Many fans of wrestling from the mid to late 90s will tell you that the Monday Night Wars was the pinnacle of pro wrestling history. The 90s saw WWE and WCW locked in a death grip to see which company would be the #1 wrestling company in the world, with both companies battling it out for ratings on every Monday night.
These years saw many WCW wrestlers switch over to the WWE and vice-versa, with the competition between WWE and WCW always offering disenchanted wrestlers a second national platform to perform on.
When WWE bought WCW in 2001, it led to an influx of ex-WCW stars into the WWE, many of whom entered the company for the first time and went on to become bonafide WWE legends.
A list like this is always hard to keep to 10 due to the sheer number of wrestlers who were successful in their careers, but I’ve tried to trim it down to wrestlers who were successful for both companies.
Also read: TNA wrestlers who also worked for WWE
#10 Rey Mysterio
One of the best things that Eric Bischoff did when he took over WCW was bringing in the cruiserweights and international stars. They showcased a type of lucha inspired fast-paced wrestling that was still new to mainstream wrestling programming at the time.
One of the biggest stars of that Cruiserweight division was Rey Mysterio.
Rey made his name at a young age in his native Mexico, wrestling the likes of Juventud Guerrera and Psichosis, who were also a part of WCW’s Cruiserweight Division. Like quite a few of his fellow WCW Cruiserweights, he first made his debut in Paul Heyman’s ECW before getting signed to WCW by Eric Bischoff.
Rey’s time in WCW saw him become a 5-time Cruiserweight Champion and 3-time WCW World Tag-Team Champion. He also won the short-lived WCW Cruiserweight Tag-Team Championship with Billy Kidman.
Mysterio wrestled in WCW till the company’s final episode of Nitro in 2001.
Rey joined WWE in 2002 and the move saw his career reach new heights. A fan favourite from the moment he made his debut, Mysterio went on to win the 2006 Royal Rumble and the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania 22.
His time in WWE included numerous titles including 2 World Heavyweight Championships and one WWE Championship.
Mysterio currently wrestles for Lucha Underground.
#9 Chris Jericho
Chris Jericho made his name in ECW before WCW signed him in 1996, where he had a fairly successful time. Dubbing himself the ‘man of 1004 holds’, he won the WCW Cruiserweight Championship 4 times and had legendary feuds with Dean Malenko and Rey Mysterio.
However, Jericho’s small stature always limited his spot on the WCW card and he never managed to break through the proverbial glass ceiling during his time there, something that increasingly frustrated him till he left for WWE in 1999.
Jericho’s WWE debut on the August 9, 1999 episode of Raw Is War is one of the most memorable of all time. The Millennium Clock finally wound down during a segment with The Rock to reveal Chris Jericho on the entrance ramp.
He cut a duelling promo with The Rock on his debut and was immediately placed higher on the card than his entire WCW career.
After a few hiccups in his initial months with the WWE, Jericho went on to establish himself as bonafide Hall-Of-Famer material and is still with the company 17 years later. His ‘List of Jericho’ is also one of the most popular acts on Raw today.
Jericho has had legendary feuds with Shawn Michaels, Chris Benoit and The Rock and is a 9-time Intercontinental Champion and a 6-time World Champion, including becoming the first ever WWE Undisputed Champion after beating The Rock and Stone Cold on the same night.
#8 Bret Hart
‘The best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be’ made his name in the WWE and was pushed as one of the top stars on WWE’s New Generation Era.
Hart was pushed after the 1993 steroid trial as Vince and the WWE looked to veer away from the jacked up behemoths of the Goldern Era and towards traditionally smaller Superstars who were better workers.
Bret came into his own in the 90’s and his legendary rivalries against Stone Cold and Shawn Michaels are still talked about today. When Eric Bischoff started poaching Vince’s top stars, Vince offered Bret a 20-year contract which he later reneged on and encouraged him to sign with WCW.
This led to the Montreal Screwjob, which we all know about, and Bret signing on with the WCW after that.
Hart’s time in WCW however, never really fulfilled its potential. He was kept off television for weeks after signing instead of using the heat from the ‘screwjob’ immediately. His brother Owen’s death also hit him hard and Eric Bischoff has said in the past that Bret was a shell of his former self when he arrived.
Bret did win the WCW World Heavyweight Championship twice and the US Championship four times but it could have been so much more. Bret’s wrestling career was cut short when an errant Thrust Kick from Goldberg at Starrcade 1999 left Bret with a severe concussion that eventually led to his retirement.
Sting was one of WCW’s biggest stars of all time, if not THE greatest. ‘The Icon’ was near the top of the WCW card for most of his career there and won numerous championships – seamlessly moving from his beach blonde look to the ‘crow’’ Sting that we know and love today.
Sting joined Jim Crockett Promotions (WCW’s precursor) in 1987 and his star was made early on in his career there after wrestling Ric Flair to a 45-minute draw at Clash of the Champions for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship in 1988.
In the following years, Sting became one of the top babyfaces in the company, feuding with the likes of The Dangerous Alliance, Ric Flair and of course, Vader.
The mid-to-late-90s saw Sting transition out of the bleach blonde looks into a darker, brooding character after WCW fans accused him of joining the NWO. The NWO was running roughshod through the entire WCW roster at that time but Sting stood up as WCW’s last hope.
For weeks he watched silently from the rafters and swooped down when required to wage a guerrilla war against NWO members, armed with his trusty baseball bat.
Sting faced Hollywood Hulk Hogan in the main event of Starrcade 97, which was one of the most hotly anticipated matches of all-time. Even though Sting did manage to win on the night, the finish of the match – a product of Hogan’s backstage politics – ruined what should have been a legendary moment.
Sadly, Sting’s WCW career never reached these heights again, mired by the bad booking and the ridiculousness that was the last few years of WCW. Following WWE’s purchase of WCW in 2001, Sting decided to not sign with Vince McMahon’s company – instead signing for TNA as early as 2003.
Sting finally signed for WWE in 2014 in and faced Triple H at Wrestlemania 31, shockingly ending the night in defeat. Sting faced Seth Rollins in 2015 but one of Rollins’ Buckle Bomb’s left Sting with a serious injury which led to his retirement soon after getting inducted into the 2016 Hall Of Fame.
Also Read: 10 WWE kisses that shocked the world
#6 Scott Hall
Scott Hall made a name for himself in the WWE as ‘The bad guy’ Razor Ramon. The gimmick was famously based on Scarface and Hall floated the idea after finding out that Vince had never seen the film.
Although he never won a world title, Razor Ramon was one of WWE’s most popular Superstars during the New Generation Era. A 4-time Intercontinental Champion, his ladder match with Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania X is widely regarded as one of the best Wrestlemania matches of all time and was a blueprint for many future ladder matches.
In 1996, Hall left the WWE for WCW after Eric Bischoff offered him more money for lesser dates. He made his first WCW appearance when he entered the ring from the crowd in the May 27, 1996 episode of Nitro where he cut the infamous promo saying “"You people, you know who I am. But you don't know why I'm here.”
Hall was soon joined in WCW by former WWE wrestler and fellow member of the Kliq, Kevin Nash and they went on to change the history of professional wrestling by forming the NWO with Hulk Hogan.
Although Hall never won a world title in WCW either, he was a 7-time WCW Tag-Team Champion, a 2-time US Champion, and a 1-time Television Champion and was one of WCW’s biggest stars in the mid and late 90’s.
He later returned to WWE after they bought WCW and is now a WWE Hall of Famer.