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Posted in: Doctor's Orders
Doctor's Orders: The Top 100 WWE Stars Of The Post-Attitude Era (#30-#21)
By The Doc
Aug 6, 2016 - 11:00:09 AM





About a year ago, a frequent collaborator on “The Doc Says” podcast – David Fenichel - suggested to me a column series that would begin to turn our historical attention toward that which came after the vaunted Attitude Era. With an eye on something fresh, he suggested that we identify the most accomplished wrestlers of the “post-Attitude Era” - from present day back to the night after WrestleMania X-8 as we have defined it. So, welcome to a labor of pro wrestling love roughly one year in the making.

We ranked our top 100 wrestlers based on a point system that involved headlining matches for WrestleMania, Summerslam, Survivor Series, The Royal Rumble, and all other PPVs, combined with a points formula based on titles won and length of reigns. While it was more difficult to ascertain the status of certain members of the WWE – namely tag teams, divas and legends w/ short tenures during this era, we believe that this is as unbiased of a countdown as you are going to find. Chad and I did a tremendous amount of work putting this together for you, so we hope that you enjoy the ride.

30. Dolph Ziggler
29. Trish Stratus
28. Vince McMahon
27. Christian
26. Eddie Guerrero
25. The Miz
24. Roman Reigns
23. Booker T
22. Seth Rollins
21. Jeff Hardy


30. Dolph Ziggler



Dave: We’ve reached the spot on the countdown belonging to Chad’s all-time favorite wrestler, Dolph Ziggler. Anyone who follows Chad on Facebook knows that he can’t write two wrestling-related posts without me bringing up how terrible Dolph is. I promised to be positive here. After all, he’s a former world champion, multi-time IC champ, and former Survivor Series main eventer. I won’t talk about how I can count the number of 4 star matches that Ziggler has ever had on one hand. I also won’t talk about how he might have the worst look in wrestling, resembling an emo-rock washout from the 80s. I won’t talk about how his promo skills are terrible and haven’t improved since his debut. I especially won’t talk about how I acquiesced to Chad’s request to move Ziggler many spots higher on the list than his career accolades deserve. I won’t do any of that.

Doc: You can see what I have to put up with by having Dave as a friend. You grow attached to a wrestler because he excels for a short period of time – please, let’s not mix this up, Ziggler showed flashes of brilliance from 2011 to 2013 – and you get poked with the literary stick when that wrestler’s career never advances to the heights you thought it could. Let’s talk about what Ziggler has done for a moment. He was arguably the cream of the crop of a combination of rookie classes that never really panned out as consistent headlining acts; as a cocky heel character, he ascended all the way to a pair of Royal Rumble World Title shots and a Money in the Bank cash-in at one of the most important shows of the year (the post-Mania Raw). He may not have maintained that level of success, but he has become in some ways his generation’s RVD – possibly the most over mid-card act in the game for several years.

29. Trish Stratus



People have gotten swept up in the Divas Revolution talk since the women down in NXT began lighting it up on the WWE Network 2 years ago. Let’s not forget that the standard-bearer for females in WWE is still Trish Stratus and will be Trish Stratus for the foreseeable future. The former 7-time Women’s Champion revolutionized the heights that the fairer sex in modern sports entertainment could reach. She was as good as or better than a lot of the top male acts during a period of time in WWE lore that featured an absolutely stacked roster of talent. She could out talk her male peers and she could outperform most of them in the ring. Her matches with Lita and Mickie James are not just the stuff of women’s wrestling legend, but of wrestling legend period. Banks, Lynch, Bayley, Paige, and Charlotte have a long way to go to catch Trish Stratus.

I just fell out of my chair at the idea that Ziggler is this generation’s version of RVD, but I need to move on. Trish Stratus is undoubtedly the best female wrestler of this era, and second all-time only to The Great Moolah. She was the perfect combination of beauty, athleticism, charisma and mic skills. Both Chad and I tried to justify moving her as far up the rankings as we could. She is perhaps the most difficult person to rank on this list. She wrestled in an era where the Divas weren’t given any opportunity to headline matches at any of the major PPVs. Additionally, the Divas don’t have the benefit of mid-card titles to pad their stats in that category. In the end, she ranks behind only wrestlers with SIGNIFICANT headlining contributions during this era. In my eyes, Trish is the female version of John Cena.

