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  #1  
Old 07-02-2016, 10:59 AM
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Default Who was THE DRAW from 2002 to 2006?

You know I often reminiscent about the 00s. Man it was a weird ass time to say the least and the first decade of the millennium did have its share of upheaval. WCW was bought, ECW was bought, Austin's ball was dropped, Next Big Thing, Shawn returned, Cena rose, PG kicked in etc etc.

The American Badass, yeah... that too.

The business however did take a hit. The pre-Cena post-Austin era saw house attendances go down, merch take hits and basically WWE tried to get people over and find a flagbearer that would take the company forward. Brock, Benoit would be a few examples, but who was the guy?

Who was outdrawing everyone else before Super Cena rose through the ranks?

Sheriff Austin?
The Deadman?
Trish?


Have a crack at this.
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  #2  
Old 07-02-2016, 11:59 AM
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Well, that's kind of a double-edged question considering SD and Raw had two completely different rosters from that time period. I would have to say the guy who drew in the ratings on Raw (or drove people away... either way) was HHH. Yeah he wasn't a babyface, but he was the focal point of the Raw product and almost every moment from that period on Raw included HHH in some capacity.

Smackdown's a different story. You could say it was Brock from 02-04 helped by guys like Taker and Angle. Once Lesnar left and Cena's star began to rise in 04, I would say people tuned in to see how high he was going to go.

So HHH for Raw and predominantly Lesnar/Cena on SD.
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Old 07-02-2016, 12:12 PM
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Sheriff Austin? No, just no. Trish? lol Undertaker? Not yet.

In 2002 Austin up until he left, and Rock in his brief stints were still top draws. Then you had Shawn Michaels return and his program with Triple H headlined most of latter 2002 and early 2003. There was also Hogan, and the huge return of Hulkamania in early 2002 that rode high throuh early 2002 to mid 2002 then stalled when Lesnar crushed him but it came back in early 2003 for a Wrestlemania run.

2003 you had Goldberg debut, and he stayed with WWE from Backlash 2003 until Wrestlemania 2004 so a case can be made that Goldberg was top draw for 2003.

2004, after Lesnar left, a case can be made Benoit/Guerrero were top draws, at least for the first half of the year (Guerrero more so than Benoit.) Guerrero sold merchandise among latinos and was very popular, I remember seeing him on Stacker 2 commercials and whatnot while in High School.

2005 of course saw the rises of John Cena and Batista, and from that time to 2006, I consider them top draws. I guess the point is, there was no one guy that carried the company through this transitional period.

Rock and Austin were on their way out. HBK and Hogan came back, but Hogan only stuck around a bit due to age. HBK stayed for a long time but he was never the guy like before, though I do consider him a top draw starting in 2007 due to his two-year long program with the Undertaker. Then you had Lesnar and Goldberg, and arguably, those were the two guys WWE had been banking on to be their main draws for many years to come but they both flaked and left. Then you had Benoit and Guerrero reach the top briefly, and finally, they found two guys in Cena and Batista who drew and stayed on top for many years to come to carry the company.
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  #4  
Old 07-02-2016, 02:01 PM
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WWE was the draw, and that's how it's remained ever since.
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Old 07-02-2016, 02:02 PM
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It was HHH

He headlined or co-headlined WM's 18, 19, 20, 21

He held the World Heavyweight Championship from Dec. of '02 to Sept of '03.

He engaged in feuds with the top stars of that era. (Jericho, Michaels, Booker T, Benoit, Undetaker, zash, Goldberg, Kane etc....)
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Old 07-02-2016, 02:10 PM
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I wouldn't say they were the biggest draws, but WWE wanted HHH and Lesnar to be the headliners on their respective brands.
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  #7  
Old 07-02-2016, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Y 2 Jake View Post
WWE was the draw, and that's how it's remained ever since.
Took the words out of my mouth. The WWE brand is the draw. Cena isn't really a draw, he's been pushed to the top, and he's been given the torch to carry, but trust me as someone who was actually here for Austin, Rock, and NWO, there hasn't been a real draw since then.

