Hey everyone! It’s The Wrestling Classic here with another list for ONE37pm. And this time, I thought I’d take on the very hard task of listing the 30 best WWE wrestlers of all time.
These are the superstars and legends that had their biggest impact in the WWE and the sort of names that people could argue became larger than the company in terms of superstardom. Plus these picks are the superstars whose names pop in your head when you think of the WWE and its rich history. This list will be controversial, for sure. It’ll definitely cause debates about who should and who shouldn’t be on it.
However, this is totally subjective to my opinion after considering all factors including impact, storylines, and overall popularity. It also isn’t really a biased list either because if this was really my personal opinion on who the 30 best WWE wrestlers are, John Cena might not even be on it.
This list consists of superstars of both genders. This means guys such as Batista, Eddie Guerrero, Big Show, and others who might have made the top 30 if the list was just men didn’t make the cut when including the women. That all being said, let’s get to the list. Enjoy!
The thing about the Four Horsewomen is that in such a short period of time, they all were bonafide future first ballot hall of farmers. Their role in the women’s revolution is undeniable. Sasha Banks herself was involved in the match that really set the bar and got a ton of male fans into women’s wrestling when she wrestled Bayley at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn. Outside of that, Banks has been involved in countless memorable feuds and matches.
The Legit Boss has been a part of many “first-ever” moments for the women’s division, such as the first-ever women’s Hell in a Cell match, the women’s PPV main event, and one-half of the first two black women to main event a WrestleMania. Banks has even transcended from the WWE into entertainment by being cast for the Star Wars franchise show, The Mandalorian. Most of all, Sasha Banks has a loyal fanbase that will follow her to the world’s end which makes her one of WWE’s greatest stars.
During the seven years CM Punk was away from wrestling, the fans chanted his name whether it was appropriate or not. That alone should let you know the impact CM Punk had during his time in the WWE. In many ways, CM Punk changed the game as we know it today. He didn’t look like your typical WWE poster boy. He was covered in tattoos and looked the opposite of what you would think a straight-edge superstar would look like even though he was straight-edge. He was the darling from the independent scene who actually came into the WWE and exceeded expectations even if it was by shaking the system.
He won multiple world titles and dropped the pipebomb promo that brought a lot of lapsed WWE fans back into the product because it felt real after years of PG Cena. The success and popularity of guys such as CM Punk and Daniel Bryan opened the doors for the future and laid the groundwork for the independent darlings who were signed to the WWE in later years. Guys such as Kevin Owens, Seth Rollins, Adam Cole, Johnny Gargano, Sami Zayn, and the list goes on.
When Becky Lynch first appeared on the main roster from NXT alongside Sasha Banks and Charlotte Flair, she didn’t have the same momentum coming up as those two. Becky had never won the NXT Women’s Championship and hadn’t quite really found herself yet. Becky was great, but there was something missing. Even though she was the first-ever SmackDown Women’s Champion, something still felt off. However, once she did find herself, she never looked back. The rise of “The Man” was a fun ride and her popularity skyrocketed. The initial plan was to have her portrayed as the heel, but the fans were so behind her it was impossible to do so.
Becky Lynch was then involved in the first-ever women’s main event of WrestleMania, where she ended up with both Women’s Championship titles in the end. The popularity her character gained led to outside opportunities, such as appearing on television shows and other mainstream outlets. Now whether Becky Lynch is a babyface or a heel, she has become one of the biggest stars of WWE’s women’s division. I do believe by the time her career wraps up, she will be recognized as one of the best WWE wrestlers of all time.
Although I first recall seeing Rey Mysterio in World Championship Wrestling, his lengthy off-and-on run in the WWE can’t be denied. “The Biggest Little Man” joined the WWE in 2002 and still competes in the company today. Rey Mysterio is an innovator in the ring. Although he is the underdog in most situations, the fans almost always believe he can defeat the odds.
