The Rock's Place in WWF/WWE History

Discussion in 'Old School Wrestling' started by Very Average, Apr 27, 2018.

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Where does The Rock Rank?

  1. The greatest ever

  2. One of the best, but not the best

  3. Nowhere close to the top guys

Multiple votes are allowed.
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  1. Very Average

    Very Average Dark Match Jobber

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    I have recently subscribed to the WWE Network and been watching a lot of stuff from the Attitude Era, and whilst it seemed for all of 1998 and most of 1999 the product revolved around Stone Cold, I got the impression watching all those years ago and then from watching again recently that The Rock was just as popular, perhaps even more so. Yet Stone Cold seems to get all the plaudits and The Rock is seen as second best. I remember reading that from the summer of 1999 Rock was selling more merchandise than anybody, including Austin.

    So where does The Rock rank among the all time greats of Hogan, Flair, HBK, Brat Hart, Stone Cold? At the top, in the middle, or not even registering?
     
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  2. jholcomb22

    jholcomb22 Pre-Show Stalwart

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    I'm a huge fan of his, but I think he suffers the most in terms of longevity. He burned bright, and he burned fast. If he had have stayed, he could be considered the greatest. You cant blame him for leaving when we see how things turned out, ultimately.
    The biggest stars of the last three eras arguably are Cena, Stone Cold and Hulk Hogan. The greatest argument for the Rock is that he beat each one of those men at WrestleMania and no one else can claim that.
     
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  3. The Decrypter

    The Decrypter trollface.jpg

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    It doesn't matter how short it was, he really was the best all around WWE has ever had. His impact will always be remembered. Only people you can argue against Rock is Cena (who is absolutely a legend whether you think so or not), Stone Cold, and Hogan.
     
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  4. relentless1

    relentless1 G.O.A.T.

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    definitely one of the best ever but his accomplishments in Hollywood will overshadow anything that he did in wrestling. Even now some people still refer to him as the Rock but hes known as an actor first and foremost. That being said he was a great champion and one of the best talkers ever in the game.... Bottom line though he doesn't make it onto the Mt Rushmore of wrestling, even in his prime the era was still known as the Austin era; he was 1a to Austins 1.
     
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  5. Wrestlemania75

    Wrestlemania75 Dark Match Jobber

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    Are you kidding me? Seriously? I am a Canadian WWF fan from the 80s, one of the biggest Hogan and Warrior marks alive, and I will admit The Rock is the absolute greatest WWF/E superstar of all time. Hands down. And I quit watching after Warrior lost the title in 91, then restarted in 2000 because of WM17, then downloaded everything and watched from 1986 to 2013 (everything!). I have watched since and obviously no one possesses the captivity as the great one...good night.


    On second thought, I'm from Montreal and Hogan means more to wrestling. But Rock created his own pops naturally.
     
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  6. Pay Per Ghost

    Pay Per Ghost squashed Disco Inferno to become

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    The Mount Rushmore of the Greatest Ever (draw, popularity on a global scale) has HOGAN, AUSTIN, ROCK, CENA.

    Out of thousands of thousands of performers and over a Century of wrestling, these 4 make it; and The Rock is one of them.

    That should answer your question.
     
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  7. LibSuperstar

    LibSuperstar Occasional Pre-Show

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    That's my WWE Mt. Rushmore just on the strength of drawing power.
     
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  8. Very Average

    Very Average Dark Match Jobber

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    It should, but WWE did their Mount Rushmore a few months back and I believe it was Vince, Hogan, Undertaker and Austin, which was a joke in my opinion.

    I feel it's (in any order) Hogan, Austin, Rock, then anyone from Flair, Taker, Andre, HBK, Bret Hart or Cena. Vince doesn't belong anywhere near it.
     
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  9. relentless1

    relentless1 G.O.A.T.

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    the Mt Rushmore of wrestling is Bruno, Hogan, Austin, Flair

    Rock was great but he wasn't ESSENTIAL to the business like these four were.
     
