In the early 1990s, the then World Wrestling Federation was embroiled in a steroid scandal which threatened to drive the company into extinction. Vince McMahon, the yet-to-be-acknowledged owner of the WWF was consumed in legal battles and faced some serious jail time if he were to be found guilty of supplying his performers with steroids. Most people following the trial, including WWF Superstars and McMahon himself, assumed that the boss would be found guilty and began making plans for their post-trial lives. However, as happens so often in pro wrestling, the underdog overcame the odds. McMahon was declared innocent and was free to resume running his wrestling empire.
Of course, Vince is a smart guy; smart enough to know he had to tone down the amount of oily bodybuilders on his programming if he wanted to revive the WWF after the steroid scandal. And so a plethora of new, smaller stars were thrust into the spotlight. Guys like Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior were replaced by the likes of Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart. This period of renewed hope for smaller professional wrestlers was dubbed “the New Generation Era” and carried the WWF through the mid-90s and into the Attitude Era.
While The New Generation Era was good to a lot of guys who wouldn’t have been given a greater platform for their work in the previous decade, there were quite a lot of stars who failed to achieve their full potential (some New Generation wrestlers didn’t even have any potential to achieve). Many debuting superstars floundered and other long-term WWE employees struggled to keep up with the work rate of their younger, more athletic co-workers. Yes, this period turned some mid-carders into legends, but it also turned its fair share into myths.
Here are 15 forgotten New Generation Era WWE Superstars and where they are now.
Phantasio had a single appearance in the World Wrestling Federation in July of 1995. He was an odd mixture of a mime and a magician and would use his magical powers to wow the crowd and defeat his opponents. Or at least that was the plan. In reality, fans weren’t all that interested in the Phantasio character and he was taken off television immediately after his debut for retooling.
Harry Del Rios, the man behind Phantasio, appeared on television sparingly after the failed Phantasio experiment and wrestled his last match for the company in 1997 before returning to the independents.
Del Rios remains active on the independent circuit to this day and has wrestled all over the world since his WWE release, even appearing on TNA’s very first broadcast. In 2012, he revived the Phantasio character for a Pro Wrestling Syndicate event which pitted him against fellow former WWE Superstar Simon Dean. Del Rios is also a keen bodybuilder and continues to compete in bodybuilding competitions despite being north of 40 years.
14 Marc Mero
Marc Mero was around for a portion of the Attitude Era, but he spent most of that time being overshadowed and beaten up by his real-life wife, Sable. He experienced his greatest success in WWE during the New Generation Era, though even that success was not exactly a success.
Mero left WWE just before the new millennium and retired from the wrestling business in 2006 after spending some time drifting from promotion to promotion. Since that time, Mero has embarked on a career as a motivational speaker, drawing on his own personal struggles to give hope to the less fortunate (though a lot of people would consider the less fortunate to be anybody who has to sit through one of his seminars).
Mero has also appeared as a guest on several news and panel shows, usually to discuss his past drug use and to criticize WWE for its treatment of talent.
13 Adam Bomb
Bryan Clark made his WWE debut in 1993 under the name Adam Bomb. As Adam Bomb, Clark was managed by Johnny Polo, a villainous manager fans would later come to know as Raven. Adam Bomb remained in the World Wrestling Federation for two years before moving on to WCW. He returned to Vince McMahon’s sports entertainment monster in 2001 as a member of Kronik, though this was short-lived. In 2003, after injuries made it impossible for him to continue his work on the independents, Clark quietly retired from the professional wrestling business.
Nowadays, the former Adam Bomb lives a quiet life in Scottsdale, Arizona and has little to do with pro wrestling bar a couple of podcast appearances and signings here and there. He has, in the past, expressed a desire to return to WWE for a final shot at glory, but that seems unlikely to happen for a number of reasons, the most notable of which being the fact he recently joined many of his former colleagues in a class action lawsuit which seeks to extort money from Vince McMahon by holding him responsible for concussions and other head injuries.
