glasgow and was known for his signature kilt and bagpipe entrance music. Piper earned the nicknames "Rowdy" and "Hot Rod" by displaying his trademark "Scottish" short temper, spontaneity, and quick wit. According to The Daily Telegraph, he is "considered by many to be the greatest 'heel' (or villain) wrestler ever".One of wrestling's most recognizable stars, Piper headlined multiple PPV events, including the WWF and WCW's respective premier annual events, WrestleMania and Starrcade. He accumulated 34 championships and hosted the popular WWF/E interview segment "Piper's Pit", which facilitated numerous kayfabe feuds. In 2005, Piper was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by Ric Flair, who dubbed him "the most gifted entertainer in the history of professional wrestling".Outside of wrestling, Piper acted in dozens of films and TV shows, most notably taking the lead role of John Nada in the 1988 cult classic They Live and a recurring role as a deranged professional wrestler called Da' Maniac on the FX comedy series It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. He is also widely known for his role in Hell Comes to Frogtown as the character Sam Hell. Piper is widely regarded as one of the most influential professional wrestlers in history.
With an HPI of 47.94, Pat Patterson is the 5th most famous Wrestler. His biography has been translated into 18 different languages.
Pat Patterson (born Pierre Clermont, January 19, 1941 – December 2, 2020) was a Canadian–American professional wrestler and producer, widely known for his long tenure in the professional wrestling promotion WWE, first as a wrestler, then as a creative consultant and producer. He is recognized by the company as their first Intercontinental Champion and creator of the Royal Rumble match. Patterson was inducted into the WWF Hall of Fame as part of the class of 1996. In 2019, Patterson became the oldest person to win a title in WWE history, after winning the WWE 24/7 Championship at age 78. He was described by journalist Dave Meltzer as "Vince McMahon's right-hand man" and "one of the chief architects of the WWE, playing an integral role in helping it become a global phenomenon."
With an HPI of 47.65, Edge is the 6th most famous Wrestler. His biography has been translated into 41 different languages.
Adam Joseph Copeland (born October 30, 1973), is a Canadian professional wrestler and actor. Widely regarded as one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time, he is currently signed to WWE, where he performs on the Raw brand under the ring name Edge. After making his professional wrestling debut in 1992, Copeland wrestled in various independent promotions, competing in singles and tag-team competition, the latter with long-time friend Christian Cage. In 1997, Copeland signed a developmental deal with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE) and made his televised debut in 1998 as Edge. After winning his first WWF championship, the WWF Intercontinental Championship, in July 1999, Edge formed a tag team with Christian, and the two won the World Tag Team Championship on seven occasions. During this time, they gained notoriety in the tag team division, partly due to their participation in Tables, Ladders, and Chairs matches. Edge split with Christian in August 2001 and embarked on a successful solo career. Edge has won the second-most championships in WWE history (after R-Truth) with 31, as he has held the World Heavyweight Championship a record seven times, the WWE Championship four times, the Intercontinental Championship five times, the United States Championship once, the World Tag Team Championship a record 12 times, and the WWE Tag Team Championship twice. He is WWE's 14th Triple Crown Champion and 7th Grand Slam Champion. Edge won the King of the Ring tournament in 2001, was the first Money in the Bank ladder match winner in 2005, and won the 2010 Royal Rumble match, making him the first wrestler in history to achieve all three.Edge retired in 2011 due to several neck injuries, and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame the following year. However, he returned to competition in the 2020 Royal Rumble match, and won the 2021 Royal Rumble, becoming the eighth man in history to win the Royal Rumble twice, the third to win it as the first entrant, and the first to win it after being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. He has headlined multiple pay-per-view events for WWE, including WrestleMania XXIV and WrestleMania 37, and is one of the company's most prolific pay-per-view performers.Aside from professional wrestling, Copeland appeared in the fantasy film Highlander: Endgame and WWE Studios' Bending the Rules. He has made guest appearances on television shows such as Weakest Link, Mind of Mencia, Deal or No Deal, MADtv, and The Flash. He appeared on the Syfy series Haven in 2015 as recurring character Dwight Hendrickson, and as recurring character Ketill Flatnose in the fifth and sixth seasons of Vikings (2017–2020).
With an HPI of 47.11, Stu Hart is the 7th most famous Wrestler. His biography has been translated into 18 different languages.
