Prior to NXT becoming WWE’s primary developmental territory, there were numerous farming systems across the United States that would help fuel the roster with new talent. WWE’s best-known territory was Ohio Valley Wrestling, which was WWE’s main developmental promotion from 2000 to 2008. During this time, most of WWE’s new talent spent time at OVW to hone their skills before making their debut on the main roster.
Throughout all of his WWE affiliation years, OVW’s most revered class of new talent was in 2002. Although talents are not normally remembered for the year they went through development, this class was incredibly special as many talents had very successful careers in WWE. . Of those who “graduated” from the OVW Class of 2002, there were over sixty WWE Championships shared between them, over forty of which were World Championships. To say this class has been one of WWE’s strongest points over the years would be an understatement.
Rico’s WWE career included the fewest championships of any wrestler in the 2002 OVW class. Although he won two WWE Tag Team Championships, both were included as Comedy Tag Teams due of his flamboyant character.
Despite having the skills to succeed, Rico was never taken seriously during his main stint on the roster. In comparison to the rest of the Class of 2020, Rico compares in accomplishment and is not fondly remembered as one of WWE’s greatest wrestlers.
6 charlie haas
When it comes to tag teams, there is often one member who is very successful and another who is left behind in their singles career once the team breaks up. As for the greatest tag team in the world, Shelton Benjamin went on to a highly successful singles career as a multiple-time Intercontinental Champion. Sadly, Charlie Haas wouldn’t have been so lucky after their team parted ways.
Haas is certainly a very capable wrestler as evidenced by his amateur wrestling pedigree, but he didn’t have the same level of charisma as his partner to help propel him as a singles star. When the team broke up in 2004, Haas was quickly lost in the reshuffle and was quietly released soon after.
As a six-time world champion, Batista exceeded fan expectations early on as he was initially dismissed as just another great wrestler. However, his evolving wrestling abilities and charisma set him apart and he enjoyed a very successful career in WWE. Although he doesn’t have the same in-ring skills as other members of his class, his accomplishments cannot be denied.
After a long stint in WWE, Batista also proved to be the biggest success outside of the ring in the acting world. As Drax the Destroyer in the Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers franchises, he’s enjoyed solid box office success now that his in-ring career is over.
4 Shelton Benjamin
Shelton Benjamin may not have won a World Championship during his WWE career, but he’s always been labeled as one of the most underrated performers in the company’s history. With incredible wrestling abilities in the technical and high-flying departments, Benjamin proved he had the skills to be a top star, but he never got the opportunity.
With a proven track record in the singles and tag team divisions, Benjamin has nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to his accomplishments. Even with a seven-year hiatus from WWE from 2010 to 2017, Benjamin came back looking as good as ever and has enjoyed a solid run in WWE since his return. If he had the chance to compete in the main event, there would certainly be no stopping him.
3 Randy Orton
Randy Orton’s WWE career has been spent almost exclusively at the top of the ladder, and he’s maintained his place among the top wrestlers since his debut in 2002. As one of the few wrestlers who can pull off the Transition between good and bad with ease. , Orton has proven to be one of WWE’s most consistent and reliable performers.
As the WWE wrestler with the most pay-per-views in history, Orton has earned his place at the top of the WWE pecking order. Although he has been criticized for not having the most exciting matches, there is no denying his abilities. There are few performers who could sustain a main event as long as Orton, which is a testament to his skill set.
2 Brock Lesnar
When Brock Lesnar made his WWE debut in 2002, he was quickly labeled The Next Big Thing. Since then, he has become one of the biggest box office stars in WWE history. As one of WWE’s most unstoppable monsters, he maintained a stranglehold on top WWE Championships whenever he was on WWE programming.
Wrestlers like Brock Lesnar come once in a lifetime, and WWE struck gold when they brought it to OVW. As one of the most legitimately tough wrestlers on the roster, Lesnar has been successful in both his professional wrestling and mixed martial arts careers, which has made him one of WWE’s bankable stars. . He may not be as present as other artists, but that made him a particular attraction for the company.
1 John Cena
There has been no wrestler who has remained at the top of WWE’s main event scene other than John Cena. Since his Smackdown debut in 2003, he’s been one of WWE’s biggest stars and has transcended the sports-entertainment industry. Thanks to his long WWE career, Cena has also become a star in the movie world. Even if they are not wrestling fans, people all over the world have heard of John Cena.
As the most decorated World Champion in WWE history, Cena is the most successful of his OVW class. In fact, Cena has become arguably WWE’s most decorated wrestler. Despite the success of the 2002 class, another wrestler is unlikely to reach the same heights as Cena.
Wrestling is an ever-changing landscape and many former WWE Champions wouldn’t win the title today, but other evergreen talent would.
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