Oh, the forgotten. So many faces have come and gone in the business over the years, so it’s really hard to keep track. During the 90s, wrestlers came and left monthly, or so it seemed. It was really like a ‘now you see me, now you don’t’ type of atmosphere in both WWE and WCW undercards. What we tend to forget is, although we tend to glorify The Monday Night Wars, it did come with a lot of bad ideas for concepts and wrestlers. Ultimately, the good overshadowed the bad but man oh man, was there some bad at that point in time.
In this article, we will put focus on several of those examples looking at some previous acts with the WWE and WCW during that time that were so bad you probably forgot about them. The article will also take a look at some wrestlers that you may have forgotten that wrestled for the companies at one point in time to start off their careers. Enough of the chat, let’s find out who made this list of forgettable wrestling stars. Let’s take a walk down memory lane and enjoy eight WWE and seven WCW names you totally forgot about. Enjoy!
15) WWE: Tiger Ali Singh
For whatever reason, for years and years the WWE has tried to play the ethnicity card among its audience in order to establish a global identity. This tactic is nothing new, but the company has repeatedly failed miserably using such a type of formula. Back in The Attitude Era, the company ushered in this formula with Tiger Ali Singh, being labelled as a coveted free agent from India.
After his television debut the wrestler mysteriously disappeared, and it was later deemed that he was being saved for The Attitude Era. His character was a rich and snobby type of wrestler who thought of himself as better than anyone else on the roster. He began working strictly promos, insulting those in audience. He was eventually shipped out of the company to develop his in-ring talents only to return in 2000 as a Tag Team manager. He was later forced into retirement because of various injuries. Additionally, he would later try to sue the WWE for $7 million in injury lawsuits and personal damages. The language of a WWE contract clearly states that you risk your own well being when stepping into a WWE ring. So as you can probably imagine, the lawsuit fell flat.
14) WCW: James Storm
He is regarded as the best veteran outside of the WWE, and fans were thrilled when Storm made his NXT debut, even if it was short-lived. His experience is certainly invaluable. At the age of 39 Storm has been competing for almost two decades spanning from his early days working the indie scene back in 1997. Storm got his first big break back in 2000 signing a developmental deal with WCW, who were finally looking at younger talents around the world (although, it was too little too late). Storm appeared as a prototypical jobber-type early on during his short lived WCW stint putting over wrestlers on programming like WCW Worldwide and WCW Saturday Night. His run with the company came to an end once WCW was sold in March of 2001. A year later he’d join TNA Wrestling and establish an identity as a Tag Team wrestler under the duo of America’s Most Wanted.
13) WWE: Ryan Shamrock
In January of 1999, the WWE presented Alicia Webb as Ryan Shamrock, the apparent sister of Ken Shamrock (the two actually dated in real life, still pretty creepy). The move was initially made for Ken to work the mid-card scene with a new storyline, and the company used her sex appeal to anger Shamrock against opponents that flirted with his sister, like Val Venis and Billy Gunn, early on. She later transitioned away from Ken and managed several other Superstars like Val Venis and Goldust. She would later branch out on her own and join a stable alongside Terri Runnels and Jacqueline, called the Pretty Mean Sisters. The group was a flop and Alicia was released three months later.
Her release was met with mixed emotions, as some believed she was released because of Chyna’s dislike for her, while she claims she refused to sign a five year extension because of the fact that Vince wanted her to work on an incest angle with Ken. Nevertheless, she left the company and like everyone else did at that time, she joined WCW only to be released shortly after. Fun fact, she is currently dating former WWE Superstar Shawn Daivari.
12) WCW: Lanny Poffo
We recognize his name as The Macho Man’s brother; he gave a tremendous speech on his behalf at the Hall of Fame and was a center piece in The Macho Man’s documentary which aired on the WWE Network. What many of us do not recall however, was the fact that Lanny was also a wrestler at one point, most noticeable during his run in the WWE under several gimmicks which included Leaping Lanny Poffo and The Genius, which he is mostly remembered for.
What we tend to forget is that he was also a part of WCW, although he never appeared for the company despite signing a deal back in 1995. Typical of WCW to just throw someone a contract, and a major reason why they eventually closed their doors for good. Poffo was contacted by his brother Macho Man, who was with the company. Randy offered Lanny a guaranteed contract along with a Gorgeous George gimmick which Macho Man had purchased for his brother. After training for the part and bleaching his hair blonde, Poffo was never used. What is even more laughable is the fact that Lanny was receiving regular pays for five years, despite never being used. Another WCW disaster…
11) WWE: The Patriot
Still to this very day, the WWE loves to base a character off of American patriotism (Jack Swagger fills in that role today). During The Attitude Era, the company not only brought in a masked American hero, but they also had big plans for the gimmick at one point. Del Wilkes played the role of The Patriot; he was a college football player-turned wrestler. Wilkes had a massive resume when signing with the WWE in 1997, as he had previous stints with American Wrestling Association dating back to 1988. In 1994, Del signed his first major deal joining forces with WCW. He played a patriotic role alongside Buff Bagwell. The duo was known as Stars and Stripes.