12 Jacques Rougeau
Jacques Rougeau had an almost decade long career in WWE, signing his initial contract in 1986 and leaving in 1994. Rougeau played a number of characters during his time with WWE and is perhaps most famous for his role as The Mountie, a Canadian police man obsessed with jailing law breaking American wrestlers. From 1993 to 1994 he competed alongside Pierre Ouellet as The Quebecers. The pair left WWE after a year of working together – first Jacques, Pierre followed later - and made their way to WCW. They returned to WWE for a couple of months in 1998 but experienced little success. Jacques retired from professional wrestling shortly after.
After retiring from the ring, Jacques tried to become a real-life mountie, but the Montreal Police Department refused to have him as he had never graduated from high school. The former WWE superstar didn’t let this keep him down, however, and he has since gone on to establish himself as a successful public speaker, touring schools to discuss the dangers of alcohol and drugs. He has also been at the helm of a wrestling training school and played a hand in Kevin Owens’ development as a wrestler/sports entertainer.
11 Buck Zumhofe
Buck Zumhofe spent the majority of his time in WWE as a jobber and has been largely forgotten by wrestling fans. However, he played quite an important role in the development of a number of WWE Superstars, at least in terms of establishing them as credible wrestlers. Zumhofe squared off against The Undertaker in one of the Dead Man’s earliest matches and was the first person to be placed in a body bag by ‘Taker and Paul Bearer. He also competed against Hunter Hearst Helmsley in the future world champion’s debut match.
While he is tied in with the early careers of several future Hall of Famers, there is a good reason WWE does not acknowledge Buck Zumhofe. The perpetual jobber was arrested in 2013 and charged with 12 counts of sexual misconduct, with his daughter claiming he sexually abused for over a decade, from 1999 to 2011. Zumhofe, who had previous convictions for sexual assault, was found guilty and sentenced to 25 years in prison.
10 Pierre-Carl Ouellet
Pierre-Carl Ouellet was the aforementioned tag team partner of Jacques Rougeau and teamed with him in The Quebecers until Rougeau left the then WWF in 1994. After Rougeau split the scene, Ouellet was repackaged as Jean-Pierre LaFitte, a singles competitor who was also a pirate for some reason. As LaFitte, he feuded with Bret “The Hitman” Hart and began to establish himself as a talented solo performer before some backstage issues with The Kliq forced him to leave the company. As mentioned already, The Quebecers returned to WWE in 1998, though it didn't last long.
Unlike his former tag team partner, Ouellet remained in the wrestling business following his departure from mainstream sports entertainment. He hit the independents as a grizzled and well-respected veteran. He was much in demand owing to his fame and reputation as a reliable worker and spent some time with TNA during the mid 2000s.
Ouellet finally retired in 2011 and spent a number of years doing whatever it is retired people do. Of course, the wrestling bug is hard to overcome and he returned to the ring in May of 2016 to take on (and defeat) Jake Matthews.
9 Marty Jannetty
Marty Jannetty first became known to wrestling fans as a member of The Rockers, his tag team with future WWE Hall of Famer “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels. The Rockers were a relatively successful team during the late 80s and early 90s, but Jannetty struggled to get by on his own after the duo were broken up in 1991. He managed to capture the WWE Intercontinental Championship, which was the highlight of his singles career, but everything after that was downhill. After a couple of failed tag team runs, Jannetty was released from WWE in 1996.
Since leaving WWE two decades ago, the one-time Rocker has remained active on the independent circuit, paying his bills with appearances for multiple major indie promotions. He has worked extensively with CHIKARA as both a wrestler and a trainer.
Jannetty’s problems with drugs and alcohol are well-documented and he has appeared at several signings seemingly too inebriated to speak or even scribble his name. During the weekend of WrestleMania 32, Jannetty was in Dallas for a series of indie shows. Those who encountered him during the two days reported that he was extremely intoxicated and was kicked out of several bars for his behavior.
