The PG Era was something fans hated more than just about anything WWE ever did. However, it was necessary as WWE is now a public traded company, has to answer to advertisers, and there are billions of dollars on the line that takes precedence over excessive violence in professional wrestling.
However, even if you get past the lack of Attitude Era storylines, the WWE PG Era was still missing something. During the Attitude Era and even the Ruthless Aggression Era, there were multiple main event stars, and they could move in and out of the world title scene seamlessly. In the PG Era, almost no one stepped up, and few had the "It" that previous generation's stars had.
10 THE MIZ
The Miz has become one of the top stars in WWE and developed his character into one the fans finally take seriously. However, during the PG Era of WWE, The Miz was one of the most hated wrestlers and one that no one gave any credit to. However, WWE looked at him as a star before he earned that role.
The Miz actually beat John Cena at WrestleMania XXVII in the world title match. Yes, there were shenanigans, but the fact is that WWE had The Miz as a world champion at a time where he had no reason to even sniff the title.
9 ALBERTO DEL RIO
Alberto Del Rio came up from Mexico as one of their top stars. As the son of Dos Caras and nephew of Mil Mascaras, he had the lineage of wrestling royalty in his blood. When he showed up in WWE, the company attached a rocket to his back and shot him straight to the top.
As a villain, Del Rio had the attitude and arrogance to succeed on a high level, similar to JBL. However, WWE saw money in Del Rio in the Latino market and made him a babyface. That is when his weaknesses showed through and Del Rio sunk fast, proving nowhere near ready to be a true top card star.
In the Attitude Era, Kane was a superstar. When he showed up, he was a true monster and stood toe-to-toe with Undertaker and was a legitimate world title contender. His moments where he set Jim Ross on fire and decimated top main event stars showed he was truly something special.
When the PG Era came along, Kane was neutered. He was no longer a monster and even put on a suit and became part of the Authority. He could no longer do the moves he could as a big man who could fly, and he was no longer a monster. He was a shell of his former self.
7 ZACK RYDER
Fans loved Zack Ryder throughout the PG Era. He got himself over thanks to his YouTube show Long Island Iced-Z and that made people believe he deserved a push. He was close friends with John Cena behind-the-scenes, so it looked like he could get a push if he wanted one.
Ryder wanted it bad, but when he got it, no matter how much fans cheered for him, WWE had no intention of pushing him. The reason is simple. Ryder is good, but he is missing something. He matches are often boring and repetitive, and he never deserved the push his Internet fans thought he did.
6 CURTIS AXEL
Looking at Curtis Axel now and there is no reason to think he was ever overrated. He is part of the B-Team, and despite a tag team title run, he is mostly an undercard comedy wrestler. However, in the PG Era, there was a time that some people thought he could be a star.
The Rock, of all people, pushed Axel as someone WWE should be promoting. It was Axel that The Rock practiced with before his comeback to fight John Cena and he considered Axel one of the best in the back. WWE even gave Axel a manager in Paul Heyman, and he still couldn't get over because of his bland gimmick and in-ring style.
Monday Night Raw commentators love to call Natalya a legend in the industry. However, when looking at the women who came before her (Trish Stratus, Lita) or those who came after (Becky Lynch, Charlotte, Sasha Banks), it exposes the fact that Natalya has never been the legend that WWE pretends she was.
Natalya never had a run that showed she was a superstar. She never had a match that people look back on and call a true classic. She is a second-generation star and has stuck with WWE, so there is a sense of loyalty, but she was never great.
Ryback Reeves was supposed to be the next big thing. He was pushed to the moon after WWE repackaged him as Ryback. He came out and beat the crap out of two wrestlers at a time and fans seemed to get into the act. He was the second coming of Bill Goldberg.
That was his Kryptonite because people started chanting Goldberg when he wrestled. He then got a big push against world champion CM Punk. However, WWE felt Ryback wasn't a main event star, and he ended up pushed back down without winning the big one. In the end, Ryback was just a footnote in WWE history.
3 BROCK LESNAR
In the Ruthless Aggression Era, Brock Lesnar was a major star. He showed up and ran all over everyone. Lesnar was a monster and deserved his early world title reign and the push that turned him into the biggest name in the company. Then he left WWE and went to UFC where he proved he was a real champion.
When Brock Lesnar returned, fans loved it. However, all he did when he came back was hit the suplex non-stop, destroying his opponents. It was fun at first, especially when he did it to John Cena, but it got old, and it was clear he was going through the paces and didn't care anymore.
Christian won two WWE world titles in his career, and both came after Edge retired. Some might argue that Christian was given the world title reigns as a gift after his close friend was forced into retirement due to injury. It was a feel-good moment for Edge and Christian.
However, the fact is that Christian was at his best when he was a tag team wrestler in the Attitude Era. There is a reason his singles push ended after the second world title reign, and Christian was always slightly overrated as a singles wrestler. He had charisma and put on some great matches, but his talents were better served in a tag team.
1 JOHN CENA
John Cena helped carry WWE from the Attitude Era into the Ruthless Aggression Era. As a matter of fact, Cena is the man who popularized the term Ruthless Aggression. He is also the man that fans see as the poster boy for the PG Era since he tamed his act and became a pure babyface who never dared turn.
In the PG Era, John Cena was not the same as the Cena that preached Ruthless Aggression. Instead, Cena delivered the same performance time in and time out. He could pull off great matches, but through the PG Era, Cena just coasted along, burying every young talent he faced.