World Championship Wrestling will forever be remembered for pushing the World Wrestling Federation to the limit during the Monday Night Wars, but above that, the company will also be known for some of the world-class superstars that performed for thousands upon thousands of fans on a weekly basis.
Some of them had already made a name for themselves over in the WWE, but surprisingly enough, quite a few of them were homegrown talents that used WCW as a platform to showcase their skills on a worldwide stage. Because of that, in addition to their stints in WWE after WCW’s closure, we’re confident that you’ll know at least 95% of the names on this list.
When World Championship Wrestling did eventually go under it was a sad day for the industry, despite what many "experts" would lead you to believe. The final edition of Nitro allowed everyone to see just how much talent WCW had at their disposal, and 17 years on, we’re still left to wonder what could’ve been.
20 20. Sting
While he may be nearing his 60s at this point, The Stinger still seems to possess the same kind of spark that he did back in the good old days. As we all know he was Mr WCW for the majority of his in-ring career, and despite his disappointing tenure with WWE, he’ll forever be remembered courtesy of his iconic persona.
Nowadays, as we’ve alluded to, he’s the same old Sting that we know and love – despite the fact that his hairline at WrestleMania 31 would say otherwise. He still makes appearances from time to time and his famous make-up is always going to be a winner among the fans, but we can’t pretend like we’re not frustrated with never seeing Sting vs. Taker on the grandest stage of them all.
19 19. Lance Storm
If we could just be serious for a moment, we’d like to talk about the wrestling icon that is Lance Storm. Nothing that he did was overly ambitious and nothing that he did was groundbreaking, but Storm is someone who just "gets it." He knows how to put together a great match, he knows how to execute his moves to perfection, and he certainly knows how to pass his wisdom along to the superstars of tomorrow.
Storm is one hell of a trainer and he knows how to keep himself in shape too, which is one of the reasons why so many top names throughout both WWE and the independent scene have been trained by him.
He may not be a relevant name on WWE television anymore, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit his Twitter page from time to time. Trust us, he’s hilarious.
18 18. Stacy Keibler
The majority of people reading this have probably had a crush on Stacy Keibler at some point during their lives, and if you haven’t, then we highly suggest that you go back and watch her work in both WCW and WWE. The woman was a sex symbol from the moment she debuted, and it’s not surprising to hear that she’s still in phenomenal shape to this day.
Stacy likes to be a little bit more private these days, which is something that we completely understand given just how popular she’s been for the last few decades. With that being said, we won’t pretend like we don’t want to see her make a one-off appearance in the women’s Royal Rumble in a few weeks time.
17 17. Ric Flair
The Nature Boy Ric Flair has arguably had the most eventful career in the history of professional wrestling, and above that, he may well be the greatest of all time. Thankfully up until around the Evolution days he was ageing fairly well, but over the course of the last few years, nature has taken its toll – pun not intended.
Flair’s heavy drinking, his health problems & the death of his son Reid has undoubtedly led to him to age much quicker in the last few years, with reports in 2017 even suggesting that he’d passed away. Thankfully Ric is still alive and kicking, and hopefully, he’ll continue to bounce back on his road to recovery.
All we want is to hear that ‘woo’ one more time on WWE television.
16 16. Shane Helms
Shane Helms is a man who wore many masks, and we mean that in the most literal sense possible. He was able to transition from one character to another with flawless ease throughout his career, with a big reason for that being his ability to show no signs of aging.
That seems to have slowed down in recent years with Helms not really having the same edge that he once did, but we’re not going to pretend like we don’t want to see The Hurricane burst onto our screens once again.
With that being said, if his Instagram is anything to go by, Helms seems to be doing pretty well for himself on the independent scene right now – and long may it continue, Sugar Shane.
15 15. Scott Steiner
We’d be lying if we said that Scott Steiner looks exactly the same as he did back in 2001, but in all fairness to the guy, he’s not far off. Sure, his ridiculous muscles don’t look quite as phenomenal as they once did, but Scott doesn’t exactly look bad for a guy who is in his mid-50s and has been performing for a few decades now.
Steiner still pops up from time to time but his days in front of the spotlight are largely over, and yet, we’re still talking about some of the things he used to be able to do. Despite his differences with WWE, perhaps one day we’ll see him enter the Hall of Fame.
It’s a long shot, but we’ve said that about others in the past.
