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The 30 Most Famous WWE Wrestlers

These in-ring personalities have transcended the sport and garnered mainstream appeal

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At one point or another, you or someone you know was once an avid wrestling fan. Or you’re more likely to still be a follower of the current goings-on within today’s wrestling scene.

 

Whether it was the Rock ‘n’ Wrestling glory days, New Generation period, Attitude Era, Ruthless Aggression saga, or post-PG landscape, World Wrestling Entertainment managed to capture your imagination. The biggest wrestlers in the world make a habit of going beyond their squared circle duties and entering other avenues of entertainment. And once they do, they become familiar to non-wrestling fans and increase their popularity to astronomical levels. Sometimes, a super charismatic wrestler becomes just as recognizable for doing something monumental in WWE and bringing old fans back into the fold through their deeds.

 

There are a ton of wrestlers where, when their name is brought up during a random conversation, get a big reaction out of wrestling aficionados and even casual onlookers. The 30 squared circle competitors listed below have nabbed mainstream appeal and become all the more famous for it.

30. The Miz

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If you sat through the 10th season of MTV’s The Real World, The Miz should instantly be familiar to you. Since making a splash in WWE as a Tough Enough contestant, The Miz has become one of the more prominent spokespeople for the company and been featured in several WWE Studios produced films. Plus his starring role on the reality show Miz and Mrs. has pushed him even further towards Hollywood superstardom.

29. Edge

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“The Rated R Superstar” has been a fixture in WWE since the height of the Attitude Era, which happened to be wrestling’s most prominent time period. A lot of fans were tuning in at that time and those same fans grew up with Edge throughout his many gimmick incarnations. Add in his surprisingly long filmography credits, his noteworthy 2005 WWE Championship victory and his instantly recognizable facial features and you have a wrestler that most folks definitely have a clue about.

28. The Big Show

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If you randomly belt out the first few words of this modern-day giant’s theme song, then you obviously know who he is. The Big Show first made waves in WCW then transitioned over to WWE to further cement his legacy as one of the greatest big men of all time. Show’s imposing stature is one of his biggest (pun intended) character traits. His cheerful personality has pushed him into comedic roles that have made him even more of a mainstream figure to those outside of the wrestling bubble.

27. Chyna

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“The Ninth Wonder of the World” was a major deal for several reasons – she competed against both the men and women of the WWE, posed for Playboy and also made quite the impression on viewers of VH1’s The Surreal Life. The women that watched WWE during her run at the top were inspired by her in-ring toughness and unbridled beauty. Her passing was certainly unfortunate. But the memory of Chyna still lingers on to this very day.

26. Kane

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For the people that still remember Kane, it’s probably because he scared them half to death every time he came out to the ring. The Undertaker’s evil doppelganger wore a getup that’s unforgettable, which turned him into one of wrestling’s most familiar superstars during the Attitude Era. Once he ditched the mask, Kane became even more of an instantly recognizable figure. His political work has turned out well thus far, but everyday fans still know him for being the big dude who always ignited those horrifying entranceway flames.

25. Rey Mysterio

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The master of the 619 is not only a legend among his Mexican brethren, but he’s also a beloved hero to fans of every race and creed worldwide. His Lucha Libre mask can be spotted at your everyday wrestling show, rock concerts, Halloween gatherings and over the face of your everyday celebrity who wants to showcase their love for the Mexican art of pro wrestling. With or without his mask, Rey Mysterio is as famous as they come thanks to his magnetic personality and modest body size.

24. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper

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The rowdy one is a pop culture icon for many reasons. His 80s run as one of wrestling’s hottest heels placed him on a very high pedestal for many fans at the time. The very first WrestleMania featured him in the main event, plus he got plenty of extra eyes on him due to his beef with Cyndi Lauper and Captain Lou Albano. And who could forget his incredible fight scene and bubble gum line from the film They Live? “Rowdy” Roddy Piper’s influence has been felt far and wide, as evidenced by Ronda Rousey adopting his gimmick for her 2019 WWE run.

