It's crazy to think that someone like 'The American Dream' Dusty Rhodes probably wouldn't get a second look in WWE these days. The wrestling landscape has changed dramatically. Just imagine masters of the promo like 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper or Jake 'The Snake' Roberts trying to get over in the scripted TV era.
That sea change in aesthetics and presentation puts a spotlight on those rare talents who transcend styles and gimmicks, the ones who represent timeless wrestling archetypes we've grown up with.
There are certain roles that have always thrived in wrestling, whether you're talking about the serious (and occasionally boring) AWA, the wacky entertainment-fueled world of WWF/WWE, or the give-as-good-as-you-get, take-no-prisoners outfits in the South and Midwest dominated by bruisers and bar fighters.
Rey Mysterio is an all-time great, but would he have gotten a chance in Eddie Graham's Championship Wrestling from Florida? Would Kyle O'Reilly make it in Jerry Lawler's gimmick-heavy Continental Wrestling in Memphis? Would Samoa Joe work in '80s WWF? What would Bill Watts think of 'The Velveteen Dream' or Tyler Breeze?
It's plain to see that not all eras and not all promotions would judge wrestlers equally. But let's roll up our sleeves, pore over the current talent rosters of ROH, WWE, New Japan, and more, and see which modern wrestlers would succeed in any era.