Mysterio did just that when he won the 2006 Royal Rumble and ultimately won the World Championship at WrestleMania 22. He is colorful and larger than life. Mysterio appeals to both adults and children. Although his style has changed a little, he hasn’t slowed down one bit. Mysterio may not only be the greatest Mexican wrestler of the modern era, but he is definitely one of the best WWE wrestlers of all time.
Chyna was a once-in-a-lifetime superstar that broke all gender barriers in the WWE. Debuting as Hunter Hearst Helmsley’s bodyguard in 1997 by rag-dolling Marlena, the fans knew they were seeing a woman they have never seen before. Chyna was strong, intimidating, and powerful. Chyna would also become one of the founding members of the popular D-Generation X stable. The thing that made Chyna really unique was that fans could buy that she could stand toe to toe against the men.
Chyna would be the first woman to compete in the Royal Rumble and the only woman to win the Intercontinental Championship. Chyna would also become the Women’s Champion as well. Although Chyna was a force to be reckoned with, she also showed she could be sexy and powerful. Chyna was truly the “Ninth Wonder of the World” and this list that features superstar ladies would be incomplete without her.
With all the great WWE superstars that have come across fans’ screens throughout the years and the decades of history the company has, it’s really hard to include current wrestlers in their greatest WWE superstars of all-time list. A lot of them are still building on their legacies. But I can’t deny that if Seth Rollins retired today, he would be in the Hall of Fame. He’s the first-ever NXT Champion and made his debut on the main roster as part of the popular trio called The Shield.
Once he broke out of the group by joining the Authority, he would eventually win the Money in the Bank and pull off the heist of the century when he cashed in at WrestleMania 31 and became the WWE Champion. He might even be in his absolute prime right now, which is scary considering how much he’s already achieved. He held the WWE Championship and United States Championship at the same time, became a six-time Tag Team Champion, a Grand Slam Champion, and was the 2019 Royal Rumble winner. The other great thing about Rollins is his ability to evolve as a character over the years.
For most older fans, Bruno Sammartino would most likely be in the top five or ten on this list. I mean there are a handful of wrestlers I’m probably missing from the Golden Era of WWE, such as “Superstar” Billy Graham, Bob Backlund, Freddie Blassie, and several others. Regardless, I can’t deny the popularity and reign of Bruno Sammartino. Sammartino was from the era where the business was heavily protected so it was as real to him as it was to the fans.
The Italian Strongman is widely regarded as the greatest professional wrestler of all time. He held the WWE Championship for 11 years over two reigns. He headlined the arena, considered the Mecca for the WWE, Madison Square Garden 157 times and sold it out 45 times. When you think about the WWE under Vince McMahon Sr’s ownership, the first name that comes to mind is Bruno Sammartino. He is truly one of the greatest WWE superstars of all time.
Daniel Bryan was smaller and an indy darling in the land of big men and sports entertainment. There seemed to be a point where it seemed like Bryan would never be considered to be the face of the company. He may not have been the “chosen one” for all the decision-makers in the WWE, but he was the chosen one by the fans. Bryan had won the Money in the Bank and become the World Champion, but that reign ended in an 18-second loss to Sheamus. He would finally reach the mountaintop again by defeating John Cena at SummerSlam 2013, only to lose the belt minutes later to Randy Orton.
In the proceeding storyline, he would continuously be screwed out of the championship which only got the fans behind him even more. When he wasn’t in the 2014 Royal Rumble and therefore not being penciled into the main event of WrestleMania XXX, the fans rebelled. This eventually led to the “Miracle on Bourbon Street,” when Bryan defeated Orton and Batista on the same night. He would then be forced to retire due to concussions in 2015, but he made his return to in-ring action in 2018 to become a WWE Champion once again. Daniel Bryan overcame all the odds to become one of the greatest WWE superstars of all time.
As soon as she hit the scene in the WWE with Essa Rios, Lita stood out. In a period of time when the women in the WWE were used more for eye candy and portrayed as sex symbols, Lita fit the role but offered more by being a professionally trained wrestler. Lita spent time in Mexico, the independents, and even ECW before appearing in the WWE. Therefore when she had to get physical, she performed better than the majority of the other women on the roster in 1999.
