Scott Steiner, Nathan Jones: The 20 Biggest Busts in WWE History

Andy Soucek@Andy_SoucekFeatured ColumnistOctober 1, 2012

Scott Steiner, Nathan Jones: The 20 Biggest Busts in WWE History

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    When you talk about the biggest busts in the history of WWE, a few names immediately come to mind.

    Namely, Sable, Jacqueline, Torrie Wilson and B.B. are usually at the top of most historian's lists.

    Wait a second.  Oops, wrong kind of bust there.

    Well, now that we've got the jokes out of the way, it's time to really dive in and look at the biggest failures in WWE history.

    We're looking at some of the men and women who were set to light the wrestling world on fire and could barely start a match.

    Others on the list had a lot of talent, and some ended up having successful WWE careers, but none of them lived up to their potential.

    Guys like Braden Walker and Shawn Stasiak didn't make the cut, as WWE didn't seem to have big plans for them anyway. This list is for wrestlers who seemed destined to take on the world...or at least have a promising mid-card role.

    Whether it was injuries, lack of crowd reaction, or just an overall terribleness, this group never became big stars like the company had hoped.

    Here are the top 20 biggest busts in WWE history.

No. 20: Kharma

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    After weeks of vignettes, the Divas division was going to have a new force to be reckoned with.

    She was big, mean and apparently didn't like Barbie dolls.

    It appeared that the women's wrestlers were going to actually be featured on TV, with Kharma as the main attraction. She was unstoppable in TNA, and it was exciting to see what she could do in her new home.

    Unfortunately for her career, Kharma became pregnant shortly after her debut.

    She disappeared for a year, then made a surprise return at the Royal Rumble. She tossed out Michael Cole and Hunico before being eliminated.

    It looked like she was ready to return full-time, but we never saw her again in the WWE.

    Sadly, she had a miscarriage in real life and understandably needed some time away. When she began to train for her return, she was reportedly out of shape and stubborn.

    At 35, we may yet see her wrestle on the national stage again. But to most fans, she'll probably be remembered for a very promising, but short, run in WWE.

No. 19: Dr. Death Steve Williams

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    Dr. Death had an amazing career all around the world, just not in the WWF.

    The company had big plans for him, as there were hopes that he would eventually feud with Steve Austin in the main event.

    He never got that far.

    The company put together the Brawl for All tournament thinking that Williams would dominate. He was the centerpiece of the group, and the hope was that he would steamroll through the competition and look like a legitimate tough guy.

    The problem is that the Brawl for All was a series of legitimate MMA-based fights. Unfortunately, you can't predetermine a real fight, and anything can happen.

    Instead of winning, Williams lost in the second round and was injured.

    Why the WWF felt they needed to showcase real fights to make Dr. Death look like a badass is a mystery.

    The company gave up on him being a top player and cast him as a bodyguard for a heel Jim Ross.

    Unsurprisingly, that didn't work, and he was soon let go.

    Still, his WWF run was pretty darn successful compared to his later run under Vince Russo in WCW.

No. 18: Steven (William) Regal

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    He's a maaaaaaaaaaaaaan ba da da da dahhhhh.

    At multiple times in Regal's career, he was slated for a big push. Due to injuries and personal problems, he never got that big shot on a national stage.

    Vince Russo had high hopes for him when he brought him over from WCW. Sure, he had a questionable Man's Man gimmick, but big things seemed to be in store for him.

    Unfortunately for Regal, he quickly entered rehab and was later released by the WWF. He went back to WCW for another lackluster run.

    His second stint in the WWF was much better, as he had a fun run as the Commissioner.

    Overall, Regal has had a pretty solid career in WWE. He's one of their longest-tenured employees, and he's had a lot of accomplishments to be proud of.

    Still, his Man's Man gimmick was a huge flop that took some time to recover from.

    Oh well. If nothing else, he'll at least be remembered for being the first man to kiss Vince McMahon's butt cheeks on TV.

No. 17: Outback Jack

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    Outback Jack was billed to be from Humpty Doo, Australia.

    Yes, it’s a real place.

    He was a rugged man who could survive quite nicely by himself in the wild. He was like Bear Grylls, but better.

