The 20 Most Misused Wrestlers in WWE History
It's hard to be used right in WWE.
You have to have a ton of talent, and distinguish yourself from other wrestlers. You have to perform your act so well that it resonates with the fans.
Most importantly, management has to see something special in you and find you the right role.
Oftentimes, the right act is out of the wrestler's control. Unfortunately, being stuck with a bad gimmick can end a career in no time.
For every wrestler who had a great character like Steve Austin or The Rock, there have been twice as many cursed with a terrible one.
If you complain, there are countless others who will gladly take your spot.
There are plenty of talented men and women who were horribly miscast and misused in the company's history. There are also plenty of ways that someone can be misused.
Many of the names on this list would have been better off portraying a heel instead of a face or vice versa.
Also, some talent suffered from debuting in the WWF in the 1980s, when the company refused to acknowledge the existence of other wrestling promotions. You had to start from scratch.
But most of the names here mainly suffered from WWE's sense of humor.
Here are the top 20 most misused wrestlers in WWE history.
20: Matt Morgan
photo from allwrestlingsuperstars.com
Nearly seven feet tall, in great shape, athletic with distinct mic skills.
Make this man a stutterer fast!
When Morgan joined WWE he was a member of Team Lesnar for the Survivor Series pay-per-view.
So far, so good.
He disappeared and reemerged as Carlito's bodyguard, but while he was gone, he suddenly developed a speech impediment.
Matt Morgan seemed to have all the tools that Vince McMahon looks for in a wrestler. But he was saddled with a lousy gimmick that made him an over-sized comedy figure.
Morgan may have been a bit too green to receive a huge push at the time, but he was completely misused in the role that was given to him.
He didn't last too long in the company, and it wasn't until he joined TNA that he started to find his footing as a character.
It looks like he may come back at any time to right that wrong. Hopefully they'll forget all about his speaking problem.
Let's just say he outgrew it.
19: Zack Ryder
photo from sperswwe.blogspot.com
Woo! Woo! Wo- eh, I'm tired of this.
Zack Ryder is either a guy you love or hate.
But one thing is clear, WWE doesn't understand the character.
The past couple years, Ryder should not been a babyface. He should have been an obnoxious Jersey Shore-type character (although that character would also hopefully have run it's course by now, too).
Net fans seemed to take a liking to Ryder after watching his online show. It was clear he had talent, and a sense of humor, but whenever he showed up on TV, he was used for meaningless jobs.
Due to the fans chanting his name in the arenas, WWE decided to give him a push and turned him face. They thought it's what we wanted.
It worked for a short while, but due to some more bad booking, those same fans grew tired of him.
They initially liked him because he was an underdog who wasn't given a chance. They wanted to see that cocky character get his shot on TV. As a face, though, he's exposed as a nerd. He likes boy bands and does fist pumps.
For some reason, people are supposed to cheer for this.
Ryder is still pretty young, so maybe WWE will figure out a better role for him someday, but as it stands now he's one of the most miscast wrestlers they've ever had.
18: Dean Malenko
One of the greatest technical wrestlers of the past 30 years had the nickname "Double Ho Seven" for a short while in the WWF.
I guess you could say that's a case of being misused.
Malenko had a few good months with the WWF, but the last few were not quite up his alley.
Due to his short stature and lack of a Light Heavyweight/Cruiserweight division, Malenko was treading water and then randomly became a ladies man.
He fell in love with Lita and feuded with the Hardy Boyz over her. Then he wrestled Ivory and Jacqueline. Fans didn't want to see him fight women, though, they wanted to see him put on a wrestling clinic with the best workers in the company.
To his credit, he did a fine job with James Bond spoof character, but he could have worked so much better as a no-nonsense bad ass Cruiserweight.
By the end of his career, he was one of the few wrestlers from the late 90s that WCW used better than the WWF did.
17: Brodus Clay
Somebody call my momma! And tell her to tell The Funkasaurus to go away.
Brodus isn't ready for the main events yet, that's pretty clear. He has a long way to go if he ever wants to make it there.