Lita’s pairing with the Hardy Boyz, which created “Team Xtreme,” became one of the most popular trios of the early 2000s. Lita would go on to be both a popular fan favorite and a solid heel during her career. Lita inspires many little girls, including AJ Lee and Becky Lynch, to become WWE superstars. Lita would become a four-time Women’s Champion and a Hall of Famer. She’s a trendsetter for women’s wrestling and one of WWE’s greatest stars.
Kane’s career crossed multiple generations of wrestling. The Kane character made his debut in 1997 and still makes sporadic appearances today. Kicking off his career as the Undertaker’s long-lost brother in one of the most unforgettable rivalries in WWE history, Kane made his mark right away. Kane would evolve over the years – his evolution through the years involved him eventually learning how to talk without a voice box, taking his mask off for us to learn that the burns he thought he was hiding were psychological, putting the mask back on, and going corporate.
He would go on to have many memorable feuds and even win the World Championship on multiple occasions. He has been a consistent presence in the WWE and always a threat to his opponents. If the Undertaker is considered one of WWE’s greatest creations, then Kane has to be pretty high up on that list too. There will never be another “Big Red Machine” walking through “Hellfire and Brimstone” to instill fear in the WWE.
The bombshell from Canada was a life-long wrestling fan. Although Trish Stratus came from a background of modeling, fitness, and sports radio hosting, it was inevitable that she would pursue the world of professional wrestling. When Stratus got signed to the WWE in 1999, a lot of people saw her as just eye candy and a sex symbol. It was not her fault though because that was just how she was portrayed creatively by the company.
Trish wanted to wrestle though and eventually put all of her focus on becoming an in-ring performer. Trish Stratus would become a seven-time Women’s Champion and a Hall of Famer. Trish Stratus continues to be one of the most popular legends of the WWE. Although she retired in 2006, she came out of retirement a handful of times and most recently passed the torch to Charlotte Flair. Stratus broke out of a stereotype of just being eye candy to being an ass-kicker. And for that, she’ll always be one of the best WWE wrestlers fans have ever seen.
From attending WrestleMania 6 in Toronto as a fan to main eventing WrestleMania himself, Edge has lived the boyhood dream. Joining the WWE in 1998 as this mysterious tortured soul, Edge would start on a journey that he’s still on today. From teaming his kayfabe brother and real-life best friend Christian to joining the vampire group the Brood and to stealing the show at WrestleMania with unforgettable TLC matches, Edge was always over-delivering. When he broke out on his own, he would become the King of the Ring, the first Money in the Bank winner, a Grand Slam Champion, a Royal Rumble winner, and compete in the main event of WrestleMania XXIV.
He’s been a World Champion 11 times and Tag Champion 12 times. In 2011, Edge was forced into early retirement due to neck injuries and thus inducted into the Hall of Fame a year later. He would enjoy a career in Hollywood during that time. He would eventually be cleared and make his surprising return to wrestling at the 2020 Royal Rumble. Since then Edge has won another Royal Rumble and main evented WrestleMania yet again, proving to be one of the all-time greats.
Kurt Angle is a legit Olympian and American Hero, winning a Gold Medal in the 1996 Olympics for amateur wrestling with a broken (FREAKIN’!) neck. He signed with the WWE in 1998 when he decided to pursue professional wrestling. He would make his debut at the 1999 Survivor Series and went on to have one of the greatest rookie years in the WWE by winning the European, Intercontinental, and WWE Championship in his first full year (2000) on the roster. He also won the King of the Ring tournament that first calendar year, too.
Angle would win even more championships, main event WrestleMania XIX, and become a Grand Slam Champion. The Olympic hero continued to be a staple in the company until his departure in 2006. He would return in 2017 to be inducted into the Hall of Fame and still make sporadic appearances. In the end, he left fans with top-notch matches and even more unforgettable segments. Angle is one of the few stars who could make a fool out of himself in a comedic role, but you had to take him seriously in the ring no matter what. He’s truly one of the best WWE wrestlers to have ever competed in the squared circle.
