Ten years sure flew by fast! The 2010s have seen WWE go through a massive change, with brand extensions, Wild Card Rules, Evolutions, not to mention the rise of a new generation of thrilling Superstars. But as we stand on the verge of 2020, we can’t help but look back at the decade that was and reflect on the grapplers who made the greatest impact on WWE.
Who is the Superstar of the Decade? The editors of WWE.com weighed in with their choices below. Do you agree? Would you choose another Superstar? Let us know on social media and in the comments below!
While he may be reviled by the WWE Universe for his actions as of late, there’s no denying that Seth Rollins has cemented himself as one of WWE’s most dominant Superstars.
As The Architect of The Shield, Rollins led The Hounds of Justice as they became one of sports-entertainment’s most dominant forces, before breaking out on his own and launching himself into the stratosphere. Rollins won the Money in the Bank contract and used it to create his own WrestleMania moment, capturing the WWE World Heavyweight Championship on The Grandest Stage of Them All.
He’s captured the WWE, Universal, Intercontinental, United States and Raw Tag Team Championships, along with his Money in the Bank win, defeating the likes of Triple H, John Cena and even his childhood hero Sting along the way. And let’s not forget that he finally slayed The Beast, Brock Lesnar, at WrestleMania 35. How many Superstars can lay claim to that? – BOBBY MELOK
While the other Superstars on this list have spent the last decade racking up noteworthy wins against some of WWE’s most decorated competitors, no victory is greater than one Roman Reigns achieved against his toughest opponent — cancer. After debuting in 2012 and capturing the WWE, Universal, Intercontinental, United States and WWE Tag Team Championships, along with a win in the 2015 Royal Rumble Match, The Big Dog revealed he was fighting leukemia and would be relinquishing the Universal Championship on the Oct. 22, 2018, edition of Raw. It didn’t take long for Reigns to beat the ugly disease into remission and return to Raw on Feb. 25, 2019. But cancer is a relentless opponent, always ready to rear its ugly head again. While other Superstars are battling mere mortals, The Big Dog will always be looking over his shoulder for when he may need to once again beat his lethal enemy into remission with a Superman Punch. Believe that! – MITCH PASSERO
I started working here when it was cool to say John Cena sucked. Joke’s on us. Not only did he emphatically not suck in the ring (16 World Titles and counting), he was so dominant it actually masked, somehow, how good he was.
This is the same guy The Rock called a Fruity Pebble [insert expletive here] and then embraced as a peer at WrestleMania 29. This is the guy who everyone said couldn’t wrestle in 2006 and then put on about 10 or 11 consecutive bangers during his U.S. Open phase in 2015. This is the same guy everyone was ready to replace with Roman Reigns, only for Cena to tear into The Big Dog so emphatically on the mic in 2017 that everyone forgets he ended up losing their match.
It may be easy to become disillusioned by dominance, but it’s a mistake to ever take it for granted. Suddenly, a John Cena victory has turned from a routine exercise into an absolute gift. Seeing him at all is a gift. He defined this decade in wins, but also in influence, both outside the ring in Make-a-Wish visits to the Cena-sized hole in the WWE Universe’s heart when he’s not around. Easy as it is to become a cynic, the scales have long fallen by now: He doesn’t suck, and this place is different without him. The dude was great. He always was. I relent. He wins. Again. – ANTHONY BENIGNO
Kofi Kingston’s ascent to the WWE Championship at this year’s WrestleMania was a massive highlight of 2019, and the power of that moment was amplified by the incredible journey the Ghanaian Superstar has been taking us on for the past 10 years. Whether striving to innovate in Money in the Bank melees, miraculously evading elimination in Royal Rumble Matches, soaring in blockbuster tag team matches (remember Air Boom?) or putting on clinics with the likes of Dolph Ziggler, The Miz and Cesaro, Kingston captured our attention and our imaginations regardless of where he was on the card. Sure, he’s among the most decorated Superstars on the roster with a spectacular WWE Championship reign, four Intercontinental Titles, three U.S. Championship runs and nine Tag Team Titles — including six with The New Day — but one of his greatest feats this decade has been his ability to make believers out of even the most cynical among us. And that’s saying something. – JAMES WORTMAN
Eat. Sleep. Conquer. Repeat.
That may have been Paul Heyman’s catchphrase for the Beast he calls his client, but it also sums up Brock Lesnar’s decade quite well.
The Beast returned to WWE in 2012 following his championship run in UFC, and quickly reminded the WWE Universe exactly what he was capable of: pure destruction. He broke Triple H’s arm (twice), laid the foundation upon which Suplex City was built at SummerSlam 2014 by dropping John Cena with 16 German suplexes en route to winning the WWE Championship, and, of course, he did what many thought was impossible: Lesnar ended The Streak.
The Beast absolutely dominated The Undertaker in his yard, handing The Deadman his first loss at WrestleMania, shocking the WWE Universe. It stunned the Superdome in New Orleans into complete silence.
You could probably end it there, but that was JUST the first two years of Lesnar’s return. After that, he reignited his rivalry with ’Taker, besting The Phenom in a brutal Hell in a Cell Match, went on a 500-plus day tear as Universal Champion after defeating Goldberg at WrestleMania 34, and avenged his UFC heavyweight championship loss to Cain Velasquez by defeating the bruiser to retain the WWE Championship at Crown Jewel.
