World Championship Wrestling ended their weekly program, Monday Nitro, on March 26th, 2001. Fifteen years have passed since the days of the Monday Night Wars and a lot of the wrestlers from those days have attempted to be successful in the WWE. From midcarders like Billy Kidman to main eventers like Goldberg, a great number of former WCW wrestlers tried their hands at becoming major players in the WWE and the results were a mixed bag. Some wrestlers eventually went above and beyond their careers in WCW and became world champions while other wrestlers saw a significant decline in their star power. Men like Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio eventually went on to win world titles after years of never breaking through WCW’s midcard while a main eventer like Diamond Dallas Page was reduced to winning a title that would become irrelevant later that year. The booking of WCW stars in WWE was so on and off that it caused one of the biggest WCW superstars of all time, The Man called Sting, to hold off on signing with WWE until two years ago. And unfortunately, even he would be mishandled in the last years of his career.
There have been so many WCW stars who have made the jump to WWE over the years that it would be an interesting thing to see how these stars stack up against each other. And this article will attempt to accomplish this by ranking WCW stars from worst to best based on how they were used in WCW to how they were used in WWE.
And to make this ranking a bit more interesting, superstars who jumped ship prior to the Monday Night Wars will not be included. So don’t expect to see Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, or Kevin Nash on this list (besides, they’d be at the top of the list anyway).
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For many years, The Man Called Sting avoided coming to the WWE due to their problem with booking WCW stars on the same level as their own. Unfortunately, his fears would come true long after WCW was gone. After making an epic debut at the 2014 Survivor Series PPV, Sting was set for a feud with Triple H at WrestleMania. Many fans hoped he would defeat Triple H in order to make him more credible for a match against The Undertaker the next year. Instead of this, Triple H defeated Sting at WrestleMania. To make matter worse, he lost to Seth Rollins at Night of Champions after Rollins had already lost one of his matches and he suffered injuries that may make seeing him again as a wrestler very unlikely. For a man who had legendary feuds with the nWo, Vader, and Ric Flair to end up losing every major match in his short lived WWE wrestling career is a truly sad turn of events.
At least he will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, hopefully with little to no mention of his constant losses within WWE.
14 Diamond Dallas Page
Enough can’t be said about Diamond Dallas Page’s run in WCW. Starting off as a manager for The Fabulous Freebirds, DDP would eventually venture into singles competition and become one of WCW’s greatest success stories. DDP was one of the WCW’s biggest stars following the rise of the Monday Night Wars, winning the WCW World Heavyweight Championship three times, the United States Championship two times, and the World Tag Team Championships four times. Unfortunately, DDP’s run with the WWE wouldn’t be remotely as impactful. His greatest accomplishment with the WWE was his European Championship victory over Christian at WrestleMania X8. Now it was mostly due to injuries and age that the WWE wasn’t going to be able to get the best out of him, but considering they initially booked him in a storyline with The Undertaker’s wife, there was most likely a ceiling as to where his success would stop from day one.
13 Ultimo Dragon
Like Rey Mysterio, Ultimo Dragon was another high-flying, fast-paced cruiserweight wrestler who would win several midcard championships within WCW such as the World Television Championship and the Cruiserweight Championship. A botched surgery to fix an arm injury would keep him on the shelf for five years before he would eventually come to the WWE. He would only spend a year with the WWE and would eventually go on to wrestle at WrestleMania XX in the WWE Cruiserweight Open for the Cruiserweight Championship. However, that is the height of his run with the WWE as he would ask for his release and continue to wrestle in Japan and Mexico shortly after. He never really had a standout feud during his time there, so naturally his rank even amongst midcarders is low.
12 Dean Malenko
Named the number one wrestler in the world in the 1997 Pro Wrestling Illustrated Top 500, Malenko was a major asset to WCW’s midcard. Winning the Cruiserweight Championship four times, The Man of 1,000 Holds had memorable feuds against fellow midcarders such as Chris Jericho, Rey Mysterio, and Eddie Guerrero and was a member of the last incarnation of The Four Horsemen. Though he wasn’t a main eventer, he was still a great addition to the show that was highly regarded. Upon signing with WWE, Malenko would be a member of The Radicalz and would go on to win his only singles title in WWE, the Light Heavyweight Championship; a title he lost on an episode of Sunday Night Heat. Aside from feuding with The Hardy Boyz after reforming The Radicalz, Dean Malenko’s time in WWE was short lived and very mundane. These days he has a backstage role as a producer and has made sporadic appearances since. Considering how Malenko was at the top of WCW’s midcard and ended up near the bottom of the WWE’s, it’s evident that his booking was nowhere near what it was in WCW.
