Over the years, we've seen hundreds, or even thousands of men and women come and go from WWE. Casual fans are able to name the Hulk Hogans, John Cenas, Rocks, and Stone Cold Steve Austins who established themselves as the top stars of their generation, while hardcore fans are likely to be able to recognize even the lower-carders or midcarders who competed for the company a decade, or even two to three decades ago, depending on their age. Rock 'n' Wrestling die-hards, for instance, may be able to identify "Outlaw" Ron Bass or Billy Jack Haynes, while Attitude Era super-fans can still recognize someone like Flash Funk/Too Cold Scorpio or Shawn Stasiak.
Then you've got wrestlers who were ever-so-briefly on WWE television for only a couple months before their release, or those who were featured for several months or more, but weren't given anything meaningful to do. These are wrestlers whose names may elude you, or whose faces you might not be able to relate to the names. This is WWE's "who's who of who-the-hell-are-they," and we're betting most, if not all of these wrestlers may throw you off, if you were simply given their picture with no names to identify them.
In the interest of covering as much of WWE's history as possible, we've tried our best to represent the following eras – Hulkamania/Rock 'n' Wrestling, New Generation, Attitude, Ruthless Aggression, and PG – as well as possible. We're also omitting local enhancement talents, as all of the wrestlers in this list were, at the very list, given a small push and some TV time.
20 DJ Gabriel
If you look closely, you might recognize the woman on the left as Alicia Fox, years before she became as crazy as her surname, even more years before Noam Dar. But who's that dancing fool next to her? That's British wrestler DJ Gabriel, and we can assure you he's not related to Justin. This was the gimmick used by Steven Lewington during his brief run in WWE's version of ECW, and as you can see, it involved a whole lot of dancing. But it's not like you remember him squashing local jobbers on WWECW, right?
After Gabriel began doing the honors and counting the lights for ECW's biggest names, Fox was sent to the SmackDown brand, while DJ went to FCW, dropping his two-initial first name and working the gimmick of a "true English gentleman." He was released in January 2010, and he appears to be working as a fitness trainer these days, one who "used to wear spandex on TV."
19 Caylen Croft
No, the Chickbusters' (real-life besties AJ Lee and Kaitlyn) name did not come out of thin air – it was a female takeoff on The Dudebusters, the ECW tag team featuring Trent Barreta (ironically AJ's pre-CM Punk flame) and Caylen Croft. Barreta may be recognizable to indie fans due to his work in ROH and New Japan, but Croft? Aside from having the most millennial of ring names, chances are you've got nothing.
As the ECW brand folded in early-2010, Barreta and Croft soon found themselves on SmackDown, where they took up the lower rungs of the blue brand's tag team totem pole. And while Barreta would hang on to a WWE job until early-2013, Croft was cut loose in November 2010. Last we heard of him, he was teaching elementary school art in Florida, having decided to retire young after his WWE run ended.
18 Killer Khan
Billed as a monster heel from Mongolia, Japanese wrestler Masashi Ozawa entered the WWE in the early-'80s as the green mist-spewing Killer Khan, and was put into feuds with then-WWE Champion Bob Backlund and Intercontinental Champion Pedro Morales. He also feuded with a then-babyface Andre the Giant. Yes, these were all prime spots for an up-and-coming heel to be in, but at that time, WWE was still run by Vince McMahon Sr., and Vince Jr.'s scorched-earth plans to expand the company were still years away from reality.
That's why Killer Khan's name might not ring a bell, though another reason may be his 1987 return, when he fought Hulk Hogan in a few house shows...while starting a rivalry with Outback Jack on television. Crikey. You know WWE doesn't have much faith in you if they put you in a feud against Outback freakin' Jack. Even if the great Mr. Fuji is serving as your manager.
17 Barbara Bush
From Caylen Croft in the PG Era to Killer Khan in the Rock 'n' Wrestling Era, and now, on to Barbara Bush in the Attitude Era. There's a whole lot of alliteration in this list, and we're now moving on to this forgettable female flop, Barbara Bush. And no, that's not Barbara Bush as in George H.W.'s wife and Dubya's mom, or the latter President's daughter of the same name.
