Some WWE wrestlers just never got a fair shot.
It seems to happen all the time with the audience seeing more in a particular wrestler than management ever does.
Whether it was a lousy gimmick or bad timing, some potential superstars never had much of a chance to get over.
Worse yet, some do start to get over, only to have their push taken away.
Here is a list of 14 wrestlers who had much more potential that what they were given on TV. They may not all have become main-eventers, but each one had unique talents that could have made them at least a solid role player in WWE.
Instead, for a variety of reasons, WWE gave up on this group, and let them slip away, leaving us only to wonder what could have been.
Mordecai was a strange gimmick.
He was introduced to audiences through a series of bizarre vignettes where he would rant about sinners and condemning the audience to hell.
Religious characters rarely work as gimmicks, but this didn’t stop WWE from trying.
Mordecai joined WWE and defeated Scotty 2 Hotty and Bob Holly at consecutive pay-per-views. These were essentially squash matches to seemingly set up a feud with his natural opponent: The Undertaker.
Mordecai didn’t last that long.
On a random Smackdown episode short into his run, he was defeated by Rey Mysterio and never seen again.
Mordecai probably wouldn’t have worked long in WWE with such a cartoonish gimmick, but WWE should have at least used him for what he was created for. He never faced off with Taker.
Instead, Rey got nothing from beating Mordecai and WWE wasted a lot of money and TV time on his squash matches and vignettes.
Before he was Gallows, he was the man they called Festus.
And Festus was surprisingly over.
Luke Gallows was a good big-man worker. He showed a lot of intensity in his matches, and seemed like he was on the path to having a solid WWE career.
He joined The Straight Edge Society and after a hot start, the group lost their way and became manhandled by The Big Show and Undertaker. After the group disbanded, he only appeared a couple more times on TV before his release.
WWE does love their big men, so he could show up again some day. For now though, it's hard to see why the company couldn't find another role for him.
How could the French Tickler not make this list?
Becoming the youngest WWE tag champion at the age of 19, things looked bright for Dupree.
After spending some time in the group La Resistance, he broke away on his own heading to Smackdown to host the very short lived "Cafe de Rene." The push seemed to stall, as he showed up on the losing side of every feud he was a part of.
Maybe he was pushed too fast, but the young Frenchman (actually a Canadian) had the look that Vince seems to go for, and was a pretty good talker for his young age.
After languishing on Velocity and ECW, Dupree asked for his release.
Even though he's been out of the company for nearly five years, he's still under 30.
Don't be shocked to see him one day get another shot in the company, but for now it looks like WWE creative dropped the ball on finding him a decent role.
In 2006, Paul Burchill debuted his new gimmick on Smackdown as a pirate.
Yes, a pirate.
A takeoff of Captain Jack Sparrow, Burchill swung his way into the hearts of WWE fans. He had previously been aligned with William Regal, but he took to this new gimmick by saying his family heritage traced back to Blackbeard.
Amazingly, he didn’t reach the main events with a pirate gimmick. Two years later he re-debuted with his sister Katie Lea Burchill in what was supposed to be an incestuous relationship.
Thankfully, WWE pulled the plug on that idea.
Burchill languished in ECW mid-card feuds the rest of his career, never getting a chance to breakthrough. It’s too bad, as he had an intimidating look and good offense, but was horribly miscast.
Still only 32, we may yet see him set sails for WWE again.
"Whatever Katie wants, Katie gets."
Whatever that means...
Much like her storyline brother, Katie wasn't used to her full potential.
Spending most of her time in ECW, she was relegated to teaming up with Paul to take on DJ Gabriel and Alicia Fox, also assisting Paul in his feud with The Hurricane.
Katie had one of the most distinct looks among the divas, was one of the best wrestlers in the division, and played her role perfectly.
Instead, WWE let her go in their never-ending, revolving door of choosing models over talent.
She has since joined the TNA roster debuting as one of the most prominent members in the Knockouts division, but she has again disappeared from TV.
Better known to wrestling fans as Colt Cabana, Scotty’s stay on Smackdown was brief.
It was also brutal.
Cabana was about as low as you can get on the totem pole, losing left and right whenever he showed up on TV.
When he entered WWE’s farm system, he was Scotty “Boom Boom” Cabana, but inexplicably lost the name upon his jump to the majors.
He became Scotty Goldman. Doesn't quite have the same ring to it.
His highlight during this time was his online show “What’s Crackin'?” which predated Zack Ryder’s show by a couple of years.
While Scotty did a solid job on his web show, he wasn’t given much of a chance on TV. Goldman may have just come on too soon. Had WWE’s online presence been stronger at the time, he could have maybe found a following like Ryder did and stayed on the roster.
"Who betta than Kanyon?"
Apparently, WWE thought everyone on the roster was.
Kanyon was one of WCW’s greatest comedy wrestlers. The thing is, he could go in the ring too. He was known as the “innovator of offense” for a reason. Nearly every match he would pull out a rarely seen move.
Kanyon started out fine with some higher profile matches during the Invasion angle, but an injury was the beginning of the end to his career.
While sidelined, he had an allergic reaction to some medication which nearly killed him. This kept him out of the ring for months. Upon his return, he was a “present” to the Undertaker by Paul Heyman where he dressed up as Boy George. After that, he was a Velocity exclusive.
