This was to be my final part of the Overrated/Underrated series, however, after doing the research, you can see a clear split of the decade, in 2005, when a lot of things changed.
The 80s article was easy to write because the 80s, as a whole, can clearly be defined when you look at the history of pro wrestling a nd the WWF.
The 90s article, showing the Monday Night wars and the beginning of the attitude era was an easy topic to define up until 1999.
I almost felt that '99 might deserve its own category, as it was the height of the wars and the two big companies were really going wild, trying to captivate the audience. WCW had their world title change hands 11 times; the WWF had their title change hands 10 times, both being between six-to-seven guys.
2000 showcased the downfall of WCW, and it was apparent as their title changed hands between 19 times, with two of those title holders being Vince Russo and the legendary David Arquette. The WWF had their title change hands only five times, and only between three people: Triple H, The Rock and Kurt Angle.
We had the bankruptcies, the purchases, the invasions, and the dropping from three major companies to one, and then, even the start up of a new one, TNA.
There is, however, where you can see a clean split of the lineup and changing of the main event card. Up until 2005-06 time period we had guys like HHH, Benoit, Guerrero, Jericho, and Edge going for the Intercontinental title. But in 2006 when Shelton Benjamin won, it changed the lineup completely and brought in a whole new group like Nitro, Hardy, Umaga, Kofi, and RVD.
Therefore, we will split this last decade up between two more final articles in this series and today I bring you the overrated, underrated, and the best of 2000-2005
No. 1: Kevin Nash
He held the title several times, had Hogan finger poke him in the chest, fell, and dropped the belt to him. He’s been called Big Lazy by Bischoff and it can be seen why. The man moves so slow he makes Undertaker's entrance look speedy. He has eight moves, all of them pretty much Hogan rip-offs. He’s as original as Dane Cooks stand up.
No. 2: Jeff Jarrett
This guy was so overrated and so full of himself that after he knew he would never work for WWE again, he went and bought a company and made himself champion.
He was a rip-off of the Honky Tonk Man. His moves were pathetic, and he’s best known for hitting guys with guitars and having a feud with Chyna.
No. 3: Brock Lesnar
I’m glad he’s found a place in the MMA world, but his time in WWE was terrible. He botched moves, nearly breaking his own neck, and feuded with a guy with one leg. His mic skills were terrible and he looked good in the ring because other guys like Angle and Big Show made him look good.
That’s great that he was a big amateur wrestler, and he might have had his moments, but overall, didn’t deserve anything he had.
Other overrated guys that stand out are Scott Steiner and Hogan, of course.
No. 1: Lance Storm
The man held the US Championship, Cruiserweight Championship, and the Hardcore Championship at the same time. His straight laced anti-American character and mic skills were great, while his in ring ability is one of the best the industry has ever seen.
Yet he never got to main event and held the big title in any company. I would love to see Storm come back to either of the two big companies and, once again, make his presences known.
No. 2: Shelton Benjamin
Before he was the gold standard, he was one half of the World’s Greatest Tag Team. Shelton was great on the mic, sold the story in the ring, and even did great with stuff like when they had his ‘momma’ come on the show.
In any of the Money in the Bank matches Shelton constantly did things that changed the game. He held the IC title, but never got moved to the upper-tier, and I could definitely see him as a guy who could hold his own against the likes of Orton, Rey, or Cena.
No. 3: Christopher Daniels
The fallen angel was one of the TNA originals, and because of his skills, he made the X-Division and TNA stand out as a force to be reckoned with. He was sadly misused in TNA, becoming Curry Man eventually and now is not even with the company any longer. How TNA could let go a guy with such amazing skills and passion for the product just shows the current state of TNA.
While he is a big star in ROH, he should absolutely be on television, and I would love to see him come to the WWE and go after the Intercontinental title.
Other underrated, Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, and most of the TNA originals, underrated in the sense that they didn’t get the popularity they deserved based on their skills.
The best of the time
It may be because I was always such a loyal hardcore WWE fan that this category is hard to pick, but in looking back, watching matches, and reviewing the history of 2000-2005, it was just such a great time to be a fan.
Triple H and the McMahon Helmsley Era, The Rock and Y2J, Mankind and his hardcore craziness, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Kurt Angle, and the 2001 milk truck incident—how do you pick who is the best of this group? JBL and Eddie Guerrero, Benoit, The Big Show all really grew as characters in this time.
There is a reason that the WWE won the wars, and it’s not because of just one guy. It was a combination of all of this talent in one spot, dominating the industry, and making wrestling the best we had ever seen it.
The Stand alone guy: Shawn Michaels
Some will say that his time in the sparkling spats and zip line entrances were the time of HBK, but when he returned from his injury and feuded with HHH, they were some of the best matches of his career. You saw a man giving it his all; sacrificing his body for the thing he loved the most. A man changed from the party boy to the born again, who truly appreciated what the industry and the fans had given him.
His Wrestlemania XIX match with Chris Jericho is said to be one of the greatest of all time. I remember being on my feet as the match went back and forth between the two, and it seemed as though we were watching the passing of the torch—of Shawn being Mr. Wrestlemania and having Jericho earn that title as well.
That feud began with Jericho saying he was the next Shawn Michaels, and he very well may be, as he too is one of the best.