It’s sadly become a regular thing for WWE over the years to have a show open with a tribute to a dead legend. The year 2015 alone had ones for Dusty Rhodes and Roddy Piper, with fantastic video packages and memorials to their legacies. The Ultimate Warrior had made a return just 48 hours before his shocking death so he got a major boost as well. Even Randy Savage, long absent from WWE, was remembered by them, complete with a DVD documentary on his life. Many passed on workers have made themselves favorites for the company and well-remember even years later.
However, some are not. True, they may get mentions at the time of their passing but for the most part, aren't mentioned much (if ever) afterward. Some are because of the way they died. Some are because of long-standing bad blood between them and WWE. And some because they simply fall through the cracks. It’s sad but true that even being a legend doesn’t mean WWE keeps your memory going for a long time. Here are 15 past talents that WWE really doesn’t mention today and prove how death doesn’t always mean they remember you.
15 15. Chris Kanyon
A good but not spectacular worker for WCW, Kanyon was a U.S. champion with feuds involving Raven, DDP and others. Hired as part of the Invasion, Kanyon teamed with DDP to win the tag team titles. They lost to Undertaker and Kane in one of the most one-sided cage matches of all time. What made Kanyon notable was that he was more open about being gay than others in the business. In 2004, he was released and soon came out openly to the public.
He later indicated to interviews that he was fired specifically because he was gay but then admitted it was just a publicity stunt. Kanyon committed suicide in 2010 after years fighting depression and bipolar disorder. All he got from WWE was a two-sentence mention on their website and while it’s true he wasn’t a major star, the way they treat him as an afterthought is a bit much.
14 14. Chyna
True, her passing was mentioned in WWE. But that’s a rare time as the sad fact is, things between Chyna and the company were rough for years. It was Triple H who came up with the genius idea of having this tall Amazonian woman be his bodyguard, making him a great star in his own right. Chyna was soon taking off on her own as champion, powerful and a major hit. She enhanced her look with a Playboy spread and winning the IC title. But she also had issues of ego and when she learned that Hunter and Stephanie were together for real, she got axed. For a decade and a half, she ran them down majorly every chance she got while noted for her addictions and fall into adult films.
Her death has revived attention in her legacy with many noting how much good she did. However, it still seems WWE is sour on her with her not going in the Hall of Fame and WWE still doesn't really discuss her, showing how much raw anger there remains despite her past.
13 13. Jimmy Snuka
Yes, he did get a tribute video when he passed away earlier this year. But that’s pretty much it as obvious reasons why WWE doesn’t talk about him much anymore. Snuka was a breakout in the 1970s with his bare feet, hard-hitting style, wild man image and doing high-flying moves unseen before. He wrote himself into immortality with his feud with Bob Backlund that included a dive off the top of a steel cage. But Snuka’s life will always be overshadowed by his involvement in the death of his girlfriend Nancy Argentino in 1983.
Even when WWE kept pushing him in appearances, it hung over him with constant trials and accusations. He was facing trial again in 2015 but it was dismissed when it was revealed the Snuka had dementia and WWE essentially erased him from their records. While they did recognize his passing, Snuka doesn’t get mention even with family members in the company as his off-screen actions overshadow what he did in wrestling.
12 12. Crash Holly
When WWE decided to transform Bob Holly into a “hardcore” guy, they added his “cousin” Crash. The gimmick was them talking of being “super-heavyweights” and even carrying a scale around. Crash soon won over fans with his fun attitude and going all out in matches. He won the Hardcore Title and instituted a “24-7” rule in defending it. This led to hysterical bits of Holly being chased by wrestlers from parking lots to diners to a memorable video of The Headbangers chasing him around an indoor fun park.
All told, he held the title 22 times and made it fun while also runs as European, Light Heavyweight and tag team champion. Released in 2003, Crash was found dead of an overdose just a few months later. He was honored in an ECW video package and WWE does note his wild stuff as Hardcore champion but for the most part the legend of Crash Holly has faded for fans.
11 11. Chris Candido
A sad life cut short, Candido had broken out in Smokey Mountain Wrestling as a top heel. With him with his real-life wife Tammy who backed him as a hot vixen. In WWE, they were Skip and Sunny, billed as “fitness gurus” with Skip becoming famous for being the first guy in WWE to lose to lifelong jobber Barry Horowitz. Candido later teamed with “Cousin” Zip to win the tag titles. However, Sunny was clearly the bigger star getting a huge push as a hot lady while Candido’s addictions were hurting him. He later moved on to ECW and eventually TNA, getting over as manager for the Naturals.
