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Tippy top status


Hey Scott

You mentioned in a previous answer that HHH didn't become a "tippy-top guy" until his third title reign in January 2000.

I know it's a bit arbitrary, but when would you say the following (if at all) reached tippy-top mount-of-perpetually-over status?

Cena
Bryan
Punk
Brock
Orton
Rock
Austin
Foley
Batista
Kurt

Cena:  The HHH match at Wrestlemania.  

Bryan: Probably the cage match with Bray Wyatt where he escaped the Wyatt Family.

Punk:  The pipebomb would be the obvious choice, but the HHH feud really derailed him for a while.  I'd say it wasn't until about 6 months into his title reign that he really solidified himself at that level.

Brock:  Winning the UFC title from Randy Couture.

Orton:  That whole feud with HHH with the kidnapping and stuff.  Yeah, the blowoff sucked, but it really turned him into someone who was the hottest thing in wrestling for a while and he never fell below a certain level again after that, whereas in 2005 there were serious questions about where he would end up.  

Rock:  The ladder match with HHH at Summerslam 98.

Austin:  Duh, the Bret match at Wrestlemania.

Foley:  I would argue that he never reached that level.  He absolutely managed to diminish his own stardom over the years.  On a different level, you could say that Have a Nice Day going #1 opened the door for wrestling books and made him a literary star, but as a wrestler, not so much.

Batista:  The HHH matches in 2005.  Right out of the gate.

Angle:  TAP OR I'LL BREAK YOUR FUCKING ANKLE, ROCK!


Comments

  1. Clark O'BrienJune 10, 2015 at 8:38 AM

    So Randy Orton is a top guy but Mick Foley never was?

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  2. I think Foley's run ended before he reached that point. 1999 was his biggest year main event wise, but as he admits in his second book, his body was broken down and he relied on his character.

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  3. There's no way Randy Orton is/was/will be a tippy-top guy.


    I think you could also argue Punk never hit tippy-top status either. He's like a Mick Foley -- he's a really, really big deal but if he comes back, he doesn't automatically main event like a tippy-top guy would.

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  4. Disagree big time on Foley. He was a bigger star than most people on that list.

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  5. Mick's really weird. We've been watching all the old PPVs from that time period and Mick never is on top. He feuds with Austin and Taker after WM14 but he's back down at IC status messing with Shamrock a couple months later. He feuds with Rock but than disappears for months after WM15 and comes back in Rock n Sock as a sidekick. He gets a fluke title reign and than he feuds with VAL VENIS and AL SNOW in the midcard again. He gets back up with HHH, puts him over and than retires.

    Mick had a bizarre half assed main event run. It's closer to what Ambrose is now that Austin or Rock or Cena.

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  6. Yes, he's a bigger star, but agree he wasn't a tippy-top guy. He was an attraction.


    You bought your ticket to see Rock and/or Austin - but it was awesome to also see Foley. That's the difference.

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  7. "tippy-top mount-of-perpetually-over status?"



    The question was about guys who were over, not who drew the most money.

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  8. Definitely huge disagreement on Foley and Batista. I just didn't see Big Dave as a tip-top guy, much less one on Foley's level. Even with his goofy antics (still less embarrassing than Flair), he's perma-over.

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  9. Punk's return would be one of the biggest stories in wrestling. You're delusional if you think he wouldn't be the top guy there.

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  10. I don't like Orton at all and find him to be the most boring "main event" level guy ever, but he's considered a top guy. But he's really just there because they keep pushing the shit out of him despite being totally dull. He's basically proof that if they want a guy to be a player, just keep sticking him in that spot. There are a hundred guys that could've also made it in that role. The rest of the list connected with the crowd continually. Orton is well below all of them

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  11. He got himself over and basically nudged his way in there. It's easy to forget just how popular he was in 98 and 99 (from the JR sitdown interview to his title win on the Jan 4th Raw of 99). The Rock and Austin are the two biggest stars ever, so if the thought is he isn't as over as those guys, then sure that's the case all day long. But he was a top star and in the upper echelon of guys for some time

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  12. Holy shit, no. This list is all kinds of fucked up.

    Cena: I'll agree to 22.

