Facts About 1990s Wrestlers We Just Learned That Made Us Say 'Oh Yeah!'

Over 2.1K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of Facts About 1990s Wrestlers We Just Learned That Made Us Say 'Oh Yeah!'
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Vote up the most interesting facts about '90s wrestlers.

Many fans feel professional wrestling was at its best in the 1990s, as World Wrestling Entertainment transitioned from the family-friendly content of the 1980s to the "Attitude Era," and the Ted Turner-owned World Championship Wrestling entered the fray. Wrestling superstars like The Rock, Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H, and Chyna were everywhere, and both the villains (AKA "heels") and the heroes (AKA "babyfaces" or "faces") were equally promoted. The WWE in the '90s featured vast storylines, epic crossovers, and drama that rivaled any Greek tragedy.

Even those who watched as kids in the '90s will be excited by these amazing facts about their favorite wrestlers, including the Undertaker, Ric Flair, and Goldberg. Let us know which story made you yell "Oh yeah!"

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    1,758 VOTES

    Jake The Snake’s Cobra Bit Randy Savage And Put Him In The Hospital

    "Macho Man" Randy Savage's hair, clothes, and signature phrase, "Oh yeah!" make him the epitome of a '90s wrestling superstar. One of his enemies, Jake "The Snake" Roberts, had his own iconic look, which included carrying a huge cobra with him into the ring. The wrestlers' feud was a fan favorite, but it all came to a head when the snake bit Savage at the WWF Superstars of Wrestling event on November 23, 1991. 

    The bite was scripted and the snake had been devenomized, but it was still a disturbing moment. In fact, the WWE aired the event but censored the actual bite, which was deemed too horrific for audiences. While Roberts and Savage discussed the bite prior to the event, they anticipated the snake merely biting, not striking and holding on aggressively for several minutes before they finally succeeded in ripping it from Savage's arm.

    Five days later, Savage was rushed to the hospital with a fever of 104 degrees, his arm grossly swollen from infection. He was given antibiotics and recovered, but the snake did not; it perished 12 days after the incident. 

    In an interview with IGN Sports, Savage recalled that Roberts said to him, "You killed my snake, dude," and that the story of the bite, and the cobra's demise, became part of their legendary feud. 

    1,758 votes
  • Ric Flair Survived A Plane Crash And A Broken Back
    Photo: Yagobo79 / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

    Ric Flair, born Richard Fliehr and better known as the Nature Boy, made his debut with the WWF in 1991, becoming its Wrestler of the Year multiple times. Flair was tough in the ring, but the fact that he had survived a horrific plane crash and a broken back made him more than a WWF star. 

    On October 4, 1975, Flair was on a small plane when it crashed in a North Carolina orchard. The pilot perished, fellow wrestler Johnny Valentine was paralyzed, and Flair broke his back in three places. At age 26, he was told he would never wrestle again. 

    However, just a few months later, Flair was back in the ring, although he changed his style due to his injuries. He won his first NWA World Heavyweight Championship in 1981, defeating Dusty Rhodes. After 16 title wins, Flair shocked fans by joining Vince McMahon's WWF in 1991, where he charmed fans with his glittery persona. 

  • Goldberg Is An Animal Rights Activist And Spokesperson For The ASPCA
    Photo: Nguyễn Phan Kỳ / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 4.0

    Bill Goldberg's powerhouse career in the WCW made him hugely popular in the wrestling world, which he entered into after a disappointing stint in the NFL. While best known for his legendary and semicontroversial winning streak, he dedicated his time outside the ring to fighting animal cruelty.

    Goldberg acted as a spokesperson for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and even spoke before Congress regarding a bill to prohibit cock-fighting. Goldberg filmed public service announcements decrying cockfighting: "Animal fighting is not a sport. It's a crime."

    Some criticized Goldberg for hypocrisy, saying he participated in a sport that was, for some, the definition of violence and cruelty. But he fired back, saying that he chose to get in the ring. "The whole thing is: These animals have no choice."

