25 WWE/WCW Superstars Who Never Quite Made It
Throughout the history of pro wrestling we have seen hundreds, maybe thousands, of Superstars come and go.
Some of these Superstars become household names, while others fade from memory never to return. Then there are those who almost make it, but for one reason or another, never do.
Many Superstars have received major pushes and won low- and mid-card titles, but something gets in their way and they never make it to the top.
Winning a World title is not the sole qualifier to judge if someone has "made it," because guys like Roddy Piper and Arn Anderson never won any in WWE or WCW, and they certainly "made it."
This list will look back at 25 Superstars who had great potential, and may have even saw a small amount of success, but for one reason or another, fell to the wayside. This list will be in no particular order.
You would think being named the successor to Road Warrior Hawk would give someone a major boost, but Heidenreich is someone who is rarely mentioned these days.
Wearing the spiked shoulder pads does not a Road Warrior make, and fans did not cling to him the way they did when it was Hawk and Animal.
He had a few big matches with guys like The Undertaker, but he was never able to remain in that main event scene.
Heidenreich was powerful and athletic, and he had a gimmick that could have been used well as a heel, but it just didn't happen for him.
Quite possibly, the most wasted Superstar of the last decade is Vladimir Kozlov.
When Kozlov debuted, he was used as a monster heel who would enter the arena with no music and a single spotlight which followed him to the ring.
It was brilliant in its simplicity. The gimmick and his natural athleticism and skill pushed him to the top of SmackDown in a very short amount of time.
Not only did he get a clean win over The Undertaker at one point, but he also fought for the WWE title in the main event of a pay-per-view.
As quickly as he rose, he fell to the bottom. Soon, he was losing to guys whom he would have eaten for breakfast when he first arrived on the scene, and eventually, he was paired with Santino as a comedy character.
Giving credit where it is due, Kozlov embraced the baby-faced role and even had a few funny moments with Santino, but the gimmick is what killed his WWE career.
Someone who could have been the next great foreign heel ended up a memory.
Elijah Burke (The Pope in TNA)
Elijah Burke was brought into the WWE version of ECW by Vince McMahon himself. You would think a rub from the Chairman would be a good sign of things to come.
Unfortunately for Burke, even the endorsement from Vinnie could not secure him a place at the top of ECW.
He was briefly featured as the leader of a group called The New Breed, and he even had a few shots at the ECW title, but the physically gifted Burke was sent packing when he didn't gel with the crowd.
Flash forward a bit and he becomes The Pope, D'Angleo Dinero in TNA. He quickly becomes one of the most polarizing figures in the company and someone the fans embrace whole-heartedly.
This highly-athletic competitor improved both in the ring and on the mic in ways nobody could have anticipated.
TNA eventually stopped pushing Burke when the direction of the company changed a bit. Burke left TNA in January of this year.
Adam Bomb, real name Bryan Clark, is someone who many fans may remember as different characters depending on which company they watched at which time.
In the WWF he was Adam Bomb, a survivor of the Three-Mile Island incident and a client of Harvey Whippleman's.
In WCW he was known as Wrath, a member of Mortis' stable, and then, eventually, he was known by his real name while teaming with Bryan Adams in a pairing the called KroniK.
KroniK returned to WWE after the purchase of WCW for a short time, facing Kane and The Undertaker at Unforgiven 2001 for the Tag Team titles.
Clark and Adams toured the indy circuit for a short time following their departure from WWE, but both men retired in 2003 due to injuries they sustained throughout their careers.
Duke "The Dumpster" Droese
Sometimes a gimmick in WWE is so original and interesting that you cannot believe it had not been done before.
And then sometimes you think somebody got lazy and just decided to pick a random job and make a gimmick out of it.
Duke "The Dumpster" Droese is one of those gimmicks that just seemed lazy. He was a garbage man who also wrestled. Color everyone unimpressed.
Droese was actually a very talented wrestler who could have a good match with just about anybody, but his character is what held him back.
Droese actually returned to WWE in 2001 for a gimmick battle royal, but other than that, his name is all but forgotten by many fans, which is sad given the potential he had.
Aldo Montoya (Justin Credible)
Justin Credible is someone who is highly respected in the wrestling community, but he never quite got to the top in a major organization.
Credible found his greatest success in ECW, where he was a World champion and a tag champion with Lance Storm.
In WWE he managed to gain eight Hardcore titles, but he was buried by bigger names on a few occasions, and it eventually led to his final match, where he was squashed by the newcomer, Batista.
Credible has toured the indy scene since leaving WWE, and he has held titles in a handful of companies, but he might not be touring for much longer.
Credible revealed last year that he was contacted by WWE to work on their upcoming WWE Network.
Credible is known as a great worker who was one of the reasons ECW became what it was, but the average wrestling fan may not be as familiar with him as they should be.
