Kharma and the WWE's 10 Biggest Superstar Fails of All Time
In every sport in just about every year, there comes along an incredibly hyped athlete who most people expect to be a huge star down the road.
But, fairly often, those "future stars" wind up with a different label: bust.
The same goes for pro wrestling. Especially in the WWE, there have been a boatload of wrestlers who entered the company with high hopes only to fail miserably.
Sometimes it's the company's fault, and sometimes it's the fault of the wrestlers themselves.
Either way, the fact remains that not all wrestlers who are supposed to succeed in the WWE actually do.
Here are the top 10 biggest superstar fails in WWE history.
Oh, by the way, I know this list might not be all-encompassing, so be sure to speak your mind about other wrestlers who flopped in the WWE.
10. KC James and Idol Stevens
In August 2006, KC James and Idol Stevens made their WWE debuts on Smackdown when they were introduced by Michelle McCool as two of her "teacher's pets."
They received an immediate push in the tag team division, defeating Scotty 2 Hotty and Funaki the night of their debut and then beating WWE Tag Team Champions Paul London and Brian Kendrick the following week.
James and Stevens even got a shot at those tag titles in October 2006, but an injury to McCool took them off of TV and sent them back to WWE's developmental territory.
Stevens was never heard from again (a.k.a. released), while James actually returned to the WWE, wrestling--or maybe I should say jobbing—as "Johnny Curtis" on ECW throughout 2008.
I guess the creative team had a momentary lapse in judgment and thought it was 2011, when tag teams don't seem to matter anymore.
9. Nathan Jones
When Nathan Jones made his WWE TV debut in April 2003, he was thrust into a high-profile angle with The Undertaker, working as the Deadman's on-screen protege.
He was scheduled to work a tag team with Taker at that year's Wrestlemania, but was removed from the bout and written off of TV shortly thereafter. In actuality, though, he was sent back down to OVW because he was horrible in the ring and needed some seasoning.
Jones did return to TV later that year, as part of Team Lesnar at Survivor Series, but it was pretty clear at that point that WWE officials had no confidence in his in-ring skills and he would probably be released.
Well, Jones did Vince McMahon's job for him.
On Dec. 6, 2003, Jones quit the WWE due to its rigorous travel demands and only wrested three more matches (all outside of the WWE, obviously) before retiring from wrestling.
8. Scotty Goldman
Most people who look at the guy in the picture see Colt Cabana. Others unfortunately see Scotty Goldman.
Cabana, who's one of the most well-known and well-rounded wrestlers on the indy scene, debuted in the WWE on Aug. 15, 2008 as "Scotty Goldman" and only wrestled sparingly after his debut.
Then, Goldman got his own show, What's Crackin'?, on WWE.com, and many of us thought a push might be on the horizon. That wasn't so.
Goldman actually was left off of Smackdown for five straight months before getting released from his WWE contract on Feb. 20, 2009.
I'm not really all that great with numbers, but I'm pretty sure that means that Goldman spent more time off TV than on it after being called up to the main roster.
7. Hade Vansen
It was Dec. 12, 2008, when a mysterious vignette aired on Smackdown for a character by the name of Hade Vansen, who--as Wikipedia puts it--had a gimmick similar to "The Fallen Angel" Christopher Daniels.
Rumor has it that Vansen was scheduled to play a huge role on Smackdown right away, with his first major feud likely taking place against The Undertaker.
But, for some reason, the vignettes stopped just a couple weeks after they started, and Vansen never appeared on WWE programming.
In fact, he was released on Jan. 9, 2009, and one popular rumor is that Vince McMahon saw him backstage at a Smackdown taping, thought he was too small and called off his debut, which led to his release.
There's no confirmation of this, but I certainly wouldn't be surprised if it was true.
We all know the Kharma saga by now.
Awesome Kong signed a contract with the WWE last year, and in April, vignettes began airing which promoted the debut of Kong, now known as Kharma.
Well, Kong finally debuted on May 1 at Extreme Rules and began attacking various Divas on both Raw and Smackdown for the next several weeks. Then, out of nowhere, Kharma "had an emotional breakdown" on the May 23 episode of Raw.
