WWE: Which Returning Part-Timer Is the Biggest Draw of All?
It’s WrestleMania season in the WWE–arguably the most exciting time in the professional wrestling calendar–and that can only mean one thing:
The return of the part-time pros.
Despite only making a handful of appearances per year, the drawing power of these WWE legends make them amongst the company’s most valuable assets.
But which of these stars is the biggest draw of all?
This article analyzes the case for each of the returning part-timers by considering a number of factors, such as their history with the company and their mainstream popularity.
Amongst the IWC, Chris Jericho is a hero–and rightly so.
For almost two decades now Y2J has produced us with some hugely entertaining moments, both on the mic and in the ring.
And despite his advancing years, somehow Jericho still manages to produce the goods and provide us with some of the best matches of the show.
However, the fact that this year he is being utilized mainly in the mid-card has seen his drawing power diminish somewhat.
If Jericho was once again in the world title picture, then his importance would naturally increase, but his selflessness in putting over new talent means that at present he is more of a draw with the die-hards than with the WWE’s new generation of younger fans.
Along with John Cena, Triple H is arguably one of the most divisive men in the WWE.
His success is undeniable—a 13-time World Champion, a former King of the Ring and Royal Rumble winner, as well as the special honor of being both a Triple Crown and Grand Slam Champion.
However, his methods of achieving such success have often come into question.
As a huge fan of Triple H, I don’t necessarily agree with some of the criticism The Game tends to garner, but it’s this criticism that makes him less popular in the eyes of many.
His ability to draw lies mainly in the fact that he is a fantastic worker and in-ring storyteller, and has a history of putting on some of the best matches on the big stage.
However his lack of mainstream success somewhat hinders his star-power, while there is also an argument that he is merely the WWE’s go-to-guy when they need a big name to put on a program with another big-drawing star.
As Jim Cornette says, Triple H is usually “the guy who works with the guy who draws the money”.
Thus, The Game is perhaps not necessarily one of the top drawers that the WWE can rely upon.
Lesnar on the other hand, has legitimate drawing power.
His dabbling in American Football and his success in the UFC make him a household name in the sporting world.
Unlike The Game, he is not an especially talented worker anymore. His style is rough and ready in a testament to his MMA background, and it’s this sheer brutality that convinces people to purchase their tickets and order their PPVs.
Take last year’s Extreme Rules show for example—Lesnar’s return wasn’t necessarily the sole reason for the PPV’s impressive buy-rate, but it contributed hugely.
The fact that he is currently feuding with Triple H once again adds credence to Cornette’s cutting evaluation of The Game, while it also cements Lesnar’s position as one of the top dogs in the WWE today.
Perhaps the most legendary performer in the industry’s history, the Deadman continues to attract the interest of millions of WWE fans.
The fact that he now only shows up for WrestleMania makes his drawing power even greater, as many tune in purely to see if the streak will continue for another year.
The countless memories with which he has provided us makes him a hit with the older fans, while such history also ensures he is respected and appreciated amongst younger fans less familiar with his work.
Unlike Lesnar, he hasn’t attracted too much mainstream attention outside of professional wrestling, but his enduring legacy is enough to make him one of the biggest draws in the WWE today.
Being a Hollywood moviestar was always going to favor the Rock in this list, and it is for this reason that he must be regarded as the WWE’s top-drawing star.
His history with the business and his more recent mainstream success ensures that he appeals to all types of fans, while his prolonged feuding with John Cena arguably only added to his immense popularity.
The fact that Raw’s ratings have dropped during his two-week departure is a very telling sign, and it will be interesting to see if the Great One can lift the figures when he returns next week on Raw.
However, it could be considered that his run as WWE Champion has been more of a hindrance than a help to the WWE.
Fans have grown impatient with the lack of a champion on regular television, while apart from the occasional Twitter plug, he hasn’t really used his super-stardom to promote and plug the WWE.
But while it’s easier to question his success as WWE Champion, it’s a whole lot harder to debate his ability to draw.
Though The Rock appears to be the clear favorite for the title of “biggest draw”, the likes of Lesnar and The Undertaker certainly have a case to be on a level par with the Great One.
With the latter two not present on Raw next week, and the Rock scheduled to make a triumphant return, perhaps the ratings for that show will give us our answer regarding who is the biggest draw in the WWE.
But who do you think is the biggest draw of all?
Is it the likes of Jericho and ‘Taker who convince you to tune into Raw each week?
And has the Rock’s limited appearances damaged his image in the eye of wrestling fans?
Comment below with your thoughts on this matter, and be sure to let me know who the biggest draw is for you personally and why.