    Bryan: Summerslam match with Cena. He pinned the guy clean after a massive groundswell of fan support followed him into that PPV. The Wyatt cage moment was cool, but it did dick to "establish" Bryan. He was already well established.

    Punk: It WAS the pipebomb. Either that or MITB 2011 (one could argue they're two halves of one whole). The latter half of 2011 may have cooled him off, but he was still firmly "made."

    Brock: Summerslam match with the Rock. Come on, now.

    Orton: Hard to say. I guess I can let the WM25 build stand.

    Rock: Yes, Summerslam vs. HHH.

    Austin: Again, yes, WM13 vs. Bret.

    Foley: As a guy who never much cared for Foley, you're insane. His title win over the Rock on Raw.

    Batista: the first HHH feud.

    Angle: Now THIS is where I throw down the "I don't think he ever reached the same level as everyone else" card. This could totally be just me talking as I never "got" Angle, but he never struck me as anything more than an upper midcarder who occasionally belt-pillowed and filled a role when needed.

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  13. CruelConnectionNumber2June 10, 2015 at 9:01 AM

    Rock turned into "the guy" at Breakdown '98 when the Canada crowd turned him ultra babyface.

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  14. CruelConnectionNumber2June 10, 2015 at 9:03 AM

    Angle became "the dude" around... you know... he never did.

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  15. CruelConnectionNumber2June 10, 2015 at 9:04 AM

    Mick's peak is Rock & Sock Connection team. Even as champ he was a filler champ while Austin was the guy.

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  16. Disagree (respectfully): they sold the first three months of 2000 on HHH pushing Foley too far. Foley snaps and unleashes Cactus Jack--the unkillable monster--on the smug pretty boy champ.


    I don't know how much money Royal Rumble or No Way Out made, but the fans were definitely interested in him as main eventer in a way they hadn't been before.


    Even though he didn't win, he made HHH. And honestly, I think (outside of Rock n'Sock's Rock-osmosis) that was when he was most over.

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  17. Joey Jo-Jo Junior ShabbadooJune 10, 2015 at 9:24 AM

    I'd argue that:

    - Foley became a far bigger star in retirement than he was as an active wrestler.

    - Angle, while hugely popular for a time, never really reached that level because of injuries and various issues.

    - Brock squashing Hogan like a jobber before his match with Rock deserves a mention.

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  18. Alliance angle got Angle perma over as tippy top guy in my opinion. Cena was cemented at WM 21.

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  19. I believe that Foley's book and his other outside the ring activities made him a bigger star than anything he did in wrestling. In fact Chris Jericho essentially used the Mick Foley template to stardom.

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  20. I'd argue 1998 was. He was in 4/5 PPV main events (can't remember), major marquee matches with Taker etc., rounded out the year solidly in the main event scene and won the title as it became 1999.


    In 99 he was out for half the year, was shunted back into the main event to put Hunter over, feuded with Al Snow and jobbed to Val Venis...

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  21. The Orton moment was actually punting Vince and becoming the hottest heel in 10 years for about 2 weeks (before Shane, Big Steph, and HHH killed him)

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  22. My memory of that time period is kind of hazy but I definitely remember regarding Angle as a tippy top guy. He was up there with Taker, Rock and the rest of them

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  23. The DDT to Steph while HHH was in cuffs too was equally as good as punting Vince

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  24. Mitch, The GodfatherJune 10, 2015 at 9:46 AM

    Batista's an interesting case. I think his level could have been when he turned heel in 2009 because it seemed such a natural fit for him. He hit his stride in the ring with his feud with Undertaker. Then from Dec. 2007 - Sep. 2009 it was just a myriad of injuries and other forgetful things.

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  25. It's so weird that Orton is such
    a constant go-to. Does he have incriminating pictures of HHH or VKM (or the
    pair of them together)? I have my own problems with his in-ring work (generally
    dull, with the right opponent he can go admittedly) and promos (some of the
    worst I’ve heard, unless he’s playing chicken shit heel), but quite aside from
    that…frequent injuries, several wellness violations, shitty attitude in
    ring and out, prima donna behaviour…is it a better the devil you know
    situation?