Billy Gunn went from cowboy to degenerate, and the fans have never forgotten him for how entertaining he was while in DX.
Bart Gunn is a different story. Billy and Bart were very popular as the tag team The Smoking Gunns, but once they broke up, it became clear which Superstars WWE had big plans for.
Bart Gunn kept the cowboy gimmick for a short time, but he eventually turned into a boxer character, which did even less to make him into a star.
He managed to win WWE's shoot-style tournament known as Brawl for All, but this did not lead to a push.
His most notable match following the break up of The Smoking Gunns was probably against Butterbean at WrestleMania XV, which Gunn lost in 30 seconds by knockout.
He returned to WWE during the 15th Anniversary special during a gimmick battle royal with his cowboy attire on.
This guy makes the list because his gimmick was doomed to fail from the start. Mike Hallick played the character, but little more is known about who came up with it or who thought it would be a good idea.
Mantaur was a Minotaur-like man who would use moves similar to what you would expect from a monster like him.
He wore a ridiculous headpiece to the ring and was quickly buried and used to get others over.
His final match in WWE as this gimmick was against Bob Holly, which he lost.
Just watch the video and try not to laugh.
Colin Delaney was the new ECW's version of Mikey Whipwreck, except nobody liked him and he couldn't sell as well as Mikey.
Delaney was one of the smallest competitors to ever wrestle in WWE, which made him a natural underdog.
To his credit, the kid could take a bump and make it look like he would never walk again, but that is not what makes someone successful in WWE.
His WWE run lasted about as long as Mike Adamle's, but it left us with less to remember.
Chuck Palumbo began his career in WCW as a Lex Luger wannabe, but his most well-known angle has to be his partnership with Billy Gunn as Billy and Chuck.
Chuck Palumbo wrestled in WCW and WWE for nearly 10 years, but he is not someone who you will see fans begging to return.
Palumbo is another Superstar who had the physical ability to get it done in the ring, but did not have the "it" factor that makes a star.
His final run in WWE was as a biker, which was appropriate since he is an accomplished builder of custom motorcycles.
Chris Harris was kind of a big shot in TNA for awhile, then he signed with WWE and everything went downhill.
Braden Walker debuted on ECW in 2008, defeating Armando Estrada. He wrestled one more match, beating James Curtis, before he was released.
There was nothing to the gimmick, the name was obviously thought of on the fly, and he was given no chance to succeed.
He wasn't even kept on as a jobber. Even Yoshi Tatsu is still with the company and he hasn't had a decent push outside of NXT in years.
Chris Harris put on some weight and returned to TNA as Matt Hardy's mystery partner, but he was not the same Wildcat he was when he first ruled the tag team division with James Storm.
This guy might not have made it, but dammit if he wasn't memorable.
Disco Inferno was one of those guys who you just liked hating. He had some mild success in WCW when he first debuted, but he was someone who never found a path to the top.
There is no denying that he was a good wrestler in his prime, but his gimmick was not made to be a main event character, he was designed to be a mid-card heel.
Every once in a while, you will see Disco Inferno pop up at a wrestling event, but he is not really associated with the business anymore.
Steve Keirn found great success in Florida and the NWA territories before WWE turned him into an alligator hunter named Skinner and ruined any chance he had at being a national star.
Keirn held dozens of titles in various territories, but when he was a WWE Superstar he was usually losing to either Bret or Owen Hart.
Skinner made sporadic appearances after being defeated by Owen Hart at WrestleMania VIII in less than two minutes, but it was not as Skinner.
He actually played Doink on several occasions before finally leaving WWE for good.
Skinner was only a short part of Keirn's long wrestling career, and he is someone who has done more than the average wrestling fan might realize.
The Repo Man
Barry Darsow held the tag team titles as part of Demolition on three separate occasions, but as a singles wrestler he was known as The Repo Man.
The Repo Man was a nasty heel character who was mainly used to put other talents over, but his performances made him memorable nonetheless.
These days Darsow does not wrestle anymore, but his son Dakota might be familiar to TNA fans.
Barry Darsow had a decent career in wrestling, winning titles in a handful of promotions, but he never broke through to that top level that eludes so many.
Mo from Men on a Mission
King Mabel, Viscera, Big Daddy V or whatever you want to call him, had a long career in WWE.
Sir Mo did not get so lucky. Following the breakup of Men on a Mission, Mo was left out to dry and released by WWE.
He wrestled for USWA for a short time after leaving WWE, but Mo is one of those guys who was not very well-known and seemed to all but vanish after his release.
As someone who grew up when Men on a Mission were popular, I have fond memories of Mo and Mabel, but they are distant and few young fans would know who he was if mentioned by commentators.
Before Goldberg came into WCW and took everyone by storm with an undefeated streak the likes of which we had never seen, there was another young Superstar in WCW who had a long winning streak as well.