There is every other woman in professional wrestling… and then there is Charlotte Flair. Breaking into the business to fulfill her late brother Reid’s dream, there was no way to tell if she would become the “bar” of the division. Of course, the expectations were high since she was the daughter of the legendary “Nature Boy” Ric Flair. But this was also a burden for her to break out of her father’s shadow. Although fans might argue that Charlotte was booked too strong or been given way too many opportunities, “The Queen” has always delivered and capitalized on those opportunities.
It’s come to a point where even defeating Charlotte means something monumental. Flair is a two-time NXT Women’s Champion and 12-time Women’s Champion. Flair has won a Royal Rumble and was involved in the first-ever women’s WrestleMania main event. There are a plethora of first-ever matches that Flair has been involved with. Flair, like her other Four Horsewomen companions, is already a bonafide first-ballot Hall of Famer. But the longer she is around, the more she becomes one of the best WWE wrestlers to grace us with her presence.
“The Ayatollah of Rock N Rolla” Chris Jericho made the jump from WCW to WWE in the midst of the Monday Night Wars. All the “Jericholics” rejoiced as Monday Night Raw became “Monday Night Jericho” and things were never “everrrrrrr” the same again. Jericho quickly started collecting championship titles and by 2001, he was a Grand Slam champion. He is a nine-time Intercontinental Champion and became the first-ever Undisputed Champion. Throughout the years, Jericho has feuded with all the top stars across multiple generations – from The Rock and “Stone Cold” to John Cena and Randy Orton to Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins.
He hosted his own talk show called the “Highlight Reel,” which helped progress other superstars’ storylines and angles. Jericho would always evolve his character to stay fresh and relevant. He would cross through to the mainstream by being featured on television shows and commercials. In his time off, he would focus on his band Fozzy and grow their presence on the music scene. Jericho is an entertainer’s entertainer and definitely one of the best WWE wrestlers of all time.
Roman Reigns made his debut within the popular trio of The Shield. Although he was supposed to be the power in the group, he quickly became the chosen one to push. When The Shield split up in 2014, the efforts to make Roman the next top singles star were accelerated. This was also the same time when fans started turning on Roman because they felt like he was being shoved down their throats. Reigns would win the Royal Rumble to boo’s and challenge Brock Lesnar for the championship at WrestleMania 31.
He wouldn’t win the championship till later in 2015 and he would go on to become World Champion four more times and become a Grand Slam Champion. However, fans still didn’t gravitate to Roman Reigns due to his booking. It wasn’t until Reigns returned after some time off in 2020 with a new attitude as a heel that fans began to dig him. The “Tribal Chief” has now been on a two-year reign as the Universal Champion and defeated Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 38 to also win the WWE Championship. Whether you like him or hate him, Roman Reigns is in god mode now and is one of the greatest WWE stars still building his legacy.
Mick Foley gave his body for our entertainment. Whether he was Mankind, Dude Love, Cactus Jack, or simply Mick Foley, he always went above and beyond to make sure everyone got their money’s worth. He made his debut in 1996 as Mankind, immediately targeting The Undertaker in a classic feud where we finally saw someone get the upper hand on “The Phenom,” both physically and mentally. Although he debuted as this sadistic self-mutilating psychopath, Mankind morphed and became a lovable underdog.
That was unless he was Cactus Jack, where everyone was forced to acknowledge his unhinged behavior. Foley would go on to become a three-time WWE Champion and Hall of Famer. He left fans with countless memories, including being thrown off and through the Hell in the Cell cage by The Undertaker at the King of the Ring in 1998. That infamous clip will forever be a viral wrestling moment. He was pivotal in helping a ton of upcoming talent look like tough guys, such as Triple H, The Rock, Randy Orton, and Edge. At the end of the day, Foley’s contributions to the business and WWE can’t be denied. Mrs. Foley’s baby boy is recognized the world over as one of the best WWE wrestlers ever.
