The long and storied history of the WWE is most easily defined by the many eras that have come and gone. The Attitude Era, for example, is the most famous era in the WWE, as it defined an edgy and risque product that was willing to push the envelope and deliver millions of ratings for networks.
One of the most lamented eras in WWE is the PG Era. Many fans saw the move the TV-PG rating as the beginning of the end, but many key WWE characters have changed since the PG Era, and here and some of the most notable changes.
10 Shelton Benjamin
While Shelton Benjamin's most famous work was during the Ruthless Aggression Era as a part of The World's Greatest Tag Team with Charlie Haas and Team Angle with Hass and Kurt Angle, Benjamin didn't leave WWE until 2010, well into the PG Era. During the final 2 years of his first run, Benjamin was known as The Gold Standard.
Shelton Benjamin dyed dark hair blonde and began to wear gold wrestling gear. When Shelton Benjamin returned to WWE in 2017, The Gold Standard character did not come back, and Benjman became a standard heel.
Love him or hate him, R-Truth has a knack for successfully reinventing himself. Truth had his first run in the WWE as K-Kwik. While K-Kwik was a similar character to an early iteration of R-Truth, Truth was never truly pushed beyond the lower midcard.
However, during the PG Era, an unhinged R-Truth was pushed as a heel. Heel Truth went on to challenge John Cena for the WWE Championship at the PPV Capitol Punishment in 2011. After unsuccessfully winning the championship, R-Truth would stay a heel and team with The Miz as Awesome Truth.
8 Triple H
The PG Era saw Triple H, one of the most important figures in the Attitude and Ruthless Aggression Eras, transition into more of a backstage role as COO of WWE. Today, Triple H operates both onscreen and off as an authority figure, a heel and a face. However, in the PG Era, Triple H was the antithesis of authority.
Along with Shawn Michaels, Triple H would reform the famous Attitude Era team of Degeneration-X. DX would feud with Rated RKO until Triple H tore his right quadriceps in a match against Edge and Orton.
7 The Miz
During the PG Era, WWE fans clamored for a WWE Champion that wasn't John Cena, Randy Orton, or Edge. In 2010, The Miz would cash in his Money in the Bank contract on Randy Orton and become WWE Champion. The Miz was an obnoxious and cowardly heel throughout his entire WWE Championship run, with Alex Riley running interference for The Miz and helping him win.
While The Miz's character didn't change much immediately after the PG Era, The Miz is currently an upper midcard popular babyface, pandering to crowds with region-specific sports attire.
6 Kofi Kingston
Kofi Kingston is one of the most veteran WWE performers. Kingston has been signed with WWE for 13 years. When he debuted on WWECW, Kingston would adopt a Jamaican babyface character, with Jamaican themed entrance music and ring gear. While Kingston would keep his entrance music until he became a member of The New Day, Kingston would drop the Jamaican accent and character by the end of the PG Era.
Now a former WWE Champion, Kingston has become a promoter for the Power of Positivity as a member of The New Day, a group with whom Kingston captured WWE Tag Team Titles 7 times.
5 Randy Orton
During the Ruthless Aggression Era, Randy Orton was a member of Evolution, a Legend Killer, and a sociopath who punted the head of John Cena's father in front of him. During the PG Era, Orton seemed to acknowledge that he needed to mentor younger stars.
The PG Era saw the birth of Legacy, a stable of 2nd and 3rd generation superstars Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes, and Ted DiBiase Jr. Legacy gave Orton an opportunity to add a new dimension to the main event scene.
4 CM Punk
CM Punk's WWE debut in WWECW was as a relatively bland babyface. He was a fan favorite due to his charisma and in-ring ability. He maintained this character throughout his entire run in ECW and even when first became World Heavyweight Champion.
However, during the PG Era, CM Punk cut his famous pipebomb promo, marking himself as an anti-establishment man of the people. Once allowed to cut loose, Punk would go on to become a main event renegade. Punk would even conquer John Cena in a match for the WWE Championship.
3 John Cena
From one monumental WWE Champion to another, John Cena is one of the most important characters in post-Attitude Era WWE. In fact, the Ruthless Aggression Era gets its name from John Cena and the promo he cut on Kurt Angle in an open challenge from Angle.
However, while Cena would go on to be the babyface SuperCena that kids loved in the PG Era, Cena's first Ruthless Aggression Era character was a heel rapper who would cut promos on his opponents in rhyme. Cena was known as the Doctor of Thuganomics.
2 Daniel Bryan
Daniel Bryan is one of the most interesting success stories in the WWE. Bryan began as a bland babyface in the original incarnation of NXT, the strange game show competition version, not the black and gold brand that we know today.
After being eliminated from NXT in the first round, Bryan would return to the WWE as a lovable loser throughout the PG Era. However, the beginning of the Yes Movement happened to coincide with the beginning of the Reality Era, and the Daniel Bryan that we know today was born from the discontent of the PG Era.
1 Bray Wyatt
While he went under a different name, Bray Wyatt did have a run in WWE during the PG Era. Wyatt was a part of the Nexus group and he performed under the name Husky Harris. Harris was fairly bland as both a heel and a face, and he would be sent back to developmental after only a year or two on the main roster.
Now, of course, Wyatt is The Fiend, a maniacal, slightly supernatural being, who holds the Universal Championship, and a strangely sinister Mr. Rogers-type host of the Firefly Funhouse.