WWE over the years has produced exciting and breathtaking talents who have took the audiences by storm. Vince’s brand has successfully established itself as the most watched pro-wrestling show filled with superstars and characters that are both talented and intriguing.
From the likes of The Rock to Roman Reigns, WWE has kept on producing impressive storylines and pushing the right candidates who could drag the viewership for the organisation.
Here’s my list for the top 10 most popular WWE stars of all time.
Dwayne Johnson, popularly known as “The Rock”, is the most iconic superstar WWE I have ever witnessed. The Samoan, having earned a contract with the WWF in the year 1996, rose to fame gradually, with his most prominent days of glory coming during the Attitude Era.
Fierce and mouth-watering rivalries with Stone Cold Steve Austin and Triple H in the early 2000s helped the superstar evolve as a global celebrity. Apart from his show-stopping techniques and moves, The Rock was also highly regarded for his mic skills. He started off as a trash-talker but eventually developed skills with the mic that made the fans go berserk whenever the most electrifying man in world entertainment addressed those in the stands.
The 10-time WWE champion parted ways with Vince’s brand in the year 2004 to pursue his acting career. He returned to the WWE in 2011 to make lightning cameos often till 2013.
Johnson, who started off as a college football player, headlined WrestleMania 25, which was the most-bought professional wrestling pay-per-view, and also won the Royal Rumble in the year 2000.
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The Undertaker, also known as “The Phenom”, is arguably the most celebrated superstar in WWE history. The giant wrestler signed a contract with the WWF (now WWE) in the year 1990 and immediately made his mark as a horror-themed entity who was said to have connections with the supernatural world.
Climbing up with his intimidating personality, The Undertaker went on to become one of the most significant players of the Attitude Era which blossomed during the late 90s. He converted his character into a biker in 2001, which went down amazingly with the fans, but returned to an evolved version of his horror gimmick in 2004.
The Undertaker is best recognized for his unbeaten 21-match streak at the grandest stage of all, WrestleMania, which was ultimately put to bed by Brock Lesnar. His feud with his storyline brother Kane during the Attitude Era was another major boost in his career which he used to good effect.
Though the 7-time world champion is now retired, he is still under contract with WWE and makes occasional appearances.
Paul Levesque entered the WWF in the year 1996 with the ring name of Hunter Hearst Helmsley and was re-packaged later as The Game, Triple H.
Triple H is a 14-time World Champion and a two-time Royal Rumble winner, who was one of the main reasons behind the Attitude Era emerging as one of the most iconic phases in World Wrestling Entertainment. He is also a ‘King of the Ring’ winner who is well known to be a part of two of the most legendary groups in the sport, D-generation X and The Evolution. Unlike most others, Triple H rose to fame as a heel and is famously remembered for betraying Randy Orton during their time in The Evolution.
Triple H, who is now married to Vince McMahon’s daughter, Stephanie, has headlined WWE’s flagship event, WrestleMania, seven times in his career. He is also the founder and president of WWE NXT which is an initiative by the organisation to scout and nurture budding superstars which further helps them to make their way into the main business.
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Stone Cold Steve Austin
Stone Cold Steve Austin made his debut in the WWF in late 1995 as The Ringmaster. The next year, he was re-packaged as Stone Cold Steve Austin and went on to become one of the most influential superstars in the roster. He was recognised as a beer-drinking anti-hero who loved to mess with his boss, Vince McMahon. He opposed everything Vince did and thus became the poster boy of the Attitude Era. His feud with The Rock is widely celebrated and regarded as one of the most iconic rivalries the brand has ever witnessed.
Stone Cold Steve Austin was forced to retire from professional wrestling with a serious neck injury in the year 2003. The man, who has held 19 Championships in his career, has made occasional appearances since then and still enjoys a huge fan base in the wrestling world.
Brock Lesnar is regarded as the most ruthless superstar to step into a WWE ring because of his unique MMA style of fighting.
Lesnar joined WWE in the year 2002 and went on to win the WWE Championship, but soon after, Lesnar tried his hands in the UFC. Having lost his first fight in the sport to Frank Mir, Lesnar went on to win the UFC World Heavyweight Championship, defeating Randy Couture.
