Just for the record.... Magnum T.A. never wrestled for WCW. Nor did Wahoo McDaniel, Lou Thesz or Jack Brisco, while the likes of Tully Blanchard, Dory Funk Jr., and Dusty Rhodes only actively competed there sporadically.
Confused? Many people mix up World Championship Wrestling with the National Wrestling Alliance, but WCW is essentially the name Turner Broadcasting gave the NWA's Jim Crockett Promotions in 1988. So for this Top 50 list, we are looking at wrestlers, managers and other legends from WCW beginning in 1988.
Considerations for top spots in the Top 50 WCW Legends include the following:
How many World Champions did they have?
How many other championships with WCW did they capture?
What kind of impact did they have on the promotion overall (allowing for managers, valets and other on-camera personalities to be included on this list)?
Are they often identified as either a "WCW guy" or someone who spent considerable time there?
One note: We're not including anyone who came aboard WCW once they were purchased by the World Wrestling Federation in early 2001. Not only were almost all of them WCW originals to begin with, but the horrific Alliance storyline would make it hard to distinguish who truly was a WCW Legend and who wasn't.
Ready? Here we go!
Eddy (not quite "Eddie" yet) Guerrero started in WCW in 1995 after a few runs as enhancement talent. During the next five years, he would capture the United States Championship, as well as the Cruiserweight Title, form the Latino World Order and feud with his nephew Chavo, among other highlights.
Although Dusty Rhodes was mostly finished as an active wrestler when he returned to WCW in 1991, he was still a prominent personality that could still be counted on to manage wrestlers, commentate on pay-per-views, and even lace up the boots from time to time whenever the situation called for it.
The Nasty Boys
The Nasty Boys debuted in 1990 for WCW, mostly feuding with Rick and Scott Steiner. They returned three years later and ended up capturing the WCW World Tag Team Championships three times. After Jerry Sags retired, Brian Knobbs briefly became a singles wrestler.
Paul E. Dangerously
One of the top managers in WCW history, The Original Midnight Express, The Samoan Swat Team, Jack Victory, "Ravishing" Rick Rude, Arn Anderson, "Beautiful" Bobby Eaton, Larry Zbyszko and "Stunning" Steve Austin were just some of the people who became Paul E. Dangerously Guys.
Mike Rotunda had a handful of different personas, including Captain Mike Rotunda, Michael Wallstreet and VK Wallstreet. He also captured the NWA Television Championship during the WCW era.
While controversial, it's hard to deny that Vince Russo isn't one of the most identifiable personalities in WCW, both on and off the screen. Russo played the arrogant owner, as well as mysterious rep from The Powers That Be. Did I mention that he was also WCW World Champion?
Rey Mysterio Jr.
The most popular high-flyer in WCW history, Rey Mysterio Jr. captured the Cruiserweight Championship five times, and the World Tag Team Championship three times. He was also a driving force behind the Filthy Animalz and feuded with Eddy Guerrero and Kevin Nash.
One of the first Mexican wrestlers to experience success in WCW, Konnan captured the United States, Television and World Tag Team Titles. He also joined factions including The Dungeon of Doom, nWo (and nWo Wolfpac) and The Filthy Animals during his five-year run in WCW.
Stunning Steve Austin
Years before he became "Stone Cold", Stunning Steve Austin was an up and comer in WCW programming, capturing the Television Title shortly after his debut and holding on to the United States belt and Tag Team Championships with Brian Pillman as the legendary Hollywood Blonds.
Not only was Kevin Sullivan a major backstage force, but he also wielded lots of power on camera. The Games Master was associated with groups including The Varsity Club, Sullivan's Slaughterhouse, The Faces of Fear and The Dungeon of Doom during his WCW years.
The Midnight Express
While various combinations of The Midnight Express were around before WCW, the Jim Cornette-managed combination of "Beautiful" Bobby Eaton and "Sweet" Stan Lane is the most well-known and captured both the World and United States tag team championships and feuded with The Road Warriors.
The Fabulous Freebirds
Although the most famous incarnation of The Fabulous Freebirds was Michael "P.S." Hayes, Terry "Bamm Bamm" Gordy and Buddy Roberts, in WCW it was mostly Hayes and Jimmy "Jam" Garvin that won both the World and United States Tag Team Titles. A third member, Badstreet, also joined the crew briefly.
Barry Windham was already established in the NWA and became an even bigger name in WCW when he joined The Four Horsemen. Among the belts he won in his career were the United States, World Tag Team and NWA (not to be confused with WCW) World Heavyweight Title in 1993.
"Ravishing" Rick Rude
"Ravishing" Rick Rude debuted in WCW in 1991 after spending several years in the World Wrestling Federation as a top heel. He almost immediately captured the United States Title from Sting and was a key member in both The Dangerous Alliance and the new World order when Rude returned in 1997.