Stewart Edward Hart (May 3, 1915 – October 16, 2003) was a Canadian amateur and professional wrestler, wrestling booker, promoter, coach, trainer, football player and sailor. He is best known for founding and handling Stampede Wrestling, a professional wrestling promotion based in Calgary, Alberta, teaching many individuals at its associated wrestling school "The Dungeon" and establishing a professional wrestling dynasty consisting of his relatives and close trainees. As the patriarch of the Hart wrestling family, Hart is the ancestor of many wrestlers, most notably being the father of Bret and Owen Hart as well as the grandfather of Natalya Neidhart, Teddy Hart and David Hart Smith. Hart was born to a poor Saskatchewan family but became a successful amateur wrestler during the 1930s and early 1940s, holding many national championships, as well as engaging in many other sports. He began wrestling for show in 1943 with the Royal Canadian Navy while serving in World War II as he could not go to the 1940 Summer Olympics due to the war. After leaving the service he travelled to America and debuted professionally for the New York wrestling territory in 1946. Hart was considered very handsome and a good in-ring performer, focusing on a submission-like and technical style of wrestling, but despite this and being popular in general he was not given a major spotlight by the writers, and soon after marrying Helen Smith, whom he met in New York City, he created his own promotion in Edmonton, Alberta, which would be known as Stampede Wrestling and took over the surrounding wrestling territory which covered most of western Canada and the US state of Montana. The territory would go on to become known as the Stampede territory thenceforth. In 1949, Stu and Helen moved to Great Falls, Montana. Hart's promotion featured a large variety of outside stars from the wrestling industry as well as homegrown talent for whom he booked storylines. Beginning from the 1950s Hart helped train a large number of people for his company and gained a reputation as one of the best teachers in the wrestling business. In October 1951, Stu and Helen moved to Calgary, Alberta, into what would become the famous Hart House. Hart remained an active full-time wrestler until the 1960s when he entered semi-in-ring retirement, thereafter he would focus mostly on promoting, booking and teaching, as well as raising his twelve children with Helen while still appearing in the ring sporadically until the 1980s. Throughout his career, Hart almost exclusively portrayed a heroic character, a so-called "babyface" role and only held one professional title, the NWA Northwest Tag Team Championship. After selling his territory to Titan Sports, Inc. in 1984, Hart would make several appearances on WWF television and Pay-Per-View with his wife, often involved in storylines surrounding his sons Bret and Owen and several of his sons-in-law who were signed to the company. He continued to teach wrestling at his home in Calgary until the 1990s when he suffered a severe leg injury and had to stop engaging excessively with students, leaving most of the work for his sons Bruce and Keith. He died at age 88 in October 2003 after suffering from multiple medical issues. Hart is regarded by many, including major wrestling historian and sports journalist Dave Meltzer, as one of the most influential and important figures in professional wrestling history and an icon of the artform. His greatest contribution to the art was as a promoter and trainer. Along with Bret and Owen, Hart's trainees included future world champions Fritz Von Erich, Superstar Billy Graham, Chris Jericho, Edge, Christian, Mark Henry, Chris Benoit, and Jushin Thunder Liger. Hart was a member of the inaugural Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame class in 1996 and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2010 by his son Bret. Hart was also well known for his involvement in over thirty charities, for which he was named a Member of the Order of Canada, the second highest honour for merit which can be given in Canada and the highest civilian honour.
With an HPI of 45.22, Owen Hart is the 8th most famous Wrestler. His biography has been translated into 29 different languages.
Owen James Hart (May 7, 1965 – May 23, 1999) was a Canadian professional wrestler who worked for several promotions including Stampede Wrestling, New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW), World Championship Wrestling (WCW), and the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). He received most of his success in the WWF, where he wrestled under both his own name and the ring name The Blue Blazer. A member of the Hart wrestling family, he was born in Calgary, Alberta, the youngest of twelve children of Stampede Wrestling promoters Stu and Helen Hart. Among other accolades, Owen was a one-time USWA Unified World Heavyweight Champion, a two-time WWF Intercontinental Champion, a one-time WWF European Champion, and a four-time WWF World Tag Team Champion, as well as the 1994 WWF King of the Ring. He headlined multiple pay-per-view events for the WWF, and was widely regarded as one of the company's best in-ring performers.Hart died on May 23, 1999, during his entrance from the rafters of Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Missouri, United States. The equipment that was lowering him to the ring malfunctioned and he fell to his death in front of a live audience and live on Pay Per View during WWF's Over the Edge event.
With an HPI of 43.75, Ivan Koloff is the 9th most famous Wrestler. His biography has been translated into 19 different languages.
Oreal Donald Perras (August 25, 1942 – February 18, 2017) was a Canadian professional wrestler, better known by the ring name "The Russian Bear" Ivan Koloff. He was the third wrestler to hold the WWWF Championship.
With an HPI of 40.81, Santino Marella is the 10th most famous Wrestler. His biography has been translated into 30 different languages.
Anthony Carelli (born March 14, 1974) is a Canadian judoka and semi-retired professional wrestler. He is known for his 11-year tenure with WWE where he wrestled under the ring name Santino Marella. He is the founder of and instructor at Battle Arts Academy, a martial arts and professional wrestling training facility in Mississauga, Ontario, and the official ambassador of Judo Canada.Carelli was signed by World Wrestling Entertainment in 2005, being assigned to Ohio Valley Wrestling, WWE's farm territory. He made his debut on Raw during a live episode from Milan, Italy. Under the character of Santino Marella, a fan selected from the audience, he defeated the Intercontinental Champion Umaga, winning the title in his debut match. During the following years, he would win the Intercontinental title one more time, the United States Championship and the WWE Tag Team Championship. He was also involved in a storyline where he worked as Santina Marella, Santino's twin sister. Carelli retired in 2014 and left WWE the following year. After his release, he opened Battle Arts Academy and worked for Impact Wrestling. In 2017, he made sporadic matches on the independent circuit, as well as occasional appearances in WWE. Anthony Carelli is known for his humorous gimmick as Santino Marella, an Italian stereotype, often being involved in comedic segments, having several on-screen relationships with fellow wrestlers, as well as being crowned "Miss WrestleMania" at WrestleMania XXV disguised as "Santina Marella". His character won Carelli Wrestling Observer Newsletter's award for Best Gimmick in 2007 and 2008.
Pantheon has 40 people classified as wrestlers born between 1915 and 1994. Of these 40, 32 (80.00%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living wrestlers include Bret Hart, Edge, and Santino Marella. The most famous deceased wrestlers include Rocky Johnson, Chris Benoit, and Roddy Piper. As of April 2022, 2 new wrestlers have been added to Pantheon including Joe Nieuwendyk and Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard.
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Which Wrestlers were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 8 most globally memorable Wrestlers since 1700.