In 1996, influenced by what he had seen in Japan, Eric Bischoff got the idea to form a stable in WCW; an invading group of outsiders called the nWo. The angle went off amazingly and led to a revival of WCW’s fortunes and touched off what would become pro wrestling’s most lucrative years. But before this, the idea of a stable as we know it today wasn’t as popular. Bischoff didn’t invent the stable by any means, nor was the nWo the first North American stable. But after the nWo, the wrestling world went stable crazy for a while, and periodically does go stable crazy now and again. In response to the immense popularity of the nWo, the WWE introduced a plethora of their own stables. Some worked out great (D-X), others, not so much (the Truth Commission).
Arguably, the main goal of a stable is to give a structure to your storylines while helping younger, unestablished talent grow under the leadership of established stars. But for every Triple H, Rock, and Randy Orton, there are many guys who just didn’t go anywhere. It’s true, not every project is a success. A young wrestler who appears to have all the qualities needed for success might not click for a number of reasons. But if the stable he’s been placed in is a joke or is just plain forgotten, that won’t help matters. Here are 15 less remembered members of WWE stables.
15 Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart - The Hart Foundation
Jim ‘the Anvil’ Neidhart has always been an excellent “other guy”. As one half of the Hart Foundation, Neidhart shone as part of one of the most celebrated tag teams in WWE history. After brother-in-law Bret Hart left to pursue singles success, ‘The Anvil’ teamed with the younger Owen for a bit. He drifted in and out of the WWE until 1997 when he was recruited to serve in the new Hart Foundation stable.
While business was poor in 1997, The Hart Foundation angle is fondly remembered. But with most of the focus on Bret, and then Owen, and then the British Bulldog, and then Brian Pillman, the Anvil was there mostly to fill out the ranks. He played his role fine, but as the weakest wrestler and perhaps least enigmatic performer, he never got much attention. Young fans perhaps know him best as Natalya’s father and for his appearances on Total Divas. Neidhart wrestled intermittently on the indies throughout the 2000s, dabbled in real estate, and unfortunately had some drug and legal troubles in 2010. His troubles have been documented on Total Divas, as Nattie is a focal point of the show.
14 D’Lo Brown - Nation of Domination
You’re looking at the real deal, now! You better recognize D’Lo Brown...but sadly, many don’t. The Nation of Domination is mostly remembered as the launching pad for the Rock. Many may also remember the NOD’s founder, Farooq (Ron Simmons), the colorful and incredibly over Godfather, and the ‘World’s Strongest Man’ Mark henry, who is still with the company today. But no love for D’Lo?
For a time in the late ‘90s, D’Lo looked like a real prospect. In 1999, he held the European and Intercontinental titles simultaneously. Sadly, D’Lo’s career declined after he inadvertently paralyzed Droz with a botched running powerbomb. The incident really affected D’Lo and was a dark cloud over his career.
Since he left WWE in 2003, Brown wrestled for TNA, All Japan Pro Wrestling, Ring of Honor, and various indies. He also re-signed for WWE for a hot minute in WWE in 2008 and later worked as a road agent for TNA for a few years and got caught up in their Aces and Eights angle.
13 Savio Vega - Nation of Domination/Los Boricuas
Before D’Lo joined the Nation, Savio Vega was a member. Vega and Crush were the first wrestling members of the Nation after Farooq. Before this, Vega was known for a string of very good matches he had with Steve Austin in Stone Cold’s first major program in the WWE. After about half a year in the Nation, Farooq expelled Crush and Vega. Vega responded by forming his own gang: Los Boricuas.
Now, this article is meant to be about forgotten members of WWE stables. But this a bit of an exception. Los Boricuas itself is completely forgotten by most. They existed on TV for less than a year and were briefly pushed as part of WWE’s “Gang Rulz” era when they tried to counter the popularity of the nWo with a hundred different stables that all sucked. After leaving the WWE in 1998, Vega returned to his native Puerto Rico where he has wrestled and promoted for years and has also worked some shows for TNA. For the record, in case you’re studying for some obscure wrestling quiz, the other members of Los Boricuas were Miguel Pérez, José Estrada Jr., and Jesus Castillo.
12 Chainz (Disciples of Apocalypse)
While Vega formed Los Boricuas after his expulsion from the Nation, Crush formed the Disciples of Apocalypse, a biker gang and also maybe white supremacists? The latter part was never said explicitly, but that all members were tattooed, denim clad, white bikers feuding with two other ethnic gangs made one wonder. One member of DOA was Brian Lee. Lee wrestled in DOA as Chainz (the letter “z” was very cool in 1997). Neither he nor DOA accomplished much and Lee was released in 1998.
After that, he kind of disappeared from wrestling before resurfacing in TNA in 2002 where he would become an NWA Tag Team Champion. After leaving TNA, Lee continued to wrestle on smaller independent shows. But more interesting than Lee’s work after DOA is his work before it.