The Giant (a/k/a The Big Show) won the WCW World Heavyweight title in his very first match with the company - over Hulk Hogan, no less! He also became a charter member in The Dungeon of Doom and nWo factions while competing against everyone from Kevin Nash to Sting.
Chris Benoit had two separate stints in WCW beginning in 1992. During his second tour starting in 1995, he became a member of The Four Horsemen and collected the World, United States, Television and Tag Team championships.
Arn Anderson was far more than a founding member of The Four Horsemen. He held the WCW Tag Team championships five times with Tully Blanchard, Larry Zbyszko, Bobby Eaton and Paul Roma. He was Television Champion four times. He even got a pinfall victory over Hulk Hogan on Nitro!
The Road Warriors
The Road Warriors were going strong when Jim Crockett Promotions morphed into WCW. They feuded with The Four Horsemen, The Midnight Express and Dusty Rhodes before leaving the company in 1990. Years later, they had one last run in the company together, which included matches with Harlem Heat and Sting and Lex Luger.
Sure, Scott Hall first appeared in WCW in 1989 to little fanfare, and his second run as Diamond Studd didn't exactly set the world on fire, but his third tour of the company left a lasting impression. Showing up as a WWF defector in 1996, Hall was the impetus for the new World order, the company's largest faction and angle ever.
To this day, Booker T brags that he was a five-time WCW Champion (although one of those happened after the WWF absorbed WCW). He also held the Tag Team titles a record 10 times with his brother Stevie Ray, four Television Championships and even a United States Championship along the way.
Behind the scenes, it would be tough to argue the profound impact that Eric Bischoff had on the history of WCW. But even on camera, he was the original voice of Monday Nitro, and his run as the rogue president-turned-nWo mouthpiece was one of the more enjoyable character developments in the company's history.
We mentioned earlier the impact that Scott Hall had on the development of the nWo and its impact on WCW history, but Kevin Nash was equally responsible for that success. In addition, he became a five-time World Champion, once by ending the incredible undefeated streak of Bill Goldberg, and he successfully led the nWo Wolfpac faction before his group merged with Hulk Hogan's nWo Hollywood group.
"Macho Man" Randy Savage
Although "Macho Man" Randy Savage is primarily remembered as a WWF guy, he experienced quite a bit of success during his six years in WCW. Not only did he capture the WCW World Title four times, but he also won a 60-man World War Three battle royale. Along the way, Savage tangled with the likes of Hulk Hogan, Sting, Ric Flair and "Diamond" Dallas Page in many a pay-per-view main event.
Bill Goldberg had an unprecedented undefeated streak which began in late-1996, steamrolling en route to the WCW World Title. Unfortunately, the streak ended two years later at the hands of Kevin Nash, after which he feuded with the likes of Sid and Bret "Hit Man" Hart before WCW was sold to WWF sans Goldberg.
"Nature Boy" Ric Flair
Except for a handful of years, "Nature Boy" Ric Flair was a constant force in WCW, ending up as a sixteen-time World Champion, forming various incarnations of The Four Horsemen. Flair had legendary feuds with Ricky Steamboat, Hulk Hogan, Sting, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, Barry Windham and others.
Whether you thought he was the greatest commentator in the history of our sport, or a shill that had to repeat some of the biggest whoppers in WCW history, Tony Schiavone was a constant voice in the company's announcing booth for almost all of the company's run.
Madusa was by far the most prominent female wrestler in WCW history. Starting off in 1991 as a member of the Dangerous Alliance, she returned in 1995, infamously dropping the WWF's Womens Championship in the garbage on Monday Nitro. She was also WCW's only female Cruiserweight Champion.
Terry Funk was perhaps best remembered during his WCW stints by attacking NWA World Champion Ric Flair in 1989 and piledriving him through a table. He would return to the company several more times, including as a member of Colonel Rob Parker's Stud Stable and as WCW Commissioner in 2000.
Cactus Jack was a fixture of WCW programming for many years, feuding with the likes of Sting and Big Van Vader and even losing part of his ear during a WCW Germany show in 1994.
After a brief WCW run as Scotty Flamingo in 1992, Raven returned to the company five years later in his most current persona, one that surrounded him with an entire Flock to watch his back, and one that led him to becoming the United States Champion. Quoth the Raven, nevermore.
Lord Steven Regal
Debuting in WCW in 1993, Lord Steven Regal quickly ascended the mid-card and became Television Champion four times. Managed by Sir William, he also formed successful tag teams with the likes of Jean-Paul Levesque, Earl Robert "Bobby" Eaton and "Squire" Dave Taylor during his two runs with the company.
Chris Jericho started in 1996 and appeared to be on the road to being a permanent mid-carder when a heel turn a year later turned his fortunes around dramatically. Bodyguard Ralphus in two, he captured the Cruiserweight nd Television Titles and feuded with everyone from Rey Mysterio Jr. to Bill Goldberg.