28. Vince McMahon



Vince McMahon is the other person whose accomplishments, although extraordinary, were difficult to properly rank. He’s the owner of the company, so any match or storyline he is involved in is the headliner and gets scored accordingly. On the other hand, he’s the owner of the company. He rarely wrestled, so he doesn’t have the benefit of quantity on his side. Nonetheless, Vince headlined double digit shows, from WrestleManias against the likes of Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart, to smaller shows against Degeneration X and Bobby Lashley. There really isn’t more to say about Vince from the wrestling standpoint. I’d like to see the WWE induct him into the Hall of Fame sooner rather than later. He’s getting up there in age, and it would be a shame if he isn’t alive by the time the fans are able to give him the adulation he rightfully deserves.

Dave’s right; trying to accurately place Vince McMahon on a Countdown like this one was a bit more challenging than for others. I believe we’ve got him in the correct spot. He made a lot of on-air contributions that went beyond the ring, such as the Battle of the Billionaires; technically, based on our criteria, he does not get credit for that. He was definitely the driving force behind it and the financial success that it garnered, though. I’ll admit that Vince wore on me for much of last decade – no act no matter how good should play such a dominant role on a television show for that long without much change – but as the dust settles and we near the end of his active role presumably, we are left with a stellar on-air career that few if any will ever be able to replicate.

27. Christian



Christian’s spot in the post-Attitude Era and his spot in the overall WrestleMania Era are strikingly similar. That perhaps speaks to his consistency as I do not think it’s mere coincidence. He has a sparkling resume as a multi-time World Champion, Intercontinental Champion, and Tag Team Champion. In addition to being arguably the greatest Tag Team titleholder ever based on his overall body of work in that division, Christian is underrated in terms of his contributions as a singles wrestler. There may not have been a more entertaining mid-card heel from 2001-2005 when he left for TNA and, upon his return in 2009, he became an incredibly valuable in-ring asset as a future star-grooming veteran champion of ECW. I cannot say enough about his World Championship summer of 2011; his match with Alberto Del Rio at Extreme Rules is one of the best of the decade that nobody talks about and his feud with Randy Orton was pro wrestling at its finest. A true legend and future Hall of Famer.

I give Christian a tremendous amount of credit for not being “Marty Jannetty’d”. There were great tag teams throughout history comprised of one can’t miss superstar and one wrestler that faded into obscurity. Edge was that can’t miss superstar of the team. Nonetheless, Christian carved out an amazing career for himself, both on a main event and mid card level. He achieved tremendous title success, and absolutely made the most of every headlining opportunity that he received. His work against Alberto Del Rio and Randy Orton that Chad detailed was outstanding. I want to bring special attention to his match against Randy Orton at Summerslam 2011. This match is often overshadowed because of how hot CM Punk was at the time, but Orton calls it his best match ever. That is incredibly high praise. I agree with Chad – Christian should be a future Hall of Famer.

26. Eddie Guerrero



I’m certain that I will catch a tremendous amount of flak for this, but Eddie Guerrero’s tragic death has blinded people when it comes to his actual career. Eddie is an all-world talent with amazing in ring and microphone skills. His main event accomplishments are more than enough to warrant his place on our list. However, people refer to him as one of the most successful superstars ever. This simply is not the case. His main event run was less than one year and he has shockingly few “big profile” matches to his resume. The fact that the LOP forum thought he should have been the 5th or 6th guy voted into LOP’s Hall of Fame is LUDICROUS. That rant aside, he played the face and heel with equal perfection, was flawless in the ring, and was incredibly successful in the mid-card for years. He was a truly unique talent.

