The Ruthless Aggression Era in WWE lasted from 2002 to 2008 when they switched to an time many fans called the PG Era. As far as good wrestling and good storylines goes, the Ruthless Aggression Era trumps all other eras. If you want good wrestling and a lack of story, you would want to watch the PG Era as well as the current product known as the New Era. If you want great stories, you watch the Attitude Era. A focal point in all these eras were Triple H. Triple H was always on top during the Ruthless Aggression Era. He held the World Heavyweight Championship way more than he didn't. Unfortunately, for him at least, he was nowhere near the best performer of this time. Several stars during this period were way more deserving, but were held down by Triple H. Also during this period, Triple H became known by the Internet Wrestling Community as a guy who holds other wrestlers down or in wrestling terms, would burry them. Many Superstars don't get the respect they deserve and have the accolades they should have because of Triple H.
Here are 15 Ruthless Aggression wrestlers who were way better than Triple H.
Goldberg recently made his return to WWE to the the approval of many fans around the world. Many are jumping for joy about his match with Brock Lesnar that will happen soon but I am not one of those people. One of the reasons it took Goldberg so long to make his return, is because of his first run with the company. He feuded with Triple H for the majority of his run, and failed to do anything significant. Although he won the World Heavyweight Championship once, it was too late and this run could not be fixed. Although his level of skill is nowhere close to that of Triple H, no one was as over as Goldberg was and that was also proven once he made his return.
14 Hulk Hogan
The iconic Hulk Hogan was even a worse performer in his career at this point in time but he still was massively over with the crowd. His best match during this era came at WrestleMania XIX. He faced Vince McMahon in Street Fight at the show and put on a terrific, bloody brawl for two men of their age. Hogan during this period would also put over wrestlers, something Triple H was not to keen on doing (even though the same could be said for Hogan at points during his career). He lost to both Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle clean and this helped get Brock over massively. Although his ring work diminished severely at this point, Hogan was still able to do what it took to get the crowd to pop on SmackDown.
13 Big Show
The Ruthless Aggression Era may be the best era for the Big Show. In both the PG Era and the Attitude Era, Show wasn't treated as seriously as he should have been. He won his second WWE Championship and ended Brock Lesnar's first run as WWE Champion during the Ruthless Aggression Era. However, he would drop it to Kurt Angle just one month later. He was a part of SmackDown's upper mid-card up until 2005 when he went to Raw. At Backlash 2003, Show defeated Rey Mysterio and then slammed him into the ring post while he was strapped to a stretcher board. This is the closest Show has come to a monster. Every time Big Show has turned heel afterwards, he says that he's a giant, but he never does anything to proof it.
12 John Cena
John Cena during the Ruthless Aggression Era was incredibly entertaining. He mastered a terrible gimmick and perfected it. Before their was P.N News and Mabel rapping. Those two were horrible. But John Cena took the horrible gimmick of rapping and ran with it to the top. This gimmick got Cena over with the crowd on a very high level and their was no other option besides him to take the title ofrom JBL at Wrestlemania 21 in Hollywood. Even after he went away from the rap gimmick, he obviously became the face of WWE as we all see today. None of this would be possible, if Cena never got over on a major level with his gimmick as the Doctor of Thuganomics during the Ruthless Aggression Era.
11 Booker T
Booker T is another prime example of someone not being able to succeed because of Triple H. Prior to WrestleMania XIX, Triple H and Booker T had a very odd story. The story was borderline racist. Triple H's comments during the feud would lead one to believe that he would lose at WrestleMania. But, unfortunately, and despite the timing being perfect to put Booker T over, Triple H won the match. And to make matters worse, Triple H hit the Pedigree, and did not pin Booker for an eternity. Booker would not win a World Championship until 2006 after he won the King of the Ring. He was still able to have a great run with the title despite it being three years too late.
10 Rob Van Dam
Rob Van Dam was always a terrific performer minus his TNA days. But whenever he does come back to the WWE, he always put on great matches. In 2003, Rob Van Dam was in a "CM Punk" type of role. Everyone loved him, but WWE never put their full faith in Van Dam. He was put in multiple tag teams and held the titles on multiple occasions. But Van Dam deserved much better than this. He should have been a part of the World Heavyweight Championship picture at least. In 2006, Van Dam won the second ever Money in the Bank, and cashed in on John Cena at ECW One Night Stand. He defeated John Cena, although it wasn't clean. His reign would come to an end after he and Sabu were busted for drugs.
9 Rey Mysterio
Rey Mysterio arrived in WWE in the middle of 2002 and wooed the crowd very easily with his spectacular high-flying moves. He was a part of the SmackDown Six and had tremendous matches with the other five members. He and Edge were SmackDown's second ever Tag Team Champions. Mysterio wrestled Matt Hardy in the opener of WrestleMania XIX in a very underrated match. Mysterio arguably should have won right there but they held off until a few months later. Mysterio never came close to competing for the World Championship until 2006. In the 2006 Royal Rumble, Mysterio came in second and lasted the entire way, winning the match by last eliminating Triple H and Randy Orton. At WrestleMania 22 he won the World Heavyweight Championship in a Triple Threat match. His reign is unfortunately considered one of the worst ever, as Mysterio basically lost every match not involving a title.
