The news that Daniel Bryan is out for surgery got me thinking about the best wrestlers under six feet in WWE history. The great thing about lists is they are always subjective. These five men I think are all worthy of being on this list and their talent far exceeds their stature. This list has men that have held more than just a Light Weight Title, they have held Tag-Team Titles, Intercontinental Titles, World and WWE Titles.
A couple things before we get to our list of superstars. There is a common theme of a lot of these smaller guys having had more than their fair share of injuries. I looked up on the internet for the billed heights of wrestlers and based the list on that. Chris Jericho as an example was too tall to make this list as he is billed as 6 feet tall. That is the cut off for our list. The other thing is Chris Benoit on wrestling terms would be on this list. I as a person can’t compartmentalize to the point write and praise the wrestler Chris Benoit without thinking of his tragic end of his real life and that of his family. This is my list and as far as the lists go unless otherwise stated this is just “MY” opinion so don’t hold anyone else on the staff responsible for them unless they are mentioned specifically.
5. Dean Malenko: Known as the “man of 1000 holds” he was a great technical wrestler and deserved the nickname. He had classic matches with Eddie Guerrero, Chris Jericho, Rey Mysterio and others. Those matches and his great in ring talent helped him, but as much that might have his lack of skill on microphone held him back. He did inspire one of my favourite promos in WCW from Chris Jericho, who is his feud with Dean claimed to be the man of “1004” holds. This led to a promo where Jericho would attempt to list all 1004 holds. Malenko was part of the “Radicalz” in 2000 that made the jump to WWE. Majority of reasons that make Dean qualified to be on this list happened outside of the WWE.
4. Rey Mysterio: Like Melenko, Rey spent time ECW, WCW and WWE. He unlike Dean had a long run with WWE that is just now perhaps coming to an end. He has actually had to brief runs as WWE Champion. The great thing about Rey is his ability to work with almost any size wrestler from the Big Show on down. He has been the classic baby face for his entire WWE run. That is pretty rare that someone with a long run in the company stays on one side of the fence. He is beloved by kids and looks like a comic book hero come to life. Injuries have always been a problem and held him back in more recent days.
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3. Dynamite Kid: He has in many ways inspired so many smaller competitors to get into wrestling. He was paired with Dave Boy Smith as part of the long time British Bulldogs tag-team in WWE. His high flying take no prisoners style was what got him noticed, but over time would cause him many injuries. His run in the WWE lasted from summer of 1984-1988. He was not known for being the nicest guy outside of the ring to many. Still without him there is a whole generation of undersized wrestlers that may never have got in the business at all. The moves and things he was doing back in the 80’s were far ahead of their time. Sadly he was paralyzed in 1997 and forced to use a wheelchair with no use of his left leg.
2. Daniel Bryan: Is there anything I can really say about this guy that hasn’t been said over and over at this point. We are all very familiar with his story and his improbable rise to the WWE World Championship. He is the classic story of a good guy getting what he truly deserves. That story has taken a really bad turn of late. The personal real life loss of his father and professionally this injury and some pretty awful booking has created a lot of adversity. Bryan is a fantastic worker and has become a good talker. He is the best underdog baby face the WWE has had in years. His story is not finished but I think it will be hard for him to find a way past number one on our list.
1. Eddie Guerrero: He lied; he cheated and did things in a ring that were amazing. He was a brilliant technical wrestler and on that alone would be worthy of being on this list. Eddie was more than just a fantastic technical wrestler. What got highlighted in his time in WWE were what a great entertainer and performer he was as well. The only thing that seemed to hold Eddie back were his own personal demons. Sadly they cost him time in the business on the main stage. What ultimately is the most tragic thing is with those demons conquered the consequences of them took him from us far too soon.