    #9
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  10. Kodo Sawaki

    Kodo Sawaki Championship Contender

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    There was a reason that at Wrestlemania 30 you had Hogan, Austin and Rock. And that was that they were biggest superstars in the history of WWE. Hogan was there where it all started and was biggest at the beginning. Austin and Rock came when it was really a turmoil for the company. Austin came at the right time with a right attitude(see what I did there Coral). He came in and took his push to insane level. So insane that even Hogan fall short in comparising at the time. The Rock was mostly overlooked. But he went from most hated guy in the company to the guy who, if he didn't make in Hollywood, would be probably most biggest draw for the next at least 5 years after Austin left for good. You could argue that Austin was bigger, but The Rock was there.

    Everybody else just kinda fall short. Flair was big but in modern terms nowhere in terms of guys like Hogan at the times, Shawn can call himself "Mr. Wrestlemania" but aside of ego big enough to move mountain was never there and has even failed hard as top draw, Hart was popular but arguable never really there, Cena took over after transition and carried the torch but never took it anywhere big enough.

    In terms of popularity (not talking about in ring ability, if we talked about that then guys like Hart would be top and beat guys like Hogan by a mile) there are only 3 top guys there. And that are

    1. Hogan
    2. Austin
    3. The Rock

    And I would say in that order. So, he is top tier. Probably not best ever but still top.
     
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  11. kwig2121

    kwig2121 Dark Match Winner

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    Well you guys must have been reading my mind because today I actually was thinking about The Mount Rushmore of the WWE.

    It came up because I watched the Bruno Sammartino documentary on the Network. If you haven't seen it, it's outstanding.

    I would put The Rock on the WWE Mt Rushmore for performers, along with Bruno, Hogan, and Austin.

    Rock just edges out John Cena. When I think of the Rock, I just think of the master of the catchphrase. Most guys have just one. Ric Flair may have had several, "space mountain," Learn to Love It it's the best thing going today, " Diamonds are forever, so are the 4horseman.

    But the Rock and catchphrases went straight to merchandise. Can you smell, the Brama Bull, It doesn't matter, etc. I also believe when it came to delivering a promo, in which the audience hung onto every line, Rock mastered this. His promo's were sing along with the Rock.

    The attitude era, starred SCSA and the Rock. Their trilogy went mainstream. Throw in the Rock's transition to Hollywood, becoming the 1st wrestler to stick in Hollywood, there are just too many first's associated with Rock not to say he is definitely in the top four, behind in my opinion Bruno, Hogan, Austin, in no particular order.

    Last but not least I think HHH will be remembered more for his founding of NXT and the development area for WWE as that has extended the brand. However, John Cena is right on Rock's heels. He has had a great career and seems to be following the path of "The Great One."
     
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  12. the_peoples_adam

    the_peoples_adam heROCKules

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    The ROCK is certainly the most successful and famous wrestler ever without question but is he the greatest of all time..
    I dont think so..
    When Hogan and Austin is there how can we call Rock the GOAT..Id put him second greatest with Flair Cand all those people..
     
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  13. bjarvis

    bjarvis Pre-Show Stalwart

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    Absolutely. Problem was he started transition more and more into films by the time Austin had retired.

    Had he stayed on past Austin's retirement, he would have been in an era of Orton, Batista, Michaels, Edge, Jericho, Cena, Triple H, Taker, Benoit, Guerrero. I missing some big names of course - but there's no doubt in my mind The Rock would have been side by side with Cena as the 1 and 2 of that era.

    I think as well had both Rock and Austin stayed on, for say 5 more years, i think Rock easily overtakes Austin as the day to day #1 and #2.
     
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  14. FromGlasgow

    FromGlasgow Championship Contender

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    Definitely one of the top wrestlers of all time but to say he is the greatest of all time is a stretch as his full time career was so short and for the majority of that time it did feel he was second to Austin, If he had of remained a full time wrestler all those years instead of leaving for Hollywood I think by now and especially with the lack of talent the past few years he would have been greatest of all time.
    Could be the most successful wrestler of all time outside of wrestling though.
     
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  15. therockiswwf

    therockiswwf The voice of Michael Cole's headset

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    Well that's because Rock didn't truly reach Main Event level until the latter part of 1999. When Rock faced Austin at WM 15, Rock was still upper-midcard. The Mankind/Rock feud in early 1999 was designed to elevate Rock because he still needed help. 2000 was the year where Rock shined (as did HHH). Free from Russo booking and Austin being out, Rock got the ball and ran with it.