Mike Halac worked for Vince McMahon on and off during the New generation Era, but experienced only minor success, if any. His most recognizable character, Mantaur, turned him into a laughing stock and arguably ruined any chance he had of being taken seriously as a wrestler. As Mantaur, Halac came to the ring dressed as a bull and would behave as such during his matches. The gimmick never caught on. Surprise, surprise.
Halac’s last appearance for WWE came in 1997 after several years of floundering. After his final WWE match, Halac took his “talents” to the independent scene, though his body was beginning to suffer the effects of years in the ring. In 2001, Halac retired from active competition and disappeared for over a decade, having little to do with pro wrestling. However, he came out of retirement for one more match in 2015, which led to him being crowned the inaugural American Heritage Wrestling Heavyweight Champion.
In July 2016, Halac joined that now infamous class action lawsuit against WWE, claiming his former employee is responsible for a series of traumatic head injuries he sustained while under contract.
7 Ahmed Johnson
Although a lot of people won’t recognize his name, Ahmed Johnson is one of the most important performers in the history of WWE. Sure, he wasn’t great in the ring or on the mic, but when he captured the WWE Intercontinental Championship at King of the Ring 1996, he became the first African American in history to hold a singles championship in WWE. Johnson took his name power to WCW in 1999 but his stint was short-lived. Weight issues seriously decreased any value he had and he was released from his contract in 2000. He retired from wrestling not long after.
Following his departure from the wrestling scene, Johnson went back to college to study at Huston-Tillotson University and graduated with a degree in Criminology. During the summer of 2016, Johnson did something nearly unheard of from a former WWE Superstar…
Just kidding, he joined that class action lawsuit and blamed WWE for traumatic brain injuries sustained during his employment with the company.
6 Bart Gunn
Bart Gunn didn’t have the most impressive wrestling career of all time, but he did shock fans the world over when he won the ill-fated Brawl For All tournament held by WWE in 1998. However, WWE blew any chance it had of turning him into a credible star by pitting him against super-heavyweight boxer Butterbean in a boxing match at WrestleMania XV. Unsurprisingly, Gunn was defeated in a matter of seconds. He was released from his contract shortly after.
Following his WWE departure, Gunn spent some time wrestling in Japan and even worked with TNA for a period. He retired from professional wrestling in 2004 to pursue an MMA career, which yielded a total record of one win and one loss. Accepting that defeating a couple of pro wrestlers in an MMA tournament didn’t necessarily mean he had what it took to make it as a legitimate fighter, Gunn abandoned his hopes of making it to the UFC and returned to his career as an electrician, which he had abandoned after being hired by WWE. Gunn remains an electrician to this day and insists that he is just fine with the way things panned out for him.
As Sunny, Tammy Sytch pretty much created the role of the diva in WWE. She debuted alongside her real-life boyfriend Chris Candido, which seemed like a good idea at the time but really just meant everybody paid attention to the hot blonde girl at ringside and not what was going on between the ropes. Sunny drew a lot of criticism from her peers, mostly because she had a tendency to cheat on Candido with anybody who was willing, and it wasn’t long before the fans turned on her for a hotter, blonder model in Sable. Sunny left WWE in 1998 and spent some time in ECW and WCW, but her drug and alcohol abuse spiraled out of control and she was unable to keep either job.
After burning her bridges with the three major promotions of the time, Sunny went to the independent scene, but found it difficult to score bookings. Her substance abuse had robbed her of her good looks and she became increasingly overweight. Given that her beauty was all Sunny ever really had, promoters found no reason to book her.
In recent years, Sunny has turned to the internet for easy money. For a while, she had a business selling Skype chats with herself, where she promised to get nude for upwards of $100. She also gave willing fans the chance to get into a hotel room bed with her and take a picture, which some people actually paid for. Most recently, she starred in an adult film which was not well-received by those who found the courage to watch it. She is currently incarcerated for violating parole and there is no set date for her release.
