Professional wrestling is an interesting world in which the most successful performers aren't always the most talented. There's a lot more that goes into being a championship-caliber wrestler than being athletic with strong technical skills - just ask Sami Zayn, who recently discovered that towing the company line and performing quality matches night in and night out can often get you nowhere. Conversely, wrestlers with limited talent, but a muscular build, can often be pushed to the moon by creative, especially in the WWE. There has been countless instances throughout the company's history of wrestling fans that either hated or recognized a wrestler couldn't wrestle, but still earned championship pushes - we can think of a few current wrestlers that fall into that category.
However, you do have to give the WWE credit where credit is due. The company has been a little more open to giving actual talented stars an opportunity in recent years (see A.J. Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura), but for every couple of those cases, there's a Jinder Mahal or Roman Reigns. Still, it's nowhere near as bad as it once was, especially in the early 1990s and later 1980s, when Hulk Hogan, whose only move was a leg drop, was regarded as the biggest name in the business. Yet, you would be surprised at how many former WWE wrestlers with little talent are still being paid to work shows.
A native of Los Angeles, California, Heidenreich made his WWE debut in 2003 under the ridiculous gimmick that didn't fully play out in which he was supposed to be controlled by a small doll representing his inner child aptly named Little Johnny. As if that wasn't enough to halt his momentum, he went on to be used quite frequently on SmackDown in feuds against The Undertaker, Snitsky, and Booker T. He was released in 2006 to the displeasure of absolutely nobody.
Despite being out of the WWE for over a decade, Heidenreich continues to toil on the independent circuit, having wrestled twice in the past year for Crash Tested Wrestling in Illinois and Warriors of Wrestling in New York. Our sincere apologies to fans who attended those shows.
14 Simon Dean
Mike Bucci is a semi-retired wrestler whose best work came with ECW as part of Blue World Order, but he was also part of WWE for a period of four years, two of which were spent with Ohio Valley Wrestling. He joined Raw in 2004 as Simon Dean, a diet and exercise guru who pitched supplements in promos parodying fitness infomercials. His most memorable feud was with Bobby Lashley, who defeated him at No Mercy and forced him to eat 20 cheeseburgers. Did we mention the WWE was hilariously bad back in 2006?
While he might not be as awful as some of the wrestlers to follow on this list, he had a less than memorable career and didn't particularly do anything of note in the squared circle. Yet, if you're so inclined, you can still catch him on the independent circuit, often even reliving the glory days with bWo - his last match was earlier this year at WrestlePro as the stable competed in a three-on-three tag match.
13 Great Khali
Remember when the Great Khali surprised us all by interfering in Randy Orton and Jinder Mahal's championship match in the Punjabi Prison? It felt like that moment marked a potential comeback for Khali, who hadn't competed in WWE since 2014. And while nobody was thrilled with seeing him in the ring again, it was a promising prospect for a SmackDown Live roster that was void of main event players at the time.
However, it was a one-off appearance for Great Khali and he hasn't been seen in the WWE since. He did, however, appear in the ring earlier this year, perhaps to prep for his involvement in the WWE match, as he competed in a pair of matches for Big Time Wrestling events in South Carolina. Whether or not he returns to the ring full-time, fans (if they exist) can get their Khali fix in the in-development biopic.
12 Kevin Thorn
Professional wrestler Kevin Fertig was teased in vignettes in early 2004 as a religious Zealot-type character named Mordecai, who was essentially supposed to be Bray Wyatt before Bray Wyatt. As he told Sports Illustrated about the character: "I laid out my idea [to Vince, Stephanie, and John Lauranitis] of long coats and a cross, almost Pope-ish, and even vignettes with a confessional where I punch through the confessional booth and choke out the sinner. Vince's eyes blew up and he looked at me and said, 'Holy s---.'"
According to Fertig, he was going to debut and lead up to a feud with The Undertaker that culminated in a match at WrestleMania, but it didn't pan out as he was hit with a lawsuit following a bar fight in Kentucky. He did, however, return and wrestler for the company as Kevin Thorn, albeit to little fanfare. He's still incredibly active on the independent circuit as Kevin Thorn.
