Legacy of your top wrestlers
by, 03-27-2013 at 09:43 AM (5206 Views)
Hello all. There have been a lot of really good blogs on this site over the past few weeks. Hopefully you guys will enjoy mine. In short, I want to talk about your top wrestlers in the industry right now and the era for which they will be remembered. More specifically, I am going to categorize each wrestler in the era for which he will be most remembered. For example, Steve Austin will be remembered as an Attitude Era guy. Even though Austin was in the biz before the Attitude Era, his legacy will not be a “New Generation Era” guy from his time as Stunning Steve Austin in WCW or the Ringmaster in WWF.
This is all very subjective so I look forward to your comments on what era you believe each wrestler will be remembered for. We all have different views as to when the attitude era ended and when the PG era started. Likewise, we all have different favorite moments over wrestling history.
Oh yeah, one last thing. I guess I should provide a definition of each era and what a top wrestler is defined as. This of course is VERY SUBJECTIVE but it will help justify the rest of this blog.
Top Wrestlers in the industry right now – This means you are good enough for WWE to put you on the current Wrestlemania Card. Sure there are some wrestlers in TNA, Japan, ROH, the independents, and even in WWE that are being snubbed of a spot on the WM29 card that are of the elite and not mentioned in this blog. However, I am going to stick with just guys on the mania card or else this blog would be never ending.
Attitude Era: Start – Scott Hall shows up on Nitro. End – Rock defeats Hogan at WM18.
Ruthless Aggression Era: HHH d. Jericho at WM18. End – Wrestlemania 26 when HBK had his last match
PG Era – The night when Batista “quit” after losing to John Cena to the present.
Guys remembered for their time in the Attitude Era (AE):
· The Rock: After a horrible first gimmick, Rock made his name in the AE as part of the Nation. Rock would go on to be the biggest star in the company for about 5 years alongside Stone Cold Steve Austin. Unfortunately, his career was short lived as he was destined for Hollywood and Rocky only spent about a year or so in the Ruthless Agression Era. His work in the PG era has revolved around 3 Wrestlemania main events along with a main event match at Royal Rumble and 2 years ago at Survivor Series. I am not going to deny that some of the Rock’s movie fans tuned in when he returned for WM27. But let’s face it, the Rock’s work/memories from the AE is what created the buzz when he returned. Rock is definitely an AE guy.
· Big Show: Unfortunately, his best work was in WCW during the start of his career as the Giant. The Giant went from being a top heel champion, to a New World Order member and then to a WCW/babyface top guy only behind Sting and DDP. While the Show has had a great career in WWE, his best years were in WCW. That being said, Show is definitely an AE guy.
· Kane: While the Rock had a bad first gimmick, Glen Jacobs had 2 really bad first gimmicks as Isaac Yankem, DDS and the fake Diesel. However, when he debuted as Kane, he was instantly a top heel in the company. Similar to Big Show, Kane has had a great career in the WWE but his best years were in the WWF and not the WWE. Conclusion: Kane is an AE guy.
· Chris Jericho: “Monday Night Jericho”, Ralphus, one of the greatest debuts ever, the weekly verbal bashings of Stephanie McMahon, the first undisputed WWE champion and one of the few guys we remember for his work in ECW, WCW and WWE. Jericho was top notch in the Ruthless Aggression Era and is still a drop draw in today’s PG Era. However, in my opinion, nothing tops his last year in WCW and first few years with WWE. This one is tough, but I have to say Jericho is an AE guy.
Ruthless Agression Era (RAE):
· Brock Lesner: Lesner was not around during the AE but had an immediate impact when he debuted during the RAE. His career was short-lived and he left the WWE before the end of the RAE to pursue the NFL and MMA. One could argue that Lesner is a bigger star now than ever so he should be categorized in the PG Era. That may be true but Lesner was a top draw the second he stepped foot in WWE. I loved his main event match with Kurt Angle at WM19 and my favorite memory is when he finally lost to Eddie Guerrero. I think people will remember these matches more than his recent feuds with Cena and Triple H. That being said, I believe Lesner is a RAE guy.
· Randy Orton: I believe Orton’s best days were spent as a member of Evolution, having the “Viper” gimmick as the top heel in the company, punting everyone in sight and main eventing Wrestlemania against HHH. Orton is still a top draw in today’s PG era and one could argue this is the era where he belongs. However, I feel that even though he is still young, his best work may unfortunately be behind him. After being on 2 strikes with the wellness policy, Orton may never get a chance to become “the guy” again. Also, Orton is better as a heel and has spent the PG Era as a babyface with his RAE days of being the top heel long behind him. As a result, Orton is a RAE guy and not a PG guy.
· Triple H: HHH Had a great run during the AE as the blueblood gimmick, DX member, top heel at one time and arguably even the top face for a short while. However, it seemed like HHH was constantly in the Wrestlemania main event every year during the RAE opposed to being a top guy behind Rock and Austin during the AE. HHH wrestled for the WWE or WHC title at Wrestlemania in WM18, 19, 20, 21 and 22. As a result, I am saying he is a RAE guy and not an AE guy.
PG Era (PGE):
· John Cena: John “Thuganomics” Cena was a top draw in the RAE. He even had multiple title reigns and WM main events. But now in the PGE, he is more than just a top draw, he is Super Cena and the face of the company. Cena is the definition of a PGE guy.