Still, WWE missed a major opportunity by casting him as a dancing goofball.
The monster heels like Kane, Mark Henry and The Big Show (combined age of 126) won't be around a few years from now. Who is going to take their place?
It appeared that Clay was being groomed to take that spot, then WWE threw us a curve ball.
For weeks, WWE built up vignettes of Brodus returning to TV. It looked like he was going to be a dominant force to be reckoned with.
Instead, Ernest "The Cat" Miller's old theme song blared through the arena, and Clay danced his way to the ring with his Funkadactyls.
Somehow, it worked... for a little while. The act has been old for months and Clay has still yet to be in an actual feud.
When he was on NXT, he did a pretty solid job as a heel. His matches left a bit to be desired, but a monster heel doesn't necessarily have to work long back-and-forth matches.
Yes, they could still turn Brodus any time they feel like it, but it's going to be hard to get the Funkasaurus stink out of our brains.
16: Perry Saturn
photo from droptoehold.com
Saturn, "you're welcome" for adding you to this list.
Along with his friend Dean Malenko, Perry Saturn was the other member of the Radicalz who was miscast in the WWF once they left the group.
Granted, Saturn wasn't destined to be a headliner, but he still had a lot to offer. He was a great tag team wrestler, as he'd shown as one-half of The Eliminators in ECW and in matches with Kanyon and Raven in WCW.
He was a real-life bad ass. A former Airborne Army Ranger. There were plenty of roles he could have played in WWF.
They chose to pair him with a mop.
In a story line where Saturn suffered brain damage (don't think they'll do that one again), he found himself in love with a mop, who he affectionately named "Moppy."
Saturn actually got over with this act. It was kind of fun.
Then it ran it's course; it wasn't funny anymore. The novelty of a man/mop relationship surprisingly has a short shelf life.
By the time the gimmick was done with, WWF had nothing left for him.
They must have used all their creative juices on the mop love story. Saturn was then released while recovering from injury.
Like so many other unfortunate wrestlers over the years, Saturn became nothing more but a lazy comedy act in WWF.
photo from cagesideseats.com
WWE and Goldberg was just never a good fit.
The second week that Goldberg was on TV, WWE decided to have Goldust put a wig on his head.
To this day, I'm not sure if that was supposed to be some sort of weird sports entertainment initiation, a mean rib, or if creative genuinely thought it was a good idea.
Due to Goldberg's limitations, the best way to use him is to put him in squash matches where he can beat someone as soon as possible.
WWE didn't have dozens of jobbers like WCW had.
Without a long list of jobbers to run through, he was quickly exposed as not being very good in the ring.
Still, he had a ton of charisma and the crowds liked him. Instead of being a consistent main eventer, he was tossed all around the card when he was on TV.
It's not too surprising that he hated his time there and lasted less than a year.
photo from wwe.com
He's been cast as a rapper, a comedy act and a guy that sees an invisible child.
It's a shame, as Ron Killings can cut a great promo when motivated. Check out his early work in TNA or his most recent heel turn for proof.
R-Truth started out his WWE career as K-Kwik. He mainly teamed with Road Dogg, but was later used as a jobber.
Once he joined TNA, he became a compelling character. But like TNA often does, they screwed up his push by turning him face too early.
WWE should have learned from TNA's mistake. They didn't.
R-Truth has had a pretty good WWE run. Most wrestlers wouldn't mind having his career.
It's probably too late for him to have an effective heel turn again, though. He's in his 40s now, and the Little Jimmy stuff has just become too ridiculous. The crowd just isn't into him like they used to be.
He could have built up a strong, lengthy career based off his promo ability. Instead, he was mainly reduced to yelling "what's up?" over and over and over again.
photo from angelfire.com/me4/wrestlertattoos/images/tazz.jpg
Tazz had an excellent debut in WWF, where he choked out Kurt Angle and handed the Olympic gold medalist his first loss.
Unfortunately, that was probably the highlight of his entire run.
