WWE had a radical shift in the Ruthless Aggression Era with new concepts like the brand split and constant roster changes. Names like The Rock, Steve Austin and Mick Foley were phased out due to leaving for retirement via injury or chasing the Hollywood dream. However, WWE’s commitment to building new stars worked with future legends debuting early into the era.
10 WWE Ruthless Aggression Era Wrestlers Who Were Never Relevant In The Company
WWE’s Ruthless Aggression Era saw several new stars emerge, but these wrestlers weren’t even relevant in the company.
More superstars received opportunities on screen than ever before since Raw and Smackdown had separate rosters of two-hour weekly programs. Some names stood out more than others when it came time to sell shows and make money via the microphone. The Ruthless Aggression Era had the following names as the premiere trash talkers.
10 The Rock’s Full-Time WWE Career Ended In The Ruthless Aggression Era
Last Run Before Moving To Hollywood Continued Epic Trash Talk
- “Hollywood” Rock Persona Led To More Ruthless Trash Talk
- Rock Started To Phase Out Of WWE For Lead Movie Roles
- His Concert Segments Were All-Time Great Heel Talking Segments
WWE witnessed The Rock bring trash talking to new heights in the Attitude Era with constant catchphrases being made and promo battles feeling more important than matches on the show. However, Rock started to phase out of WWE as the Ruthless Aggression Era started when getting acting roles in movies.
8 Best Catchphrases Of WWE’s Ruthless Aggression Era
WWE had many charismatic wrestlers during the Ruthless Aggression Era. Find out who had the best catchphrases during that time.
The part-time appearances in the new era featured Rock’s Hollywood persona turning heel. Rock continued the epic trash talk and even found new ways to do it like his popular concert segments. The shorter run holds Rock back from moving up the list, but he still deserves top ten for great work.
9 Paul Heyman Started Managing Brock Lesnar In 2002
Started Iconic Manager Legacy In WWE During This Time
- Heyman Was Selected To Do Talking For Brock To Get Over
- Continued Epic Heel Run As Smackdown General Manager
- Became An All-Time Great Manager Around This Time
Brock Lesnar was meant to be a can’t miss superstar when he debuted, but Paul Heyman had more pressure on him. WWE making Heyman the manager of Brock required stellar promos and trash talking since Brock barely spoke in his first few months.
Heyman cut great promos to ensure that Lesnar got over to the point of winning the WWE Championship just four months into his debut. The Smackdown General Manager tenure of Heyman gave him more promo time to go back and forth with the brand’s top babyfaces.
Finding His Voice Made WWE Push Him In Main Event Picture
- Experimenting With New Character Improved His Trash Talk
- Fans Wanted Eddie Face After Getting Over As Heel
- Became Well-Rounded Enough To Win WWE Championship
Few wrestlers had the versatility of Eddie Guerrero to deliver in every area of the job. However, Eddie didn’t truly become known as a great promo until he experimented with a new character in the early 2000s for WWE.
Guerrero embracing his “lying, cheating and stealing” ways made him a great talker, but it also forced WWE to turn him face. The momentum of Eddie at this time was red-hot enough to dethrone Brock Lesnar as WWE Champion heading into WrestleMania 20.
7 Edge Was One Of The Most Hated Heels Of The Era
Evolving Into The Rated-R Superstar Made Him An Elite Heel Character
- Had To Grow At Promos To Get Main Event Spot
- Started To Find Perfect Character With Lita By His Side
- Some Of His Best Segments Happened During His Feud With John Cena
WWE pushed Edge quite hard throughout the Ruthless Aggression Era, but he struggled to get over the hump for a few years. Edge finally took the next step when coming up with the Rated-R Superstar character with Lita at his side.
The magical timing of a legendary rivalry with John Cena led to Edge getting more main event time. Edge improved his promos to become one of the best heel trash talkers of the Ruthless Aggression Era with memorable performances against legends like Cena, Jeff Hardy and The Undertaker.
6 Booker T Got Over In WWE Thanks To His Personality
Best Success Story From WCW Found His Groove In Ruthless Aggression Era
- Remained Most Successful WCW Star From The Invasion
- WWE Showed Booker In Segments With New Rivals
- “Sucka” Became A Popular Insult In WCW
The purchase of WCW by Vince McMahon led to a lot of strange scenarios since most of the top names were not technically free agents in 2001 unless bought out. Booker T was the rare success story from the Invasion storyline, and it set him up for a consistent role in the Ruthless Aggression Era.
