Who are the toughest wrestlers of all time?

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April 10, 2012

"Dr. Death" Steve Williams was one of the ring's toughest men.

Steve “Dr. Death” Williams, who we signed with WWE late in his pro career, is generally regarded as one of the most feared men ever in the business. Doc was a legit, four-time NCAA All American heavyweight wrestler and played in four bowl games as a dominating offensive lineman for the OU Sooners. Plus, Doc embraced physical confrontation . . . in other words Doc liked to fight. Highly trained, massively strong, naturally nasty 300 pounders in amazing physical condition were considered bad medicine by all that wanted to test them.

In my career, I’ve never been around anyone that was any tougher than Dr. Death. It’s true that Doc once had to have 108 stitches in his eye thanks to a shot by Brad Armstrong on Mid South Wrestling television in Shreveport, La., but Doc never missed a booking and was wrestling in Biloxi, Mississippi the next night — 108 stitches and all. Watts embraced Doc, Jim Duggan, The Steiners and several other Mid South wrestlers who Watts knew could handle themselves in the Wild West atmosphere of Mid South. 

Tough wrestlers have never been uncommon. Competing and performing through injuries, enduring crazy travel schedules and wrestling with no offseason  just lends itself for one to have to be tough to make it long term and with success in sports-entertainment.

Mostly sizzle and not enough steak is a good combination for one to be future endeavored.  

Yes, men like Haku, The Iron Sheik, BlackJack Mulligan, Dr. Death, Brock Lesnar, Kurt Angle, Road Warrior Hawk and Undertaker always come up in conversation when toughness is discussed within the business. This is a partial list of men who have distinguished themselves as “tough guys” and by no means is the definitive collection of individuals who have earned the rep as bad apples.

However, let’s not discount immensely talented men like Triple H, Edge, Arn Anderson, Steve Austin, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Mick Foley and a litany of others who have overcome serious injuries only to rehab like demons to be able to return to the ring and to continue to perform at an amazingly high level.

That may be the ultimate definition of toughness inside the squared circle — having the will to overcome a serious injury to return to elite status as a main eventer.

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