There are plenty of places in the world that would qualify as pro wrestling hotbeds. That being said, in the U.S., there is one state in particular that has produced more elite-level wrestling talent than any other: Texas. In terms of both population and area, Texas is the second largest state in the union. It has also produced more world champs than most countries.
Some of wrestling biggest names hail from “The Lone Star State,” and it’s about time someone tackled the difficult task of ranking the 10 best wrestlers who were born in the state of Texas. It should be noted that Shawn Micheals, Booker T, and Terry Funk – while all associated with the state – were not actually born there.
10 Barry Windham
Barry Windham is a big man out of Sweetwater, Texas who was one of pro wrestling's top performers in the 1980s and '90s. The 6-foot-6 powerhouse is best known for winning the NWA World Heavyweight Champion and becoming a member of the Four Horsemen.
In WWE, along with his partner Mike Rotundo (aka I.R.S.), Windham captured the world tag titles twice. He also had a noteworthy run with WWE in the mid-'90s as The Stalker and as part of a tag team called The New Blackjacks. In 2012, as a member of the Four Horsemen, Windams was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
9 Chavo Guerrero Jr.
Chavo Guerrero Jr. was born in El Paso, Texas and is a member of the legendary Guerrero wrestling family. He has been an outstanding performer throughout a career that has lasted around 25 years. The former WWE Superstar is also one of the more underrated acts of his era. Guerrero can always be counted on to deliver a quality match, and his mic skills are far better than he’s given credit for. He’s also captured several prestigious titles over the years.
The nephew of the late great Eddie Guerrero is former ECW Champion, cruiserweight champion, and also held the WWE tag titles at one point. He has certainly accomplished enough to make the list of all-time great Texans.
8 Mark Henry
Mark Henry is an Olympic weightlifter tuned pro wrestler who was born in Silsbee, Texas. Over the course of a career that span over two decades, the 360-pound star established himself as one of the strongest men the sport of pro wrestling has ever seen. He has had several memorable feuds and was one of The Undertaker's WrestleMania opponents.
Henry spent a good portion of his WWE run as a mid-card act but came into his own later on. He managed to capture both the WWE Championship in 2011 and was also the ECW champ back in 2008. In 2018, he became a member of the WWE Hall of Fame. His longevity with WWE combined with his world title reigns helped Mark Henry earn the number 8 spot.
Goldust is a second generation wrestler – the son of the legendary Dusty Rhodes. Known for his unorthodox style and edgy persona, “the bizarre one” was one of the most memorable characters from WWE’s Attitude Era. During his initial WWE run, the Austin, Texas product had a heated feud with Razor Ramon and was involved in an unforgettable WrestleMania match with “Rowdy” Roddy Piper.
Between his five stints with World Wrestling Entertainment, Goldust held several titles. He was three-time Intercontinental Champ, who helped define the Attitude Era. He is one of the few wrestlers on our list who never won the world title, but his outstanding character work, combined with his memorable feuds over the years, warrant the number 7 slot.
6 6. JBL
At number 6, we have a man out of Sweetwater, Texas by the name of John “Bradshaw” Layfield (JBL). JBL began his career with WWE back in 1995. In those days, he portrayed a rugged cowboy character known as Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw. He had little success with the cowboy gimmick but began to gain momentum after teaming up with Faarooq (aka Ron Simmons) to form the Acolytes Protection Agency (APA). He enjoyed his greatest success as JBL (a wealthy Texas millionaire character).
As JBL, he received a main event push and held the WWE Championship for an impressive 280 days. The Texan is a former main event star who had success portraying two very different characters.
5 Jake Roberts
Jake “The Snake” Roberts was one of WWE’s biggest stars throughout the late '80s and early '90s. He is known for his cerebral promos and the large python that accompanied him to the ring. The native of Gainesville, Texas is one of the best talents his home state has ever produced. Roberts has been involved in high-profile feuds with legends like Andre The Giant, The Undertaker, and “Ravishing” Rick Rude. He is also known for popularising the DDT – a hold that’s commonly used in pro wrestling today.
The WWE Hall of Famer never held any titles with the promotion. Of course, as one of the greatest all-around performers of his time, he didn’t need championships to get over with the crowd.
4 Dusty Rhodes
“The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes defied the odds and went on to become one of the most successful wrestlers of his generation. The Austin, Texas product lacked the physique and athleticism that is commonly associated with top tier performers but more than made up for it with his outstanding mic work. He also had an impressive career behind the scenes as a booker and working to help other stars hone their craft.
A lot of Rhodes’ greatest accomplishments, like winning the NWA World Championship, took place outside of WWE. In truth, he is arguably best known for his WWE run from 1989 to 1991, when he portrayed a “common man” who wore polka-dotted ring attire. However, students of wrestling history know Rhodes for his legendary rivalry with Ric Flair and as one of the best talkers that the business has ever seen.
3 Eddie Guerrero
Eddie Guerrero is one of the very few performers who excelled at every aspect of professional wrestling. The El Paso native’s ring work and promos were both outstanding, which helped him become one of WWE’s top performers.
After being underutilized for years in WCW, “Latino Heat” finally got his chance to become a main event act. His world title win at WrestleMania XX is one of the most memorable moments in the pay-per-view’s history. The charismatic superstar captured countless titles and made a name for himself in every major promotion of his era.
2 The Undertaker
In truth, a strong argument can be made for The Undertaker to occupy the number 1 spot on our list – it’s a tough call. The 6-foot-10 superstar wasn’t actually born in Parts Unknown, but rather Houston, Texas. The Undertaker is perhaps the only man in wrestling who has been a headlining act for WWE for over 25 years. His WrestleMania undefeated streak and matches with stars like Shawn Micheals and Mick Foley are the stuff of legend.
The Undertaker has held a version of the WWE World Championship on 7 separate occasions. He is not only one of the best wrestlers the state of Texas has ever produced; the big man is also one of the 10 greatest wrestlers of all time on any credible list.
1 Steve Austin
At number 1, we have none other than “The Texas Rattle Snake” himself, “Stone Cold" Steve Austin. The Austin, Texas native helped define the Attitude Era as a no-nonsense character who never met a beer he didn’t drink or an authority figure he wouldn’t defy. He was pro wrestling’s most popular act when the sport was at the very height of its popularity.
Austin was a six-time World Champ who headlined several WrestleManias. At the height of his popularity, in the late '90s, “Stone Cold” enjoyed mainstream popularity and became something of a pop culture phenomenon. At his peak, though it was only for a few years, Austin was arguably the most successful act of all time.