Almost every big name free agent that WWE signs comes in with a ton of hype, and rightfully so, as they weren't a big name free agent for no reason. However, these signings don't always live up to that hype, and while some of them may have been extremely successful elsewhere, when they were under Vince McMahon's banner, they completely flopped.
There are a ton of factors that can go into someone not getting over to the level that they were expected to when they were signed, and in some cases, it might not even be the fault of the signee, but rather how they were used in WWE.
Injuries, bad creative, or the fact that a particular signee wasn't as talented as they looked prior to being signed by WWE are all huge factors when it comes to someone either being successful or unsuccessful in the world's biggest pro wrestling company.
So, with all that in mind, here are 10 major free agent signings that flopped in WWE.
You can chalk this one up to how Diamond Dallas Page was used when he got to WWE, as the company used him in the worst possible way. Instead of having him come in with a bang, they decided to give him a gimmick where he was stalking The Undertaker's wife, which, as you'll recall, didn't go over well. On top of that, DDP being a stalker just didn't fit his character. To sum it up, WWE and DDP got off to a terrible start, and they were unable to recover from it up until his final days as an active wrestler with the company.
During his ECW days, Tazz was pretty much like a smaller version of Brock Lesnar, as he was known as the "Human Suplex Machine," and he genuinely appeared to be a legitimate tough guy during his days in Paul Heyman's now-defunct company.
When he debuted for WWE back in 2000, it looked like he was going to be one of the company's biggest stars going forward. But, in the end, the company ended up doing very little with him, and before long, he was the color commentator on the SmackDown brand. In fact, there's probably a whole generation of WWE fans who only know the ex-ECW Champion as a commentator and nothing else.
In the spring of 2003, former WCW cruiserweight star Ultimo Dragon signed with WWE, and it looked like he was going to be coming in at the perfect time, as the company was beginning to push the cruiserweight division on the SmackDown brand. But, just a year after he made his debut in Vince McMahon's company, the former New Japan Pro Wrestling Dojo graduate asked for his release, and he hasn't been back in the company ever since. Of course, everyone knew that Ultimo Dragon was incredibly talented when he came into WWE, but it was quite obvious that the company had no idea what to do with him.
Back in June of 2014, WWE was able to sign Japanese pro wrestling superstar Kenta, who then became Hideo Itami. Initially, this looked like it was going to be a huge get for the company, specifically Triple H, who was in charge of the NXT brand.
While Itami was an innovator during his time in Japan, and while everyone knew that he was incredibly talented, unfortunately, he was bitten by the injury bug several times during his run with NXT and WWE, which prevented the company from doing anything significant with him. After a brief run on WWE's cruiserweight show, 205 Live, Itami was granted his release from the company.
Back in December of 2010, it was reported that Awesome Kong, who would later be renamed Kharma, had signed with WWE. Originally, she was supposed to be what Nia Jax is now, which is basically a powerhouse monster who would lay waste to the entire women's division. But, about a month after she debuted in the company, she announced that she was pregnant, thus forcing her to leave the company for a period of time. She then made her return to the company during the 2012 Royal Rumble match as a surprise entrant, which was her first and only WWE match. Then, in September of 2013, she was released from her contract.
When WWE signed Marc Mero back in 1996, company chairman Vince McMahon believed that the former WCW star would end up as one of his top guys. But, unfortunately, WWE's boss ended up being wrong. One of the biggest factors that decided Mero's fate in WWE was when his wife, Sable, started to become far more popular than he was. Then when the company decided to split them up, they killed any chance that he might've had to become a legitimate star. Of course, it's not like Sable's run was that much longer than Mero's, but she was far more popular, as she was a big ratings draw whenever she appeared on television.
The Sin Cara character has gone through a ton of changes and has had a few different performers under the mask. Originally, the gimmick was portrayed by Luis Urive, who's better known as Mexican pro wrestling star Mistico. When the character debuted for WWE back in 2011, the company was desperately trying to find another major Hispanic star to replace the aging and then injury prone Rey Mysterio. However, the character never ended up taking off the way they wanted him to, and while Sin Cara has had a pretty long run in the company, the character has never really been relevant aside from his brief time as part of the Lucha Dragons with Kalisto.
After never signing with WWE for his entire career, Sting officially made his debut for the company at 2014's Survivor Series event, where he was immediately put into a feud with Triple H, which wasn't what the fans wanted to see.
So instead of giving us a match between Undertaker and Sting, WWE decided to have "The Icon" make his WrestleMania debut by losing to Triple H. Then, a few months later, the former WCW World Heavyweight Champion challenged Seth Rollins for the WWE Title, and in the match, not only did he lose, but he also suffered a career-ending neck injury, thus forcing him to retire without ever getting a single win in Vince McMahon's company.
Back in early 2002, WWE decided to bring in arguably the most popular faction of the '90s, the New World Order, which was a smart move. It was also a smart move to only bring in the three key members (Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, Hulk Hogan), and not the gigantic, watered down group it had become during the dying days of WCW. From the start, it was quite clear that WWE didn't know what to do with the trio despite the fact that they were wildly popular, and after a brief run with the original trio, Hulk Hogan was removed from the group, and just a few months later the faction was completely disbanded.
Scott Steiner had an incredible first appearance with WWE back in November of 2002, but sadly, that ended up being the only great thing about Big Poppa Pump's run in the company. Almost immediately after making his debut, Steiner was put into a feud with Triple H, who was the top guy in the company at the time. The two went on to have a couple of pay per view matches with one another which weren't very good, and as you would probably guess, the blame was put on Steiner. After that, the ex-WCW star was never able to recover, as he was out of the company a little over a year after making his debut.