Throughout the company’s history, the greatest wrestling talents from around the world have all competed in the WWE looking for their chance to become legends in the sport they love so dearly. The upper echelon of talent eventually transcends the company’s wildest expectations, and the legacy that they forge in the world’s largest wrestling promotion lasts a lifetime. These individuals sell the most merchandise, headline the company’s biggest cards, and are featured in all promotional spots. They get acting roles in film and on television, crossing over to a whole new audience of people. A WWE legend is eternally remembered as the best in the business, and their spot in the Hall of Fame is guaranteed.
Then, there are the wrestlers that made this list. A group of talented performers who, during the company’s most prolific era, failed to make a serious dent in the company, and are footnotes in the history of the company. This is not to say that these men aren’t talented. This is more of a case of failing to breakout during a time when the business was undergoing a renaissance. Whether it was the gimmick that they were assigned or simply failing to get along with their colleagues backstage, these men were unable to escape the Attitude Era as legends, and have been mostly forgotten about. Some of these names will jog your memory, some will make you laugh, and others will make you wonder what in the world the WWE was thinking. It was a beautiful era that was filled with incredible success stories and some awful misfires.
15. The Jackal
The Attitude Era in the WWE was unlike any other in that performers had a significant amount of creative control with their characters. This led to the company steering away from generic gimmicks like plumbers and clowns to characters that could induce fear into their opponents, and make the crowd uneasy. Sure, these creative risks didn’t always work the way they would have liked, but it did give fans the opportunity to see a diverse set of performers. One such character, The Jackal, fits this description perfectly. He was a unique leader, and his work with The Parade Of Human Oddities is perhaps his most notable work in the company.
The Jackal, real name Don Callis, would work in the confines of the WWE from 1996 to 1999 before heading to work with rival promotion ECW. Whether you enjoyed him or not, The Jackal was an interesting Attitude Era persona.
14. Beaver Cleavage
I’m sure that this performer looks incredibly familiar, but the gimmick that he worked with may not ring any bells. Before he took on the mantle of Beaver Cleavage, performer Charles Warrington worked in the WWE as Mosh from the tag team The Headbangers. However, Mosh would suffer an injury, and to keep him busy while he recovered, the WWE gave him the character of Beaver Cleavage. Ripe with incest innuendos and uncomfortable vignettes, Beaver Cleavage had a relatively short stay in the WWE, and Warrington quickly took on the character of Chaz.
Thankfully, Warrington would be afforded the opportunity to reform The Headbangers, and fans everywhere rejoiced. They were an excellent part of what may be the best era of WWE tag team action, and they showed no signs of slowing down in their triumphant return. Beaver Cleavage was a ridiculous misfire for the company, but they were able to sweep it under the rug.
13. The Sultan
It is truly remarkable what a change of character can do for a performer’s career, and no one knows this better than the man who used to be The Sultan. After entering the WWE in 1992, this performer would first hit the scene in the tag team The Headshrinkers before embarking on a singles career. His new ghetto persona did him little favors, and thus, The Sultan was born. The Sultan was a character whose tongue had been cut out, and therefore couldn’t speak. This was intended to make him a more menacing presence, but I’m not sure if he had a single fan. The gimmick was cartoon-like, and The Sultan’s run on the main roster came to a screeching halt.
Thank God someone realized this man’s potential, because the moment that he officially became Rikishi, his career completely took off. His run with the WWE was very successful, and looking back at The Sultan gimmick shows fans everywhere that timing and character are everything.
12. Leif Cassidy
Trying to take what was an already popular tag team and repackaging for fans hardly ever works, and this was no exception for The New Rockers. After the departure of legend Shawn Michaels, performer Marty Jannetty would embark on a solo career, and while he had some success, his run with the WWE paled in comparison to Michaels. Eventually, the company made the decision to form The New Rockers in 1996, and I’m sure you can guess how that worked out. The tag team, consisting of Jannetty and new member Leif Cassidy, lasted less than a year, and Jannetty ultimately left the WWE.
So, whatever happened to that Leif Cassidy guy? Well, after a brief stint in ECW, he would return to the WWE with the name Al Snow, and he would be an instrumental part of the Attitude Era and the development of the Hardcore Championship. Not too bad for a guy whose debut character was named after two teenage idols from the 1970s.