14 14. Rey Mysterio
If you haven’t enjoyed a Rey Mysterio match at some point throughout your life, then you might want to re-assess your status as a pro wrestling fan. Rey has been an innovator from the very moment he first stepped inside the ropes, and his work with promotions throughout the world has led many to believe that he’s the greatest high-flyer of all time.
Alas, while he may not be able to perform at the same standard, he’s still got that babyface smile that we all knew and loved back in his WCW days. There have even been rumblings that Rey could return to a WWE ring before he hangs up his boots, but regardless of that, we’re just thankful that we were able to see him do his thing for so many years.
13 13. Kevin Nash
Kevin Nash is arguably one of the most controversial figures in all of professional wrestling, even though the prime of his career came and went many moons ago. Nash always seemed to be at the forefront of every big moment that WCW had in its last few years of existence, even if that was a role that he didn’t necessarily care for.
While Nash is showing his age in terms of the colour of his hair, his actual physical appearance is still fairly impressive. We aren’t suggesting that he returns in the Royal Rumble match for the 700th time or anything like that, but we’re definitely looking forward to seeing what happens when he inevitably pops up on WWE again. (That would have been on Monday, but Nash recently confirmed he won't be at Raw's 25th anniversary special due to injuries.)
Big Daddy Cool, we miss you.
12 12. Goldberg
#WhatsNext ? #sema2017 @dodgeofficial @graveyardcars @sparcofficial @killerpaint @magnaflow @msthegunslinger @fosgoodwood @coopertire #plymouth #gtx @hope4warriors @richardwilk @oxidizr @motorator @goldbergsgarage @jaylenosgarage #universalchampforaday #droptop #musclecar @punishfightgearandnutrition
Who would’ve thought that we’d be referring to Goldberg as a former Universal Champion in 2018? Wrestling truly is a bizarre industry sometimes and Goldberg’s career is a perfect example of that, with his popularity still being enough to take him to the top of the card in the modern era despite not performing in the squared circle for well over a decade.
Aside from his grey goatee Goldberg is still pretty much the same, and the man himself will tell you just how hard he worked to make that happen. With a Hall of Fame induction coming up in New Orleans in just a few months it’ll be interesting to see just how well he’s been looking after himself since Orlando.
But most importantly – we want to know the answer to the everlasting question: who’s next?
11 11. Sid Vicious
Sid Vicious seems to be one of the most misunderstood entities in wrestling, and that’s been the case for quite some time now. From horrific injuries to silly mistakes in promos, he’s had a rollercoaster of a career in this business. Unfortunately for Sid, that theme has continued on to this day, and his physique also isn’t quite what it used to be.
He’s been showing his age more and more as the years have gone on, which is probably why so many companies on the independent scene are reluctant to book him. Then again, their hesitancy could be due to Sid’s unpredictable nature which is something that has been a source of controversy for years now.
Either way, we’ll never forget just how imposing he once was.
10 10. Jeff Jarrett
When you spent well over a decade trying to keep Impact Wrestling’s head above water, it’s going to have an effect on your appearance – as has been the case for Jeff Jarrett. You see, despite all of the rumours about his personality and how he treated people back in the good old days, none of that compares to the fact that he’s still desperately trying to cling onto relevancy in 2018.
Jarrett is someone who doesn’t like to go down without a fight and you can see that just from looking at a picture of the guy. His tenacity is what keeps him in the headlines to this day, and while he may not have the same kind of appeal that he once did, '90s fans will likely always remember his Intercontinental Championship showdown against Chyna.
9 9. Lex Luger
If you’re looking for the ‘shock factor’ in this list, then your search is over. Lex Luger was once known for being one of the largest and most muscular superstars in the business, and over the last 10-15 years, all of that has changed. Luger is a shadow of the man he once was, and yes, we do mean that strictly in a physical sense.
Lex still pops up at conventions from time to time, but much like his main event run, nobody seems to be paying all too much attention to it. It seems like he’s trying to make up for the mistakes that he made in the past and while that’s certainly admirable, we wouldn’t be surprised if the majority of people reading this didn’t even realise that he was still with WCW by the time their doors closed.
Keep doing your thing, Lex. We'll never forget the Express.
8 8. AJ Styles
This may come as a surprise to some, but AJ Styles was actually on the rise in World Championship Wrestling back in the early 2000s. He was starting to gain a bit of momentum, his in-ring work was improving on a daily basis, and he even managed to get himself a tryout with the World Wrestling Federation.
As we now know he didn’t go down that route, and instead, he went off to ply his trade in TNA. That clearly wound up being a good decision by The Phenomenal One, and if his appearance nowadays is anything to go by, he’s also made a few decisions when it comes to altering his look in recent years.