11 Adam Rose
After moderate success in FCW and NXT, Adam Rose made his WWE debut following WrestleMania XXX and began feuding with Jack Swagger. Not only was his character annoying and eccentric - he earned "Worst Gimmick" recognition from Wrestling Observer Newsletter in 2014 - but he also had an actual manager and tag team partner that was a fully-grown dude dressed in a bunny costume. This was two years ago. Let that sink in for a minute the next time you start thinking WWE has actually become more progressive in recent years.
The South African native was suspended indefinitely and eventually released following a domestic violence incident in May 2016 and shortly after returned to the independent circuit. He has had quite a bit of success as well, winning the Heavyweight Title in both Championship International Wrestling and Atomic Wrestling Entertainment.
10 Santino Marella
WWE fans in Canada can see Santino Marella weekly on Sportsnet's WWE Aftermath program, but before that the Canadian-born Superstar was a rising talent in the company. In fact, he's the first wrestler on this list who actually had title success, winning both the Intercontinental and United States Championship, despite his relative lack of ability. Don't get us wrong, he was nowhere near as back as the wrestlers to follow on this list, but also certainly not deserving on title success, let alone holding the United States title for nearly six months.
A series of neck injuries forced him to retire full-time from the ring, but it hasn't stopped him from competing sporadically. He has wrestled for multiple promotions throughout the past two years, including most recently at the August 27 Destiny World Wrestling Summer Heat event in which he teamed with Chavo Guerrero Jr to take on John Atlas and RJ City.
A native of Jeffersonville, Indiana, Eugene certainly left his mark on the WWE, but not in the way any aspiring young wrestler hopes. Despite being a decorated wrestler in OVW, he debuted in the WWE as the "special" nephew of then-Raw GM Eric Bischoff. He had limited in-ring abilities, yet was placed in high-profile feuds against the likes of Kurt Angle, Triple H, and Umaga, and even won the World Tag Team Championship at one point with William Regal. He was released from the company in 2007 after failing his second drug test.
In the years to follow, Eugene competed in Juggalo Championship Wrestling and has since been a fixture on the independent scene and not even with high-profile promotions. In June, he was part of a low-budget show put on by the Newfoundland-based promotion New Evolution Wrestling.
8 Chris Masters
It's important to have one move that sets you apart from the rest of the roster, but when that move is literally the only thing you're capable of doing, it becomes a problem. That was the case with Chris Masters, who had the physique that Vince McMahon likely dreams of, but had little actual in-ring talent and charisma. He rose to prominence with his "Masterlock Challenge" in which challengers had to - but couldn't - escape his punishing submission finisher, but failed to win any titles in the WWE.
He left the company in 2011, but has remained active on the independent scene, most notably with TNA/GFW/Impact/Whateveritscalled, where he competed this past year under the name Chris Adonis. Earlier this month, he wrestled on a Big Time Wrestling card that also featured X-Pac.
7 Colin Delaney
One of the WWE's most forgettable talents of the past decade, Colin Delaney was primarily a jobber for the company's ECW brand in late 2007 and early 2008. Not surprisingly, his stint with the company didn't last long, given his relative inability in the ring and the fact he was incredibly slight in statue even for a cruiserweight - he was listed at 5-foot-9 and 172 pounds.
He did, however, have a somewhat memorable program with Tommy Dreamer, costing him his ECW Championship in a match against Mark Henry and starting a short-lived feud before being released later that year. The 31 year old continues to wrestle for a variety of promotions, including Absolute Intense Wrestling, where he's a Tag Team Champion with Cheech Hernandez.
6 Michael Tarver
Michael Tarver had the look of a professional wrestler, but that's about it. He was one of the worst performers in the first season of NXT, but was brought along to the main roster anyway alongside six others to form The Nexus, which interfered in a Raw main event between CM Punk and John Cena and beat down both wrestlers. They later feuded with Cena, resulting in a seven-on-seven tag match at SummerSlam in 2011, but Tarver was released shortly after. Needless to say, he was the least memorable - and successful - member of the group.
