The WWE is one of the biggest names in sports entertainment. It started out in 1952 as the Capitol Wrestling Corporation and it promoted under the banner of the Worldwide Wrestling Federation. Eventually, it changed its name to the World Wrestling Federation. In 2002, it was renamed to World Wrestling Entertainment, which was further simplified to the WWE in 2011. They have given us the most memorable professional wrestlers in the business, constantly reminding us of their greatness through the company’s extensive video library.
Here is a list of the top 10 most popular WWE wrestlers of all time.
1. Shawn Michaels
He is HBH, The Heartbreak Kid. He was introduced as “The Showstopper” and “The Headliner.” He was part of Degeneration X with Triple H. He was athletic and inspired, which is even more amazing considering that he almost retired in 1998 with two herniated discs. Though he was involved in controversies like “The Montreal Screwjob” that victimized Bret Hart, Michaels has acquitted himself well with his all around entertainment and skills. His signature move was his “Sweet Chin Music.”
2. The Undertaker
He has been around since 1990 and The Undertaker never fails to impress. He started out in World Championship Wrestling, or WCW, as “Mean” Mark Callaway. After being dropped by WCW, he repackaged himself as the zombie-like Undertaker. Since then, his mere presence has brought chills to the spine of both viewers and opponents. He towers over most of his opponents yet possesses moves like a cruiserweight. He has not lost a single match in Wrestlemania, WWE’s biggest show held every year. He has had memorable matches with some of the sport’s biggest names.
3. Hulk Hogan
He was the most recognizable professional wrestler in the 1980s, triggering Hulkamania. As a matter of fact, he is probably the one name that most people will associate with professional wrestling. His matches were memorable, including matchups against the biggest opponents like Andre the Giant. Even his defeats have been milestones for the WWE, specifically his unforgettable narrow loss in Wrestlemania to The Ultimate Warrior. He repackaged himself as a heel in the WCW in the 1990s, but his prime in the 1980s is what fans will always remember.
4. Steve Austin
He was irreverent and he redefined mayhem in an already chaotic wrestling ring. He did not shy away from performing his signature stunner even to the family that owned WWE, the Mcmahons. Yes, he performed the stunner even on the female members of the McMahon family. He used to be the heel to Bret Hart’s hero status, but their roles eventually reversed because of Austin’s charisma, appeal and ability to whip up a frenzy with the mic and through his beer baths. His career stalled in 1997 due to a neck injury, however. But not before his opponents were subjected to a “Hell yeah, Austin 3:16 says I just whipped your ass.”
5. Bret Hart
He is the “Excellence of Execution” and one look at his performances will tell you what it means. He did not just jump or elbow or stomp, Hart performed his stunts with technical aplomb. He made professional wrestling look like a real combat sport again. His capture of the heavyweight crown against Ric Flair marked a turning point for the WWE as wrestlers started appreciating the value of proper wrestling moves. He proclaimed himself as “The best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be.” He was probably right. If not for “The Montreal Screwjob” and a concussion in 1999, he still would be entertaining fans of the sport.
6. Ric Flair
He was a world champion an amazing 16 times. He had good wrestling skills and he perpetually got the goat of fans with his wealthy and playboy heel act. He cheated his way to victories and would bask in the jeers of the audience. He probably mistook all the boos for his signature “Woooooo!” By the time he retired, hero or not, Ric Flair had wrestled his way to the hearts of WWE fans and competitors.
7. The Rock
Drop that eyebrow because The Rock comes in at number seven. He was one of the most electrifying performers of the WWE. He was considered the People’s Champ and he performed his signature elbow drops to the delight of the fans and the consternation of his opponents. He had memorable match-ups with the likes of Triple H, The Undertaker, Chris Jericho, John Cena and even Hulk Hogan. And boy, The Rock could talk! He entertained the crowd no end with his hilarious antics with the microphone. He has been one of the few professional wrestlers that has successfully transferred his ring popularity to the big screen. He has already appeared in several hit movies, like “The Scorpion King” and “Fast Five.” He still makes occasional appearances in the WWE ring, allowing us a peek to what The Rock is cooking.
8. The Ultimate Warrior
He was described by the WWE as one of the most intense and physically impressive wrestlers ever to grace the ring. He defeated Hulk Hogan in Wrestlemania VI that gave him both Intercontinental and World Championships. He had to vacate the former, however, because of rules prohibiting the ownership of two titles. He won several marquee events in the “Survivor Series” and “Summer Slam.” He had memorable match-ups and rivalries with the likes of Hogan, Randy Savage, Undertaker, Rick Rude and Jake Roberts.
9. Randy Savage
He wore robes and pink trunks and spoke in an irregular voice. He was part of WWE’s first power couple with Elizabeth. He was known for his Flying Elbow Drops delivered from the top of the ropes. He was the “Macho Man” and he was one of the most recognizable wrestlers during his prime.
10. Triple H
He was the first heel to win the Wrestlemania Main Event. He used to be part of Degeneration X with Shawn Michaels and Chyna. He has been involved in several brutal fights. He is now part of the McMahon family after marrying the daughter of the owner, but Triple H will always be admired for his longevity and wrestling skills.
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