All right wrestling fans, let’s be honest: professional wrestling can be quite boring at times. The current state of the Divas Division is an non-stop yawn-fest. Mark Henry and Big Show slow down the pace of the program to a point where watching Monday Night Raw can suddenly mean waking up on the couch Tuesday morning.
Take for instance what is consider to be the biggest wrestling match of all time: Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant at WrestleMania III at the Pontiac Silverdom in front of a live crowd of 93, 173 fans. The build-up towards the epic encounter was fantastic.
Hulk Hogan – who had been WWE Champion for three consecutive years – was to take on the man who was said to be undefeated in the WWE for the past fifteen years. There were no stars bigger than Hogan and Andre at that point and placing them both in the main event of WrestleMania III was the right move as the event would set attendance and Pay-Per-View records (Both of which have since been surpassed).
However, in the grand scheme of things; Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant was rather boring. The hype leading up to the match was more fascinating than the actual bout. Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat was the match of the night at WrestleMania III while Hogan and Andre was basically a set-up for a body slam – one big spot.
Then of course the ’90s came along and professional wrestling began to shift form its traditions. The rise of the Luncha Libre style in North America presented wrestling fans with a new outlook on in-ring execution as this fresh form of competition was not only exciting but captivating; no time to look away from the action. This would make way for the adaption of high-flying wrestling into the mainstream and ever since, the level of mesmerizing action has continued to rise.
These are the top 20 greatest high-flying wrestlers of all time:
20. Bam Bam Bigelow
When we think of high-flying wrestlers, we automatically draw up a picture in our minds of the small and lean superstars to which we have grown accustomed. When it came to Bam Bam Bigelow, the image of the high-flyer was tossed aside and replaced with a tattooed beast.
Despite a weight of nearly four-hundred-pounds, Bam Bam Bigelow could do things that most wrestlers in his weight class couldn’t accomplish on their best day. Bigelow could fly, incorporating diving head-butts and splashes into his moveset. Perhaps most impressive was the big man’s ability to execute the moonsault – with ease and precision.
19. Adrian Neville
(Adrian) Neville may be new to the WWE Universe but Benjamin Satterley (real name) has been performing for a number of years around Europe and the independent circuit in the United States where he worked under the moniker, PAC.
“The Man That Gravity Forgot” excels at high-risk-behavior which is now evident on WWE programing. Neville may appear a little young to make a list which is compiling the greatest high-flyers of all time but he has already shown so much that his skills deserve the proper recognition.
18. Eddie Guerrero
Eddie Guerrero was such a great all-around wrestler that his name tends to appear on list after list after list. The accomplishments of Guerrero and the will of Latino Heat have earned him all the respect in the wrestling world.
Eddie Guerrero could do pretty much anything inside of the ring which included high-flying offense. Guerrero was quicker than a cat and more sly than a used-car salesmen. Eddie Guerrero could lie, cheat, steal … and fly with the best.
17. Shelton Benjamin
The most memorable spots in the WWE career of Shelton Benjamin can be traced back to the early years of the Money in the Bank Ladder match where Benjamin would awe the crowd with his running up and leaping from a set ladder.
Shelton Benjamin, who is also an accomplished amateur wrestler, could wrestle a technical match on the mat. However, in a flash, Benjamin could catch some air and unleash a high-risk set of high-flying maneuvers.
16. Billy Kidman
When World Championship Wrestling was struggling to survive each and every day on life-support, Billy Kidman would find himself involved in the biggest angle of his career; a feud with Hulk Hogan, which was not the usual type of Hogan opponent.
The angle, like everything else is those grim days of WCW would flop, but the failure of Hulk Hogan was the victory of Billy Kidman, who was finally afforded some main event time to showcase his style of high-flying wrestling.
The only female to make our list is the eclectic and defiant former Attitude Era Diva, Lita. The coolest female to have ever walked through the WWE Universe, Lita had a unique sense of kick-ass-class to match her eccentric look and style.
Lita was doing things that none of the other Divas were doing. In fact, no Diva has come along since that could wrestle at the high-risk level in which Lita performed. Lita was just about as unique a Diva as you could ever find.
14. Brian Kendrick
The Brian Kendrick was the best push Kendrick was going to receive from WWE, turning him into a heel and placing him into the mix of the SmackDown roster. However, Kendrick was soon released – turning back to the independent circuit and TNA.
In recent months; The Brain Kendrick has returned to the WWE where he now competes in NXT with the old gimmick in tact. NXT is actually a good fit for Kendrick whose high-flying style will compliment many of the talents nicely.
13. Paul London
When the WWE had a Cruiserweight Division, there was much excitement taking place on a weekly basis as the Cruiserweights never seem to disappoint. Paul London was once a major part of the small-man-in-the-big-man-world scene.
Paul London is small and fast and could make an high-risk move seem like second nature. Paul London and the Cruiserweight Championship have since left WWE but it would sure be nice to see the resurrection of the division some day.