Kanyon could talk, antagonize the crowd, and was known to be a good trainer. Maybe it was an overcrowded roster, or the WCW stigma, but Kanyon was barely used at all.
Sadly, Chris Kanyon committed suicide in 2010, never being able to reach his full potential.
Ultimo Dragon was one of WCW's best cruiserweights.
A botched surgery on his elbow, though, put him in early retirement.
After a couple years off, Dragon came back and joined WWE. It seems every few years, WWE tries to get somewhat serious about a cruiserweight division, but nothing ever seems to come of it (rumors are going on even now of a potential return of the division).
WWE seemed to be setting up Dragon vs. Mysterio right out of the gate, but it never became a feud. Dragon was mainly relegated to Velocity during his time there.
It's too bad, as his work was crisp (much more fluid than Sin Cara's), and he could have been a hero to the Japanese market like Rey is to the Latino audience.
Unfortunately, his most memorable moment in the company will probably be him slipping on the entrance ramp on the way out for his match at Wrestlemania 20.
M-M-M-Matt Morgan's gimmick s-s-s-sucked.
Upon joining WWE, he became an ally of Brock Lesnar and Nathan Jones. Later he joined up with Carlito.
So far, so good.
But for some strange reason he was given the character of a stuttering giant.
For reasons probably only known to Vince McMahon, he cast Morgan as a guy who stuttered instead of an ass-kicking giant. The thing is, Morgan was a good talker.
Worse yet is that babyfaces like John Cena made fun of Morgan for stuttering. Not because he was a heel or because he was aligned with Carlito, but because he had a speech impediment. Who is supposed to be the bully here?
It's not quite clear why Morgan was released, but luckily he showed up later in TNA. Having a pretty good run there, he looks destined to return to WWE.
It's too bad though that they didn't find some other gimmick for him and actually made money with him the past few years.
WWE went way too far with the Muhammad Hassan character.
It shouldn't have ended the wrestling career of Mark Copani (the man who played Hassan), though.
After a controversial angle where his sidekick Daivari was "sacrificed" and a group of men clad in black carried him off, UPN stepped in and told WWE to get rid of the act.
Hassan and Daivari were sent down to developmental. Once there, WWE gave him an ultimatum: Change your gimmick or be released.
Credit to Copani for refusing to change. WWE should have stuck with Hassan and toned down the act. Better yet, they could have had him return as a babyface.
WWE gave up, though. Due to their backwards thinking, they probably wouldn't even conceive of letting a Muslim character play anything but a pseudo-terrorist, and let the charismatic Copani go.
Currently a school teacher and working on a graphic novel, Copani seems to have found happiness outside of wrestling.
Why Kaval had to bother with NXT is a mystery.
He was more than ready to join WWE's full-time roster. He had plenty of experience in TNA and ROH to be a player right off the bat.
Instead, he was paired with Lay-Cool to get some seasoning.
His brutal-looking offense and distinct voice set him apart from the rest of the roster. He could have feuded with any number of wrestlers. After NXT though, WWE couldn't figure out what to do with him.
In one of the dumbest moves a wrestler could possibly make, the writers had him use his guaranteed title shot to challenge for the Intercontinental title instead of a world title.
He lost his only chance at gold.
Creative then had nothing for him, and Kaval asked for his release.
With Rey Mysterio being injured, Evan Bourne looking like he's on the outs, and Sin Cara yet to capture a large audience, Kaval could have been used as WWE's top underdog wrestler.
WWE pulled the plug on The Brian Kendrick way too soon.
For a short while, he excellently played a cocky heel that you couldn't wait to see get shown up. He seemed to be fitting into his role well, and the addition of Ezekiel Jackson was a nice touch.
At the height of his short run, he ascended to a Championship Scramble Match at Unforgiven 2008.
For some reason, WWE split the duo up and sent Kendrick packing to RAW. He was essentially a jobber for his short run there before being released.
While he did have a decent run in TNA, The Brian Kendrick character had the most potential of any role of his career to date.
In another era, he could have been pushed as a top draw. He looked like a barrel-chested maniac with crazy eyes and an even crazier beard. He stood out among the legions of cut, muscular, shiny superstars who regularly emerge from FCW.
He was given a short push and even a spot in an Elimination Chamber match, but that’s as far as he got. WWE soon jobbed him out and sent him packing.
Knox could still be around as a monster heel in WWE. He had a distinct look that would get him noticed in airports, which Vince seems to put stock into.
Knox seems to be a victim of a common WWE theme, where he never talks, jobs to all the top faces and leaves WWE wondering why he's not getting over.
Sean is No. 1 on this list.
But I'm not telling you anything you don't already know.
Sean was one of the WCW members brought over from the Invasion angle. He teamed up with Chuck Palumbo to take on the APA, where they were quickly destroyed.
In 2003, he was repackaged with a devil's advocate gimmick. He told people not to pay their taxes, to cheat on their wives, and to take drugs.
The vignettes were brilliant. It looked like WWE had a new type of character that we hadn't seen before.
WWE seemed to give up though, and for some reason paired him up with Roddy Piper. Even Roddy Piper thought that was a bad idea.
He got to feud with Hogan briefly, but disappeared and the gimmick was dropped.
With his distinct look, great athleticism, and cool gimmick, it's a shame that WWE gave up on him so soon.