World Championship Wrestling, Extreme Championship Wrestling and World Wrestling Entertainment were the three premier promotions in operation during the 1990s. Each promotion participated in one way or another in what was referred to as, the Monday Night Wars. It didn't matter who was on which roster, each promotion boasted a host of different personalities and characters that made fans either applaud, laugh, or chant with excitement. And in each promotion there were a number of talented men and women that stood out; these wrestlers stood out during their time in the ring. However, the career of even the most talented wrestler had a very specific timespan.
Sadly, once their time came and went, they moved onto different things. We often remember the bigger names that came and went from each company, such as Kevin Nash, Hulk Hogan and Scott Hall. However, while we may have forgotten some, hopefully these fifteen selections among the three companies were only guilty of being out of sight, and not out of mind.
Rico was mostly a manager, with the persona of a hair stylist, and provided fashion advice more than guidance on wrestling. Two wrestlers that he advised in particular were Billy and Chuck. He would often wear brightly coloured clothes and eye makeup, and presented a colourful personality that resembled stereotypes of homosexuals, without blatantly calling him that. Rico's involvement in Billy and Chuck's ‘wedding' also suggested that as well.
Fans hopefully weren't swayed by how he looked because when it came to his ability in the ring, Rico was a very underrated talent. He trained in Ohio Valley Wrestling at the same time as John Cena, Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton, Batista and Shelton Benjamin. Rico's time in the company may have come and gone, but his colourful manner and charm certainly stood out during the WWE's post Attitude Era in the company.
14 Rob Conway
There are guys in a promotion that just seems to have a lot going for him. Whether it is a look, persona, or wrestling ability, he is a wrestler that has ‘it,' regardless of the era. Rob Conway is just that kind of wrestler, one that was both clever on the mic and in the ring. His time with WWE, including his time in developmental with Ohio Valley Wrestling, was approximately seven years.
During the majority of his WWE run, Conway was involved in the tag team Le Resistance, alongside Sylvain Grenier and Rene Dupree. The tag team was supposed to be of French decent, and had an anti-American vibe about them. Te only non-French speaking member of the group, Conway still believed in what they believed and stood by them. He is still actively competing on the independent circuit at just over forty years of age, and appears to be just as invigorated as ever.
13 Chuck Palumbo
Palumbo was initially trained and developed by WCW's Power Plant. When WCW was purchased by WWE, Palumbo, along with several other talents, transitioned over. Palumbo was a former six-time tag team champion, and while with WWE saw himself involved in several character changes, factions and feuds, but through it all was a serviceable competitor in the promotion.
Many fans will recall that he was part of the Alliance of WCW wrestlers that were initially ‘invading' the WWE. Palumbo was then paired up with Billy Gunn as part of the team of Billy and Chuck. Towards the end of his run, Palumbo was part of the faction the Full Blooded Italians alongside Little Guido and Johnny Stamboli. Palumbo is now retired from the ring, but his run with the company was fairly memorable.
If the name Jinsei Shinzaki doesn't ring a bell, then maybe the name Hakushi will. He came to the WWE in the early 1990s and wrestled under the name Hakushi, which translated means ‘White Master'. The character was unique in appearance, as he had Buddhist script all over his arms, back and torso. He was led to the ring by his manager Shinja.
The style of wrestling he used was called lucharesu, which is a hybrid of puroseau and lucha libre. Hakushi had a fairly competitive feud with former WWE heavyweight champion and Hall of Famer Bret ‘Hitman' Hart. However, once the feud came to an end, he was booked to lose to lesser opponents on the roster. Hakushi left the WWF in 1996 and has been competing in Japan ever since, with either New Japan Pro Wrestling, All Japan Pro Wrestling or Michinoku Pro.
11 Jimmy Del Rey
The name may sound familiar, and you can add to it the alliteration of the nickname ‘gigolo.' Certainly his gyrating hips and suggestive movements made his time in WWE fairly memorable. His career only spanned twelve years, and was most prominent when he was working alongside Dr. Tom Pritchard as the tag team The Heavenly Bodies. There was no doubt that this alliance, managed by Jim Cornette, was reminiscent of James E's long time team the Midnight Express.
Both Del Rey and Pritchard were cut from the same cloth as Stan Lane, once a member of the Midnights.
Unfortunately for Del Rey and Pritchard, they were the right characters at the wrong time. Had they stayed together as a tandem in another promotion, then there is no question The Heavenly Bodies would have been a very successful team.
10 The Wall
Once the bodyguard for Alex Wright, and then Sgt. A.W.O.L, Jerry Tuite was a monster of a man. He stood almost seven feet tall in height, and weighed in excess of 300 lbs. For his height and weight, he was fairly agile, which should come as no surprise given he was trained by the late Bam Bam Bigelow.
Tuite, like a number of other WCW talent at the time of the merger with WWE,signed a developmental deal with the company but never competed for them. He joined TNA in 2002 and competed under the name Malice during his brief stay there. Tuite later went on to compete in as part of All Japan Pro Wrestling. Although his stay in WCW was brief due to the company closing its doors, it would have been interesting to see how he would have been used under different circumstances.
9 Mark Jindrak
Jindrak was a standout athlete that had a similar look and feel to former WCW Power Plant alumni Shawn O'Haire, who also competed with him in the WWE. Jindrak was part of the New Blood faction during his time in WCW, in a tag team called the Natural Born Thrillerz. The faction had a lot of promising talent that simply needed to be thrust forward in order for them to succeed. Jindrak then competed with the WWE until his release in 2005.
