In this edition of Missed Opportunities, we turn back the clock a little over a decade, remembering a Superstar by the name of Mordecai. Unfortunately for him, and any fans he may have had, his WWE career had a short shelf life.
Mordecai was introduced to the WWE Universe in 2004, as vignettes started to run during SmackDown broadcasts to promote his eventual debut. These videos seemed to depict a somewhat deranged religious extremist. The vignettes always ended with Mordecai using the phrase "Hear me; fear me."
It seemed WWE had come up with a very intriguing character, and that was only made more clear when he made his in-ring debut. On May 16, 2004 at WWE Judgment Day, he made quick work of former WWE tag team champion Scotty 2 Hotty, beating him in three minutes.
Wearing all white—including his hair—Mordecai was an imposing figure with a powerful set of moves. He seemed destined for big things, and a feud with the Undertaker appeared inevitable. He was soon given the nickname "Pale Rider."
Mordecai piled up a few more wins, including a victory over Hardcore Holly at the Great American Bash in June 2004.
But as quickly as Mordecai made an impression on the WWE Universe, he was gone. Following a televised loss on SmackDown to Rey Mysterio, Mordecai vanished. He would never compete in WWE again.
For whatever reason, WWE officials soured on the new Superstar. Was he not getting over with the crowd? Was he not good enough in the ring? It could have been a number of things, but those in charge decided to pull the plug.
For fans who were watching back in 2004, they may have felt cheated by this. They may have wanted to hear more about Mordecai's background. WWE didn't allow the character to grow and develop.
He certainly had the ability to eventually draw the ire of the crowd. He would frequently talk about his crusade to make sinners pay for their wrongdoings—at least in his mind—and that had potential.
Mordecai could have become one of the top heels on SmackDown, providing a great opponent for guys such as Eddie Guerrero and John Cena. But matches against the Undertaker are the ones WWE and its fans missed out on.
If the Mordecai character was given more time, Undertaker would have become a natural opponent for religious zealot. A feud between the two dark characters is something WWE could have made into a great story back in those days, one fans would have enjoyed.
Undertaker had feuds with guys such as Heidenreich and Luther Reigns around this timeframe. A program with Mordecai would have been a breath of fresh air in comparison.
But those matches never happened.
Kevin Fertig, the man who portrayed the Mordecai character, returned a couple of years later as Kevin Thorn in WWE's reboot of the ECW brand. Though he enjoyed more success and a longer stay on the roster, the Thorn character was a missed opportunity as well.
The dark, mysterious characters who come into WWE are often the most interesting. However, WWE hasn't found much success in that department aside from Undertaker. Kane could be included on that list, but as the storyline brother of Undertaker, he was always just an extension of that character.
Upon his WWE debut, Goldust found success and was a terrific character as well. But WWE has fallen short with Superstars like that more often than not.
Why is that? While nearly everyone who has been a fan of WWE for any length of time completely respects what Undertaker has done, it would have been nice to see other characters with a mysterious background have success.
Mordecai was a victim of this booking, and fans will always be left to wonder how much more of an impact he could have had. Instead, he only had a handful of matches and many fans may have a hard time even remembering him.
As a result, Mordecai is nothing more than a footnote in the annals of WWE.