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Top 5: Wrestlers From The Classic WWF Era (1995-2005)



Steve Austin The Rock

See who stands atop three of WWF’s greatest eras?

The classic WWF era spanning from 1995 to 2005 saw some of the biggest milestones in the history of the present day WWE Inc and heavily influenced the current structure and face of the wrestling industry. The period can be divided into three eras – The New Generation Era (1995-97), The Attitude Era (1997-2002) and the rebranding followed by the Ruthless Aggression Era (2002-05).

The company had reached new lows at the beginning of this ‘classic’ era, as legendary stars and household names such as Hulk Hogan, Razor Ramon and Diesel left the company following the steroid scandal, involving McMahon and several WWF stars including Hogan himself. McMahon in a bid to revive the company started to push young wrestling talents into the spotlight, and also bringing out new events like WWE RAW, WrestleMania and WWE Smackdown to name a few. However, despite this attempt, WWF’s viewers decreased even more, mostly because of the huge success of the nWo (New World Order) which allowed WWF’s rivals WCW to dominate the wrestling scene for more than two years. With the rise of superstars like Steve Austin and The Rock, WWF regained their dominance over WCW and eventually acquired the company in 2001. With the integration of the WCW Championship with the WWF Championship at Vengeance 2001, by Chris Jericho after he defeated both the superstar wrestlers, mentioned previously in a single night, the WWE established itself as the major company in the wrestling industry.

Some of the greatest wrestling names were lost with the advent of the ‘classic’ WWF era. However, some of the greatest names were also created and are still making an impact in the WWE news, as we take a look at five of the biggest names in the WWF/WWE between 1995-2005.

5. Triple H

Both Triple H and Chris Jericho were in their early days during this period with both having their major successes post-2005, the current Executive Vice President of Talent, Live Events and Creative for WWE, Paul Michael Levesque edges over Chris Jericho despite the latter’s role in the integration of the WCW and the WWF.

Triple H is credited with the foundation of the D-Generation X, along with best friend Shawn Michaels which was created to challenge The Hart Foundation, found itself dominating the scene in The Attitude Era following the departure of Bret Hart in the aftermath of the Montreal Screwjob. Triple H established himself as one of the biggest names of the Attitude Era as he feuded with the likes of Mick Foley, Kurt Angle, The Undertaker alongside Vince McMahon. He dubbed himself “The Game” (a nickname that was intended for Owen Hart and was adopted by Triple H, in his honor), implying that he was on top of the wrestling world.

He went on to win the 2002 Royal Rumble and the Undisputed WWF Championship at WrestleMania X8 and can be truly be regarded as one of the foremost wrestlers of the ‘classic’ era.

4. The Undertaker

Another legendary in the making, the Undertaker comparatively achieved the lesser of his successes during this period and only became much much more outstanding following the ‘classic’ era. However, he commanded a presence big enough to pip superstars like Eddie Guerrero, Kurt Angle etc.

Known for his supernatural and horror gimmick, he won the WWF Championship title thrice between 1991 to 1999. He also won the WWF Tag Team Championship multiple times during that period with several partners such as Steve Austin, Big Show, The Rock and Kane. He won the WWF Undisputed title after defeating Hulk Hogan at Judgement Day 2002.

3. Shawn Michaels

Arguably one of the greatest in-ring performers of all-time, Shawn Michaels is an iconic WWE superstar. The charismatic Heartbreak Kid was dedicated wrestler who performed in classic matches day in and day out exemplifying passion, pain and anguish like no other wrestler. A four time WWE world champion he suffered a huge setback when he was injured in the 1998 Royal Rumble which forced him to take a four year professional wrestling hiatus.

However, he came back even stronger in 2002, becoming a more technical wrestler and even more flexible performer. He was a crucial part of Triple H’s stable D-Generation X which was in its prime during the Attitude Era. During his illustrious career, Michaels won a total of 11 Match of the Year honors reinforcing his status as one of the best-performers in the ring.

2. The Rock

“The Most Electrifying Man in Sports Entertainment” saw his prime years during this period. The first third-generation wrestler, he was initially a collegiate football player and a talented one at that, winning a scholarship at the University of Miami. His interest in wrestling bloomed pretty latte and as a result he received a very short duration of professional wrestling. This resulted in Johnson lacking in certain technical qualities despite being trained by his own father, however that didn’t stop him from becoming one of the greatest wrestlers to ever feature in the WWE.

Armed with his sharp and inquisitive words, no wrestler was ever this hilarious and incisive on the mic. Paired with his heel mannerisms, he won over the crowds and his feud with Stone Cold was one of the reasons why the WWF won back dominance from WCW in the Monday Night Wars

1. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin

Probably the most impactful wrestler in the history of WWE, he ran the show during the Attitude Era to put it mildly. Kicked from the WCW for disappointing results and differences with the-then VP Eric Bischoff, Austin completely reinvented himself in the WWF. His no-nonsense, beer-chugging, anti-authoritarian personality who feuded with his own boss Vince McMahon, was immensely loved by the crowds and viewers alike. The man who was tagged as “unmarketable” at the WCW became the face of WWF during the period which saw the WWF take over the former. He was lauded by Vince McMahon as the greatest WWE wrestler of all time.