11 Booker T
When discussing some of WCW’s biggest success stories, it’s hard not to include Booker T in such a list. As a member of one of the biggest tag teams in WCW history, Harlem Heat, Booker T and his brother Stevie Ray put on great matches and were always entertaining. And near the end of WCW, Booker T was rightfully moved into the main event and would become the four-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion. Coming into the WWE, Booker T was always involved in high profile matches feuding with top stars such as The Rock, Kurt Angle, and Stone Cold Steve Austin and it was well received by all fans. Everything seemed like they were pushing him to be a main eventer, until he lost against Triple H at WrestleMania XIX for the World Heavyweight Championship. He would go one to win the World Heavyweight Championship years later, but it wasn’t the same as what could’ve been had he defeated Triple H. He was a great success in WWE’s midcard, but the fact that they neglected to make the most out of a potential main eventer can’t be ignored.
Another example of WWE failing to properly book their stars, Goldberg was the biggest homegrown talent in WCW and went on to become of the biggest disappointments in WWE. Goldberg’s undefeated streak, his match on Nitro against Hogan, and his feud against Diamond Dallas Page were some of the biggest moments in WCW’s history and fans expected WWE to follow up on this booking when he signed with the company. WWE attempted to book him strong at first when he defeated The Rock and Chris Jericho, but they failed to capitalize on the momentum by having him beat Triple H, who was already injured at the time, at SummerSlam. Instead, Goldberg lost after a sledgehammer to the head and would win the title the next month and have a four-month world title reign. His last match in the company was one of the most highly anticipated matches in history only to be a giant disappointment and one of the worst matches on the grandest stage of them all. His booking wasn’t terrible, but it definitely didn’t live up to its potential, nor the fans expectations.
9 Perry Saturn
As a member of The Flock, Perry Saturn spent most of his time in the WCW midcard winning the WCW World Television Championship and World Tag Team Championships with Raven and Christ Benoit. Following feuds with Raven, Eddie Guerrero, and Chris Jericho, Saturn would leave for WCW along with Benoit, Guerrero, and Dean Malenko. After arriving in WWE, the group of wrestlers were immediately put together as The Radicalz and would immediately turn heel on Cactus Jack to fight for the McMahon-Helmsley Faction. Following the group’s disbanding, Saturn remained in the midcard and began fighting for the Hardcore Championship. Following an attack on Mike Bell, Saturn would be given a romantic relationship with a mop that led to a feud with Raven that ended when he defeated Raven at Unforgiven. Shortly after this, Saturn tore his ACL and requested his release. Saturn was yet another WCW wrestler whose potential only could go so far, no matter where he was.
8 Billy Kidman
Starting off as a jobber, Billy Kidman eventually went on to join Raven’s Flock and capture the WCW Cruiserweight Championship. He would face men like Juventud Guerrera, Chris Benoit, and Dean Malenko and would reach the highlight of his WCW career by facing Hulk Hogan. Once WCW was bought by Vince McMahon, Billy Kidman would be signed by WWE and would continue his pursuits of the Cruiserweight Championship. Aside from a tag team championship victory over The Dudley Boyz with Paul London and his involvement in the Invasion storyline, Kidman’s career would remain that of a midcard superstar.
7 Lord Steven Regal (William Regal)
William Regal's time with WCW was another example of a midcard wrestler who maintained his midcard status regardless of where he wrestled. After winning the WCW World Television Championship several times, Regal would remove to the WWE for a brief period of time before returning to WCW following a stay in rehab. After another year with WCW, Regal would return to the WWE for good and won the European Championship after his re-debut. He would go on to win several midcard championships such as the Hardcore and Intercontinental Championship which he lost in his feud with CM Punk. Aside from becoming the first member of the Vince McMahon Kiss my Ass Club, his run in the WWE was very good. Regal’s final match was against Cesaro in NXT where he later served as a commentator and currently serves as the General Manager.
