Last week, we presented the Top 50 WWF Stars Of The 1980s. This week, put some Nirvana in your Discman, check out the AOL community for Seinfeld and check out this totally radical look at the Top 50 WWF Stars Of The 1990s.
The 1990s was one of the most diverse periods in WWF history. The first part of the decade saw Hulkamania ride into the sunset (or at least, over to WCW), paving the way for a New Generation of WWF superstars to make a name for themselves as wrestling's top promotion continued along a very cartoonish presentation of its product.
But something happened halfway through the decade. WCW, tired of being the industry's punching bag, fought back and did much more than buy out Hogan's contract - it also created competitive programming. To counter, Vince McMahon completely reinvented his product and created the famed Attitude Era, which would bring the WWF to a level of celebrity that hadn't been seen before -- or since.
In selecting the Top 50 WWF Stars Of The 1990s, Canadian Bulldog's World looked at the following criteria:
How prominent was the star in the WWF between the years 1990 and 1999?
Were they involved in memorable matches and angles?
Did they win any WWF championships during this time (not crucial, given announcers and managers on this list, too)?
Are they often associated with the 1990s wrestling scene?
Ready? Here we go!
Money Inc. (WWE Hall of Famer Ted DiBiase and Irwin R. Shyster) formed in 1992 and quickly captured the WWF Tag Team Championship. Over the next couple of years, they were a top heel team in the company, feuding with Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake, The Natural Disasters and The Steiner Brothers.
The British Bulldog
Big Boss Man
WWE Hall of Famer Paul Bearer joined the WWF in late 1990, taking over managerial duties for The Undertaker. The duo worked in tandem for most of The Undertaker's biggest moments until Bearer turned on him in 1996, paving the way for him to manage his "son" Kane and Mankind, among other wrestlers.
The 123 Kid
WWE Hall of Famer Ravishing Rick Rude was the first challenger for The Ultimate Warrior's WWF title reign in 1990, challenging him at that year's SummerSlam. Although Rude left the company that year, he would return in the summer of 1997 as the insurance policy for Shawn Michaels and D-Generation X.
Ravishing Rick Rude
The Nasty Boys
The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobs and Jerry Sags) entered the WWF in 1991. They quickly became WWF Tag Team Champions, defeating The Hart Foundation at WrestleMania VII, and had feuds over the next several years with the likes of The Legion Of Doom, The Natural Disasters, Money Inc. and The Beverly Brothers.
Bobby The Brain Heenan
WWE Hall of Famer Big Boss Man first turned babyface in 1990, leading to a match against his former partner Akeem at WrestleMania VI. Over the next few years, he feuded with The Heenan Family and Nailz before leaving in 1993. Big Boss Man returned to WWF in 1998 as part of Vince McMahon's Corporation.
Jim Cornette joined the WWF in 1993 as a spokesperson for Yokozuna, quickly becoming the WWF Champion's second manager (along with Mr. Fuji). Over the next few years, Cornette managed The Heavenly Bodies, Owen Hart, The British Bulldog and Vader, and also had a role as heel commentator on WWF programs.
Jake The Snake Roberts
The 123 Kid debuted in the WWF in 1993 and quickly made headlines by defeating Razor Ramon on Monday Night Raw. Over the next several years, he would become a pioneer for the company's light heavyweight style. After leaving WWF for two years, he returned back in 1998 as D-Generation X's X-Pac.
WWE Hall of Fame inductee Jeff Jarrett first interacted with the WWF while with the USWA, and later joined the promotion in 1993 as Double J. Over the duration of the decade, Jarrett would hold the Intercontinental Championship six times, as well as the European Championship and WWF Tag Team Titles with Owen Hart.
Glenn Jacobs, the man behind the Kane mask, had WWF gimmick in the mid 1990s including Isaac Yankem DDS and New Diesel. However, his late 1997 debut as Kane (following more than six months of build up) thrust him into a top spot at WrestleMania XIV. In 1998, he held the WWF World Title - for 24 hours.
Dustin Rhodes began in the WWF in 1990 during a brief storyline teaming with his father Dusty Rhodes. He returned to the company in 1995 as Goldust, one of the most controversial characters in WWF/E history. Leading into The Attitude Era, Goldust would feud with the likes of Razor Ramon and The Undertaker.
Jerry The King Lawler
Although the 1980s were a much bigger decade for WWE Hall of Famer Bobby The Brain Heenan, the following decade still had some memorable moments. He managed such men as Andre The Giant, Haku, Mr. Perfect and The Barbarian and advised Ric Flair before retiring and becoming a heel color commentator.
Bam Bam Bigelow
WWE Hall of Famer Bob Backlund was largely dominant during the 1970s and early 1980s, but surprisingly returned to the WWF in 1992. Within two years, Backlund "snapped" and turned heel, leading to a surprise win over WWF World Champion Bret Hart at the 1994 Survivor Series - a reign that lasted three days.
Another CBW spokesman to make this list is Tatanka, who debuted in the WWF in February 1992. Tatanka was given a huge undefeated streak that ended at the hands of Ludvig Borga in October 1993. He also turned heel in 1994, turning on Lex Luger and joining Ted DiBiase's Million Dollar Corporation until about 1996.
Rowdy Roddy Piper
WWE Hall of Famer Jerry The King Lawler debuted in the WWF in 1992 following a lengthy in-ring career in Memphis. Lawler quickly became a top heel, feuding with the likes of Bret Hart, Doink and Jake The Snake Roberts - while also serving as the WWF's top heel commentator during The Attitude Era.
