20 – Rey Mysterio – Rey Mysterio is a legendary lucha libre wrestler from Mexico, who despite his size became one of the most successful wrestlers of the last 20 years. He started wrestling in Mexico when he was just 14 years old. After wrestling in Mexico for about 3 years, he came to America and wrestled in ECW. After several classic matches with Psicosis, another masked wrestler from Mexico, he went to WCW where he quickly became the CrusierWeight Champion. During his time in WCW, he won the CrusierWeight title 5 times, the CrusierWeight Tag Team titles once & the World Tag Team Titles once.
After WCW closed, he went to the WWF in 2002. He stayed with the company for about 13 years, where he put together a hall of fame calibur career. He won the World Heavyweight Title 2 times, the WWE Championship 1 time, the CrusierWeight title 3 times, the Intercontinental title 2 times, the Tag Team Titles 4 times with Eddie Guerrero, Rob Van Dam, Edge, and Batista. He also won the 2006 Royal Rumble.
He wrestled briefly in WCW without the mask, but he wore it the entire time that he was in the WWE. He’ll definitely go down as one of the most legendary masked wrestlers of all time.
19 – Kamala – Kamala made his debut in 1978. He wrestled under many different names until he became Kamala, which would make him famous in the wrestling industy. He was a huge man who painted his face, chest and stomach. He truly had a unique and one of a kind look that made him the dictionary defintion of a “Monster Heel”. After working in Memphis, World Class Championship Wrestling and the NWA, he made his way to the WWF, where he main evented many shows across the country challenging Hulk Hogan for the WWF Title. He eventually left the company and returned in 1992, where he feuded with The Undertaker.
Unfortunately, Kamala has battled many health problems over the last several years. He’s had both of legs amputed due to diabetes and blood pressure problems. Kamala has had a legendary wrestling career, and he’ll be remembered as one of the most intimdating heels in wrestling history.
18 – Kane – After wrestling for a few years under several different names such as Angus King, Doomsday, Unabomb, Dr. Issac Yankem and Diesel, Glenn Jacobs found his niche as Kane. Kane debuted at the Badd Blood pay per view in October, 1997. Dressed in full red ring gear, along with a red and black leather mask. He’d immediately start feuding with his brother, The Undertaker. Kane would win his first World Title at the King of the Ring 1998 in a first blood match against Steve Austin, only to lose it back to Austin the very next night.
During Kane’s 20 year career, he’s won a total of 3 World Titles, 9 tag team titles, the Hardcore title and the Intercontinental title twice.
Out of the ring Kane is a very nice guy, and he’s currently running for Mayor of Knox County, Tennessee. Kane has wrestled both with and without the mask but either way, it can’t be denied that he’s put together one of the greatest careers in wrestling history, as well as being the first masked wrestler to win the World Title in WWF/E history.
17 – Demolition – Ax and Smash formed the tag team of Demolition in the WWF in the late 80s, and early 90s. Ax used to be known as The Masked Superstar in various territories and Smash was known as Krusher Khruschev in the NWA. They came to the WWF in 1987. They were very intimdating before they even got into the ring, wearing leather masks and vests with spikes on them. When they got into the ring, they took the masks off to reveal totally painted faces. They were a very intimdating and physically dominant team that would beat their opponents down with powerful double team moves and sheer force. During their time in the WWF, they won the tag team titles 3 times. In the ring, they were scary, but out of the ring, they’re two nice, mild mannered guys. They didn’t have a long run, but they’ll go down as one of the greatest tag teams in wrestling history.
16- Bull Nakano – Bull Nakano was one of the first female wrestlers to paint her face. She paired that with hair that stood several feet above her head, to give her one of the most unique and intimdating looks in the history of women’s wrestling. She wrestled in Japan from 1983 until 1992, where then came to America and made her way to the WWF in 1994. She’d eventually win the WWF Women’s title from Alundra Blayze, in Tokyo, Japan. She held it for 5 months before losing it back to Blayze. After wrestling, she became a golfer. She was very imposing in the ring, but outside of the ring, she’s been called a “good hearted person”. She had a look that hadn’t been seen before or since in women’s wrestling.