  • Dubbed "The Ninth Wonder of the World," Chyna began her career in the WWE as the bodyguard of Triple H and Shawn Michaels, and became an original member of D-Generation X at the height of the Attitude Era.

    WWE owner Vince McMahon was skeptical at first about creating a storyline around Chyna as a legitimate wrestler, worrying it might damage the brand by having a woman defeat her male opponents. 

    A physical powerhouse at 5 feet 11 inches tall and more than 200 pounds, Chyna opened a new frontier for female wrestlers, as she competed against male wrestlers as an equal, rather than just as a prop. Born Joanie Laurer, she quickly became a sensation in the WWE, and by the time she won the Intercontinental Championship at No Mercy in 1999, she had caught the attention of another male entrepreneur, Hugh Hefner.

    Chyna modeled nude for Playboy in 2000, which launched a controversy within the professional wrestling community, which did not know how to handle a woman as powerful as Chyna who was not afraid to use her agency and capitalize on her own sexuality. 

    A forerunner of many female athletes, including Ronda Rousey, Chyna passed in 2016 at the age of 46 due to an overdose of OTC and prescription drugs. She leaves behind a legacy as the original WWE diva. 

    764 votes
  • Stone Cold Steve Austin remains one of the most recognizable wrestlers of the 1990s thanks to his smoothly shaved scalp, "Stone Cold Stunner" finishing move, and biblical catchphrase, "Austin 3:16 says I just whipped your ass!" When he won the 1996 King of the Ring, it changed the WWE (then known as the WWF) forever and introduced one of the greatest heroes of the era.

    But surprisingly, Austin was not originally slated for the win in 1996, although he certainly had his own compelling character arc. Triple H, one of the most-loved WWE heroes of all time, was originally written to win King of the Ring that year, but instead he made a tremendous error, committing the most egregious sin that any professional wrestler could in the notorious "Curtain Call" of May 1996. 

    The incident took place at Madison Square Garden on May 19, where Kevin Nash and Scott Hall, both of whom were categorized as "babyface" characters, competed as WWE Superstars for the last time. Behind the scenes, Nash and Hall were part of a group of WWE stars known as "The Kliq" who were friends in real life, but whose characters were enemies. X-Pac, Triple H, and Shawn Michaels made up the rest of the Kliq, and they often caused controversy off-camera due to their real-life friendship. 

    At the end of the event, the Kliq joined Nash and Hall in the ring for a group hug, which delighted some fans but absolutely horrified others, especially WWE owner Vince McMahon. 

    Triple H, also known as Paul Michael Levesque in real life, may have been genuinely sad to see his coworkers go, but when he embraced them in the ring as the heel Triple H, he broke character. This is considered the ultimate sin in professional wrestling, and as punishment, Triple H lost his King of the Ring title shot, fought only low-tiered opponents for the next year, and was forever remembered as the man who broke character.  

  • Bret Hart Filmed A Tell-All Documentary About The Dark Side Of Professional Wrestling
    Photo: Hitman Hart: Wrestling with Shadows / Vidmark / Trimark

    Bret "The Hitman" Hart was one of the most popular wrestlers in the WWE's roster in the 1990s, but a real-life disagreement between Hart and WWE owner Vince McMahon Jr. led to an on-air altercation that rocked the wrestling world.

    As a way to document his experience and probably expose the machinations of McMahon and his empire, Hart worked with Paul Jay to create a documentary about his experience in the wrestling world, called Wrestling with Shadows.

    Released in 1998 just after the turf war between McMahon's WWE and Ted Turner's World Championship Wrestling, the documentary offered viewers insight into the feud between Hart and some of his WWE colleagues, as well as the devastation the wrestler felt as his character became increasingly maligned in the community. 

    Wrestling with Shadows provides a unique view into the reality of working in a fictional space, and just how that space changed during the late 1990s.