Stables have long served an important function in wrestling promotions. As heels they provide a daunting challenge to faces. When the coin is flipped, stables can provide fan favorites as a means of evening the odds and overcoming the villains who have long tormented them. Stables also give wrestlers the opportunity to develop and grow while being protected by more experienced talent. Stables are often overused, but more often than not they are over with audiences.
While stables are often a positive, the last decade has been filled with news of professional wrestlers succumbing to the lifestyle of the profession or the long-term effects of injuries. Deaths, addictions, arrests, and other issues have become commonplace. It is not unusual to see finds inquiring about the well-being of wrestlers who are no longer in the public eye. It seems that usually the news is bad, but that’s not the case with this list.
Here are 15 wrestlers who are often forgotten as members of a particular stable. The groups may be well-known while the individuals are not. In some cases the wrestlers went on to make a name for themselves while the group faded from the public memory. All 15 of these wrestlers have disappeared from the spotlight today. All but one has retired from the ring, and they have moved on to a variety of careers, from cooking to education to film to law enforcement.
15. Mideon – The Ministry of Darkness / The Corporate Ministry
Dennis Knight came to national prominence in WCW as Tex Slazenger, teaming with Mark Canterbury, aka Shanghai Pierce. The two latter reunited as The Godwinns in the WWE, hillbilly cousins named Henry O. (Canterbury) and Phineas I. (Knight). The Godwinns had two brief reigns as WWE Tag Team Champions but were largely a mid-card act. They were then repackaged under their real names as Southern Justice, Jeff Jarrett’s bodyguards.
In 1999 Knight was repackaged again and initiated into The Undertaker’s Satanic-flavored stable The Ministry of Darkness. Named Mideon (after a town in the 1990 horror movie Nightbreed), he supposedly had soothsayer capabilities, though these were rarely incorporated into storylines. He was noted for carrying an eyeball in a jar, which he would often leave at the commentary table, but Mideon generally took losses for The Ministry. He continued in this role when The Undertaker merged his followers with Mr. McMahon’s into the Corporate Ministry. Mideon was briefly European Champion (after he found the retired belt). Knight later played the comedy character Naked Mideon, wearing only boots, a fanny pack, and a thong. He retired in 2005.
Even though Dennis Knight is many years removed from The Ministry of Darkness, he is not far from flames. Knight always had an interest in cooking, and after retiring he studied under top chefs in Clearwater, FL. He now owns Dennis Knight Catering, specializing in high-end fare. But no worries: there are no eyeballs in jars, and he wears more than a fanny pack in the kitchen.
14. Fake Sting – The nWo
Jeff Farmer spent time in WCW as Lightning in the short-lived Thunder & Lightning tag team and in singles as Cobra. Farmer got his break in September 1996, when he portrayed the nWo’s Fake Sting prior to and during the War Games match at Fall Brawl. The Fake Sting fooled no one, and he ended up being destroyed by the genuine article at the end of the match. The real Sting then began to evolve into his Crow persona, and Farmer continued to imitate him over the next several months. The Fake Sting eventually wound up in the nWo’s New Japan chapter, where he was a significant player for the rest of the ’90s. He retired in 2005.
A compilation of Farmer’s early promos as Jumpin’ Jeff became a YouTube sensation in 2008, becoming widely accepted as the lowest possible point of mic work. The Fake Sting reemerged in 2015 when the WWE mistakenly put a picture of Farmer on the back of The Best of Sting DVD.
Farmer, however, moved on from the ring, earning his BA from the University of Central Florida before becoming a certified fitness trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. He now works at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, where he is the Program Development and Project Manager of the GEAR (Genetics Exercise and Research) initiative. Farmer hasn’t shied from his wrestling past. His UM profile page notes that his previous profession, and his Twitter account features Jumpin’ Jeff.
13. Tori – DX
When Tori joined DX in 1999, she was near the end of an accomplished career in a decade where opportunities were sparse for legitimate women wrestlers. She started out in her native Portland as the valet for Scotty The Body (the future Raven). She then adopted the name of Terri Power in the Lades Professional Wrestling Association, where she was the last LPWA Champion. After a few character tweaks in the WWE, she fell into the role of Kane’s girlfriend, only to betray him during his feud with X-Pac. She spent the first half of 2000 helping DX in their feuds with Kane and The Dudley Boys, the later of whom finally gained revenge by power-bombing her through a table.
