Underutilized and Underrated: 10 of Wrestling's Biggest Misuses
Throughout wrestling history many men have been misused or buried in horrible gimmicks and fueds. I have started a quest to find the ten greatest misuses in wrestling history. A waste of wrestling talent must consist of the following:
- The wrestler never held the organization's top title
- The wrestler possessed the ability to wrestle at a high level
- The wrestler was given a poor gimmick or limited TV time
- The wrestler wasn't given a chance by "The Powers That Be"
Without further ado, here is my list.
10. Billy Kidman
Let me stop you before you even say it. Billy Kidman is not World Champion material. I know you were thinking it.
Billy Kidman possessed one of the greatest set of in ring skills that I have ever seen in over 20 years of watching wrestling. He made his mark in WCW and held the Cruiserweight title on numerous occasions. He was even thrown into a feature feud with Hulk Hogan near the end of WCW's run. While Kidman didnt have great talking skills, his in ring work did all the neccessary talking.
WWE brought Kidman in and once again he was featured as a Cruiserweight. In my opinion, limiting someone who can get in the ring and work with anyone on any night is ridiculous. If you havent already seen Kidman vs. Jamie Noble at Survivor Series 2002, you might wanna go right to that video after finishing this article.
Kidman floundered around the mid card for the majority of his career while other "small" men were at least in the World Title scene. I believe that had he been put into a major series of matches we could be sitting here talking about him as a Hall Of Fame type wrestler. His skills were that good.
9. Shelton Benjamin
Nobody can deny that Benjamin is one of the most enjoyable wrestlers to watch nowadays. The fact that he STILL hasnt won one of the major titles is also hard to deny.
I am by no means calling for him to win the WWE title anytime soon, but how many times can you book him to lose Money In The Bank at WM before people dont even care about the guy? The ECW Title would be a very believable fit for him and prople him into a position where he can be a top guy.
From a pure wrestling standpoint, few are as enjoyable or as good as Benjamin is in the ring. He is one of the only active wrestlers I even considered for this list. If he isnt a World Champion by the time he retires I will have to rethink everything I thought I knew about wrestling.
***In case you havent figured out by now, I dont share with McMahon is his fetish for big men and his belief you have to be a monster to hold the title***
8. Rowdy Roddy Piper
Few men can even hold a candle to the mic skills and the ability to draw that Piper once possessed. Whether you loved him or hated him, you had to tune in and see him. This is why Piper jumps onto the list.
Piper became enormously famous in the 80's when fans loved to hate him. He made a turn to face in the '90s and was as popular as anyone in the WWF at the time. Still to this day I believe it should have been he, and not Randy Savage, who won the title at WM VIII.
The real travesty is that the WWF ignored his huge fanbase and instead thought it a good idea to put the title into the hands of the Ultimate Warrior. Regardless of how you feel about the Warrior, he couldnt wrestle his way out of a paper bag, and you're lying to yourself if you think otherwise.
Meanwhile, the ever popular Piper was relegated to a short lived run with the Intercontinental Title.
For as great as the buildup was to Savage and Flair (and I am on record saying it was the best build ever), I think Piper and Flair would have been even more intriguing.
7. "The Million Dollar Man" Ted Dibiase
Dibiase might just be one of the greatest heels of all time. It would have suited the WWF well to put the title on him in the late '80s. He was one of the few wrestlers of that generation that could truly go in the ring. He wrestled some of the longest and most entertaining matches in WWE history.
Whether it was his Royal Rumble appearances, long bouts with Jake Roberts, or epic fueding with Randy Savage you cant deny that the man was one of the best.
Dibiase never held the WWE title, although he tried to "buy" it in a storyling in the late 80's. I have always wished WWE would have went with that storyline rather than being in a huge hurry to put the title back on a face. We all know by now that Savage won the WM IV tournament over Dibiase to win the title.
Even as a kid, I could tell that the WWE was making a mistake. It would have suited them well to put the title on a heel and let Savage or Hogan chase after it rather than run over everyone who they ever faced.
6. The British Bulldog
This is a two fold mind boggling item. Bulldog never won the WWF or WCW title during any time and he was clearly one of the most beloved wrestlers of all time. Bulldog had a cult following in Great Britain and a very good following in the US as well. He wasnt spectacular on the mic, but he was effective.
In addition to being one of the all time favorites, Bulldog was an excellent in ring worker. Who will ever forget the classics with Bret Hart (SummerSlam 92, In Your House 1995), or the many great bouts he had with Mr. Perfect, Shawn Michaels, and even Owen Hart. The Bulldog was an all around threat who was very powerful as well as an accomplished mat technician.
