WWE often works as a conveyor belt. Superstars come and go all the time, some make a lasting impression, while others are quickly forgotten. And even though there is always going to be main champions on every roster, it seems that there are many stars who have already left WWE without becoming a champion.
Many of these stars have left the company prematurely because of either bad decisions or because of the fact that WWE just didn’t have anything for them. There are many famous stars who have since become WWE Hall of Famers, who the fans will always remember, but they have still never won a single WWE Championship.
This shouldn’t be a judgement on their ability. Many of the listed stars below had great WWE careers, they were just never pushed towards a title. Many of these stars also had quite lengthy WWE careers, but they were never given opportunities to fight for the biggest titles in the business.
The following is a list of 15 superstars who have had careers with WWE and managed to leave without ever having the chance to lift a championship.
15. Adam Rose
Adam Rose was known as the leader of The Exotic Express while he was on WWE’s main roster. This was following an unsuccessful run in NXT where he was known as Leo Kruger. Rose’s debut was overhyped and saw him become a huge face as the biggest partier that WWE had ever seen.
Rose had various feuds on the main roster including one with his own pet Bunny, but Rose never did much more than that. Rose was released from WWE back in 2015 following a suspension after he failed a drug test as part of WWE’s Wellness Policy. After not winning a championship, Rose has since made the move onto the Independent Circuit, something that hasn’t been considered very successful.
Sabu is a legend in every wrestling circle. He has been all around the world and pretty much done it all inside a wrestling ring. Known as one of ECW’s Originals, Sabu came to WWE after they decided to bring ECW back to primetime TV.
Sabu was a popular star on WWE TV but he wasn’t popular enough to ever be pushed towards a Championship. Sabu was caught and arrested along with Rob Van Dam when the latter was ECW and WWE Champion. The pair were caught red handed with various amounts of illegal drugs and ended up costing RVD both of his titles and any future push that WWE had planned. Sabu was released from his WWE contract in May 2007, still not championship title to his name, with a tarnished career in tow.
13. Shad Gaspard
Shad Gaspard signed with WWE back in 2002 and made his WWE debut in 2006 as part of Cryme Tyme. The group became popular throughout the year with the WWE Universe after they played many tricks on WWE stars and even had a “Ho Sale” when Lita declared that she was retiring from WWE.
Shad and JTG were released from WWE in 2007, only to be resigned in 2008 and continue where they left off six months before. Shad ended up turning on JTG before his contract was once again terminated by WWE in 2010. Since then Shad has remained around the Independent Circuit and JTG even recently had a brief reunion for the first time outside of the company.
Tatanka is known as a WWE legend. He portrayed a Native American with his character, and was adored by the WWE Universe for many years before his first release from the company. He was then rehired in 2006 and once again portrayed the same character but both times, for whatever reason, Tatanka was never pushed towards a WWE Championship.
Tatanka became a star all over the world during this time, but he was a star that WWE failed to ever take a gamble on. When he returned in 2006 it was mostly as a jobber and he was used to enhance other talent. It is sad that he spent so long in WWE without ever winning a Championship to put his name in the history books. At 55-years-old Tatanka is still an ever present fixture on the wrestling circuit.
11. Brodus Clay
Brodus Clay is another superstar who had a lengthy stint in WWE, starting as a runner up in NXT before he was transferred to the main roster. Clay debuted as The Funkasaurus and had Naomi and Cameron as his backup dancers for a while before he was joined by Tensai and the team became known as Tons of Funk.
Xavier Woods later took the Funkadactyls away from Clay and the group became one that was mainly used to job out. Clay was seen as a joke throughout his WWE career and was never seen as a favourite in any of his matches. He was never pushed towards a championship either, so it came as no surprise when WWE decided to cut ties with him in June 2014.
10. Chris Masters
Chris Masters became a well-known figure in WWE thanks to his Masterlock submission manoeuvre. This easily made Masters a heel, who would lock in the submission and wait for his opponent to either tap out or pass out. He had a successful stint in WWE which included an appearance at WrestleMania 22 alongside Carlito as the pair fought for the Tag Team Championships.
Sadly, Chris Masters never won a championship while he was under contract with WWE. It was just something that was not written in the stars for the Master of The Masterlock. Since his WWE release, he has made quite an impact on the British Independent Circuit, though, and is a former PCW Champion, which means he’s probably more successful outside of WWE than he ever was when he was inside the company.
9. Alex Riley
Alex Riley is another star who came through WWE after his stint in NXT. He was part of the second season of the show when it took a gameshow format and later debuted on WWE TV in a partnership with The Miz. Unfortunately, that didn’t lead to very much for him.
Riley was later added to the commentary table for a while before WWE allowed him to return to the ring as part of NXT under its new format. Riley was wasted on commentary and this was made apparent when he returned to the ring and proved what he was still capable of doing. Sadly this return was all too brief, as WWE decided that it wasn’t what they were looking for and released him from his contract in May 2016, still with no championship to his name.
