You’ve read Sportskeeda’s list of the Top 10 greatest WWE wrestlers of all time and also our first part in the current series, as we attempt to do justice to those couldn’t make it to the Top 10, due to numerous factors.
In our first part we placed the following wrestlers; Kane, Randy Orton, Kurt Angle, Mick Foley and Ric Flair. In this article, we’ll be placing five more wrestlers who have been loyal WWE wrestlers for several years and in a few cases gave their entire lives to the WWE. Their legends will withstand the test of time and their legacy will endure forevermore among their illustrious peers, as each of them changed the landscape of the WWE forever in their own little way.
NOTE: Our entire list has only considered wrestlers from 1985 onwards, as it’s unfair to rate wrestlers that you’ve never seen.
In no particular order:
The first ever Undisputed Champion in WWE history, Chris Jericho made history by being the only person to ever defeat The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin in the same night and unify the WWF and WCW championships at Vengeance 2001. ‘Y2J’ as he is popularly known, is one of the greatest pure all-round wrestlers that the company has ever seen. Being the total package, Jericho is renowned for his famous skills on the microphone, being one of the few who could ever leave The Rock at a loss for words.
Being disillusioned with his time in WCW despite being excellent in all areas, Jericho famously made his debut in the WWE in August 1999, making his entrance after ‘the countdown to the new millennium clock‘, and proclaimed himself as ‘Y2J’ (a parody on the Y2K bug) and announced that ‘Raw Is Jericho’. One of the greatest debuts of all time, Jericho was an instant hit in the WWE, winning several titles in his first two years, before finally winning the ‘Big One’, the WCW World Heavyweight Championship, during the Invasion storyline in 2001. A record nine-time Intercontinental Champion, and a six-time World Champion, Jericho is one of the most decorated champions in WWE history, having won twenty-four championships.
Y2J is also renowned for ‘putting over’ young talent and has given several young superstars significant victories. He’s put over the likes of Cena, Batista, Punk, Orton and most recently Dolph Ziggler.
Jericho is renowned for his legendary feuds with The Rock, Triple H, Christian, and CM Punk, but his greatest rivalry came against Shawn Michaels in 2008, a rivalry that won both the PWI and WON Feud of the Year award. It enhanced the careers of both legends, and took them to the limit in terms of what they could do as competitors, and brought out the best in both Y2J and HBK.
The Rated R Superstar is one of the most controversial wrestlers in WWE history, having been involved in several prominent angles through the years. From having a live sex celebration with the gorgeous Lita (lucky Edge) to spearing Jeff Hardy off a ladder to attacking John Cena’s father and subsequently being dumped in the Long Island Sound, the Ultimate Opportunist has done it all. Before his eventual main event push, Edge was an entertaining staple of the mid-card winning numerous Intercontinental, and Tag Team titles. Edge is a record 12-time World Tag Team Champion with five different partners.
Edge got his big break in the WWE, as a member of E&C (Edge and Christian), a highly successful and outlandish comical tag team that Edge formed with real-life best friend Christian. Famous for their five-second pose, the duo were named the greatest tag team in WWE history in 2012. Edge was the winner of the inaugural Money in the Bank ladder match at WrestleMania 21 in 2005, which led to him winning the WWE Championship in 2006. Perhaps the most controversial moment of Edge’s career occurred in 2005, when Edge was involved in a bitter rivalry with Matt Hardy, and the rivalry had been sparked off by real-life heat between the two due to Lita (Hardy’s girlfriend at the time) having an affair with Edge. Edge was engaged in a memorable rivalry with John Cena throughout 2006 for the WWE title, and it cemented his spot as a main event player in the WWE.
A 11-time World Champion, Edge is also a record-breaking 7-time World Heavyweight Champion and a 4-time WWE Champion. Edge was an integral staple of Friday Night SmackDown for much of the latter half of the last decade, and was embroiled in exceptional rivalries with the likes of Batista, The Undertaker and Jeff Hardy. Edge was the most hated heel of his generation, and his storyline marriage to Vickie Guerrero made him a marked man, due to him constantly using her authority in his favour.
Returning from a near career ending injury as a face in 2010, Edge won the Royal Rumble to add to his stacked list of accolades. Spending most of the rest of his career as a face, Edge won his last match against Alberto Del Rio at WrestleMania 27 to retain the World Heavyweight Champion and eventually retired as the World Heavyweight Champion due to recurring neck injuries. An unfitting end to a glorious career, but he ended it on the highest of highs.
‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper
It is criminal offence that despite being one of the most talented performers of all time, ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper never won a World title in any organization that he worked in, in his illustrious career. ‘Hot Rod’ as he is famously known, was renowned for his outstanding skills on the microphone and his famous talk show segment, Piper’s Pit. Piper was a hated and despicable heel during the wrestling boom of the 1980s that put the WWF on the map, and was an integral part of the main event of the very first WrestleMania. Piper and Paul Orndoff faced off against the team of Mr. T and the ‘Immortal’ Hulk Hogan in a losing effort, in a match that received unprecedented mainstream coverage after Piper attacked popular pop singer Cyndi Lauper to kick-start the rivalry. It was also the beginning of the ‘Rock ‘n’ Wrestling Connection era’.