An extremely versatile and talented wrestler inside the ring, he never ever disappointed the WWF fans with his match against Bret Hart being one of the most memorable matches. His perfect technique and anti-hero/anti-establishment gimmick made him the most profitable wrestler and probably the most successful wrestler in the history of WWE, inspiring innumerable wrestlers.

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Greg DeMarco’s Good, Bad, & Ugly: WWE Smackdown On FOX (November 3, 2023)

It’s the go-home show for WWE Crown Jewel, and Smackdown is in full force! As is Greg’s Good, Bad, & Ugly review!



WWE Smackdown John Cean Solo Sikoa

It’s the go-home show for WWE Crown Jewel, and Smackdown is in full force! As is Greg’s Good, Bad, & Ugly review!

WWE Smackdown On FOX sends us home for the Crown Jewel premium live event, so it has to be strong. But is it? Maybe it’s Good. Possibly it’s Bad? I sure hope it isn’t Ugly.

Let’s find out!

If you haven’t checked out Mitchell’s Results & Review for this episode of Smackdown, go and check it out now!


  • Roman Reigns & LA Knight In Ring Promo – Last week LA Knight got the better of Roman, so it made sense for Roman to get it all back this week. And he did just that. “Redneck Cosplay of my cousin” was a fantastic line from Roman Reigns, but “I ain’t here to finish something” from LA Knight got a bigger reaction from me. Roman calling himself the megastar was also a phenomenal line. Good stuff all around.
  • Kevin Owens vs. Austin Theory – Kevin Patrick keeping “The 150 million hit man” schtick going for Austin Theory is so great. Milk that for all it’s worth! “What is your issue with Kevin Owens’ face?” “LOOK AT IT, MAN!” Absolutely brilliant shit. “How’s that feel, idiot?” Grayson Waller should be on commentary every week, for every match. And this match, by the way, was really good. Austin Theory has settled into his current role, showing he understands the WWE cycle. And Owens is Owens.
  • Backstage Series Of Events – We had the Bianca Belair interview where she was attacked by Damage Ctrl, followed by The Street Profits & Bobby Lashley running into Logan Paul and then B-Fab. Flowed well, no issues for me.
  • Chelsea Green & Piper Niven vs. Shotzi Blackheart & Charlotte Flair – No surprise that Charlotte Flair was the partner, and no surprise that Alba Fyre and Isla Dawn made an appearance. This was a perfectly fine TV match–didn’t set the world on fire, but also wasn’t Bad or Ugly. This was a step in this story, and an effective one.
  • The Brawling Brutes vs. Pretty Deadly in a Good Ol’ Fashioned Donnybrook! – Shout out to Sheamus, whose return I look forward to seeing. With Ridge really coming into his own, we’re to the point where all four of these guys range from good to great to fantastic on any given night. Putting Pretty Deadly into any “manly fight” is always guaranteed entertainment. Really, Pretty Deadly in anything is typically guaranteed entertainment. Pretty Deadly picking up the win was not a shock, although I’d have loved to see Butch and Ridge Holland pick up a win here. Given the rules (or lack thereof) of this match, Pretty Deadly basically won clean here.
  • Rey Mysterio vs. Logan Paul Crown Jewel Weigh-In – A very effective way to pretape something, which saves time as part of a double taping. It was essentially a go home promo, but done in a different way. I liked it. It also smoothly transitions into the rundown of the card by the commentary team, which I always appreciate.
  • Bianca Belair vs. Bayley – If you know me, you know that Bianca can be hit or miss for me. She can’t “work with anyone,” but she can definitely work with Bayley. Bayley, of course, is money with anything she does. Both women delivered a main event quality match, and no one should complain that Bianca Belair won. She’s challenging for the Women’s Championship in less than 24 canon hours, so she needs to win. Bayley is a made woman, losing here doesn’t hurt her one bit.
  • “Just Enough Nick” Nick Aldis Usage – Triple H has done an amazing job of establishing Nick Aldis. Three weeks in and he already “belongs.” Much of that is attributed to how Aldis carries himself. But they are also using him to the right degree. It’s not too much, but it’s also not too little. Adam Pearce could miss two weeks of Raw and when he shows back up, it all makes sense. For Aldis, he needs to be very present, but not overbearing or “shoved down our throats.” They have the right balance.


