Wrestling in the Disco Decade was miles removed from today’s glitz and glam, but it was just as entertaining, if not more so. Indeed, the best wrestlers of the 70s tore up the ring with great aplomb and meted out enough hurt to echo through the decades. How many of these all-time greats do you remember?
The man who was born to wrestle, Ric Flair dazzled audiences with his in-ring persona of a jet setter playboy. His career spanned the 1970s and 1980s and he accomplished more than anyone could have imagined.
Andre The Giant
A true pioneer of professional wrestling, Andre The Giant’s size didn’t just make him an attraction at ringside but also made him one of the best wrestlers in history as well. Famed not only for being a big man but also possessing good skills on the mat as well, Andre wrestled throughout much of the decade before injuries forced him into retirement during 1989.
One of Hulk Hogan’s most famous rivals throughout 1980s WWE Championship matches were Terry Funk and Dory Funk Jr., collectively called “the Funks.” Known for their daredevil style in the ring, Terry and Dory had a mixed success rate during their prime years before finally turning heel in 1986 for an extended period.
Terry Funk was one of the most accomplished, well-known and respected professional wrestlers ever to make his way into the ring. With a career spanning over four decades he became famous for being able to adapt to any style of wrestling or opponent that came up against him while capturing titles such as NWA World Tag Team Championships with Dory Funk Jr., WCW Hardcore Championship, ECW World Television Champion, AJPW All Asia Tag Team Champion among others.
Superstar Billy Graham
Superstar Billy Graham had a long and illustrious career that spanned over two decades. With an in-ring persona of ‘The World’s Strongest Man’, Superstar was able to capture titles such as WWF Championship, WWWF Heavyweight Championship, NWA Texas Brass Knuckles Title among others.
Known for his villainous persona in the ring, The Sheik was one of wrestling’s best heels when he first entered into the sport. One of his most infamous storylines being where he kidnapped champion Bobo Brazil while defending a match and holding him hostage at gunpoint until an hour before their bout started!
With over twenty years of experience as a wrestler, The Spoiler was one of the best in-ring performers of all time. With his trademark ski mask and tights that were always torn to shreds, he used moves like ‘The Spoiler Special'(a piledriver) to get himself over with wrestling crowds around the world.
With a career spanning some twenty years, Ernie “Big Cat” Ladd was one of wrestling’s best heels. Known for his ‘caterpillar’ style in the ring and known to be one of the toughest wrestlers on earth, he would often use moves like powerbombs or body slams as weapons against other opponents.
With a career spanning over two decades, Giant Baba was one of the all-time greats in Japan. Known as “The World’s Strongest Wrestler”, he used moves like his signature ‘Banzai Drop’ to end many matches and became an icon for Japanese wrestling fans worldwide.
The younger of the Brisco Brothers, Jack was better known for his technical wrestling skills than anything else. Trained by legendary wrestler ‘Nature Boy’ Buddy Rogers, he would win a total of 13 championships and hold more tag team gold with partner Ric Flair than any other duo in history.
Known as the “Living Legend” of sports entertainment, Bruno Sammartino wrestled for 18 years and captured America’s imagination. In 1968 he was crowned ‘WWWF Champion’ in a tournament but would hold it (and his all-time record reign) for an unprecedented eight years without being defeated.
A wrestler, politician and founder of the 800-pound gorilla of New Japan Pro Wrestling, Antonio Inoki was best known for his use of heavy strikes mixed with shoot wrestling. He also became famous in America on ‘Monday Night Raw’ when he fought WWE Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar in an MMA style match that ended brutally.
A wily woman who feuded with other female wrestlers in a way that resembled pro wrestling, Moolah was best known for her feuds and title reigns. She captured the NWA Women’s Championship on two occasions (1964-1965) and held it for an incredible 28 years until she retired in 1984.
(Like Wrestlers of the 70s? Then you might like our article on Wrestlers of the 80s, click here. Or how about Wrestlers of the 90s, click here.)