Thursday, April 18

Most Psychologically Intense Wrestlers

If you are even casually acquainted with wrestling vernacular, then you are probably familiar with the term, “ring psychology.” Psychology is a bit of an oblique concept in the world of pro wrestling. Basically, it’s a cerebral dance with the audience and possessing a specifically keen sense of timing and instinct.



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There have been certain wrestlers throughout history, who were known as brilliant “psychologists.” These wrestlers would use mind games to throw their opponents of their game and lose their focus. Here is our official ranking of the most psychologically dangerous wrestlers in history.


10 Kane Was Known As The Devil’s Favorite Demon For A Reason

Would Cycle Through Several Gimmicks Before Striking Gold As The Undertaker’s Brother

  • Kane Debuted at Bad Blood in 1997, during the first-ever Hell In A Cell Match
  • Kane Defeated Steve Austin for the WWE Championship in June of 1998
  • Kane got involved in politics after leaving wrestling


The entire premise for the Kane character is rooted in rather dark subject matter, and his introduction into WWE was in the midst of Paul Bearer’s psychological warfare with The Undertaker. Kane would not only use his massive size to intimidate opponents, but his subtle gestures and movements would add an extra layer of fear to his presence. When he was forced to unmask in 2003, Kane would emerge as an even more disturbing version of himself. He would taunt his opponents and fans with his violent fantasies and would actually deliver upon many of them. He would even translate the Kane character onto the big screen as Jacob Goodnight in the horror film, See No Evil.

9 You Will Never Forget The Name…

Dustin Rhodes Would Completely Transform Himself In Order To Portray The Goldust Character

  • Goldust is a second-generation wrestler, whose father is “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes
  • Goldust is the older brother of Cody Rhodes
  • Goldusts look was designed to resemble an Oscar statue


When Dustin Rhodes was offered a job with the WWE in 1995, he was tasked with portraying an androgynous character named Goldust. Dustin would agree, without even knowing what the word meant. What he constructed was one of the most provocative characters in not only WWE, but pro wrestling history. Dustin would fully immerse himself into the Goldust persona, seemingly determined to make anyone who watched him uncomfortable. He played mind games with wrestlers like Scott Hall and Roddy Piper, the former who would even opt not to work with him beyond one match. Goldust took psychology to an entirely new level, forcing people to confront their own views in ways that were deemed quite progressive at the time.

8 Steve Austin Was As Cold As Ice

Look Was First Inspired By Bruce Willis And Later, Woody Harrelson


  • Steve Austin originally debuted in WWE as The Ringmaster
  • His name was actually conceived by his second wife referring to a cup of tea
  • Steve Austin wrestled his first match in 19 years at WrestleMania 38

It’s probably odd to see Steve Austin ranked as #8 on any list involving pro wrestling, but this is primarily due to him becoming a more bombastic and extemperaneous version of himself over time. The origins of the “Stone Cold” character were quite dark and brooding. Steve would begin to shape the character in his mind after watching a documentary on the notorious hitman, Richard Kuklinski. It was Austin’s unrivaled intensity that would fuel his character to reach unprecedented heights in WWE, and in many ways, winning the Monday Night Wars with WCW. Look no further than his rivalry with Bret Hart, to see just how psychologically violent, Austin could be.


7 The Undertaker’s Intimidating Aura & Mystique Was Like No Other

Wrestled In WWE For 30 Years, Before Quietly Retiring In 2020

  • The Undertaker went undefeated at WrestleMania for over 20 years
  • The Undertaker was once told that he would never draw any money in the wrestling business
  • The Undertaker wisely reinvented himself several time throughout his career in WWE

Not only is The Undertake one of the most physically intimidating wrestlers of all time, he’s also one of the most psychologically intimidating. In many ways, The Undertaker can have his opponent beat before the match even begins, due to his incredibly overpowering aura. The Undertaker would force people to confront their own mortality in ways, as he was the personification of the “dark side”. In 1999, he would take things further by adding satanic elements to his persona, unleashing a side of himself that embodied pure evil. The Undertaker always simultaneously wrestled you in the ring and in your head.