  • Solo Sikoa & John Cena In Ring Promo – John Cena, lost voice and all, completely buries Solo Sikoa. He “cooks” Solo, as promised. And, as Cena does, he makes Solo look like crap. Bargain Basement Tazz Rip Off? C’mon man, you’re better than that. But here’s the real problem: what happens if Solo loses? Cena made him look like a loser, and then proves that he is? Solo has to win this match. If he doesn’t, and Cena is gone, then Solo is left out in the cold. And you don’t want to do that to Solo Sikoa at this point of his career.


  • Misstep for Theory – Referencing Halloween as if it hadn’t already happened. You can edit this episode–c’mon, man!
  • Kevin Owens’ Crotch Chop – C’mon, man! We’re better than crotch chops in 2023.

The Verdict

  • Good – 8
  • Bad – 1
  • Ugly – 2

In all honesty this was a damn good show. Milwaukee showed out considering they’d already seen 2 hours of Smackdown before this was taped. Good on them, and good on WWE for a great go home show for Crown Jewel.

Interesting of note – the pictures for this show that are posted to the WWE website are uploaded in the order the matches and segments were recorded, not the order in which they aired. Just a little tidbit that I found interesting.

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Greg DeMarco’s Wrestling Ratings Report: Monday Night Raw (10/30/2023) & WWE NXT (10/31/2023)

Greg DeMarco takes a look at your Monday and Tuesday night TV ratings. What do they mean? Do they matter?



WWE NXT Halloween Havoc Night 2 Carmelo Hayes Ilja Dragunov

Greg DeMarco takes a look at your Monday and Tuesday night TV ratings. What do they mean? Do they matter?

Settle in for a look at this week’s ratings for WWE Monday Night Raw and WWE NXT Halloween Havoc Night 2! Both were up against some stiff competition–let’s see how they fared!

WWE Monday Night Raw (October 30, 2023)

  • Hour #1 – 1.466 million viewers, .44 demo rating, #6 for the night on cable
  • Hour #2 – 1.450 million viewers, .46 demo rating #5 for the night on cable
  • Hour #3 – 1.256 million viewers, .39 demo rating, #8 for the night on cable

WWE Monday Night Raw for October 30, 2023 faced some stiff competition on Monday night. You had Monday Night Football as normal–which aired on both ESPN and ABC–along with the usual peripheral shows (Monday Night Football Postgame, Monday Night Football Kickoff, SportsCenter, and the Monday Night Countdown, which factored into the Top 10). 6.851 million people watched Monday Night Football on ESPN, a number that more than doubles when you factor in ABC.

What does it all mean? It means that outside of Monday Night Football–on cable–WWE Monday Night Raw was the top rated show. If you take away all things NFL, Raw finishes #1, #2, and #3 for the night. Viewership did drop off for our 3, but that’s the 10 PM hour that sees kids go to bed and people checking on the Monday Night Football and World Series games.

Speaking of which, that’s another factor to consider–the World Series! 8.126 million people watched the World Series on FOX (not really that good), with another 8.356 million watching Monday Night Football on ABC (yes, more than the World Series) for a decent-at-best Lions vs Raiders match-up.

In summary, it was another successful night for WWE Monday Night Raw, which was the go-home edition of the program. You can check out my Good Bad & Ugly look at Monday’s Raw, where I gave the show an overall “Good” rating. Haven’t watched yet? Give Mitchell’s live coverage a read.

Listen to this week’s edition of Bandwagon Nerds!

WWE NXT Halloween Havoc Night 2 (October 31, 2023)

  • Entire Broadcast – 674 thousand viewers, .20 demo rating, #6 for the night on cable

WWE NXT (Halloween Havoc Night 2) for October 31, 2023, had to deal with a myriad of external factors this week. First is the most obvious–it was Halloween! Many people had plans, Trick-Or-Treat escapades and more. That right there will be a detriment to any ratings results. Add in two live NBA games, each drawing over a million viewers for TNT. Combine it all together and WWE NXT was the top rated program that wasn’t sports programming on TNT or ESPN. Hell, the entire Top 12 consisted of ESPN and TNT sports programming, plus NXT.

It’s easy to call this a failure since viewership was lost week over week. But that’s very shortsighted. The fact remains that NXT was among the most watched programming for the night, holding its own against live sports and sports-peripheral programming.  If you’re WWE and USA Network, you’re nothing but happy with these results.

NXT, of course, featured the second week of Halloween Havoc, headlined by Ilja Dragunov defending the NXT Championship against Carmelo Hayes in the third match of their trilogy. Along with that you had The Creed Brothers in a Tables, Ladders, and Scares (Chairs) match with Angel Garza & Humberto Carrillo, Lola Vice vs. Kelani Jordan in the finals of the Women’s Breakout Tournament, and much more.

I’d call the Tuesday program a ratings success. My Good, Bad, & Ugly review of NXT Halloween Havoc Night 2 is available here, where I called it “Good” overall. If you haven’t seen the show yet, check out Mitchell’s play-by-play.

As the weeks roll on, I will compile some historical data and look more about week-over-week (and beyond) patterns in all of my ratings reports.

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