||'Hollywood' Hulk Hogan [S1-S9, S18-S19, S21-S22], played by Hulk Hogan
One of the biggest stars in professional wrestling history, Hulk Hogan was the backbone of the early years of WWE PPV. The Hulkster participated in the main events of WrestleManias I-III and V-IX, and was victorious in every single one of those matches. The only exception to his main event streak was the tournament at WrestleMania IV, in which Hogan still played a large role in the WWF Title victory of 'Macho Man' Randy Savage.
Following his fifth WWF Title win at WMIX, Hogan lost a rematch to Yokozuna at the inaugural King of the Ring PPV in 1993. This spelled the end of WWF Hulkamania, as Hogan would jump ship to rival company WCW. It wasn't until 2002 that Hogan returned to the now WWE, first under his 'Hollywood' nWo moniker. 'Hollywood' Hulk Hogan battled The Rock in a classic match at WrestleMania XVIII, further cementing his PPV legacy. Bad guy or not, the fans would have none of it, and before long the Immortal One was back to the classic red and yellow.
Hogan's last real hurrah was at Backlash 2002, pinning Triple H for the Undisputed WWE Championship. He would lose the belt a month later to The Undertaker, then go on to capture the tag team titles with Edge at Vengeance. Their reign was short, leading Hulk to accept a match with up-and-coming monster Brock Lesnar. Lesnar destroyed Hogan, and the Hulkster stayed on the sidelines until February 2003. Hogan went one on one with his "creator" Vince McMahon at WrestleMania XIX, and briefly went under a mask as Mr. America after McMahon fired him.
Hogan's last two WWE matches to date were against Shawn Michaels and Randy Orton at SummerSlams 2005 and 2006. The Hulkster now works for TNA/Impact Wrestling.
||'Macho Man' Randy Savage [S1-S10], played by Randy Savage
OHHHHHHH YEAH! The Macho Man was one of the most colorful characters in the history of the WWF, and was a cornerstone of the early PPV years for the company. Savage made his PPV debut at The Wrestling Classic, where he came within one match of winning the entire tournament. At WrestleMania II, Savage successfully defended his Intercontinental Championship against George 'The Animal' Steele. Steele had long lusted after Savage's manager Elizabeth, which didn't sit well with the Macho Man. At 1987's WrestleMania III, Savage defended the title against Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat in one of the best matches in the history of professional wrestling. While he lost, Randy made his career forever with that performance.
Savage would finally complete his ascension to the top at WrestleMania IV, winning a 16-man tournament for the vacant WWF Championship. He would go on to hold the title for the next calendar year, finally dropping the strap to his former partner Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania V. Savage's feud with Hogan continued for the rest of 1989, but he found a new target in Dusty Rhodes in early 1990. The then 'Macho King' & his manager Queen Sherri battled Dusty and his manager Sapphire at WrestleMania VI, in the WWF's first ever televised mixed tag team match.
1991 saw the Macho Man get desperate, with Sherri practically begging for a shot at then WWF Champion The Ultimate Warrior. Warrior rebuffed her pleas, so Savage cost him the title. The two giants of the sport met at WrestleMania VII, in a match where the loser had to retire. Savage lost, but regained Elizabeth in the process. The couple publicly got married at SummerSlam 1991, but the honeymoon didn't last long. Savage was brutally attacked by the dastardly Jake 'The Snake' Roberts, leading President Jack Tunney to eventually reinstate him as an active wrestler. Savage and Roberts fought at This Tuesday in Texas, with Randy getting the duke.
1992 was Savage's last big year in the WWF. The Macho Man engaged in an epic feud with the 'Nature Boy' Ric Flair over the WWF Championship. Savage won the title at WrestleMania VIII, and would defend it at SummerSlam 1992 in a rematch with the Ultimate Warrior. An injury cost him the gold in a match with Flair, and their feud would continue to the end of the year. Savage spent most of 1993 as an announcer, but he eventually stepped back into the ring to do battle with Crush. Savage's victory in their Falls Count Anywhere fight at WrestleMania X was his last match with the WWF. Savage jumped to WCW from 1994-1999, and had finally started mending fences with the WWE before his untimely death in 2011.
||'Stone Cold' Steve Austin [S12-S19], played by Steve Austin
After spending years toiling away in companies like the USWA, WCW, and ECW, Steve Austin was without much direction. At first, it didn't appear that the WWF would prove much better. Austin debuted at Royal Rumble 1996 in the regrettable 'Ringmaster' gimmick, and was managed by the 'Million Dollar Man' Ted DiBiase. By WrestleMania XII, Austin had taken on the 'Stone Cold' moniker, but was still basically DiBiase's flunky. Things changed when DiBiase jumped to WCW, and Austin was really allowed to cut loose.
The single moment that "made" Austin was definitely his winning of the 1996 King of the Ring tournament. The "Austin 3:16" catch-phrase was born, and a million t-shirts were sold. Stone Cold's first big test was at the Survivor Series against Bret 'The Hitman' Hart. While Austin lost to the multi-time WWF Champion, the company was still now on notice. Steve Austin wasn't a man to be messed with.
