The Most Famous

WRESTLERS from United States

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This page contains a list of the greatest American Wrestlers. The pantheon dataset contains 1,027 Wrestlers, 288 of which were born in United States. This makes United States the birth place of the most number of Wrestlers.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary American Wrestlers of all time. This list of famous American 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 American Wrestlers.

Photo of Hulk Hogan

1. Hulk Hogan (b. 1953)

With an HPI of 63.52, Hulk Hogan is the most famous American Wrestler.  His biography has been translated into 53 different languages on wikipedia.

Terry Gene Bollea (; born August 11, 1953), better known by his ring name Hulk Hogan, is an American retired professional wrestler. He is widely regarded as the most recognized wrestling star worldwide, the most popular wrestler of the 1980s, and as one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time. Hogan began his professional wrestling career in 1977, but gained worldwide recognition after signing with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE) in December 1983. There, his persona as a heroic all-American helped usher in the 1980s professional wrestling boom, where he headlined the WWF's flagship annual event WrestleMania eight times (a record which was broken by Roman Reigns): 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9. Hogan also was a regular headliner of Saturday Night's Main Event and its spin-off The Main Event in which he headlined 31 editions of both shows combined. During his initial run, he was a five-time WWF Champion, with his 1,474-day reign being the longest of the WrestleMania era ever. He is the first wrestler to win consecutive Royal Rumble matches, winning in 1990 and 1991. His match with Andre the Giant on WWF The Main Event on February 5, 1988, still holds American television viewership records for wrestling with a 15.2 Nielsen rating and 33 million viewers. In 1993, Hogan departed the WWF to pursue a career in film and television. He was lured back to the ring when he signed with rival promotion World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in 1994. He won the WCW World Heavyweight Championship six times, and holds the record for the longest reign. In 1996, he underwent a career renaissance upon adopting the villainous persona of "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan, leading the popular New World Order (nWo) stable. As a result, he became a major figure during the "Monday Night War", another boom of mainstream professional wrestling. He headlined WCW's annual flagship event Starrcade three times (1994, 1996 and 1997) in which Starrcade 1997 was the most profitable WCW pay-per-view in the company's history. Hogan returned to the WWF in 2002 following its acquisition of WCW the prior year, winning the Undisputed WWF Championship for his record equaling (for the time) sixth reign before departing in 2003. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005, and inducted a second time in 2020 as a member of the nWo. Hogan also performed for the American Wrestling Association (AWA), where he headlined the inaugural AWA closed circuit supercard, Super Sunday in 1983, New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) – where he was the inaugural winner of the original IWGP Heavyweight Championship – and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA). During and after wrestling, Hogan had an extensive acting career, beginning with his 1982 cameo role in Rocky III. He has starred in several films (including No Holds Barred, Suburban Commando and Mr. Nanny) and three television shows (Hogan Knows Best, Thunder in Paradise, and China, IL), as well as in Right Guard commercials and the video game, Hulk Hogan's Main Event. He was the frontman for The Wrestling Boot Band, whose sole record, Hulk Rules, reached No. 12 on the Billboard Top Kid Audio chart in 1995.

Photo of Chyna

2. Chyna (1969 - 2016)

With an HPI of 60.91, Chyna is the 2nd most famous American Wrestler.  Her biography has been translated into 41 different languages.