Alex Wright was brought into WCW and given the nickname Das Wunderkind. He danced with women from the audience, and he would usually do a back flip off the top rope during his entrance just to get people on their feet.
He was on a role early on, defeating dozens of Superstars in the process, but eventually WCW changed direction and the dancer was left without a push.
WCW tried to repackage Wright as Berlyn, a character with a much darker personality, but that never solidified and Wright faded away like so many other talented young Superstars in WCW.
Special Delivery Jones
Special Delivery Jones might not be a name familiar to most wrestling fans, but he is someone who rubbed elbows with the biggest names in the business.
SD Jones might be most famous for losing to King Kong Bundy in less than a minute at the first WrestleMania, but he did have some measure of success.
Usually featured as a tag team wrestler, Jones would often team with Tony Atlas to challenge for the WWF Tag Team titles.
SD Jones is someone who had all the physical ability needed to be successful, but he never found the same level of success as guys he partnered with, like Tony Atlas and Andre the Giant.
SD Jones—real name Conrad Efraim—passed away in 2008 from a stroke. Rest in peace, Special Delivery Jones.
Quite possibly the most famous jobber after The Brooklyn Brawler is Barry Horowitz.
Horowitz wrestled for the then-WWF for several years, usually putting others over.
He did have a brief period of success after he returned from a neck injury in 1995, where he was given a push and a tag team partner.
Horowitz had a few victories over guys like Bodydonna Skip and Hakushi, who he later teamed with, but the push faded and so did Horowitz.
He went to WCW, where he was, again, used to get other Superstars over, before returning to the independent scene and eventually going into semi-retirement.
The funny thing about Horowitz, the ultimate jobber, is that he actually held quite a few titles in the territories prior to signing with WWF.
Keith Hart is one of Stu and Helen Hart's many wrestling sons, but he never quite found the success of some of his kin.
While Bret and Owen went on to become world-wide stars in the WWF, Keith was still in Canada wrestling with his brother, Bruce.
Despite holding a few titles in Stampede Wrestling, Keith never quite lived in the wrestling world like his family did, and eventually, he retired to become a firefighter.
WWF fans may remember Keith as one of the brothers who teamed with Bret at Survivor Series 1993 against Shawn Michaels and his masked knights.
Scotty Riggs was a physically gifted wrestler who could have been successful under the right circumstances, but those circumstances never happened.
Riggs is probably best known for his time teaming with Buff Bagwell as The American Males.
After he was injured by Raven, he joined The Flock, where he wore an eye patch to sell the injury he received at the hands of Raven.
Riggs left WCW and went to ECW, where he teamed with Rob Van Dam for a short time before betraying RVD and helping Jerry Lynn defeat him.
When you look back on it, The American Males were a hilarious team, unintentionally of course.
Scott Norton has made quite a name for himself in Japan, but in the US, he was another victim of the NWO machine.
Norton came into WCW with little known about him, and it stayed that way throughout his entire run.
He was usually used as a mid-card team mate for other members of the NWO, like Buff Bagwell.
Norton has been more successful in New Japan then he ever was in WCW, but that is the case with many wrestlers with talent who do not succeed in the US.
Following his win in the first season of Tough Enough, Maven had a small amount of success in WWE before being released.
Maven won the Hardcore title a few times and had a few brushes with success when he faced Chris Jericho for the Undisputed title and eliminated Undertaker from the 2002 Royal Rumble.
Maven also booked himself in a World title match against Triple H when he was GM for a day, but he was unsuccessful yet again.
Maven no longer tries to make his living in the ring, but rather on the Home Shopping Network as a nutrition expert and NFL product salesman.
Glacier was one of WCW's gimmicks that seemed like it would take off at first, but a change in the company's direction left him saddled in storylines with Mortis.
Glacier's look and athleticism worked in his favor, but he was always seen as a novelty gimmick in a world where wrestlers were portraying more realistic versions of their characters.
We never heard much from Glacier after WCW, which is unfortunate given the talent he had.
The real-life nephew of Hulk Hogan did not have much of a chance of living up to the family name. How could he?
Nobody knew who he was when he showed up in WCW, and he certainly didn't look like a Hogan. He was more like a member of the DOA in WWE than a Hogan.
Horace Hogan had a few brief programs, but even his relationship to the Hulkster couldn't get him ahead in WCW.
Dave "Evad" Sullivan
Kevin Sullivan was an outstanding wrestler and booker, but his storyline brother was not quite up to snuff.
Dave Sullivan had some brushes with success when teaming with Sting and Hulk Hogan, but the bunny-loving simpleton did not resonate with the crowd.
He was essentially an early version of Eugene, except he didn't always copy the finishers of other legendary wrestlers to stand out.
Bearing a resemblance to Kevin Sullivan may have hurt Dave Sullivan in the end, because this character did not get over.
Who do you feel was left off the list?
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