I think wrestling fans don’t give “Rowdy” Roddy Piper enough credit for his part in the 80’s Rock N’ Wrestling boom. He was the bad guy that everyone hated so much that they wanted to see Hulk Hogan get his hands on him. Do you think everyone would have been rooting for Hulk Hogan so much if they didn’t hate Piper so intensely? Piper was the top bad guy in the mid-80s.
The way he would berate his guests on “Piper’s Pit” provided fans with classic lines people still quote today and moments, such as the time he smashed a coconut over “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka’s head. Piper’s Pit was iconic and the blueprint for all the wrestling talk shows that followed, such as Chris Jericho’s “Highlight Reel” and The Miz’s “MizTV.” Roddy Piper stirred the pot like nobody else could. And when he was a good guy, he was hard not to love. Regardless, Roddy Piper could make you feel and that’s what makes him one of the best WWE wrestlers of all time.
Triple H literally eats, sleeps, and breathes professional wrestling. Even today, you might even say he eats, sleeps, and breathes WWE. Debuting in the company in 1995 as the arrogant blue-blood Hunter Hearst Helmsley, his rise to the top didn’t come easy. Triple H was coming up with an all-star cast with names such as Steve Austin, The Rock, Mick Foley, Kane, and many other established stars. When HHH’s real-life friendship with Shawn Michaels became an on-air act, fans began to see a different side of Hunter and he would officially come to be known as Triple H.
He would continue to evolve over the years while stacking up extra accolades. He won the King of the Ring, became a Grand Slam Champion, won the Royal Rumble on two occasions, and is a 14-time World Champion. He would become a part of legendary factions such as DX, Evolution, and The Authority. He would be active on the roster for over three decades and finally retire in 2022. “The Game” married Stephanie McMahon in real-life and is now one of the key executives of the WWE calling all the shots. He continues to be one of the most important people for the company and is forever recognized as one of the best WWE wrestlers.
Brock Lesnar is the greatest attraction of the last ten years. Making his WWE debut in the Spring of 2002, Brock Lesnar made an immediate impact. Five months after debuting, he had won the King of the Ring tournament and then the WWE Championship from The Rock at SummerSlam 2002. Brock would dominate the top of the card by winning a Royal Rumble, main eventing a WrestleMania, and becoming a three-time World Champion before leaving the WWE in 2004.
After pursuing other ventures that included a successful MMA career in the UFC, Lesnar returned to the WWE in 2012 by confronting Cena. “The Beast” has been an attraction ever since – he dominates the heavyweight division whenever he’s around. He ended the Undertaker’s undefeated streak at WrestleMania XXX, won the Money in the Bank, won another Royal Rumble, was in the main event for four more Wrestlemania’s, and is now a 10-time World Champion. Brock Lesnar brings legitimacy, excitement, and danger whenever he appears onscreen. Simply put, he’s the biggest attraction of the modern era.
It’s almost as if Randy Orton was born for this business. “The Viper” is a third-generation superstar as his father is the wrestling legend “Cowboy” Bob Orton. Orton had some tough competition being part of the famous 2002 OVW class that also featured Brock Lesnar, John Cena, Batista, and Shelton Benjamin. He made his main roster debut in 2002 and has been a staple for the company ever since. Everyone else from that class has either left for a period of time or retired for good while Orton has been a constant WWE entity.
Early on he was scouted to join Triple H, Ric Flair, and Batista to form the stable Evolution. He would become the Intercontinental Champion and eventually the youngest World Champion in 2004. Orton has won two Royal Rumbles, a Money in the Bank, is a Grand Slam Champion, has been in the main event of WrestleMania, and is currently a 14-time World Champion. The “RKO Out Of Nowhere!” memes have also made Orton popular amongst a generation of kids where some may not even watch wrestling. At this point, Orton is already considered one of the best WWE wrestlers of all time. He just continues to build on that legacy as time continues to move on and solidify himself as one of the best WWE wrestlers.
