Between December 1985 and November 1988, Dave Meltzer published several lists of "rankings" in the Wrestling Observer looking at wrestlers. Sometimes people were split into weight classes or tag teams separated from singles wrestlers. Sometimes this was based on recent match ratings or someone was left off the list due to injury or inactivity. Obviously, it was subjective and based on personal opinion. However, it gives an interesting glimpse into which wrestlers had the most appeal to him while being "in the moment".
I've synthesized the information into a spreadsheet and present the findings here.
Singles (Many Appearances)
Singles (Several Appearances)
Singles (Few Appearances)
Tag (Many Appearances)
Tag (Several Appearances)
Tag (Few Appearances)
Ultimate Rankings 1986 - 1988 (Top 50 - included on seven or more lists)
Formula was based on overall average rank in each issue (tag/singles mixed together) with the highest and lowest appearances thrown out.
Several wrestlers were excluded from this list due to fewer appearances but would normally have made the list including Dennis Condrey, Tito Santana, Fumihiro Niikura, Fatu, Tama, Samu, Haku, Terry Funk, Black Tiger, Joe Malenko, Dean Malenko, Michael Hayes and Ole Anderson.