Since his departure from the WWE, Jindrak has competed in Japan and Mexico. He currently resides in Mexico where he has been active with either Triple A, or CMLL. He now actively competes under the name Marco Corleone. His popularity and success in Mexico has seen Jindrak appear on several other television programs outside wrestling.
8 Evan Karagias
Karagias was part of the Cruiserweight division while in WCW. However, he is most known for being one third of the faction 3 Count. They were supposed to be a boy band that wrestled. It was pretty easy to dislike them, presumably unless you were a teenage female fan. Fans wanted to generally see him and his bandmates Shannon Moore and Shane Helms get beat up.
However, when Karagias was in the ring, he was a special talent to watch. Whether it was in singles, multi-tag or triple threat matches, he was quite the risk taker. When WCW closed its doors in 2001, he was among the talent whose contracts were moved to WWE. However, after suffering a severe concussion, he was released less than a year into his contract. He currently competes independently while also acting in television and movies.
7 Mike Sanders
He was called ‘Above Average,' but if you remember hearing him on the mic, it was evident the guy had a gift. Sanders was with WCW for their last three years of operation, and during that time he led the Natural Born Thrillerz faction. He captured championships during that time as well. When WCW was purchased by WWE, Sanders was moved to the company's developmental promotion at the time, Heartland Wrestling Association.
After he was released from his contract in 2002, Sanders sill competed at independent wrestling shows off and on for a few years, until he retired in 2005. He has been fairly busy since with a comedy career and a talent company that represent actors in the Atlanta, Georgia area. There is life after wrestling, and while Sanders may have left the sport behind him that doesn't mean we don't remember him and what he contributed while he was active part nearly sixteen years ago.
He had a unique look, with head that was shaved except for hair sprouting from the back in what appeared to be a ponytail. His finishing move resembled Cody Rhodes' crossroads. He was with the WCW for a couple of years before it closed its doors in 2001. He briefly appeared with WWE after they purchased WCW, but nothing much came of his time there as he was generally competing in dark matches
Eventually, he was sent to Heartland Wrestling Association as part of the WWE's developmental system. However, his time there was also short-lived and he was released from his contract before the beginning of 2002. He briefly competed on the independent circuit between 2002 and 2003, but ultimately retired from the ring. It's a shame that a performer with a unique look and move set wasn't use more.
5 The Blue Meanie
The kooky looking Meanie, with blue hair and a belly showing, was often used as a comedic character during his time in ECW. However, the best wrestlers are often those that can submerge themselves into a character and have fans enjoy them. That was the case with Brian Heffron, the man behind the character. He was often referred to as ‘Da Blue Guy,' and much like Hollywood Nova was a key part of the bWo.
When he returned to ECW in 2000, he looked very different. He was slender, and his hair was shorter; the weight loss was incredible to see. Although he competed with WWE and would continue to parody other gimmicks there, it wasn't the same feel as when he was a part of ECW. Fans will never forget the Meanie, a fun outlet for wrestling fans to remember.
4 Super Crazy
He was often referred to as the Insane Luchador because of his death defying stunts in the ring, and whenever Francisco Rueda stepped in the ring the ECW fans stood up and took notice. He was known for his triple threat matches against the likes of the Japanese Buzzsaw Tajiri and Little Guido. With each match, the risks appeared to get bigger and bigger. It didn't matter who was victorious in any of the matches because the fans walked away the winner.
After ECW closed its doors, Super Crazy competed on the independent circuit for a few years and then joined WWE. Since departing WWE in 2008, he returned to the independents, which includes a period of time with All Japan Pro Wrestling. The insane luchadore was memorable for his time in Extreme Championship Wrestling, and hopefully today's wrestling fans have not forgotten.
3 Kid Kash
David ‘Kid' Kash competed for ECW during the latter period of the company's existence. He resembled rock star Kid Rock, with a similar hairstyle, and walked to the ring dressed in a similar fedora and shirt. That is, however, where the similarities between the two begin and end. Kash had an explosive offense, and would leap and scale the ropes like very few during that period of time. Today's Cruiserweights have nothing on what Kash could do during his time in ECW.
Since ECW closed its doors, Kash has competed for the likes of TNA and WWE. In December 2015, he wrestled his last match before retiring from the ring. It is a testament to his work ethic that he was able to maintain a career as long as he did, while attempting the moves he did. Kash has also dabbled in MMA at one point in his wrestling career.
One character that went from comedy act to daredevil and risk taker was Nova. The character initially became popular in ECW as Hollywood Nova, part of the blue World order. After being away for some time, Nova came back with long hair, a muscular physique and pleather pants. He was completely reinvented.
After ECW closed its doors, he joined WWE and became fitness guru and infomercial star Simon Dean. This character, completely unlike what he did in ECW, was actually quite annoying. That doesn't take away the fact that he represented a crucial third of the bWo faction, as he was mimicking Hulk Hogan. It is remarkable how a character that was largely considered a comedy act was as over with the fans as he was.
The character initially represented ‘The Network' that ECW was broadcast on, known at the time as TNN, but now known as Spike TV. Cyrus was the character that wanted to have everything that made ECW popular removed from television. In actuality, the criticism made sense, as ECW was often considered counter-culture, and sponsors don't generally support violence to the extent that blood is shed. However, Cyrus often invoked violence himself, beating down fan favorites to help accentuate his point.
Although no longer involved in professional wrestling, Don Callis was able to pull off the character perfectly, as his often scathing promos would strike a nerve. He was part of TNA towards the end of his career.