Often referred to by her initials "BB," Bush made her WWE debut in 1999 as a plant, an EMT who would go on to have a feud with a pre-Right to Censor Ivory. And you'd be right to think that Bush was commonly called by her initials because she was, let's just say, well-endowed in the chest area. Hey, at least it's more subtle than the ring name Vince Russo (who else?) and company originally planned for her – Nurse Connie Lingus.
After leaving WWE in 2000, Dingman was similarly forgettable when she joined WCW as Kwee Wee's valet Papaya, then the fledgling TNA as Taylor Vaughn.
German bodybuilder Achim Albrecht, a.k.a. Brakkus, isn't the only big, sweaty man in this list whom Vince McMahon was briefly enamored with, only to be terribly disappointed with in the end. In 1996, WWE tried to build him up through vignettes that made him out to be some sort of Teutonic terror, a foreign heel dead-set on tearing apart America's babyfaces, not the least of them being Vader.
Unfortunately, the feud with Vader never came, and the vignettes were ultimately wasted, as Brakkus' debut was delayed due to the simple fact that he was way too green. After about a year and a half of seasoning in the USWA and ECW, Brakkus returned to WWE in 1998, and if you remember him at all, it's probably because of his first-round loss at the Brawl for All. Remembered for the Brawl for All – now that's an oxymoron.
15 The Heartthrobs
You think SmackDown Live's tag team situation, at least before The New Day arrived and Breezango's Fashion Police skits became majorly over, was a mess? If so, then you should go back to the mid-2000s, which gave us the forgettable and/or regrettable likes of Cade and Murdoch, The Highlanders, Jesse and Festus, The Dicks, and The Heart Throbs. Now who's in that latter tag team? Antonio Thomas and Romeo Roselli. Still got nothing? Well, we can't blame you.
Unlike most of the other tag teams mentioned above, who at least enjoyed some success, The Heart Throbs were B-show fodder as they worked a gimmick today's millennial crowd will probably dub a "f***boi" gimmick. Antonio and Romeo didn't even last a year on the main roster before their release, and as The Heartbreakers, they made just one TNA appearance in 2007, losing to The New Age Outlaws' McMahon-trolling incarnation, the Voodoo Kin Mafia, at the Destination X pay-per-view.
14 Lance Cassidy
No, not Leif Cassidy – that was Al Snow's ring name as one-half of those goofball New Rockers. Lance Cade? Not him either – the late Mr. Cade was only 11 when this guy enjoyed a blink-and-you-miss-it run in the WWE.
Even fans of a certain age might not remember Lance Cassidy, but that was the ring name the least-heralded Armstrong/James brother, Steve, used when he competed in WWE from October to December 1992. That's right – Cassidy was a sign of the times when babyface cowboys and mullets were still cool in pro wrestling, and it's obvious he wasn't able to make much of an impression during those few jobber squashes he won on Superstars.
Cassidy would revert to the Steve Armstrong ring name in WCW, where he and older brother Scott were mainly used as an enhancement tag team from 1995 to 2000.
13 Joy Giovanni
Has there been a wrestler so bad in the ring that their legitimate in-ring debut came more than four years after their debut with the WWE? Yes, there was, and her name was Joy Giovanni, the third-placer in the 2004 Diva Search. Giovanni had initially debuted as SmackDown's massage therapist, and despite exclusively appearing in backstage skits and bikini contests, Joy was named the 2005 Rookie Diva of the Year. That is despite the fact she never appeared in any official, televised match.
Giovanni was released by WWE in the summer of 2005, and at WrestleMania XXV, she was one of the more forgettable entrants in the 25-Diva Battle Royal that, as you should know, was actually won by a man in drag.
12 Bam Neely
No, he wasn't the love child of Bam Bam Bigelow and Cam Neely, but it's the latter NHL player whom he got his ring name from. Whether you prefer calling him an Edgehead or a member of La Familia, he's probably the most obscure member of Edge's late-2000s faction, though his primary role was that of Chavo Guerrero's bodyguard as he strived to hang on to the ECW Championship. Otherwise, he was mostly a generic big man who didn't really bring anything interesting to the table.
After WWE released him in 2009, Neely briefly competed in the independent scene and retired in 2010, though we're not too sure what he's up to these days. Recently, however, he was spotted with one of the Gymini and the former Adam Rose, which suggests he's not completely turned his back on the wrestling business.