15 – Umaga – Edward Fatu was from the long lineage of Samoan wrestlers that graced a WWF/E ring. He was a huge man, well over the 300 lbs range, but his agility, grace and sheer athleticism made him one of the most well rounded wrestlers during his time in the WWE. Before he became Umaga, he was known as Jamal in a tag team with the late Matt Anoa’i, who was known at the time as Rosey. They were a destructive team known as Three Minute Warning. They teamed from 2002-03, and several years later, Edward would return as the Samoan Bulldozer, Umaga.
He was a destructive force using his power and dominance to destroy opponents. He’d go on to win the Intercontinental Championship 2 different times.
Unfortunately, Edward Fatu passed away on December 4th, 2009. He’ll be remembered as a painted monster inside of the ring, and a very nice, well liked guy outside of the ring.
14- Jushin Thunder Liger – Jushin Thunder Liger made his wrestling debut in March of 1984, at the age of 19 in Japan. He wrestled in a full body suit and one of the most unique and memorable masks in wrestling history, with horns and long fangs coming out of it. He’s one of the most legendary and innovative wrestlers over the last 30 years. He invented the shooting star press, which is still used today.
He spent time in WCW and had several classic matches with the late, great Brian Pillman in 1992 where he defeated Pillman for the title and lost it back to him 2 months later. On September 4th, 1995 Pillman and Liger wrestled in the first match in WCW Nitro history, which Pillman won.
Jushin Liger has wrestled all over the world, and is recognized as one of the true legends in the sport of professional wrestling. His wrestling gear and mask made him look like a comic book hero come to life, and his wrestling backed that up.
13- Goldust – Dustin Rhodes started his wrestling career in 1989. He started in Florida and quickly moved to WCW, where his father Dusty was a legend in the ring and a booker behind the scenes. Unlike a lot of sons of wrestlers, Dustin was a natural, which was his nickname in WCW. He won the U.S. Title 2 times, the 6 man tag titles and the World Tag Team titles 2 times. In 1995, he completely changed his image and became Goldust. He wrestled in a full gold bodysuit with gold and black face paint. It was a character that was well ahead of it’s time, and something that had never been seen before in the wrestling industry. He quickly won the Intercontinental title a few months after debuting, and he’d end up holding it 3 times, the Hardcore Title 9 times, and the World Tag Team Titles with Booker T & the WWE Tag Team Titles with his brother, Stardust
Fast forward 22 years later and Goldust is still wrestling! Goldust has had one of the longest, most legendary runs in WWE history, and he’s made sure that you’ll never forget the name Goldust!
12- The Missing Link – After an almost 20 year wrestling career, Dewey Robertson became The Missing Link in 1983. A wild man with green face paint, who’d grab his hair and use it as a handle to headbutt his own head. He wrestled in WCCW in Skandor Akbar’s stable, Devastation, Inc. He’d then go to the WWF in 1985, where he was managed briefly by Bobby Heenan, and later Jimmy Hart. During his time in the WWF, he’d challenge Hulk Hogan for the World Title, and he even had a full page photo layout in Sports Illustrated!
Unfortunately, Dewey Robertson passed away on August 16th, 2007 but The Missing Link will live on in wrestling history as one of the most innovative and entertaining gimmicks that the wrestling world has ever known.
11- Doink The Clown – Matt Osbourne returned to the WWF in 1992. He was previously with the company in 1985, where he wrestled Ricky Steamboat at WrestleMania 1. Not long after his return, he became Doink The Clown. Doink would come to ringside and pull bad pranks on kids. Doink started a feud with Crush, which culminated in a match at WrestleMania 9, which Doink won. After Osbourne left the WWF, Doink was played by several different wrestlers, but the Doink character never reached the heights again that it did when Osbourne played it.
Unfortunately, Matt Osbourne passed away on June 28th, 2013. In many people’s opinions, Osbourne’s version of Doink was the best one.
10- The American Dragon – The American Dragon started wrestling professionally in 2000. He was trained by legendary wrestler, Shawn Michaels in Texas. He’d later wrestle under his real name of Bryan Danielson and many years later, gain worldwide recognition as Daniel Bryan. He’d start his career in Memphis Championship Wrestling, then he’d work as an enhancement talent in WWE in 2002, where he had a match with a rookie John Cena. He’d then go to Japan for a few years, then Ring of Honor, even winning the ROH World Title.