However, he hasn't given up the dream just yet. The 40 year old continues to wrestle extensively on the independent circuit, mostly with Big Time Wrestling, Brain Buster Pro Wrestling, and Full Impact Pro.
5 The Warlord
Terry Szopinski is a 55 year old Florida native who has wrestled for over 30 years, most prominently as The Warlord in WWE from 1988 to 1992, during which time he competed in the tag team division alongside the Barbarian as the Powers of Pain. His final match with the company in 1992 saw him lose to Virgil, which should tell you all you need to know about his career.
The Warlord was retired from 1996 to 2003 and worked in security, but later returned to the ring and, surprisingly, at 55 years old, continues to do so. In fact, he most recently competed in Canadian Wrestling Elite show in September 2017 in which he defeated Kevin Cannon and participated in a main event six-man tag team match.
4 Sycho Sid
Sycho Sid created quite a buzz earlier this summer when he blasted Kevin Owens as a main event star, stating: "I hate sayin' it, but I see people like Kevin Owens and this "Yakamora" guy, and these other people like this. When I see that, I'm going, 'Business has gotta be bad, or they're at a point where they don’t care.' That's all I know." What Sid apparently doesn't know is the fact Owens is 100 times the wrestler he ever was, even if he's an "overweight guy in a T-shirt."
Sid had a great run in WWE, but only for the fact he looked the part of a World Champion. He certainly didn't wrestle like one. He has been relatively inactive in recent years, but competed in an August show for the Canadian promotion Great North Wrestling. The highlight of the match? Sid blowing his nose and pretending to wipe his bum on a flag... Yup.
Such a fun weekend of wrestling for @wearewrestlepro and congratulations to Bear Bronson as he has only been training for a short period of time, but has a lot of potential and hung blow for blow on Friday's event for @createaprowrestling in St. James. I have truly enjoyed my return to the ring since the stem cell procedures and the fans and wrestlers alike have helped rejuvenate me in feeling better about pro wrestling. #ThankYou
It's hard to believe that Goldbe... Sorry, Ryback is still wrestling. The 35 year old Las Vegas native, like Michael Tarver, participated in the first season of NXT and made his main roster debut as a member of Nexus. Unlike Tarver, he was pushed quite heavily, despite the two having the same amount of talent, or lack thereof. Yet, he had the look of a champion and was pushed because of that. Not unlike Goldberg, he had an undefeated streak that led him to a championship match with CM Punk at Hell in a Cell in 2012. He had numerous other opportunities at the title, but ultimately came up short.
Since leaving WWE following Payback 2016, Ryback has competed for a number of promotions, including GFW, WrestlePro, and Northeast Wrestling. Besides wrestling for those companies, he seems to enjoy shooting on current WWE stars.
2 Jim Duggan
Some wrestlers simply don't know when to quit and "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan is one of those. The 2x4-carrying, All-American hero was quite over in the late 1980s and early 1990s in the WWE, perhaps most notably because he carried an American flag, and back then - and even still to a point - that meant you were the greatest thing since sliced bread. Fans adored simple moves simply because he loved America and, despite not winning any major titles in the company, he did win the 1988 Royal Rumble and is a WWE Hall of Famer.
Fortunately, the 63 year old hasn't wrestled with the company since 2012, but he would certainly return if asked. Good on him for being passionate about the industry, but his present-day matches must be an absolute mess, especially since he was never exciting to watch to begin with.
1 Brodus Clay
We're not really sure what to make of George Murdoch, better known as Brodus Clay in WWE and Tyrus with TNA and Fox News as a political commentator - keep that in mind when you hear political pundits telling athletes to "stick to sports." In the ring, Clay managed to impress in the fourth season of NXT, becoming the runner up in the show, but it couldn't have been because of his technical wrestling skills, because they're practically nonexistent.
The heavyset wrestler with the mohawk is best remembered for being a big guy who could dance, similar to the gimmick that made Rikishi a popular figure in the company. Since leaving WWE, he earned a contract with TNA/GFW and most recently competed at a July show in a match against Mahabali Shera.