To answer the question of this thread, I will say No. I mean, being the biggest draw in history, doesn't make you authomaticlly the goat, but it obviously can
make you one of the all-time greats. if we take a look back to each generation and its biggest stars: Hogan in the 80's, Austin & Rock in the Attitude era and Cena in the last 8 years, all of them reached an unmatchable popularity and all of them are also considered among the greatest overall wrestlers of all time. Does it make them overall better than HBK, Angle, Taker, etc? not sure. look at the Undertaker, for example: he have never been THE biggest star of any generation, but a couple of years ago he won a big poll for the greatest superstar in history of Raw, by a landslide, while Cena was voted 2nd. so the Undertaker is an example of a wrestler who haven't reached the amount of popularity that SCSA, Hogan, Cena and Rock have reached, but he is still considered by fans the greatest of all time. and that is the proof that being the biggest star is not the only category
wrestling fans take in to consideration, in order to judge who is the overall greatest ever.
now, I will tell you how I see it, personally: for me, an overall greatness is judged by the following categories:
* Booking: if we like it or not, in order to become a real great, you need an impressive booking. you need to win most of the matches, you have to step in the ring with some of the toppest guys and to overpower them. you have to be looked like "THE ONE TO BEAT" guy. you can do it in the Cena's way, by taking a hard beat in matches, suffering, but usually ending as the big winner. and you can also do it in the old and good Kane's way, by stepping with some of the biggest names in the company and demolish them. bottom line- you get to be looked stronger than your oponents, in the end of the day. no doubt that the booking category is the one of those who make you "bigger than life", and perhaps the most important category of all.
* Popularity & drawing power: another category to take into consideration, since its critical for the "bigger than life" character. it's not enought to beat the whall roster, if you don't have a fan-support and don't get huge pops in your entrances. I mean, you must become an issue. look at Shamous, for example- he fits perfectlly in the booking category I have mentioned above, but fans just don't care about him. so, perhaps, he gets good pops, but not HUGE pops like the other top guys use to recieved, and he have not the fan-base like the other great names. at the very best, people will say "shamous is good"/ "shamous is strong", but no one will consider him "WOW!". bottom line- you have to leave a deep impression on the fans!
Those 2 categories are enought to make wrestlers greats. but, if we talk about overall greatness, there are some categories which can make a big difference between the greats:
* Wrestling style: well, I would say this category make a big difference between the great themselves. I mean, if a wrestler haven't the 2 categories mentioned above in his favour, he will never be considered in my book as a great- no metter how stunning his wrestling style is.
but... this category will, no doubt, make the difference between wrestlers who fit into those 2 categories above. take Stone Cold for example: I don't like his wrestling style at all! and that is one of the reasons why I would rank him lower than the other all-time greats. if I need to come up with an all-time greatest 10 list, the ranking will be based mainly on the style category.
* Realable, believable and authentic performanc: this is another category to make the difference. I mean, the wrestler need to make me believe in his character and his in ring performances, in order to be ranked above the other greats in my list. I will give Stone Cold as a bad example again: in my eyes, he is one of the least believable characters and wrestlers to ever stepped in the WWE ring. he is not a good technical wrestler, nor a great achrobatic, has one of the crappiest finishers, and he is also far from being a powerhouse. those facts make me wonder (!) why and how he beat guys like Taker and Kane who are much (!!!!) stronger, bigger, feared, and more devestading than him. so yes, he have beaten them all, but it seems very strange and not realable to me. the way he finishes off his opponents, with a kick to the gut and stunner is so awefull, so pathethic, that it make me feel like his victories are more of the other guy's loss than his win. it really seems to me like the opponents make efforts to job, giving him the victory.
in the other hand, there are some greats/ future greats who really cought my eyes, couse of their realable and authentic performances, like: Goldberg in WCW, Kane, Taker and Ryback (as mega-powerhouses), or HBK and Kurt Angle (as great technicals). when I see one of those guys beating their opponents, I'm really impressed. it looks so real, so authentic. I really believe they beat the crap out of opponents, by their own abbillities.
by the way, Not along time ago, I made a list of the all-time greatest 50 WWE wrestlers, based on the 4 categories mentioned above
. and here are the wrestlers who made it to the top 10 (in order):
#1. John Cena
#3. Hulk Hogan
#4. Kurt Angle
#6. Shawn Michaels
#7. The Rock
#8. Steve Austin
#10. Ultimate Warrior
that list is only for WWE superstars, and if we include all wrestling organizations I will put WCW's Goldberg at #1 with Cena (can't decide between them). also, I really believe Ryback is about to stand alongside with Cena and Goldberg at the all-time #1 position, in the future.