Hey Bleachers, I'm going to be straying from my outrageous predictions for the first time and go for a little history lesson.
First off, I feel that I need to define how "impact" will be used here. The simplest way to put it, if they did something that remains on the collective consciousness of the WWE Universe (even if in another form), they had an impact.
Second, in case anyone here is new, I will define "heel" as someone who is meant to be booed by the WWE Universe. For this article, I will only be considering superstars who were heels during their ENTIRE time with WWE.
In this article, I will present a brief bio outlining a superstar's (or in a couple of cases two superstars') tenure in WWE and then state what impact the performer(s) had on the WWE. Some may be a stretch as far as impact goes, but hopefully you find this educational, slightly nostalgic, and (most importantly) entertaining.
Furthermore, I'm opting to only go with members of the WWE era, meaning post-WWF. Therefore, anyone that was not with the company after May 5, 2002 is not being considered. Trust me, there's still plenty of ammunition for this list without going further into history.
Warning: The people that I'll show you on this list may make you say "Huh?", "Who's that?", or "Oh yeah, that guy...".
Note: This was initially a top 10 list, but based on your comments and other memories that came back to me, I had to turn this into a top 15. The additions are noted and credited to the person who first brought up the addition.
Note #2: It has come to my attention that comments have not been going through for the past several hours (since around 6pm Pacific). If you have tried to leave a comment and been unsuccessful, feel free to message me directly. I have notified BR. Sorry for any inconvenience!
Eric Angle - brother of Kurt Angle and only made a few appearances on WWE TV. All of them were to help his (then-heel) brother retain the WWE championship against either the Undertaker or Brock Lesnar. He never wrestled a match in WWE so it was impossible to really put him on the list.
Trevor Murdoch - His gimmick saves him from being on the main list. I never thought he was anything special, which I may get heat for. I also don't consider his and Cade's face turn with their Hardy story line as valid, which doesn't disqualify him from contention. Three tag title reigns doesn't hurt either as far as relevancy.
Lance Cade - Honestly, if he hadn't debuted as a face, he'd be on the main list. I always found him pretty generic.
Kevin Thorn, Ariel, and Marcus Cor Von - I just didn't have the heart to include the ECW New-Superstar Initiative rejects. They hardly stood a chance...
Gavin Spears - Another failure of ECW's New-Superstar Initiative. Spears earned his own spot on the honorable mentions because he only had three matches on TV and lost all of them. The only reason I know he was supposed to be a heel was based on his opponents. He actually looked halfway decent, but I think he would've been better off as an underdog face like we was with OVW.
Kenny Dykstra - He is spared largely due to his time in Spirit Squad. I would've liked seeing him come out similar to how Dolph Ziggler is now though...
Eric Escobar - If not for his face run against Vickie Guerrero, his former manager, he'd be high up on this list.
Added based on suggestions in the comments (thanks Theo Kabala!)
Simon Dean - He was considered originally, but left off for fear of overkill, which you will understand in a few slides.
KroniK - Would have absolutely made the list the first time had they been in WWE after the name change. Their epic failure and closeness to the deadline lands them here.
Juventud - Even though he won the Cruiserweight championship and lead the MexiCools when they were heel, I also remember Juventud as a WCW talent and forgot to think of him originally.
Kenzo Suzuki and has wife/interpreter/valet, Hiroko were largely a heel comedy act. Suzuki's broken English gave us some Santino-esque moments, but as far as a character, that's about it.
Suzuki portrayed an anti-American heel for most of his tenure given that he was able to receive decent heat for being foreign (it bothers me that the WWE Universe tends to respond that way, but that's another article for another time). Suzuki also found success by teaming with Rene Dupree of La Resistance fame and winning the tag titles briefly in late 2004, his most memorable role that he had in the ring.
He had single's feuds with Billy Gunn (which is won) and John Cena for the United States championship (which he lost). This clip shows one of his other memorable moments, a battle rap with John Cena where he clearly stinks it up. Although I don't approve of the gay jokes being use by Cena (this is pre-GLAAD breathing down WWE's neck), Suzuki is notorious awful.
After the losing effort with Cena, Suzuki, too fell to injury with a collapsed lung and was seldom seen on WWE TV again, being released in July of 2005.
Hiroko helped make things a little more interesting as Suzuki had a wandering eye and was attracted to Tori WIlson. Seeing them bicker was somewhat interesting TV. It was certainly better than the Daniel Bryan-Gail Kim-Bella Twins angle that happened. The story between Hiroko and Wilson was probably more interesting than anything Suzuki did since we at least got a "kimono match" (bra and panties rip-off) out of it.
