WWE: Top superstars of all time, part III

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In part two, legendary wrestlers such as Ric Flair and Bret Hart eased into the top 10 greatest stars in WWE history.

Now it's time to take a look at part three which includes a record setting Intercontinental champion and also the man that held the WWE title eight years running.

11. Chris Jericho

Having wrestled in various destinations such as Mexico, Germany and Japan and for major U.S. promotions such as World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW), Chris Jericho finally climbed the ladder and realised his dream of joining the WWE in the summer of 1999. 

He began life as a WWE superstar by interrupting The Rock during an episode of Raw in August of that year, claiming he was the company's ''Y2J problem.'' Jericho's initial dream upon joining the WWE was to become the Intercontinental champion one day as his hero, Ricky ''The Dragon'' Steamboat had once held the title. That dream soon became a reality for Y2J when he defeated Chyna for the gold at Armageddon in December, 1999. He lost the championship to Kurt Angle at No Way Out the following February however he soon got a measure of revenge by taking the European title from Angle in his first ever WrestleMania appearance at the 16th anniversary of the event.

Shortly afterwards, Jericho began a feud with then WWE champion, Triple H. Y2J even won the title from The Game in controversial fashion, only for the decision to be reversed, forcing Jericho to relinquish the gold. The following year however, Jericho would finally become world champion for the first time when he won the WCW title from The Rock at No Mercy. Two months later, Jericho would be crowned as the first ever undisputed heavyweight in WWE history, firstly defeating The Rock once again for the WCW title before pinning Stone Cold Steve Austin for the WWE title thus becoming the first man to hold both championships, simultaneously.

Jericho would defeat both The Rock and Austin at the following two pay-per-views to retain the Undisputed title. He would eventually be defeated by Triple H at the main event of WrestleMania 18, putting an end to Jericho's reign at champion. The following year at 19th edition of the event, Jericho faced Shawn Michaels in a classic match but came up short against his childhood hero.

After a number of losing efforts in a bid to win the WWE title from John Cena in 2005, Jericho left the company as in his words he was ''burned out'' from 15 years of wrestling and was out of action for over two years.

He returned and won the Intercontinental title from Jeff Hardy on an episode of Raw in 2008 before setting his sights on a long bitter feud with Shawn Michaels later that year. Jericho won the World Heavyweight Title in a championship scramble match against Batista, Rey Mysterio, Kane and John Bradshaw Layfield at Unforgiven. He then defended his title against Michaels at No Mercy in a ladder match and managed to retain his gold. He then lost the championship to John Cena at Survivor Series in November. In the summer of the following year, Jericho defeated Rey Mysterio to become the Intercontinental champion for a record ninth time. He then formed a tag team with The Big Show and the duo held the tag team titles for over six months.

At the Elimination Chamber event in 2010, Jericho defeated The Undertaker to become the world champion once again with a little help from former rival, Shawn Michaels. He then faced Edge at WrestleMania 26 and defeated The Rated R Superstar before losing the title five days later against Jack Swagger. He left the WWE for a second time later that year.

Upon his return in 2012, Jericho engaged in a feud with WWE champion CM Punk. The pair squared off at WrestleMania 28 for the title but Y2J was unable to defeat his adversary for the gold.

Throughout his career in WWE, WCW and ECW, Jericho has won 30 championships across the three major promotions. He is also the lead singer of heavy metal band, Fozzy and has produced 5 albums since forming in 1999.

12. Eddie Guerrero

Latino Heat first appeared in WWE as part of the stable, The Radicalz in 2000. He quickly began pursuing the European title and defeated Chris Jericho for the gold on an episode of Raw in April. Shortly after, Guerrero won the Intercontinental title by defeating Kurt Angle and Chyna in a triple threat match on Raw.

At WrestleMania 17 in 2001, he won the European title for a second time, defeating Test following interference from The Radicalz. However by the end of the year, Guerrero was released from WWE.

Latino Heat was resigned by the company the following year and won the Intercontinental title for a second time with a victory over Rob Van Dam at Backlash. He lost the championship back to the former ECW superstar and began competing in the tag team division with his nephew, Chavo Guerrero. The duo won the tag team titles at Survivor Series in 2002. The following May, he won the tag team titles again, this time with Tajiri.

Later in 2003, Guerrero became the first ever WWE United States Champion, winning the resurrected title at Vengeance that year. He also won the tag team titles again with Chavo, becoming a double champion at the time.

The tandem lost the gold to The Basham Brothers and engaged in a feud, culminating in a match between the two at the Royal Rumble in 2004, which Eddie was victorious in. The greatest moment of Latino Heat's career came the following month at No Way Out. Facing Brock Lesnar for the WWE title looked a mismatch on paper however with a little help from Goldberg, Guerrero realised the dream of a lifetime by winning the WWE title, one of the most emotional nights in the company's history.