6 Triple H Was One Of The Most Diabolical Wrestlers Ever

The Cerebral Assassin Was Always In Search Of Finding An Edge Over His Opponents

  • Triple H once wrestled under the name, Terra Ryzing
  • Triple H always seemed to be one step ahead of his opponents
  • Triple H is now the head of creative for WWE

You don’t earn the moniker, “The Cerebral Assassin,” without being a master of mindgames. Some would argue that Triple H never had the fiery charisma of a Steve Austin or The Rock. Instead, he used his well-developed intellect to psychologically combat his foes.

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Triple H has attained a stature in the wrestling business, that few if any other former wrestlers, ever will. He is as erudite and calculating outside of the ring, as he ever was in it. “The Game” will always be remembered as one of the most psychologically intense wrestlers to step in the ring.


5 The Apex Predator Played Mind Games

Randy Orton Once Had A Reputation For Having A Rather Difficult Personality

  • Randy Orton first won the WWE Championship when he was only 24 years old
  • Randy has been in several factions throughout his career
  • Randy Orton recently returned to WWE at Survivor Seriesafter being injured for over a year

Randy Orton is the epitome of the group that launched him; Evolution. In his original incarnation, Orton was more of a braggart and an instigator. It was during his 2008 to 2009 run though, that he channeled “The Viper” persona that we know today. The site of Randy Orton during this time was an uncomfortable one. He looked sinister and slinky, and even a bit creepy if we’re being honest, It would show a whole new side to Orton that allowed him to reach even greater heights in WWE.


4 When Jake Roberts Spoke, Everyone Listened

If A Man Is Powerful Enough, He Can Speak In A Whisper And Everyone Will Listen

  • Jake wrestled all over the territories, including Mid-South and Stampede Wrestling, before signing with WWE
  • Jake’s family was the subject of a Dark Side Of The Ring episode
  • Jake currently works for AEW

Mick Foley once described Jake as someone he “both genuinely liked and was troubled by.” In many ways, Jake was more of a snake than the python he carried with him to the ring. Not a particularly great athlete, Jake relied on his psychology to get himself over, and it worked like gangbusters. He had an ability to penetrate the psyche of his opponents, leaving them to wonder how to approach him. We would later learn that Jake was able to channel his demons so seamlessly, because those demons were quite real.


3 What About Raven?

Raven’s Love Of Grunge Music Influenced His Persona A Great Deal

Raven was a brilliantly layered character, who never seemed to reach his full potential. His methodology was almost Charles Manson-like, in that he would get others to do his bidding for him. He would earn his followers allegiances by being somewhat abusive towards them, both physically and psychologically. He once turned The Sandman’s own son against him in what was a decidedly uncomfortable storyline in ECW. Raven was someone who was tortured, mocked and hurt when he was vulnerable, and he blamed every member of society for his pain.


2 Mick Foley Brought The Mind Games With Three Different Faces

Foley Is A Bestselling Author In Addition To Being A Legendary Pro Wrestler

  • Mick Foley is a native of Long Island, NY
  • Mick Foley went to school with actor, Kevin James
  • Mick would often listen to Tori Amos to get himself psyched up for matches

Mick Foley’s entire identity is rooted in psychology and intensity. Not exactly boasting a bodybuilder’s physique, Mick had to find alternative methods to connect with the audience. He used not only his body, but his linguistic skills to craft one of pro wrestling’s most uniquely enduring personalities.

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He would go on to play 3 different characters throughout his career, often simultaneously. Mick’s opponents could never quite figure him out, and his perceived indestuctability would make him quite intimidating. Mick Foley’s mind is like no other, and one that could be an incredibly dark and twisted place at times.


1 Fans Were Entranced By The Eater Of Worlds

Bray Wyatt Left An Undeniable Impact On Pro Wrestling In A Relatively Short Time

  • Bray Wyatt was the son of wrestler, Mike Rotunda, and the nephew of Barry Windham
  • Bray’s younger brother is former NXT and WWE Tag Team Champion, Bo Dallas
  • Bray would pass away in 2023

This article is being written on the first day of 2024, just a few months removed from the untimely passing of Bray Wyatt. As fans, what hurts about Bray’s passing, is that we only got to see a small kernel of what he was truly capable of. Bray had a cinematic approach to wrestling that was ahead of its time. He reinvented himself in a short span, and he did so successfully each and every time. Part cult-leader, part movie monster, Bray was an infinite well of creativity and talent. He exercised psychology and mind games in a way that will likely never be exceeded or duplicated.


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