11. Crash Holly
As the cousin of Hardcore Holly, the younger and smaller Crash would waste no time in trying to make a name for himself in the WWE. Hardcore Holly was a popular name with the fans, and he often overshadowed his little cousin. Despite this, Crash would stay the course, and his perseverance helped him become popular with some fans. Crash always saw himself as bigger than he was, and he proudly proclaimed to weigh over 400 pounds. This type of attitude was perfect for the era in which he wrestled, and Crash would remain with the WWE for several years, etching his own place into the history books in the hardcore scene.
Like Al Snow, Crash Holly was a huge reason why the Hardcore Championship was such a fun title. It was brutal, unpredictable, and helped bring in new fans who preferred the violence of ECW. Sadly, Crash Holly, born Michael Lockwood, would pass away back in November of 2003.
10. Steve Blackman
Talk about a tale of two careers. After making his initial WWE debut back in the 1980s, bodybuilder and martial artist Steve Blackman would deal with some intense medical issues that could have killed him. Blackman had wrestled a few matches in the WWE, but wasn’t a household name by any means. In 1989, Blackman had wrestled a match in South America, and would contract malaria. The disease kept him bedridden for 2 years, and his impressive physique had all but withered away. After recovering and training, Steve Blackman would once again tone his body, and he made his return back to the WWE in 1997.
Admittedly, I was always more of a Ken Shamrock fan as a kid, but learning about Steve’s battle with malaria and eventual return to action in the WWE has given me a whole new level of respect for him. Blackman last saw action in the WWE back in 2007 during a Battle Royal match.
Allow me to introduce you to a man that was so hardcore, he had to be escorted by security to the wrestling ring. A man who was so physically imposing, his title reign lasted for a whopping 15 months, making him one of the most dominant champions in wrestling history. His bald head, black trunks, and goatee were his signature look, and fighters dared not get in his way. I’m speaking, of course, about Gillberg, the WWE’s hilarious parody of a certain WCW legend. Gillberg was, for all intents and purposes, a slap in the face to the WWE’s biggest rival. Nevertheless, he actually won and held the WWE Light Heavyweight Championship for a record-breaking 15 months.
Gillberg made a return to the WWE earlier in 2017, no doubt giving the company’s loyal fans something to laugh about. He may have been a very silly character, but his accomplishments speak for themselves.
8. Grandmaster Sexay
Back in the Attitude Era, the WWE did its best to appeal to all demographics, and their attempt to appeal to white hip-hop lovers gave way to the tag team Too Cool. Packed with ridiculous hair, silly clothes, and ridiculous dance moves, Too Cool (especially when working with Rikishi) were great comedic relief in an era that saw the likes of Stone Cold Steve Austin rise to fame. Comprised of Scotty 2 Hotty and Grandmaster Sexay, Too Cool lasted through the new millennium. Grandmaster Sexay had a brief stint in a tag team with Steve Blackman, though this happened shortly before his release from the WWE.
Grandmaster Sexay, real name Brian Christopher, is the son of wrestling legend Jerry Lawler, and listening to his old commentary during his son’s match was hilarious. The company left Christopher’s identity a secret, but knowing that he’s the son of The King makes his old matches that much more hilarious.
7. Marc Mero
There is something to be said about having your push in the WWE completely ruined thanks to your wife, but such is the case with Marc Mero. After coming to the WWE from a red-hot run in the WCW, Mero was set to get a big push from the company. However, fans quickly fell in love with his wife Sable, and an injury to Marc gave way for Sable to quickly become the face of women’s wrestling. Mero would end up feuding with his wife, still suffering from various injuries that would hamper his development in the company. Eventually, Mero would make his way back to WCW in 2000, before announcing his retirement in 2006.
Mero was a talented wrestler with excellent charisma, and I’m sure that most people feel that he would have been bigger had it not been for injuries and the skyrocketing career of his wife. Mero currently works as a motivational speaker, ditching his mustache, and making an impact in people’s lives.