23. Jesse “The Body” Ventura

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Play an audio clip of this legend’s outrageous commentary during his heyday and most folks will pick up on whom he is. The former governor of Minnesota Jesse “The Body” Ventura is still remembered in all walks of life. His wrestling accomplishments stand tall right next to his political efforts and big-screen performances. Wrestling fans look back fondly on his flashy outfits and constant verbal harassment of Hulk Hogan, while everyone else knows him for being a badass next to Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Predator.

22. CM Punk

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“The Voice of the Voiceless” captured the attention of the masses after he dropped a verbal pipe bomb in 2011. After that game changing promo was delivered, CM Punk rose to new levels of superstardom. Before that, he was an indie legend who began making waves in WWE. After that huge moment transpired however, Punk ascended to another level of popularity outside the wrestling bubble. His infamous departure from WWE, short stint in the UFC, Marvel Comics work and shocking appearance on WWE Backstage have lent Punk extra fame and notoriety.

21. Kurt Angle

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“Oh it’s TRUE…it’s DAMN true!” “I won an Olympic Gold Medal with a broken freakin’ neck!” Belt out those two catchphrases during a drunken stupor and your equally inebriated friends will get those two references. Kurt Angle’s WWE run produced some of the funniest moments seen on TV and the most hard-hitting matches of all time. Angle’s bald badassery, prior Olympic achievements and hilarious fan reaction to his theme are all the reasoning you need for his superstardom.

20. Jeff Hardy

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80s babies who grew up to witness the madness of the Attitude Era know a thing or two about TLC. And no, we don’t mean tender loving care. We’re talking tables, ladders and chairs. One of the madmen that participated in those car crash style matches was the “Enigmatic Soul” known as Jeff Hardy. His daredevil feats, colorful hairstyles and interesting choices in fashion made him stand out in the best ways possible. Jeff’s been risking it all for a good while now and has stayed relevant with fans young and old.

19. Eddie Guerrero

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“Latino Heat” is no longer with us, sadly. But his memory still lives on and will never be forgotten. When Eddie Guerrero reached his peak as WWE Champion in 2004, his level of fame skyrocketed. Everyone just couldn’t get enough of his “lie, cheat and steal” life motto and amusing acts of in-ring trickery. His native Latinos adored him and fans of other races celebrated him all the same. When the topic of real-life Hispanic heroes comes up, Eddie Guerrero immediately comes to mind.

18. Randy Orton

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You probably came across a video or two that featured random everyday idiots getting RKO’d via the cleverly edited inclusion of Randy Orton. And the phrase “RKO outta nowhere” should sound a bit familiar to a whole bunch of non-fans. Randy Orton’s finishing move is definitely responsible for him getting a ton of notoriety outside of the squared circle. He’s popped up in a few movies here and there, but the world at large recognizes him as the master of one of the quickest finishers in current-day WWE.

17. Chris Jericho

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“The Man of 1,004 Holds.” “The Ayatollah of Rock ‘n’ Rolla.” A little bit of the bubbly.” Those three phrases represent the different stages in the career of one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, Chris Jericho. Jericho is a pro when it comes to keeping things fresh by changing up his gimmick and offering something new to longtime fans and curious onlookers. His band Fozzy is huge amongst metalheads, which is another reason why he’s remained such a popular act. And now that he’s being featured as one of the pillars of All Elite Wrestling, Jericho is even more of a global celebrity.

16. Ultimate Warrior

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People remember the Ultimate Warrior for these three reasons – his energetic sprint to the ring, his head thrashing theme song, and his insane yet enthralling promos. Old wrestling heads know the legend of the Ultimate Warrior and whenever his name is brought up, a passionate conversation about his WWE run in the 90s will soon follow. It’s just too hard to forget about a guy who wore face paint and was built like a Greek God. The Ultimate Warrior has passed on, but has left memories of his intense in-ring prowess fresh in everyone’s minds.