And there’s no indication that The Beast plans on slowing down, either. I think he’s quite clearly earned the right to call himself the Superstar of this decade. Don’t be surprised if we’re having this same discussion about Brock at the end of 2029. After all, it’s what he does best.
Eat. Sleep. Conquer. Repeat. – BOBBY MELOK
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A small set of Superstars can lay claim to being among the best in the business at either the beginning or end of the past decade. Daniel Bryan may be the only one who can justifiably claim both, making him the no-brainer choice for Superstar of the Decade.
Who did more in the 2010s? Starting with a shocking return to WWE, Bryan’s last 10 years also included the formation of one of the most unlikely yet lovable duos of all-time in Team Hell No, the culmination of the greatest underdog story in WrestleMania history and a triumphant return from what was thought to be a career-ending injury. Oh, and there’s nine championships and a Money in the Bank victory, too.
In the past year alone, we saw Bryan breathe new life into his career with previously untapped villainy — perhaps the ultimate achievement for a Superstar as beloved by the fans as any we’ve seen.
Bryan always captivates the WWE Universe in a way that is uniquely his own, no matter the situation. Whenever he steps in the ring or grabs a mic, there’s a good chance you’re about to witness magic. And at the end of the day, that’s what sports-entertainment is all about. – JORDAN GARRETSON
Plenty of Superstars made indelible marks over the past decade, but only one can be called The Man. The Women’s Evolution was the defining movement of the past 10 years, and Becky Lynch has taken that charge to new heights. The Irish-born Superstar burst onto the NXT scene in 2013 and steadily rose through the WWE ranks thanks to hard work and sheer force of personality. Lynch’s ascent culminated in a history-making performance as the first woman to win the main event at WrestleMania with an epic victory over Charlotte Flair and Ronda Rousey.
When SmackDown gloriously debuted a new era on FOX, it was Lynch sharing the limelight with The Rock, and she more than held her own with The Most Electrifying Man in All of Entertainment. Earlier this year, the Raw Women’s Champion starred in ESPN’s 40th anniversary “This Is SportsCenter” campaign, as she once again transcended the industry. So, go ahead and make a case for another Superstar of the decade, because “everyone’s tough until The Man comes around.” – BRAD ZAK
Why is Randy Orton the Superstar of the Decade? In a word: consistency.
Over the past 10 years, no one has eviscerated the competition with as much ruthless efficiency as The Viper. When in doubt, drop them with an RKO right now; ask questions later.
He’ll do anything — yes, anything — to get the upper hand on an opponent: assault their family, punt kick them into oblivion, burn down their house or use a screwdriver to rip and tear at an ear piercing (yes, you read that last one correctly).
He is as shrewd as he is vicious, as evidenced by his propensity for creating or joining factions (Legacy, Evolution, The Authority, The Wyatt Family, #FTRKO). As soon as he believes he’s no longer benefiting from the pact, however, he’ll sever all ties in sudden, often savage fashion.
And we haven’t even gotten to his accolades. Among countless other milestones, Orton has unified the WWE Title and World Heavyweight Championship, captured the Money in the Bank contract and successfully cashed it in, completed his Grand Slam with a United States Title win and emerged victorious in the 2017 Royal Rumble.
And while several WWE Superstars have enjoyed impressive stretches of dominance over the last 10 years, the relentless Orton has run roughshod over his peers with awe-inspiring consistency for the entire decade. – JON CHIK
The Miz not only deserves to be the Superstar of the Decade, he is truly a candidate to be the greatest Superstar of all time. In the past 10 years, The A-Lister has transformed himself from a former “Real World” cast member trying to make his mark in WWE into a Money in the Bank Ladder Match winner, WWE Champion, WrestleMania headliner with a victory against John Cena, an 8-time Intercontinental Champion, a 2-time United States Champion and a multiple-time Tag Team Champion.
Miz has been both one of the most hated Superstars on the roster and a fan-favorite and can initiate an effective war of words with anyone, whether he’s stirring up controversy on “Miz TV” or shouting at Daniel Bryan in one of the most notorious moments on “Taking Smack.” He is a tireless worker who is as comfortable on the movie set of his numerous film ventures as he is on his hit reality show “Miz & Mrs.,” and has represented WWE in countless appearances with tremendous class year after year. Moreover, Miz can effectively share the spotlight with virtually any personality and propel both friend and foe to new heights.
Put simply, The Miz is awesome. – MIKE BURDICK
Sheamus ushered in the 2010s as the WWE Champion, and as it turned out, that was only a sign of things to come. In the decade that followed, The Celtic Warrior earned a trove of accolades, including reigns as the World Heavyweight Champion, United States Champion, and Raw and SmackDown Tag Team Champion. He wore the King of the Ring crown, experienced the thrill of winning the Royal Rumble Match and climbed to glory at Money in the Bank.
Those successes, however, only begin to tell the story of Sheamus’ legacy in the 2010s. The tough-as-nails Irishman is also an unsung workhorse who’s given Superstars like Big Show, Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan some of their most grueling battles. Although injuries — a byproduct, no doubt, of Sheamus’ ferocious, full-throttle in-ring style — resulted in untimely and sometimes lengthy layoffs, The Celtic Warrior always returned to action better than before. Not only that, but he continually reinvented himself, accomplishing the difficult task of staying not only relevant, but also dominant amid an everchanging and increasingly competitive WWE landscape. – JOHN CLAPP
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