The following year, Guerrero won the tag team titles again, this time with longtime friend Rey Mysterio. Their alliance however was short lived as both superstars began an intense rivalry, including a classic ladder match at SummerSlam, won by Mysterio.

Following his defeat to the masked luchador, Guerrero set his sights on winning the World Heavyweight title from Batista. He faced The Animal in a losing effort at No Mercy. In November, Guerrero was set to feature in the classic Survivor Series tag team match between SmackDown and Raw. However, on the 13th of that month, Guerrero was found unconscious in his hotel room, sadly passing away.

His legend looms large to this day and at the Royal Rumble event in 2006, Rey Mysterio won the 30 man battle royal, dedicating his victory to the memory of his late friend. The night before WrestleMania 22, Guerrero was inducted the Hall of Fame by his close friend Mysterio, nephew Chavo and his wife Vickie.

13. Bruno Sammartino

Hailing from Italy, Sammartino is the longest reigning WWE champion in history having held the title a combined total of over a decade including a run of eight successive years with the gold. The Italian made his debut for the company in 1960 when WWE was based out of New York City. Six months into his first match, he was main eventing for the company on a frequent basis.

He became WWE champion for the first time in 1963, defeating Buddy Rogers in under a minute to ultimately become the second ever world champion in the company's history. As stated previously his first reign lasted eight years, and he took on many of the top villains at the time such as Gene Kiniski, Killer Kowalski and Freddie Blassie, selling out Madison Square Garden regularly. He also defended his title throughout the world in places such as Australia, Spain, Mexico and Japan.

In 1971, after more than eight years as champion, Sammartino finally lost the gold against Ivan Koloff. Two years later however, he managed to regain the title with a victory over Stan Stasiak. Throughout his second reign, he defended the championship against the likes of ''Superstar'' Billy Graham, Ivan Koloff and Ken Patera. His second and final reign as WWE champion was ended in Baltimore by Graham, who defeated the Italian icon in highly controversial fashion.

Since announcing his retirement in 1978, Sammartino returned as a commentator in WWE in the 1980's before finally leaving the organisation in '88. After years of speculation, the longest reigning WWE champion of all time was finally inducted into the Hall of Fame earlier this year by long time friend and Hollywood actor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

14. Edge

In high school, Edge was voted most likely to become WWE champion one day. He began his path to super stardom with the company in 1997, by signing a developmental contract and made his debut the following year. Shortly afterwards, he became the third member of the stable, The Brood with Gangrel and future tag team champion partner, Christian. He won his first title with WWE in 1999, that being the Intercontinental Championship with a victory over Jeff Jarrett, however, Edge lost the title back to Jarrett the night after.

As Edge and Christian formed a now legendary tag team, the duo began a feud with The Hardy Boyz, who were now under the mentoring of Gangrel, forming The New Brood. At WrestleMania 16 in 2000, Edge and Christian faced off against The Hardy Boyz and The Dudley Boyz in a triangle ladder match for the Tag Team titles. This match would become the pre-runner to the Tables, Ladders and Chairs match first competed at SummerSlam that year between the same three teams.

Edge and Christian would go on to win the Tag Team titles a further six more times between the period of WrestleMania 16 to the Invasion pay-per-view in 2001. At SummerSlam 2001, Edge defeated Lance Storm for the Intercontinental title, only to surrender the championship to his former tag team partner, Christian the following month. Soon after Edge won the United States title from Kurt Angle before going on to defeat Test for the Intercontinental championship, thus unifying both belts at Survivor Series that year.

After winning the tag team titles with both Hulk Hogan and Rey Mysterio the following year, Edge began pursuing the opportunity to fulfil his childhood dream of becoming a world champion in WWE. His first shot came against Brock Lesnar at Rebellion 2002, however he came up short and was overpowered by ''The Next Big Thing.'' At the beginning of the following year, Edge suffered a neck injury which would ultimately send him to the sidelines for over twelve months.

As Edge returned following WrestleMania 20, he was drafted to Raw and within two months became Intercontinental champion with a victory over Randy Orton at Vengeance in 2004. He was forced to forfeit the title due to a groin injury but made a swift return. Edge began to become even more obsessed with becoming a world champion and was given a golden opportunity when he won the inaugural Money in the Bank ladder match at WrestleMania 21 which guaranteed him a title match anytime for up to one year.

Nine months later, Edge cashed in his title opportunity and defeated John Cena for the WWE title following the Elimination Chamber match at New Year's Revolution in 2006. He subsequently lost the championship back to Cena three weeks later. Edge defeated Mick Foley at WrestleMania 22, in a hardcore match in which he and his opponent crashed through a flaming table. Two months later, Edge won a triple threat match against John Cena and Rob Van Dam to regain the WWE championship.