Fred Ottman competed in WWE as two distinct characters: Tugboat and Typhoon. The latter was Ottman’s final gimmick in WWE and didn’t prove all that successful. As Typhoon, he teamed with Earthquake in The Natural Disasters but became a singles competitor after Earthquake took some time off in 1993. Unsuccessful as a solo act, Ottman left WWE for WCW, where he was repackaged as The Shockmaster… And we all know how that ended.
After the Shockmaster debacle, Ottman ventured beyond his comfort zone and began to wrestle in Japan. He returned to WWE in 1994 and again in 2001 as part of the gimmick battle royal held at WrestleMania X-Seven. He retired from the ring for good shortly after the event.
Ottoman now resides in Florida, where he works with Gaffin Industrial Services as a safety manager. He recently reemerged at the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con, where he appeared as a part of the Mattel panel. To commemorate his Comic-Con appearance, Mattel produced a limited edition Shockmaster figure, the only Shockmaster action figure ever produced.
3 Sycho Sid
Although Sycho Sid held the WWE World Championship and even defended it (albeit unsuccessfully) at a WrestleMania, many fans have made a conscious effort to forget him due to his shoddy in-ring work and cringeworthy promos. A lot of WWE fans who came on board during the 90s have forgotten Sid as he left the company in 1997, just prior to the Attitude Era boom. He went on to spend some time in WCW, where he suffered a devastating leg injury which forced him to take an extended break from the ring.
After recovering from the injury, or as much as one can recover from such an injury, Sid began making sporadic appearances for independent wrestling organizations, but rarely did anything major. He last appearance for WWE came on the 1000th edition of Monday Night Raw, when he joined a team of past WWE Superstars to beat down Heath Slater.
Outside of wrestling, Sid has appeared in a couple of movies, the most recent of which being 2011’s River of Darkness, which also featured Kurt Angle and Kevin Nash. He even made an appearance on the reality TV show Big Brother 14 to discuss his relationship with his son Frank, who was a contestant on the show.
2 Fake Razor Ramon
After Scott Hall and Kevin Nash left WWE for WCW in 1996, Vince McMahon attempted to fill the void by giving their characters, Razor Ramon and Diesel to two other wrestlers. The Diesel character went to Glenn Jacobs, later known as Kane, while the Razor character went to Rick Bognar. Of course, the fans saw right through this and the gimmicks lasted only a couple of months before both Jacobs and Bognar were taken off TV. Jacobs went on to bigger and better things within WWE, while Bognar packed his bags and left the company.
After leaving WWE, Bognar travelled to Japan where he suffered a neck injury which greatly diminished his in-ring skills. He also pursued a career as an actor and scored a role in Honey, I Shrunk The Kids: The TV Show.
After giving up on his wrestling career, Bognar moved to Calgary, where he began to study various religions, most notably Hinduism and Buddhism. He later embarked on a career as a public speaker and, much like Marc Mero, visits elementary and high schools to discuss the dangers of drugs and alcohol, both of which he struggled with during his time as a pro wrestler.
1 Duke “The Dumpster” Droese
According to wrestling lore, when Vince McMahon hired Duke “The Dumpster” Droese in 1994, he did so to prove that he could make a star out of anybody. Needless to say, the Chairman failed and his ego suffered, as did Droese’s career. Droese was relegated to a novelty act, if he wasn’t one before, and was released from his contract in 1996. He made a one night return at WrestleMani X-Seven for the gimmick battle royal, which was won by former WWE World Champion The Iron Sheik.
After retiring from the wrestling business, Droese relocated to McMinnville, Tennessee and began working as a special education teacher. For a while, it looked as though he had successfully gotten out of pro wrestling and created a whole new life for himself. However, it all came crumbling down for the former WWE Superstar in 2013, when he was arrested for selling oxycodone and buprenorphine to an undercover police officer.
Sources: pwinsider.com, 411mania.com, usatoday.com, wrestlinginc.com, wwe.com
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