Hulk Hogan turned the wrestling industry into what it is today. He's the biggest name of the modern era and it's not really even that close.
If we're talking "history", though, then Gorgeous George is either at the top or a close second. He's the one that made wrestling popular in the first place and gave it a television following. He was the same kind of cultural icon that Hogan is. People really, honestly hated him. From Wikipedia: "By the 1950s, Gorgeous George's star power was so huge that he was able to command 50% of the gate for his performances, which allowed him to earn over $100,000 a year, thus making him the highest paid athlete in the world."
Edit: Oh, and best wrestler? Shawn Michaels is the best in-ring wrestler I've ever seen and Ric Flair is the best in terms of having the complete package.