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POWER RANKINGS >>> JANUARY 1995
Kicking off a new run-down of the wrestling business, here Del Muir will provide an overview of who we ranked in 1994's Power 25 across WWF, WCW & ECW. Going forward, this is a feature we will be adding to the project highlighting who has made their name in the months that follow and should show a pretty interesting glimpse into the rise and fall of squared-circle stock.
1. Bret Hart - Best technical wrestler of the year, two 5-Star matches, WWF Champion for eight months, won at Wrestlemania X, mic work improved, brilliant rivalry with brother Owen.
2. Ric Flair - Longest reigning WCW Champion of the year, best overall performer, record numbers with Hogan, strong face & heel runs, unified International & Heavyweight titles.
3. Hulk Hogan - Biggest draw of the year, record numbers with Flair, lengthy title run, strong rivalry with Flair, great matches after lengthy absence, showed technical nous, good promo.
4. Shane Douglas - Longest reigning heavyweight champion on list, great matches with Funk, Sabu & Scorpio, best promo of the year, carried transition from Eastern to Extreme.
5. Owen Hart - King of the Ring winner, two five-star matches, great rivalry with Bret, huge Wrestlemania win, most improved promo of the year, highly evolved as heel persona.
6. Vader - Strong matches throughout year, delivered from headliner to mid-card, good rivalries with Flair, Sting & Guardian Angel, best super heavyweight in the world.
7. Steve Austin - Strong run as US Champion, great matches with Steamboat, broken away from Colonel Robert Parker, improved on mic, work horse throughout year.
8. Ricky Steamboat - Great matches with Flair at beginning of the year, Austin in middle of the year. Still solid in-ring performer, run with US Championship,
9. Shawn Michaels - Match of the year with Razor Ramon, runs with Intercontinental and Tag Team belts, made a star of Diesel, excellent promo's throughout the year.
10. Razor Ramon - Match of the year with Shawn Michaels, lengthy run as IC Champion, King of the Ring finalist, sole survivor at SS, best gimmick of the year.
11. Yokozuna - WWF Champion at beginning of the year, strong run with belt, still high level performer despite weight increase, two matches at WMX.
12. Cactus Jack - Possibly most under-rated performer in the country. Runs with Tag Titles in both WCW & ECW, best bumper in country, epic promo's throughout.
13. Paul E Dangerously - As an on-screen promo, untouchable on his day. As off-screen booker, puts together best TV in the country. By a considerable distance.
14. Diesel - Strong run throughout year, record eliminations in Royal Rumble, IC & Tag Title runs, good match at KOTR, improved promo, last WWF Champion 1994.
15. Sting - Outstanding first half of year, rivalry with Ric Flair, International Championship run, most popular WCW performer, faded since Hulk Hogan arrived.
16. Terry Funk - ECW Champion at beginning of the year, strong run in WCW as part of Stud Stable, match of the year candidate, good programme with Cactus Jack.
17. Sabu - Innovator of the business. Incredible gimmick, NJPW deal signed, match of the year candidate, great hardcore style, brought along Tazmaniac & Benoit.
18. Sherri Martel - A woman amongst men. Amazing examples of bump-taking throughout the year, can still make stars with presence, in high demand.
19. Steven Regal - Lengthy TV Title run, excellent strongstyle, good gimmick, solid promo, great experience for young age, able to face different opponent types.
20. 2 Cold Scorpio - Great rebirth in ECW, much-improved promo, finalist in NWA Title Tournament, good matches, strong programmes with Douglas & Borne Again.
21. 1-2-3 Kid - Match of the Year candidate, excellent agility and high-flying styles, experience of martial arts, great TV matches and PPV, well-developed gimmick.
22. Tommy Dreamer - Involved in one of the year's best rivalries, epic TV moments, greatly improved mic-work, carried Sandman through feud, great character development shown.
23. Dustin Rhodes - Big part of PPV of the Year, improved talking ability, strong feud with Stud Stable, young natural talent, needs stronger character for progression.
=24. Public Enemy - Joint Tag Team of the year. Strong backstage skits showing humour and seriousness, great brawling style, terrific end to the year for Roc & Grunge.
=24. Nasty Boys - Shared with the Public Enemy. Not as fresh an act, but also had outstanding matches throughout '94. Similarly brawling style, but no less impressive.
Bob Backlund - Great TV run, returned only last quarter. Still has potential.
Johnny B Badd - Strong TV Championship run, much improved, youngster.
Lex Luger - RR Co-winner, faded to mid-card after WM, many start-stop feuds.
Kevin Sullivan - Decent enough mid-card run as tag wrestler, decent promo.
Undertaker - Best character gimmick in business, bad '94. Lengthy absence, poor matches.
ECW - Benoit, Malenko & Tazmaniac. All great technically, some mic development needed.
As always, please feel free to share comment/opinion below on the 1994 Power 25 as well as thoughts on 1995 prospects.