Think I’m going to go with a maybe harsh 3. He’s undoubtedly one of the better athletes of his day, very solid legit amateur style and a cut above most of his time. Great gimmick and he pulled it off incredibly well. Very good on the mic, really liked him on commentary - but I also wouldn’t say he’s in the very top tier of promos.
Some great matches but no real standout feuds in the grand scheme of things for me, really and truly not long enough as a bona fide main eventer altogether. An absolute a* upper midcard and could make any of the marque names look a million dollars. But he’s a 3.
I know what you mean, he never quite hit the stride that his talent, which was shown in flashes largely in matches with Bret Hart, deserved.
HOWEVER, I only just recently discovered his feud with Nick Bockwinkel in AWA which basically the reason he got booked like a big deal and a star when he signed for WWF, and that feud, even if in the territories just edges him into the 4 category for me but otherwise would have been a 3
Yeah by '87 the AWA was seriously winding down and Vince had already snapped up Hogan and Heenan and most of the big names years earlier, Bockwinkel would’ve been at the end of his run too but there’s some tremendous old school wrestling here for sure - if anything a little sad he never got as fair a shake in wcw or wwf.