Though he was a two-time former ECW World Heavyweight Champion, Raven’s run in WCW was about on the same level as his WWE run. After reforming a new variation of his ECW stable “Raven’s Nest,” Raven would win a few championships such as the United States Championship and the tag team championships in WCW. Following some creative differences, Raven would briefly return to ECW before heading to WWE. During his four-year stint with the company, Raven would remain in the midcard, but went on to defend the Hardcore Championship at WrestleMania 17, regarded as one of the best WrestleManias of all time and held the belt for a record 27 times. Afterwards, he would be involved in the WCW/ECW Alliance storyline and would be regulated to Sunday Night Heat. Though he never broke out in WCW, his run in WWE and his time as the Hardcore Champion are what people remember more when compared to his one-time championship reigns in WCW.
5 The Giant (Big Show)
Big Show’s run in WCW was pretty good by all accounts. He won the WCW Championship by defeating Hulk Hogan, was involved in the highly popular nWo group, and won several tag team championships. But due to a disagreement about salary and raises, Big Show left for WWE. Since debuting in a match between Vince McMahon and Stone Cold Steve Austin, Big Show has always been in a prominent role. He’s won every singles title possible in the WWE including defunct titles like the ECW Championship and the World Heavyweight Championship, has had memorable feuds against Brock Lesnar and Mark Henry, and is arguably one of the more accomplished big men in WWE history. And were it not for a lot of the goofy, ridiculous antics they’ve asked him to do over the years, he’d probably be a lot higher on the list.
4 Rey Mysterio
When it came to WCW’s Cruiserweight division, Rey Mysterio was always booked like a star. Mysterio had several great fast-paced feuds in his prime against Eddie Guerrero, Psicosis, and Juventud Guerrera over the Cruiserweight Championship. And, in 2002, the WWE brought him back in the same spot. It seemed as if Mysterio was destined only to be a midcarder in WWE until the death of the late great Eddie Guerrero, which catapulted Mysterio to world champion status as WWE attempted to give him the rub as Guerrero’s friend. His reigns as both the World Heavyweight Champion and the WWE Champion were mostly forgettable and would produce some of the least liked storylines in the company’s history. He was a beloved wrestler and a phenomenal talent, but the world championship scene never worked for him. The only thing that separates Mysterio’s time in both promotions are his world title victories in WWE.
3 Chris Benoit
Unlike Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit was on the verge of becoming a main event player within WCW before his departure as he captured the WCW World Heavyweight Championship the day before he left the promotion. Despite this, and all his other title wins in WCW, Benoit still chose to come to WWE where his career would also see a great improvement. Memorable feuds with Chris Jericho, Rob Van Dam, Eddie Guerrero, and Triple H all made Benoit’s career a highlight of his technical wrestling ability. Benoit would eventually shock the world by winning the World Heavyweight Championship in the main event of WrestleMania XX. Unfortunately, his horrible crimes will forever leave a deep scar on his career.
2 Eddie Guerrero
Eddie Guerrero was one of the best in almost all facets of WWE. Guerrero is rightfully proclaimed to be one of the best booked Latino wrestlers, one of the best booked WCW guys, and one of the best wrestlers in the history of professional wrestling. In WCW, Guerrero was planted firmly in the midcard and had little to no chances at main eventing while the nWo was still in effect. After leaving WCW for WWE with Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, and Perry Saturn, his career and legacy would far surpass his WCW work. From his feuds as the United States Champion against John Cena and Benoit to his legendary victory against Brock Lesnar at the No Way Out PPV where he won the WWE Championship, his WWE career made him an even greater legend. And if he were alive today, his legacy might have gone on to rival that of other wrestling greats like Shawn Michaels and Ric Flair.
1 Chris Jericho
From his great Raw debut to his reigns as the World Champion, Chris Jericho stands at the top of the mountain as the greatest booked WCW wrestler to ever jump ship during the Monday Night Wars. After winning several midcard championships in WCW, Y2J made the jump to WWE in 1999 and went on to greatness. After about a year in the midcard, the WWE made Chris Jericho the first Undisputed WWE Champion in history and it only got better from there. He would win multiple world titles and had the feud of the year against Shawn Michaels, which also led to one of his great World Heavyweight Championship runs. Jericho also built a name for himself as one of the greatest Intercontinental Champions after winning the belt a record nine times. He also is one of the more charismatic individuals to come to WWE as the Highlight Reel led to some of WWE’s best segments. In the most recent years of his career, Jericho loses more often than he wins, but his legacy in WWE is one that has to be recognized as the greatest of all time to ever have come from World Championship Wrestling.
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