21. William Regal
Nice guy, amiable and approachable on social media, dedicated to his craft, but there's no way he should have finished this far ahead of his forefathers. How can Regal be No.21, Marty Jones not make the top 100 and Pete Roberts languish in the 400s? Regal's case is based around his early WCW work, a handful of New Japan bouts and his latter day WWE & NXT work, but there's a big, self-inflicted chunk missing from what should have been prime years. Not only is his output patchy, but his best stuff (whatever you deem it to be -- vs. Larry, the Arn match, the Christian and Hero stuff) isn't in the same stratosphere as the rest of the top 20. Regal was a great artisan whose output was a honest reflection of his life as a wrestler. He wasn't a 5 star, MOTYC type. He wasn't a huge star. He wasn't even that naturally talented. In another time and place, he might have been a plumber or an electrician or maybe a bricklayer. Jobs where you do your apprenticeship and learn a trade. That was the approach he took to wrestling. He learned his craft and worked hard for everything he got. Keenly observant, he developed an in-ring persona, added depth and detail to it, incorporated humour, and entertained people, which is the name of the game. There's no doubt about Regal's merits -- his acting and selling, the detail work, the wrestling skill he acquired. The question is how to you weigh that up against guys who were better wrestlers, bigger stars or in better matches? How do you measure Regal's character work with say, Jim Breaks, other than exposure? Regal seems to be the guy who went the furthest on fan favouritedom/favouriteship. Maybe on another day I'd see that as a victory. Maybe I'm influenced by the fact the last Regal match I saw (against Mutoh) illustrated how quality Regal performances are diamonds in the rough rather than well worn classics. Usually, I'd find that cool, but 21? Higher than Marty Jones and Pete Roberts, that's where I'm hung up.
20. Tatsumi Fujinami
Here's an example of how people can change: in 2006, I don't think there was a wrestler I thought was less cool than Tatsumi Fujinami. A decade later and there are a collection of Fujinami matches that I'd now deem "impossibly cool" -- the Ryuma Go series, the Teranishi fight, the Rocco match, the 2006 Nishimura MUGA bout -- and that's not including his more famous and critically acclaimed stuff. The epitome of an excellent wrestler. Polished all-round skills. One of the original Japanese globetrotters. Could work big or small both literally (heavyweight & lightweight) and figuratively (epic & intimate), and above all, cool. Very cool. Glad to see him get his recognition.