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  26. Probably the only time since the late 80's where he absolutely made a heel and didn't get one (or 50) up on them in return.

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  27. Then kissing Stephanie put him over the top.

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  28. I don't know if it made him a tippy top guy in the eyes of McMahon, but Foley winning the title from Rock on the 1st RaW of 1999 is definitely my favorite title change of all time, knowing his backstory and how unlikely it seemed he would ever reach that level.

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  29. We'll see how his UFC run goes

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  30. Man, outside the Taker and HHH feuds, babyface Batista was BRUTAL. Terrible promos, terrible matches with everyone from Edge to Booker to JBL.

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  31. Angle was a bigger star than Batista.

    He was hugely popular/hated in the Attitude Era, which automatically puts him there, and he was a regular main eventer for years.

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  32. Totally disagree on Foley - the HIAC match absolutely made him into a God-like figure amongst fans. Dude was literally indestructible (and possibly immortal).

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  33. I guess it's all in how you define "tippy top." Foley is a "top" guy in my mind because you could throw him in a PPV main event against any other top guy and it wouldn't seem weird. He's not a "tippy top" guy because he just isn't the guy to carry a title for months at a time.

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  34. After attending a couple live events, I can tell you that Randy Orton is over with douchebags everywhere. Douchebags buy merch too.

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  35. I don't know about the Foley bit, he was HOT in his final run against HHH. I think that's as big as he ever got in the business.

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  36. I guess I'll own being a douchebag, because he's over with me, too, on account of being a good pro wrestler.

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  37. Agreed. Batista only seemed to work well with two people, Cena and Taker. Even the Trips feud featured two bad matches out of three.

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  38. I'd argue for Foley reaching that level. HIAC didn't put him there, but pulling out Mr. Socko (seriously this got insanely over) in mid '98 and feuding with Vince/Rock did.


    He was pushed as a top babyface pretty consistently after that and got the belt multiple times.

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  39. Yup, that three-way cage match with Foley and Shamrock. He had been getting scattered cheers before that, but that was the first night where pretty much the entire audience was on his side.

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  40. I disagree on Foley as well. Look at it this way: If anyone else wins the title, does Tony Schiavone go, "THAT'LL put some butts in the seats?" As such, does such a massive changing of the channel happen, and does the Fingerpoke of Doom go down as badly as it did?

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  41. Agreed, Orton might just be the worst main-eventer ever. Sure, there were worse performers who were pushed to the top (Khali, for example), but they didn't stay there for over a decade.

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  42. Do Sheamus/Orton matches entertain you? I don't mind Orton, but when he wrestles Sheamus, I can't watch.

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  43. Cena: Agree

    Bryan: I would say last year's Royal Rumble, where the fans revolted enough to change the course of Wrestlemania XXX

    Punk: MITB '11

    Brock: SummerSlam against the Rock

    Orton: *is waiting for Worst In The World to respond

    Rock: The ladder match is a good one, but it's more of a breakout moment than anything. I would say the RAW after Backlash '99. The fans were ready to fully embracing him as a top babyface and he never turned back

    Austin: agree

    Foley: When he won his first championship

    Batista: agreed

    Angle: ditto

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  44. Disagree on Foley. I'll honestly take it right back to his first title victory.

    A guy not on the tippety-top level doesn't get to have four different characters (including default Foley) on one roster. :)

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  45. If Mick was never a "tippy-top" guy, then neither was Bryan.

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  46. It didn't help that he seemingly had to be the champion or feuding with the champion about 98% of the time.

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  47. "Congratulations, where's my rematch." Batista, 2006-2009

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  48. Macklin, Man Without FearJune 10, 2015 at 11:51 AM

    Foley definitely would be KOTR 98 or the month or so following.

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  49. "Angle, while hugely popular for a time, never really reached that level because of injuries and various issues."

    Among those issues was the fact that they couldn't decide whether to book him as a bad-ass wrecking machine or a comedy wrestler.

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  50. I think he had a short feud with Kennedy and that match with Cena for the hell of it in 2008 but aside from that I can't remember him doing anything that didn't involve the title.

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  51. I'll join the crowd in disagreeing on Foley. Has he diminished his own stardom? Sure. But so have Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, Roddy Piper, and so on. His HIAC moment will be replayed over and over again for as long as people are talking about wrestling.