    Austin was more popular than Rock and if his neck had not given out, Rock would have still been under him.

    In WWE ranks, Hogan, Austin, Rock and Cena. Andre, HBK, Hart, Taker, HHH, etc. are all considered below them. Rock is firmly where he is.

    Also, I'm sorry you are watching 1999. That was a horrible, Russo filled year. The shows are incredibly top heavy and featured such things as Beaver Cleavage, people screwing themselves out of scheduled title matches for literally no reason, tag teams fighting each other in matches where they can tag out but played up as they have no choice even though they did, Undertaker forgetting wrestling is fake and believing he really is The Undertaker and plenty of other fun stuff.
     
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  16. Psykohurricane55

    Psykohurricane55 Moderator
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    I feel that while he was highly popular in his time and his charisma made him a megastar in Hollywood, he will always be looked at in history as the guy that was playing second fiddle to stone cold Steve Austin, kinda like macho man and ultimate warrior we're playing second fiddle to hulk Hogan in the late 80's. They're the guys that are highly popular but not as much as the top star in the company. The rock was that guy, he was widely popular but compare to Austin, he was just another guy on the roster.
     
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  17. Pay Per Ghost

    Pay Per Ghost squashed Disco Inferno to become

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    Piss off with that territorial BS.

    Bruno couldn't draw this side of Philly, Flair/Hogan was gradually losing so much interest in 92 that Vince changed his Mania plans.

    They were ESSENTIAL to their territories, but couldn't draw in other states.

    Dusty was a better national draw than Flair or Bruno.
     
    #17
  18. therockiswwf

    therockiswwf The voice of Michael Cole's headset

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    I would not agree with this. Rock was definitely less popular than Austin but Rock was leaps and bounds above a normal number two guy. Stepped in when Austin needed time off. Carried the torch and kept ratings up. Business actually kept going up when Austin was out and that can be partially attributed to Rock. I would not put Savage and Warrior in the same league as Rock. They are below him.

    I get what you are saying about him but I feel it is demeaning him a bit.

    I've always felt this was more a consequence of Hogan leaving rather than inability to draw. They didn't want the NWA guy beating their guy. They didn't want Hogan to leave with the title. They would have been stuck.

    I don't see how Hogan vs Sid and Savage vs Flair would have helped drawing power if Hogan vs Flair wasn't drawing.
     
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  19. Goldie

    Goldie Getting Noticed By Management

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    The Rock is the candle that burned twice as bring and half as long.

    If you take into account his full time schedule- it was only really 1998 to early 2001 he was there as a bona fida superstar.
    1996-97 he was booed to hell for his goody too shoes image. only to booed again from 2002-04 when wrestling fans felt he betrayed the industry for choosing Hollywood over wrestling. Then there was an absence of many many years and I wouldn't really factor his rare matches from 2013-14 which was a wave of nostalga.

    Rock was red hot from 1998-2001 and just as hot as Hogan and Austin at his peak.
    However the very top guy in WWE history is Hogan in my opinion.

    Hogan, Bruno, Austin, Rock, Cena.
     
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  20. relentless1

    relentless1 G.O.A.T.

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    regardless on your idiotic stance on territory guys fact is that WWE and wrestling today wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Bruno so yeah; he gets that 4th spot in the utmost legends echelon. Flair and especially Hogan changed the industry not only how its viewed in pop culture but how matches are booked and viewed as well. Say what you want but these four are the cornerstones of what the business is today.
     
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  21. dd23beatlesfan1

    dd23beatlesfan1 Getting Noticed By Management

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    The Rock is one of the greatest of all-time for sure (both in WWE history, and overall pro wrestling history), but he's not the greatest (again in both WWE and especially overall pro wrestling history).

    The Rock's greatest shortcoming when it comes to his legacy, is his lack of longevity. I know many would say that Austin's run as a top guy was just as short, but Austin had about a decade in the business as one of the top workers in the business to support his status as an all-time great. The Rock started training in 1996, debuted the same year, floundered his first two years (due to bad direction and booking), got over big in 1998, was an absolute top name from 1999-2001, went part time in 2002 and 2003, and then left for good other than brief nostalgia runs in 2012 and 2013.

