Professional wrestling is a bizarre business at the best of times, but once you throw a bunch of guys and girls into it with egos the size of Texas, things become even more complicated. Of course, we aren’t suggesting that every single entrant on this list is an egomaniac, but what we are suggesting is that they may need a little bit of a reality check.
Every single person we’re about to list established themselves with some form of relevancy at one point or another in their careers, and they deserve to be commended for that. Alas, things can often change in the blink of an eye, especially in the current landscape as more and more world-class athletes and superstars continue to break their way into the industry.
It’s always nice to have options in any profession or sport, which is obvious, but perhaps sometimes it’s better to take a step back and let someone else analyse your current situation for you.
We all know that being deemed ‘relevant’ is a subjective term so you may end up disagreeing with a few things we talk about here, but again, that’s the beauty of pro wrestling. Everyone has an opinion, and everyone has the right to voice it.
20 WWE: Virgil
Oh, Virgil. The Million Dollar Man’s right-hand guy had the look necessary to succeed in his own era of WWE programming, but that was about it. The guy has become notorious over the years for being a legend that shows up to event after event, only for fans not to take any real interest in speaking with him or getting a signed autograph.
He has become a meme, all of his own accord, and in some ways, you could argue that does, in fact, make him relevant. Still, his actual work in professional wrestling doesn’t exactly add up to someone who has ever been ‘noteworthy’, regardless of what the man himself will tell you. Sure, he managed to win the Million Dollar Championship, but that was just a storyline tool following his break-up from Ted DiBiase and nothing more.
His alignment of sorts with Sam Roberts is fun and all, but when you go beyond the memes, isn’t it a sad indicator of where so many former legends are at in their lives now? Virgil pales in comparison to some of the names who still try to flog themselves as superstars, and as the years go on, we can only hope that more opportunities are afforded to the veterans of this industry.
19 WCW: Kevin Nash
There was a time when Kevin Nash was one of the best ‘big guys’ in the business. In fact, there were a few times, both in WCW and WWE. Nash, also known as Diesel, may not have been the biggest ‘money draw’ in the world, but he knew how the business worked. He used his intelligence and wit to get ahead, and for that, we can only applaud him.
Obviously, he was a solid in-ring performer too, but you have to question just how much influence he had back in the day with The Kliq and then later with Hulk Hogan by his side. Nonetheless, Nash still tends to make the odd appearance from time to time on WWE programming, so WWE clearly still believes that there is a market for him. Unfortunately, for the most part, they’d be wrong.
Nash isn’t really an important figure in any way, shape or form, and it’s been that way for quite some time now.
Even when he returned in 2011, not too many people cared, and that’s just the harsh truth of the matter. Alas, he still seems to walk around with the kind of cocky attitude that we’ve come to expect from him, but maybe that’ll change someday.
18 WWE: Ryback
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During the first twelve months of his run on the main roster in his new ‘Terminator’ gimmick, Ryback was one of the hottest stars in all of professional wrestling. The WWE Universe couldn’t get enough of the Feed Me More chants, and as a result, he became an instant hit as he continued to run through jobber after jobber on his way to the top of the card.
Unfortunately, things went downhill pretty quickly after his hype train was derailed by CM Punk during their Hell in a Cell WWE Championship match. For the next few months after that, it seemed like The Big Guy couldn’t buy a win, as he was constantly pushed to the back of the line in favour of Punk and The Shield. You could argue that was unavoidable, but the timing was also very off.
With that being said, Ryback certainly hasn’t helped his cause in recent years by growing the world’s largest chip on his shoulder. The former Intercontinental Champion seems to be in the business of blowing up bridges, and on the independent scene, he hasn’t fared nearly as well as he probably expected to.
He’s a guy who believes in his own hype, but his ship sailed a long time ago – in terms of professional wrestling, that is.
17 WCW: Scott Steiner
Back in the day, Scott Steiner possessed every tool imaginable for a guy who wanted to become World Heavyweight Champion. As the years went on, however, things went in a downward trajectory for Big Poppa Pump – and it happened quicker than most could’ve anticipated. His body started to break down, the fans lost interest, and soon enough, many were calling him ‘washed-up’.