WWF could have had a giant killer character in Tazz, but Vince McMahon didn't see enough in him.
Tazz could wrestle and he could talk. He had a distinct look and believability inside of the ring. The only thing he didn't have was size.
Before Rey Mysterio debuted and was taking down men twice his size, that role could have gone to Tazz. He could have done so more believably with his brutal arsenal of suplexes and submissions.
After an arm injury and a heel turn, he was barely above being a jobber for the rest of his run.
Had WWF pushed Tazz like ECW had, they could have had a big star on their hands.
In the end, it's too bad that Tazz left ECW when he did. His character could have grown, and for the company, it was one of the final nails in their coffin.
12: Scott Steiner
photo from onlineworldofwrestling.com
We all know that Scott Steiner was our big-bad booty daddy and our hook up, but did you know his WWE run sucked?
Sure, Scott Steiner didn't have a lot left in the tank during his last WWE run, but he was still horribly misused.
Quite simply, you don't cast Scott Steiner as a face.
Big Poppa Pump missed out on the WCW Invasion entirely. WWE needed a ratings boost, so they brought him in to feud with Triple H.
Hunter after all was the centerpiece of the company. The only problem was that Hunter was a heel.
Somebody had to play the face. They chose the genetic freak.
It was an odd choice.
During the last few years of WCW, Steiner was one of the most entertaining parts of the program. He legitimately looked like he could snap at anytime. His promos were often nonsensical, but amazing in their own unique way.
He was a heel the entire time, though. That's what got him over.
After a decent couple of weeks, Steiner flopped. A big part of the problem was that he was now pretty terrible in the ring. But trying to get people to cheer him after years of hating him didn't help.
11: One Man Gang
photo from kayfabenews.com
The One Man Gang was a terrifying man you didn't want to mess with.
Until he joined WWF, and became Akeem the African Dream.
For the first few months, he did portray The One Man Gang, but WWF didn't give him much of a push. So, out of nowhere, it was announced he was of African descent.
In some horribly racist sketches, the One Man Gang would now only be known as Akeem.
Akeem the African Dream teamed up with The Big Bossman and were known as the Twin Towers. Their manager Slick, who essentially played a pimp, added a whole other layer of offensiveness to this act.
While they received a pretty good push, it was hard to take Akeem seriously. He just looked absolutely ridiculous.
Akeem the African Dream lasted less than two years in the company, with his highest profile match being a loss to his former partner, The Big Bossman, at WrestleMania VI.
He could have been a major threat to the top faces, but instead was a bizarre, poorly thought out character.
10: Mark Henry
photo from my123cents.blogspot.com
As evidenced by his most recent heel run, Mark Henry can be a great heel.
He spent a great deal of his career being injured, and a great part of his career as an ineffective babyface.
There is so much natural talent with Henry, though, that he could have contributed a lot more to the company.
The worst part of his run was during the Attitude era when he was known as Sexual Chocolate. During this time he was portrayed as a nymphomaniac. He dated Mae Young, confessed to incest and felt up a transvestite.
It's actually pretty incredible that he lasted as long as he did.
During the course of Henry's career, he was turned many times. Rarely did it amount to anything. It was hard to care about him one way or the other by constantly switching sides.
Had WWE cast him as a dominant heel early on and stuck with it, they could have helped him blossom years before he did.
Currently out with an injury, it will be interesting to see if Henry returns where he left off as a top heel, or if WWE can't help themselves and inexplicably turn him face again.
9: Terry Taylor
photo from accelerator3359.com
WWE loves having chicken heels, but this was just ridiculous.
Terry Taylor may have never been a world champion, but he was a good worker and deserved better than playing the role of poultry.
The Red Rooster would crow like a rooster in promos. Yes, it was just as annoying as that sounds. He'd also talk about his claws and refer to his fans (the seven or so that he had) as his "rooster boosters."
Yes, Hogan had "Hulkamaniacs", The Ultimate Warrior had his "warriors" and The Red Rooster got "rooster boosters."
