Wresting Legends: Remembering the Icons who Shaped the Industry – Sports are something that play a key part in societies all over the world. While top examples such as soccer or basketball first spring to mind, it seems as though people across the planet also love combat sports. These more physical examples not only offer hard-hitting action but also seem to connect with us on a deeply primal level.
This can be seen in how popular the UFC MMA championship currently is. Every UFC event seems to draw huge crowds to it (either in person or via PPV) who love the drama that unfolds in the octagon. People also seem to love betting on combat sports like the UFC across US states where this is legal. Whether it is grabbing the top UFC odds Vegas wide or placing MMA wagers in other locations, this seems to be true.
Wrestling, of course, is another example of a popular sport that is more physical in nature. It sees competitions like the WWE draw massive audiences and it has a nationwide appeal. The current popularity of wrestling is certainly down to the huge influence that certain legendary figures in the sector had on it as an industry.
But who might these figures be?
The WWE Hall of Fame might include many iconic names, but few can match the man who was arguably THE most instrumental wrestler in terms of shaping the industry⎯Hulk Hogan. It is true to say that the Hulkster was the man who dragged wrestling into the mainstream and was a character who made headlines.
You have to remember that Hogan started wrestling back in the 1980s, when it was not a huge sport for many people. From the point he became WWF Champion in 1984 though, he started to change this and make wrestling a lot more appealing to the average person. After two more title wins and a brief dalliance with rivals WCW, Hogan returned to the newly named WWE in 2002 to great fanfare. Although it was only for a short spell, this saw him win another world championship belt at Backlash in April 2002.
Next to Hulk Hogan, we have to pick out Ravishing Ric Flair as another instrumental figure in wrestling’s development. He was also initially active at a time when it did not have the following it enjoys today, and he spent his 40-year career changing this. Thanks to “The Nature Boy’s” awesome talent in the ring, hard work out of it, and larger than life personality, he was able to open up the sport to a whole new audience.
Anyone who knows their wrestling history knows that Flair was one of the most successful pros in the sport. This saw him win a huge 21 world titles over his career and become a 16-time world champion! While much of his work was done in organizations such as the NWA and the WCW, he was also a two-time champion in the WWF during the early 1990s.
Stone Cold Steve Austin
After iconic names such as Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair had popularized wrestling as a mainstream form of entertainment, Stone Cold Steve Austin represented the next generation of wrestlers coming through. Austin was a key figure for not only continuing to engage fans but also for attracting more fans globally. This helped the sport grow and saw Austin have a big hand in shaping its future.
Active in the WWE during the 1990s and early 2000s, Stone Cold enjoyed an intense rivalry with The Rock, which was must-see viewing. When you also add in his list of memorable catchphrases and cool image, you can see just why he was someone who brought a lot more people to wrestling.
If we are to look at the really key figures who helped shape wrestling in modern times, we have to mention The Undertaker. There is no doubt that this mysterious character was massively popular until he retired in 2020, and that he shaped the sport of wrestling as a whole. This was not only in terms of attracting more fans to it, but also in what people expected from a pro wrestler.
The Undertaker’s career remains one of the most impressive in sports history and included a winning streak at WrestleMania that may never be matched. In addition to being a simply superb wrestler technically, The Undertaker’s ability for re-invention was a lesson in longevity to colleagues and changed how rigidly wrestlers stuck to just one storyline.
Iconic Wrestlers Who Helped Shape the Sport
Wrestling is not only a sport and form of entertainment but is also an industry. As with any other industry, it has its own ways of doing things and strives to appeal to as many people as it can. Over time, wrestling itself has not only been shaped by those in charge officially but also by some of the best-known athletes in the sport, as described above.
Wresting Legends: Remembering the Icons who Shaped the Industry