In 1997, The Patriot made his highly anticipated debut and just two weeks later, was already slated in a feud with Bret Hart. Believe it or not, he would actually defeat Bret Hart at the In Your House PPV event. His momentum was stopped after sustaining an injury, and he was later released. His successor would enjoy a Hall of Fame-like career which began a year later, and his name was Kurt Angle.
10) WCW: Horace Hogan
Man, did WCW undergo some bad storylines, and Horace Hogan makes the list of one of the very worst that you probably forgot about. The company used Michael Bollea for the role, who was actually Hulk’s real life nephew. Before heading to WCW Bollea had failed stints with the WWE, New Japan and ECW. Despite this fact, he was still Hulk’s blood and obviously would end up inking a deal with the company that signed just about everyone at one point. After a brief stint with Raven’s Flock, Horace took part in his biggest career angle being recognized as Hulk’s nephew of his dead brother, and this would cause him to join Hogan and nWo. Hulk would eventually turn on his nephew, gaining even more heel heat in the process. Horace would eventually leave the company following Hulk’s incident with Vince Russo at Bash at the Beach.
9) WWE: The Goon
Played by Bill Irwin, The Goon summed up everything that was wrong with the WWE at that point. That tide was starting to shift and the business of pro wrestling was changing. WCW was reinventing the landscape of pro wrestling by using reality based storylines. This caused millions to change the channel.
At that point in time, the WWE was simply not reacting and constantly using outdated children gimmicks which did not work in that climate any longer. The Goon summed up that terrible direction; he was apparently kicked off of a hockey league and made his way to the WWE in 1996. After Vince met with The Kliq, the upper-card members made it clear that these gimmicks needed to go. After only a few months, The Goon was no longer present on WWE television. The company has used him several times after to poke fun at themselves. He appeared in the WrestleMania X-Seven Battle Royal and later on Raw’s 15th Anniversary show, taking part in another Battle Royal.
8) WCW: Wrath
Bischoff’s guilty pleasure while managing WCW was incorporating some of his personal tastes into the program with wrestlers, based off of things that he loved. One of them was Kiss Demon, which failed miserably and is still being discussed today as one of the worst pushes in WCW history.
Nonetheless, Bischoff was given the keys and at times he ran wild with them. Wrath, who was played by Bryan Clark, was actually one of Bischoff’s better experiments. He was loosely based on a comic book character and joined forces with the Mortis taking on Glacier in a WCW under-card feud. The company later combined the characters, along with Ernest Miller claiming them to be known as Blood Runs Cold, a blatant attempt at tapping into the Mortal Combat game. After a huge undefeated push which was impressive, Wrath sustained an injury that put him on the sidelines for a year. He would later return without the gimmick forming the Tag Team KroniK.
7) WWE: Bull Buchanan
From Bull to Bling Bling (aka B-2), this sums of the journey of Bull during his WWE stint which went from The Attitude Era in 1997 till 2003. He was predominantly used as a background player, which is why some of you may have forgotten about him. He initially made his debut dressed in a SWAT uniform helping the Big Boss Man. After that fell through, he joined the Right To Censor stable alongside WWE veterans Steven Richards and Ivory. This was arguably his peak, as the faction actually worked quite well as heels and were rewarded with a Tag Team Championship run which featured Bull alongside his stablemate “The Goodfather”.
Once the group disbanded, Buchanan was sent to developmental and resurfaced as an enforcer for the upcoming star John Cena. He was later labelled as B-2. He made an improbable return in November of 2011, being showcased as a part of Mick Foley’s This Is Your Life, which was directed towards John Cena. Bull was one of his guests on Raw during the angle.
6) WCW: Lodi
I admit it, I had a soft spot for Lodi during his days with Raven’s Flock. His character was based on a guy holding random signs which worked so well in an era that was filled with bizarre gimmicks (that just seemed to work). Not to mention his name is Idol spelled backwards (how many minds just blew up?). His signs were hilarious and usually were meant to gain heat from the crowd. He would also use them to anger an opponent.
