In the midst of what was to many a disappointing Royal Rumble PPV, there is something that I have been pondering for a long time. Who is really the best superstar to ever grace the WWE with their presence. To me, there are only five clear cut options who have a case and I’m going to list them out. They are Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and The Rock. To me, those are the five oblivious choices to have a claim to being the best of all time. I’m going to pick one of these five, but make a case for all of them.
Hulk Hogan is truly one of the greatest of all time. In an era where most of his footage of wrestling isn’t really appreciated, aside from his legendary match with Andre The Giant, I don’t think we truly appreciate how much of an impact Hulk Hogan had on WWE, especially at WrestleMania. He dominated the late 80s with the likes of the Ultimate Warrior, Randy Savage and Ric Flair among others. He clearly wasn’t the most technical of wrestlers, but his influence was more than enough to suffice being one of the best of all time. Whether he was hulking up, tearing off his shirt slowly, or just his connection with the crowd, there is no way he can’t be in this conversation. Who knows, Hulkamania may run wild this year as well.
Shawn Michaels is the greatest performer in WWE history. I don’t think there is really an argument here. Whenever someone is up against HBK, we can’t expect to have at least a decent match. I still remember his iron man match against Bret Hart at WrestleMania and never before have I seen a man put his body on the line so much. He isn’t called Mr. WrestleMania because of his record (underwhelming). But his performances are just the stuff of legend. He has had tremendous matches with the likes of the Undertaker, Triple H, Chris Benoit, John Cena, Kurt Angle and even Vince McMahon. He just also has that confidence and feeling that he knows what he’s always doing. Shawn always had a fun time wrestling but he also knew his spots. He is a ring veteran and would also have no problem in making sure that a match functions the right way. HBK has to be involved in this conversation as well.
Undertaker’s perfect WrestleMania streak stands as the most coveted accomplishment of any WWE superstar of all time. It has become tradition for him to have his streak defended every year. It has never been broken, nor should it be broken. Undertaker is no where near his hay day of wrestling but you wouldn’t tell based on his performances in the ring. Last year, he stole the show with CM Punk at WM 29 with the obvious match of the night. Before hand, we witnessed brutal matches against the likes of Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Edge, Ric Flair, Randy Orton and much more victims in his graveyard. I don’t know if any of you have this feeling, but for me, every near fall in an Undertaker match is always one that gets the adrenaline pumping for me. The most I had was when Shawn Michaels and Triple H had their SCM/Pedigree combo and Undertaker still kicked out. Its not just his performances at WrestleMania that gets him to be one of the top of all time. There is a certain aura that you feel when he enters the ring, especially when you see him live. Chills literally do go down your spine. Even when he had the American Badass gimmick, he was still exciting in his motorcycle. The Undertaker alone makes WrestleMania makes the most must-see PPV every year, and it will continue to be until Undertaker decides to hang the boots up for good.
Let”s face it, Stone Cold Steve Austin defined the Attitude Era. Again, he wasn’t the most technical of wrestlers, but he was the leader of what was perhaps the greatest era of all of sports entertainment. The middle finger, the beer, the mudhole stomps, the WHAT chants, he just had what a star from the attitude era should have. When someone hears glass shattering, everybody instantly knows who is coming and that things are about to get real. It is so painfully obvious that even in the limited time Austin was in the ring, he made the best impact of any WWE superstar. His feuds with Triple H, Vince McMahon, and most famously, The Rock, stands as one of the greatest of all time. A man of his caliber is someone that has the attitude of someone who just wants to win and wants to entertain. That last term is a forgotten one. Entertainment has become a lost art in WWE but Austin mastered it. His presence is missed and he is overdue for an appearance. And when he comes back, hopefully, fans will show the appreciation of the superstar who showed the most amount of attitude.
The Rock was a third generation superstar, but you can tell that when he entered WWE, he just had the look. He had everything really. The athleticism, the speed, the charisma, just everything. I mean, if you want an ideal WWE superstar, look no further than The Rock. Now recently, The Rock got a lot of hate for ending CM Punk’s reign, especially in part because he wasn’t their for the long run and only defended on PPV. However, I don’t think people truly knows how great The Rock actually was. The crowd would go nuts over the most trivial of things. Whether it was his cartoonish catchphrases, the eyebrow raising, or any other subtle things, The Rock just knew how to get a crowd involved (similar to Daniel Bryan today). I just believe that he had the right combination of everything and with just the simple of things, The Rock would just sit back and listen to the cheers. People may not like The Rock, but the fact of the matter is that he was truly that great of a superstar. I don’t think any superstar could match the combination he has. In my eyes, he was truly the real face of WWE.
For me, people may have mixed opinions on my pick, but I really believe that The Rock is the greatest WWE superstar of all time. It is extremely close and each man here has a case. But if you want to talk about a combination of a plethora of things, I don’t think you can look any further than The Rock. Comment your picks and why. Thank you.