In April 2012, the wrestler made an emphatic return to WWE which shocked the superstars and fans alike. Lesnar enjoyed the moment of his dreams when he defeated The Undertaker at WrestleMania to end the latter’s unbeaten streak of 21.
Lesnar went on to win the Universal and Heavyweight Championship numerous times. The Beast Incarnate’s first reign as the Universal Champion (503 days) is the longest reign since 1988. He is the only wrestler in history to hold the WWE Heavyweight Championship and the UFC Heavyweight Championship.
Counselled by Paul Heyman, Brock Lesnar is a nine-time World Champion in the WWE and also a Royal Rumble winner.
Hulk Hogan is a retired American professional wrestler who began his journey with the WWF in the year 1993. He immediately attracted a lot of eyeballs as he won the WWF Championship five times during his initial run. The superstar also went on to headline WWE’s flagship event, WrestleMania, eight times in nine occasions after his signing. His list of achievements does not end here as he is the only superstar to win consecutive Royal Rumbles in 1990 and 1991.
A few years later, Hogan signed for Vince’s rival brand, WCW, but returned to WWE in 2002. He won the Championship for the sixth time after his comeback but departed the following year. He was inducted as a WWE Hall of Famer first in the year 2005 and then as a member of the NWO in the year 2020.
John Cena made his debut in the WWF in 2003 as a trash-talking rapper. His rapping style and the wordplay immediately dragged a lot of fans as he went on to establish himself in WWE. Cena later revised his character into a more serious one, cutting out the rap and trash-talking part which made him even more popular. He is a 16-time World Champion, which is the highest ever with Ric Flair, who has also managed to hold the belt for the same number of times.
Cena, who is a two-time Royal Rumble winner, led the company as its face for over a decade. He is one of the most loved superstars in WWE as he has mostly worked as a babyface since leaving behind his trash-talking character as the ‘Doctor of Thuganomics’. He is still under contract with the brand, though he is no longer a regular player at the shows.
Adam Copeland, popularly known as Edge, signed a contract with the WWF in the year 1997 and made his first television appearance the following year. His emphatic entrance theme took no time to connect with the masses as he started becoming a popular figure in the organisation. Edge formed a tag-team partnership with Christian Cage in 1999 and won the Tag-team Championship on seven occasions. The two were one of the fiercest in-ring partners and their high-flying stunts in Tables, Ladders and Chair (TLC) matches were much appreciated by the audience.
Edge won the King of the Ring tournament in 2001 and became the first wrestler ever to win the Money in the Bank in the year 2005. He also went on to win the Royal Rumble in 2010 which made him the first wrestler in history to win all three of the aforementioned contests. He is now under contract with WWE and headlining their pay-per-views once again.
One of the most controversial superstars of all time, Ric Flair is also regarded as the greatest of all time by many. Ric has won the WWE Championship a record 16 number of times, though he claims to be a 21-time champion. The exact number of his championships varies according to sources, but his greatness is recognised by every individual all the same.
Ric became the first person to be inducted in the WWE Hall of Fame, first for his individual achievements, and second as a member of The Four Horsemen. He was also an integral member of the heel group named The Evolution which was led by Triple H. He had a career spanning over 40 years which ultimately came to an end at the iconic Madison Square Garden after a defeat against his good friend, Shawn Michaels.
Roman Reigns is a Samoan wrestler who was signed by WWE in the year 2010. He made his TV debut as a part of The Shield alongside Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose. The trio split later and Roman went on to make his mark as an individual in the brand.
Reigns won the WWE Championship three times and the Universal Championship twice and is best remembered for his feud with ‘The Beast’, Brock Lesnar.
From 2014, Roman was recognised as the successor to John Cena, who was then the
face of Vince’s brand. Though the idea did not go down well with the fans, Roman kept on working hard and is now one of the most dominating forces in WWE. He was re-packaged as The Tribal Chief, counselled by Paul Heyman in 2020. Though he is a heel character, Roman is getting a lot of appraisal from the critics and is now the man to beat in the roster.