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Characters / Ruthless Aggression Era

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Wrestlers closely associated with the Ruthless Aggression Era include (see also WWE - Ruthless Aggression Era page for a complete list of wrestlers who debuted in this period):

  • Triple H, the most prominent Heel on Raw during the first half of the era.
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  • Kurt Angle, the most prominent Heel on SmackDown during the first half of the era. He left WWE in 2006.
  • Eddie Guerrero, one of the most prominent and beloved figures of the era due to his Lovable Rogue gimmick. He cemented his legacy by winning the WWE Championship in February 2004. His unexpected passing in November 2005 is still one of the biggest Tear Jerker moments in WWE history.
  • Chris Benoit, a respected veteran who finally cemented his legacy in March 2004 by winning the World Heavyweight Championship. Unfortunately, his actions in June 2007 has forever tainted his legacy.
  • Brock Lesnar, the era's biggest breakout star (literally and figuratively), who became the youngest WWE Champion in history at the age of 25 only half a year after his debut. His original tenure with the company (he would return in a part-time basis eight years later) only lasted two years, but made enough of an impact to cement his legacy.
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  • John Cena, the most charismatic and (initially) popular of the era's breakout stars, his tenure as the "Dr. of Thuganomics" has made him WWE's Breakout Character for the duration of the era and the following one.
  • Rey Mysterio, the resident Kid-Appeal Character of the era. He cemented his legacy in 2006 after winning the Big Gold Belt.
  • The Undertaker, the legendary wrestler began the era in his Badass Biker gimmick, but he eventually resurrected his "Deadman" gimmick in March 2004.
  • Shawn Michaels, who made a miraculous comeback in 2002 after a sever Game-Breaking Injury four years earlier and cemented his place as one of the all-time greats by having the best feuds of his career in this era.
  • Chris Jericho, a prominent figure in the first half of the era until his sabbatical in 2005. He made a comeback towards the end of the era in 2007.
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  • Edge, cemented his status as a single star in this era, being recognized as one of the greatest Heels of his generation after his infamous Love Triangle storyline with Matt Hardy and subsequent Opportunistic Bastard persona.
  • John "Bradshaw" Layfield, beginning the era as part of the APA Tag Team, he got a gimmick change in 2004 as a racist Corrupt Corporate Executive and became one of the biggest Heels of the era. He also had a short but memorable stint as a commentator from mid-2006 to the entire 2007.
  • Booker T, the five-time WCW Champion is a prominent figure for much of the era, eventually winning WWE's Big Gold Belt in July 2006.
  • Kane, his Dramatic Unmask happened in June 2003.
  • Big Show, a prominent figure in the era.
  • Rob Van Dam, the former ECW superstar is a prominent figure in the first half of the era, eventually cementing his legacy by winning the WWE Championship in June 2006.
  • Bobby Lashley, debuted in the middle of the era and made enough of an impact with his potential.
  • CM Punk, debuted in 2006 and became one of WWE's up and coming stars towards the end of the era.
  • Jeff Hardy, departed early in the era but returned towards the end of 2006 to eventually reform the Hardy Boyz with his brother Matt. He mostly stayed in the upper midcard level.
  • Matt Hardy, beginning the era with a prototype-social media junkie gimmick, the era has him feud with Edge in a memorable Love Triangle storyline involving Lita.
  • Christian, a prominent figure in the upper midcard scene during the first half of the era.
  • Goldberg, the former WCW juggernaut had a short but memorable stint with the company from 2003-2004.
  • Scott Steiner, a prominent figure in Raw from late 2002 to early 2003 before getting released in 2004.
  • Rikishi, stayed in the midcard and Tag Team division in the first half of the era.
  • Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler, continued to be the signature commentators in this era, particularly in the Raw brand.
  • Michael Cole and Tazz, the signature commentators in this era in the SmackDown brand.
  • Mark Henry, an upper-midcard Monster Heel during much of the era.
  • Chavo Guerrero, began the era as a Tag Team with his uncle Eddie, he mostly stayed in the midcard for much of his run.
  • The Great Khali, a gargantuan Monster Heel who debuted towards the end of the era.
  • Hardcore Holly
  • Trish Stratus, one of the biggest female stars of the era. Retired in 2006.
  • Lita, one of the biggest female stars of the era. She was involved in a high profile Love Triangle feud with Matt Hardy and Edge in 2005. Retired in 2006.
  • Victoria, one of the most prominent female superstars of the era.
  • Molly Holly, one of the most prominent female superstars of the era.
  • Torrie Wilson, one of the resident sex symbols of the era.
  • Stacy Keibler, one of the resident sex symbols of the era.
  • Mickie James, debuted midway through the era and became the most prominent female wrestler after Trish and Lita's departure in 2006.
  • Vince McMahon
  • Stephanie McMahon, SmackDown's original General manager from 2002-2003.
  • Shane McMahon, had a memorable Feud with Kane in 2003 as a face and with HBK along with his father as Heels in 2006.
  • Eric Bischoff, Raw's General manager for the first half of the era.
