Thursday, June 2, 2016

Top Five WWE Performers Since 2000

5) Triple H: Since this list is supposed to begin back in 2000, I can't not include The Game. That year started with Triple H winning the WWF Title from Big Show before he moved into classic matches with Cactus Jack. Brutal bouts that solidified HHH as THE MAN in the company. He was a guy who was able to move seamlessly from face to heel consistently and could almost always be counted on for damn fine performances. I can remember at least one standout match in nearly each of the past fifteen years. Whether he's the comedy man with DX, the heel Champion with Evolution, the face fighting for his family or the heel authority figure, Triple H delivers.

4) Chris Jericho: Versatility is the name of the game when it comes to the multi-time champion, Chris Jericho. A guy who can go from heel to face with the greatest of ease and can slide between the main event, mid card and tag division as needed. He was the first ever Undisputed Champion, held a record setting nine Intercontinental Titles, and won numerous Tag Team Titles, with future Hall of Fame partners. He would also be one of the only guys in history to completely reinvent himself as he went from Y2J in the first half of the decade, to a much more serious, suit wearing heel in the latter stages. He has left and returned numerous times and it is always a treat to have him back. He knows his job now too as he has put over the likes of CM Punk, Dolph Ziggler and Bray Wyatt lately while also mentoring Wade Barrett. He always said it; Jericho is excellence.

3) Shawn Michaels: Let's get one thing clear, Shawn Michaels was the best performer when he was around from 2002-2010. The only issue is that he was indeed only around for eight years. After retiring for four years due to a broken back, he returned for a Street Fight with Triple H at SummerSlam 2002. Shawn beyond exceeded expectations and had an incredible run. Shawn was great during the first run of his career, but it pales in comparison to this run. Shawn put on classics with nearly everyone during this time. John Cena, Edge, The Undertaker, Triple H, Chris Jericho, Randy Orton, Ric Flair and so many more. Shawn truly won me over during this run and was damn perfect pretty much every time out.

2) Edge: Chris Jericho is possibly my second all-time favorite wrestler, but number one with a bullet is Edge. In 2000, Edge was hot off of a classic star-making tag team Ladder match and moved into seven Tag Team Title reigns with Christian. It was a shot in the arm to the tag team division but Edge enjoyed singles success as well. He won multiple Intercontinental Titles, a United States Title and even the 2001 King of the Ring. He had a great feud with Kurt Angle but things got turned way up when he became the Rated R Superstar. He skyrocketed into another stratosphere and nothing could stop him. He would cash in Money in the Bank twice and win 11 World Titles. That wasn't a typo. Edge is one of the greatest of all time, as he truly did it all. Every major title multiple times, a King of the Ring, a Royal Rumble win and runs at the top against the best as both a face and a heel. Throughout it all, I don't remember a bad match at all. Unfortunately, he had to retire in 2011 due to the toll that his career had taken on his body but even then, he went out on top as World Champion.

1) John Cena: A few years ago, I wouldn't be caught dead putting John Cena atop any list. However, I went from "Cena Sucks" guy to changing my tone. Now don't get me wrong. I'm still not a fan of the guy as he is in dire need of a character overhaul. However, the man has proved how valuable of a performer he is. Cena took his generic character in 2002 and turned it into a ridiculous rapper gimmick that never should have worked, but it did. He had a slow build to the top and eventually got his big win over JBL at WrestleMania 21. After having matches at the top of the card that underwhelmed, things started to change. He would have good matches with the likes of Shawn Michaels, sure, but when he started to have them with Umaga, Lashley and even The Great Khali, he won me over. Since then, Cena has shown that he's the best guy to have at the top of the company. He is durable, marketable and ALWAYS delivers in the biggest matches. He's the MVP of the company and has been for longer than anyone else in history. Respect.