11 KC James (aka James Curtis)
Give the guy on the right a haircut and a full beard, and you've got Damien Sandow – yes, that's how he looked like as Idol Stevens. But who's the guy on the left? That's KC James, and together with the future Intellectual Savior of the Masses, the two were managed by Michelle McCool as her "Teacher's Pets." The duo actually enjoyed a fairly decent push under McCool's tutelage, and had gone as far as challenging Paul London and Brian Kendrick for the WWE Tag Team titles. Then McCool was injured in early-2007, and James was busted down to developmental.
In 2008, the wrestler known in real life as Kurt Sellers was back on the main roster, competing in the ECW brand under the new ring name James Curtis. Curtis was strictly a job guy, losing to Evan Bourne, and later on to notorious WWE flash in the pan Braden Walker, who, if not for his success in TNA under his real name Chris Harris, would have made this list.
Really, the only way Cherry could ring a bell for most fans is if you think of her as the girl accompanying kayfabe greasers Deuce N' Domino to the ring. But when the losses piled up, the two James Dean movie rejects unceremoniously dumped Cherry as their manager, inexplicably replacing her with Maryse – who else found it strange that Deuce N' Domino were accompanying the obviously non-throwback Maryse to the electro-pop strains of her own ring music?
Despite splitting with Deuce N' Domino, Cherry didn't get repackaged too much – sure, her '50s throwback look became a bit more subtle, but she was still entering to doo-wop music. And just like her former charges, she was doing jobs left and right, most prominently losing a series of matches to the then-debuting Natalya. Not surprisingly, WWE released her in August 2008 due to budget cuts.
9 Al Perez
Hey! You mean to tell me Seth Rollins' dad wrestled in WWE? No, silly, that's former WWE curtain-jerker Al Perez.
A mainstay of World Class Championship Wrestling and other Southern territories, "The Latin Heartthrob" Al Perez was signed by WWE in 1989, and mostly competed in the house show circuit, beating jobbers convincingly, yet being so low on the card you hardly ever saw him on the then-A-show Superstars.
WWE was hoping he'd be a hit with the Latino audience once paired in a tag team with Tito Santana, but since that fell through, he moved to WCW in 1990, briefly competing under a mask as The Black Scorpion, yet leaving the company when he was told he was going to lose in the end. So that's why WCW had no choice but to give the Scorpion role to Ric Flair.
8 Just Joe
What's his name? Just Joe, apparently. It was a silly ring name for Canadian wrestler Joe E. Legend, who signed a contract with WWE in 2000 and mostly appeared on the company's B- and C-shows. But we've got to say it was an interesting gimmick – Joe's thing was that he liked to stir the pot backstage, turning wrestlers against each other with rumor and innuendo. And if they tried to mess with him, he'd simply remind them, though not always in these words, not to shoot the messenger.
Unfortunately, Just Joe was just done with the WWE in just a few months – we really should stop saying "just" at this point, what do you think? But in all seriousness, his lack of exposure doomed what could have been a promising midcard gimmick at best.
7 Ryan Braddock
Like The Heart Throbs, this is like hitting two birds with one stone – obscure WWE and TNA wrestlers you might not remember. Okay, so the TNA thing is a bit of a stretch – the wrestler most commonly known as Jay Bradley had last competed for the latter company (as Aiden O'Shea) just this year. But we'd venture to say hardly anybody remembers his 2008 run on SmackDown as Ryan Braddock. Ryan who?
During his few months on WWE's main roster, Braddock was squashed a few times to Big Show, lost to fellow forgettable Ricky Ortiz (whom we'd have included, had he not been married to Layla), and defeated Festus (a.k.a. future Luke Gallows) via DQ when he and Jesse tied him up with duct tape. Braddock was then sent back to FCW, then released in March 2009 without anyone realizing it.
6 Freddie Joe Floyd
Now if you were an ECW fan back in the mid-'90s, you most certainly recognize him as Tracy Smothers. But if you didn't watch ECW, you might be struggling to remember his brief time in WWE as Freddie Joe Floyd. His only win of note was a victory over a young, lacking-in-upside Justin "Hawk" Bradshaw (the future JBL, of course), but otherwise, his gimmick was that of a country bumpkin who always lost to the midcard heels, including the yet-to-taste-the-main-event likes of Triple H and Steve Austin.
