10 Greatest WWE Champions Ever

Give 'Em The Belt. Then They Beat Everybody.

WWE.com

Stone Cold Steve Austin wasn't the first, but he popularised the notion that if a wrestler wasn't getting into the business to be the WWE Champion, they shouldn't bother at all.

It was flawed, of course. The fact he once said it to a selection of 'Tough Enough' contestants as soon-to-be-ex-wife Debra espoused that women were mere "candles" whilst "the men made all the money" betrayed the conviction with which he spoke.

The philosophy was believably delivered from the pinnacle he'd reached, with his well-worn tale of eating raw potatoes thrown in for the requisite rags-to-riches element. But did Austin honestly believe this could be applied to every single performer to lace up the boots? He smacked Spike Dudley and Matt Hardy around in exhilarating fashion in 2001, but was he really looking across from them with fear they may take his spot?

Few, in reality, ever make it to the level he suggested all should shoot for. It's what makes the destination so valued and the arrival so notable. The industry's no worse off for having midcarders-for-life kicking around either, but nothing replaces the magic of seeing a performer destined for greatness finally achieving what still just about remains the most prestigious honour in the industry.

Daniel Bryan's 2014 run was cut heartbreakingly short, but thank goodness his ascension at least occurred. He was destined to get there, even if he wasn't built to stay. Even he couldn't crack the most exclusive club in pro wrestling...

Contributor
Contributor

Square eyes on a square head, trained almost exclusively to Pro Wrestling, Sunderland AFC & Paul Rudd films. Responsible for 'Shocking Plans You Won't Believe Actually Happened', some of the words in our amazing Wrestling bookazines (both available at shop.whatculture.com), and probably every website list you read that praised Kevin Nash.