Chyna (born Joan Marie Laurer; December 27, 1969 – April 17, 2016) was an American professional wrestler, fitness model, bodybuilder, author, actress, adult actress and television personality. She first rose to prominence in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)) in 1997, where she was billed as "The Ninth Wonder of the World" (André the Giant was already billed as the eighth). A founding member of the stable D-Generation X as the promotion's first female enforcer, she held the WWF Intercontinental Championship (the only female performer they wrote to do so) twice and the WWF Women's Championship once. She was also the first woman to participate in the Royal Rumble match and King of the Ring tournament, in addition to becoming number one contender to the WWF Championship. She is considered one of the biggest stars of the Attitude Era. With singles victories over several prominent male wrestlers – including multiple-time world champions Triple H, Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho and Jeff Jarrett – she left what WWE called "a lasting legacy as the most dominant female competitor of all time". After leaving the WWF in 2001, she wrestled sporadically, with New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) in 2002 and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) in 2011. The latter was her final appearance in the ring. Outside of wrestling, Chyna appeared in Playboy magazine twice, plus numerous television shows and films. She was considered a sex symbol. In 2005, she was a cast member on VH1's The Surreal Life, which led to several other celebrity reality appearances on the network, including The Surreal Life: Fame Games in 2007 and Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew in 2008. Chyna was also known for her tumultuous relationship with fellow wrestler Sean Waltman, with whom she made a sex tape released commercially in 2004 as 1 Night in China, which won a 2006 AVN Award for Best-Selling Title. She starred in a further five pornographic titles, including AVN's 2012 Best Celebrity Sex Tape, Backdoor to Chyna. In 2019, Chyna was posthumously entered into the WWE Hall of Fame as a member of D-Generation X, making her the first woman to be inducted as a part of a group or team.

Photo of John Cena

3. John Cena (b. 1977)

With an HPI of 60.37, John Cena is the 3rd most famous American Wrestler.  His biography has been translated into 80 different languages.

John Felix Anthony Cena ( SEE-nə; born April 23, 1977) is an American actor and professional wrestler. He has been signed to WWE since 2001, but has performed part-time since 2018. A record 16-time world champion as recognized by WWE, he is regarded as one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time. Cena moved to California in 1998 to pursue a bodybuilding career and switched to professional wrestling in 1999, making his debut for Ultimate Pro Wrestling (UPW). In 2001, he signed with WWE (then WWF) and was assigned to its developmental territory Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), where he won the OVW Heavyweight Championship and OVW Southern Tag Team Championship. After moving up to WWE's main roster on SmackDown in 2002, he became a breakout success after adopting the character of a villainous trash-talking rapper. After winning his first WWE Championship in 2005, he transitioned into a clean-cut heroic character, which he described as a "goody-two shoes Superman". He led the company as its franchise player and public face from the mid-2000s to the late 2010s. Cena has held the WWE Championship a record 13 times and the World Heavyweight Championship three times. He is also a five-time WWE United States Champion, a two-time WWE Tag Team Champion, a two-time World Tag Team Champion, a two-time Royal Rumble winner, and a one-time Money in the Bank winner. He has headlined multiple major WWE pay-per-views, including five times headlining its flagship event WrestleMania. His career has been met with mixed critical and audience reception, with praise for his character work and promotional skills but criticism for his perceived over-representation and on-screen dominance relative to other wrestlers. Cena's first starring film role was in The Marine (2006) and he subsequently gained praise for his performances in Trainwreck (2015), Ferdinand (2017), Blockers (2018), and Bumblebee (2018). He starred as Jakob Toretto in F9 (2021) and Fast X (2023) and portrayed Peacemaker in The Suicide Squad (2021) and the eponymous television series (2022–present). He released his only studio album, You Can't See Me, in 2005. Outside of his work in entertainment, he is known for his involvement in charitable causes, most notably granting the most wishes for the Make-A-Wish Foundation at over 650.

Photo of Dave Bautista

4. Dave Bautista (b. 1969)

With an HPI of 58.44, Dave Bautista is the 4th most famous American Wrestler.  His biography has been translated into 60 different languages.

David Michael Bautista Jr. (born January 18, 1969) is an American actor and retired professional wrestler and mixed martial artist. He rose to fame for his several stints in WWE between 2002 and 2019. Bautista began his wrestling career in 1999 and signed with WWE (then WWF) in 2000. From 2002 to 2010, he gained fame under the ring name Batista, initially as a member of Evolution. He would go on to win the WWE Championship twice, the World Heavyweight Championship four times (with his first reign remaining the longest in history at 282 days), the World Tag Team Championship three times (twice with Ric Flair and once with John Cena), and the WWE Tag Team Championship once (with Rey Mysterio). He also won the 2005 and 2014 Royal Rumble matches and subsequently headlined WrestleMania 21 and WrestleMania XXX, with the former being one of the top five highest-grossing PPV events in wrestling history. He retired from wrestling after WrestleMania 35 in 2019. As an actor, Bautista has starred in the films The Man with the Iron Fists (2012), Riddick (2013), as Drax the Destroyer in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the James Bond film Spectre (2015), Blade Runner 2049 (2017), My Spy (2020), Army of the Dead (2021), as Glossu Rabban Harkonnen in Dune (2021) and its sequel (2024), Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (2022), and Knock at the Cabin (2023).