At the first Lockdown PPV in 2005, Candido took a nasty dropkick and fell back, breaking his ankle. He showed up on crutches on TNA Impact to help the Naturals win the tag team titles. Just days after that, Candido died on the operating table of a blood clot. TNA remembered him well with a ten-bell salute and The Naturals dedicating their six-month reign to Candido but WWE themselves seem to ignore Skip in favor of Sunny.
10 10. Bam Bam Bigelow
“The Beast From the East” looked like a future superstar from his debut. After time in Florida, he debuted in WWE first as a heel, then a face. With his bald tattooed head and impressive ability to take flight for his size, Bigelow had promise but held back by some bad booking. He had a run in WCW that led nowhere either. His return to WWE involved feuding with Doink the Clown and losing to Laurence Taylor at WreslteMania.
It was in ECW that Bigelow finally got his due, reigning as champion and fans loving his brutal fights with Tazz and others. He was also hailed for his fantastic teaming with Vader in Japan as champions. A run with WCW followed before he plied his time in the indies. He was found dead in his home in 2007, a heart attack brought about by years of addictions. WWE didn’t really mention it and while he is talked of with ECW, the company basically ignores a guy who actually had much better stuff in other places.
9 9. Jack Tunney
Born in Toronto, Jack Tunney began working for his uncle in Maple Leaf Wrestling. He worked his way up from a ref to a major executive and soon chief booker. When his uncle died, Jack took over as owner of Maple Leaf. When Jim Crockett began cutting ties to Canada, Tunney decided to ally with WWE instead, helping turn that company into a major force in Canada. Eventually, thanks to a very complex deal, Tunney basically sold Maple Leaf to WWE which made Toronto a WWE city. This affected promotions across Canada but it also helped lead to a major rise in wrestling interest, mainly WWE, in Toronto. As a reward, Tunney was made the on-air “President” of WWE.
It was a figurehead position, Tunney coming in with broadcasts for major events or controversies and fans accepted him as a major part of the show. But in 1995, as WWE endured horrific business, Tunney was among the many talents cut. In 2004, Tunney passed on from a heart attack, and his death never mentioned even on WWE’s website. The closest mention was in 2010 when Santino Marella talked of going “all the way to the top” to Tunney on an issue than saying “evidentially he passed away many years ago.” Fans remember him fondly but WWE doesn’t seem to.
8 8. Umaga
To be fair, WWE tried to help him. Eki Fatu was a member of the famed Anoa’i wrestling clan, a man built for tough stuff. He had a run in WWE as Jamal of 3-minute warning and a stint in TNA. In 2005, he came as Umaga, the painted madman who embarked on wild attacks on others. It led to major success, a run as IC champion and surprisingly great matches with John Cena and Jeff Hardy. But the man was wrestling with injuries that led to some addictions and with the company pushing more wellness, he was encouraged to get help. But when he refused rehab on violating the policy again, WWE released him. Just six months later, Fatu was found dead of an overdose. It wasn’t mentioned on WWE and the company doesn’t talk about him much as a reminder of the cost of refusing help for your addictions.
7 7. Doink (Matt Osbourne)
The original Doink was a genius creation. An evil clown, he came out to circus music that turned creepy, popping balloons with a cigar and sinister. However, Osborune was having issues with WWE and soon left and the role was transformed into a more comedic character. He went to ECW as Matt Bourne where he played up the Doink bit but also mocking WWE for saddling a talented guy with a terrible gimmick. It had potential but the man’s personal issues didn’t help him out. Borne briefly returned to the role of Doink for a 2007 battle royal of gimmick guys on RAW. Borne passed away in 2013 of an overdose and WWE has never really acknowledged it as Doink still makes the occasional appearance. A shame a decent worker was overlooked because of a joke character.
6 6. Hercules
Raymond Fernandez had broken out in Florida, a strongman who seemed ready for a big push. WWE gave him the name of Hercules and he started off as a heel, including some good battles with Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior. He shifted to a face, over if not too spectacular. He and Paul Roma were teamed as Power and Glory, a good team with plans to make them champions but it fell apart. Hercules drifted away after that, time in the independents, a short WCW stint but nothing major. He passed on in 2004 at 47 of heart failure but you wouldn’t know it by WWE as the man is never mentioned. True, he wasn’t a monster star but still a dependable guy in a major time period yet his passing is hardly a heroic tale.