Eddie Guerrero is a lot like Daniel Bryan frankly. They both got unexpectedly over to historic levels and proceeded to have incredible peaks – Guerrero’s coming in the build-up to and at WrestleMania XX. Sadly, his career (and life) ended before he could maximize the full extent of his capabilities. Wrestlers who get as over as Eddie did are once in a generation; he was that popular. So, I can understand how his overall career accomplishments could be somewhat skewed by fans. Nevertheless, he was definitely one of the best overall wrestlers in pro wrestling history for all the reasons Dave mentioned. To me, his feud with JBL highlights what he brought to the table. He was so good at everything that a pro wrestler needs to be successful. The fact that he could take someone like JBL and turn him into one of the top heels of the era is astounding.

25. The Miz



I’d like to start by saying that I’m in the minority (and I’m well aware of it), but I really enjoyed The Miz as a main-event guy. Sometimes, diehard fans get this idea about someone even if a more objectively analytical observer can look at the same body of work and see it completely differently. Miz, according to some, was the biggest mistake in WWE main-event history. I could not disagree with that more. The Miz was a total doofus in the beginning, but worked his tail off to craft this generation’s absolute best annoying, chicken sh*t heel. The feud with Bryan? Money in the Bank? They were made for someone like Miz and he rode the success of both all the way to the WrestleMania main-event. Good for him, I say. Since 2011, he’s done nothing but find ways to contribute to the product. I’m a Miz fan for life. His resume is awesome.

I too, enjoyed the Miz as a main eventer. There isn’t a single wrestler in history that has overachieved more than the Miz. He’s a guy who was a Reality TV star. This is a guy who got his duffel bag pooped in. This is a guy who had every opportunity to fail and he hasn’t. There may not be a wrestler on the roster that is better at garnering heel heat than the Miz. He was instrumental in getting Daniel Bryan over. Damien Sandow thrived unlike any other time in his career while teaming with the Miz. The Miz is a one time world champion, 2 time US champ, 4 time IC champ, and 6 time tag champ with four different partners. He is a member of a small and elite group of wrestlers that have main evented a WrestleMania. I wonder what Daniel Puder is doing these days?

24. Roman Reigns



Hogan, Savage, Yokozuna, Hart, Michaels, Sid, Undertaker, Austin, Rock, Triple H, Lesnar, Cena, Batista, and Orton. That is the list of absolute bona-fide superstars that have main evented more than one WrestleMania. Roman Reigns is a member of that group too. The hate for Roman from the IWC is ridiculous to me. He’s an above average wrestler who was without a doubt the third most impressive PPV performer behind Rollins and Cena in 2015. He’s delivered in PPV main event after PPV main event. He connects with little kids, the audience that will ultimately be responsible for continuing to grow the fan base. He is a three time world champion, and he’s just getting started. Ten years from now, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Roman Reigns cracks our top ten for the post-attitude era. It’s time to embrace him, whamboo bamboos.

I’ve made no secret of my feelings about Roman Reigns and his critics; I think a lot of fans shaped their opinion of Reigns on things that had nothing to do with him and have stuck with the narrative that they created despite how good Roman has actually become at his job. He’s not perfect and is not overly charismatic, but he’s good looking and a big match-performer, as proven by his body of work since 2015. If he can ever find his voice on the microphone, he could become one of the biggest stars of all-time. That’s a wait-and-see process. As for what he has accomplished - two straight championship matches at WrestleMania, three reigns as WWE Champion, former co-holder of Tag Team gold, and one third of the decade’s best stable – it is already worthy of a Top 25 position on our Countdown.

