WWE: Who is the greatest 'class of 2002' superstar?

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This past week on Monday Night Raw the genius that is Paul Heyman brought up an interesting topic where he left the fans wondering just who is the greatest superstar from the class of 2002?

The year 2002 saw an influx of young, up and coming stars who would one day, potentially carry the WWE and in the year 2014 it is safe to say that they have exceeded all expectations.

On Monday Night Raw, the discussion revolved around John Cena, Randy Orton and Brock Lesnar. Three massive superstars that have achieved so much in the business; guaranteed Hall of Famers.

This has left the fans wondering just who is better out of the three, but the year 2002 did bring another superstar to the WWE Universe who did go on to make a huge impact on his own.

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Dave Batista didn’t debut as The Animal we know him as, but 2002 did see the WWE Universe welcome the future World Champion; even though he wasn’t the young and hungry superstar such as Cena and Orton, he was still practically an unknown.

So when you bring all of their achievements together, the impact they have had on not only their own careers but on the WWE Universe as well and how their careers have panned out in general, just who is the best of the class of 2002?

4: Batista

In my opinion Batista is the fourth best from the class of 2002; he progressed through OVW relatively quickly and within two years he was promoted to the main roster. Since then he worked alongside Revered D-Von before making his big breakthrough as part of Evolution.

At one time he was the greatest superstar in the WWE; parallel to John Cena before they finally crossed paths. He’s won two Royal Rumble matches, a four time tag team champion and a six time World Champion; but he has also left a massive impact in the WWE as one of the best big-guys that has stepped foot inside the squared circle.

He has a huge fan base regardless of whether he’s playing a heel or a face, if Batista did arrive on the main roster when he was in his mid-20’s perhaps he would have made an even bigger impact which would have catapulted him towards the top.

3: Randy Orton

Now it gets a little more difficult, the battle to decide who the best is was always going to be between Orton, Cena and Lesnar. They all started in the business very young, they have all been World Champions and they have all been a part of some of the biggest rivalries in the history of the business. With Orton, he will go down as one of the greatest heels the business has ever seen. He has pushed boundaries when he did eventually become The Legend Killer. His start wasn’t great, much like Batista and Cena he started off towards the middle, or even the bottom.

Like Batista, Evolution was his big breakthrough and under Triple H and Ric Flair, Orton flourished into his own superstar, doing unimaginable things as his career progressed. His feud with Triple H going down as one of the best, his decade-long feud with John Cena due to come to an end this weekend. He too has won countless championships and has left his mark in the WWE for all the right reasons, still the youngest World Heavyweight Champion to date.

Whether he’s The Legend Killer, The Apex Predator or The Viper; he will easily become a future Hall of Famer when he calls it a day and he still has so much left to offer. It was never going to be an easy task to dislodge the likes of John Cena from the top of the list.

2: John Cena

A lot of fans would make John Cena the undisputed number one in the list, or even the greatest WWE superstar of all time and they’d be right, John Cena will go down as one of the greatest superstars to have ever stepped inside a WWE ring. I believe without Brock Lesnar, there would be no John Cena. Cena also had a sluggish start to his main roster career, he made an impact when he took on Kurt Angle in his debut and came up short and did some good work as a heel during his rapping gimmick, that’s where he first met Brock Lesnar on the main roster.

He failed to dethrone Brock Lesnar and spent years in the mid-card scene – which is exactly what he needed to become the star he is today. Before eventually going on to capture his first WWE Championship and has not looked back since.

Being a 15 time World Champion is no small feat, and it looks as if he could go on to beat Ric Flair’s record before calling it a day and it wouldn’t come as much of a surprise, but that does mean he has lost the belt on 15 occasions; sometimes having a high number of championship reigns doesn’t mean you’re the best, it means on the 15 nights you won you were better; it means a superstar who has captured fewer titles could be a better champion. Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock have 14 World Championships between them, yet they are above John Cena.

John Cena has carried the WWE for so long now, you can’t take anything away from him as he is that good, it’s not an easy decision to make when you consider how loyal John Cena has been. I just believe Brock Lesnar has been the best superstar from the class of 2002.

1: Brock Lesnar

It would be difficult to name a rapid rise to the top quite like Lesnar, and not only a rapid rise but managing to stay at the same level over 10 years later. Brock Lesnar debuted in explosive fashion and to this day he is dominating every single superstar that steps inside the ring with him, whether it was becoming the King of the Ring straight away, defeating The Rock to become the youngest WWE Champion of all time or destroying The Undertaker around a decade ago, Lesnar stayed true to the nickname given to him by Paul Heyman; The Next Big Thing.

The Next Big Thing has gone on to become one of the most dangerous, the beast is currently holding the WWE World Heavyweight Championship as well. The only factor that comes into play is that Cena remained loyal, whereas Lesnar didn’t enjoy the travelling and bailed on the company; that is the one factor which makes it difficult to decide who the better superstar from the class of 2002 is.

Lesnar has only been involved with big names and big feuds, he has never hovered around the mid-card scene and he never will, he is too big and too good for that. He’s one of the few stars that can genuinely wrestle with a wrestling background, a WWE Champion, an NCAA wrestling Champion and a former UFC Heavyweight Champion; not a bad resume to have. If Brock Lesnar stayed in the WWE; I think Cena will have still been the massive superstar he is today, but Lesnar would have been bigger; Cena even based his finishing manoeuvre off Brock Lesnar during their first rivalry.

Lesnar has dismantled Cena already, but Lesnar did one thing some of the greatest ever have failed to do. He has ended the streak, he dominated The Deadman a decade ago and he did the same this year; I have to agree with Paul Heyman and say Brock Lesnar is the best from the class of 2002.

WWE fans – what do you think? Who is the best superstar from the class of 2002? Randy Orton? Batista? Brock Lesnar? John Cena? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below

Randy Orton
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