12 Current WWE Superstars We Will Consider Legends in 20 Years
Monday Night Raw started off 2021 with a Legend's Night that saw Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Goldberg and more appear purely to add star power to the broadcast. In 20 years' time, most of these legends will no longer be wrestlers WWE can rely on to pop a TV rating.
The business is constantly evolving. Wrestlers who were unknown five years ago are now household names. The question, though, is which of the contemporary Superstars will become the legends WWE relies upon when the chips are down?
These are not just well-respected wrestlers who get spots in the WWE Hall of Fame. These are the stars who changed the business, those who will be looked upon with reverence whenever they return.
Roman Reigns has taken over Friday Night SmackDown, but he has often been the face of WWE in recent years. Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks and Bayley all have had time in the sun, but together they redefined the perception of women's wrestling.
While some, such as Drew McIntyre, are uncertain and only at the beginning of their main event runs, reliable stars like Daniel Bryan and Bray Wyatt have unique legacies that go beyond championships.
These 12 wrestlers have already established such unforgettable legacies that nothing could happen to stop them being regarded as legends when WWE comes asking for help in getting people to tune in to the company's programming in 2041.
It was a straightforward idea that spawned a legacy. Kofi Kingston was stuck in a rut. Big E and Xavier Woods had no direction. The younger performers came to Kofi and decided that they needed to stick together. It was time for The New Day.
Black athletes have often struggled to find reliable spots in professional wrestling. Even agile and muscular performers like Bobby Lashley seem to go in and out of style. Kofi was a reliable hand, but WWE never treated him like he could be anything more.
That was until New Day arrived. This charismatic trio redefined tag team wrestling. Now 10-time tag team champions, the team held the Raw Tag Team Championship 483 days, longer than any other team has held the tag titles in company history.
The trio hosted WrestleMania 33, following up on the legacy set by The Rock. At WrestleMania 35, New Day achieved the ultimate goal when Kofi won the WWE Championship. While he did not remain in the main event scene for too long, he added the final accolade to his incredible legacy.
Big E may have been separated from Kofi and Woods during the most recent draft, but he recently became the WWE intercontinental champion while Woods and Kofi added another tag team title reign. This is a group that WWE has relied upon in roles no one else could fill.
What makes New Day so special is that they set goals and achieve them. Through pure charisma and drive, this group defined themselves. New Day reset the bar for Black athletes in WWE forever.
The Four Horsewomen
It feels unfair to the legacy of each woman herein to pair them together, but there is a shared legacy between Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks and Bayley that cannot be ignored. These four women came to NXT with the purpose of redefining women's wrestling.
Together with a wealth of underused talent, these women made an indelible mark, main-eventing WWE pay-per-views and stealing the show. Each woman has even been the biggest star on her brand.
The Man clearly made an impact. She was not just over with the fans. Her evolution ended with her becoming the top star in WWE. She main-evented WrestleMania 35 (alongside Flair) and won the Raw and SmackDown Women's Championships.
The Queen has perhaps been overused in the spotlight, but no one can doubt her talent. She has contested some of the best matches in recent memory, such as her battles with Ronda Rousey, Asuka, Natalya, Rhea Ripley, Io Shirai and her fellow Horsewomen.
The Legit Boss has finally taken her place atop SmackDown and arguably only been held back by injuries. She has been the best in-ring worker of the four, including becoming arguably the best modern performer in Hell in a Cell.
The Role Model defined NXT more than anyone else in this group, but she also had the most awkward transition to the main roster. Her recent heel turn changed everything, and she has found her stride, carrying the blue brand before and after losing to Banks.
These women are the best of the best. It can almost be overwhelming how often these women dominate the division. When they step away, all four will be spoken about with reverence. It is a wonder that all four appeared in WWE at almost the exact same time, but they all needed each other to be great.
Before Daniel Bryan signed with WWE, many spoke about him as the greatest technician in the world. Despite this, he was never expected to succeed in Vince McMahon's sports entertainment empire. He was too small and, for whatever reason, many seemed to think he lacked charisma.
He proved everyone wrong and arguably opened the door for the next generation. A multiple-time world champion, he put on matches with a fire and focus that made sure that he never appeared small. He feels bigger than men twice his size.
He will be forever defined by his run to title glory at WrestleMania XXX. While WWE always respected Bryan's talent, it took serious reshuffling to get to the point that The Planet's Champion stole the show twice on the same night to become the world heavyweight champion.
While his energetic and dangerous style forced him to retire from in-ring competition in 2016, hard work and determination got him back in the ring. He is still putting on some of the best matches of every year.
