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SPORTbible used TierMaker to rate every superstar to hold the lineal WWE championship from the year 2000 to today, ranking them from 'All-Time Great' to 'Not A Wrestler'.
Austin and The Rock were the charismatic faces of WWE's record-breaking Attitude era, while the allegedly retired Undertaker is famed for his longevity, having headlined WrestleMania in four different decades.
Just below that iconic trio, John Cena, Daniel Bryan, Chris Jericho, Kurt Angle, CM Punk and (when he can be bothered) Brock Lesnar are all awarded 'Legend' status.
Controversially, Roman Reigns, Triple H and Randy Orton are all labelled 'Overrated'. Possibly because they're all wrestling right now in an ongoing, 55-minute WrestleMania three-way while the audience goes to the toilet. Or because - while each are undoubtedly big stars - they simply aren't quite as huge as WWE likes to think they are.
Bizarrely, Hulk Hogan is stuck in the 'Trash' bin with no-hopers like JBL and Alberto Del Rio. But to explain: this clearly only applies to the post-2000 Hulkster.
The 1980s and 90s Hulk is on pro-wrestling's Mount Rushmore. But his modern-era returns always felt pretty sad - especially when coupled with his racism controversy and inability to really, successfully, articulate an apology.
'Underrated' by the wider world are fan favourites such as 'Latino Heat' Eddie Guerrero and Kofi Kingston, plus current WWE champ Drew McIntyre. The big Scot was robbed of his crowning WrestleMania moment this year by the ultimate heel: Covid-19.
In the 'Not A Wrestler' category we reluctantly dump Jinder Mahal. The first wrestler of Indian descent winning the WWE title should have been a genuine feel-good story.
But boring jobber Mahal was cynically hot-shotted the title purely to boost ticket sales in India (which failed as local fans saw through it) and he's widely viewed as the worst superstar to ever hold the belt.
The full SPORTbible rankings are below.
All-Time Great: Steve Austin, The Rock, The Undertaker
Legend: CM Punk, John Cena, Brock Lesnar, Daniel Bryan, AJ Styles, Rey Mysterio, Chris Jericho, Kurt Angle
Underrated: Eddie Guerrero, Kofi Kingston, Drew McIntyre, Jeff Hardy, Bray Wyatt
Overrated: Roman Reigns, Triple H, Randy Orton, Big Show, Edge
Average: Batista, The Miz, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Rob Van Dam
Trash: Hollywood Hulk Hogan, Sheamus, John Bradshaw Layfield, Alberto Del Rio
Not A Wrestler: Jinder Mahal
Note: This list excludes WWE Universal or Heavyweight champions, sticking only to the lineal champs of the last 20 years. Which at least saves sweaty grandpa Bill Goldberg from the trash can.
Let us know what you think of our ranking of modern WWE champions in the comments.
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