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  52. CruelConnectionNumber2June 10, 2015 at 11:57 AM

    The pop for Rock's (brand new?) entrance music that night was ridic.

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  53. I see your point, but I guess I meant in terms of overness.

    He really didn't get any sort of momentum until the second half of the year. Even when he got tossed off the cage it took a few months before the lovable socko Mick started to appear.

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  54. For Brock it was going over Hogan in the most convincing fashion that anyone ever did.
    I guess you could argue that Foley was never really a top guy as in face of the promotion, but really neither was Bryan, or Punk, at least not clearly and for any discernible period. If you're measuring it on fan approval then I think he goes on the list for sure with the moment probably being his title win on Raw.

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  55. No, but some guys just don't have chemistry. I could never get into Punk/Shield matches for the same reason.

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  56. Am I the only one who doesn't get the Angle reference?

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  57. Brock was not over in the least until the NYC crowd got behind him at Summerslam 2002. Even then, it wasn't until the HIAC with Taker that he really "arrived" as a main eventer. People really misremember Lesnar's original run. He was a heatless overpushed musclehead for the first 6 months of his "epic" rookie year.

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  58. Didn't matter, he was so God damn talented that he could be both simultaneously and nobody questioned it.

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  59. HIs peak overness? R&S could be, but I think it was the 1/4/99 Raw when he won the title. I mean, they could only dream of getting crowds to care 10% as much today. His retirement was sort of a let down though, wasn't nearly as big of a deal as I think people thought it would be

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  60. Yep. He's a decent wrestler and all, but the fact they keep trotting him out there after all this time is what I just don't get.

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  61. Fat, Ugly Inner-City SweathogJune 10, 2015 at 12:20 PM

    Agree on Foley. He was never on that level. His first title win was great but it was a plot device as part of the Austin/McMahon/Rock feud. He was never a stand alone made main eventer

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  62. No Way Out 2001
    While holding the anklelock on the Rock
    Basically the moment that Angle's character went from comedy focused technical wrestler to badass who could snap and kill you.

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  63. That was because he came back and put on a terrible performance at WM 5 weeks later.

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  64. Pushing a one-legged wrestler down the stairs was pretty memorable.

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  65. Clark O'BrienJune 10, 2015 at 12:50 PM

    I'll accept that, but Orton has spent most of his time as the top guy on the b brand or as a transitional champion.

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  66. Foley really only achieved tippy top status when he left and therefore couldn't do anything with it. That street fight with HHH retro actively added so much to all the matches before because they all now feel like they were building to such a climax.

    Foley was the great facilitator. He got so many guys over or got them to the next level. After you went toe to toe with Foley, it added legitimacy to your career. Sting at Beach Blast 92, New Age Outlaws, HHH, Orton, but his street fight with HHH tied everything together in a way that no one could really plan.

    Him coming back for Wrestlemania was not a great choice though.

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  67. I would argue Angle's "moment" came at Summerslam 2000, when he more than held his own in an awesome Triple Threat with Rock and Triple H at the peak of the Angle/Steph/Hunter triangle storyline.

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  68. Edge as well.

    And hey, I can't knock them for giving Foley one last PPV payday. I like to pretend Backlash was WM proper anyway that year.

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  69. But he's been relentlessly pushed to that point. What was the impetus behind them doing it? I can think of many people who've passed through the roster during his WWE tenure who would be better bets for that spot.

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  70. Anyone from WWE you have ever heard speak of Randy Orton is incredibly high on how well he works in the ring, the higher ups were in love with with him from day one.

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  71. Yeah, I think his ability to play both roles speaks to his talents. He could properly do comedy in a way that only a gimmick midcarder could ever do. He's wasting his time trying to get into serious acting - he should try frat comedies. He'd do well.

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  72. That video package is a perfect demonstration of why that feud was so fucked. You have maniacal, calculating, evil Orton fucking with HHH's world consistently...and then Shane, VKM and HHH kick Legacy's asses from pillar to post.