Now before we go any further, let’s be clear about something: we appreciate the things he’s doing to try and stay relevant with Impact Wrestling. He’s putting his body through an awful lot, and we can somewhat admire that. However, that doesn’t counteract some of the utterly bizarre things he’s done and said over the last few years in an attempt to make the headlines.
The guy just doesn’t matter anymore, and that’s putting it mildly.
There was once a time when he was a fun power guy for World Championship Wrestling, but that was about it. His odd promos never really did anything for us, and his behaviour outside of the squared circle didn’t exactly make us fans either. He’s overrated, and in our minds, he always has been.
Can you sense the irony in those final two words?
16 WWE: Sunny
We’ve all heard about Sunny’s many exploits outside of professional wrestling, and in truth, it’s all a bit sad, really. She was once known as the original diva and was loved by millions of fans around the world, but now, she’s lowering herself to the point where we can’t even recognise her anymore – and we mean that in regards to her personality.
Sunny was never exactly an in-ring technician or anything like that because she didn’t need to be. Some superstars, kind of like Lana, are just meant to be valets and nothing more. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that because it’s still a valid and important role to have, which Sunny personified in her character. It was unique, it was fresh, and people loved her for it.
The last we heard she was facing jail charges after one too many mistakes landed her in hot water yet again.
We really hope that she’s able to find the care and support that she requires in order to dig herself out of this hole, but sometimes, the first step to fixing things is learning to help yourself. As we look ahead to the future, we’d love nothing more than to see her bounce back.
15 WCW: Jeff Jarrett
Jeff Jarrett is now officially a WWE Hall of Famer, and while we’ve all said some bad things about him over the years, there’s no doubting that he deserves it. His run with the company as a midcarder was decent, he did well in WCW, and beyond that, he founded TNA which wound up shaping the way in which WWE currently runs its day to day operations.
Why? Because a parade of former TNA superstars now reside in WWE, both in terms of future stars and past legends. Of course, that isn’t directly because of Jarrett, but he seems to carry himself like someone who believes he is one of the true saviours of professional wrestling. In some ways, he’s correct, but in others, he’s delusional.
Just because WWE recognised his efforts doesn’t mean that he’s ‘relevant’ all of a sudden.
In the months prior to WrestleMania weekend, very few fans would’ve ever thought that something like this was a legitimate possibility. It’s no secret that Double J has always had a sizeable ego, and we’re worried that this induction is only going to further that status.
We really hope not, because if he just focused on being a promoter, things could go well for him.
14 WWE: Alberto Del Rio
Remember when Alberto Del Rio first came onto the scene in WWE? He felt like a breath of fresh air, as his entitled ‘rich foreign guy’ gimmick seemed to get over with the crowd quicker than anyone could’ve anticipated. After a few months he was competing for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania, and just a few months after that, he won the WWE Championship.
But then, a few years later, it all started to go downhill. Del Rio seemed to grow this ‘I’m the man’ persona, that transitioned from the squared circle into his personal life. The guy constantly does things that make him seem like the biggest jerk in the business, from no-showing events to just giving off the aura of someone who thinks they’re better than everyone else.
We’ve all heard about the rumours regarding his relationship with Paige, but we aren’t here to go into that, because the facts aren’t exactly concrete – as you’d expect. In terms of what we do know, however, it feels like Del Rio is still trying to hang onto his glory days despite not wanting to put the work in that goes with that. He’s a great wrestler, but that’s about it.
13 WCW: Buff Bagwell
Buff Bagwell will likely always be remembered for being a middle of the road wrestler who had an interesting look, but not much else. That may sound harsh, especially given that most wrestling fans from that era will know his name if you mention it, but there really isn’t all that much to his persona or personality. Buff was never really able to explode into life with WCW in an effective way, and while some fans disagree with that, you simply cannot compare him to some of the world-class names that they had on their roster once upon a time.
