The scripted element of WWE does not give us an official MVP Award like other sports, but it would be fun to witness which wrestlers would win each year. Value is a bit more different than just star power or in-ring skills. It plays a role in the talent’s ability to positively impact the promotion. The most valuable wrestlers will have had strong runs at times they were needed to hit a home run in a major way that helped WWE.
We will look at ten wrestlers in company history to have such a strong impact. The wrestlers that stepped up in the right time or multiple right times will get higher ranks along with an explanation for what made them so valuable. All these wrestlers deserve legendary legacies in the company as they are the top ten most valuable wrestlers in WWE history.
The Rock may be the most famous person in wrestling history, but he only ranks tenth on the most valuable WWE stars. It was a great success story for The Rock as he only had a full-time run in WWE for about five years before his Hollywood projects took over his career.
Another benefit for Rock is that Steve Austin had already helped kick start the rise of the Attitude Era when Rock started to replace him as the face of the company. Rock still provided incredible value for WWE as a mainstream star. His two WrestleMania matches with John Cena helped great box office records for the company.
The success of Bret Hart helped WWE at a time when the company was struggling to make new stars. Hulk Hogan’s exit from the company in 1993 after the steroid trials put WWE in a horrible position. Fans of the product rallied behind Hart which led to Vince McMahon making him the face of the company.
Hart did a solid job keeping the business of the company consistent despite the tough situation. WWE badly needed that consistency between the end of the Golden Era and the start of the Attitude Era. Bret was a tremendous champion that helped WWE’s international fan base grow which helped set the motion for them to become a global brand today.
WWE’s product was starting to grow stale in 2011 with a lack of new stars. CM Punk cut an iconic speech calling out John Cena, Vince McMahon, Triple H and many others in the company with his “pipe bomb promo.”
The Summer of Punk would see him rise to the top of the company. Punk helped find success for WWE on social media when the company was badly trying to improve that aspect of the brand. The great work from Punk allowed him to become a top tier legend for WWE that fans still chant for despite leaving five years ago.
Randy Savage helped add a second superstar for WWE in the 80s outside of Hulk Hogan. WWE needed other main event players and Savage stepped up to the position with various characters. Savage was the first true main eventer that thrived in both the face and heel roles for WWE.
The presence of Savage helped increase the credibility of the Intercontinental Championship during Hogan’s world title reigns. WWE even found magic with the duo of Savage and Hogan both teaming and feuding. Savage made a massive impact for the company with many of today’s stars influenced by him.
The two stints in WWE for Shawn Michaels helped create some of the best matches in company history. Michaels deserves the nod when solely looking at the greatest in-ring performer in WWE history. The first singles run in the 90s helped add another main event star that fans loved to watch.
Michaels’ retirement in 1998 would have left him off the list, but he thankfully returned another run in the 2000s. This one helped cement Michaels as a true icon in WWE history with classic matches against new stars like Kurt Angle and Chris Jericho. The body of work from both runs helped Michaels become a top ten valuable WWE star.
The elevation of John Cena in 2005 as the WWE Champion gave the company a new top name to represent the brand. Cena would have the longest run as the face of the company since it went mainstream in the 80s.
This decade-long run of Cena featured him as the man most responsible for WWE’s success as he worked harder than everyone else. Cena may still have that spot today if he didn’t make the move to Hollywood for his acting career. No one better represented WWE through a few important transitions than Cena did. He also helped get new stars like Kevin Owens and AJ Styles over.
Trish Stratus is often underrated when discussing the most important and valuable people in WWE history. Vince McMahon essentially phased out the women’s division after Alundra Blayze dumped the Women’s Championship in the trash on Nitro when joining WCW.
The star power of Status forced WWE to bring back a credible division with real matches instead of just bra and panty gimmick stipulations. Matches against Lita, Jazz, Molly Holly and many others made the Women’s Championship relevant. Stratus may not have been part of the women’s revolution, but it may not have come without her work.
The rise of Hulkamania in the 80s made Hulk Hogan the biggest star in the wrestling industry. Vince McMahon started to expand WWE into a national success story with the push of Hogan as the face of the company. It is hard to tell if WrestleMania becomes such an instant success without Hogan.
The star power of Hogan led to incredible attendance numbers along with ratings and buy rates for the shows. Viewers wanted to see Hogan enough for him to dominate the WWE Championship picture from 1984 to 1993. WWE brought Hogan back to the company as an ambassador amidst the controversy due to his importance in its history.
Steve Austin stepped up most when WWE drastically needed a new top star during the Monday Night Wars. WCW took control in 1996 with the New World Order leading to massive success. WWE was struggling immensely in the ratings war as Austin gained popularity.
The organic push of Austin made fans feel a part of his journey. Austin would win the WWE Championship in 1998 to become the face of the company as they never looked back in the Monday Night Wars. WWE’s all-time great success came in the Attitude Era with Austin as the biggest star.
The longevity of The Undertaker makes him the most valuable wrestler in WWE history. Undertaker would remain an upper card name from his start in 1990 and is still one today as a part-timer. No other wrestler can say they feuded with Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin and Roman Reigns during each man’s prime.
Undertaker most importantly provided the consistency as a top act for most of his run. During the big changes or ugly downfalls for the company, Undertaker remained on the roster. WWE reportedly recent signed Undertaker to a lifetime contract which makes sense given his overall value to them.