7 Current WWE Stars Who Would Have Thrived in the '90s
The '90s was an odd decade for entertainment. The grunge and rap-rock genres were born, superhero movies were still largely marketed exclusively toward children, and pro wrestling was still trying to maintain some sense of kayfabe while also acknowledging it was scripted.
This was the decade when WCW began working its way to unseating WWE as the top promotion in the world, while game-changing stables like DX and NWO were formed and pay-per-views went from being special occasions to monthly events.
The biggest stars of the decade were a wide variety of colorful characters. "Macho Man" Randy Savage, Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels and Sting are just some of the legends who had their biggest moments during the last decade of the previous millennium.
The industry underwent many changes and that led to a shift in the way certain performers were booked. Powerhouses still dominated the main event scene for a long time, but smaller guys were starting to be taken more seriously due to their exciting brand of offense.
Many of the most popular stars from today might not have lasted six months in the business then, but there are just as many who would have thrived in the '90s. Let's take a look at some WWE stars who would have been successful 20-plus years ago.
All it would take is one look at Braun Strowman and anyone who watched wrestling in the '90s would know he would have done well back then.
His size and power alone would have made him a promoter's dream, but The Monster Among Men isn't just a big ball of muscle. He is quicker on his feet than most men his size, and he can hold his own on the mic.
A lot of giants were paired up with managers in the '90s, which lead to a perception that many weren't capable of giving promos. Strowman wouldn't need a mouthpiece, though.
He would have been amazing in programs with guys such as Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Sid Vicious and Yokozuna. He would have also been great as a heel against underdogs like Rey Mysterio and Shawn Michaels.
The late '90s saw WWE move away from some of its more colorful characters in favor or edgier personalities who were more closely aligned with pop culture at the time. Stars such as The Rock and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin led these changes.
However, the first two-thirds of the decade were still filled with guys like Doink, Jerry "The King" Lawler, The Big Boss Man and many more. One current star who would have fit right in then is Bray Wyatt.
His gimmick might have been a little less horror-centric than he is today, but his ability to perform at such a high level would have made him valuable to any company.
Seeing Wyatt feud with somebody like Mick Foley at the start of his run as Mankind or The Undertaker at the height of his power would have been unforgettable.
Had he been in WCW, The Fiend would have been a key member in The Dungeon of Doom alongside Kevin Sullivan.
Drew McIntyre is currently enjoying the most success he has ever had as WWE champion, but one has to wonder if he would have reached this point sooner in his career had he been born 20 years earlier.
His athleticism and strength are on par with some of the top stars from the '90s. In fact, he is head and shoulders above many who won world titles back then.
The Scot likely would have been used more as a heel back then due to his ability to physically bully the majority of the roster, even at a time when a lot of guys were 250 pounds or more of pure muscle.
Nash, Psycho Sid, Vader and King Mabel would have been perfect opponents for someone like McIntyre, but he would have also fit in during the later part of the decade with groups such as DX.
Brock Lesnar debuted with WWE in 2002, so he faced and defeated a lot of the biggest stars from the previous decade. Just imagine what he could have done against a lot of guys he never got to come up against.
Remember those Goldberg vs. Lesnar matches that never lived up to the hype? What if they had happened in WCW when Goldberg was at his peak?
Since The Beast Incarnate's relationship with Paul Heyman is so strong, he likely would have been booked as the top star of ECW right away had he ended up with the company.
In WWE, he could have been a dominant heel for guys like Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels to overcome. Lesnar is the kind of performer who would have been successful in almost any era due to his unreal athleticism and explosive power.
The '90s was the decade when we began to see a shift in how WWE produced matches, especially in the main event scene. We started seeing a lot more emphasis on technical ability.
Great workers like The British Bulldog proved you could be technically sound and still have a bodybuilder's physique, while smaller stars such as Owen Hart, HBK and The 123 Kid led the charge for the under-250-pound wrestlers.
Shelton Benjamin would have been more successful back then than he is today because he would have stood out more for his agility and mat skills than he does now.
The Gold Standard once tore the house down on Raw against Shawn Michaels years after The Heartbreak Kid was at his best. Could you imagine the kind of match they could have had in 1995 when he was one of the biggest stars in pro wrestling?
Whether he was put with one of the many stables of the day or worked solo, Benjamin would have been a vital asset to WWE.
Big E is beginning his first run as a singles star in over six years due to Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods being out with injuries, but there is no denying how much he deserves this opportunity.
The New Day's powerhouse has long been one of the most entertaining personalities on the entire WWE roster. His ability to make you laugh and intimidate you in the same promo is second to none.
His size and wrestling ability alone would have been enough to get him booked in the '90s, but his promo skills are what would have made him a top star.
He wouldn't have needed a stable to back him up like so many others at the time, but being the leader of a group would have allowed him to elevate those around him.
Big E is unique in so many ways. If he doesn't win a world title at some point, it will be one of WWE's biggest mistakes of the decade.
Action movies in the '80s were all about getting the star with the biggest muscles to beat up bad guys in ridiculous ways, but the '90s saw martial arts return to prominence.
Stars like Jean-Claude Van Damme paved the way for others, and WWE took notice. We saw several MMA fighters transition into pro wrestling like Ken Shamrock and Dan Severn, while stars such as Steve Blackman and Glacier were more traditional in their approach.
Matt Riddle's MMA expertise would have helped him get ahead during this time, especially if he had the chance to feud with Shamrock.
His personality would have also fit right in with the edgier product WWE was producing at the time. The company subtly treats Riddle's character like a stoner, but that aspect probably would have been at the forefront of his gimmick in the '90s.
Blackman's serious nature clashing with Riddle's fun-loving persona would have made them perfect rivals and even better tag team partners.