WWE Big Hoss Gone Bad: Tensai, Khali and the Dumbification of Giants
This past week former WWE superstar Gene Snitsky took to the airwaves to air his grievances about working with the worldwide leader.
Once a promising prospect with the right look (6'8", 300 lbs) to make it in pro wrestling, Snitsky suffered a fate similar to many large-framed wrestlers who stick around long enough.
He was made into a joke.
In addition to being transitioned into "a guy who develops [WWE's] talent," during his stint with the promotion, Snitsky has also taken exception to the WWE's current treatment of Tensai. Said Snitsky (per PWTorch):
Look at my friend Tensai. They're turning him and his character into a joke. They have coming out there and doing this goofy s--- now.
When he first started, he was killing everyone. Before you know it, now he's doing lingerie segments on Raw. I'm like, 'C'mon.' It's insulting to me as a fan, it's insulting to my intelligence - a guy who's 6'8" and 350 pounds and can probably squash 90 percent of the guys on the roster—and they have him go out and do that. It's just my opinion.
Snitsky has a point. One will be hard-pressed to come across a giant in the annals of WWE history who was not made into a comedy act for at least a brief stretch in their career.
Some wrestlers survive it. Some put up with it. Some have quit over it. Others just get fired while doing it.
Tensai is the latest example of a big hoss gone bad. Introduced with a head of steam as Lord Tensai, the WWE's Japanese-centric monster beat top stars John Cena and CM Punk in the same month.
After failing to connect with the WWE fans, Tensai was slowly de-pushed. His lowest point came just weeks ago on RAW when he showed up to a dance competition with Brodus Clay wearing lingerie.
Tensai danced his way into WWE oblivion while wearing lingerie on that night, and has since aligned himself with Brodus Clay.
The former Prince Albert's only hope is that a comedy tag team with Brodus Clay catches on with the WWE universe.
Big Show (2000)
Even Big Show went through a stretch in his career where he was reduced to a comedy act. For several weeks in 2000, Big Show donned a gimmick where he would march to the ring emulating other wrestlers.
His most famous emulation was the Showster, a take on Hulk Hogan.
Big Show eventually recovered when he got serious after aligning himself with Shane McMahon. He has largely stayed away from the comedic aspect save for the occasional babyface antics to put a smile on children's faces.
The Great Khali
The Great Khali debuted in the WWE and immediately engaged in high-profile matches and feuds with the likes of Rey Mysterio, Batista and The Undertaker.
After he was exposed as an incompetent worker, he was slowly but surely pushed down the pecking order. Khali hasn't been booked properly as a monster heel in years, and can now be seen parading around SmackDown in fuchsia pants as "The Punjabi Playboy," an over-sized love machine.
Khali recently partnered up with Hornswoggle and is currently in a comedy-romance storyline with WWE Diva Natalya.
Kozlov was pushed early in his career as a monster heel with an mixed martial arts tough guy. As a legit tough guy, Kozlov had the look and potential to become a top star. Unfortunately, that didn't quite pan out.
Kozlov's sloppy work rate became a hazard to top stars, and he soon was phased out of the main event picture.
During his final days in the WWE, Kozlov teamed up with Santino Marella and the two provided a handful of comedic memories before Kozlov was released from his contract in 2011.
King Kong Bundy
The WWE's poor treatment of giants dates back to the first golden age of wrestling. King Kong Bundy was one of the top heels upon his arrival, working with legendary managers Jimmy Hart and Bobby Heenan.
Bundy's peak came in 1986 when he main-evented WrestleMania 2 against Hulk Hogan.
One year later, Bundy feuded with a handful of midgets, leading to a mixed six-man tag team match at WrestleMania III.