7 old-school wrestling stars who would thrive in WWE's 'New Era'

BY Andrew Lynch • June 14, 2016

For as exciting as it is to be a wrestling fan these days, the superstars themselves have to be feeling pretty good about where they're headed.

There's enough talent on the WWE roster that the powers that be decided they need to once again split the organization into two distinct promotions. Not only does that mean more potential exposure for everyone in the organization, but now superstars don't have to worry about running themselves ragged with two shows a week plus a monthly pay-per-view. That's all due to the depth of the current talent pool.

Truly, the cup runneth over when it comes to wrestlers who can put on a show in the ring, dazzle us on the mic and have fun with their characters outside of the squared circle. To succeed in the burgeoning "New Era," a wrestler has to be the total package. Not, like, in the way that Lex Luger was "the total package," of course — although that did get us to thinking. Which wrestlers of the (relatively distant and somewhat recent) past would thrive in WWE's current direction?

Jericho's still pretty fun on WWE programming these days, but he's a shadow of his former self. If we could bring the young WCW Jericho back — the guy who once put an opponent in the Walls of Jericho atop a ladder — he'd be one of the best superstars on the roster. The promos alone would be absolutely outstanding.

The wrestling would be pretty awesome as well. In his prime, Jericho was right on the cusp of heavyweight and cruiserweight. He had the size to realistically go toe-to-toe with bigger opponents while still flying through the air in matches against guys such as Rey Mysterio. Give us a time machine to bring Y2J to the year 2016, and we'll be happy.

Roberts might be the greatest talker in wrestling history. In the cartoon era of WWE, Roberts kept things cold and calculating when he was on the microphone. His words dripping with venom, he'd spell out exactly how he planned to dismantle an opponent. Then he'd follow through in the ring. 

Modern WWE doesn't have a whole lot of room for gimmicks, but Roberts' snake is timeless. Give the man a more contemporary finisher (the DDT probably isn't going to cut it) and he'd be right at home in the New Era.

Finally. FINALLY. WWE has a robust women's division that's just as good as the men's side of things. Sometimes, it's even better. And that's how it should be; wrestlers are wrestlers, regardless of gender.

Just think about how amazing a female wrestler had to be to shine as Ms. Blayze did back in the day, though. She was one of the greatest ever — but because she was a woman, she was essentially buried for most of her career. In today's promotions, she'd be one of the top-billed performers, battling with the likes of Charlotte and the Bella Twins for the belt.

Like Jericho, it might be cheating to some extent to have Edge on this list. He's a relatively young dude, after all. But injuries deprived Edge of his prime. And even when he was part of the main roster, he didn't always get the push that he deserved (and, of course, neither did Christian).

And the best part? In the New Era, there'd be no Gangrel and no "Brood" storyline dragging everyone down. What the hell even was that, WWE?

Say hello to the bad guy. As you're probably starting to put together, being a master on the mic is one of the most important components of being a successful modern star. Hall's the guy who was selected to launch the Monday Night Wars for a reason. Hall knew how to let his promos breathe, giving the audience time to react with sheer derision as he smirked his way through every word.

Don't sleep on Hall's actual wrestling abilities, though. His feud with Shawn Michaels for the Intercontinental title produced some of the best in-ring moments of the early '90s. He'd have no problem hoisting someone like AJ Styles up for a Razor's/Outsiders' Edge if he had the chance.

Flair always blurred the line between in-ring character and his actual personality, which is what the New Era is all about. The stylin', profilin', limousine-riding, jet-flying, kiss-stealing, wheelin' n' dealin' son of a gun would have been a walking billboard for WWE.

Can you imagine how amazing Flair would have been on Twitter? Or on Vine? Or on Snapchat? The man would literally burn social media to the ground. They'd have to evacuate the Facebook offices as he WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO'd his way through the building, delivering backhanded chops to anyone and everyone he could find.

Of course, the temporal anomaly created by having a prime Flair in the same promotion as his daughter would be an issue, but we'll leave that one up to the scientists.

Oooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, yeah! Macho Man had it all. His promos were the stuff of legend:

His high-flying ring attack was among the very best. He could play face or heel — or in between. Whatever you needed, Savage provided. And in the New Era, he wouldn't be overshadowed by Hulk Hogan, who kept Savage as second banana for most of their time together in WWE and WCW.

Seriously, though, it's all about those fantastic promos:

Well, and the elbow drop, of course:

There's a reason CM Punk, one of the greatest contemporary wrestlers, emulated Savage in so much of his approach to the industry. As Punk once said, "He is cooler than anyone around today, myself included."


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