Why Freddie Joe Floyd, though, and not his real name of Tracy Smothers? It was all part of a Vince McMahon rib on The Brisco Brothers – Freddie Joe "Jack" Brisco, and Floyd Gerald "Jerry" Brisco, a.k.a. the future Vince McMahon "Stooge." Hey, at least it was better than naming Ted DiBiase's manservant after the real first name of then-WCW booker Dusty Rhodes.
5 Gunner Scott
Certainly, you don't want to confuse Gunner Scott with the Gunner who once worked in TNA and is now part of NXT's roster. This Gunner is arguably better-known for his appearances in ROH under his real name, Brent Albright, but not much for the few months he spent in WWE under the aforementioned ring name of Gunner Scott. Yet it all started so promising, as he had shown tons of potential in OVW, and debuted on the main roster with an upset victory over Booker T, and the seeming endorsement of Chris Benoit.
After a few more matches, which included a tag team match alongside Benoit, and another one alongside Matt Hardy, Scott was demoted to OVW, and was out of the WWE in only a few months' time. He wasn't bad in the ring, but his uninspiring ring name and lack of any true standout qualities doomed him to a quick and forgettable stint with the company.
4 Alex Pourteau
To be honest, the New Generation Era doesn't get too much love in this list because WWE made sure most of its lower-card and lower-midcard guys were memorable (though often in the wrong way) by giving them occupational gimmicks. Then again, there are wrestlers from that era who got a small push, yet ultimately became mere footnotes because of their lack of a defining gimmick. Wrestlers such as Alex "The Pug" Pourteau.
Pourteau's thing was that he was an amateur wrestling standout. But unlike Kurt Angle, Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler, and the men whose University of Michigan fight song he borrowed, The Steiner Brothers, WWE success was elusive for the Pug. He was released by WWE in 1997 after about a year as a glorified jobber, but resurfaced at WrestleMania XXV as part of John Cena's "Army." Bet you couldn't see Pourteau – pun intended – in that army of Cena doppelgängers.
3 Dan Rodman
The Million-Dollar Tough Enough introduced us to some memorable names – Mike Mizanin (The Miz), Ryan Reeves (Ryback), even Marty Wright (The Boogeyman) and Nick Mitchell (Spirit Squad Mitch). And how could you forget the guy who shot on Kurt Angle, eventual winner Daniel Puder? However, there was another future WWE Superstar in that season, though "Superstar" is strictly for branding purposes when it comes to someone like the other Daniel among the finalists, Dan Rodimer.
Two years after his Tough Enough stint, the 6'7"-300 Rodimer signed a developmental deal with WWE, and in 2007, he was appearing on the company's C-show Heat under the slightly-tweaked ring name of Dan Rodman. While a house show match against John Cena for the WWE Championship suggested that WWE may have been high on Rodman, he was ultimately another low-upside big man who couldn't make progress, and he was released by WWE in the summer of 2007.
2 Eric Escobar
When you rack up consecutive wins against Matt Hardy and have a competitive Intercontinental Championship match against John Morrison, you're likely to be the type of young up-and-comer WWE has some big plans for. Unfortunately, that IC title loss to the Prince of Parkour was the last bit of relevance Eric Escobar experienced in his very brief WWE run in 2009.
After being dumped by storyline girlfriend/SmackDown "consultant" Vickie Guerrero, Escobar was turned face, and "punished" by Vickie in a series of handicap matches. By January 2010, he was out of the WWE and back in his native Puerto Rico, where he still wrestles up to this day.
1 Luther Reigns
Let's be honest – most of you thought that when Roman Reigns debuted with the rest of The Shield late in 2012, he was the first WWE Superstar to use that surname. You would be wrong, if that's the case. Over a decade earlier, former WCW lower-carder Horshu (yes, like the stuff horses wear, only spelled in a nu-metallic way) joined WWE with the ring name Luther Reigns, and while he briefly established himself as one of Kurt Angle's lackeys/proteges (alongside Mark Jindrak), he was too much of a generic brawler for most anyone to really remember him.
Following his WWE career, the other, older Mr. Reigns worked in the insurance business and as a bodyguard. He also dealt with some health issues along the way, and while he appears to be healthier now, he was recently one of many wrestlers suing WWE for withholding and downplaying dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and other risks involved in professional wrestling.