Photo of Mick Foley

5. Mick Foley (b. 1965)

With an HPI of 58.08, Mick Foley is the 5th most famous American Wrestler.  His biography has been translated into 33 different languages.

Michael "Mick" Francis Foley (born June 7, 1965) is an American retired professional wrestler and author. He is currently signed to WWE, under the company's "Legends" program, acting as a company ambassador. Foley worked for many wrestling promotions, including the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE), World Championship Wrestling (WCW), Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW), Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) (now Impact Wrestling), and National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), as well as numerous promotions in Japan. He is widely regarded as one of the biggest stars of the Attitude Era and one of the greatest wrestlers in the history of professional wrestling, and participated in the main event of WrestleMania in 1999 and 2000 (as a special guest referee in the former). He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2013. Foley has wrestled under his real name and various personas. His main persona during his time in WCW and ECW from 1991 to 1996 was Cactus Jack, a dastardly, bloodthirsty and uncompromisingly physical brawler from Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, who wore cowboy boots and often used sharp metallic objects, such as barbed wire, thumbtacks, and trashcans. When Foley first appeared in the WWF in 1996, he debuted the persona known as Mankind, an eerie, masochistic, mentally deranged lunatic who was masked and spent his spare time dwelling in mechanical rooms. The following year, Foley debuted Dude Love, a relaxed, fun-loving, jive-talking, tie-dyed shirt-wearing hippie. These personas were known as the "Three Faces of Foley", with Cactus Jack making his debut in the WWF also in 1997. All three characters appeared in the 1998 Royal Rumble, making Foley the only competitor to enter the same Royal Rumble match three times under different personas. Foley is a four-time world champion (three WWF Championships and one TNA World Heavyweight Championship), an 11-time world tag team champion (eight WWF Tag Team Championships, two ECW World Tag Team Championships, and one WCW World Tag Team Championship), a one-time TNA Legends Champion, and the inaugural WWF Hardcore Champion. Foley's Hell in a Cell match against The Undertaker is regarded as one of his most memorable and controversial matches and widely acknowledged as the greatest Hell in a Cell Match of all time. Foley's dedicated and physical style of wrestling led him to often participate in violent and brutal matches that involved him taking dangerous bumps and putting his body through a considerable physical toll, eventually earning him the moniker "The Hardcore Legend".

Photo of The Undertaker

6. The Undertaker (b. 1965)

With an HPI of 57.47, The Undertaker is the 6th most famous American Wrestler.  His biography has been translated into 59 different languages.

Mark William Calaway (born March 24, 1965), better known by his ring name The Undertaker, is an American retired professional wrestler. Widely regarded as one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time, Calaway spent the vast majority of his career wrestling for WWE and in 2022 was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Calaway began his career in 1987, working under various gimmicks for World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW) and other affiliate promotions. He signed with World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in 1989 for a brief stint, and then he joined the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, turned WWE) in 1990. Calaway was rebranded as "The Undertaker" once joining the WWF. As one of WWE's most high-profile and enduring characters, The Undertaker is famed for his undead, funereal, macabre "Deadman" persona, which gained significant mainstream popularity and won him the Wrestling Observer Newsletter award for Best Gimmick a record-setting 5 years in a row. He is the longest-tenured wrestler in company history at 30 years. In 2000, Calaway expanded on The Undertaker, fleshing out the gimmick with a human side, biker identity, dubbed "The American Badass". Calaway later resurrected Deadman Undertaker in 2004, with residual elements of American Badass Undertaker remaining. For the better part of his career, The Undertaker was observed as a focal point of WWE's flagship annual event, WrestleMania, where he became esteemed for The Streak—a series of 21 straight victories. He is also known for pairing with his in-storyline half-brother Kane, with whom he had alternatively feuded and teamed off and on with as the Brothers of Destruction from 1997 through 2020. During his wrestling career under The Undertaker gimmick, Calaway won the WWF/E Championship four times, the World Heavyweight Championship three times, the Hardcore Championship once and the World Tag Team Championship six times. He also won the Royal Rumble match in 2007.

