Lord Tensai and 7 Other WWE Superstars Who Didn't Deserve Their Push
When Albert returned to the WWE sporting Japanese attire and face paint, those of a certain age cringed in embarrassment. Here we were being promised a great new WWE Superstar and, instead, we get Giant Bernard. Don't get me wrong, I think that Matt Bloom is a great wrestler, but he just has no marketing ability—at least in the WWE.
Very rarely can a Superstar be reborn with a new gimmick. The example of Glen Jacobs is one of the few that we can highlight that goes against this rule.
The invention of Kane was, however, radically different to his former character—the unmasked Dr. Isaac Yankem DDS. When Kane eventually lost the mask, all had been forgotten and the demented dentist passed into history.
With Lord Tensai, we got what is common in the WWE: lazy creative.
It seems not a year goes by without some wrestler getting an undeserved push. Some are marketed as a result of backstage politics; others simply because there is no one else around. And yet these so-called main event Superstars weaken the championship picture.
This slideshow will highlight other recent phenomena that did not exactly set the world on fire.
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A WWE Loyalist since 1996, Mark Henry was a longtime jobber in the federation. Whenever someone was running their mouth and needed a reality check, Mark Henry would arrive. Or when the annual Royal Rumble would come around and the contest needed some big men that could never be supposedly eliminated, Mark Henry was your man.
In reality, those who eliminated Henry were made to look good—Henry had no chance of winning.
And yet this jobber in 2011 suddenly reached the pinnacle of his career. By 2012, through a combination of booking and injuries, he was back in the valley once again.
It cannot have helped being in the WWE during the era of The Rock and Steve Austin, but I wonder what the WWE saw in Mark Henry 15 years after his debut that it thought warranted a title run?
Giving someone a World Title simply out of loyalty makes no sense—otherwise, Jim Ross would be your champion. He would still be better than David Arquette, but equally as inappropriate.
Mark Henry is currently injured, but I doubt that he will once again reach the lofty albeit temporary heights of 2011.
For many, he was the heir apparent of Rey Mysterio Junior. For others, he was nothing more than a botch-fest. Watching Sin Cara's entrance and matches were somewhat of a novelty for wrestling fans because you literally did not know what you were going to get.
The reality of Sin Cara is that a lack of reliability will not do.
In a profession where legitimate injuries are all too common, the last thing you need is a wrestler making them more likely. With Sin Cara's approach of high-flying flair, it was perhaps only a matter of time before he did inflict an injury upon himself.
The long-awaited push for Sin Cara has still yet to happen, but it wasn't for the want of trying by the WWE.
Had it not been for his recent revival, The Miz might have made the list. However, his apprentice Alex Riley has instead taken his place. The future of wrestling needs new Superstars. They need new heroes, new villains and new cannon fodder.
With his place alongside The Miz, Alex Riley was cast into a boring and somewhat annoying character of a college jock. He overacted at times, but could have made for a convincing heel.
In an attempt to break him out, he was given a push that saw him soon compete alongside John Cena and Randy Orton. The attempt to fast-track him was to fail.
Currently, Riley is on Superstars and if he makes it past the annual post-Rumble clearout, he may still stand a chance. As it stands, though, his career is on hiatus as he flounders on the C-show.
Had he had a manager, Jack Swagger may have been quite a good character. He has good wrestling ability, reasonable presence and knows how to work a crowd. However, just as with so many others, his creative direction lacked any real substance.
Victim of blind booking and unfunny sketches, Swagger was billed as the next big thing, crowned champion, then ridiculed into the middle of the card in a short period of time.
His fall from grace has been pretty uneventful and he has since taken his place alongside other cannon fodder Superstars who look big and act tough, but ultimately must lose so that someone else looks better.
The mid-card and mid-titles now make up his arena. Jack Swagger may still have a chance, but given the fate of others, he may be closer to the door than the World Title.
Handpicked by Vince McMahon, Drew McIntyre was promoted as being the next big thing. And yet I cannot remember a moment when the two were ever together in the ring. Boring matches were followed by boring feuds, as McIntyre went from main event to the mid-card in a matter of months.
Once again the victim of creative, McIntyre's attempt to be cold and calculating came across as slow and uninteresting to the WWE universe.
It must be particularly galling for Drew that his fellow newcomer and Triple H buddy, Sheamus, has won two World Titles.
Drew is holding on by his fingertips at this stage. He has ability, but needs direction—otherwise, he will soon be in TNA.
The Great Khali
Wrestling used to be based on local territories. Midwest, New York, the South. Few could have predicted that wrestling could have exploded into an international market under the banner of one name. The Vince McMahon revolution created this phenomenon, and whether it's a good thing or not, wrestling has not looked back since.
However, the McMahon international market is seemingly a simple and stereotypical one. Creating an English wrestler who likes tea, an Irishman who likes to fight or a Frenchman who is arrogant is not difficult.
Creating a wrestler like The Great Khali, who can seemingly beat The Undertaker and yet struggle to walk, is just pandering. Unfortunately, it works very well, and India is now a major player in the WWE market base.
And as a result, The Great Khali remains on the roster. Whether he deserves a World Title is also highly dubious.
If you are of a certain height and size, you will be given a red carpet entrance into the WWE. It doesn't matter that you cannot wrestle or even have mass appeal, but nevertheless, you will get the Vinny Mac stamp of approval.
Ryback is one in a long line of Superstars that have muscles in places that most people don't have places. Mason Ryan, Jackson Andrews and Nathan Jones are only a handful of these generic musclemen.
In a similar fashion to Goldberg, Ryback has also been criticised recently for his particular wrestling style—or his distinct lack of it. Having power does not make you a wrestler. Training is needed. Fail to treat your opponent with respect and you can do them a career-ending injury or worse.
Ryback is a McMahon classic, but I cannot help but think that he will be a mid-card wrestler in a few months' time as his latest chewtoy becomes boring.
Wrestling needs new Superstars. There has to be trial and error to see what works and what does not. Along the way, wrestling has had its fair share of false heroes. Promoting a wrestler with no long-term vision creates several months of wasted time.
If that superstar wins a title, it takes time away from a more deserving champion. If that failed experiment continues, it can turn wrestling fans off.
World Titles need to be respected. Newcomers cannot be in the title picture in a short period of time unless they have been properly trained and vetted. Simply being someone's friend or being a particular size cannot be a mark of success.
In so many cases, wrestlers are given stupid characters and even worse names and condemned to flounder in the deep end. Their eventual release comes as a surprise to few people, and their 15 minutes are almost literally that.
Pushing a superstar must only come when they have been properly earmarked for greatness—and even then, it's not a guarantee.
The world needs a new Shawn Michaels and while we wait, we should not have to accept temporary fads.
Quality is long term, not a six-month craze.