Andre The Giant is possibly the greatest attraction in wrestling history. The term “Giant” in his name isn’t an exaggeration either. Andre was actually a giant among men and he just happened to be part of the wrestling business. He started his career in 1966 and wrestled all over the United States as a special attraction until becoming a mainstay in the WWE in the 80s when Vince McMahon took over the company from his father. Andre the Giant was a fan favorite until he aligned himself with Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. Heenan convinced the undefeated Andre that Hogan was keeping him as a friend because he was too scared to defend the championship against him.
This led to the WrestleMania III main event that broke all sorts of records as a ton of people saw Andre get bodyslammed by Hulk Hogan. Although this wasn’t the first time Hogan slammed Andre or the first time Andre got slammed in the general sense, it was the first time it occurred in front of a national viewing audience. Andre’s health deteriorated over time, but he stuck around the WWE until 1993. He was more than just a wrestler – he’s also a pop culture icon. Many non-wrestling fans remember him from commercials, talk shows, and his role in The Princess Bride film.
Bret “The Hitman” Hart is known as the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be. Hart started his WWE career in 1984 and was quickly paired up with Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart to form the formidable tag team of the Hart Foundation. This is where the Hitman would find himself via his signature pink and black gear. They would become two-time tag team champions as one of the most memorable tag teams in the 80s. In the early 90s, Hart would break out on his own and become one of the most popular superstars in the business. He came off as legit, a fighting champion, and an inspiration for fans around the world.
When WWE was trying to move away from the physically larger wrestlers due to the steroid trials in 1992, Bret Hart became the face of the company. He would go on to become a Grand Slam Champion, win the 1994 Royal Rumble, become the King of the Ring, main event WrestleMania multiple times, and go on to become a five-time WWE Champion. Bret Hart may have been a WWE lifer if Vince McMahon was able to honor his contract. He also may have returned earlier to the WWE after his stint in WCW if the Montreal Screwjob and the kick from Goldberg never took place.
Regardless, to this day Bret Hart is highly praised by fans and wrestlers in this business for his timeless work. He is still a Canadian hero and definitely one of the best WWE wrestlers to ever lace up a pair of boots.
There will never be another “Macho Man” Randy Savage. Savage broke onto the WWE scene in 1985 and immediately carried himself as the next big thing. The top managers were all bidding to sign him as a talent, but Savage swerved us all when he introduced his own manager and real-life wife Miss Elizabeth. The duo would be remembered as one of the most iconic couples in wrestling from that point forward. Initially, Savage was a cocky, arrogant, misogynistic, and self-absorbed bad guy who was obsessed with being in the spotlight and treated Elizabeth like his property, which was despised by fans.
However, he could always flip the switch and get the fans behind him due to his charisma, larger-than-life presence, and ability to entertain the masses. Macho Man would go on to become an Intercontinental Champion, the King of the Ring, and a two-time WWE Champion. He would crossover into the mainstream with his partnership with Slim Jim and appear on several talk shows. Savage transcended wrestling to become a pop culture icon that is still imitated or cosplayed today. He knew the business wasn’t about fitting in but about standing out and that is what makes “The Madness” one of the best WWE wrestlers of all time.
Shawn Michaels is arguably the greatest in-ring performer of all time. Although some may not agree, his body of work over his WWE career provides us with a ton of evidence. He wasn’t called the showstopper for no reason. Shawn Michaels began his WWE career as one half of The Rockers with Marty Janetty in the late 80s. They would bring their innovative high flying and fast-paced tag team wrestling style to an already stacked tag division. However, Shawn Michaels would throw Janetty through a barber shop window to break out on his own in the early 90s and the rest was history.