    A series of vignettes in the Australian wild helped introduce American audiences to Jack's manly ways.

    Jack put every superstar on notice when he announced that he'd be debuting soon in the World Wrestling Federation.

    Wrestlers everywhere hid in fear. This was one Aussie you didn't want to mess with.

    He was tough. So tough that his entrance music was “Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport”.

    Who could possibly compete with that?

    It turns out after a couple months, almost everyone could. Jack started out as a solid mid-carder, but found himself as a perennial jobber.

    One has to wonder, had he stuck around, how well Outback Jack would have fared in the Attitude Era.

No. 16: Eric Escobar

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    Eric Escobar seemed to quickly fall out of management's favor.

    He debuted alongside of Vickie Guerrero, who often has the most heat of anyone on the roster. It seemed she should be able to get anyone over.

    Anyone except for Eric Escobar, that is.

    At one point, he was slated to be a member of Team Smackdown for the Bragging Rights pay-per-view, but WWE came to their senses and put an end to that.

    Escobar was turned face quickly and separated from Vickie. The crowd didn't buy that either.

    Total, he lasted four months in WWE.

    Some would say that was four months too long.

No. 15: Ludvig Borga

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    Tony Halme had an interesting career.

    He was an MMA fighter, a professional wrestler, a member of Finland's parliament and he recorded an album.

    In 1993, Halme joined the WWF as Ludvig Borga, a man who just hated America.

    Borga was meant to be a big deal. He was the one who finally ended Tatanka's two-year winning streak (with a little help from a steel chair). He then set off in a feud against Lex Luger.

    It seemed he was going to be a big player, but overall, he stayed in the company less than a year.

    One may wonder why he didn't stick around longer, but it's believed he had a bit of an attitude problem.

    Jim Ross, of all people, didn't have kind things to say after Halme's suicide in 2010 (via The Sun):

    "I won't speak at length about those that have passed away but Tony obviously had issues and was not a great guy to be around. Perhaps others have a different view of this man but I personally found him to be somewhat obnoxious and he could be a bully if allowed to be such."

    No matter what, there's one thing no one can ever take away from Tony Halme: his Finish gold single "Viikinki".

No. 14: Nathan Jones

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    Nathan Jones was the Colossus of Boggle Road... oh Boggo?

    He was a convict, a weightlifter, and he once fought Jackie Chan in a movie. He also had some of the coolest vignettes that WWE has ever done.

    Jones had the look and some good facial expressions. The only thing he didn't have was a single ounce of wrestling talent.

    A short time into his run, he was booked in a WrestleMania match with Undertaker against The Big Show and A-Train.

    WWE had so little faith in his wrestling skills that they did an injury angle right before the match to keep him out of action.

    His storyline with Taker was then dropped after Jones sustained an injury. He came back as a part of Team Lesnar, but soon became homesick and grew tired of the travel.

    Jones asked for his release and never returned to the company.

    It's clear why WWE wanted Jones to be a big player, but it's just as easy to see why that was never going to work.

No. 13: Vladimir Kozlov

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    If you can forget about the initial "I love double double e" foolishness, Vladimir Kozlov was pushed as a beast in his in-ring debut.

    It was a long, strange journey for the Ukrainian.

    He was introduced to Vince McMahon by Jerry Jarrett himself, one of the founders of TNA.

    According to Jerry, Dixie Carter wasn't interested in Kozlov, so he delivered him right to WWE's front door.

    Vince McMahon wanted to make him a monster heel, and he pushed him that way upon his debut.

    After only a few months into his run, he took on Triple H at Survivor Series 2008 (Edge was added to the mix mid-match) in the highest profile night of his career.

    A couple months after that, it seemed that WWE had completely given up on him.

    The rest of his run was spent in ECW and then ended by teaming with Santino in a comedy tag team.

    That may very well be the definition of a bust.

No. 12: Kenzo Suzuki

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    He was set to portray Hirohito and feud with then-World Champion Chris Benoit.

    Fortunately, someone in WWE creative passed a high school history class and realized that was a bad idea.

    Hirohito was then repackaged as Kenzo Suzuki. And Kenzo Suzuki was a god-awful wrestler.

