Top 15 Wrestlers Who Had to Take a Backseat to a Bigger Star

The silver medalist is the worst type of loser. The one not good enough for the gold and the one who actually lost his award. There is much more honor in earning a bronze than the consolation prize of silver. Third place may only drive a Station Wagon but it beats the backseat Cadillac ride that comes along with second place.

It happens all the time and not only in sport. Did anybody ever care about Garfunkel? Art Garfunkel? No. It was Paul Simon who fans adored. Sure, people liked Art but who was truly standing in line to purchase a ticket because Art Garfunkel was coming to play Madison Square Garden? It was Paul who placed the people in that building.

The backseat is not necessarily a bad place to be seated. While the man at the wheel attracts more attention, some enjoy the sanctity that comes along with not being the one in the driver's seat. After all, Art Garfunkel has lived a pretty comfortable and cool life in the shadow of Paul Simon.

However, those who choose the path of the professional wrestler do not want any part of this backseat existence. There are not many aspiring wrestlers with more of a desire to be the ROH World Champion than the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. The latter title is the top of the mountain, where the air is crisp.

Of course, there are times when one's presence is simply too strong to ignore for anybody else. Yes, the fans may take a look at the backseat rider for a moment but ultimately their attention will soon make its way back to the man with his foot on the gas. Some people have that certain, special "it" factor.

This is a look at those who couldn't quite catch up to specific wrestler, if only a step behind.

These are the top 15 wrestler who had to take a backseat to a bigger star:

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15 Dean Ambrose to Roman Reigns

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It's happening in WWE right now. Dean Ambrose taking a backseat to his good buddy Roman Reigns who - despite overwhelming disdain - has been deemed "The Man" and the current WWE World Heavyweight Champion.

Dean Ambrose may be the most over face in WWE at the moment but his place is clear: behind Roman Reigns. As the company moves forward, fans must simply learn to accept Reigns as top dog, at least until John Cena comes back around.

14 Daniel Bryan to Randy Orton

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It all began in the summer of 2013 and lasted until WrestleMania XXX. According to WWE, it was a "storyline." However, the classification of Daniel Bryan as a "B+ Player" was peppered with reality as The Authority favoured Randy Orton.

As in any good Cinderella tale, Daniel Bryan would capture the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XXX in an emotional ending. However, had it not been for the "Yes Movement" such a scene would not have been possible.

13 Randy Orton to John Cena

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While experiencing some of the luxuries that come along with being the "bigger star," make no mistake: Randy Orton is no stranger to the backseat. Orton began his WWE career back in 2002; the same year as a certain Era-defining Superstar.

Randy Orton today would be considered the biggest star in WWE had John Cena never arrived on the scene. Coming from the same class and working as long-time rivals, Orton would always walk a few feet behind Cena.

12 The Undertaker to Shawn Michaels

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It seems fitting how The Undertaker would end the career of Shawn Michaels. The very man to whom 'Taker was forced to take a backseat during the New Generation days of WWE, when Vince McMahon handed the metaphorical ball to Michaels.

The Undertaker - much like the business - had evolved but was not considered the man to lead the charge against surging competition. Shawn Michaels stood out like a sore thumb (in a good way) and was hard to ignore at this point.

11 Bret Hart to Shawn Michaels

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While The Undertaker would always accept his role within WWE without grievance, Bret "The Hitman" Hart was a different story. For a while, it appeared as though Hart and Shawn Michaels were considered on the same level but the truth was clear.

The top spot in WWE now belonged to Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart would have to take the backseat spot if he wanted to continue along for the ride. The bruising of egos would lead to that infamous night of mayhem in Montreal and the departure of Hart.

10 Buddy Rogers to Bruno Sammartino

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In the spring of 1963, Buddy Rogers was named the inaugural WWE Champion. Rogers was already considered a star in the NWA and seemed like the right fit to hold the title. However, declining health and lack of fan support would suggest otherwise.

Much to the chagrin of Buddy Rogers, he was forced to drop the title to Bruno Sammartino in a match that lasted less than a minute. Until his final breath, Rogers remained bitter about taking the backseat to Sammartino.