Michaels would become the first Grand Slam Champion, win two Royal Rumbles, main event numerous WrestleMania’s, wreak havoc as the founder of D-Generation X, and reign as a World Champion on five separate occasions. In 1998, Michaels was forced to retire due to a bad back injury. “The Heartbreak Kid” would return to the ring in 2002 to have another unforgettable run with the company where he was exposed to a new generation of fans as the greatest ever. In 2010 he officially retired again, even though he returned for one tag match in 2018. In the end, Michaels inspired a whole bunch of the wrestlers that compete on TV today – he is truly one of the greatest WWE superstars of all time.
If this was a list of the most popular WWE superstars of all time, The Rock would place much higher. Especially since he is globally recognized as one of the most popular people in the world due to the combination of his wrestling and Hollywood career. He’s pretty much a household name! The Rock made his WWE debut in 1996 as the blue chipper known as Rocky Maivia. He’s a third-generation superstar that’s the son of “Soulman” Rocky Johnson and the grandson of “High Chief” Peter Maivia. Although he was a talented and enthusiastic rookie, the fans quickly turned on him as society wasn’t keen on that sort of character in the late 90s.
Maivia eventually turned on them by creating The Rock persona, which was a self-absorbed, arrogant, cocky character who talked about himself in the third person. The Rock would go on to become one of the most popular stars in professional wrestling due to his charisma and ability to entertain the millions (AND MILLIONS!) of his fans. He would win the Royal Rumble, become a Triple Crown Champion, main event WrestleMania, and become a 10-time World Champion. From his entertaining promos to his legendary feuds with Steve Austin, Mick Foley, Triple H, and John Cena to name a few, The Rock truly was the “Most Electrifying Man in Sports Entertainment.” And also one of the greatest WWE superstars of all time.
The WWE has been known to create some of the craziest, wackiest, and outlandish characters over the years. There have been very few of them that actually reached some level of success and none that had the longevity of The Undertaker. The Undertaker was basically a zombie cowboy who dug holes and took souls. He presumably died multiple times during his WWE career… and was already dead? There are many reasons why this shouldn’t have worked but for four decades, it did. “The Deadman” made his debut at the 1990 Survivor Series alongside Brother Love. Eventually, Paul Bearer would be introduced as his manager and it was the perfect fit.
During his career, The Undertaker would become a seven-time Tag Team Champion and a seven-time World Champion since winning his first World Title from Hulk Hogan just a year after his debut. He also won a Royal Rumble and had a 21-0 undefeated streak at WrestleMania until losing to Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania XXX. He has been the conscience of the WWE by being involved in some of the most memorable rivalries for the company. He always evolved his character to keep it fresh and was always somewhere near the top of the card. “The Phenom” may be the WWE’s greatest creation, which makes him one of the best WWE wrestlers.
If you know how I feel about John Cena, then you know this is tough for me to even write. I can’t say I’m the biggest fan or even a fan of the John Cena character whatsoever.
That being said, it’s undeniable that he was the franchise and face of the WWE for 15 years. For a generation of kids, teenagers, and now some young adults, John Cena was their guy. Although half the fanbase of teenagers and young adults that watched during his time on top loathed him, John Cena carried the weight of the fans that did support him. He was part of the stacked 2002 OVW Class and made his debut that same year confronting Kurt Angle by vowing to bring “ruthless aggression” to the WWE. He went from being a blue chip rookie to a rapper, which really got him over with the fans. He even released a top-selling rap album during this time. At WrestleMania 21, he would go on to win his first WWE Championship from JBL.
Since then, John Cena has become a 16-time World Champion, main evented multiple WrestleMania’s, won two Royal Rumbles, and been a mainstay on the top of the card. He has crossed over to the mainstream by appearing on television shows, in movies, on talk shows, and literally just being everywhere as the face of the company. Cena has been involved in high-profile feuds and defeated some of the greatest names in wrestling history. He’s granted more wishes than any other celebrity for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Although he has always been a polarizing figure and is now spending more time now to pursue his career in Hollywood, he is undoubtedly one of the best WWE wrestlers have ever laid witness to.