Impact: Proving to Sin Cara that if you don't speak English well, the WWE may not work out for you and inspiring Santino Marella to play the foreign buffoon.
Christopher Nowinski was a little hard to put on here, but like many before him, injuries cut his career short. Nowinski was first seen on the first season of Tough Enough until he fell in the finals to Maven.
Throughout Nowinski's entire WWE career, he held the same gimmick as WWE's first Harvard graduate. While it was true in real life and he has every right to be proud of that accomplishment, the character was certain to lay the holier-than-thou attitude pretty thick.
In the first of many moves that made no sense for Nowinski to follow, he did not immediately go after Maven of any of the Tough Enough staff to begin his WWE run. This eventually happened and made sense, but first, he aligned himself with William Regal, who seems to have a knack for having talent enter under his tutelage only to go nowhere (hopefully Skip Sheffield, Regal's NXT rookie, will prove to be an exception).
Later, he paired himself with D-Lo Brown (why?) until he feuded with Scott Steiner (who was fed up with Nowinski's snobby gimmick). His inability to defeat Steiner led to an alliance with Three Minute Warning (a concept that I actually enjoyed from the Bishoff days with Rosey and Jamal, aka Umaga - RIP).
Eventually he was phased out of the story line and was left to Sunday Night Heat until teaming with Thuggin' and Buggin' Enterprises, the move that made NO sense and he stayed with the faction until his career-ending concussion. Somehow the oppression from being a genius became equivalent to being black. Bravo WWE. Nowinski had potential and WWE wasted the time they had with him.
Impact: Giving Matt Striker his gimmick and perfecting the art of being the odd man out in the story line despite having the better gimmick.
Rodney Mack had a pretty unremarkable run in WWE. Debuting as Redd Dogg, John Cena's new heel enforcer during the Doctor of Thuganomics era, he lasted one episode before a repackage and brand change to ally himself with Theodore Long and later with Jazz in "Thuggin' and Buggin' Enterprises" so that they could pull the race card on the WWE Universe.
Mack was best known for his White Boy Challenges that received literally no heat as you'll see in the video, which might have another familiar face in it. Those were pretty much all about Mack looking strong in the ring while Long talked about "whitey" on the announce team. Invigorating.
He had an odd partnership with Christopher Nowinski and then a more logical one with Mark Henry after Nowinski was injured and retired. There was some tag success, but no gold ever came from it. He got injured late in 2003 and was hardly heard from again until his release in November 2004.
Impact left behind: The realizations that a heel Teddy Long is pretty awful and using the race card isn't very effective.
Luther Reigns debuted as a member of the new Team Angle (the old Team Angle being Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin) alongside Mark Jindrak, who avoids this list for a reason listed on this slide.
The most impressive thing that puts Reigns on this list is that he had two high-profile feuds with Big Show and The Undertaker (losing both) and yet he's probably better known as the guy that Mark Jindrak punched to do a face turn (skip to around 6:30 to see that). Managing to stay irrelevant with two big feuds under your belt is impressive enough to land the 11 spot.
Also, everyone before here had two impacts to speak of.
No one will look back at Undertaker's or Show's career and remember Reigns. Jindrak, however, is pretty much defined by Reigns. When your career is largely remembered for helping another unremarkable superstar turn face, that's a pretty big fail.
Impact: A face turn only takes one punch (see also: Alex Riley and The Miz)
Dave Taylor spent the later part of 2006 and first half of 2007 as William Regal's protege, tag team partner, and and second failed pupil on this list. Other than being the number one contender to the tag belts a few times, the team was largely useless, which is a shame since Taylor did have some talent. If he had come in today during the dead tag division, he may not be appearing here right now.
He had a pseudo-feud with Kane in which Taylor did nothing and then disappeared until bringing Drew McIntyre to the WWE for the first (forgotten) time 2007 while begging for dual citizenship.
Michael Cole says it best - "Nothing about Dave Taylor is pretty".
Impact: Setting the stage for Paul Burchill to follow in his footsteps
Jesus was Carlito's bodyguard for a few months early in Carltio's career. Jesus is mostly known for (kayfabe) stabbing John Cena in a night club. Ultimately, his pretty unremarkable run did lead to the shot at the United States Championship against John Cena in a street fight in 2004, but we all know how that ended.
Considering that Jesus went into this match with two herniated discs and a torn groin, I gotta say that he actually did very well here. He immediately had surgery afterwards, but was never heard from again in WWE, save a Heat appearance or two.