During his time with WWE, Edge was one of the company's best heels. This is clearly evident as the crowd legitimately hated the guy. He fully embraced the Rated-R Superstar persona and ran with it to the moon. He won the first Money in the Bank contract in 2005 and held the briefcase for almost a year before he cashed in on John Cena after he competed in a Elimination Chamber match. He dropped the title to Cena at the next Pay-Per-View, but what happened during the reign is still talked about to this day. He and his girlfriend Lita had a "Live Sex Celebration" which was interrupted by John Cena. Things really took off during his second reign which was once again ended by John Cena.
In 2003, Kane was actually being built as a legitimate threat for the first time since his debut. Much like Big Show, every time Kane turns heel he just claims to be an unstoppable monster. Kane lost the mask after being defeated by Triple H in a match for the World Heavyweight Championship on Monday Night Raw. He went on a rampage and destroyed authority figures like Shane McMahon, Linda McMahon, and Eric Bischoff. He even set Jim Ross on fire. One would think Kane would hold the World Heavyweight Championship at least once during this team. But you would be wrong, he didn't even hold the Intercontinental Championship. They built Kane so well they just refused to give him the title he deserved. Finally, a few years later, Kane would win the World Championship but the momentum was long gone.
6 Eddie Guerrero
Eddie Guerrero is beloved by almost all wrestling fans. His untimely death shocked the entire wrestling world and it truly is one of the saddest days in wrestling history. Guerrero was a member of the SmackDown Six and put on great matches with those members. He won the Tag Team Championship twice with his nephew Chavo Guerrero during this time. Eddie Guerrero won his only WWE Championship at No Way Out 2004 against none other than Brock Lesnar. This moment is universally remembered as one of the brightest moments in wrestling history. Although his reign wasn't the best, fans still loved him as champion. He lost the title to JBL who would then hold the title for almost a year before ushering in the John Cena Era.
5 Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar was once a lot more than Suplexes and F-5's. His matches were a lot more entertaining than what they have become. During the Ruthless Aggression Era, Brock Lesnar was booked tremendously. He ran roughshod through the WWE in 2002 and won the King of the Ring. He eventually defeated The Rock to win the WWE Championship. After turning face, he also proved that he can be great in the chase for the title. He won the Royal Rumble and feuded with Team Angle. At WrestleMania XIX the feud culminated with Angle dropping the title to Lesnar. Unfortunately, by the following WrestleMania, Lesnar was done with wrestling and tried his hand at the NFL, but not before he put on a stinker of a match with Goldberg.
4 The Undertaker
A lot of people were not fans of The Undertaker's run as the "American Badass." Personally, I loved it. It felt refreshing to see a different side of The Undertaker. He won the WWE Championship after defeating Hulk Hogan, and after the worst Chokeslam ever. He then lost the title to The Rock in a awesome Triple Threat match that also involved Kurt Angle. But when it started to get stale, he knew to revert back to The Deadman. Although it started off on a low point, it rose to a very high level when they inserted him into the World Heavyweight Championship picture. Although older, he continued to put on strong matches. He also helped to get a young Randy Orton over in 2005 with their year long feud.
3 Shawn Michaels
Shawn Michaels is the greatest professional wrestler ever, and he proved this when he returned from a four year hiatus to put on a masterpiece of a match with Triple H at SummerSlam. Michaels won the World Heavyweight Championship once, but other than that, he hardly won any championships during this period. He was known a lot more for putting on tremendous matches. His opponents included Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho, John Cena, and of course, Triple H. According to many, he was able to reverse the image that was made of him during his younger age (a very poor image of an immature young man). But he converted to Christianity and was able to kick his addiction. Everything went right for Shawn Michaels during the Ruthless Aggression Era.
2 Chris Jericho
Chris Jericho is another individual who was used incorrectly during the Ruthless Aggression Era. Right before the era began, he lost the Undisputed WWE Championship to Triple H at WrestleMania X8. During this era, he remained a steady hand and up until his departure in 2005 usually putt on very good matches. A match that sticks out is Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XIX in a match that was bout of the night on a stacked card. He and Christian then had an entertaining feud over Trish Stratus which culminated at WrestleMania XX when Stratus turned on Jericho. Unfortunately, Jericho never held the World Heavyweight Championship during this period when he obviously should have.
1 Kurt Angle
Kurt Angle was one of the best things going in wrestling during this time. Every match of his was pure gold. Every segment of his was pure gold (minus the Daniel Puder incident). Angle proved to be the best amateur wrestler to make the transition to professional wrestling. He easily was better than Triple H during this period even though those two rarely crossed paths during the Ruthless Aggression Era. He and Brock Lesnar put on a tremendous match even though Angle needed neck surgery. He and Shawn Michaels had a classic match at WrestleMania 21 on what was a rather weak card. Angle excelled at being both a face and heel during this period which proves that he was not only a talented wrestler but an overall great character.