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  73. It was the way they portrayed it that annoyed me. Seriously, how hard is it to have Foley, when he cut that promo the week after he returned with Linda McMahon, to say "I signed the contract that I'd retire if I lost to HHH, but it didn't say that would be my actual last match - so I'm going to bid farewell on my terms... IN THE MAIN EVENT OF WRESTLEMANIA!"


    Instead, they had him mock the fact he came back so soon.

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  74. The massive channel changing thing is total fiction.

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  75. It annoyed me that he came back fat and out of shape.

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  76. In hindsight, it sounds funny to say this, but he never expected to come back. He talked in "Hard Knocks and Cheap Pops" about how he expected to be done as an in-ring guy. Vince called him up out of the blue, and Foley expected to talk about his post-retirement role with the WWF.


    Instead, Vince asked him to main-event Wrestlemania with about a month's notice. Yeah, Foley could've just said no, but if someone calls you up and offers you the one thing you've always wanted, are you really gonna turn it down?

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  77. I'd argue that after the Austin feud in summer/fall of 2001, Angle was most definitely a tippy-top made guy. The dude was permanently over, had several more title runs, main-evented a couple of Manias - upper midcarders don't do that stuff.

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  78. I have to disagree on Foley. I remember a lot of fans were actually clamoring for WWF to do Austin vs Rock vs Foley for WM15. Foley became a credible main eventer when he won his first title.

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  79. This was after Summerslam, NYC turned Rock, and then the Breakdown pop for the People's elbow shot it into orbit.

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  80. It's sad that WWE had about ten different chances to make Jeff Hardy one of those tippy top guys, but could never be convinced to actually let him go over Undertaker, HHH, or Orton until it was too late.

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  81. He was never going to be a tippy-tip guy hopped up on the dope.

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  82. I remember Jericho was cutting a promo in 2008 and Batista just straight up walked in and said, "So how about my world title match?"

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  83. I.say when Cena beat Michaels. It wasn't until then I knew this was going to be the guy they run with for the next ten years.

    Bryan was ever since Sheamus kicked his ass in seconds.

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  84. Technically, Rock did turn heel in 2003, but that is nitpicking by me.

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  85. I agree with everyone disagreeing with Scott on Foley, but I'd argue it wasn't the first title reign, but getting thrown off the cell that made Foley a tippy top guy.

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  86. Didn't he finally go over Triple H, Taker, and Edge to win the title?

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  87. Foley did say no, Vince had to practically twist his arm to do it.

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  88. The pop that Foley got when he won the title was insane.


    Fans were begging for Cactus Jack to kill Triple H.

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  89. For all the talk about HHH keeping people down I would like to point out that, according to this list, he was instrumental in making a minimum of four of the ten guys listed and could be argued as instrumental for Foley and Daniel Bryan on top of that.

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  90. I think calling Punk and Bryan tippy top guys is a bit of a stretch especially if Foley is omitted. Brock I'm actually going with the Hogan Smackdown match.

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  91. Given all of Jeff's problems outside the ring, I can't blame the company for not pushing him to 'tippy-top' status.

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  92. Battle Kat LitterJune 10, 2015 at 4:34 PM

    Was Angle really tippy top after No Way Out 2001? He was a bit of a goof during the Austin/Vince comedy stuff and didn't feel tippy top to me. Still felt upper-midcard. For me it was a bit later in the year, when won the title from Austin during the Invasion.

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  93. i don't think foley or austin were tippy top guys.. theres a distinction between tippy top and top.

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  94. Clark O'BrienJune 10, 2015 at 5:05 PM

    Triple-H became a Top guy when Rock & Austin retired, Smackdown got hamstrung and he buried everyone else.

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  95. Clark O'BrienJune 10, 2015 at 5:32 PM

    I think Foley was more instrumental for him, Foley put him over repeatedly between Summerslam and lost every big match the two had.

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  96. Doctor FunkopolisJune 10, 2015 at 5:50 PM

    I think the match with Rock put him over the top, but the booking immediately after didn't account for that.

    It always felt like Kurt getting over so well caught them off guard.

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  97. That was more a pop for Austin's run-in, but then carried over to Foley.

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  98. Shit, now I gotta go watch that Angle/Rock match again.