Maybe Cena had something to do with this fail too...he was a part of Suzuki's fall as well...
Impact: Helping John Cena begin to become the near-invincible character we know and (sometimes) love.
Note: Jesus was added in the 2nd edition of this list (thanks Theo!)
K.C. James comes in higher than Idol Stevens on the list given that he had two separate unsuccessful heel stints in WWE.
First, in mid-2006 he along with Idol Stevens were Michelle McCool's Teacher's Pets. As characters they were indistinguishable and although the had a few tag title shots, they never won the gold. Their time was cut short after McCool was injured and there was seemingly nothing to keep the Teacher's Pets afloat.
James' second stint was with ECW as a jobber to faces at the end of 2007. He was rarely use and honestly, there weren't any memorable matches from that and he just faded into the distance by mid-2008.
I guess James was at least able to get a second go at TV time, unlike Stevens (who I thought looked the better of the two).
Impact: Teaching us that if you lose your manager and want to stay on TV, it's time for a new gimmick.
Here, we start the best of the worst. In late 2005, The Dicks were Chippendale's dancers turned wrestlers that used "body oil" to blind opponents. Really, all they did was attack people after matches such as the MexiCools and help out MNM.
Early in 2006, the Boogeyman took them both out and I guess they were too scared to ever return.
Impact: Two similar pretty boys does not always make a successful team.
Note: They were added in my 2nd edition of this list (thanks Sergio!)
Jake and Jesse Gymini were henchmen for Simon Dean for the first part of 2006. Do you even remember Simon Dean for that matter? He was a Richard Simmons-type fitness guru who simply aggravated the WWE Universe and tried to sell his Simon System, which was an energy/fitness drink. Dean is mostly off of this list due to his unfortunate longevity, but consider this his cameo.
Being sidekicks for someone who hardly mattered is clearly grounds to belong here.
The Gymini twins came on board as users of the Simon System, ready to beat up those who didn't believe in its success. Yeah, it was as bad as it sounds. They are probably best known for pulling off twin magic before the Bellas did, which may be the only contribution they gave to WWE (if you can call it that).
Most of their matches were pretty boring, but they did show a nice aggression during this match against the MexiCools. I'll be honest, I completely forgot about the whistle garbage until I rewatched this clip. Simply awful.
Also worth noting, hardly anyone could tell them about and they were sometimes referred to as Gymini #1 and Gymini #2.
Sadly, one of the Gymini got injured a few months after their debut, which kept them off of TV for good and brought Simon Dean back into Jobber Land.
Impact: Being yet another team to use twin magic post-DOA, Basham Brothers, etc...
It's appropriate that B-2 comes in at #2.
B-2 (or B Squared) is better known as Bull Buchanan. While WWE was still WWF, Buchanan enjoyed some success at first with Big Boss Man as an enforcer and later with Right To Censor, where he teamed with The Goodfather to win the tag titles. However, this will be discarded for two reasons:
1. I'm only considering the WWE era
2. B-2 was horrific
B-2 was John Cena's first enforcer for about two months and then disappeared again. He's best known for his debut, when he attacked Rikishi after he defeated Cena and for saying "Boo-yah" to complete Cena's raps. Invigorating. This embarrassing two month period mercifully ended as a B-2 was released after Cena blamed him for a tag loss to Los Guerreros.
Impact: Being an example to show when the star turns on the enforcer, don't expect to see the enforcer again. (That's bad, but honestly couldn't come up with anything better for this atrocity.)
Note - B-2 was originally my #1, but then I remembered the even worse heel that was...
Jackson Andrews was Tyson Kidd's bodyguard for about three weeks at the end of 2010. He didn't survive the new year. For someone that looked like he should be a force, he was completely ineffective. Andrews only did you two thing in his three weeks:
1. Beat up David Hart Smith
2. Get squashed by Mark Henry after Henry beat Kidd (skip to four minutes to see the fail)
Impact: Knowing that if you're supposed to be an enforcer and you look weak before your first match, you don't stand a chance.
Note: Andrews was added in the 2nd edition of this list.
Hope you enjoyed my list! If you honestly can say that you remember all of these guys, congratulate yourself. Or maybe be ashamed and try to rid yourself of the memory. These are the ten that I feel did the least in the WWE and remained heels during their full tenure.
Agree? Disagree? Who would you add or take away? Did my memory forget someone so forgettable that they got left out?
Comment below and let me know what you think!