Professional wrestlers are some of the toughest athletes in the world but unfortunately they never seem to get the credit that they truly deserve. These larger than life individuals work extremely strenuous and demanding tour schedules that almost always result in them sustaining some sort of injury. Moreover, wrestlers work year-round, so unlike other organized sports they don’t have an offseason. As a consequence of working this type of schedule, these athletes are never really given the time required to completely recover from any small or nagging injuries. Unless they sustain a major injury requiring surgery or are unable to receive the medical clearance to perform, professional wrestlers are often forced to simply rely on their mental and physical toughness to get through a match. In this aspect alone it’s blatantly clear that any individual able to sustain a career in the professional wrestling industry needs to have an extraordinary pain threshold as well as an innate toughness.
Although every professional wrestler obviously has these attributes in some shape or form, there are undoubtedly some professional wrestlers on have them in working capacity. On the other hand, there are actually some individuals that not only have these attributes they exude them. For some of these individuals it may be just from proving themselves in the ring. Perhaps accomplishing this by working through a major injury or taking some sort of unprecedented amount of punishment in a match. In other cases it might come from a real life situation or altercation that occurred outside of the ring. Regardless of the scenario, professional wrestlers are legitimately some of the toughest athletes in the world. This list contains the top 15 toughest wrestlers of all time. This will feature the kind of guys you wouldn't want to cross on the street. So while guys like Mick Foley have an insane threshold for pain, he's about the nicest guy in wrestling history. These are the professional wrestlers that should scare you because they don’t just look the part...
15 15. Chris Masters
14 Ken Shamrock
13 13.Arn Anderson
12 Bam Bam Bigelow
11 Steve Blackman
10 Akira Hokuto
8 Harley Race
There’s a reason Andre The Giant only feared two men. Harley Race might be the toughest S.O.B to ever put on wrestling trunks. He'd drink a case of beer and smoke a pack of Marlboro Reds then get up the next day and slam his body around the mat for 60 minutes against guys like Ric Flair and Terry Funk. On Christmas night 1961, Race and his wife (Vivian) were driving to visit his parents when their car collided with a tractor-trailer along the highway. His wife died instantly and doctors said Race would never wrestle again. The accident shattered one of his forearms and damaged his right leg so badly that doctors actually contemplated amputation. Race would show his true strength, determination, and overall toughness by making his triumphant return to the ring two years later.
7 Kazushi Sakuraba
6 Kurt Angle
5 Bad News Barrett
4 Perry Saturn
2 Brock Lesnar
Haku is the toughest wrestler of all time. To place any other person in the number one spot would be sacrilege. The stories about Haku (aka Meng, and King Tonga) are legendary and after reading some of them I’m sure you’ll agree with his placement on this list.
On a trip to Puerto Rico, Meng was walking with fellow wrestler Jesse Barr when Barr decided to kick dirt onto a man who was digging ditches. Meng was upset by it and told Barr he shouldn't have done it. Barr decided to get in Meng's face and argue with him, which turned out to be a bad idea. Meng grabbed him and popped his eyeball out of socket. Some wrestlers claimed he completely tore it out, but Meng said that wasn't true. Barr ended up getting fired for the incident.
In his biography, "Arn Anderson: 4 Ever" Anderson claims that there are three types of men in the world. There are tough men, there are wrestler-tough men, and then there's Meng. He was in a completely different category than anyone else on the planet. Anderson recalls one instance where a large cowboy was arguing with Meng and he pushed the cowboy through two different sets of doors using only one hand.
The Million Dollar Man said that one time they were in a rough part of St. Louis for a show. Everyone had been drinking and a large fight broke out, which resulted in the police showing up. Meng had a few drinks, but saw the fight break out so he started trying to break it up. In the process, police thought he was part of the fight and maced him then handcuffed him. He said that Meng was cuffed behind his back, looked at the police, and snapped the handcuffs.
Wrestler Perry Saturn, when asked who would win a bar fight between several legitimately tough wrestlers, said, "Tonga. Nobody else would stand a chance. Not even a question. He could kill everyone without blinking and there is nothing anyone could do about it."
Jake "The Snake" Roberts said during one of his shoot interviews: "If I had a gun and was sitting inside a tank with one shell left and Meng is 300 yards away, he's mine, right? Well the first thing I'm going to do is jump out of the tank and shoot myself because I don't want to wound that son of a bitch and have him pissed off at me."
In a shoot interview, Bobby Heenan talked extensively about Meng and referred to him as the toughest man he's ever met in his life. The most extreme story he shared was in regards to a bar fight in which he claimed Meng "took his two fingers on his right hand, his index finger and trigger finger, and he reached into the guy's mouth and he broke off the guy's bottom teeth." Heenan said that if he hadn't been there and seen it himself, he wouldn't believe it. Heenan was also close friends with Andre the Giant and claimed that the only two men in the world that Andre feared were Meng and Harley Race.
If those testimonials aren’t enough, just Google the incident with him in the Baltimore Airport where he bit off a guy’s nose for suggesting wrestling was “fake”.
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