He’d return to the WWE in 2009 where he wrestled in FCW, which was the pre-NXT. He then came to the main roster as apart of the group Nexus. He was released after choking ring announcer Justin Roberts with his own tie. He returned to the WWE a few months later. After being in the mid cards for a few years, his career exploded. He became the most popular wrestler in the company. He won the World Title 1 time, and the WWE Championship 3 times. He’s currently the GM of Smackdown, and even though he doesn’t wear a mask anymore, his long time fans will always remember his time as the masked American Dragon!
9- The Great Muta – The Great Muta is a legend in professional wrestling, especially in his home country of Japan. Before he became a wrestler, he was a black belt in Judo and he brought those skills to the world of professional wrestling when he started his career in October of 1984. He came to America and wrestled in Florida under the name of The White Ninja. He went back to Japan and eventually returned to the United States in 1989 when he debuted in the NWA as The Great Muta. He wore different colors of face paint and spit mist at his opponents. He had a very unique style that not many people in the United States were used to seeing. He was a high flyer and finished off his opponents with the Moonsault, off of the top rope. Definitely ahead of his time, and one of the best painted wrestlers in history.
8- The Black Scorpion – In August 1990 a mysterious figure started to appear on WCW television, saying that he was a man from Sting’s past, and he was coming to get him. Not long after that, The Black Scorpion debuted. He wore an all black body suit and a black mask. His voice was done by Ole Anderson. He wrestled Sting at The Clash of the Champions 12, and that time it was Al Perez portraying The Black Scorpion. Perez later quit the company and at Starrcade The Black Scorpion challenged Sting for the World Title in a cage match. Sting won the match, and ended up unmasking the Scorpion to reveal Ric Flair. Ric Flair has had a very legendary and famous career, but his brief stint as The Black Scorpion won’t be remembered as one of the favorite moments in his career.
7- The Road Warriors – The Road Warriors are American originals, and maybe the greatest tag team in wrestling history. They first debuted as a team in 1983 in Georgia Championship Wrestling. They dominated there and moved to the AWA from 84-86 where they also dominated there and became the World Tag Team Champions. They then moved on to the NWA and during their time there, they would also compete in Japan and become the most legendary American tag team to ever compete there. During their time in the NWA, they’d win the World tag team and the 6 man tag team titles.
They went to the WWF from 90-92 where they’d capture the World Tag Team titles there also. They’d go back to WCW briefly and eventually return to the WWF in the late 90s where they’d again win the tag team titles. Unfortunately, Hawk passed away on October 19th, 2003. Their painted faces and extremely intimdating style paved the way for them to become one of the most popular, and maybe the most legendary tag team in wrestling history.
6- The Patriot – Del Wilkes played college football at South Carolina, and decided that he wanted to give the world of professional wrestling a try. He started wrestling with his real name, then he became The Trooper. After a few years, he decided that he wanted to go a different route with his career, so he started to wear a mask and he became known as The Patriot. He went to the GWF and became their first TV Champion. Soon after, he defeated the future Black Scorpion, Al Perez to win the North American Title. He ended up losing it to The Dark Patriot, and left GWF soon after.
He would then go to Japan for a few years and then went to WCW where he held the World Tag Team Titles with Marcus Bagwell. He’d then join the WWF in 1997 and pinned the legendary Bret Hart in his debut match! After Bret won the World Title from The Undertaker, The Patriot would challenge him for the title, but would be unsuccessful. He ended up leaving the WWF in 1998 and leaving the business not long after. He didn’t have a long run, but The Patriot made his claim as one of the most memorable masked wrestlers in a long time!
5- The Tazmaniac – The man who would go on to be known as Taz started his career in 1987. He started off being known as Kid Krush, before he became The Tazmaniac. He would wrestle in some independents and got tryouts in the WWF in 1991 and WCW in 1993. He got a few more tryout matches in the WWF in 1993, and he’d then go to ECW in October, 1993. He looked much different as the Tazmaniac than how he’d look for the rest of his career. He had face paint, long hair and wrestled barefoot.