  • Paul Heyman, began the era as a Heel manager before becoming the General manager of SmackDown. Midway through the era, he became the GM of the revived ECW brand before leaving the company in 2006.
  • Teddy Long, began the era as a Heel manager, he became the most prominent Face authority figure in SmackDown for much of the era.
  • Vickie Guerrero, Eddie's wife and eventual widow. She made appearances during the middle of the era before becoming a prominent Heel for the duration of it.
  • The World's Greatest Tag Team; began the era as members of Team Angle, they eventually became one of the era's noteworthy tag teams.
    • Shelton Benjamin, after the team split up, he became a prominent figure in the midcard scene.
  • Sable, returned briefly at the company from 2002-2004.
  • Dawn Marie, feuded with Torrie Wilson for much of 2002.
  • Test, a prominent midcard wrestler during the early parts of the era.
  • Mr. Kennedy, a prominent upper midcard wrestler during the latter half of the era.
  • Eugene, Eric Bischoff's on-screen nephew and a notable midcard figure during the middle part of the era.
  • The Hurricane, an Ensemble Darkhorse Kid-Appeal Character with a superhero gimmick.
  • The Dudley Boys, a legendary and prominent Tag Team during the first half of the era.
  • London and Kendrick; formed as a Tag Team during the middle of the era (though they debuted as singles competitors during the early years) and held the tag team championships for almost a year.
  • Ron Simmons, began the era as part of the APA Tag Team, he left in 2004 before making sporadic appearances since 2006.
  • Tajiri, a prominent figure in the Cruiserweight division during the first half of the era.
  • Umaga, began the era as part of the Heel trio 3- Minute Warning before being let go from the company and then returning years later as a Wild Samoan Monster Heel.
  • Rico Constantino, began the era as part of the Heel trio 3- Minute Warning before being repackaged with a Camp Gay gimmick.
  • Melina, began the era as a manager of the Heel Tag Team MNM before becoming one of the most prominent wrestlers of the era.
  • Gail Kim, won the Women's Championship in her debut.
  • This is the era were WWE Tough Enough contestants started appearing.
    • Nidia, the inaugural female winner spent the era first as a manager for Jamie Noble on SmackDown before being drafted to Raw in 2004.
    • Jackie Gayda, the second winner began the era being involved in an infamous match on Raw before being transferred to SmackDown where she spent the era as the manager to the aforementioned Rico and eventual future husband Charlie Haas.
    • Matt Morgan, the early boot (due to injury) had a brief run as part of Brock Lesnar's Survivor Series team in 2003.
    • John Morrison, originally introduced as Johnny Nitro, the Season 3 winner began the era as a protege to Eric Bischoff before being repackaged as part of the Heel Tag Team MNM. He had a fairly successful singles career after the team's breakup, becoming part of the company's upper midcard for the duration of his run.
    • The Miz, the Season 4 runner-up spent most of the era as a Joke Character. His career would not start gaining traction until the following era.
  • This is the era were the WWE Diva Search was introduced. Some memorable contestants are;
    • Christy Hemme, the 2004 winner spent most of her run as a manager and then wrestler, even fighting for the Women's Championship in WrestleMania 21.
    • Maria Kanellis, the 2004 5th placer began her tenure as a backstage interviewer before becoming a wrestler herself.
    • Michelle McCool, the 2004 7th placer began her tenure as a manager before becoming a wrestler herself, ultimately becoming the inaugural Divas Champion at the very end of the era.
    • Ashley Massaro, the 2005 winner began her run as a manager before becoming a wrestler, even fighting for the Women's Championship in WrestleMania 23.
    • Layla, the 2006 winner began her run as part of the Kayfabe dance group Extreme Exposé on the revived ECW before becoming a wrestler.
    • Maryse, the 2006 7th placer began her run as minor Heel before her career started gaining traction in the following era.
    • Eve Torres, the 2007 winner began her run as backstage interviewer before becoming a wrestler in the following era.
  • Kelly Kelly, began her career as part of the Kayfabe dance group Extreme Exposé on the revived ECW before becoming a wrestler.
  • Brooke Adams, began her career as part of the Kayfabe dance group Extreme Exposé on the revived ECW before becoming a wrestler.
  • Boogeyman, a paranormal wrestler whose gimmick is eating worms.
  • Jazz, a prominent female Heel during the early years of the era.
  • Al Snow, spent the era mostly as a commentator on Sunday Night Heat.
  • Shannon Moore, began the era as Matt Hardy's Sidekick before mostly becoming a Jobber.
  • Billy Gunn, a veteran wrestler and notable figure in the midcard scene during the early years of the era.
  • Billy Kidman, a major player in the Cruiserweight and tag team divisions in the first half of the era.
  • Rikishi, a notable figure in the midcard and tag team divisions during the first half of the era.
  • Deuce 'n Domino and their valet Cherry, wrestlers with a 50s gimmick who debuted towards the end of the era.
  • Jillian Hall, a female wrestler who debuted during the middle of the era first as a fixer for MNM then as John "Bradshaw" Layfield's "image consultant". She was mostly a comedy act though fans are aware of (and have respect towards) her wrestling skill.
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