JTG has one of the best stories of any WWE superstar that has ever been contracted to the company. JTG and Shad were part of Cryme Tyme until his partner was released from the company in 2010. After that, JTG was rarely ever used and when he was, it was only as a jobber.
There were stories that JTG would hide backstage so that he wasn’t used on any of the shows and he would still get paid. Somehow WWE put up with this for years before they finally give JTG his marching orders in June 2014. When he was released, JTG hadn’t appeared on WWE TV in years and the WWE Universe were confused as to how he was still employed, never mind why he had never won a title. As far as the rest of the wrestlers on this list, this one isn’t that much of a surprise.
Though Vader has been in the news recently because of his decline in health, the Big Red Machine was once a huge force in WWE and many other promotions where he was quite a popular star. Vader first appeared in WWE in the 1990s when he was much fitter and in much better shape than when he made his brief return in 2006. Time was not good to Vader.
Vader later worked all over the world since he left WWE in 1998 and even though his health has declined in recent months, his most recent wrestling match was back in August 2016 in the UK. Given his popularity in WWE in his early years, it is still considered a crime that Vader was never allowed to wear Championship gold.
6. Hacksaw Jim Duggan
Hacksaw Jim Duggan is a WWE legend and a WWE Hall of Famer. Duggan had a lengthy spell in WWE where he became the first ever winner of the Royal Rumble match back in 1987, sadly this would be the most memorable part of Duggan’s entire career.
Despite his “Ho” chant making him popular with the crowd, Duggan was often seen as a joke. He was a goofy star that fans fell in love with because he was so easy to like. He spent more than a decade with WWE but was never close to winning a championship throughout that time. He made a brief return to WWE in 2006 as part of a storyline with Edge and Lita, but Duggan is still mostly remembered for his Royal Rumble win and his trusty 2×4, not a championship win.
5. Dusty Rhodes
Dusty Rhodes was known as the Common Man who came into WWE and represented every person sitting at home watching him on TV. He was all about his fans and his fans always loved him.
Rhodes wrestled all over the world and was past his wrestling peak by the time he wrestled for WWE under Vince McMahon, something that he only did for two years. At this point, he was forced to wear polka dots and be The American Dream, but it made him a popular star. Rhodes’ sons went on to have much more successful career’s in WWE than their father, but Dusty created his own legacy down in NXT with many of the current and future talent. Dusty is also a WWE Hall of Famer, something that the WWE Universe fondly remember. Even without a championship, he’ll still be remembered fondly.
4. Jimmy Snuka
Jimmy Snuka made many headlines back in 2016 when it was alleged that he was about to stand trial for a murder that was committed decades before. It was a controversial subject that WWE stepped away from, but Snuka was deemed unfit to stand trial and passed away a few weeks later after a lengthy battle with stomach cancer.
Snuka was a legend in the eyes of many of the WWE Universe, as a WWE Hall of Famer, as well as being the father of current WWE star Tamina Snuka. Jimmy was an integral part of the company at one point and inspired many current WWE stars with his high flying innovative style. It is sad that he was able to go through an entire career like his without a single championship reign.
3. Jerry Lawler
Jerry “The King” Lawler is a former commentator for both SmackDown and Raw. Lawler has been around WWE for the past few decades and is still considered to be one of the biggest stars in Memphis.
Lawler was well known around the wrestling circuit in the 1970s and only joined WWE in 1992, more than 20 years after he made his wrestling debut. Lawler was past his peak and his prime so it comes as no surprise that he failed to lift a single Championship while he was in WWE. He did, however, manage to win the title of Undisputed King of World Wrestling Federation, but was not able to go one step further and pick up the King of The Ring crown.
2. Harley Race
Like many WWE legends of his era, Harley Race came over to WWE when he had already been wrestling for many years. He was way past his peak and didn’t last in the company for many years after this. Although WWE did fail to allow Race to lift a single championship, they did allow him to become only the second ever King of the Ring.
Race was a popular star in his heyday and went on to defeat Hulk Hogan while he was in WWE, and even though he doesn’t have his name next to any championship records in the history books, the company decided to induct him into the Hall of Fame back in 2004. At 73 years old, Race is still involved in the wrestling business.
1. Jake Roberts
Jake “The Snake” Roberts is perhaps one of the best-known wrestlers to have gone through his entire career without ever lifting a championship. Roberts has had many struggles outside of wrestling with regards to his health recently, but it is reported that Roberts is well enough to finally be attending wrestling shows again.
It is shocking to consider that despite wrestling some of the biggest stars of that time, including Stone Cold Steve Austin and Hulk Hogan, Roberts was never able to win a championship. However, he was the kind of star that didn’t need a title to be over. He was innovative and he was ahead of his time, so even though he never won a title, he will always be remembered by the WWE Universe.