His success in WWE opened the door to independent wrestlers who would have previously been seen as too small as recently as the 2000s. The NXT that fans know, dominated by Undisputed Era, would not exist if Bryan had not found success like he did.
Bryan will be remembered as one of the greatest of all time, breaking down barriers on exactly what a professional wrestler can be in WWE. It would not be surprising if more than half of all aspiring wrestlers named Bryan as their inspiration.
One man who certainly benefited from Daniel Bryan's success, as well as the previous rise of CM Punk, was Seth Rollins. The Messiah was treated as a top star in NXT from the outset, but it was The Shield that made Rollins a household name.
The Shield redefined wrestling, making six-man tag team matches an attraction. Rollins, alongside Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose, went right from dominating as part of a trio to becoming world champion.
Reigns is the top male star in WWE, but Rollins has been able to stand alongside him at many points. He is a Grand Slam champion and has redefined his character at multiple points to remain at the top.
He is a chameleon. He evolves with opportunities and brings his best to matches with everyone. This modern era is defined by a variety of stars, but Rollins stands right near the top. Even though he is taking a couple months away, he is still talked about regularly.
The Messiah is still establishing his legacy, but he is likely to remain at the top of the business for at least the next five years. That is enough time to win more championships, which would make him one of the most decorated Superstars in history.
Rollins is one of the best wrestlers around, and he will be seen as one of the greatest when he retires. That is unquestionable.
Seth Rollins' brother in The Shield took on the mantle left by John Cena. He was the heir apparent from the outset. It wasn't a perfect fit for Roman Reigns, but his talent was obvious. He worked hard at every opportunity to make the most of the spotlight.
It is likely he would have been seen as a legend no matter what, but 2020 solidified his status. His heel turn has been on par with his cousin The Rock's. It was eye-opening to see Reigns embrace a darker persona that makes him better than ever.
Along the way, Reigns has been loved and hated. He has been overpushed and defeated men no one else could, including John Cena and Brock Lesnar. However, it will be Reigns' talent that shines through and sees him regarded as one of the all-time greats.
A rare few are defined as the faces of WWE. Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, The Rock and John Cena came before. Other names could also be thrown into the argument, but there is no question that Reigns is seen as the face of WWE.
Much like Cena, his legacy will only improve with the years. He defined an era through his evolution. Reigns is the man in WWE. He is the fundamental top star. Whenever he comes back for a one-off appearance, fans will be ready for something special.
The evolution of women's wrestling may have begun with The Four Horsewomen, but they were not. Many stars have done special work, even if not all will be recognized long term for it. Natalya, Naomi, Alexa Bliss, Shayna Baszler and so many more have had memorable performances.
However, there is one woman whose legacy can stand up to that of even Charlotte Flair: Asuka. The Empress of Tomorrow has been the most successful Japanese wrestler in WWE. It's not even close. She has been that spectacular.
Asuka is the longest-reigning NXT women's champion in history and never lost the title. She has been Raw women's champion for more than 150 days. She also held the WWE women's tag team titles longer than anyone else in WWE history as part of The Kabuki Warriors.
Her value to the women's division cannot be understated. She is arguably the best wrestler in the women's division and one of the best in WWE regardless of gender. Even though her English is limited, she has the magnetic charisma to captivate any audience.
All of this makes her as important to the evolution of the women's division as anyone. She was established as the right woman to take over when Becky Lynch went on maternity leave last spring. She has defeated every member of the Four Horsewomen on major stages and will continue to do so.
The Empress of Tomorrow is a spectacular talent and stands out above just about every one of her peers. Asuka's name will forever be whispered in reverent tones when discussing women's wrestling.
Larger-than-life personas have mostly vanished from wrestling, but a few holdovers still stand out. No one has made himself in wrestling quite like Bray Wyatt. He presented and then reinvented himself in ways that no one else ever has.
He has the versatility of Mick Foley and the fearsome presence of The Undertaker. While he may not have the championship pedigree of other performers, his presence alone has made him a star. He is one of the few who can make stories without any spotlight.
When WWE lost favor with him working as The Eater of Worlds, he became the host of The Firefly Fun House and the embodiment of evil by way of The Fiend. He was immediately back at the top of WWE.
He could never win another championship again and still be a man WWE goes back to constantly. The promotion brings back Kane and The Boogeyman as dark, terrifying presences for small spots, but The Fiend will likely be seen as so much more.
Wyatt is a legendary character performer. He is unlike anyone else WWE has ever had. That makes him special. Even in an era when realism is more valued, Wyatt maintained an over-the-top character, and his influence will keep that idea alive for generations to come.