If “Hulkamania” never ran wild, WWE might not even still exist. It’s a bitter pill to swallow for most fans and even Vince McMahon himself, but it’s true. It took two major players in Hogan and McMahon to make sure the first WrestleMania worked and for the Rock N Wrestling era to take off. If Hogan wasn’t as popular as he was in the 80s with McMahon’s marketing machine behind him, wrestling really wouldn’t be what it is today. When McMahon decided he wanted to break all the rules and take his regional product to a national level, he knew he needed a charismatic guy like Hogan to do it. Hogan had his first stint in the WWE in 1979, but his relationship with Vince McMahon Sr. soured when he portrayed Thunderlips in Rocky III against his Sr.’s wishes. “The Hulkster” would really find the babyface Hogan character in the AWA before Vince McMahon Jr brought him back to the WWE.
Hogan would usually portray the underdog that would always overcome the odds, plus he believed in training, saying your prayers, and eating your vitamins. As a true superhero of the 80s, Hogan would be involved in the first nine main events of WrestleMania (he didn’t wrestle in the WrestleMania iv main event, yet he still appeared there), win two Royal Rumbles, become a six-time WWE Champion with one reign going for four years (1,474 days), and become a two time Hall of Famer. At one point, he was the most requested celebrity for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and continued to be featured in TV Shows, talk shows, and movies.
When he returned to WWE in 2002 after his stint in WCW under the villainous “Hollywood Hogan” persona, the fans quickly cheered him back to being the Hogan they knew and loved. He was one of the biggest stars of the 80s and 90s, but more importantly, he is arguably the greatest WWE superstar and one of the best WWE wrestlers of all time.
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin was the perfect superstar at the perfect time. It was like catching lightning in a bottle. To this day, he might be considered the “coolest” professional wrestler of all time because he was legitimately a badass.
Society was changing in the late 90s from the wholesomeness we once knew to more sex, drugs, grunge, hip hop, nu-metal rock, and anti-hero culture. People didn’t want the typical white meat babyface or superman superhero, but they wanted the guy who said and did what he wanted even if that meant beating up his own boss. They wanted the guy who did everything a villain would do but do it for the people. That was “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. He never tried to be a good guy or change his brash attitude to appease anyone – that’s why everyone loved him and still does to this day.
Austin made his WWE debut as the “Ringmaster” in 1995 and it was short-lived. By 1996, Austin began showing a more brash and cocky attitude that really came to the forefront during his victory promo after winning the King of Ring. This would become known as the infamous “Austin 3:16” promo. The character would be defined by other unforgettable moments, such as the time he broke into Brian Pillman’s house and his feud with none other than Bret “The Hitman” Hart. The entire time, the “Texas Rattlesnake” was portrayed as a selfish, rule-breaking, foul-mouthed bad guy. But he was so good at it and also constantly proved his toughness that he inevitably became a fan favorite. He also became one of the most popular stars in the business during the hottest time in the wrestling business. Stone Cold defined the Attitude Era for the WWE and helped the pendulum swing in their favor during the “Monday Night Wars.”
Austin would win three Royal Rumbles, become a Triple Crown Champion and win the WWE Championship six times. From Zambonis to beer trucks, Austin left us with so many great memories. He left us with so many great promos and catchphrases, such as the infamous “What?” chant that still annoys fans and wrestlers to this day. He had memorable feuds with Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Vince McMahon, The Rock, Triple H, Undertaker, and so many others. He’s appeared on TV Shows, movies, talk shows, and all over the entertainment scene and transformed into a pop-culture icon.
Although he retired in 2003 due to neck injuries, he never lost his popularity. He returned for one last match against Kevin Owens at WrestleMania 38 and was still as over as he ever was. I mean have you ever really heard any wrestling fan say that Stone Cold sucks? He was WWE’s most popular star during their most popular era and that alone makes him without a doubt, the greatest WWE superstar of all time and the top pick on this list of the best WWE wrestlers.
I hope you all enjoyed this list of the best WWE wrestlers of all time. Let me know if I missed any superstars you think should have made this list but didn’t.
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