    Suzuki may be one of the worst wrestlers under seven feet tall to ever appear in a WWE ring. It was obvious from the start that he didn’t belong anywhere near the main event.

    WWE quickly gave up on a serious Suzuki and changed him from a legitimate in-ring threat to a horny, goofball heel.

    His wife seemed to be added to his act for the sole purpose of having her clothes ripped off by Torrie Wilson now and again.

    Suzuki was a lowlight in one of the worst times in Smackdown’s history and was released after a few months on the air.

    Still, it would have been fascinating to see how awful a pay-per-view main event would have been with him in a top spot.

No. 11: Tiger Ali Singh

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    The WWF Attitude era created a lot of unforgettable wrestlers that fans still have fond memories of today.

    Tiger Ali Singh was not one of them.

    His signing was announced with much fanfare in India, due to his father being the legendary Tiger Jeet Singh (who had a public school in India named in honor of him).

    When he was introduced on Raw, he essentially had the Million Dollar Man's gimmick, but it was far more disgusting.

    One segment had a member from the crowd licking his servant Babu's gnarly feet. Another had him pay a woman $500 to strip down to her underwear.

    Worst of all, Tiger was terrible in the ring. He just looked lost and couldn't convincingly sell any moves.

    People just seemed to hate this guy, but not in a good, money drawing kind of way.

    Singh was set down to developmental multiple times to work on his skills. He was then injured, never to wrestle for the company again.

    He later attempted to sue WWE for millions of dollars.

    Unlike The Million Dollar Man, it's doubtful we'll ever see him enter the WWE Hall of Fame.

No. 10: Brakkus

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    Brakkus was an angry German man.

    That's all that we ever really learned about him.

    In real life, Achim Albrecht was a professional bodybuilder and a former Mr. Olympia contestant. He had the look that McMahon loves.

    WWF seemed to have high hopes for him, but simply, he was terrible in the ring. His large, muscular physique made him largely immobile in the squared circle.

    The highlight of his entire WWF run may be jobbing to Tazz in an ECW match.

    After not going anywhere as a singles act, WWF decided to get real and put him in the Brawl for All Tournament.

    Brakkus was defeated in the first round.

    He disappeared from TV, never to be seen again. We can only hope he has chilled out a bit.

No. 9: Scott Steiner

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    What were they thinking?

    You don’t bring in Scott Steiner to be a face. That’s like bringing in Goldberg to be a heel.

    During the last few years of WCW, Scott Steiner seemed like one of the few stars who could flourish in WWE.

    Due to the length of his WCW contract, Steiner got paid to sit at home and miss out on the entire Invasion angle.

    After that, vignettes started to air on TV that Steiner was coming soon. Raw and Smackdown both bid for his services. Raw won in the end and Steiner joined the company…as a babyface.

    Bad idea.

    Big Poppa Pump rose to prominence in WCW through his crazy heel promos and unpredictable demeanor. He legitimately looked like he might snap at any time.

    His first feud was against Triple H, which started off well but soon became more ridiculous by the week and, at one point, saw Steiner stripping Hunter down to his undies.

    Worse yet, Steiner was now terrible in the ring. He looked like he could barely move one of his feet after years of injuries.

    His matches with Triple H seemingly resulted in nothing but belly-to-belly suplexes while the crowd verbally berated them.

    He didn’t last long in the main event scene and went on to play a mid-carder, teaming up with Test and finally turning heel. It was too late, though. Steiner had already failed to make much of an impact in the company.

    One has to wonder where all his freaks were at?

No. 8: Drew McIntyre

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    Very few wrestlers get the hype from Vince McMahon himself that Drew got on his debut.

    Very few wrestlers have fallen from such heights afterwards, as well.

    In 2009, Vince McMahon announced that he had signed Drew McIntyre to a contract. He claimed that the Scotland native was a future World Champion.

    He's yet to come close to that.

    After a promising start on Smackdown, McIntyre was placed in a pointless feud with Teddy Long where his visa had expired. It was based off of him needing a new visa in real life, but that didn't make for great entertainment.

    McIntyre eventually went on a losing streak of epic proportions and seemed to get fired every week.

    Currently he's mainly competing on the B-shows and has now joined the group The Encore, but that's a far cry from the destiny of becoming a World Champion.