12. Taka Michinoku
Taka Michinoku has wrestled all over the globe – first catching fire in Japan before making his way across the ocean to find success in the Western Hemisphere. If you remember the Attitude Era, you may recall Taka Michinoku best for his time with Kai En Tai – a Japanese stable.
Taka Michinoku was phenomenal at high spots and blending traditional Japanese style with the North America flavor. Michinoku will forever live inside the pages of the WWE history book as the first-ever WWE Light Heavyweight Champion.
11. Evan Bourne
Even Bourne was once a red-hot topic in wrestling circles as his WWE career looked promising. However, Bourne would find himself sidelined with injuries and facing backstage heat for his violations of the WWE Wellness Policy.
Evan Bourne was soon nothing more than a flash-in-the-pan and his days in WWE were over. While still a great high-flying wrestler, Evan Bourne is no more. Instead, the independent circuit is graced with the presence of Matt Sydal.
10. Super Crazy
You just don’t call a man “Super Crazy” for no apparent reason. Super Crazy is a whacked-out wrestler with a violent streak and an off-the-rails personality – another man who first gained American exposure in Extreme Championship Wrestling.
Super Crazy has been known for his outrageous moonsaults and his reckless abandon – another Lucador who stormed through North America with his own personal high-flying action that, like may others, would have to be seen to be believed.
Mistico is one of the biggest wrestling sensations in the history of Mexican-wrestling – an immensely popular persona who earn top billing throughout the country. Mistico was once brought into WWE and performed as Sin Cara (the original version).
However, things did not work out with Mistico and WWE as his unease with the company would soon lead to WWE and Mistico parting ways. For one reason or another, Mistico as Sin Cara just didn’t work but that doesn’t take away from the fact that Mistico is one of the greatest high-flying wrestler of all time.
8. Juventud Guerrera
Juventud Guerrera was first exposed to the American audience when he appeared in Extreme Championship Wrestling back in 1996. This exposure would eventually earn Guerrera a contract with World Championship Wrestling.
While working for Eric Bischoff, Juventud Guerrera would participate in the famous Cruiserweight Division that helped set WCW apart from WWE – chipping in with his own form of high-flying in-ring performance style.
Of all the former ECW alumni, the craziest man to escape the hardcore world alive is undoubtedly Sabu – an insanely fearless wrestler who has taken part in some of the most gruesome and violent professional wrestling matches of all time.
Sabu has always been a high-risk, high-reward type wrestler who would often botch a move or fumble on the ropes causing him to crash and burn. However, it was the attitude in which Sabu would perform that made him different – death was merely an afterthought.
6. John Morrison
John Morrison is another story of a guy who had the looks and the talent but just couldn’t reach that next level in WWE. Perhaps his biggest downfall, which would have made Morrison the complete package, was in his poor promo work.
Despite his shortcomings on the mic, Morrison has one of the most unique wrestling styles around – infusing his Parkour training into his arsenal. John Morrison was always fun to watch in WWE and can now be seen, like many of his peers, back on the independent scene.
5. Jeff Hardy
The enigmatic Jeff Hardy is one of the most popular WWE superstars of the modern age. With his colorful hair, nonchalant fashion sense, and over-the-top in-ring performance style; fans from all over the world are drawn into Hardy’s magnetic pull.
Jeff Hardy is the ultimate daredevil, a man who has time-and-time again placed his own well-being on the line in order the entertain the audience, taking death-defying leaps of faith from massive heights to hit his signature move, the Swanton Bomb.
The reality of this list is that the entire thing could be comprised of Mexican superstars, as high-flying wrestling is a trademark of the Lucha Libre, a style for which wrestling fans are thankful that is has been brought into North America.
Psicosis is perhaps one of the best Lucha Libre wrestlers of all time – excitement, energy, face-paced action – all of these things are the embodiment of Psicosis, a wrestler fueled on the art of the dance and the joy of entertainment.
3. Ultimo Dragon
Ultimo Dragon comes in as a very unique case. The Japanese-born professional wrestler would learn the traditional wrestling style of his native land. However, Dragon would then learn the Lucha Libre style while working in Mexico.
Ultimo Dragon is a hybrid-type wrestler, an odd mix of cultural techniques tangled up with the mystic that surrounds his character. Ultimo Dragon is an exhilarating performer – one who can keep the fans on the edge of their seats.
2. Rob Van Dam
Rob Van Dam is not just any old high-flyer … RVD is the most extreme high-flyer on our list, first making strides and shocking crowds with his bizarre and unseen offense back in the days of the original ECW. RVD was something special.
What makes RVD so great is that he can take an ordinary move and make it something all his own, something which you have never seen before. The laid-back personality of RVD certainly doesn’t show when it comes to his in-ring lunacy.
1. Rey Mysterio
The top spot on our list is probably not much of a surprise but there was really no other choice. Rey Mysterio defines the term “high-flyer.” Mysterio brought his one-man-acrobatic-circus to America in the ’90s where he would work for both ECW and WCW.
When he finally arrived in WWE; there was a lot of noise surrounding his arrival, and then, “jumping out of the sky,” here was one of the most innovative performers to ever come along in the world of professional wrestling.