Johnny B. Badd
When Johnny B. Badd debuted in WCW in 1991, he was a heel Little Richard impersonator. Eventually, he changed course and captured the World Television Championship on three occasions, competing against the likes of Maxx Payne, Arn Anderson and others during his run.
The other half of The Hollywood Blonds was Brian Pillman, who underwent several persona changes during his WCW years. He was introduced to fans as "Flyin' Brian", became a Blond with Steve Austin, was one of The Four Horsemen and left as "The Loose Cannon".
Jeff Jarrett's initial run in WCW in 1996 had him as a temporary member of The Four Horsemen, which ended after he and Steve "Mongo" McMichael came to blows. He returned in 1999 as "The Chosen One" and managed to hold the World Championship four times and U.S. Championship three times.
Harley Race was semi-retired when he first wrestled in WCW in the early 1990s. He later managed Lex Luger and Big Van Vader to the WCW World Championship, proving that he could pass along his knowledge as an eight-time former World Champion to the next generation.
"The Natural" Dustin Rhodes
"The Natural" Dustin Rhodes was one of the most successful WCW competitors in the early 1990's, capturing every belt except for the World Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight Championships. He feuded with Blacktop Bully, Steve Austin and Rick Rude among others.
Right from his WCW debut in 1991, Sid Vicious was pegged as a future World Champion. While it never happened as one of The Skyscrapers or as one of The Four Horsemen, Sid fulfilled his prophecy in 2000. Sid ended his WCW career a year later by fracturing his leg on PPV.
Tully Blanchard was a top heel in the Jim Crockett Promotions days who carried over to WCW as a key member of The Four Horsemen. Along with Arn Anderson, Blanchard held the World Tag Team Championships twice, making life a living hell for the likes of Dusty Rhodes and The Road Warriors.
Ron Simmons became the first African-American World Champion in 1991, unseating Big Van Vader and holding the championship for five months. Beyond that, he and Butch Reed formed the Teddy Long-managed tag team Doom, which held the tag belts.
The Rock 'n' Roll Express
Although they were far more popular in the Jim Crockett Promotions, The Rock 'n' Roll Express were still a big draw in WCW. Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson feuded with The Four Horsemen, Doom and other top tag teams.
Rick Steiner begin in WCW as a member of The Varisty Club. He then turned babyface and teamed with his brother Scott Steiner as one of the most popular duos in WCW history. When Scott turned on him, Rick became a singles wrestler and collected a variety of singles and tag team champions along the way.
Bret "Hit Man" Hart
Bret "Hit Man" Hart joined WCW following his much-publicized WWF depature in late-1997 as the hottest free agent in wrestling. Even though WCW's booking decisions didn't adhere to that status, Hart headlined several pay-per-views while capturing the World, United States and Tag Team championships in a relatively short period of time.
Ricky Steamboat first came to WCW in 1989 and engaged his old rival Ric Flair to a classic series of matches for his NWA World Title. He also had legendary rivalries with Lex Luger, "Ravishing" Rick Rude and "Stunning" Steve Austin.
"Diamond" Dallas Page
"Diamond" Dallas Page began in WCW in 1991 as a manager of The Fabulous Freebirds and The Diamond Studd, but within a few years made the transition to wrestler. By the height of WCW's popularity, Page became one of the company's most popular performers, capturing the World Championship and teaming on pay-per-view with mainstream stars like Karl Malone and Jay Leno.
Scott Steiner debuted in WCW at the end of 1988 and soon began teaming with his brother Rick Steiner, leading to one of the most popular tag teams in history and seven-time Tag Team champions. But by the late-1990s, he underwent a massive career transformation as Big Poppa Pump, capturing the World Heavyweight, United States and Television titles.
Big Van Vader
One the biggest villians in WCW history, Big Van Vader debuted with the company in 1990. It wouldn't be until 1992 when he was managed by Harley Race that he would destroy Sting to capture the World Heavyweight Championship for the first of three times. Vader also had massive rivalries with the likes of Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Cactus Jack and others before leaving the company in 1995 for the WWF.
When WCW first opened its doors, Lex Luger was seen largely as an upper mid-carder who could be counted on to have big matches with the likes of Ric Flair and Sting. His status changed when he captured the WCW World Title in 1991 and turned heel, and he was a key character in the ongoing conflict between WCW and the new World order.
If not for Hulk Hogan, it's hard to say that WCW would have experienced the same success it had. Arriving in 1994 after a lengthy stint in the World Wrestling Federation, Hogan headlined dozens of WCW pay-per-views, both as The Hulkster and as the nWo's "Hollywood" Hogan. Hulkamania also ran wild over the WCW World Title, capturing that belt six times.
Sting is perhaps the only constant in WCW history, performing for the company the entire time. He ended up as a six-time World Champion (plus owning virtually every other belt in the company), acted as WCW's franchise player and locker-room leader and engaging in rivalries with Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, Lex Luger, Vampiro, "Ravishing" Rick Rude and many others over the years.