(Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)

I interviewed pro wrestling legend Shawn Michaels, and that got me thinking of some of my favorite WWE Golden Era wrestlers.


The Golden Era of what we now call the WWE is defined as 1982-1993. Back then, it was the WWF, it was owned by Vince McMahon, and Mr. McMahon was hell-bent on getting his World Wrestling Federation into as many homes as possible. So if you’re like me, and you grew up as a wrestling fan in the ’80s, you probably grew up as a WWF fan, due to the fact that it was the WWF that was on TV the most.


One of my earliest wrestling memories is from the early years of the Golden Era. I grew up in Greenwood, a neighborhood in Wakefield. Sometimes on Sunday, after service at the Greenwood Union Church, my dad and I would walk down Main St. to visit my great-grandmother, who would always have molasses cookies waiting for us. And Postum for her and my dad.

I have a clear memory around the age of 6 of walking through her kitchen, entering her living room, and seeing her sitting on the sofa with the TV on (loudly; she was old). She was watching a Sunday morning wrestling program, rooting for a wrestler named Chief Jay Strongbow. It didn’t take me long to figure out that on Saturday and Sunday mornings, after my cartoons, there was wrestling on. And it ruled.


Throwback to Some Great WWE Golden Era Wrestlers & Gimmicks

The Golden Era coincided with my years as a grade schooler and a junior high kid. In other words, the best time to get into arguably the best era in all of professional wrestling. Here are some of my favorites from those years. This isn’t a ranking, just a list that I’ll probably keep adding to. If there’s a wrester you’d like added, let me know on the ROCK 92.9 Facebook or Twitter.

  • Andre the Giant

    Sure, Hulk Hogan slammed him. But only because Andre let him. The greatest of the Golden Era, the greatest of all time.

  • Bob Backlund

    Backlund did so many things in his pro wrestling career, but my childish brain will always remember him as the man who brought technical wrestling to the WWF.

  • Chief Jay Strongbow

    Again, my earliest wrestling memory. Then I grew up and found out that the wrestler using the gimmick wasn’t an actual Native American. Wildly inappropriate.

  • George "The Animal" Steele

    Maybe the greatest gimmick of the entire Golden Era. Fond memories of George “eating” the turnbuckles.

  • Hillbilly Jim

    “Don’t go messin’ with a country boy, a country boy, a country boy…”

  • Honky Tonk Man

    The Elvis gimmick. How I hated this man. What a great heel.

  • Hulk Hogan

    The Hulkster. We all have our favorite Hulk Hogan memories. Mine is watching him make King Kong Bundy bleed in the steel cage.

  • Jake "The Snake" Roberts

    My kid brother Nate’s favorite Golden Era wrestler. A favorite of so many of that generation.

  • Jesse "The Body" Ventura

    The wrestler who was so popular and so charismatic that he was cast in a Stephen King movie.

  • "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan


  • "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka

    My first favorite wrestler. You can see why.

  • The Junkyard Dog

    The dog collar and chain. The “THUMP” trunks. Who didn’t love JYD?

  • Nikolai Volkoff

    It was the ’80s. You HAD to have a Cold War gimmick.

  • "Macho Man" Randy Savage

    His work in the ring was bested only by his legendary promos and interviews with Mean Gene.

  • "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair

    Speaking of all-time great wrestlers who gave all-time great promos…

  • "Ravishing" Rick Rude

    That ring entrance. What a fantastic heel.

  • Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat

    Another early favorite of mine. High-flying and loveable.

  • "Rowdy" Roddy Piper

    Whether it was in the ring or in Piper’s Pit, nobody did it better than Rowdy Roddy.

  • "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase

    “Money, money, money, money, moneeeeeyyyy…”

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