John Cena vs. Roman Reigns and Matches with the Most Star Power in WWE History
WWE has hosted some of the most star-studded pro wrestling matches in the history of the business, and many of them have become legendary in the years since they took place.
When you put two people in the ring together who are among the biggest stars in the industry, the pressure on them to tear the house down is massive. Most of the time, WWE Superstars rise to the occasion and create something memorable.
Most of these iconic matches have taken place at WrestleMania by design. WWE knows which combinations will generate the most buzz and saves them for The Show of Shows to get the most bang for its buck.
Judging what makes somebody a big name is tricky, though. You have to take into account the crowds they draw, TV ratings during their run at the top, how the WWE Universe reacts to them, merchandise sales, mainstream appeal and crossover potential with other forms of entertainment.
Believe it or not, actual wrestling ability is low on the list of what makes somebody a huge star. It definitely matters, but we all know some of the top stars in the industry were not the best workers of their generation.
With that in mind, we thought it would be fun to look back at some of the WWE matches with the biggest star power. Keep in mind, we are not saying these are the best bell-to-bell wrestling matches. They are just the ones with the most marquee value at the time they took place.
The list will include five entries and a preview of John Cena vs. Roman Reigns, but they will not be ranked in any specific order because it would be impossible to judge some of these matches in comparison to each other.
Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant
If you talk about the history of WWE, you have to acknowledge the match between Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant from WrestleMania III. Not doing so would result in fines and possibly jail time.
This wasn't their first or last time in the ring together, but it was their most famous encounter because WWE hyped it up so well. It was a battle for the ages.
It was The Irresistible Force meeting The Immovable Object. On one side of the ring, you had a giant of a man who was well over seven-feet tall and close to 500 pounds; on the other, you had the guy who embodied the concept of what would become known as "sports entertainment."
Hogan wasn't even the first guy to slam Andre, but we didn't have the internet to tell us stuff like that back then. For those watching at home, this was the most monumental moment of all time.
To this day, Andre vs. Hogan is still the measuring stick for all of pro wrestling. No matter how we view performers today, nobody can take away what these two men accomplished that night in 1987.
Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior
Hogan was part of some of the most memorable moments in wrestling history, and many of them took place at WrestleMania. Three years after he made history with Andre the Giant, he did it again with The Ultimate Warrior at WrestleMania VI.
This was unlike most main events at the time because both men were babyfaces. They were the biggest heroes in the world. Fans loved both Superstars, so having to select between them was a difficult choice.
Hogan was the patriotic do-gooder who told kids to say their prayers, eat their vitamins and try their best at everything.
However, Warrior was also a good guy, though he was different in his approach. He was almost a rebel. He had awesome face paint, gave strange promos and ran around the ring shaking the ropes like a madman. His entrance alone was worth the price of admission.
When they collided in 1990, both the WWE and Intercontinental Championships were on the line. After almost 25 minutes of grueling action, The Ultimate Warrior emerged victorious.
Hogan did the classy thing and presented his opponent with the World Heavyweight Championship after the match to show his respect and officially crown him as the new top dog in WWE.
The Rock vs. Steve Austin
You can't talk about The Rock or "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's career without mentioning their trilogy of WrestleMania main events between 1999-2003.
This was arguably the most important feud of the Attitude Era. Austin was the beer-drinking veteran who worked for many years to get to the top; The Rock, on the other hand, was the second-generation prodigy who had the world in the palm of his hand before he was 30.
Other than their bald heads, they were polar opposites in many ways. Austin wore camo, jean shorts and trucker hats, while The Rock donned Gucci shades, Armani shirts and wingtip shoes.
Stone Cold was the brawler who cared more about stomping a mudhole in his opponents than jumping off the top rope, but The Great One was all about flash and pageantry.
When WWE put them in the ring together, they created magic. Everything about the way they worked and their characters complemented each other and helped them create some of the best chemistry we have seen between opponents.
Each of their three 'Mania encounters feels different and serves as a complete chapter in their saga. To this day, those matches stand out as some of the most important in the history of The Show of Shows.
Armageddon 2000 Hell in a Cell
WWE used to rely on one-on-one encounters to headline most of its events, but as the business grew and more big stars began to emerge, it became necessary to put more people in the ring together.
Armageddon 2000 was not the first time six men were in one match, but it is easily one of the most memorable encounters with that many participants.
This pre-dated the Elimination Chamber, so seeing six wrestlers packed into Hell in a Cell was a new experience for a lot of fans. The half-dozen men who made up the field are all in the Hall of Fame or at least guaranteed to end up there soon.
Triple H, The Undertaker, The Rock, Rikishi, Austin and Kurt Angle entered the massive cage at Armageddon 2000 in the hopes of winning the WWE Championship.
This match had blood, weapons, near-falls galore and Rikishi being thrown off the top of the cell into the bed of a truck. What more could you ask for?
The Rock vs. John Cena
When The Rock left for Hollywood in 2004, it felt like he might never come back. He was quickly becoming a bankable movie star and seemed happy not putting his body on the line every night. His eventual legal dispute with WWE over the rights to his name made a return seem even less likely.
Then, in 2011, The Great One shocked the world when he returned to a WWE ring for the first time in seven years. His first real match back was a tag bout with John Cena against The Miz and R-Truth, but his first singles contest was against Cena at WrestleMania 28.
Each man was a leader of his respective era. This was a bout we never expected to see, but WWE ended up giving it to us two years in a row at 'Mania 28 and 29.
This was a passing of the torch in many ways, especially since Cena's career trajectory has matched The Rock's in many ways.
They both signed with WWE in the early days of their career. Both were generic babyfaces before finding their true voice as heel characters. We saw both win a midcard title before becoming two of the most successful world champions in company history.
They both started their Hollywood careers with smaller roles and cameos before moving into family comedies and action movies.
With The Leader of the Cenation appearing in The Suicide Squad and The Great One set to portray Black Adam in the upcoming film of the same name, they will even be part of the same shared DC comic-book universe.
John Cena vs. Roman Reigns
Cena and The Rock will not be first-time opponents at SummerSlam, but both men are arguably bigger stars than they were during their encounter at No Mercy in 2017.
The Tribal Chief is now one of wrestling's hottest stars. Every segment he appears in is a home run, and he has consistently been one of the most entertaining talkers in every promo.
Cena, on the other hand, is a legit movie star now. With hits like Bumblebee, F9 and The Suicide Squad, the 16-time champion has become a household name.
Reigns and Cena will enter the ring on August 21 as totally different people from their No Mercy encounter.
The Tribal Chief is no longer the hungry young man looking for his big break. He is the top dog on SmackDown and one of the biggest names in the industry.
Cena is no longer the man who gets mixed reactions from every crowd. Now, he is a beloved crossover star who still thinks of WWE as his first home.
It's going to be a showdown for the ages.
What would you consider the most star-studded WWE match of all time?