Nowadays, it feels like Bagwell will do just about anything to remain relevant.
He also falls into the category of someone who carries himself like he’s still in the 90s, and in a bizarre kind of way, we admire him for that. Look, we don’t wish bad things upon any of the guys or girls that we’re listing, but it feels like they need to be saved from themselves. We’ve all heard about how much he’s supposedly earning as a gigolo, but when you break it down, it just feels a little bit sad.
At the very least, we’ll always have the Judy Bagwell on a Pole match to look back on.
12 WWE: Billy Gunn
Billy Gunn had a pretty sweet set-up a few years back. He was a trainer down in NXT, he was helping to mould the future stars of tomorrow, and he had his bodybuilding to do on the side. Then, for whatever reason, he decided to throw it all down the toilet by violating WWE’s wellness policy which wound up getting him fired on the spot.
Since then, Gunn has been seen back on the independent scene, where he has about a tenth of the relevance he once had back in the day. Don’t get us wrong, we actually really enjoyed Billy’s work in the Attitude Era and always felt like he should’ve been given more of a push, but that kind of thought process doesn’t apply to him at the age of 54.
While he did return for the 25th anniversary of Monday Night Raw, that’s not really enough to consider him ‘relevant’ again. We hate those DX reunions because whenever they happen, it only serves to stroke the ego of the guys who benefitted from the era they were in. Rehashing things like that in the name of burying current superstars is not, and never will be a good idea.
11 WCW: Bret Hart
Bret Hart is the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be. He was the definition of a technical maestro in the ring, and contrary to popular belief, he wasn’t all too bad on the mic either. The Hitman was the personification of a guy who could do it all, and he was always set to have a Hall of Fame career one way or another.
Unfortunately, one of the defining moments of his career came in Montreal over 20 years ago – and he’s never quite been able to let it go. Since then, Bret has become quite a bitter man when it comes to professional wrestling, and in the last few years, in particular, he’s made some remarks which have left some people wondering whether or not he’s still the same man they once knew.
Bret knows in his heart that he’s one of the greatest of all time, and as a result, maybe that’s one of the reasons why he goes on and on about these kinds of things. It’s almost like he feels that he has a right to come out with bad comments about WWE and Triple H, which couldn’t be any further from the truth.
We’d like to see him make another appearance in a WWE ring one day, but that doesn’t mean he’s relevant.
10 WWE: Tiffany
Tiffany, aka Taryn Terrell, should’ve been a star in WWE. She had and still has, a phenomenal look, she’s able to do some great things character-wise as proven during her run with Impact Wrestling, and she’s also an extremely capable in-ring performer. They certainly missed the boat on her, although as we now know, it wasn’t exactly entirely the company’s fault.
We may never truly know the full story behind the career of ‘Tiffany’, but one thing is for sure, it’s always going to be looked upon as controversial. Still, that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate what she’s done throughout the course of her time in the business, although as you’ll be able to tell upon a quick Google, she’s much more than just a professional wrestler.
Alas, it’s always felt like Tiffany has been desperately clinging to some kind of relevancy – even in TNA, where she didn’t have as many eyes on her as she should’ve. We aren’t criticising her for believing in herself or her brand, but the fact of the matter remains that many fans have moved on from her courtesy of the recent women’s revolution.
Will she be given another chance at the highest level? Don’t bet on it.
9 WCW: Vince Russo
We really don’t want to waste our time talking about this man, if you can even label him as such. Vince Russo is someone who has been described as an evil genius by some and as an idiot by others. We tend to fall into the latter category, and it’s not even because of everything he did in World Championship Wrestling – although that was as close to a wrestling sin as you’re ever likely to get.
Instead, we want to focus on some of his outrageous comments over the last few years. You see, Russo still seems to have this idea in his head that if you say something enough times, or if you say enough controversial things, then the world will take notice. As you can probably tell, that plan hasn’t quite taken off as he probably would’ve hoped.
Russo isn’t relevant in this industry anymore and he hasn’t been for a long, long time.