Tori was a solid worker in her day, but the Attitude Era WWE had few meaningful roles for actual women’s wrestlers. Her time with DX came when the group had been over-exposed and was being separated from Triple H. X-Pac and The Road Dogg’s shtick had gotten old, and “X-Pac Sucks” chants began to echo throughout arenas in earnest. Tori retired from wrestling in the early 2000s, and since then has operated her own yoga studio in Portland.
12. Mason Ryan – The Nexus
Welch-born Ryan seemed like a sure bet with the WWE. He had been a competitor on the Sky1 show Gladiators (a UK adaptation of American Gladiators). He was 6’6”, 285 lbs., with had a great physique. He was a power wrestler with a Batista-like look. He was what the WWE was looking for when he joined FCW in 2009. He then held the Florida Heavyweight Title for over six months in 2010-2011. Ryan was brought up to the main roster I January 2011 to join CM Punk’s New Nexus. He was part of the memorable Nexus vs. The Corre battle at the start of that year’s Royal Rumble match. He later teamed with Punk before the Nexus was abandoned. He turned face later in the year and feuded with Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger. Ryan then suffered a series of injuries and floundered for two years in NXT before being released.
After a stint on the independent scene, Ryan leveraged his athletic abilities and entertainment experience into a job with Cirque Du Soleil in 2016. He portrays the Chief Archer of Ka, a role that requires a great deal of combat performance. He also still gets to work heel.
11. Bull Buchanan – Right to Censor
Bull Buchanan started out in the WWE as Recon in the short-lived Truth Commission before adopting a para-military persona and partnering with The Big Bossman. He is best known for being a member of The Right to Censor, a heel group lead by Steven Richards that mocked the then-attempts by the Parents Television Council to censor the WWE’s Attitude Era programming. Buchanan traded in his SWAT-style gear for a white button-down shirt and black pants, teamed with The Goodfather (formerly The Godfather), and won the WWE Tag Team Championship. The RTC were over at first, but the gimmick faded by the spring of 2001. Buchanan returned as B2 at the end of 2002, serving as John Cena’s sidekick early on in the latter’s rapper phase. He quickly disappeared again and, after stints in Japan and the indies, hung up his boots for good. While he once wore SWAT-style gear, Buchanan now wears a real badge as a deputy with the Carroll County (GA) Sheriff’s Office. He doesn’t shy away from his wrestling past, sitting for the occasional interview with both local news outlets and wrestling podcasts.
10. Sign Guy Dudley – The Dudley Family
Big Daddy Dudley, as the story goes, travelled the United States as a salesman, leaving a trail of illegitimate children in his wake. Those children began to reunite in ECW in 1995 as The Dudley Family. One of the key characters to the stable’s growth was Sign Guy Dudley, an audience plant who carried signs praising the groups’ members. Bubba Ray, D-Von, and Spike are the best-known brothers, but the group contained nine members in total (though never at the same time). When Bubba Ray and D-Von split off and began their dominance of the ECW tag team scene, Sign Guy went with them, displaying signs lauding their attributes and mocking their opponents. Along with the Dudley’s vulgar wordsmith Joel Gertner, the silent Sign Guy significantly contributed to the mix of violence, comedy, and raunch that made the team the top heels in the company.
After Bubba Ray and D-Von left for the WWE, Sign Guy (real name Lou D’Angeli) picked up the mic and became Lou E. Dangerously, a knockoff of Paul Heyman’s original wrestling persona. Sign Guy wound up in the WWE in the mid-2000s, like many ECW alums, but this time it was behind the scenes in live event promotion and marketing. He parlayed that experience into his current position as Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Cirque du Soleil. Not a bad career progression for a guy who started out promoting with hand drawn signs.
9. Vladimir Kozlov – The Ruthless Roundtable
Speaking of ECW – the other ECW had one of the WWE’s most forgotten stables, The Ruthless Roundtable. William Regal assembled the group in 2009 to make life miserable for ECW Champion Christian. It also allowed Regal – who was transitioning away from full-time ring competition – to serve as a mouthpiece for two competitors who needed help on the mic. Those two were Vladimir Kozlov and Ezekiel Jackson. Kozlov had been around the WWE for a few years at this point, having received a sizeable push on SmackDown in 2008, but he had failed to catch on. He did well as a ruthless Russian destroyer in the Roundtable.
When ECW ended, Kozlov was sent to Raw where he made a complete turnaround by forming a comedy tag team with Santino Marella. They surprisingly won the WWE Tag Team Championship, holding it for two months. Kozlov competed in Japan’s Inoki Genome Federation for a year following his 2011 WWE release before retiring. Since then, he has pursued an acting career, appearing in The Wire, Burn Notice, and the Spike Lee film 25th Hour. He also held numerous roles in his native Ukraine, where he is a vice president with the Quasar Entertainment production company.