15. Mick Foley

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The world’s most lovable madman with three alter egos is none other than Mick Foley. A person who had even the most casual of interest in professional wrestling knows about the infamous Hell in a Cell match where Mick Foley (as Mankind) got thrown off the top by The Undertaker. Mick’s high threshold for pain endeared him to everyone who watched him in action, plus his quality storytelling skills turned him into an accomplished author over time. With an incredibly warm personality and everyman appeal, Mick Foley is an unforgettable hardcore icon.

14. Bret 'The Hitman' Hart

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Canada’s own Bret Hart was a hit with the fellas due to his highly proficient technical wrestling wizardry. And he made a whole lot of women’s hearts flutter thanks to his glistening curls and boyish good looks (even Salt-n-Pepa thought he was fine!). Bret’s pink and black gear made him stand out like the true gem he was during WWE’s New Generation era. With a vast collection of amazing matches to look back on and one moment that also ties him to pro wrestling infamy, “The Hitman” is a well-remembered Canadian hero.

13. Shawn Michaels

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“I think I’m cute…I know I’m sexy…I got the looks…That drives the girls wild.” If you just sung the follow-up lyrics, then you automatically earn extra cool points with us. That’s cause you have a clue about WWE’s resident “Heartbreak Kid,” Shawn Michaels. If you ever went for a Superkick during a real life fight or danced like a male stripper in the comfort of your own home to HBK’s theme song, consider yourself one of many. HBK’s long track record of putting on amazing matches and donning the flyest gear in pro wrestling are just some of the reasons why he’s so remarkable.

12. Triple H

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“The Game” has been around for so long and gone through so many changes throughout his lengthy WWE tenure. His days as an immature frat boy in D-Generation X and his run as the top heel in the company provided him with the fame he needed to become a mainstream star. Triple H has been a major part of several big-name films, popped up on an episode of Saturday Night Live, and even been seen at a boxing match or two. His kickass theme song lends even more star power to his overall appeal as one of the toughest men on the planet.

11. Brock Lesnar

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Paul Heyman’s living, breathing beast became even more of a hot property to the masses after his first WWE run came to an unfortunate end. Brock Lesnar made a splash in the world of MMA as a heavyweight fighter in the UFC. His intimidating build, destructive cage fighting tactics and entertaining post-fight promos endeared him to an even bigger audience. Once he returned to WWE, Brock’s MMA success parlayed into his pro wrestling endeavors and increased his fame tenfold. Brock’s a massive brute that wrestling fans and MMA fans can easily pick out of a lineup.

10. Batista

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Wrestling fans know him as “The Animal.” Marvel Cinematic Universe diehards praise him as Drax the Destroyer. And James Bond fanatics remember him as the guy that got killed off way too early in Spectre. Everyone knows him as Dave Bautista, the tatted-up muscleman who’s made it big in Hollywood. His WWE run may have been short, but it was filled with a slew of historic wrestling moments. Once he appeared in the out-of-nowhere megahit Guardians of the Galaxy, Batista became an MCU icon and Hollywood’s new favorite strongman.

9. John Cena

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Raise your hand if you’ve chuckled at a John Cena meme that’s all about him being…well, unseen. Now raise your hand if you’ve fallen for one of those viral vids that blasts his theme song at the end. WWE’s last megastar John Cena is your typical All-American media giant – he’s a fit, handsome and well-spoken good guy that the kids want to be and the women want to be with. Cena’s been in a whole bunch of blockbuster films, plus his rap skills have lent themselves well to a shockingly good solo LP. John Cena’s WWE stardom pushed him to take over Hollywood and turn into your mother’s (and your grandmother’s) not-so-secret crush.

8. The Undertaker

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If you’re old enough to remember being scared half to death at the sound of this man’s entrance gongs, then you most likely still have some emotional investment in professional wrestling. The Undertaker’s been hanging and banging around the WWE for a good amount of time and has stayed at the top of the card throughout it all. ‘Taker’s a living, breathing Phenom that folks from all walks of life know all about. His walking zombie gimmick has evolved over time and placed him in the spotlight at WrestleMania on an annual basis. Don’t lie, folks – you’ve definitely tried to chokeslam your homies after one too many drinks.