Photo of Terry Funk

7. Terry Funk (1944 - 2023)

With an HPI of 56.32, Terry Funk is the 7th most famous American Wrestler.  His biography has been translated into 23 different languages.

Terrance Dee "Terry" Funk (June 30, 1944 – August 23, 2023) was an American professional wrestler. Widely considered one of the most influential and greatest professional wrestlers of all time, Funk was known for the longevity of his career – which spanned more than 50 years and included multiple short-lived retirements – and the influential hardcore wrestling style he pioneered in the latter part of his career. Over the course of his career, Funk wrestled for numerous major promotions, among them All Japan Pro Wrestling, Extreme Championship Wrestling, the International Wrestling Association of Japan, Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling, the United States Wrestling Association, World Championship Wrestling, the World Wrestling Federation and multiple National Wrestling Alliance territories including Big Time Wrestling, Championship Wrestling from Florida, Georgia Championship Wrestling and Stampede Wrestling. He was the promoter of the Amarillo-based Western States Sports promotion. Championships held by Funk included the ECW World Heavyweight Championship, NWA World Heavyweight Championship, USWA Unified World Heavyweight Championship, WWF World Tag Team Championship, and ECW World Television Championship. He headlined ECW's premier annual pay-per-view event, November to Remember, three times. Funk was inducted into multiple halls of fame, among them WWE, WCW, NWA, and Hardcore.

Photo of Triple H

8. Triple H (b. 1969)

With an HPI of 55.87, Triple H is the 8th most famous American Wrestler.  His biography has been translated into 54 different languages.

Paul Michael Levesque (born July 27, 1969), better known by the ring name Triple H, is an American business executive, actor, and retired professional wrestler. Regarded as one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time, he is the current chief content officer and head of creative for WWE. Levesque began his wrestling career in 1992, debuting in the International Wrestling Federation (IWF) under the ring name Terra Ryzing. He joined World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in 1994 and was soon repackaged as a French-Canadian aristocrat named Jean-Paul Lévesque. In 1995, he signed with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE) and became better known as Hunter Hearst Helmsley, which was later shortened to Triple H, peers often shorten that name to Hunter. In WWF, he gained fame as a member of The Kliq and co-founder of the influential D-Generation X (DX) stable, which became a major element of the 1990s Attitude Era. After winning his first WWF Championship in 1999, he became a fixture of the company's main event scene, and was widely regarded as one of the best wrestlers in North America by the turn of the millennium. He has headlined several major WWE pay-per-view events, closing the company's flagship annual event, WrestleMania, on seven occasions, (16, 18, 20, 21, 22, 25, and 32). Triple H won a number of championships in his career, being a five-time Intercontinental Champion, a three-time world tag team champion (two World Tag Team Championship reigns, and one Unified WWE Tag Team Championship reign), a two-time European Champion, and a 14-time world champion, making him the company's seventh Triple Crown Champion and second Grand Slam Champion. He is also a two-time Royal Rumble match winner, and a King of the Ring tournament winner. He has gained late-career praise for his behind-the-scenes work at WWE, which includes creating the developmental branch NXT, and has earned acknowledgment for his business acumen in professional wrestling. Outside of wrestling, Triple H has received media attention due to his marriage to Stephanie McMahon, daughter of former WWE chairman Vince McMahon. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame's 2019 class as part of D-Generation X. After suffering from heart failure in September 2021, which resulted in a 15-hour surgery and required the implementation of an ICD, he officially retired from in-ring competition in April 2022.

Photo of Ric Flair

9. Ric Flair (b. 1949)

With an HPI of 55.60, Ric Flair is the 9th most famous American Wrestler.  His biography has been translated into 37 different languages.