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  99. LOL, mentioning Brock in a REAL match. How about him being a tippy-top guy in wrasslin'

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  100. No less than Chris Benoit said in an Edmonton Q&A that Orton was going to be amazing. This was barely after his WWE debut.

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  101. I'd make the argument that Angle became tippy top when he returned from the neck injury and became the top face on Smackdown and fueded with Lesnar. His bald main event phase is when he really felt like a big deal and not just a goof.

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  102. Agree completely. He had a brutal stretch of non finishes against Edge too.

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  103. He beat undertaker clean as a sheet on an episode of Smackdown in a no holds barred match. That's when I really thought he was gonna be tippy top.

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  104. At some point Punk and AJ will wrestle HHH and Big Steph.

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  105. Lesnar over Rock at Summerslam

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  106. I was there it was both. Folks were pissed Foley would get screwed and Austin saving was huge but folks REALLY were into the moment knowing it was his first. Been to a world of wrestling shows never seen so many lingering around taking it in both in the seats and after the show

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  107. HHH and "pretty boy" in the same sentence doesn't sound right. Probably one of the ugliest top guys ever.

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  108. "No one EVER laid down to make me a star... and did you guys see my awesome win over Sting at WrestleMania? Do you think it was better or even with my win over Brock Lesnar?" - Triple H to the locker room

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  109. without the Invasion angle, heel Angle being heel Austin partner/ally working for heel Vince after Triple H's injury but Angle always driving Austin crazy would have drawn huge, and rolled right into the two of them attacking the returning Triple H to turn Hunter face

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  110. thrown off the cell for the casual/non fans
    IYH Mind Games for us wrestling nerds
    sit down interview with Ross for Vince (according to Foley's book)

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  111. according to Foley's book, Paul Orndorff walked up to Foley in the locker room and thanked/credited him with getting him a contract with WCW thanks to their Jan93 street fight on Main Event... Paul told Foley that he thought it was his last chance to land a big time contract

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  112. after taking the shit kicking at KOTR98 Foley instantly had the sympathy of fans because after all that he was still treated like crap by his own partner Kane and Vince... it's even mentioned in the opening monologue for the July Fully Loaded ppv

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  113. Pretty much everyone is less than Chris Benoit, he murdered a child.

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  114. Angle adapted to the business faster than anyone ever has and was holding his own in the main event scene less than a year after debuting. Hes also had clean wins over Hogan, Shawn and Taker, which says a lot.

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  115. Yea that was some serious b.s mick rock austin vince big show all helped get him over

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  116. Yea triple h matching batista in strength led to some b.s matches

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  117. Angles problem was being injured and creative turning him heel/baby face all the time and not knowing if he was gnna be a comedy character or a badass

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  118. Orton doesn't have that gear that top guys have like cena, Bryan ,hbk,bret,hhh have

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  119. He's 6"5 ,pretty boy ,3rd Gen. oh and 6"5. vince loves him some tall men

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  120. Why does everyone call her big Steph?I'm not being sarcastic

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  121. Being 3rd to austin and rock is pretty good

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  122. The main event of WrestleMania. I'm willing to bet large amounts of money and vital parts of my anatomy Vince didn't twist that hard.

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  123. By my quick count, Foley and Bryan have main evented the same amount of WWE main events: 11 (not counting Royal Rumble matches that were the final match...)

    Foley:
    IYH: Mind Games
    IYH: Burried Alive
    IYH: No Way Out of Texas
    IYH: Unforgiven
    IYH: Over the Edge
    Survivor Series '98
    SummerSlam '99
    Unforgiven '99
    No Way Out 2000
    WrestleMania 2000
    Vengeance: Night of Champions '07

    Bryan
    TLC '12
    Money in the Bank '13
    SummerSlam '13
    Night of Champions '13
    Battleground '13
    Hell in the Cell '13
    Survivor Series '13
    Elimination Chamber '14
    WrestleMania XXX
    Extreme Rules '14
    Fastlane '15


    I guess one could argue that Foley wasn't in the advertised main event of Survivor Series 1998, but, then again, Bryan wasn't in the advertised main event of WrestleMania XXX... so I call it a wash. Though I'm sure I'm missing one, and that someone will be quick to correct me.

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