He would later transition out of the role and become a prominent Tag Team wrestler as The West Hollywood Blondes, alongside Lenny Lane. The team was loosely based off of the Hollywood Blonds paying homage to Stone Cold Steve Austin and Brian Pillman. The team was rather controversial insulting the GLAAD community, and this eventually led to a six month suspension. According to rumors, this also led to the demise of Eric Bischoff following this controversial incident. The two would return after suspension only to be released for good.
5) WWE: Essa Rios
Poor Essa Rios became yet another casualty to fall because of the popularity of his valet, Lita. Over time, fans became more invested in Lita than Essa which caused his demise. Though that was not always the case (especially early on), seeing the success of the Cruiserweight Division down in WCW, the WWE attempted to re-launch the Light Heavyweight class by bringing new stars like Rios. Both he and Taka Michinoku showcased their talent at WrestleMania XIV, competing for the Light Heavyweight Championship which Taka won.
He then changed his gimmick from Aguila to Essa Rios, which caused him to instantly capture the Light Heavyweight Title from Gillberg. His run came to an end after he snapped on Lita during an in-ring segment. His TV time was very limited following the segment making rare appearances on the B shows like Sunday Night Heat. Lita would go on to flourish with the Hardys while Rios left the company for AAA Mexico.
4) nWo Sting
He was so good they made him twice; the WCW model was: if it works, let’s milk it dry. Sting’s popularity during 1996 was absolutely immense, he became must-see television and was the leading force behind WCW’s dominance against the WWE. What made Sting so special was the fact that he wouldn’t say a word, as his presence alone was an absolute draw that WCW had never seen before.
He was the ultimate babyface, taking on the greatest heel faction in the company; booking-wise it was all a dream. The company prolonged the story for a year and during that time they used Jeff Farmer to play the role of fake Sting at one point in time during the 1996 era. The fake Sting was initially used to cause deception in the WCW faction’s ranks, although it was later revealed it was an imposter trying mess things up. His impact was brief and as dumb as the idea sounded, it was quite the draw, so much so that WCW included him in their video game, WCW vs. nWo: World Tour as nWo Sting.
3) WWE: Nicole Bass
From bodybuilder to wrestler, Nicole Bass was an overpowering presence in the ring; the only problem was her run with the company was extremely short-lived during the prestigious Attitude Era, which welcomed with open arms a variety of different acts. Bass made her start in the pro wrestling industry with ECW and after a short stay, she transitioned into the WWE. Her WWE debut took place on the glorious stage of WrestleMania XV, where she was labelled as Sable’s bodyguard. She would later join forces with Val Venis feuding with Jeff Jarrett and Debra.
Just as she was becoming a recognizable face, Nicole left the company out of nowhere. Bass immediately fled the company and filed a lawsuit against the WWE for sexual harassment in the work place. She claimed Steve Lombardi, aka The Brooklyn Brawler, apparently harassed her backstage. The charges were eventually dismissed and her WWE career came to a quick end.
2) WCW: AJ Styles
His pro wrestling journey began almost two decades ago back in 1998 when he began to train with Rick Michaels. Following his initial training stint, Styles had that “it” factor in him from the get-go. He began in 1999 working the indie scene bringing his innovative offense to small local promotions. His first big break came in 2001 when WCW offered Styles and his Tag partner Air Paris, a pair of contracts. The team wrestled under the label of Air Raid, and they would go on to make three appearances on Thunder. They would also appear on Nitro, taking part in a WCW Cruiserweight Tag Team Championship tournament. The young stars were eliminated in the first round, losing to Kid Romeo and veteran Elix Skipper.
A year later, Styles would join the WWE. His run was short lived after he declined a developmental deal with the company. He would go on to build a tremendous legacy for himself working with Ring of Honor, a decision which I’m sure he did not regret.
1) WWE: The Oddities
This entry takes the cake for one of the most bizarre factions in WWE history, which so many of us tend to forget about due to the fact that it came during an era which was filled with crazy and bizarre moments. We’re still not quite sure what the purpose of the stable was; whether it was to scare little children or to provide some comedic relief. Either way, wrestling fans still are generally confused. The group of apparent heels featured The Jackyl, Kurrgan, Giant Silva, Golga, Violent J, Shaggy 2 Dope, Luna Vachon, George Steele and even Sable at one point.
Once it was clear that the group wasn’t working as heels, they were changed to faces with Sable repackaging the group. Once Sable left for a Women’s Title run, the group was doomed, and the four original members were all released together in February of 1999. The group took home Wrestling Observer’s Worst Gimmick and Worst Tag Team Awards for 1998.