Later in the year, Edge and Randy Orton formed the tag team Rated RKO to take on Triple H and Shawn Michaels (D-Generation X). Edge and Orton defeated their opponents at Cyber Sunday with a little help from special referee, Eric Bischoff. However, it wasn't long before the duo began to feud over the WWE championship as they both competed in the Money in the Bank ladder match at WrestleMania 23. Despite losing the match, Edge defeated winner Mr.Kennedy for the contract on an episode of Raw before cashing in the gold for the second time in just over a year, this time to win the World Heavyweight Championship from The Undertaker.

Edge continued to secure huge victories over the top superstars in WWE such as Batista, The Undertaker and Rey Mysterio. He also the tag team title yet again in 2009, this time with Chris Jericho. A few later, Edge suffered an Achilles tendon injury which forced him to miss a number of months of action. The Rated R Superstar returned to win the Royal Rumble in January 2010 and advanced to the main event of WrestleMania 26 to face his former partner Jericho for the World Heavyweight title. Despite a loss, Edge managed to regain the title in December of that year.

In 2011, Edge faced the Royal Rumble winner Alberto Del Rio for the World title at WrestleMania 27. He came out on top in what would turn out to not only his last match at the premiere event in WWE but in wrestling altogether. This was due to a number of injuries he had suffered throughout his highly successful career and after almost 15 years in the company, Edge decided to retire thus relinquishing the World Heavyweight Championship. The following year, The Rated R Superstar was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by longtime friend and former tag team partner, Christian.

15. John Cena

Just as Stone Cold Steve Austin was nearing the end of his career in WWE, John Cena was making his way into the business. He made his debut against Kurt Angle on an episode of Smackdown in 2002. Cena competed in his first pay-per-view event at Vengeance and picked up a victory over Chris Jericho. A few months later, Cena incorporated a new character as a rapper. 

His first opportunity at winning the WWE title came at Backlash in 2003 in a losing effort to then champion, Brock Lesnar. He then engaged in a feud with The Undertaker for much of the rest of the year. Cena won his first title in WWE at WrestleMania 20. He defeated Big Show for the United States championship. He won his first world title in the company a year on, with a victory over John Bradshaw Layfield at WrestleMania 21 to become WWE champion.

Two months later, Cena was drafted to Raw and began a feud with Chris Jericho for the title. Cena scored a number of wins over Y2J both on Raw and at Summerslam. Cena also defeated the likes of Kurt Angle and Shawn Michaels in order to retain the WWE title in his first reign. He held the title for almost a year before losing to Edge after competing in the elimination chamber match. Cena managed to reclaim the gold three weeks later at the Royal Rumble in 2006.

At WrestleMania 22, Cena faced Triple H in the main event and picked up a rare submission victory over ''The Game.'' He then lost the title against Rob Van Dam at ECW: One Night Stand. He regained the championship from Edge in a tables, ladders and chairs match at Unforgiven. He went onto to retain the WWE title for the next 13 months seeing off WWE's top stars such as Bobby Lashley, Edge, Shawn Michaels and Randy Orton before being forced to relinquish the title due to injury.

He returned to win the 2008 Royal Rumble match but was unable to regain the championship from Orton both at No Way Out and WrestleMania 24. He engaged in feuds with both John Bradshaw Layfield and Batista for much of that year but was forced to miss three months of action following injury and defeat to ''The Animal'' at SummerSlam. Cena made his first appearance since his injury at Survivor Series and won the World Heavyweight title for the first time against Chris Jericho. He juggled the title with Edge for a number of months before finally losing this war to The Rated R Superstar at Backlash 2009 in a last man standing match for the championship.

For much of that year Cena battled Randy Orton for the WWE title. The two shared the gold before an ironman match at Bragging Rights would determine the champion once and for all. Cena won the match 6 falls to 5 against his arch nemesis. He lost the championship to Sheamus at the first ever tables, ladders and chairs pay-per-view.

At WrestleMania 28, John Cena faced The Rock in a match builed as ''Once in a lifetime.'' Cena was defeated by The People's Champion that night but did manage to get his revenge a year later at the 29th anniversary of the event and captured the WWE title once again.

At Hell in a Cell in October 2013, Cena defeated Alberto Del Rio for the World Heavyweight title. Becoming the world champion within the company for a record 14th time. Cena is currently the top star in the wrestling industry has appeared in a number of WWE studio movies such as The Marine, 12 Rounds, Legendary and The Reunion. His popularity with especially the younger fans of WWE has ensured Cena is recognised throughout the globe.

That concludes part three of the greatest 20 WWE superstars of all time. Keep an eye out for part four of this article, viewing five more of the top stars in WWE history.

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John Cena
Chris Jericho
Rey Mysterio

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