Did you know that Brian Lee once headlined a SummerSlam event? It’s true; Lee main evented SummerSlam ‘94 against the Undertaker. Lee wrestled as...the Undertaker. Yes, that’s right, Chainz was ‘The Underfaker’.
11 Justin Credible - The X Factor
Yo, you dealing with the X Factor! After making his name in ECW, Justin Credible came over to the WWE. But the WWE didn’t have much for Credible to do. Nor had they anything for X-Pac or Albert to do. The solution? Lump them all together in a meaningless faction. “The X-Factor”. What was this group anyway? What was the point of the X-Factor? What were their goals beyond just being boring and weird? Having arguably the weirdest theme music ever?
Credible became wrapped up in the Invasion angle in 2001 as part of the ECW core of the Alliance. He was released from WWE in 2003 and spent the next 12 years working the independents and brief stints in TNA, Xtreme Pro Wrestling, and back to WWE in 2006 as part of their ECW brand. He retired in 2015.
10 Giant Silva - The Oddities
Paulo Cesar da Silva had a very similar career trajectory to El Gigante/Giant Gonzalez. Like Gonzalez, Silva is a South American giant (though Brazilian) who played basketball at a high level (though his true skill could be debated). After basketball, Silva moved to pro wrestling, where his true skill level cannot be debated: he sucked. So much so that he had very few (any?) televised singles matches in WWE. Which might be why you don’t remember him.
He wrestled as Giant Silva part of the Oddities, a stable that truly lived up to their name. The Oddities seemed to be a parody of the plethora of stables the WWE had had months before, nearly all of which were awful. Silva was mostly a “heater”; a bodyguard type character that would second other Oddities members during their matches.
After leaving WWE in 1999, Silva wrestled on and off for New Japan Pro Wrestling until 2008, but more interestingly, he competed in professional MMA for a few years. He fought in Pride and K-1 in Japan and retired with a 2-8 record.
9 Bull Buchanan (The Truth Commission/Right to Censor)
Bull Buchanan was a member of two WWE stables, one mostly forgotten and one that was quite successful. In the nascent stages of his career, Buchanan wrestled as Recon in the United States Wrestling Association (USWA), which acted as a developmental territory for the WWE at the time. Recon was a member of the Truth Commission, a white separatist group from South Africa. Upon moving up to WWE in 1997, the white separatist angle was quickly dropped as was their South African manager, replaced by Don Callis as The Jackal.
Recon was part of the group the whole way through, up until its dissolution in 1998, after which he went to another developmental territory, Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) for more seasoning. He returned in 2000 as Bull Buchanan as a partner for Big Boss Man, but soon after joined Right to Censor, a stable WWE fans loved to hate. After RTC, Buchanan again returned to OVW, before coming back up in 2002 as B-Squared to be a young John Cena’s sidekick. After leaving WWE in 2003, Buchanan worked in Japan and the independents before retiring in 2014. While he was retiring, Buchanan began police training and after retiring, he was named a deputy with the Carroll County Sheriff's Department in Georgia
8 Mideon - Ministry of Darkness
Dennis Knight debuted in WWE as Phineas I. Godwin, Henry’s brother, and formed a tag team with him. After a severe neck injury to Henry, the Godwins disbanded and Knight disappeared from WWE TV for about a year before returning under his own name only to be immediately abducted by the Acolytes. Knight was then tortured and brainwashed into joining the Ministry of Darkness as Mideon. These vignettes were bizarre and disturbing, but to some they were also comically over the top. The Ministry was a stable meant to help establish the new evil, satanic persona of the Undertaker, as well as give some purpose to a cadre of midcarders. It helped Farooq and Bradshaw (though really, it was their transformation from the Acolytes to the Acolyte Protection Agency --APA-- that really helped them) and it even boosted Mabel/Viscera’s fortunes. But Mideon went nowhere.
After the Ministry disbanded, Mideon bummed around the background of WWE for a while before leaving in 2001. Knight worked as a trainer and part time wrestler until 2006, even appearing in TNA briefly, before retiring fully and becoming a chef. He runs his own catering business today.
7 Gangrel (The Brood)
The Ministry was not the only occult group in the WWE in the late ‘90’s; there was also the Brood. Indeed, the Brood even joined the Ministry for a brief period. Everybody remembers the Brood for helping to launch the careers of Edge and Christian. But not many think of the Brood’s founder, Gangrel, except in discussions of the coolest entrances in WWE history. After E&C left the Brood in 1999, Gangrel very briefly mentored the Hardy’s in the “New Brood”. And what did Gangrel do after helping to establish two of the most celebrated tag teams in WWE history? Porn.
Apart from wrestling for various independents since leaving WWE, in 2007 Gangrel signed a deal to direct adult films for the New P**n Order under his ring name Vampire Warrior. That’s a pretty interesting career shift.
6 Michael Tarver (Nexus)
In recent years, there have been comparatively fewer stables in the WWE since they were greatly overused in the late ‘90’s and early '00’s. And they’ve been better for it, as they’ve had a higher success rate, such as with groups like Evolution and Legacy. However, no group started as hot as Nexus did in 2010. After being made to look like fools on the NXT show, Nexus debuted on the main roster as badasses who beat up John Cena, CM Punk, and destroyed the ring.