Austin would go on to win the 1997 Royal Rumble through nefarious means, get stripped of his title shot, and meet Hart in a brutal Submission match at WrestleMania XIII. Despite massive blood-loss, Austin refused to submit to the Sharpshooter, instead passing out from the pain. Austin's status as the WWF's toughest S.O.B. was cemented. Austin would engage in a feud with the Hart Foundation and occasional partner Shawn Michaels for the rest of 1997. After Austin won the 1998 Rumble as well, he and Shawn squared off for the WWF Title at WrestleMania XIV. One stunner later, and the 'Attitude Era' was truly realized.
One man who wasn't too happy about his new champion was WWF owner Mr. McMahon. McMahon targeted Austin relentlessly throughout 1998 and 1999, throwing challengers like The Undertaker, Kane, Mick Foley, and The Rock at him. To McMahon's hatred, every time he got one over on the 'Rattlesnake', Stone Cold would ruin his long-term plans.
In late 1999, Austin was hit by a car at Survivor Series (in reality, he was taking a year off to get neck surgery and recover), but the hellraiser returned in the fall of 2000. It was eventually revealed that Triple H was behind Austin's injury, leading to a bloody war that culminated in the first "3 Stages of Hell" match at No Way Out 2001. Austin lost the match, but still got his Royal Rumble title shot at WrestleMania XVII against The Rock. Stone Cold then shocked his millions of fans by aligning with his arch-nemesis Mr. McMahon.
Austin's behavior changed, seeming almost to be psychotic at times. When WCW and ECW invaded later that year, Mr. McMahon went out of his way to try and get the "old Stone Cold" back. Austin initially refused, but finally stunned McMahon and appeared to be back to his old self. That is until he turned on the WWF, and joined the WCW/ECW Alliance. The feud between the two factions came to a head at the 2001 Survivor Series. While Austin's team lost, he was still the WWF Champion, and could not be fired.
Before long, Austin and McMahon were back in their traditional roles. Unfortunately, creative differences caused Stone Cold to leave the company in mid-2002. Austin stayed gone until the following February, where he returned to destroy Eric Bischoff at No Way Out. He then moved on to his final encounter with The Rock at WrestleMania XIX, which marks his final WWE match to date. Austin was inducted in to the WWE Hall of Fame in 2009, and now primarily acts in movies.
||'Nature Boy' Ric Flair [S7-S9, S18-S24], played by Ric Flair
WHOOOOOOO! After spending the 80's winning multiple world championships in the NWA/WCW, the 'Nature Boy' finally brought his talents to the WWF in late 1991. He made his PPV debut at the Survivor Series, captaining a team against a team led by 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper. Flair would quickly ascend to the top of the WWF, winning the first and only Royal Rumble to be contested over the WWF Championship itself in 1992. Flair would then feud with the 'Macho Man' Randy Savage, losing the gold to Savage in a classic match at WrestleMania VIII. Flair would remain a thorn in Savage's side, playing the new champion and his SummerSlam challenger The Ultimate Warrior off of each other. 'Naitch' would win the title back from Savage following that event, but lose it to an up-and-coming player named Bret 'The Hitman' Hart. Ric left the WWF in early 1993, returning to his WCW home until that company folded in 2001.
In late 2001, the 'Nature Boy' finally returned to the WWF, becoming an on-screen co-owner along with Vince McMahon. Flair and McMahon would battle in the ring at the Royal Rumble in 2002, and Ric would take part in a violent brawl with The Undertaker at WrestleMania XVIII. Flair and McMahon's rivalry concluded in the WWE "brand extension", which split the roster between Raw and SmackDown. Flair would eventually lose control back to McMahon, and return to active competition.
Ric began splitting his time between wrestling and managing soon after, serving as friend and mentor to the World Heavyweight Champion Triple H. The two would then align with Randy Orton and Batista to form a super-group known as Evolution. At Bad Blood 2003, Naitch had his first one-on-one PPV match with Shawn Michaels. In 2004, Flair teamed with Orton and Batista against The Rock and Mick Foley at WrestleMania XX, a match which Evolution won. When Orton was turfed from the group in the fall, Flair waged war with the much younger wrestler inside a steel cage at the first Taboo Tuesday PPV.
In 2005, HHH turned on Flair, leading to a brutal series of matches on PPV with The Game. Flair also competed in the second Money-in-the-Bank ladder match at WrestleMania XXII in 2006. Flair spent the next year battling for mid-card belts like the Intercontinental and Tag Team titles, before being placed on notice by Mr. McMahon in late 2007. If Flair lost even once from that point on, he would be forced to retire.
That finally happened at WrestleMania XXIV in 2008, after a hard fought match-up with Shawn Michaels. Flair entered the WWE Hall of Fame the night before, and the match with HBK remains his last WWE bout to this day.