When was the last time you saw people at non wrestling events wearing Cena shirts in public? Probably very rare if it all. In 1999, you go to any public place in the US...a mall, a concert, a movie theater whatever. You're gonna see multiple Austin 3:16 shirts, NWO shirts, etc. WWE is a brand now, the players are interchangeable, Cena has been gone for months, did business take a hit?

Look at what the belt looks like now, the thing Vince wants to get over more than anything is the WWE. WWE Network, WWE Studios, WWE Universe, etc. etc.
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  #8  
Old 07-02-2016, 03:40 PM
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Hunter Hearst Helmsley.

People can try to devalue this time period as much as they want and give it terrible nicknames (Reign of Terror???) but apart from Taker HHH was the only major Attitude Era holdover that continued to work a full time schedule from 2002-2006. Add the incredible return of HBK and having him put Hunter over and it's clear that he was the top guy in wrestling inarguably until at least 2005. He main evented every single WrestleMania during that time period with good reason; he got great heel heat because he was a great heel. As a result, every person he feuded with became a top face during their battles: Scott Steiner (lol remember that?), Booker T, Goldberg (let's be honest he was a top guy without Hunter but still), Chris Benoit, Randy Orton, Batista, and even Shelton Benjamin got a good head start in his career thanks to a small HHH feud.

The faces rotated because no one really was able to run with the ball: Brock left, Orton was too immature, Steiner sucked, Goldberg left, Benjamin and Benoit lacked charisma, but it wasn't until Cena and Batista made their simultaneous ascents that we saw the two torchbearers of the future. In the meantime we had an all-time great in Hunter build up some credentials and give us some 5-star matches, while SD also had some rotating top faces to deal with (RIP Eddie). JBL was able to have such a long heel reign simply for the same reason that Hunter had his, there was no face that seemed like a long-time bankable option. So for the meantime, which was 2002-2006, Hunter was the guy.
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Old 07-02-2016, 03:53 PM
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The WWE built around during that time was Triple H, hands down. Even though Shawn Michaels came back and you still had guys like the Undertaker or Chris Jericho, plus JBL and Edge stepped up to the main event level, Triple H was the guy they planned on carrying the company after Rock & Austin left.

Problem is, that time period coincided with a downturn in WWE's ratings and PPV buys, after years of phenomenal success during the Attitude Era. There were other factors involved, like the brand extension splitting the roster, the loss of their two biggest stars (the Rock & Austin) and Stephanie McMahon getting put in charge of creative (which led to WWE hiring Hollywood TV writers), but Triple H largely gets held responsible for that downturn. Pat Patterson put together a report in 2004 warning the WWE brass that fans couldn't stand Triple H being the focus of everything, but Vince chose not to listen.
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  #10  
Old 07-02-2016, 03:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Y 2 Jake View Post
WWE was the draw, and that's how it's remained ever since.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Makaveli31 View Post
It was HHH

He headlined or co-headlined WM's 18, 19, 20, 21

He held the World Heavyweight Championship from Dec. of '02 to Sept of '03.

He engaged in feuds with the top stars of that era. (Jericho, Michaels, Booker T, Benoit, Undetaker, zash, Goldberg, Kane etc....)

See I get what Jake is saying, WWE went into a spiral but it was still trying to navigate. With titans like The Rock & Austin fading, the casuals tuned out. We stayed hooked and a few "more" like us.

But even if a promotion adopts a style like ECW that is counter culture and adult, The Taz's, The RVD's and The Sabu's stand out. Ones that represent the brand the best.

I know people like panning the HHH led 00s but maybe it was him and then Lesnar. HHH was the franchise but not THE franchise. The Evolution years had their moments let's just say.

No one's made a case for Benoit for a reason here and he headlined Mania XX.
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