Every Monday night for the last few months we have watched Sin Cara wow the crowd with his high flying style and botch prone wrestling. While kids love the masked superstars of the WWE their have been countless others before them doing better manuevers and having better personas then the masked high flyers we see today. I wanted to share some of my favorite masked wrestlers that have graced my TV over the last twenty six years that I have been a wrestling fan. I can list a ton of great masked wrestlers but I have decided to list my ten favorites.
10.El Santo– A celebrity on the Mexican circuit I learned about El Santo from watching his movies on the Spanish language channels during my childhood. It wasn’t until years later that I learned he was an actual wrestler and not just an action hero. Here is a clip of one of El Santo’s films
9.Tiger Mask– Born from a manga series and known worldwide. My first introduction to Tiger Mask was Tiger Mask III who’s match I saw against the masked legend Jushin “Thunder” Liger. After seeing Tiger Mask in action I searched high and low for some of his older matches from when I was younger. Tiger Mask has gone through various incarnations with Tiger Mask V being the most recent.
8.Great Muta- I got to see Muta wrestle in a WCW/New Japan event and became a fan of his hard hitting strong style. Muta’s style looked incredibly painful and made matches have an air of realism that a lot matches lack nowadays. He always had a kick ass entrance and the mist wasn’t bad either. While seen with face paint most of the time Muta has worn a mask as well.
7.Black Tiger II- Sure it was Eddie Guerrero under the mask but the moves the appreciation of the Japanese fans made this persona a favorite of mine. As Black Tiger he defeated the likes of Wild Pegasus and Jushin Lyger. Here are some of the great moves Eddie perfected as Black Tiger II
6.El Generico – The “Generic” Luchador and superstar of ROH became a favorite of mine after his incredible feud with Kevin Steen. After that feud I scoured YouTube looking for more of El Generico’s previous matches. That feud made him a favorite in my book.
4. Ultimo Dragon- The Last Dragon joins this list from his work in WCW and later in the WWE. I always felt that the WWE dropped the ball with him and he may have gone on to become just a popular as Rey. Where did it go wrong? We may never know but Ultimo Dragon gave us some excellent matches while in WCW and WWE.
3.Rey Mysterio –Regardless of Rey’s body of work currently he has had some amazing matches with some of the best in the sport. I became a fan of Rey’s work from his matches on ECW with Psicosis and have followed his career since. I am shocked I found one of their original matches for you to check out.
2. La Parka-The Chairman!!! Nuff Said
1. Hayabusa- The Flying Phoenix is one of my all time favorites. His death matches in Japan were classics and I actually have some DVD’s that have his feud with Mr. Gannosuke. Hayabusa’s career was cut short when he slipped while attempting a moonsault and suffered paralysis. He has since been able to recover but I highly doubt we’ll see the Phoenix rise again.
Jushin “Thunder” Liger- Liger’s storied career has taken him around the world yet it boggles my mind that he never wrestled for WWE yet wrestled in TNA and Ring of Honor. Even if he’s never wrestled for WWE I feel that Liger is a true masked wrestling legend. I almost put him and Hayabusa tied for #1 but figured he deserved his own mention.