Richard Morgan Fliehr (born February 25, 1949), known professionally as Ric Flair, is an American professional wrestler currently signed to All Elite Wrestling (AEW). Regarded by multiple peers and journalists as the greatest professional wrestler of all time, Flair has had a career spanning over 50 years in 6 decades. He is noted for his tenures with Jim Crockett Promotions (JCP), World Championship Wrestling (WCW), the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, later WWE) and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA). Much of his career was spent in JCP and WCW, in which he won numerous titles. Since the mid-1970s, he has used the moniker "the Nature Boy". A major pay-per-view attraction throughout his career, Flair headlined the premier annual NWA/WCW event, Starrcade, on ten occasions, while also co-headlining its WWF counterpart, WrestleMania, in 1992, after winning that year's Royal Rumble. Pro Wrestling Illustrated awarded him their Wrestler of the Year award a record six times, while Wrestling Observer Newsletter named him the Wrestler of the Year (an award named after him and Lou Thesz) a record eight times. The first two-time WWE Hall of Fame inductee, first inducted with the class of 2008 for his individual career and again with the class of 2012 as a member of The Four Horsemen, he is also a member of the NWA Hall of Fame, the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame. Flair is officially recognized by WWE as a 16-time world champion (8-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion, 6-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion, and two-time WWF Champion), although the number of his world championship reigns varies by source, ranging from 16 or 17 to 25. He has claimed to be a 21-time champion. He was the first holder of the WCW World Heavyweight Championship and the WCW International World Heavyweight Championship (which he also held last). As the inaugural WCW World Heavyweight Champion, he became the first person to complete WCW's Triple Crown, having already held the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship and WCW World Tag Team Championship. He then completed WWE's version of the Triple Crown when he won the WWE Intercontinental Championship, after already holding the WWF Championship and the World Tag Team Championship.

Photo of The Miz

10. The Miz (b. 1980)

With an HPI of 54.84, The Miz is the 10th most famous American Wrestler.  His biography has been translated into 41 different languages.

Michael Gregory Mizanin (born October 8, 1980) is an American professional wrestler, actor, and television personality. He is signed to WWE, where he performs on the Raw brand under the ring name The Miz, where he is one-half of the World Tag Team Champions with R-Truth as Awesome Truth; it is their first reign as a tag team and Miz's fifth reign individually. Mizanin first gained fame as a reality television participant, appearing on The Real World: Back to New York in 2001 and its spin-off, Real World/Road Rules Challenge, from 2002 to 2005. He won Battle of the Seasons and The Inferno II. He reached the final of Battle of the Network Reality Stars, and won a Reality Stars-themed episode of Fear Factor in 2006. After finishing as runner-up in the fourth season of Tough Enough and subsequently launching his wrestling career, Mizanin appeared on Diva Search, Total Divas, Tough Enough, and hosted several seasons of The Challenge. He also stars in the reality television series Miz & Mrs. alongside his wife, Maryse Ouellet, and has starred in films produced by WWE Studios, namely The Marine franchise, Christmas Bounty (2013), and Santa's Little Helper (2015). Mizanin signed with WWE in 2004, and has been on the main roster full time since 2006. He has won the WWE Championship twice, the Intercontinental Championship eight times, the United States Championship twice, as well as a total of nine tag team championships, giving him 21 overall championships in WWE. As a result, he became WWE's 25th Triple Crown Champion and 14th Grand Slam Champion, as well as the first wrestler to accomplish the latter twice under the revised 2015 format. He also won the 2010 Money in the Bank ladder match. Mizanin is also the only WWE Triple Crown and Grand Slam champion to have won the Deep South Wrestling Heavyweight Championship, doing so while the promotion was WWE's developmental territory. Among WWE's most prolific pay-per-view event performers, Mizanin headlined WrestleMania XXVII in 2011, and was ranked No. 1 on Pro Wrestling Illustrated's annual PWI 500 list that same year.

People

Pantheon has 329 people classified as American wrestlers born between 1881 and 2000. Of these 329, 276 (83.89%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living American wrestlers include Hulk Hogan, John Cena, and Dave Bautista. The most famous deceased American wrestlers include Chyna, Terry Funk, and Randy Savage. As of April 2024, 41 new American wrestlers have been added to Pantheon including Kevin Von Erich, Robert Pearce, and William Smith.

Living American Wrestlers

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Deceased American Wrestlers

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Newly Added American Wrestlers (2024)

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Overlapping Lives

Which Wrestlers were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 25 most globally memorable Wrestlers since 1700.