Any good work he did back in the day only transpired because Vince McMahon was there to give it the green light because when Russo is left to fend for himself, bad things tend to happen. With any luck, in twelve months time, even fewer people will be talking about this guy on a day to day basis.
8 WWE: Mr Kennedy
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Mr Kennedy, or Mr Anderson if you prefer, was once considered to be the next Stone Cold Steve Austin of professional wrestling. As ridiculous as that sounds, it seemed somewhat plausible at the time – although of course, nobody thought he’d reach the same kind of heights. Kennedy was brash, had an interesting in-ring style, and could also transition between babyface and heel alignments with ease.
It felt like he was destined for an extended run at the top of the card, but a variety of factors, including his own personal mistakes, ensured that didn’t happen. With both WWE and TNA, it seemed as if Ken’s biggest enemy was himself – but since leaving both companies, it still feels like the guy harbours resentment towards those who decided not to push him harder.
It’s often hard to accept that you haven’t been given the keys to the castle, especially in professional wrestling where you’re taught to look out for yourself and believe in your abilities. In the present day, it feels like Kennedy’s time in the spotlight may be over, and that gives us the opportunity to look back on his career and wonder ‘what if?’.
Who knows, perhaps a GM-type of role may suit him in the future, but we doubt it.
7 WCW: Kevin Sullivan
Kevin Sullivan was a decent booker back in the day, and he was a solid enough wrestler – nothing more, nothing less. Unfortunately for him, a lot of fans only tend to associate him with negative anecdotes, mainly related to the Chris Benoit saga. Still, while that may be relevant in the context of this story, it doesn’t add or subtract anything from Sullivan’s character in our opinion.
Sullivan is the definition of someone who had his day in the sun, but still seems invested in the idea of remaining in the spotlight.
Once again, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that and there never will be, but that doesn’t mean Sullivan shouldn’t be included on this list. He’s well past his prime in every relatable sense, at least, in terms of the bigger promotions in the industry.
In terms of the work he’s doing with PCW Ultra, you could argue that he’s exactly where he needs to be, just in a lower capacity. That’s fine and it seems to work fairly well for both parties, but fans need to stop saying his name as if he’s someone who means more to the business than anyone could’ve ever imagined.
The whole Benoit saga ruined him in many ways, and we mean that in a professional sense.
6 WWE: Alundra Blayze
Alundra Blayze, aka Madusa, was a trailblazer in women’s wrestling. Prior to the ‘diva’ and ‘bra & panties’ era, she was a legitimate pro wrestler who was able to put on solid matches in both WWE and WCW. It took a long, long time for the company to finally recognise her for all of the great work she’d put in over the years, but when it happened, it was well deserved.
Now, while that may be true of her Hall of Fame induction, it still feels like things went to her head a little bit – but in a good way. What we mean by that is she has the drive and determination necessary to stay relevant in this business, but in the last year or so, she hasn’t really been given the opportunity to do so. While she’s probably past it as an in-ring performer, maybe WWE can find another role for her.
While she obviously has other interests outside of the company and with her monster trucks, not enough fans are recognising her greatness like they should be. It’s almost like she believes the induction a few years back served as proof that the respect and relevance were still there, but WWE should’ve capitalised on that more so than they have done.
5 WCW: Scott Hall
Back in the day, Scott Hall was the definition of a cool customer. He said all the right things, he was great in the ring, and he had the kind of personality that was always going to get him over with the crowd - as Razor Ramon, that is. When he jumped ship to WCW he did still have a certain aura around him, with the New World Order storyline ensuring that he remained relevant beyond his prime. However, ever since then, things seem to have moved in a downward trajectory.
While we completely understand that Scott has had his fair share of demons, it doesn’t feel like he’s remained quite as humble as you’d expect for a guy who was on the brink of total collapse.
It’s great to see him back on his feet, but alongside his Kliq friends, they still seem to carry themselves with the same arrogance that we’ve seen for years now. It’s not that we don’t appreciate what they’ve done for the business, because we do, but we don’t need to see him re-living the glory days on social media.