If this guy didn’t scare the heck out of you during the Attitude Era, then you must not have been paying attention. As the leader of The Brood, Gangrel was the face of perhaps the most sinister stable in WWE history. Complete with vampire fangs and a blood-spitting entrance, Gangrel was terrifying to fans of the WWE, and his unique look and in-ring persona helped him stand out among his colleagues.
So, how is it that a man with this type of look and body of work was forgotten about? Well, the two young wrestlers that followed Gangrel in The Brood were none other than Edge and Christian. Those two would go on to have immense amounts of success in the WWE, leaving their former leader in the dust. Their tag team run was phenomenal, and Edge further cemented himself as an all-time great with his run as a singles competitor.
5. Giant Silva
As was mentioned earlier, The Parade of Human Oddities consisted of characters that weren’t for mainstream audiences, as they boasted a slew of performers with carnival gimmicks. They were physically imposing and frightening to look at, but it was the Attitude Era, and the WWE was willing to roll the dice with gimmicks. Among the performers in the creepiest stable in WWE history, Giant Silva stood at over 7-feet tall, and mainly served as a cornerman for the group. He did, however, step into the ring on numerous occasions, and his physical frame was truly a sight to see.
After leaving the WWE, Giant Silva would continue to wrestle for other promotions, and even stepped into the world of Mixed Martial Arts, competing professionally in 8 bouts. His overall record stands at 2 wins and 6 losses, with his last match taking place back in 2006. It isn’t the most impressive record, but kudos to Silva for competing in a real combat sport.
For those of us who are old enough to remember, Stephanie McMahon wasn’t always the wife of Triple H, and back before their romance truly blossomed, she was all set to marry wrestler Test. This, of course, would not go according to plan. After Stephanie passed out, Triple H married her in Las Vegas, and the wrestling world was never the same. It was one of the oddest moments in wrestling history, and Test was right in the middle of it. Upon entering the WWE, he received a major push largely due to his towering height and chiseled physique. Test would go on to stay with the company until 2004, though you have to wonder what would have happened if the WWE decided to rewrite his storyline with Stephanie McMahon.
Much like Test, Brakus had all of the physical tools to have a big push in the WWE. It is no secret that the company prefers physically imposing men to be the face of their organization, and once upon a time, they thought that Brakus could be the next big thing. The German bodybuilder was the 1990 Mr. Universe, and his bodybuilding pedigree made him a highly sought-after talent. Unfortunately, his wrestling career failed to set the world on fire, and he had a very short stay in the WWE. Brakus would spend several years in other promotions before returning to the company in 1998.
Once again, Brakus would have a short tenure in the WWE, and he wrestled professionally for only one more year. His last professional run came on the independent circuit. It is a shame that he didn’t pan out, because he was as physically gifted as any other athlete in the company.
2. Public Enemy
Comprised of performers Johnny Grunge and Rocco Rock, the tag team Public Enemy was a fixture in ECW, and eventually made their way to the bright lights of WWE in 1999. The duo had also wrestled in WCW, and their in-ring work and hardcore matches quickly made them a hot commodity. With an already established fan base, Public Enemy looked to make some serious moves in the WWE, but this was not to be the case. Unfortunately, neither member was well-liked backstage, allegedly having conflicts with some other performers. The duo lasted less than an entire year in the WWE, and they quickly fled to WCW.
The duo would continue to work in other promotions for the remainder of their professional careers. In 2002, Rocco Rock passed away from a heart attack, and 4 years later, Johnny Grunge would succumb to complications from sleep apnea and pass away as well.
If you thought that Beaver Cleavage was bad, then you clearly don’t remember what can easily be considered one of the worst gimmicks of all-time. Going by the name of Meat, wrestler Shawn Stasiak acted as the love interest for the Pretty Mean Sisters. Normally it is the woman who is the object of affection for male wrestlers, but the WWE decided to flip the script. With Meat in the picture, the Pretty Mean Sisters had a boy-toy to play with. Thankfully, Meat did wrestle for the WWE. While his success was short-lived, he did get to compete against some very talented opposition.
Eventually, Stasiak would leave the company, and he would go on to work in the WCW. He had a second run with the WWE, and was thankfully able to drop the Meat gimmick. It was great to see Stasiak do what he loves without relegating himself to a useless character. Stasiak is now retired from professional wrestling, and currently works as a chiropractor.
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