About the Megastars (Part 2) Submitted by Steve Perry on 09/11/2017 at 02:30 PM
This is part 2 of my Megastar article. Again, I coined the term to describe WWF/WWE Superstars who have achieved a level of fame that is practically unimaginable in and out of the ring. In this part of the story, we take a look at the Megastars that followed Hulk Hogan and we speculate over who’s next.
After Hogan, two men became Megastars. Steve Austin and The Rock. During the company’s strike back against WCW, also called the Attitude Era, the WWF/WWE borrowed heavily from ECW and built the company heavily around the two aforementioned Superstars. As “The Blue Chipper” Rocky Miavia and The Ringmaster, they just couldn’t connect with fans. Not even a sole survivorship or the Million Dollar Title, respectfully, could even help them out. Finally, when they were allowed to let their personalities come through and they cranked them up to 11, the fans started to really latch on.
As the Attitude Era took shape, Austin and The Rock were propelled into stardom. Watch any older episode of Raw to see the sort of reaction they would get. The pair even main evented WrestleMania three times together. That doesn’t even count the other times they main evented “The Show of Shows” such as The Rock’s feud with John Cena and his relatively recent WWE World Heavyweight Title reign show what sort of Superstar he is. When he was revealed as the host of WrestleMania 27, he got a huge pop on Raw.
The real-world popularity of The Rock and Austin didn’t really latch on until after they left the ring. While Austin has seen a lot of success with his podcast and TV shows, The Rock has become an action star for films and one of the highest-paid TV actors for his tole of Spencer Strasmore in the HBO comedy-drama series Ballers, of which he currently earns $650,000 per episode. Both men have made career moves that are very similar to who they are. Although Austin was the biggest star in the ring (and starred in what many consider the best storyline of all time against Vince McMahon) but Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has definitely won the out-of-the-ring fame competition, though there wasn’t one. Something tells me that Austin is more than satisfied with his current job, even if he doesn’t make what The Rock makes.
Last but not least is John Cena. While still an active wrestler for WWE, Cena also has the most Make-A-Wish wishes granted with over 500 granted. Justin Bieber is a distant second with over 250 wishes granted. Cena has also appeared on several TV shows, such as hosting Saturday Night Live, the TODAY show, the ESPY Awards, and the 2017 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Award. Suffice it to say, Cena stays busy. He is polarizing in the ring but he moves the most merch, checks every box that WWE looks for in a wrestler, and he’s loved by children. With all the work that Cena puts in, there’s no surprise that he’s a well-deserving Megastar.
So, who’s next? We may not have even seen them yet. CM Punk and Daniel Bryan were close, but neither was an active Superstar at the height of their popularity long enough. Also, it seems like WWE didn’t want them to be famous. Now, they would rather have Roman Reigns in that spot, but I don’t see it happening. While Reigns is still young in his career, he hasn’t done anything to make me think any differently. Is there anyone currently in WWE who you could see in that spot? Let us know in the comments section or on social media.