Most people dont think of Bulldog in conversations like this, but even in his WCW run he was relegated to mid card status while Ron Simmons paraded around with the title. Ron Simmons?
5. Ricky Steamboat
Steamboat was largely responsible for many of the greatest matches in wrestling history including his epic battle with Flair at WrestleWar '89. And nobody can overlook the greatest match in wrestling history between he and Randy Savage at WrestleMania III.
Despite his absolutely breathtaking work in the ring, Steamboat never won the WWE Title. Keep in mind that he did win the NWA Title from Ric Flair. But the fact that he was never given a WWF title run in my mind is enough reason for me to break one of my own rules.
The WWF went so far in fact to bury his career that they had him dress like a walking, human dragon. Here is one of the greatest wrestlers of all time walking to ring looking like a freaking dragon, and nobody even seems to be bothered by it. Steamboat was the ultimate example of misuse and mistreatment much because of the fact that he jumped ship to NWA during the 80's. Good thing they knew how to use him.
4. "Mr Perfect" Curt Hennig
I dont even think you need me to pull out any in ring reasons to justify how great of a wrestler Hennig was. Yet, nobody saw fit to put a major world title around his waist. The closest he came was in a feud with Hulk Hogan where he and The Genius smashed the WWF title on Saturday Night's Main Event (which is still one of the greatest pieces of wrestling TV ever produced).
Perfect tore the house down in almost any feud he was ever in, and for a time was a huge fan favorite. The WWF dropped the ball not having him win the title over Ric Flair in 1992. As much as I love Bret Hart, Perfect was made for that role and to be set up in a long term feud with Flair. The WWF didnt see fit thought, and kept him as a mere manager throughout most of the year.
Perfect was also a great candidate for the title as a heel. Hogan and Perfect had everything set up for a great feud in the early 90's but apparently Vince didnt think so. Besides, how would they sell PPV buys if Hogan wasnt gonna wrestle a guy who made the earth shake and crumble when he walked?
3. "Ravishing" Rick Rude
Rick Rude was the greatest heel of all time in my opinion. Nobody in the world could draw heat to himself the way that Rude did. For that alone, it would have been genius for the WWF to put the title on him and let someone chase him for it.
However, Vince McMahon thought it was a better idea for the Ultimate Warrior to wear the belt. In case you didnt notice earlier, I am a little bitter about that fact. The Warrior couldnt talk or wrestle, and Rude could do both with the best of them. If the WWE were smart, they would have had Rude win the title and have the Warrior chase him and build to a rematch. Alas, they were not.
WCW also decided not to put the title on Rude when it was obvious fans wanted to see he and Sting go at it in the worst way. Instead, we got the same drawn out feuds and matches between Flair and Sting.
2. Mike Awesome
I dont want to say too much here, because I am working on a full piece on the topic, but Mike Awesome SHOULD HAVE single handedly saved WCW.
WCW wasnt smart enough to capitalize on the fact that the guy was about 7 feet tall, had the power of a Kevin Nash, and the aerial skills of a cruiserweight. He was a total package in the ring and he was just as good on the mic. Instead, they did what just about anyone would have expected out of WCW in 2000...
They put a leisure suit on the guy and gave him a '70s gimmick. When that failed they did what anyone expected out of WCW in the year 2000...
They made him obsessed with fat chicks. Enough said. In you werent fortunate enough to ever watch him wrestle, go and watch he and Masato Tanaka tear the house down.
1. Owen Hart
Sadly, it's become trendy to be an Owen Hart fan. Mostly due to the fact that he tragically died. I however have always been obsessed with the Hart's. Owen was probably the better talker of the family, and he damn sure was the better heel.
So why didnt WWF put the title on him in 1994 and make the fued of the year even better? Who knows. I still wonder that every day. In an ideal world, Bret would have been chasing the title in Owen's hands leading up to their cage match at SummerSlam 94.
Just to illustrate, we all know that Owen could wrestle with anyone at anytime and anyplace. Yet during his run in the WWF, Bob Backlund, Diesel, Sid, and even Vince McMahon held the title. None of those men appealed to anyone as a champion, yet they were put over because they were big. In the case of Backlund, they were setting up a feud with Hart and Diesel.
There are many more, but these are the people I feel who were most worthy of something more and taking that next step. I realize that its a business and sometimes you have to put the title on who will sell the most black trucker gloves, but its a damn shame in some cases that these exceptional athletes never will have had the privelege of wearing the top titles in the business.
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