Piper was also involved in a heated rivalry with fan favourite Jimmy ‘Superfly’ Snuka in 1984, which was ignited in Piper’s controversial talk show. It resulted in the now iconic image of Piper bashing Snuka’s head with a coconut and stuffing his face with a banana, an iconic moment that has been re-created several times. When Piper returned after a hiatus in 1995, a thunderous ovation from the audience lead to Rowdy turning face, and became the most popular wrestler of the year. He played a crucial role in setting up the main event of WrestleMania III, Hulk Hogan vs Andre The Giant. One of the most famous feuds in wrestling history started in the Pit, when Andre attacked Hogan during the interview leading to the monumental tussle at WrestleMania.
His iconic kilt (Scottish wear) and bagpipe entrance music that pay homage to his Scottish roots have become a beloved part of WWE history. Piper’s Pit inspired several successful interview segments over the years such as the Highlight Reel, the Cutting Edge, the Peep Show, the Snake Pit, Carlito’s Cabana etc. Piper won both the PWI and WON award for Heel of the Year in 1984 & 1985, and won the PWI Face of the Year award in 1986, which showcased his incredible versatility. One of the most beloved legends of all time, Rowdy has inspired countless modern day performers, including incumbent WWE Champions CM Punk. Piper was named the No. 2 greatest mic worker in WWE history, only behind Stone Cold Steve Austin.
“I lie, I cheat, I steal”
Never has a catchphrase wholly epitomized a wrestler before, as the above phrase epitomized ‘Latino Heat’ Eddie Guerrero. One of the most popular and respected in-ring competitors of all time, Eddie was famous for using dirty tactics normally associated with heel wrestlers to win matches. The fans loved it and ate up every second of it, encouraging Guerrero to cheat his way continually through matches. An accomplished wrestler in several organizations such as NJPW, ECW, and WCW, Guerrero made his debut in the WWE as a member of The Radicalz in 2000.
Guerrero was pretty short for a wrestler, standing just 5 ft. 8 inches tall, but that didn’t daunt him from winning ‘the Big Apple’. Guerrero won the WWE Championship from Brock Lesnar in February 2004 after interference from Goldberg. Guerrero would then successfully defend the coveted title against Kurt Angle at WrestleMania 20, and ended the event with a heartfelt and iconic celebration with Chris Benoit, after Benoit won the World Heavyweight Championship. Guerrero had been involved in an on-and-off rivalry with Benoit for much of career until that point.
Guerrero was famous for his feuds with Kurt Angle, Batista and the Big Show and for his comedy tag team with his nephew Chavo Guerrero, Los Guerreros. Guerrero was a staple of SmackDown for many years, and was even cheered on by fans during his rivalry with Rey Mysterio 2005, which displayed the dark side of Eddie. Remembered for his famous antics such as spraying Big Show with waste from a sewage truck and breaking into a rich lady’s house to throw a pool party, his sudden and unexpected death greatly affected the WWE and its fans. During the tribute shows, several close friends of Guerrero such as Benoit, Mysterio, Big Show and Batista, and many WWE superstars were weeping horribly and several fans in the arena burst into uncontrollable tears.
As a young boy, I remember being saddled with uncontrollable grief after the death of Eddie. I was only 11 at that time and my hero had died. I felt gutted. It was as if the world had stopped moving. I’m not ashamed to say I wept during the tribute shows. His last match was perfect. He defeated Mr. Kennedy in traditional Eddie style, by deceiving both the referee and Kennedy. Eddie Guerrero was inducted into the Hall of Fame by Benoit, Mysterio and Chavo in 2006.
VIVA LA RAZA!
The reigning WWE Champion is one of the most controversial superstars in WWE history, if not the most controversial. Punk always had a reputation for having a big mouth, and made his WWE debut in 2006 in the now-defunct ECW. The only man to have ever won the MITB match twice, it was evident that Punk was set for great things.
Punk struggled to establish himself up the ranks, and it required a phenomenal heel turn in 2009 to do so. Punk’s rivalry with Jeff Hardy over the World Heavyweight title made him a main event player, and became a hated heel when he forced Hardy to leave the company. The feud was named WON’s Feud of the Year. Punk has also been involved in excellent rivalries against the likes of Chris Jericho, Rey Mysterio and Daniel Bryan.
In July 2011, Punk unleashed a shocking tirade against the WWE which made him an overnight star and a household name. Voicing his frustrations, the ‘Best In The World’ became the new anti-hero of the WWE and left the company after winning the WWE title at Money in the Bank, only to return 8 days later. Over the course of the next year, Punk established himself among the upper echelons of WWE history and his rivalry with John Cena in 2011 won both the PWI and WON Feud of the Year awards. Punk is currently in his 346th day as the WWE Champion, a truly remarkable feat; one can expect him to move higher on this list.
Punk has totally changed the landmark and complexion of the company after his shoot, being a true revolutionary in that regard. A living legend, Punk is a must-see superstar, and is the complete package, possessing extraordinary skills on the mic and excels in the ring. He can work well as both a heel and a face, but is a much better heel.