To this day, Vince McMahon should probably call him up and apologize for giving him such an atrocious gimmick. Even Steve Austin or The Rock couldn't have got that act over.
photo from pwa.wrestlingx.net
Rico Constantino was a legit bad ass.
He was a former SWAT team member, a bodyguard, and a dominant contestant on American Gladiators.
In deciding how to best use him, WWE did the obvious thing and cast him as a hair dresser.
Despite the horrible gimmick, Rico did a great job and ran with it. He was surprisingly over when he was released from the company.
The gimmick held him back, though, as he could never really rise up the card with it. Most of his career was spent as a comedy jobber.
There's really only so much you can do with such a flamboyant act.
Had he been given some in-ring credibility and a more realistic character, he could have stayed in the company much longer than he did.
7: The Big Show
photo from rpad.tv
Sometimes WWE gets it right with the Big Show, but most of his career, they've missed by a mile.
The Big Show is one of the largest athletes in the company's history. Instead of pushing him as a big deal (no pun intended) he's just another wrestler on the roster.
When Andre the Giant showed up in your town, it was a special attraction.
Fans couldn't wait to see him. He was someone that you had to see in person to believe. His size and charisma made him one of the biggest draws in the history of wrestling.
Fans don't feel that same connection with The Big Show.
When he's a babyface he's pushed too hard and shows up too often. At other times, he was too goofy and jobbed too frequently.
WWF wasted the years he was at his peak athletic skills in the company by portraying him as a silly, gentle giant instead of a main event threat.
Just like Andre, The Big Show shouldn't have wrestled so much in his career. He should have been more of a special attraction who doesn't need to be on every TV episode.
The novelty of seeing him wears off fast. Other wrestlers can't lift him up so it greatly reduces what you can do with him in a match.
Big Show has had a great career with WWE, but he had the potential to be iconic with the right push.
photo from wrestling123.org
I’ll be the first to admit, Goldust has made me laugh quite a few times over the years.
With that being said, Dustin Rhodes could have been much more valuable to the company as a creepy, diabolical heel.
Once a guy is reduced to faking he has Tourette's syndrome, you know he’s probably miscast.
A comedy face is only going to get you so far, but a unique heel like Goldust could have set up so many more top programs.
The first couple years of Goldust's run went pretty well. His Shattered Dreams productions, the bizarre behavior, and Marlena at his side made for one compelling act.
He never rose up the card, though. As time went on, creative got lazy with this character.
After some personal problems, he went to WCW.
Later in his career, he re-emerged as a heel and set his sights on Rob Van Dam. He came up short though, and turned face quickly after.
With the right storyline and opponent, Goldust could have been closer to the main event than he ever reached as a babyface act.
We may never, ever forget the name of Goldust, but we may also never forget how he was misused, either.
5: Diamond Dallas Page
photo from wetalkwrestling.com
To this day, it's amazing to think how WWE screwed up Diamond Dallas Page's character so badly.
Page was a couple years past his peak popularity when he joined the WWF. He was also in his mid-40s.
Still, he was new to the company, he could still work, and there were plenty of fresh feuds for him to have.
He became a guy who stalked The Undertaker's wife. It was an odd choice to make.
In WCW, Page was known as "The People's Champion." WWF had their own "People's Champ:" The Rock.
Why WWE didn't book those two against each other is a mystery.
Instead, DDP, along with the entire WCW roster were pushed as incompetent, inferior wrestlers to the mighty WWE guys.
After an injury, DDP came back and was misused again. Now he was an over-the-top motivational speaker.
It was baffling.
Within a couple years he went from a popular main-event babyface, to a mid-card comedy heel.
After the Invasion angle, WWF halfheartedly turned him face. It was too late though, the damage was done. After months of being pushed as a fool who even jobbed to The Undertaker's wife, no one was going to take him seriously.
A neck injury put him out of the game for good without ever coming close to reaching his full potential in WWF.
4: The Bushwhackers
photo from mapsoftheproblematic.wordpress.com
The Bushwhackers were terrifying.