The long hair and beard is a big contrast to the clean-cut babyface we were used to in 2001, but in a lot of ways, it highlights the progression of his character perfectly.
7 7. Diamond Dallas Page
If you’re someone who is sitting at home reading this, wondering what you want to do with your life, then you don’t need to worry – because Diamond Dallas Page is one of the biggest inspirations there is when it comes to being a late bloomer. The king of the Diamond Cutter was a late entry into the world of pro wrestling, and yet, that didn’t stop him from being a superstar.
His phenomenal work ethic combined with his DDP Yoga has managed to keep him relevant for much longer than anyone could’ve anticipated, and while you can certainly see where he’s aged ever so slightly, he’s still in much better shape than the majority of us could ever hope to be.
With that being said, don’t be surprised if you see him pop up during the Rumble again.
6 6. Booker T
Can you dig it, sucka?
Booker T may be one of the most annoying commentators in the history of Monday Night Raw, but if you’re willing to look beyond that, you’ll find a man who quite literally does not age. Aside from the long hair, you could put 2001 Booker next to 2018 Booker, and there’s a great chance that you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.
The former five-time WCW champion was a guy who was in the DDP type of mould, in that he was a hard worker who managed to grind his way to the top through hard work and dedication. That kind of thing takes a lot of effort, and his status as a legend of this industry needs to be recognised by fans around the globe.
5 5. Torrie Wilson
We could easily copy and paste a lot of what we said about Stacy into this entry, but we aren’t going to do that – because Torrie Wilson deserves her own spotlight. From the word go it was obvious that Wilson wasn’t going to be the world’s greatest in-ring performer, but as she’ll tell you herself, that wasn’t her role for the majority of her career.
Torrie was someone that could hit a home run no matter what storyline you gave her because she had the charm and personality to pull it off. Sure, she was and still is absolutely gorgeous, but there was much more to her than that.
If you don’t believe us, then maybe you should go and check out her many business ventures that she’s had in place for quite some time now.
4 4. Jimmy Yang
He wanted my hat but I wouldn’t give it to him. pic.twitter.com/TpDDYkghmG— james yun (@akioyang) December 13, 2017
Jimmy Yang, also known as Jimmy Wang Yang, is someone that probably could’ve walked out the door whenever he felt like it. Why? Because no matter how many ways you spin it, most of the gimmicks that he had to deal with were utterly ridiculous.
Yang was and still is someone that doesn’t seem to age whatsoever, and despite the fact that he could easily have another run in the cruiserweight division, a return to the ring doesn’t seem likely. It’s not because he’s washed up or anything like that, either, but instead, it’s because he runs his very own redneck party bus business and has done so for a few years now.
Trust us, you’re going to want to look it up on Google.
3 3. Chavo Guerrero
Chavo Guerrero was never a guy who wanted to ride the coattails of his uncle Eddie, and because of that, he turned out to be one of the most consistent performers in WWE. Sure, he may never have gone beyond the ECW championship, but winning that title is still a solid accomplishment when you consider that very few people gave him a chance back in the day.
Chavo is ever so slightly starting to show the wear and tear of years in the ring, but that’s mostly down to the bags under his eyes. Aside from that he still has a tremendous physique, and while he isn’t at the top of the list when it comes to legends who need to return, we’d love to hear his entrance music played one more time on SmackDown Live.
2 2. Goldust
This is a hard one to measure because the majority of people know Dustin Runnels as Goldust, despite the fact that he was a completely different person during his time in WCW. Given that he’s in his late 40s and is still able to perform at the highest level we should say that he’s doing great, and the more we think about it, the more convinced we are by that statement.
Goldust has been forced to endure a great deal of scrutiny throughout his career, with most of it being due to his gimmicks. While he was the one who portrayed them and gave the green light to do it on television, we can’t help but wonder just how high up the card he would’ve gone if he was doing something a little bit more serious.
1 1. Billy Kidman
Billy Kidman was the original King of the Cruiserweights, which is something that not many people will realise. The guy had a phenomenal arsenal of moves back in the day and while he may not look a superstar on first glance, there’s a reason why he’s still relevant in 2018 as a producer for WWE.
While he may not have the luxurious long hair that he once did Billy certainly keeps himself in shape, which is necessary when you have to help break up an on-screen brawl from time to time.
Fans of the Attitude Era will remember Billy much more fondly than fans who only started watching in the last few years, but regardless of that, his greatness needs to be remembered.
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