Do you know who John Higgins looked up to when he was a child and who's style and attitude he copied? Do you know who was O'Sullivans hero when he was a little boy? A hero he used to imitate in every way in order to learn the game of snooker? That's right, Steve Davis!
In my opinion, the five absolute masters, the five kings of the modern game, are Ray Reardon, Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry, John Higgins and Ronnie O'Sullivan. It's hard to say who was better than who. They are the absolute masters who have that class that makes them even better than players like Alex Higgins, Jimmy White, Mark Williams, Mark Selby...
Ray Reardon, when he was already rather old, whitewashed Steve Davis in his prime twice!
Steve Davis when he was long past his prime beat Ronnie and John Higgins in important matches as well. It's not fair to say Reardon and Davis had "easier" eras. They were the masters of their time and beat whoever was in front of them, including legends like Alex Higgins and Jimmy White.