WWE started to give Booker chances to show new sides of his personality in segments involving Goldust, Triple H and Christian. Booker was always great at trash talking, and he only made the “sucka” insult more famous in WWE after coming over from WCW.
5 Trish Stratus Stood Out In The Women’s Division
Dominated WWE’s Divas Division As A Heel Champion
- Was Tasked With Having Entire Women’s Division Built Around Her
- Heel Turn Led To Best Trash Talking Of Trish’s Entire Career
- Left A Legacy Of Being Arguably The Greatest Female Wrestler Ever
The women’s division became more important in the Ruthless Aggression Era with talented names like Molly Holly, Jazz and Lita challenging Trish Stratus for the top spot. Stratus’ heel turn in 2004 led to arguably the best overall chapter of her career.
WWE Ruthless Aggression Era: 5 Best Midcard Storylines (& 5 Worst)
The Ruthless Aggression Era is one of WWE’s best eras because the midcard was great. However, there were also some bad midcard feuds at the time.
WWE made Trish the dominant Women’s Champion that reminded everyone of her greatness. Stratus mocking Lita’s relationship with Kane or hazing rookie Christy Hemme with trash talk carried her programs in between matches.
4 Mr. Kennedy Made Sure Everyone Knew His Name
Thrived At Trash Talking Despite Flopping In WWE
- Kennedy Received Massive Debut Push Beating Former World Champions
- Received Rare Entrance With Weekly Promo Time
- Career Never Panned Out After Failed Pushes Due To Bad Timing
Ken Anderson aka Mr. Kennedy received a dream debut push in WWE during the Ruthless Aggression Era. WWE gave Kennedy a major winning streak over multiple former world champions and had big plans for him.
Vince McMahon was a big supporter of Kennedy due to his ability to talk on the microphone against much bigger stars. Unfortunately, bad luck with injuries and suspensions prevented Kennedy from ever making it beyond the mid-card.
3 Christian Proved He Was Worthy Of A Singles Push
Ending Tag Team Run With Edge Gave Him A New Path
- Had To Find Ways To Become A Strong Heel After His Tag Team With Edge Ended
- Relationship With Trish Stratus Paired Two Great Trash Talking Heels
- Christian Engaged In A Rap Battle With John Cena In 2005
Edge and Christian got over together as a popular tag team in the Attitude Era. However, WWE split them up in under three years to place them in singles roles. Edge always had a bigger push, but Christian showed he was a star in the making.
WWE allowed Christian to cut some memorable promos in 2005 ahead of the brand split draft running down names on both rosters. Christian was always a strong character, but this was the time he grew into a great trash talker worthy of a bigger push.
2 Triple H Was The Top Guy For Most Of The Ruthless Aggression Era
Consistently Cut Big Time Promos Throughout Entire Timeline
- Cut Vicious Promos As A Heel To Give Opponents Sympathy
- Took Part In Many Of The Best Ruthless Aggression Feuds
- DX Reunion Brought Vulgar Humor Side Back
WWE built the Raw brand around Triple H for many years in the Ruthless Aggression Era. Triple H received constant promo time and ran down his opponents to build interest in the matches. Savage insults and showing no sympathy for others made Triple H a strong heel.
D-Generation X reuniting a few years into the era gave Triple H another face run cutting vulgar promos again. Triple H excelled at trash talk throughout the babyface and heel runs, but the heel run was remembered more fondly for coming off as a “final boss” character.
1 John Cena Verbally Attacked Everyone As The Doctor Of Thuganomics
Rapping Version Of Cena Was Most Ruthless Trash Talker
- Rapping Gimmick Change Gave Him Freedom To Rip Others Apart
- Was Arguably The Face Of The Ruthless Aggression Era
- Still Had Underrated Trash Talk With Babyface Hero Gimmick
Many fans remember the moment of John Cena saying he had “ruthless aggression” in his debut promo against Kurt Angle as the start of the Ruthless Aggression Era. However, Cena didn’t get over until months later when he adopted a new rapper gimmick.
Pre-match promos in the form of freestyle raps saw Cena delivering trash talk that could not be replayed today on WWE TV. Cena intentionally used sexual jokes and swore to get a shock and awe reaction. The face turn saw Cena mellowing out, but he was always a good trash talker to sell matches or feuds.