Chyna debuted in the WWF in 1997 as the bodyguard of Hunter Hearst Helmsley. By the end of the year, she became a founding member of D-Generation X. Chyna managed to break barriers by regularly wrestling men and by the end of the 1990s, became the first female Intercontinental Champion.
WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross joined the WWF in 1993, making his debut (in a toga) at WrestleMania IX. After several stops and starts, Ross became the company's lead announcer, calling main events for Monday Night Raws and WrestleManias during The Attitude Era -- the company's biggest boom period.
Lex Luger's first exposure to WWF fans was through the World Bodybuilding Federation, which he joined in 1992 while waiting out his WCW contract. Luger debuted as a heel in 1993 and was challenging WWF Champion Yokozuna by that summer. Luger would remain in the WWF until returning to WCW in 1995.
While WWE Hall of Famer Rowdy Roddy Piper's best work was in the 1980s, he accomplished a lot in the 1990s as well. Hot Rod captured the Intercontinental Title in 1992 and engaged in rivalries with Bad News Brown, Goldust and others. Piper also briefly served as WWF President and became a color commentator.
The Legion Of Doom
WWE Hall of Famer Sgt. Slaughter returned to the WWF in 1990 as a heel, originally complaining about the fans' acceptance of Nikolai Volkoff. He later became an Iraqi sympathizing heel, winning the WWF World Championship from The Ultimate Warrior and losing it to Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania VII.
The New Age Outlaws
Bam Bam Bigelow returned to the WWF in 1992 and made it to the final round of that year's King Of The Ring tournament. By 1994, Bigelow joined Ted DiBiase's Million Dollar Corporation, leading to a rivalry at WrestleMania XI where he would headline the show in a losing effort to NFL linebacker Lawrence Taylor.
Owen Hart returned to the WWF in 1991 after his run as The Blue Blazer, initially as a mid-card tag team specialist. Towards the end of 1993, he began turning against Bret Hart, leading to a feud between the two brothers that would last nearly a year and main event SummerSlam 1994, making Owen a top heel.
While both members of The New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg and Billy Gunn) were in the WWF in the mid 1990s, it wasn't until 1997 that they formed one of the most popular tag teams of the era. Together, they held the WWF Tag Team Titles five times and became key members of the Triple H-run D-Generation X.
Sable made her WWF debut at WrestleMania XII, accompanying Hunter Hearst Helmsely, but quickly transitioned to managing her real life husband Marc Mero. She soon became more popular than her husband, leading to a match between the two! Sable also won the reinstated Women's Title in 1998.
Randy Macho Man Savage
While WWE Hall of Famer Mr. Perfect joined the WWF in the late 1980s, he began hitting his stride in 1990 during his run as Intercontinental Champion. Over the next decade, Perfect would battle the likes of Bret Hart, Hulk Hogan and Shawn Michaels, while also being the Executive Consultant to Ric Flair.
While the Vince McMahon of the 1980s was merely portrayed as an announcer, that began to change in 1997, when the curtain was pulled back and he was revealed to be the owner of the WWF. For the remainder of the decade, he became the billionaire heel Mr. McMahon in most of the primary storylines.
WWE Hall of Famer Yokozuna debuted in the WWF in 1992. In less than six months, the 600-pound giant had won the Royal Rumble and captured the WWF World Championship at WrestleMania IX. Yokozuna held the championship for one year, turning back The Undertaker, Lex Luger and many other challengers.
WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley joined the WWF in 1996 as the masked Mankind. After a legendary feud with The Undertaker, the company let Foley's true personality shine through, leading to separate runs as Dude Love and Cactus Jack. Foley also captured the WWF World Title three times.
Diesel (a/k/a WWE Hall of Famer Kevin Nash) debuted in the WWF in 1993 as the bodyguard of Shawn Michaels. During 1994, Diesel would win the WWF World, Intercontinental and Tag Team Championships - the first person to do so in a calendar year. He also headlined WrestleMania XI against Michaels.
WWE Hall of Famer Razor Ramon debuted in the WWF in 1992 through a series of memorable vignettes. He soon began feuding with some of the company's top stars, including Randy Savage, Shawn Michaels and Diesel, holding the Intercontential Championship four times before leaving in 1996.
The Ultimate Warrior
WWE Hall of Famer Bret Hart broke out as a singles star in 1991, capturing the WWF Intercontinental Championship at that year's SummerSlam. The following year, The Hit Man would upset Ric Flair for the WWF Championship, paving the way for more World Title runs before he forceably left the promotion in 1997.
WWE Hall of Famer The Ultimate Warrior captured his first WWF World Championship at WrestleMania VI, positioning him as the first person (in WWF lore) to cleanly pin Hulk Hogan. Warrior would feud with Randy Savage, The Undertaker and many others during several runs with the WWF.
WWE Hall of Famer Stone Cold Steve Austin joined the WWF in 1995 under the generic name The Ringmaster. By 1996. he adopted the Stone Cold persona and captured that year's King Of The Ring tournament. By late 1997, he became one of the top names in the company by headlining numerous PPVs and WrestleManias.
Stone Cold Steve Austin
The WWF didn't have a bigger overall star in the 1990s than The Undertaker. Debuting at the 1990 Survivor Series, The Undertaker made a huge impression on the company. One year (and five days) later, The Dead Man captured his first of seven World Championships from Hulk Hogan. The Undertaker also began his undefeated streak at WrestleMania VII, something that persisted through the decade and continued way up until WrestleMania XXX.