    He's still only 27, but it will take a lot to forget about how poorly he's been booked the past couple years.

No. 7: Diamond Dallas Page

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    In a sea of WCW mid-carders brought in for the Invasion, Diamond Dallas Page was one of the few true big names who signed.

    No Hogan, Flair, Goldberg, Hall, Nash, or Luger. It was up to DDP and Booker T. to save this thing.

    WWE wasn't interested.

    One of WCW's top acts—and their former World Champion—was quickly demolished by The Undertaker. Every time he faced off against The Dead Man (then The Biker Man), he was beaten over and over again.

    Page rarely got in any offense. It was a true massacre. By the end of the feud, he jobbed to The Undertaker's wife.

    After sitting out with injuries, he came back as a motivational speaker. He had a new look with bright shining teeth and a new attitude.

    His very first night back, he was destroyed by The Big Show.

    All of the build up for that?

    A neck injury a few months later forced Page into retirement. It's probably for the best, as it was sad to see Page in his mid-40s being forced to start from the bottom again.

No. 6: Corporal Kirchner

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    Sergeant Slaughter had left the WWF in 1985 over a dispute with the company regarding his involvement in the G.I. Joe cartoon show.

    WWF decided they didn't need him and found a new Army dude to take his place: Corporal Kirchner

    Corporal Kirchner was like Slaughter, except he had actual army experience.

    What he didn't have, though, was talent.

    Kirchner became the new flag-waving, ultra patriot that WWF loved so much. The high point of his career was defeating the evil Russian Nikolai Volkoff at WrestleMania 2.

    He even got to team up with other WWF stars like Ricky Steamboat after that, but he never gained the popularity that Slaughter did.

    After failing a drug test, Kirchner was gone from the company.

    Amazingly, he reinvented himself as the awesome persona of Leatherface in Japan, based off the Texas Chainsaw Massacre character. He competed in insane, hardcore death matches.

    In an interview with WWE.com, it was revealed that he was fired for his participation in one of these matches. Apparently he powerbombed his opponent onto a bed of nails.

    At ease, Corporal Kirchner!

No. 5: Kerry Von Erich

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    Kerry Von Erich seemed to have it all.

    He had the looks, a natural charisma, and he came from a legendary wrestling family.

    He had already achieved tremendous success in World Class Championship Wrestling throughout the '80s.

    He did all this despite having one of his feet amputated in 1986. If you didn't know, you couldn't tell, as he was still a great athlete.

    In 1990, Von Erich joined the World Wrestling Federation. It seemed like a great pairing.

    Upon debuting, he was known as Kerry Von Erich, "The Texas Tornado"—a fan favorite. Within one month, he captured the Intercontinental Title from Mr. Perfect (when the belt still meant something). It looked like a star was born.

    But it wasn't meant to be.

    Like his brothers, Kerry suffered from drug use and depression. He was addicted to painkillers and became unreliable. By the end of his run in the company, he was nothing but a jobber.

    The whole ride there lasted a short couple of years.

    He had so much potential but was never able to fulfill it. Sadly, Kerry Von Erich committed suicide in 1993 at the age of 33.

No. 4: Lex Luger

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    Luger had a good wrestling career, but he never reached the level of stardom that WWF hoped for.

    After portraying the awful Narcissist gimmick, Luger was turned face, and the WWF machine got behind him fully.

    He was a younger, more athletic Hulk Hogan who also just happened to love America. He rode around the country in his Lex Express bus to the delight of children anywhere.

    Luger, though, only had a fraction of Hulk’s charisma. He also had forgettable, stumbling promos.

    Simply, Luger just didn’t have “it,” the intangible factor that makes someone a huge star.

    The biggest moment of Luger's career should have been at SummerSlam '93 when he faced off against Yokozuna for the WWF title. Luger won the match…by count out. But the announcers, Luger and the wrestlers treated it as if he won the gold.

    It went down as one of the weakest pay-per-view endings in the company’s history.

    “Made in the USA” Lex Luger later became a co-winner of the Royal Rumble along with Bret Hart, but he again failed to capture the title at WrestleMania.