7. Vince McMahon

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“NO CHANCE!” The swaggered out bossman of World Wrestling Entertainment is one of those media figures whose likeness is unmistakable. Celebs and regular folks alike have mimicked Vince McMahon’s distinct march to the ring, plus his signature vocal delivery has been the topic of hilarity from time to time. McMahon’s unforgettable feud with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin at the height of wrestling’s popularity is part of the reason why everyone knows him so well. Mr. McMahon is a big businessman that also happens to be one of the most entertaining individuals the world has ever seen.

6. Andre the Giant

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“The 8th Wonder of the World” has adorned graffiti art, t-shirts, and stickers. His larger than life persona was used to create onscreen magic in films such as The Princess Bride, Conan the Destroyer and Trading Mom. And his history-making bout against Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania III produced one of the most seminal moments in pro wrestling history. Andre the Giant was a giant among men that grabbed everyone’s attention every time he strolled to the ring or ruled over the many pubs he frequented. Even today, Andre’s massive media footprint can still be seen in everything from comic books to a quality HBO documentary.

5. “Macho Man” Randy Savage

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One of your friends can probably do a mean “Macho Man” impression. And you’ve most likely held a Slim Jim in your hand and proceeded to utter the man’s greatest catchphrase. Back in his heyday, Randy Savage commanded the microphone with outlandish quotes about his in-ring prowess and most hated opposition. Once he stepped onto the big screen as Bone Saw McGraw in the first Spider-Man film, Randy’s star power grew exponentially. The master of the Flying Elbow Drop also put out a rap album, which did, even more, to transform him into a top-tier star. Randy’s passing elicited plenty of responses from tons of folks who still look back fondly on his gruff voice, finger-pointing pose and amazing runs in WWE and WCW.

4. Hulk Hogan

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“NOW LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING, BROTHER!” That line was usually the kickoff to one of Hulk Hogan’s heroic promos on the mic. Hogan’s ascension to the #1 spot of WWE changed course for the company and pushed it to nationwide prominence. Years and years of “say your prayers and eat your vitamins” fascinated crowds everywhere during the mid to late 80s and early 90s. Once Hogan went “Hollywood,” it became so much fun to hate his black and white guts. Hogan’s track record of being featured in watchable movies and decent songs is spotty at best. But his signature comeback sequence and atomic leg drop still made him a household name with massive appeal.

3. “Nature Boy” Ric Flair

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Your favorite rapper knows who he is. Football players adopt his promo style to hype up their teammates. And wrestling fans always bring up his name when the Mount Rushmore of wrestling debate springs up. The man that’s “causing all this” is the “Nature Boy” Ric Flair. His NWA/WCW and first WWE run is what’s responsible for catapulting him to unseen heights of mainstream acceptance. Once he came over to WWE in the early 2000s, he entered the next stage of his career and kept fans glued to the TV due to his magnetic personality. Ric Flair is a living legend that’s wrestling royalty and one of the world’s flashiest senior citizens.

2. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin

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It doesn’t matter where you are or what you’re doing – if the sound of glass breaking is heard, one name immediately comes to mind. And that’s “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, everyone’s favorite pissed off Texan. Austin was and still is a pop culture phenomenon that thrived during a period of time where young folks rebelled against the powers that be. Fans who tuned into Raw during the Attitude Era got a kick out of watching Austin raise hell against Mr. McMahon’s regime and hit a Stone Cold Stunner to everyone in sight. Austin has successfully parlayed his wrestling success into awesome movie roles, reality shows and podcasts that have kept him in the limelight.

1. The Rock

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Dwayne’s enormous star power was clearly evident during his days as the “People’s Champion” of WWE. Not a day goes by without someone trying to do their best Rocky impersonation and People’s Eyebrow. Once The Rock entered the world of Hollywood, he took over like it was nobody’s business. Today, Dwayne can be seen and heard everywhere – he’s a movie-making machine, a top ranking heartthrob and a future WWE Hall of Famer.

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