    Austin and Cena, and especially people like Hogan, Flair, Andre, Bruno, Taker, HBK, Hart, Savage, Piper, etc far surpass the Rock when it comes to longevity. Taker, HBK, Hart, and Flair, as well as Cena weren't as big of draws and reached the mainstream of pop culture like the Rock was able to do, during his wrestling career alone. Cena has come somewhat close in recent times as his wrestling career is winding down, but Cena at this point, which is probably the most famous outside of wrestling that he's ever been, wasn't ever as red hot as The Rock was in the late 90's/early 00's. People forget, but Austin also during that time was red hot too and was appearing on TV shows and talk shows during his run in the late 90's.

    As was highlighted in the Bruno documentary, Bruno was a pretty big celebrity in the 1960's, for that time. Being a celebrity in the 1950's and 1960's wasn't near as big like it is today, and thus Bruno unfairly gets looked at as not being near as big of an overall star like Hogan, Rock, Austin, Cena, and even Andre. But I didn't see any of those wrestlers having private meetings with the Pope. Bruno was pretty damn huge for his time.

    Andre though was the one that really broke through as a pop culture icon (other than Gorgeous George in the 1950's) beyond wrestling.

    Hogan of course took it even further in the 1980's, and to this day is still probably the one wrestler that everyone who's not a fan of wrestling can name (or The Rock).

    Flair had so much longevity as one of the greatest performers in the business. He was easily in the top 5 workers in all of wrestling for about a 20 year period (1975-1995). That's pretty darn impressive. Probably only Shawn Michaels could match that when it comes to modern wrestlers (Bret Hart could've had his career not been cut short).

    I'm kind of going on a bit of tangents so I apologize for my posting being so unorganized lol.

    If I was to rank the top 10 stars in the history of WWE it would look like this....

    10. John Cena
    9. Macho Man Randy Savage
    8. The Undertaker
    7. Shawn Michaels
    6. Bret Hart
    5. The Rock
    4. Andre the Giant
    3. Bruno Sammartino
    2. Stone Cold Steve Austin
    1. Hulk Hogan

    Cena I rank at No. 10 because he wasn't as good an in-ring performer (IMO as Austin, Savage, Hart, Michaels, Taker, and the Rock. He was a better in-ring performer than Andre, Hogan, and Bruno, but he was not near the draw or as impactful on WWE and wrestling as a whole (especially) as those guys. But he was the definitive figure of WWE in the post-Austin and Rock era, and his longevity and improvement throughout his career (similar to the Undertaker), makes him one of the best ever. And though he wasn't as big a draw as Hogan, Rock, and Austin, at their peaks, he was a stable presence for WWE for almost two decades, and stable enough to allow for WWE to become an even bigger company in the global market. He's definitely an important figure in WWE history for sure. But to me he falls short as an overall wrestler compared to the other 9 guys on this list.

    Macho Man I rank at No. 9 because he was a better in-ring performer than Cena and was more influential on future wrestlers, but didn't have the longevity and consistency in WWE as HBK, Hart, Taker, Andre, and Bruno, and wasn't as big a star as Andre, Hogan, Austin, Rock, and Bruno.

    The Undertaker I rank at No. 8 because he had the most consistency and longevity of everyone in the top 10, revolutionized how to work in wrestling as a big man (he's the second greatest giant/big man wrestler in history behind Andre), had the greatest gimmick/character in the history of pro-wrestling, but wasn't as great an in-ring worker as HBK, Hart, and Austin, and didn't reach the mainstream of pop culture like Bruno, Andre, Hogan, Austin, and Rock did.

    Shawn Michaels I rank at No. 7, because he's arguably the greatest in-ring performer in the modern history of pro wrestling in America, and was a cornerstone of WWE for almost 20 years. He was a better in-ring performer than Bruno, Hogan, Andre Rock, Cena, Taker, and Macho Man (though that's closer), but is slightly behind Hart (IMO), and like Taker, never reached the mainstream of pop culture like Rock, Hogan, Andre, Bruno, and even Cena. He also was probably the weakest draw of everyone in the top 10.