5 5. Mabel/Viscera
Nelson Frazier wasn’t a bad guy but he got some pretty bad stuff. He started off in WWE as Mable, a massive member of rapping tag team Men on a Mission. In 1995, WWE made the disastrous decision to have Mabel be the new heel star, winning King of the Ring and horrible matches with Diesel and the Undertaker (whose face he broke with a bad legdrop). Frazier was then transformed into Viscera, a monster in a big coat but his ring work didn’t improve and his “World’s Largest Love Machine” bit was a bit sad to watch.
His final run was Big Daddy V, notable for the suspenders that showed his massive man boobs. Like many a man his size, Frazier suffered from health issues and died of a heart attack at 43 in 2014. His widow later sued WWE, claiming her husband suffered CTE and the company covered it up. That’s probably why they don’t talk about him much (even despite his horrible ring work) and ignoring such a big man.
4 4. Test
For a while, Andrew Martin looked like he was about to become a major star. Bold, bright with long blonde hair, Test was over rather well with fans and had a good push. He had runs as European and Intercontinental Champion and a program “dating” Stephanie McMahon. Their wedding was interrupted by Triple H revealing he’d married Stephanie, setting up a wild feud. However, with Hunter and Stephanie together for real, Test’s stock in the company faded a bit. He had runs as tag team champion and some rough pushes here and there but a rough surgery in 2004 led to his release.
He had a brief run in TNA and a return to WWE with the ECW brand but his heat was gone. Martin was found dead in his home in 2009 of an evident overdose, another sad loss for a guy so young. WWE seems to have ignored him totally which is a shame as the guy could have been someone major if not for some bad breaks.
3 3. Dino Bravo
A running gag at various wrestling blogs and sites is “Dino Bravo was the worst.” Born in Italy, Bravo became a major star in Montreal, boosting the city’s wrestling legacy up. He had runs in WWE as part of a new “Dream Team” but was notable for an off-screen temper and often brutal matches. He had feuds with The Ultimate Warrior and others but few really remember him well. That’s especially true because of his end. Bravo decided to use his fame as a wrestler to smuggle illegal cigarettes into Canada (there’s actually a pretty big black market Up North for that). Somehow, he got on the wrong side of somebody and ended up shot dead in his home in 1993. That brutal fate is probably the reason WWE chooses to ignore the man majorly.
2 2. Fabulous Moolah
Given her amazingly long run as champion and what she did for the business, you’d think The Fabulous Moolah would be mentioned more. The WWE is even doing a women's only tournament this summer with wrestlers all around the world, but chose to name it after Mae Young, rather than Moolah, despite Moolah having the longest reign with the Women's Championship.
Some think WWE is wary of touching her reputation as many have said Moolah basically “pimped” out her girls to get better deals from promotors. Also, there’s the fact that Mae Young basically stole the show from Moolah when it came to being a randy old gal who even took power bombs off a stage. While Moolah’s death in 2007 was noted, WWE really doesn’t discuss her or her legacy as much as you may think. Indeed, Young is often credited more for helping modern Divas than Moolah was, surprising given her long legacy and loyalty to the company.
1 1. Chris Benoit
The obvious choice and it’s no surprise WWE doesn’t talk about him much. They do seem to do so a bit more as a book on their 50th anniversary discussed his death. Likewise, a book on WrestleMania talked of the ending of XX with Benoit celebrating and how “future events would change the perception of the moment.” The sad fact is, Benoit’s end has ensured his years of wrestling will likely never be appreciated again. That a man who seemed to represent so much of what was good with wrestling could give it such shame is hard to take. But that happened when Benoit was found in his home with his wife and son and clear evidence he killed them and then took his own life. WWE had just done a “tribute RAW” to Benoit and had to work quickly to go into damage control.
Since then, Benoit has been erased as much as possible even though he is shown on shows on the WWE Network. As mentioned, some books discuss him in as brief turns as possible with his history but nothing more in depth. Some think it’s too much but others agree it might be needed as the man disgraced the entire business so it's no wonder he’s not talked of more.
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