WrestleMania 31 is over. Sting is now officially on the books as having wrestled a match in the WWE, something that a lot of us thought might never happen.
For the past 15 years, many of us considered Sting to be the greatest wrestler never to compete in the WWE. But now who does that title belong to?
Here are a few potential choices, each detailed by Squared Circle user Vaderbomb:
Wahoo McDaniel – A Native American and legend of the Mid-Atlantic NWA territory, he was a pro for over thirty years debuting in 1961 and retiring in the late 90s. He had some awesome feuds with Dory Funk Jr., Johnny and Greg Valentine (respectively), Ric Flair, Harley Race, Roddy Piper, Nick Bockwinkel and while he wasn’t quite as great as all of those guys, he was a major stone in the foundations of all of their careers.
Akira Maeda – Fired from New Japan Pro Wrestling in 1987 for breaking the orbital bone in Riki Choshu’s face by purposely delivering a legitimate kick to his face, the legendary Akira Maeda was notorious for shoot-fighting. He was one of the creators of the UWF, which was a Japanese wrestling promotion that incorporated shoot-fighting. He is considered to be one of the forefathers of MMA. His current record is 7-5 with three of those losses being his first two and final fight.
Samoa Joe – One of the major names from the legendary 00s ROH roster to have never been signed by WWE. You all know who he is.
Blue Demon – Alongside his longtime rival El Santo, he’s the most famous Mexican wrestler of all time. He was pro for 40 years, 1948-1988. His son Blue Demon Jr. carried on the Blue Demon legacy and became a legend in his own right.
Magnum TA – Considered by many to be a Tom Selleck lookalike (hence the name), Magnum TA had countless feuds with many NWA legends in the 80s including the classic bloody steel cage match against Tully Blanchard and a 30 minute classic with the Nature Boy. A car accident ended his career but thankfully he lived. He was being groomed to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship prior to the accident.
Akira Taue – A great singles competitor but he’s best known as Toshiaki Kawada’s partner in the Holy Demon Army, who feuded with Misawa, Kobashi, Akiyama etc. throughout the 90s. having countless 5 star classics. If you’re a Japanese wrestling noob but have attempted to check out some old AJPW 90s shit, Taue’s the sort of lanky, sort of pudgy dude tall in the short red trunks. He retired about two years ago.
Austin Aries – It’s a fucking travesty that WWE refused to sign him because of his size.
AJ Styles - It’s actually quite surprising that he’s never wound up making his way over to the WWE.
Rikidozan – The father of Puroresu (Japanese Wrestling), Rikidozan was practically the Lou Thesz or El Santo of Japan. He was an absolute superstar. He had many classic feuds in the 50s and early 60s but his career was cut short after getting stabbed to death by a member of the Yakuza with a urine-soaked blade. He never worked for Vince’s dad to my knowledge.
El Santo – The most famous Mexican wrestler of all time, he was pro from 1934-1982! He was in dozens of films playing his wrestling character alongside his rival Blue Demon. His son El Hijo Del Santo carried on the family legacy and became arguably the top Luchador of the past 30 years.
Masahiro Chono – Masa Chono is one of the most prolific villains to work for New Japan in the 80s and 90s. He went on to work for WCW as a member of the nWo during their partnership with NJPW. Debuting in 1984, he’s still wrestling to this day.
David Von Erich – The “Yellow Rose of Texas” was the best of the legendary Von Erich brothers. He was primed to beat Flair for the NWA title at Texas Stadium but died tragically during a tour for AJPW in 1984.
El Hijo Del Santo – Like I said earlier, he was arguably the top Luchador of the past 30 years alongside Mistico.
Namichi Marufuji – Now that his major rival KENTA and fellow Jr. Heavyweight Prince Devitt are signed, Marufuji is the name that they’re missing. Alongside the previously mentioned, he’s the best junior heavyweight from Japan since Tiger Mask. He’s had numerous 5 star matches in my book.
Jushin “Thunder” Liger – From NJPW to Stampede Wrestling, from WCW to ROH, from TNA to CMLL. Liger has worked virtually everywhere but WWE. He’s been pro for 30 years and is still at it. Not familiar with him? Google image search him and you’ll see some fun stuff.
Shinya Hashimoto – Known for his stiffness, Hashimoto was one of NJPW’s greatest big heavyweights. Debuting in 1984, his career ended in 2005 after he died from a brian aneurism. After his death, NJPW retired the second IWGP Heavyweight Championship belt as Hashimoto was the first to wear it.
Dos Caras – Alberto Del Rio’s father and my personal favorite Luchador, he surprisingly never worked for WWF. He did some great work in both Mexico and Japan, he went pro in 1970 and is still an active pro wrestler.
Jun Akiyama – One of my absolute favorites of all time, Akiyama was the young face who teamed with Misawa and Kobashi in AJPW in the late 90s. He also had many classic 5 star singles matches against both Misawa, Kobashi and their major rivals. He went on to become one of the most honored and respected wrestlers in Japan and became a legend in Pro Wrestling NOAH and AJPW.
Riki Choshu – One of NJPW’s biggest heels of all time, Choshu has been pro since 1974 and is still wrestling today. He invented the Sharpshooter, which he called the Sasori-Gatame and worked for promotions in North America. He never worked a match for WWF but would have fit in perfectly, especially in the 80s and 90s.
Verne Gagne – AWA’s Vince McMahon was not only the owner of his promotion but he was one of the greatest technical wrestlers to ever lace up a pair of boots. It’s pretty obvious why he never worked for Vince, considering he was one of the major contributing reasons why the AWA fell apart. He was pro from 1949-1981 and his song Greg carried on the family name.
Keiji Mutoh/The Great Muta – One of the most decorated and famous Japanese wrestlers of all time, he would have been a top draw at any point if signed by WWE. He’s been pro for thirty years and still kicking ass. The Great Muta vs The Undertaker would have been an ultimate dream match.
Lou Thesz – In his prime, he was the most televised man in the world aside from local news anchors. He’s clearly and objectively the biggest name to never work in WWF.
Kenta Kobashi – Japan’s greatest face alongside Misawa, Kobashi was a total badass. He would have been a huge success in WWF in the 90s, he was a 10/10 wrestler and had an incredible look. Vince would have drooled over Kobashi.
Jumbo Tsuruta – One of the top ten greatest wrestlers of all time. Jumbo was the first man to lose the AJPW Triple Crown to Misawa. He had countless feuds with Stan Hansen, Billy Robinson, Bruiser Brody, Genichiro Tenryu, Abdullah the Butcher, Terry Funk, Dory Funk Jr., Mitsuharu Misawa, Harley Race, Verne Gagne, Rick Martel, Riki Choshu, Jack Brisco, Ric Flair, and Nick Bockwinkel among others.
Toshiaki Kawada – AJPW’s greatest heel of all time = the greatest heel of all time.
Mitsuharu Misawa – AJPW’s greatest face of all time = the greatest face of all time.
These are all Vaderbomb’s opinions, but what are yours? Who has WWE missed out on the most?