He’s a WWE Hall of Famer, and he thoroughly deserves that title - but how about we focus on the future as opposed to the past for once.
4 WWE: Kaval
After winning his season of NXT, it seemed as if Kaval, formerly known as Low-Ki, was set for big things in WWE. We’d heard stories about his attitude at that time but it didn’t seem like anything too severe, but within a few months, he was gone. Still, he managed to get an Intercontinental Championship match against Dolph Ziggler under his belt, but that was about it.
Since then, Kaval has returned to the independent circuit where he continues to believe he’s the best thing since sliced bread. While we don’t doubt that many people have told him otherwise, so many superstars have accounts of him being difficult backstage. It’s clear to see that this guy falls into the ‘too big for his boots’ category, and it’s a shame because he’s an exceptionally talented wrestler.
The problem is, nobody cares for his work anymore in the grand scheme of the indies.
There are so many guys who are younger, hungrier and seem to have an all-around better mentality towards the business than him. Sure, his run in WWE was fun enough while it lasted, but when you name drop TNA in a less than subtle way, what do you expect is going to happen?
3 WCW: Konnan
Once upon a time, there was a point where Konnan felt like he could be a legitimate superstar in World Championship Wrestling. He was unique, he was alternative, and most importantly, he was new. Alas, over the course of his tenure there, it soon became clear that there were no extensive plans to push him as a main event star. We completely understand any frustrations that Konnan has with that fact, but there are three words which come to mind when discussing this topic: get over it.
At the age of 54, for some reason, Konnan still feels the need to insert himself into the equation wherever his pro wrestling career takes him.
Don’t get us wrong, he’s done a lot of great things for the industry, but there comes a time when enough is enough. Obviously, we’re talking about someone who thrives on being in the spotlight, and while there’s still some of that sparkle left in him, why are we supposed to be invested in a guy that will be entering his 60s in a matter of years?
There’s still value to Konnan in the world of professional wrestling on some level, but it still feels like we’re seeing too much of the guy.
2 WWE: Jim Cornette
While most wouldn’t actively describe Jim Cornette as a ‘wrestler’, he’s certainly been involved in some brawls inside the squared circle in his day, and that’s good enough for us. Cornette has always been a man who isn’t going to shy away from his opinions or thoughts on the business, and because of that, he’s made more than a few enemies over the last few years.
Now, while WWE did bring him back recently for a few WWE Network appearances, we wouldn’t use that as a way to define him as ‘relevant’. Some of his views come across as incredibly outdated, and most of the time, he just seems to be throwing out thoughts for the sake of making some noise in the world of professional wrestling.
Sometimes that is a strategy that works well for him, but a lot of the time, it just seems a little bit sad. We aren’t doubting how influential he’s been in the past, but the key word there is ‘past’. There’s a reason why his only real outlet comes in the form of a podcast these days, and while it’d be interesting to see him return as a manager, he isn’t relevant enough for that to happen.
We’re happy to be proven wrong, but we just don’t see it.
1 WCW: Brutus Beefcake
There was a time when Brutus Beefcake was considered to be an intriguing yet intimidating individual in professional wrestling, even though his gimmick always seemed a little odd. Few could’ve anticipated just how successful and entertaining his tag team partnership with Hulk Hogan would be, and it actually raised his profile in the eyes of many members of the WWE Universe. Hell, even if you go back and look at that whole era on the WWE Network, you’ll probably still be impressed with some of the things that they were able to do.
Alas, whether it be his WWE days or WCW days as The Disciple, nobody should live in the past - and unfortunately, it feels like Beefcake still is to this day.
He’ll forever be remembered as someone who was intertwined with The Hulkster throughout the course of his career, and while that’s not a bad position for him to be in, those days are well and truly over. Beefcake hasn’t been relevant for a long, long time now, and at the age of 61, it feels like now is the time for him to ride off into the sunset and enjoy retirement on a permanent basis.
Still, we aren’t in a position to tell anyone what to do, but that’s just our advice.