Well, not when they were the Bushwhackers, but when they were The Sheepherders before their WWF days.
It's possible that Vince McMahon just didn't think the duo was big enough to be considered a legitimate threat. Those were the days of massive tag teams like The Colossal Connection, The Powers of Pain and Demolition.
I guess they wanted more comedy.
Gone were the days of bloody brawls, and in were the days of licking each other's faces. The crowd liked it, but it severely limited their potential in the company.
There's only so many times you can see two guys walk to the ring like a couple of clowns before it starts to get old.
WWE could have given the goofy Bushwhackers gimmick to a lesser talented team, the Sheepherders could have been one of the best tag teams of their era if pushed right.
3: Ric Flair
photo from suplexmachine.com
Ric Flair is arguably the greatest wrestler of all time, but somehow he's been misused in every company he's been in.
Due to his phenomenal retirement in WWE, people seem to forget about his last couple years in the company.
Simply, he wasn't treated as a big deal.
Flair was in a lot of random, inconsequential programs. After Evolution, he seemed lost in the shuffle. He even teamed up with Carlito at one point for some reason.
During Flair's last few years, he wrestled far too often without enough hype. Whenever Hogan stopped by, WWE it was an event. Flair was just another guy on the roster.
He should have been reserved for only huge programs.
Rock vs. Flair and Austin vs. Flair should have been gigantic, once-in-a-lifetime pay-per-view main event matches that were built up for months.
Instead, they took place on Raw.
His character was also misused by having him constantly refer to Triple H as the best of all time. Many people believed Flair was the best, but his character every week would remind us that there is someone better than him.
Of course no one actually believed that (except maybe Hunter). While Ric Flair is one of wrestling's biggest legends, he's managed to be under-appreciated everywhere he goes.
2: Dusty Rhodes
photo from thehistoryofwwe.com
He was the son of a plumber. A hard working man who captured the imagination of wrestling fans everywhere.
Dusty Rhodes was one of the biggest wrestling stars in the entire country, making tons of money and selling out arenas all across the mid-Atlantic during his time in Jim Crockett promotions.
Until he joined WWF. Then he was a fat man wearing polka dots.
What made Dusty Rhodes so great in the 70s and the 80s was his working-man gimmick. It was believable, and fans could relate to him.
Heck, if a guy like Dusty Rhodes could live out his dreams, why couldn't we?
While he may not have been a young man any longer when he joined WWF, there was still so much more they could have done with him.
He should have been in the main events taking on Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior, not in mixed tag matches with the Macho King and Elizabeth. They basically wasted his time by bringing him in.
Dusty made the best of it, but it was clear this wasn't the role he should have been playing.
Lucky for Dusty that he wrestled in the era he did. If he was breaking into the business today, he probably wouldn't get a second look.
1: Kurt Angle
photo from pwa.wrestlingx.net
Kurt may be one of the greatest WWE superstars of all time. That doesn't mean he wasn't misused for most of his career there.
Simply, Kurt Angle was way too goofy.
He was fantastic at comedy, but comedy doesn’t sell as many tickets in professional wrestling like a great, intense feud does.
Ever since his debut, the Olympic gold medalist was relied on far too often to deliver laughs in WWE. His three I’s (integrity, intensity and intelligence), the Olympic heroes for abstinence story, teaming with Edge and Christian, and wearing a miniature cowboy hat are just a few examples.
A legitimate, no-nonsense, unstoppable Kurt Angle would have drawn more money.
He could have been a dominant top face or heel.
WWE instead went the easy route with him. He was probably fun to write for, but he wasn’t booked as effectively as he could have been.
After Rock and Austin left the company, WWE could have built the company around Angle had he not been booked as such a clown for so long.
Despite being more naturally gifted than guys like HHH, Cena and Batista, Angle never became a centerpiece of the promotion. When it came time to take him seriously, it was difficult.
Kurt has had a bunch of classic matches, and made a lot of money, but WWE still didn't come close to using him right.