On Raw the following week, Kharma revealed that she was pregnant—not kayfabe pregnant, actually pregnant—even though most of us with an Internet connection already knew that.
The pregnancy was deemed to be high-risk, and Kong revealed that she would be off of WWE for roughly a year.
So, after all the publicity, the hype and, most importantly, the waiting, Kharma lasted less than a month in the WWE before we said goodbye to her.
Let's just hope she actually returns to the company down the road.
In April 2004, vignettes began airing for a new character named Mordecai, and upon his debut, he proclaimed that he was in the WWE to rid the world of sin and that his white hair and beard were symbols of his purity.
He would call the audience sinners and even lead them in prayer, so, as you might imagine, the plan was for Mordecai to be involved in a feud with The Undertaker.
But fast forward just three months down the road to July 2004, and the Mordecai character was already scrapped from WWE TV.
Why? Well, it was at least partly because the man behind Mordecai, Kevin Fertig, had gotten into a bar fight while down in OVW and lawsuits were on the horizon.
Fertig did actually make his way back to the WWE in 2006, wrestling as a vampire named "Kevin Thorn" on the ECW brand.
But, do you see the theme here? If you're offered a chance for a program with The Undertaker upon your main roster call-up, you should probably turn it down because good things never seem to follow.
Like many others, I was a little cynical when Low-Ki (a.k.a. Senshi) signed with the WWE, worried that he probably wouldn't get a fair shot in the company because of his size.
Turns out I was right.
Working under the ring name "Kaval," he debuted on the second season of WWE NXT on June 8, 2010, and actually won the show on August 31st. But it was pretty clear that there were never any plans to push him.
He was placed on Team Smackdown at Bragging Rights and then removed from it, he was soundly defeated by Dolph Ziggler when he used his "guaranteed title shot," and he lost to Drew McIntyre on December 21st.
Two days later, news broke that Kaval was released from his WWE contract, and he later revealed that he asked for his release because he wasn't a fan of the WWE lifestyle.
Guess what, Kaval? I wasn't a fan of the way the WWE booked you.
3. Eric Escobar
September 29, 2009, is the day I realized that the creative team often has no idea what it's doing. In other words, it was the day Eric Escobar debuted on Smackdown.
The highlights of Escobar's career: Beating Matt Hardy in his debut match to qualify for Team Smackdown at Bragging Rights, being removed from Team Smackdown because the WWE realized how terrible he was, losing to John Morrison in an Intercontinental Championship match, turning face after being slapped by his manager Vickie Guerrero and then jobbing until he was released on Jan. 17, 2010.
Don't worry, folks. If you missed any of Escobar's exhilarating career or don't remember it, I managed to explain it in its entirety with just one sentence.
On Oct. 10, 2008, vignettes began airing on Smackdown promoting the WWE debut of Kizarny, a character who spoke in carny (carnival talk).
And that's about all he brought to the table.
After wrestling a boatload of dark matches at Smackdown tapings, Kizarny (real name: Nick Cvjetkovich) finally made his in-ring debut on Jan. 2, 2009, defeating MVP.
His stint with the company was essentially over before it started, though, as he hardly appeared on WWE programming—much less wrestled on it—over the next several weeks and wound up being released on March 9, 2009, despite having the support of long-time friends Edge and Christian backstage.
Kizarny's loss was Chikara's gain, however, as he's now arguably the top heel in the entire indy promotion.
1. Braden Walker
In July 2008, the WWE's ECW brand was in the midst of a "New Superstar Initiative," which brought a number of new wrestlers onto the show's roster.
One of those guys was "Braden Walker," who most wrestling fans instantly noticed as a fatter version of former TNA star Chris Harris.
Indeed, Harris had put on the pounds and was even wearing a singlet to hide his very noticeable beer belly that had developed after he left TNA and his "America's Most Wanted" tag team.
As a result of his "new figure," Walker—or Harris or whatever you want to call him—wrestled exactly two matches on NXT before being released from his WWE contract on August 7, 2008.
If you're a prospective wrestler out there, let Walker be a lesson to do you: Don't show up to your WWE tryout match overweight.