8. The Yeti – The Dungeon of Doom
One would expect a character named The Yeti to be white, furry snow beast, especially if it was to burst out of a block of ice. But apparently no one on the 1995 WCW creative team owned an Encyclopedia Britannica. The Yeti that The Dungeon of Doom unleashed upon Hulk Hogan was a giant mummy. It remains a mystery why Kevin Sullivan and The Master would have discovered a mummy frozen in ice instead of a pyramid or a sarcophagus. It is also not clear why WCW would think that their audience wouldn’t notice the difference between the name and the creature presented. However, a mummy costume with boot lifts was what the 7-foot-3 Ron Reis was given, and he did his best. To make matters worse, Tony Schiavone continuously over-enunciated the character’s name as “Yeah-Tay.”
The Yeti never had a chance. Reis was transformed into The Super Giant Ninja because, well, why not. He next worked as an enhancement talent under the name of Big Ron Studd (after his trainer, Big John Studd) before becoming Reese in Raven’s Flock. As a former basketball star at Santa Clara, Reis was huge – 7’3″, 365 lbs., – but he was not a strong worker. He retired in the early-2000s, and is now is a district manager for a wine distributor in Atlanta. He does, however, make the periodic appearance at fan conventions and independent wrestling events in the area.
7. Lash LeRoux / Cpl. Cajun – Misfits in Action
The Misfits in Action were formed in the spring of 2000 from wrestlers who had been floating around WCW’s mid-card for years. Storyline-wise, they had all been fired by Eric Bischoff and Vince Russo for failing to do their bidding during The New Blood vs. The Millionaire’s Club angle. Under the command of Hugh Morrus, they united as a military-style faction under new names. Morrus was given the moniker of Gen. Hugh G. Rection. The other members’ names also reflected Russo’s 12-year old boy sensitivities: Major Stash (Van Hammer), Major Gunns (Tylene Buck), Lt. Loco (Chavo Guerrero Jr.), and Cpl. Cajun (Lash LeRoux). LeRoux had been around WCW for a few years, but didn’t gain much traction until the M.I.A.
The stable wasn’t the worst idea of the Russo-era, but the names detracted from the talent in the group. LeRoux also was an accomplished cartoonist, and he regularly contributed cartoons to WCW Magazine, Pro Wrestling Illustrated, and The Wrestler. LeRoux was able to fall back on his artistic talents once a neck injury ended his career in the early 2000s. The former Cpl. Cajun continued in this field until this year, when he followed his faith and became a youth minister at West Weaver Baptist Church in Alabama.
6. Mike Sanders – Natural Born Thrillers
It’s hard to get traction when you’re given the nickname “Above Average.” You’re not “Super” or “Excellent.” You’re not “Above and Beyond.” You’re essentially a B minus which, in all fairness, was about all that could be expected out of WCW by the middle of 2000. Mike Sanders came into WCW with The Natural Born Thrillers, a group of disgruntled Power Plant graduates looking to take their spots away from the established veterans. The group was a precursor to The Nexus not only in the storyline but also in the way that it was hot at first and cold within a few months. Sanders was the mouthpiece and, while he enjoyed a reign as Cruiserweight Champion, was more of a talker than a wrestler. He traded the WCW Commissionership with Ernest “The Cat” Miller and tried to outwit President Ric Flair in between.
Sanders had a stint in WWE developmental after the buyout, followed by a few years on the indie scene. Since retiring, Sanders played to his mic strengths as a touring stand-up comedian. He also operates a DJ and group entertainment business Called The Party Paramedic in Atlanta. Like many wrestlers, he has tried his hand at acting, appearing in a number of TV shows, including Burn Notice and Homeland, as well as the 2013 film Devil’s Knot.
5. Fyre – The Nitro Girls
Teri Byrne will be remembered by fans of the Monday Night War era as Fyre, one of the original Nitro Girls. She was with the troupe from 1997 to 1999, when their primary function was to entertain fans during the show’s commercial breaks. They also performed on the show, particularly as Nitro’s luster began to fade and they needed to add sex appeal for the Raw-leaning audience. Notable Nitro Girls included founder and leader Kimberly Page; Storm, who married Booker T. and became Queen Sharmell in WWE; and Whisper, who left the group to marry Shawn Michaels.
After WCW closed, Fyre joined several other former Nitro Girls in the short-lived pop group Diversity 5.
