9. Chris Benoit
For the sake of brevity, please insert the usual Chris Benoit disclaimer here. Talking about Benoit is a difficult subject for obvious reasons, but expecting to navigate the choppy waters of modern pro wrestling history without his name coming up is naive at best. Separating Chris Benoit the professional wrestler from the Chris Benoit who committed those horrific acts is easier said than done.
By the beginning of 2000, Benoit was the figurehead of a group of performers who had had enough of WCW's ineptitude. Along with Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero and Perry Saturn (and Konnan and Shane Douglas, but that didn't come to pass), Benoit was on the way out, and there was nothing that WCW could do to change his mind. Not even a run with the WCW World Heavyweight Championship.
Undeterred, WCW went ahead and put the belt on Benoit at Souled Out 2000, having him defeat Sid Vicious in a main event refereed by Arn Anderson. Less than 24 hours later Benoit had relinquished the belt and left for WWE, rejecting the title reign that WCW had desperately offered him at the very last.
While on the subject, go back and take a look at that Souled Out card. Yikes. Oklahoma vs. Madusa? Vampiro vs. David Flair & Crowbar? Kevin Nash vs. Terry Funk in 2000? Yeeesh. It is incredible that WCW made it to 2001.