23. Booker T



Booker T really did have a great WWE career and I’m quite happy to see that fact reflected as a by-product of our criteria. I’ll let Dave run down his resume, as I want to talk specifically about his charisma and ability to get over because I think his name pops up far too infrequently when it comes to well-rounded talents. In 2002, his reactions to Goldust’s antics took a “we don’t know what to do with you” side project and turned them into the surprise hit of the year and the catalyst for him getting over to WrestleMania-headlining-caliber levels. In 2006, he took the King of the Ring moniker to such comical heights that it may well be the most revered version of his persona. I know that, for me, King Booker reigns supreme as the preeminent run of his career. What a supremely underrated pro wrestler…

Booker T is without a doubt the greatest African-American wrestler ever. Whereas other African American wrestlers have achieved short term main event success, only Booker has broken through the color barrier to be a consistent main eventer throughout the majority of his career. To list his individual accomplishments would take up this entire blurb, and wouldn’t do his career justice. Booker excelled in everything that he did, whether it be as a serious character or in a comedic role. His greatest run during this era was his World Title Reign under the King Booker gimmick. Think about that for a minute. Name the last “King” storyline that benefitted the wrestler involved? It’s a dead end gimmick that you can do very little with, yet Booker turned it into gold. I really could go on and on lauding Booker for his accomplishments. He’s one of the best of all time.

22. Seth Rollins



Despite only debuting at the end of 2012, Seth Rollins has already accomplished enough to be ranked at #22 for this era. Rollins is the best in-ring performer in the WWE today. His mic skills are underrated, reminding me of a young Triple H. His place on the list is fueled by his remarkable world title run. One of the best endings ever to a WrestleMania was last year when he cashed in the Money in the Bank briefcase and won the world title. Starting with WrestleMania 31, he went on to main event 7 out of the next 8 Pay Per Views. He main evented three additional Pay Per Views in 2014, enjoyed a stellar tag team title run with Roman Reigns, and who could forget his Match of the Year performance against Cena and Lesnar at the Royal Rumble in 2015? He’s had a remarkable career thus far.

Seth Rollins is, in my opinion, “The Man” of this next generation. Ambrose, Reigns, and Wyatt will all have their time, but I have a feeling that the Architect is going to wind up surpassing them all when their respective careers reach their finish lines. He is an absolutely fantastic in-ring performer; sort of an evolutionary Shawn Michaels with his unique brand of athleticism. To my surprise, he has also rounded into the rare type of talent that can take the microphone and talk for 10-minutes, holding the crowd's attention along the way. For his elite skill set and his stellar track record with the Shield and as a singles performer starting with his awesome mid-2014 heel turn, Seth Rollins is the highest ranking star – as of early 2016 - of the relative newcomer class and is highly likely to continue his upward ascent and be a Top 10-15 star at least within a couple of years.

21. Jeff Hardy



I think one of the things that we’re seeing as we near the end of the Countdown is that the end of last decade and beginning of this decade, roughly over about a four year stretch, saw a real drop off in the creation of new stars. Someone like Jeff Hardy emerged from the ashes of the failed or stalled pushes for Mr. Kennedy, Carlito, Lashley, and others. From late 2007 until late 2009, Hardy was a massive success in WWE; a multi-time World Champion, a multi-time Intercontinental Champion, a two-time Royal Rumble headliner, a WrestleMania feature performer, and one half of an epic feud with CM Punk that led to the 2009 Summerslam main-event. I praise the Enigma for his accomplishments, but I also want to recognize – in the interest of a thorough assessment – that he’s not like a Rollins, Reigns, or Ambrose spearheading his generation’s usurpation of the previous.

Jeff Hardy’s another guy that had a natural “IT” factor you can’t explain. I always thought Matt was the better of the two, yet it was Jeff that attracted the adulation of the masses. Chad stated that Jeff’s rise to the main event resulted from failed pushes for other people. This is being harsh on Hardy. He was only scratching the surface on how big of a star he could become in the WWE when he bolted for TNA. You cannot understate how big of a deal that was at the time. That was the move that made you feel that TNA could be a valid competitor to the WWE, because in Jeff Hardy they stole one of the most popular wrestlers in the industry at that time. TNA and poor decisions ruined his career, and he’d be a heck of a lot higher on this list had he stayed.


QUESTION OF THE DAY: Who is the true alpha of the new era in your opinion - Seth Rollins or Roman Reigns?

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