Posted by: Misha | January 4, 2010

The Top Ten Wrestlers of the 2000s

So  2009 is done and with it not only is a year of wrestling, but a decade… Eek. There’s lots of things in the 2000s to look back at when it comes to the world of wrestling and I’ll deal with some of them in the next couple days (part of my resolve to make daily blog posts in the New Year), but right now I want to focus on one subject. The top ten wrestlers of the decade.

I spent all month thinking about my choices and debating them with The Man and formulating my defenses. I admit I didn’t watch wrestling the entire decade, but I’ve researched and YouTubed and depended on the opinion of The Man for help and have come up with my top ten. One warning, I don’t watch TNA, so my list is based solely on WWE guys. I calculated star power, title runs, and placement on the card as my criteria, since I was honestly trying to decide who had the biggest impact during the last decade. Let’s see if you guys agree with my choices.

10. Jeff Hardy
I’m not a Jeff Hardy fan, something I’ve made clear time and time again in the past. However, I thought long and hard and decided that he belonged on this list. Hardy is an incredibly popular and charismatic wrestler, despite my own feelings for him. The reaction to his title win this summer, proved that. Hardy wrestled in the WWE from the start of the decade until 2003 and then again from 2006 to 2009 and in that time he won three world titles, nine minor titles (lightweight, hardcore, intercontinental, and European) and six tag team championships. Not a bad resume. The Hardy Boyz were one of the best tag teams of an era when tag teams actually mattered and while, I, personally, think that Matt was the more talented brother, Jeff was the one that shined. Jeff Hardy never managed to make it as an established main-eventer, but he was the best of the mid-card for sure and, while not my personal cup of tea, one of the best, most innovative wrestlers in the WWE during the 2000s.

9. Batista
Batista is a wrestler who probably would have rated higher on this list if not for his constant injuries. There’s no denying he’s incredibly popular, especially since his recent heel turn. He’s been constantly in-and-out of the main event, when he’s healthy he’s a force to be reckoned with and has had several memorable matches.

8. Shawn Michaels
Ten years ago, HBK would have been much higher on the list and I actually debated whether he belonged here at all, because I think of him as more of a star of the 90s. But then, I thought that though he hasn’t been in the title scene and he’s moved gracefully from main-event to high mid-card, he’s still had a huge impact on the wrestling business. His feud with Jericho is considered one of the best of the decade and he always delivers great Wrestlemania moments. There’s also the extreme popularity of DX, as ridiculous as their skits with Hornswoggle might be, there’s no denying that they’re fan favourites. Shawn Michaels might not be the top guy anymore, but he doesn’t need to be.

7. The Rock
For the first few years of the decade, The Rock was unquestionably the biggest star in the WWE and even though he only wrestled for the first few years of the decade, it’s hard to dismiss the impact he had on the company. He is probably the biggest mainstream success the WWE has ever produced and the first wrestler since Hulk Hogan to become a true household name. While his time in the WWE was limited, his impact can’t be denied. He still managed to win six world titles and his match at Wrestlmania XX (in Toronto!) against Hulk Hogan is a classic.

6. The Undertaker
Like HBK, The Undertaker has moved away from the main-event scene, into a more supporting role (though he has held the title for the last few months). The dead man no longer has to be the big thing of the company, because his popularity is unlikely to wane–he’ll always be a fan favourite and his streak is one of the most appealing things about Wrestlemania and the hype of who will be the one to break it. His feud with CM Punk felt like it missed the mark, but his work with Batista, recapturing from their earlier feud, has made up for it. He’s not the prescence he once was, but there’s no dount that he’s been one of the WWE’s most popular and most dominant wrestlers over the last ten years.

5. Randy Orton
Since his entrance into the WWE in 2002, Orton has slowly become one of the WWE’s biggest and most successful heels. From his time in Evolution, to his formation of his own heel stable, Legacy, Orton has grown to be a dominant and reviled heel. He was the youngest world champion and has won the title five more times since then, maintaining a constant presence is the main event.

4. Chris Jericho
Chris Jericho really is the best in the world at what he does. I’m not sure if there’s anyone in the WWE that can match Jericho on the mic. Whether as a heel or a face, Jericho knows how to get the fans attention. The first undisputed champion, Jericho’s had a fair bit of success in the decade, despite taking a few years off for personal reasons. Jericho rarely has a bad match with anyone and can sell even the stupidest storyline, which is as much of a curse as a blessing, since it means he usually gets wasted in stupid storylines or making sub-par talent look good.

3. Edge
Like Jeff Hardy, Edge started the decade as part of one of the WWE’s best and most popular tag teams. But unlike Hardy, Edge managed to propel himself to main event status after his tag team days ended. His victory at the first of the Money in the Bank contest paved the way for his entrance into the main event and he’s stayed there with a vengeance, winning nine world titles since 2006. Before his injury in July of 2009, Edge and Jericho were on their way to making the tag team titles relevant again and as entertaining as Jerishow was, we all know that Rated Y2J was better. Edge is undoubtably one of the most talented superstars in the WWE and his star is still on the rise.

2. John Cena
John Cena has become the face of the post-attitude era WWE. He is undeniably popular and is probably the biggest star in the WWE today. Since joining the WWE in 2003, Cena has become probably their biggest guy. I can personally take or leave Cena, but there’s no arguing that he’s popular or that he’s done a lot to promote the WWE and help bring in the new PG-era. There aren’t many wrestlers who did more than Cena in the 2000s and wihtout a doubt he deserves to be the near top of this list, though he didn’t quite have enough of an impact to  be my #1…

1. Triple H
For me there was no other choice, as soon as I decided to write this list, I know who my number one had to be. Love him or hate him, Triple H dominated the WWE in the 2000s. He won 11 world titles in those ten years, his first in January of 2000 and his last in February of 2009, making him active and dominant over the course of the decade. Triple H feuded with top guys (including all of guys on this list), had storylines that got lots of airtime (even though some of them were pretty awful) and was always in the title scene. Plus there’s the popularity and success of DX, as well as his time in Evoloution (which will be remembered as a great heel stable). Triple H has a lot of star power, a lot of fans, despite all his detractors and he deserves the #1 spot on this list for that reason.


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