9 Rob Van Dam to Triple H

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In 2001, the arrival of many WCW and ECW Superstars would stack the WWE roster. With this talent surge came a man named Rob Van Dam; the most popular wrestler in ECW. This popularity would only grow in WWE.

However, as 2002 rolled in, and Triple H - who had been away recovering from an injury - reemerged, fans were quickly reminded of The Game's status. Rob Van Dam never stood a chance as rumours insist that Triple H used his backstage influence to bury RVD.

8 The Ultimate Warrior to Hulk Hogan

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Say what you will about The Ultimate Warrior? Bad wrestler? Yes. Backward human being with a narrow-minded outlook on life? Absolutely. However, there is no denying the popularity of Warrior during his run in WWE.

While The Ultimate Warrior actually defeated Hulk Hogan (clean) for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania VI and Warrior held the gold for the remainder of that year (1990), Hogan would eventually reclaim his rightful spot at the top.

7 Kurt Angle to Triple H

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The Olympic gold medalist, Kurt Angle, would only qualify for silver as it pertained to his role in WWE. Angle's run with the company was anything but disappointing, however, the overcast of Triple H was always present.

During the Brand Extension, Kurt Angle would serve as the top Superstar over on SmackDown while Triple H ruled Raw. Despite what you may hear, SmackDown has always been considered the "B Program." Therefore, Angle was the Best of the B Team.

6 Ric Flair to Hulk Hogan

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When Hulk Hogan arrived in WCW, both "The Hulkster" and Ric Flair were more-than established figures in the wrestling world. In fact, Hogan and Flair were - and too many still are - considered to be the top-two wrestlers of all time.

However, along with Eric Bischoff's control of the company came a personal vendetta towards Ric Flair. Subsequently, Flair would be placed in the backseat to Hulk Hogan, treating the "Nature Boy" as though he were just another mid-card wrestler.

5 WCW to the nWo 

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Chris Jericho, Eddie Guerrero, Rey Mysterio, Dean Malenko: these are just some of the names left to suffer in WCW while the nWo story line played out. Tremendous talents placed in the backseat to the "Big Boys."

For all the things WCW was doing right during their dominance over WWE, they failed to establish (with the exception of Goldberg) new Superstars. The former employees of Vince McMahon would take precedent over the up-and-coming wrestlers.

4 Dusty Rhodes to Ric Flair

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"The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes once said of himself: "brother, I'm bad and they know I'm bad." Indeed. Rhodes was one bad man while serving the wrestling world as one of its top good guys. Rhodes had more style than almost any other wrestler.

In his prime, Dusty Rhodes - while a great performer - would have to take a backseat to Ric Flair, who in his own right was oozing charisma. Rhodes sure as hell came close but The Nature Boy had just enough more style to come out ahead.

3 CM Punk to John Cena

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While CM Punk held the WWE Championship for 434 days, his reign was overshadowed by the Golden Boy of WWE, John Cena. Punk may have walked out to the ring with the strap but Cena remained the main event.

Throughout this lengthy tenure as WWE Champion, CM Punk was often placed lower on the Pay-Per-View card; most notably at WrestleMania XXVIII when Punk's title defense against Chris Jericho would have to take a backseat to John Cena and The Rock.

2 "Macho Man" Randy Savage to Hulk Hogan

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At WrestleMania IV, "Macho Man" Randy Savage would capture the vacant WWE Championship in a one-night tournament (while Hogan danced in the ring to remain relevant). Savage would hold onto the belt until WrestleMania V the following year where he dropped the title to Hulk Hogan.

While the build-up to this match remains one of the best ever, the entire title reign of Randy Savage was burdened by the lingering presence of Hulk Hogan, as the duo would form The Mega Powers during this time period; keeping Hogan close to the gold.

1 The Rock to "Stone Cold" Steve Austin

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Without a shadow of a doubt, The Rock was the second biggest Superstar to emerge from The Attitude Era. The Rock was the complete wrestling package: looks, skill, charisma, master of the mic. However, all of that fell short to one man.

"Stone Cold" Steve Austin was not only at the wheel of the truck which that contained The Rock as a backseat passenger but Austin drove that truck over everything in his path. The Rock was indeed the "Great One" but Stone Cold was simply Greater.

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