Byrne has worked for The University of Phoenix for a decade, first as an enrollment manager and now as a regional enrollment director. She still makes appearances with the Nitro Girls on the convention circuit.
4. Mantaur – Camp Cornette
Maybe the reason that WCW Creative couldn’t find a book on mythical creatures when they developed The Yeti is because the WWE team had checked them all out. Someone ran across the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur and, instead of enjoying the story and moving on, they decided the creature would make a great wrestling gimmick. They were wrong. Mike Halac, a veteran of the European Catch Wrestling Association, was the poor sap yoked to one of the WWE’s most ridiculous characters in early 1995. The half-man/half-bull Mantaur, billed from The Island of Crete, wore a giant bull headdress to the ring, and incorporated bull mannerisms into his ring work, such as snorting and charging. Mantaur was briefly managed by Jim Cornette as part of his wide-ranging Camp Cornette stable, though he was never involved in any significant storylines.
Mantaur was gone by the summer of ’95, but his memory has endured. Mike Halac actually was trusted by WWE creative a second time and returned in 1997 for a brief run as Tank of The Truth Commission. He then went back to the CWA before retiring. Since then he has pursued acting, appearing mainly in budget features such as Endor (no Star Wars connection) and the upcoming Toxic Tutu. After Mantaur, no role could be too ridiculous for Halac.
3. Clarence Mason – The Nation of Domination
Clarence Mason was introduced into the WWE in 1996 as Jim Cornette’s attorney, channeling public dissatisfaction with lawyers into a heel who would use loopholes and technicalities to get his clients what they wanted. Mason eventually managed The British Bulldog and Owen Hart while they were WWE Tag Team Champions. In 1997 he donned a bow tie and became the legal advisor for Faarooq’s Nation of Domination. He continued to manipulate the system to the Nation’s advantage, until Faarooq fired everyone except D-Lo Brown and built a new group. Mason went to play a similar lawyer/manager character in WCW in 2000.
Mason (whose character name was a mix of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and fictitious TV attorney Perry Mason) was no stranger to the law. Herman Stevens Jr. had been practicing law as a prosecutor for three years when he got his shot with the WWE. Stevens entered private law practice after leaving wrestling. He currently is a criminal defense attorney in Delray Beach, FL, where his slogan is “Bringing the law to the people.”
2. Ezekiel Jackson – The Corre
Ezekiel Jackson appeared destined for a big push in WWE. He began as The Brian Kendrick’s bodyguard on SmackDown, before joining William Regal’s Ruthless Roundtable faction on ECW. Jackson surprised many by defeating Christian for the ECW Title on the final edition of the show in 2010. He then returned to SmackDown, joining Wade Barrett’s The Corre (along with Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater). The stable only lasted a few months. Jackson broke away from Barrett and defeated him for the Intercontinental Title at Capital Punishment. Things seem to be going his way, even after he lost the IC Title to Cody Rhodes, but a series of injuries derailed Big Zeke. He was in the WWE until 2014, though many folks thought he had been released years before. Jackson is one of the few competitors on this list who have continued wrestling. In the last three years he has made appearances in TNA (as Rycklon) and Lucha Underground. He now competes as Big Ryck, most recently in the German Westside Xtreme Wrestling company.
1. Paul Roma – The Four Horsemen
Wrestling fans don’t agree on much, but one point where there is consensus is that Paul Roma was the worst member of any incarnation of the Four Horsemen. He didn’t fit at all: the Horsemen were an elite unit of accomplished veterans and rising stars, while Roma spent most of his career as a jobber and a mid-card tag team wrestler. Even Steve McMichael, whose lack of wrestling background seemed to disqualify him at first, fit in personality-wise with the Horsemen (everyone seemed to like him) and was accomplished in his NFL endeavors (Super Bowl Champion, Pro Bowl Defensive Tackle).
Roma was shoehorned into the Horsemen in 1993 when WCW couldn’t come to terms with Tully Blanchard. Ole Anderson appeared only once with this version, so the Four Horsemen of 1993 was really three. Roma was a decent worker but not anywhere near the caliber of Ric Flair and Arn Anderson. Roma and Arn briefly held the WCW Tag Team Titles, but Paul was clearly no substitute for Tully.
Roma has cemented his status among fans by denigrating his former stablemates on both the WWE Horsemen DVD and shoot interviews. He runs a wrestling school in Connecticut, and still occasionally steps in the ring himself. He also appears on the convention circuit and as a guest on podcasts and shoot interviews, sharing his strong opinions about a wide variety of people within the wrestling industry.
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