5 Wrestlers Who Have A Case For Being The GOAT (& 5 Who Don't)

They call Babe Ruth the greatest of all-time (GOAT), of baseball. For football, it's Tom Brady or Jerry Rice. For hockey, it's Wayne Gretzky. For the NBA, it's either Michael Jordan or LeBron James.

But for the professional wrestling industry? It's a wide-open debate, where fans and pundits can make a strong enough case for 10 to 15 superstars.

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That said, you can easily narrow it down when you factor in several elements: Championship success, longevity, in-ring work and so much more. By doing that, we came up with five wrestling legends who rightfully earn the "GOAT" status, and five who don't quite belong in the conversation.

10 Has A Case: Shawn Michaels

Michaels put on many historic feuds throughout his illustrious career, perhaps none finer than his well-documented rivalry with Bret Hart. Of course, HBK was able to reinvent himself - be it the arrogant and obnoxious heel, the co-leader of D-Generation X or the ultimate American good guy.

As for accomplishments, Michaels was a two-time Royal Rumble winner and a three-time World Champion. He became the first Grand Slam Champion in WWE history back in 1997.

9 Doesn't Have A Case: The Rock

The only problem? Rock simply didn't stick around in WWE long enough to warrant the "GOAT" status. Of course, nobody can blame him for leaving the industry in 2004 so that he could "only" become the biggest name in all of Hollywood.

This isn't a knock against The Rock at all. He accomplished more than most wrestlers despite a relatively short career, but we simply can't put him above the other wrestling goats.

8 Has A Case: Hulk Hogan

Now, Hogan didn't bring a whole lot in the ring. Many argue he was more of an entertainer than an actual wrestler. That's fair, but where would the wrestling industry be today if Hulkamania didn't sweep over the sports entertainment world?

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Hogan's impact alone in WWE (and WCW) is enough to put him in the conversation as the greatest of all-time.

7 Doesn't Have A Case: Brock Lesnar

For starters, Lesnar left WWE in 2004 and didn't return until 2012. That eight-year gap obviously prevented him from reaching the success of the true wrestling GOATS. But even today, Lesnar isn't doing enough to put himself in the discussion.

Why? Because WWE simply pays him millions of dollars on an annual basis to only wrestle a handful of matches. And they tend to be easy victories for Lesnar. This, folks, is not a wrestling GOAT. Think of him as a modern Goldberg if anything else.

6 Has A Case: Steve Austin

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But Austin changed absolutely everything when he left WCW and joined WWE in 1995. When Vince McMahon moved towards the Attitude Era, he chose Austin to carry the way and lead WWE past WCW in the Monday Night Wars.

Austin's feud with the WWE chairman changed the course of pro wrestling forever, and without his services, there's a good chance WCW would have won the wars and put Vince out of business. No wonder he called Austin the greatest superstar in the company's history.

5 Doesn't Have A Case: Chris Jericho

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Only The Rock has a case for being a better microphone talker than Jericho. The latter is also a Grand Slam and Triple Crown Champion. And you can argue that no superstar in history reinvented themselves better.

But Jericho simply didn't spend quite enough time as a main eventer in WWE (this isn't his fault). And of course, he was in and out of WWE while touring with his band, Fozzy. It'd be unfair to put him above all the other wrestling greats, given they had greater longevity and overall impacts. That said, you can easily debate that Jericho is in the all-time top 10.

4 Has A Case: Ric Flair

Flair's energy and passion always fired up the crowd. And of course, we're talking about a 16-time World Champion who found ample success in both WWE and WCW. Let's not forget his run with Evolution, where The Nature Boy helped Batista and Randy Orton develop into world-class talents.

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And, oh yeah, Flair was only part of The Four Horsemen - perhaps the greatest and most iconic stable in the history of professional wrestling.

3 Doesn't Have A Case: Triple H

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Sure, he's a 14-time World Champion who's headlined seven WrestleManias while reinventing himself time and time again. But you have to ask how much of his success came simply from the fact that he's the son-in-law of the WWE chairman.

Not only that, but Triple H simply didn't match GOATS like Austin and Michaels when it came to in-ring work. His matches didn't always take your breath away. And of course, it doesn't help that The Game buried numerous big-named superstars during his career.

2 Has A Case: The Undertaker

Decorated in the ring? Check? Mic skills? Check? Ability to reinvent himself? Check. Putting other superstars over? Check. Championship success? Check. Leading his own stables? Check. A perfect WrestleMania streak that lasted two decades? Check.

Michaels didn't quite reinvent himself like Undertaker. Hogan and Flair didn't flourish in the ring like Undertaker. This man has put on a clinic for over three decades, and he remains as legendary and polished as ever.

Simply put, you can't find a flaw in the case of Undertaker being the GOAT. That's why it's easiest to argue that he is the best to ever do it.

1 Doesn't Have A Case: John Cena

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We're not taking anything away from Cena here. He handled all the pressure of replacing Rock and Austin, and he flourished as the company's main face for almost a decade. But is he greater than Undertaker, Austin, Michaels, Flair and Hogan? We can't put him above every single one of those guys.

Cena didn't really reinvent himself that much, and WWE's decision to never turn him heel was surprising and questionable. He may be a 16-time World Champion, but Cena doesn't have the longevity nor the in-ring moves to be considered the GOAT.

You can argue that he's in the top five all-time, but unless he wrestles for another 15 to 20 years (not happening), it's hard to envision Cena ever truly earning the "GOAT" status.

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