Apart from the meteoric rise that Daniel Bryan would later experience, the Nexus also helped propel Wade Barrett, Ryback, and Heath Slater to modest success. The other members were not so lucky, but perhaps none slipped into anonymity as quickly as Michael Tarver. Tarver is not particularly good in the ring nor is he particularly good on the mic. Tarver sustained a groin injury in the autumn of 2010 and was taken off TV. He was released from WWE in 2011 and since he has wrestled on the independent scene, most notably for the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) as well as New Japan.
5 Mason Ryan - (The New Nexus)
As hot as the Nexus debut was, their momentum quickly dissipated. By 2011, the group had to be rejigged and was split into the entirely forgettable Corre and The New Nexus. It was led by CM Punk, who had just returned from injury (and a memorable stint as an announcer) and who had previously proven he could lead a stable as he had with the Straight Edge Society. However, Punk was limited in what he could work with. David Otunga never proved to be a competent wrestler, Curtis Axel (Michael McGillicutty) was even less charismatic than he is now, and Husky Harris was no Bray Wyatt. The biggest problem was Mason Ryan.
A Welsh bodybuilder, Ryan is merely one in a long line of guys with great bodies with whom Vince McMahon fell in love on sight, but quickly realized that they just couldn’t wrestle (ie: Brakus, Nathon Jones, etc.). After sustaining an injury, Ryan was taken off TV, and during his hiatus CM Punk caught fire after his “Pipe Bomb” promo and epic match against John Cena at Money in the Bank 2011. When Ryan returned, the New Nexus was no more and he was quickly lost in the shuffle. A return to NXT did little to help Ryan and he was released in 2014, since which time he has wrestled on the independents, and bizarrely, joined Cirque de Soleil.
4 Albert - The X-Factor
As mentioned earlier, The X-Factor was short lived, but Albert did manage to win the Intercontinental Championship during that time. Afterwards, Albert became A-Train and did very little. He was released in 2004, after which he joined All Japan Pro Wrestling, and then New Japan, where as Giant Bernard and teamed with Karl Anderson to form Bad Intentions, one of the most successful tag teams in New Japan history. On the back of this success, Albert returned to WWE in 2012 as...Tensai. After that utter dumpster fire of a character flamed out, he joined Brodus Clay in a comedic tag team.
Albert (real name Matt Bloom) retired in 2014 to become a commentator for NXT, before quickly moving on to a trainer role. He is now the head trainer in NXT and by all accounts is flourishing in the role.
3 The Harris Brothers - DOA
Earlier, we saw what Chainz (Brian Lee) got up to post DOA, but the Harris Brothers’ career trajectory is even more interesting, The twins (Skull and 8-Ball) left WWE in 1999 and, being favorites of both Vince Russo and Jeff Jarrett, were hired by WCW where they portrayed “Creative Control” and later, with Jarrett, formed the absolute worst version of the nWo. After WWE purchased WCW in 2001, the Harris Brothers were cut loose and went on to wrestle for All Japan and TNA. They became road agents in TNA, formed a management company based in Nashville, worked for a marketing and production company that produced TNA, and are now producers for Global Force Wrestling (GFW). They were in talks to purchase the company, but have instead joined on to help the new brand.
2 Kurrgan - The Truth Commission/The Oddities
In USWA, Kurrgan the Interrogator was Recon’s tag partner, but given his size, the WWE pushed him as a singles star and built the Truth Commission around him. Only one problem: like many giants, the nearly seven-foot tall French-Canadian was terrible in the ring. After determining that Kurrgan couldn’t be pushed as a serious wrestler, he was put in the Oddities for comedic effect, but even this didn’t work. After his WWE release, he worked some shows in Quebec for Jacques Rougeau.
While Kurrgan was not a particularly successful wrestler, he has found more success in acting. Kurrgan (real name Robert Maillet) has appeared in films such as 300, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, and Sherlock Holmes, in which he accidentally punched Robert Downy Jr. in the face. Oops.
1 PG-13 - Nation of Domination
Remember the white rappers that would accompany Farooq to the ring in the early days of the Nation of Domination? Well, before they were spitting hot fire on the mic in WWE, they were actually wrestlers in USWA. Known collectively as PG-13, J.C. Ice and Wolfie D were original members of the first incarnation of the NOD in USWA. In fact, J.C. Ice is the son of famed Scottish-born Australian wrestler Bill Dundee who became a Memphis legend. They were called up to the WWE for its version of the Nation in 1996, but worked primarily as seconds to Farooq, entertaining fans with their sick rhymes.
After the Nation was retooled in 1997, PG-13 left for ECW, and then very briefly for WCW in 2000. Since then, they’ve wrestled on various independents. Wolfie D also wrestled in TNA and opened a professional wrestling school.