    Bret Hart I rank at No. 6, because IMO he was the greatest in-ring worker of everyone in the top 10 (just slightly ahead of HBK), revolutionized the style of wrestling and workrate in WWE helping to lead the way for smaller, better athletes to be top guys in the company (even when Vince Sr. ran the company in the 60's and 70's, he favored bigger, charismatic stars rather than great in-ring performers like the NWA did). There would be no current era of Punk, Bryan, Rollins, Styles, etc. as top guys, or even the early 00's period of Angle, Guerrero, Benoit, Mysterio, and Jericho, without Bret Hart paving the way from 1992-1994. Bret also really showed that WWE could draw big across the world outside of America, where he was by far the top star and draw for WWE. Though WWE was touring outside of America in the 80's during the Hogan period, it was during Hart's reign at the top in the early to mid 90's that WWE really started heavily touring outside of America which paved the way for WWE becoming a global company. Bret Hart really was one of the most important wrestlers in WWE history, and doesn't really get as much credit for that as he should. That being said, he was not as big a star or draw in America as Andre, Bruno, Hogan, Rock, or Austin, so he falls short to them.

    I rank the Rock at No. 5 as he was the second best wrestler in the history of pro wrestling on the mic (only behind Ric Flair), was a very solid in-ring performer, was probably the fourth biggest draw in WWE history (behind Hogan, Bruno, and Austin). He was a great all-around talent. His lack of longevity though hurts him and thus he falls behind earlier stars like Andre, Bruno, and Hogan who had far more longevity and impact on the business, and he was never quite at Austin's level as the top guy. You can argue that he was more liked by the fans and maybe even drew more at certain points, but the reality is that Austin was always pushed as the top guy over the Rock when both guys were active at the same time. The best example of that is Austin beating the Rock at Wrestlemania X-7. At that point many feel the Rock had surpassed Austin, but if WWE truly felt that way, they would've had the Rock win, which they didn't. They went with Austin. The Rock finally beat Austin, when Austin retired. That should tell you right there that in WWE's eyes Austin was always the top guy over the Rock.

    I rank Andre the Giant at No. 4 for revolutionizing what it was like to be a giant in pro wrestling (which the Undertaker would take further in the 1990's), being one of the most unique attractions in the history of the business, becoming a mainstream pop culture icon outside of pro wrestling which really helped lead to the wrestling boom of the 1980's and for his longevity as a top name. Andre may not have been the in-ring performer that Savage, Taker, HBK, Hart, Rock and even Cena were, but he was a bigger star/draw than all of them and was more important to the history of wrestling than all of them. Andre falls short of Bruno, because he was an attraction, whereas Bruno was the era-defining figure of his time, as were Austin (who was also a better in-ring performer and talker), and of course Hogan who in many ways took what Andre did in the 70's to the next level in the 1980's.

    Bruno ranks at No. 3 because he was the man that literally made WWE a vital wrestling company, has the longest reign with a world title in the history of pro wrestling, (which speaks to his drawing power and popularity), as well as his drawing power/popularity, and longevity. Bruno at the twilight of his career in the mid-to-late 80's was outdrawing Hulk Hogan in some cities and shows. That's remarkable. That being said, he wasn't as good an in-ring performer as Austin was, and he didn't change the wrestling business as a whole the way Hogan did, though he's still among the 10 most important wrestlers in the entire history of the business.

    Austin ranks at No. 2 for being one of the best in-ring performers of the 1990's (both his time in WCW and WWE), revolutionizing the face/heel dynamic in pro wrestling (yes there were tweeners before him like the Road Warriors and Dick the Bruiser, but Austin took it to another level), literally saving the WWE from declining majorly, beings one of the greatest draws in the history of pro wrestling, even though it was shorter compared to other bigger draws. Austin, was in many ways the total package of what a pro wrestler should be. He was charismatic, had a great character, could cut amazing promos, was a great in-ring performer and worker, had great in-ring psychology, was believable in the ring and in his promos, was a major draw, and reached the mainstream of pop culture. There were certain areas that other wrestlers were better at, but when it comes to all aspects that makes a wrestler great, he's as close to the total package as anyone. But his impact on WWE and the wrestling industry as a whole wasn't quite as big as the No. 1 guy.