· CM Punk: Punk was absolutely fantastic during the RAE. I loved his work with Hardy, Mysterio and the Straight Edge Society. However, his 400ish day reign as champ, pipe bomb on Raw and feud with Cena have all come in the last year or two. Right now Punk is bigger than ever. I love Punk but I just cannot see him becoming a bigger star than he is now. As much as he does not represent being PG, Punk is indeed a PGE guy.
· Mark Henry: Sexual Chocolate provided some comedy during the AE and before that gimmick was an original member of the Nation of Domination. His career then fizzled out during the RAE and he got stuck in the mid-card, and was irrelevant for all of the RAE and even the first part of the PG era. However, Mark Henry finally got his push and had a solid reign as World Heavyweight Champ last year. This year he is competing in a singles match at WM29 against Ryback. That being said, Mark Henry’s best work has been over the last year. Therefore, he is a PGE guy.
· Alberto Del Rio: This one is obvious as Del Rio was not around during the RAE. ADR has had a solid run ever since his debut. A great feud with Mysterio, a Royal Rumble winner, was in a WHC match 2 years ago against Edge at WM27 and will be in a WM29 championship match against Swagger this year. Even with the recent face turn, I don’t see ADR getting any bigger than he is now. As a result, he is a PGE Guy.
Guys that will be in the Post PG Era, which I will call The Next Era(TNE):
· Jack Swagger: After cashing in the MITB briefcase, he had a forgettable championship run and his gimmick of the All American, American was just awful. As Swagger’s career entered the PG era, it continued into a downward spiral. In fact, it was so bad he had to be pulled off television to be rebranded. Fortunately, since his return with Dutch Mantel at his side, Swagger has been bigger than ever. Jim Ross feels that Swagger’s best days are ahead of him and I have to agree. Hopefully, WWE will not bury him after WM29 because of the recent DUI. Assuming they don’t, I think Swagger will be a major player for years to come. He has a great look and tons of natural athleticism. I am going to label the Real American as a TNE guy.
· Sheamus: His debut in the RAE was great and he became champion during his first year. He even had a Wrestlemania match against HHH. During the PGE, Sheamus won the King of the Ring, beat Daniel Bryan in 18 seconds and is in a 6 man tag match this year vs. the Shield. However, even though Sheamus is currently one of WWE's top draws, I think the WWE has bigger plans for him. The ability to be a solid heel and face, the unique Irish look, improving mic skills, muscular frame and European background make him the big, strong marketable guy that Vinnie Mac loves. Since I believe that his best work is still to come, I will label Sheamus as a TNE guy.
· The Shield: These guys are the fresh new blood the IWC has been craving. All 3 of them are under the age of 30. We have seen how impressive Rollins and Ambrose are from their independent days. Hopefully these guys will lead us into the next era and be top draws as TNE guys.
· Daniel Bryan: How many gimmicks has this guy had? The dorky new guy working as Miz’s NXT rookie, the rebellious Nexus member, the babyface with no personality, the arrogant, annoying heel screaming "Yes" and now a crazed, angry tweener screaming "No". That is a lot of gimmicks for a guy in a short time span. Usually, a wrestler changes gimmicks because his current one sucks. For example, Lord Tensai becoming Sweet Tea and Johnny Curtis becoming Fandango. However, Daniel Bryan has been over with every gimmick. Each time Daniel Bryan reinvents himself, his character is better than it was before. Bryan also knows how to overcome adversity. He never bitched when his WM27 match against Sheamus got turned into a battle royal. He didn't cry when he had to job to Sheamus in 18 seconds last year. He was fired during his time with the Nexus (though this could be a work) but returned to the WWE months later and did not miss a beat. WWE has to respect his ability to reinvent himself and overcome adversity. Also, Bryan is still relatively young and I think will only continue to get better. As a result, he is TNE guy.
· Ryback: There is no need to go into detail as it appears Ryback is being given the opportunity to become the next face of the WWE. Even though he is one of the top draws now, Ryback is a TNE guy.
· Dolph Ziggler: Ziggler debuted in the RAE and had some really, really bad gimmicks. However, he overcame the poor booking he was assigned by WWE’s creative team and has slowly elevated himself. WWE has finally recognized that Ziggler is a diamond in the rough and much better than a cheerleader or a caddie. WWE knows Dolph is the real deal and it is only a matter of time before Ziggler cashes in and becomes a main event guy. No way Ziggler is stuck in the mid-card forever like he is now. As a result, Ziggler is a TNE guy.
· Big E Langston: He has yet to wrestle a match. He has the look that VKM loves. However, so did Mason Ryan. Will he be a future World Champ or sent back to NXT in 2 months? Who knows.
· Fandango: Same situation as Big E Langston.
· Undertaker: The memories the Taker has left during the New Generation Era, Attitude Era, Ruthless Agression Era and PG Era have all been magnificent. I truly don’t feel that one of these eras was any better than the other. Therefore, I am going to take the easy way out. For those that recall (and hopefully you don’t), Taker actually was around during the Golden Era competing in WCW as mean Mark Callous while being managed by Paul Heyman. It is fair to say that the Undertaker was not a Golden Era guy.
I am sure you boys and girls will have different opinions on where you will classify each wrestler in their respective era. There are no right or wrong answers. Like I said before, everyone's memories of their favorite wrestlers are different as is their opinion of when an era ended and when the next one started. Lastly, please remember that I only used the guys currently on the WM29 card or else this blog would have went on forever.
Anyways, I look forward to reading your opinions in the comments section. Thanks for reading.