After competing for a few years as the wildman Tazmaniac, he decided to cut his hair, wear boots, and change his name to “Taz”. He’d go on to win the ECW TV and World Titles. He’d then move on to the WWF. In his WWF debut, he defeated the at the time undefeated Kurt Angle at the Royal Rumble 2000. Eventually, Taz would transition into becoming a commentator. Today, he currently hosts “The Taz Show” on CBS radio.
4- Vader – Vader, or Big Van Vader as he was also known is one of the most intimdating super heavyweights in wrestling history. Leon White played professional football for the Los Angeles Rams & even played in the Super Bowl in 1979 against The Pittsburgh Steelers. He decided to become a professional wrestler. He started off in the AWA as “The Baby Bull”. A few years later, he went to Japan and became Big Van Vader. He became the IWGP Heavyweight Champion & the IWGP Tag Team Champions with Bam Bam Bigelow. He’d then move on to WCW in 1990. He wasn’t used much unti 1992 when he attacked Sting and later beat him for the World Title. Vader would go on to hold the WCW World Title 3 times and the U.S. Title once. He’d go to the WWF in 1996 and stay until 1998. He’d go back to Japan for a few years and even continues to wrestle to this day! Unfortunately, a few months ago Vader announced that he has 2 years left to live. He’s one of the greatest wrestlers ever, and most definitely deserving of a Hall of Fame induction.
3 – Ultimate Warrior – Ultimate Warrior began his wrestling career in 1985 as Jim Justice Hellwig in Powerteam USA. He then became Blade Runner Rock and teamed up with Blade Runner Flash, who’d later be known as Sting. They were known as The Blade Runners. He’d then go to WCCW, as The Dingo Warrior. He then moved on to the WWF in 1987, and became The Ultimate Warrior.
He’d wear different colors and combinations of face paint and colorful tights and tassels on his arms. He’d run to the ring and quickly defeat his opponents. He also had a very wild and creative interview style, that had never been done before quite the same way.
He’d go on to win the World Title from Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania 6. He’d also win the Intercontinental Title twice, defeating Honky Tonk Man and Rick Rude. He’d leave and return to the WWF a few times over the years and even have a brief stint in WCW in 1998. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014. He made a surprise appearance on Raw on April 6th. Unfortunately, Warrior passed away the nexy day, on April 7th.
One of the most polarizing wrestlers in history, it can’t be denied that Warrior had a Hall of Fame worthy career.
2- Mankind – Even though Mick Foley has played a few different characters in his career, Mankind will go down as the one that a lot of fans will remember the most. When he came to the WWF in 1996, he completely changed his style and appearance. He’d already wrestled around the world for a decade as Cactus Jack. In the WWF, he started wearing a brown mask that didn’t completely cover his face and became a much darker character than the fans were used to seeing from him.
He wrestled as a heel for a few years during his time as Mankind but eventually turned babyface. He also wrestled as Dude Love and Cactus Jack. During his time in the WWF, he became a 3 time World Champion and an 8 time tag team champion. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013.
When he was Mankind, he was often referred to as the “deranged one” but outside of the ring Mick Foley is one of the nicest guys ever in the wrestling business.
1- Sting – Whether he was surfer Sting or Crow Sting, Sting is one of the most popular wrestlers in history. He started wrestling in 1985. He was known as Flash, and teamed with the future Ultimate Warrior. They were known as The Blade Runners. He’d then go to the UWF and eventually to the NWA.
NWA would become known as WCW and Sting would become known as the Franchise of the company. He went there in 1987 and stayed until WCW closed in 2001. He would be a 6 time World Champion, 2 time U.S. Champion, TV Champion, International World Champion, and 3 time tag team champion.
He’d then go to TNA where he’d come and go from 2003 until 2014. He won the TNA World Title 4 times and the tag team titles once. He’d finally go to the WWF in 2014 and have his long awaited WrestleMania match, when he wrestled Triple H at WrestleMania 31. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2016.
No matter which version of Sting he is, or what color face paint he wears, his fans will fondly remember all of the great matches he’s had over the years in his Hall of Fame career.