    Hulk Hogan ranks as No. 1 because he really brought pro wrestling and WWE to the mainstream, and forever changed the wrestling business. The modern era of pro wrestling exists thanks to Hulk Hogan, his starpower, drawing ability, (along with Vince McMahon and his vision as a promoter and booker, but we're talking just wrestlers here). Hogan wasn't the in-ring worker that really everyone else in the top 10 was (Andre in his prime was a beast for a guy his size), but when it came to crowd psychology, perhaps none of them were better than Hogan. Hogan also helped spawn two boom periods of pro wrestling, which no one else on this list, or maybe even anyone in the history of American pro wrestling was able to do. That shows how impactful and big of a star as he was. What Elvis Presley was to rock and roll, Hulk Hogan was to pro wrestling, the face and ambassador, and biggest star, even 30 years later. Bruno helped WWE become a relevant pro wrestling company, Hulk Hogan helped make it the dominant and definitive pro wrestling company.
     
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  22. shooter_mcgavin

    shooter_mcgavin Mid-Card Championship Winner

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    Hogan, Austin, and The Rock are the three biggest superstars in the WWE no question asked.

    People always use The Rock's short run with the company but thats only because he left the WWF/WWE since he already accomplished everything he could there. If he stayed any longer he would have been burned out.
     
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  23. shooter_mcgavin

    shooter_mcgavin Mid-Card Championship Winner

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    that's a pretty good list though one could argue the rankings order should change.

    The only one I would take out from that list is The Undertaker. Undertaker was a foundational piece in the company but he wasn't exactly the one that drew the event.

    I would probably put Piper in that spot. I guess he also had a short run but I believe Piper had as much to do with the Rock n Wrestling early success as did Hogan.
     
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  24. HeenanGorilla

    HeenanGorilla Championship Contender

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    Just to throw a wrench in, if you take away Elizabeth, most (if not all) of Savage's WWF programs don't work. I am a big Savage fan and loved his charisma and look and promos and ring work and style...but she was integral in absolutely everything he ever did. Steele, Honky, Hogan, Dusty, Jake, Flair--and less directly Twin Towers, DiBiase, Andre and Warrior. His major moments relied heavily on Elizabeth's involvement in one way or another. Without her and the emotion that she brought to his programs, he would be significantly lower on a lot of these "best ever" lists--possibly even removed altogether, though he'd still be higher than many legends not even mentioned here. Maybe a Jericho-type level.

    Regarding Rock, I agree he was 1a to Austin, even though he was huge back then and arguably more entertaining. I have Hogan/Austin/Cena on their own level and then Rock, HHH, HBK, Taker, Andre on that next level that has NOTHING to be ashamed of. You can throw some others on this secondary level as well. But those top 3 stand alone, in my opinion.
     
    #24
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  25. THTRobtaylor

    THTRobtaylor Once & Future Wrestlezone Columnist

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    Trying to rank people is ridiculous... as they're all from different eras and had different effects on the business. Hogan made it nationally popular for sure but Bruno and Andre had built the WWWF for years prior to the point it could go national...

    Austin literally "saved the company" but he didn't do it alone, in fact the Attitude Era worked and the war was won because for a period WWE could create a new bonafide star or two EVERY year... Austin, then Rock, then Foley and Trips, then Angle, Then Jericho, Brock, Eddie, Batista, Cena...

    Austin alone doesn't save the company... it took the rivalries with The Rock, guys like Taker and Kane in the mix and the others who picked up when his injury became too much.

    In Rock's case, he arguably IS the greatest in that he, more than any other has successfully taken the idea of being "a wrestler" and made it to becoming the most recognisable actor in the world. Hogan, Austin, they all aspired to it yet the only one truly close at the moment is Batista with his Marvel role...

    Rock was the top man in the WWE, who went to Hollywood and became the top man there...and went BACK to WWE so the world could see he was the top man in both fields. People even tout him as a future president with a straight face based on his insane popularity and seemingly ideal temprement for politics.

    No one... Flair, Bruno, Austin, Hogan has managed that other than Rock... so there really is no argument as to who the greatest of all time ACTUALLY is...all the rankings and lists and numbers won't change the fact that Dwayne went from Rocky Maivia to THE most recognisable man on the planet and everyone KNOWS he is/was a wrestler first.
     
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