    The rest of his time wasn’t as high profile, as it seemed WWF realized he would never be their top draw.

    Lucky for fans, Bret Hart took over that role.

    Despite a solid career, Luger remains one of the company's biggest busts, because they tried to build the company around him and it failed.

No. 3: Giant Gonzalez

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    Giant Gonzalez was very tall.

    And that was it.

    He had some of the worst-looking offense in the history of WWE, and he was possibly the worst at selling too.

    Some would say that a good case could be made for The Great Khali being one of the biggest busts in WWE history.

    But at least the WWE got something out of The Great Khali. He had big feuds with Cena, Undertaker, Triple H and Batista.

    They weren’t good, but they happened. Giant Gonzalez, however, flamed out after one feud.

    Gonzalez dressed in a fake muscle suit complete with a painted-on butt crack on the back. Why, you ask?

    I have no idea.

    But he did, and we just have to accept that.

    The Undertaker did. Gonzalez and his manager, Harvey Whippleman, set their sights on him. Taker then beat him in all of their atrocious matches.

    However, Gonzalez does have the distinction of being Undertaker’s only WrestleMania opponent who he didn’t score a decisive victory on.

    That at least has to be an inspiration for tall men everywhere.

No. 2: Barry Windham

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    As naturally talented as Barry Windham was, he flopped multiple times in the WWF.

    He was actually on the first WrestleMania, where he came up short in a losing effort with his tag partner Mike Rotunda.

    After leaving the WWF, Windham reached new levels of popularity and work rate when he went to the NWA. He eventually joined the legendary Four Horsemen and became a fantastic U.S. champion for the company.

    Then he went back to the WWF and became The Widowmaker.

    Well, that's an interesting name change you could say.

    Windham lasted only four months in the company, as he left because his brother and father were set to go to prison.

    That wasn't the end of Windham in the WWF, though it probably should have been.

    In 1996, he made one more go of it as "The Stalker." Worse yet, he was billed from "The Environment."

    Huh. Okay, I'll roll with it. Well, at least he was a creepy, sadistic, diabolical heel right?

    No, The Stalker debuted as a babyface. Apparently, Marc Mero vetoed a feud where The Stalker would stalk Sable.

    A babyface wrestler named The Stalker? I don't know if anyone could have pulled that off.

    Windham flopped once more for good measure when he reformed The New Blackjacks with Bradshaw.

    Unless you're The New Age Outlaws or The New World Order, adding the word "new" to your name is a guaranteed failure in wrestling.

    Windham is a wrestling legend and could have been a star in the WWF. The company had no idea what to do with him, though, making him one of their biggest busts.

No. 1: WCW

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    That’s right, the biggest bust of all time wasn’t a wrestler, it was a company.

    World Championship Wrestling was WWF’s main competitor for years. At one point, they were even beating the WWF in the ratings and forced them to change the way they ran their business forever.

    The last couple years of WCW’s business weren’t too kind to them, though. In fact, it was downright brutal.

    Still, Nitro had millions of loyal viewers tuning in every week. Once WWF bought out WCW, it was a chance to bring in a whole new audience.

    Fans salivated at the potential match-ups. Austin vs. Goldberg, Sting vs. Undertaker, Scott Steiner vs. The Rock.

    The possibilities were endless.

    Unfortunately, due to the biggest wrestlers' contracts belonging not to WCW, but to Time Warner itself, bringing them in would cost a ton of money to buy out.

    Still, Booker T., Buff Bagwell and Diamond Dallas Page signed on. There was some star power to be had.

    Along with them was a plethora of young talent that WWF could have pushed as equals to their wrestlers (Chavo Guerrero, Lance Storm, Hugh Morris and Sean O’Haire to name a few), but instead, Vince McMahon decided to make virtually the entire roster a bunch of jobbers.

    Had they done it right, to this day we could have WWE Raw and WCW Smackdown where the two meet up once a year in an epic showdown. It would be a true brand rivalry.

    Instead, WCW went away forever after a six-month run in the WWF, never to be heard from again.

    You could add ECW (twice) to this list, but WCW was the bigger company and never got another moment of glory like ECW One Night Stand did.

    It was a giant bust. To this day it's almost unfathomable to think how they screwed it up so badly.