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  1. #1

    Top 50 Draws In WWE History

    Have you guys ever seen this list? Dave Meltzer compiled it in 2008 based on wrestlers headlining cards with an attendance of 10K or more. Some people are surprising (especially given the positioning). I imagine that Meltzer might have to update it one day but it's interesting to look at.

    1. BRUNO SAMMARTINO
    2. HULK HOGAN
    3. BOB BACKLUND
    4. ARGENTINA ROCCA
    5. HHH
    6. UNDERTAKER
    7. STEVE AUSTIN
    8. THE ROCK
    9. PEDRO MORALES
    10. SHAWN MICHAELS
    11. SUPERSTAR BILLY GRAHAM
    12. MIGUEL PEREZ
    13. BRET HART
    14. BUDDY ROGERS
    15. RANDY SAVAGE
    16. JOHN CENA
    17. KURT ANGLE
    18. MICK FOLEY AKA CACTUS JACK, DUDE LOVE, MANKIND
    19. ANDRE THE GIANT
    20. DR. JERRY GRAHAM
    (TIE) JOHNNY VALENTINE
    22. RODDY PIPER
    23. IVAN KOLOFF
    24. ULTIMATE WARRIOR
    (TIE) RANDY ORTON
    (TIE) BATISTA
    27. GREG VALENTINE
    (TIE) YOKOZUNA
    (TIE) SGT. SLAUGHTER
    30. GEORGE STEELE
    (TIE) CHRIS JERICHO
    (TIE) KANE
    (TIE) KEVIN NASH AKA DIESEL
    34. RIC FLAIR
    (TIE) BIG SHOW AKA PAUL WRIGHT
    (TIE) STAN HANSEN
    (TIE) GORILLA MONSOON
    (TIE) KEN PATERA
    39. FRED BLASSIE
    (TIE) BOB ORTON SR. AKA ROCKY FITZPATRICK
    (TIE) BROCK LESNAR
    42. EDDIE GRAHAM
    (TIE) KILLER KOWALSKI
    (TIE) PROFESSOR TORU TANAKA
    (TIE) DON MURACO
    (TIE) DAVEY BOY SMITH AKA BRITISH BULLDOG
    (TIE) EDGE
    (TIE) CHRIS BENOIT
    49. LARRY ZBYSZKO
    (TIE) PAUL ORNDORFF
    (TIE) IRON SHEIK AKA GREAT HOSSEIN ARAB AKA COL. MUSTAFA
    (TIE) NIKOLAI VOLKOFF AKA BEPO MONGOL
    (TIE) WALDO VON ERICH
    (TIE) BOOKER T AKA KING BOOKER

    Twitter: @libsuperstar

  2. #2
    Feeling Minnesota Powder's Avatar
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    How is Austin number 7 behind HHH and the Undertaker?

    I believe that Vince has been on record saying that Austin is the greatest draw of all time. Not nearly as long as Hogan or Bruno, but much more effective.

  3. #3
    Member #25 SirSam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Powder View Post
    How is Austin number 7 behind HHH and the Undertaker?

    I believe that Vince has been on record saying that Austin is the greatest draw of all time. Not nearly as long as Hogan or Bruno, but much more effective.
    With the metric they are measuring it massively favours longevity because it is just about how many cards did you headline over 10K. It is an interesting metric to look at because you can be a guy in the main event but arguably not be the biggest draw however it is ultimately flawed becuase it has no way of accounting for just how hot some wrestlers get, as it would reate a 10K seat areana the same as a 100K seat stadium, the second of which takes a whole extra level of popularity to fill.

    Looking at the list I'd say the big update would be Cena who would have to be top 5 easily by now, probably closer to top 2.

    If this was done in 2008 you have to imagine that Randy Orton would probably be somewhere in the top 10 given that he was already in the 20s.

    Cool list though, thanks for sharing.

  4. #4
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    1) Bruno carried the company longer than anyone, so I can't argue him too much.
    2) If Hogan aint #1, then he's #2.
    3) Backlund he loses me on. Biggest card of the Backlund Era, he and Pedro were in a tag team match against the Samoans, while Bruno and Zbyszko were in the main event.
    4) No clue, too old for me
    5) Loses all credibility here. Was HHH ever the biggest draw in the company at one time? Seems to me it went Austin -> Rock -> Cena. Only reason I read past this one is to see where Austin was.
    6) Love and respect Taker, but he was no big time draw. Certainly not more than Austin or the Rock.
    7) Austin 7 is ridiculous. That is like saying "Sure, the Beatles sold 178million records, but they were only together for 10yrs, so we will put the Rollings Stones 66.5million sales and Elvis' 90 gold records ahead of them in popularity."

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerkmala
    1) Bruno carried the company longer than anyone, so I can't argue him too much.
    2) If Hogan aint #1, then he's #2.
    3) Backlund he loses me on. Biggest card of the Backlund Era, he and Pedro were in a tag team match against the Samoans, while Bruno and Zbyszko were in the main event.
    4) No clue, too old for me
    5) Loses all credibility here. Was HHH ever the biggest draw in the company at one time? Seems to me it went Austin -> Rock -> Cena. Only reason I read past this one is to see where Austin was.
    6) Love and respect Taker, but he was no big time draw. Certainly not more than Austin or the Rock.
    7) Austin 7 is ridiculous. That is like saying "Sure, the Beatles sold 178million records, but they were only together for 10yrs, so we will put the Rollings Stones 66.5million sales and Elvis' 90 gold records ahead of them in popularity."
    Showdown At Shea wasn't the only time the champion didn't headline a card as evidenced by The Brawl To End It All #4 was Antonino Rocca who did great business for WWE (at MSG especially) in the CWC yrs. He was one of the first high flyers and acrobatic style wrestlers. Undertaker was around longer than Austin or Rock so it's conceivable he headlined more cards w/ crowds of 10K or more. Austin is the biggest draw including everything (live attendance, merch and PPV buyrates).

    Twitter: @libsuperstar

  6. #6
    The Brain
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    Yeah, this is measured by a very specific metric that arguably distorts the results, so take it with a grain of salt for sure.

  7. #7
    Senior Member LWO4Life's Avatar
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    HHH is only there, not because he was the draw, but because he was the heel next to the face that was drawing. HHH was the champion in 2000, which was WWF's highest grossing year ever. Of course the real draw in 2000 was the Rock chasing HHH, as you could of replaced HHH with any heel champ and the Rock chasing would have been HUGE business. After that though, the HHH on top in 2002-2004 on Raw during his reign of terror put him over the rest of his generation. Austin I still think would have surpassed HHH if he wasn't out with so many injuries.

  8. #8
    Lamb of LOP anonymous's Avatar
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    Kane has never been a draw. I actually agree with HHH’s placing on the list. He’s a great heel and has always had a main event feel about him. I’m surprised to see Lesnar so low too. Shocked Goldberg didn’t make it.

    Obviously the lack of Rikishi makes the list redundant.

  9. #9
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    Why are people discussing the merits of the list? All Meltzer did was take everyone in the WWE, and tally the number of times they headlined an event with 10K people or more, and then compile a top-down list. That methodology has its flaws, I suppose, but it's not unusual, back in the day live gates used to be the most important measure of drawing power, though that was many decades ago, and the business model has shifted. It's not really debatable though, since it's just arranging/presenting data.
    It should also be noted that the list is WWE only; I think I've seen Meltzer claim in other places that if we were comparing all-time everywhere, Flair/Hogan were at the top of that list.

  10. #10
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    10K is kind of an arbitrary number though. I mean, nowadays don't most Raw's have more than 10k (declared) in attendance? Does that mean that, say, Sasha Banks gets a nod from main eventing a Raw? What about the match before a talky segment closes the show?

  11. #11
    Lamb of LOP anonymous's Avatar
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    People are discussing the merits because it’s a discussion board and it’s fun.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oliver View Post
    10K is kind of an arbitrary number though. I mean, nowadays don't most Raw's have more than 10k (declared) in attendance? Does that mean that, say, Sasha Banks gets a nod from main eventing a Raw? What about the match before a talky segment closes the show?
    That's a good point. It helps the list that it was taken in 2008 then, because back then it was before the 3 hour 'main event will sometimes be in the middle of the show' era.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Alan
    Why are people discussing the merits of the list? All Meltzer did was take everyone in the WWE, and tally the number of times they headlined an event with 10K people or more, and then compile a top-down list. That methodology has its flaws, I suppose, but it's not unusual, back in the day live gates used to be the most important measure of drawing power, though that was many decades ago, and the business model has shifted. It's not really debatable though, since it's just arranging/presenting data.
    It should also be noted that the list is WWE only; I think I've seen Meltzer claim in other places that if we were comparing all-time everywhere, Flair/Hogan were at the top of that list.
    Meltzer also did a top draws by year for wrestling in general list in '08. The numbers were based on wrestling historian Matt Farmer's research. He's a great resource. If you're on Twitter follow him.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oliver
    10K is kind of an arbitrary number though. I mean, nowadays don't most Raw's have more than 10k (declared) in attendance? Does that mean that, say, Sasha Banks gets a nod from main eventing a Raw? What about the match before a talky segment closes the show?
    10K has long been the baseline for great drawing power. It can get tricky but I imagine usually the main event is the one most advertised even in an era like today in which WWE focuses on the brand first.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan
    That's a good point. It helps the list that it was taken in 2008 then, because back then it was before the 3 hour 'main event will sometimes be in the middle of the show' era.
    Putting the main event in the middle of the card to excite the crowd sometimes was a practice of WWE even dating back to Vince Sr IIANM.

    Twitter: @libsuperstar

  14. #14
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Yeah, the idea was stick the main on before the half then sell tickets for a return match during the intermission, if I'm not mistaken.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  15. #15
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    Interesting I wasn't aware of that. I was referring more to the 2006 era where on most nights the show would close with Cena, and he would be the one that was heavily featured in the advertising and everything. Now, if I'm not mistaken, they often don't even bother advertising the matches in the show, and it's usually the opening segment that determines what will happen later on rather than a billed card.

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