The past three decades or so of wrestling have seen the business evolve greatly, from the simplistic good vs. evil concepts of the Hulkamania era, to the shades of gray of early nWo-era WCW and Attitude Era WWE, to the "Reality Era" of the present, where every teenage or adult fan accepts that wrestling is a business with predetermined results. While every era has their icons whose in-ring and/or promo talent shone through, every era also has wrestlers who couldn't cut it in the ring, on the mic, or in both areas and then some.
Aside from the qualifier that the wrestler needs to have competed for a major North American promotion, they also need to have competed in more than one match during the year they qualified for, may it be for the same company or multiple major promotions. We've also eliminated celebrity guests who only have one match to their names, which means you won't be seeing Drew Carey or Jenna Morasca in this list. Lastly, we've spiced things up by allowing wrestlers to be listed only once – yes, it's true that Giant Gonzalez, The Great Khali, or Eva Marie could easily "win" in multiple years, but many years have multiple candidates who could qualify for the dishonor of being the least talented.
So here they are – the least talented wrestlers in major North American promotions from 1990 to 2018.
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29 1990: The Ultimate Warrior
Our first entry may sound like heresy to some, especially those who consider the fact his match against Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania VI was such an iconic moment. But let's disregard that admittedly great piece of storytelling and his WWE Championship belt and recognize that The Ultimate Warrior was far from being the most talented in-ring worker.
As Warrior defended his title in the months after 'Mania, he was deliberately made to feud against great workers like Mr. Perfect, Ted DiBiase, and Rick Rude, all of whom were given the unenviable task of making him look competent. Allegedly, Warrior was ungrateful for their help and their willingness to put him over, and that to us further solidifies his place in this list.
28 1991: P.N. News
In 1991, P.M. Dawn was one of the hottest acts in music and, at that point, no one expected them to be a mere one-hit wonder of sorts with their No. 1 hit, "Set Adrift On Memory Bliss." With the rap duo's popularity in mind, WCW gave 400-pounder Paul Neu a rapper gimmick, renaming him P.N. News and giving him a nice mid-card push.
Simply put, News was a garish caricature of a wrestler with his neon outfits. But as bad as his ring attire, in-ring skills, and athleticism were, the rapping was bad enough to make Enzo Amore's "Phoenix" sound like something from Kendrick Lamar. No wonder Neu returned to Europe one year later to resume his comparatively impressive run as Cannonball Grizzly.
27 1992: Erik Watts
After wrapping up a lackluster college football career at Louisville, young Erik Watts was off to WCW in the early '90s, where he trained for three short months, made his debut in August 1992, and infuriated many people backstage because he was getting a good push despite barely knowing a wristlock from a wristwatch.
Longtime WCW fans know that Erik's big introductory push was on account of his father, "Cowboy" Bill Watts, who was booking for the company and ramming his old-school ideas down the throats of its talents. While his traditional wrestling values weren't universally disliked, far more wrestlers agreed that Erik wouldn't have gotten so many chances to succeed had it not been for dear ol' dad.
26 1993: Giant Gonzalez
If not for our requirement that wrestlers can only be named once in this list, Jorge Gonzalez would have "won" for his time in WCW as El Gigante. We did list him, however, as Giant Gonzalez, because he wasn't just the same clumsy, uncoordinated wrestler he used to be when he arrived in WWE in 1993. He was also given one of the worst ring attires in the company's long history.
Just how bad was the former Argentine national basketball player and Atlanta Hawks draft pick? Bad enough to slightly sully The Undertaker's WrestleMania legacy, because WWE wanted Taker to win via DQ and keep Gonzalez strong in defeat. As far as bad booking ideas go, that was one of WWE's worst of the '90s.
25 1994: Mike Shaw
Mike Shaw was no stranger to playing outlandish gimmicks when WWE hired him in 1993 to play Friar Ferguson, the wrestling "mad monk." But when Catholic Church officials complained about the Ferguson gimmick, WWE took Shaw off TV and re-debuted him a few months later as whatever Bastion Booger was supposed to be.
1994 marked Booger's last year in the WWE, and it was also the worse of the two, as it was highlighted by a heel vs. heel feud against Bam Bam Bigelow that benefited neither man. His matches and gimmick alike were so bad that many wrestling fans automatically changed the channel when he was on.
24 1995: King Mabel
The mid-'90s were a terrible time to be a WWE fan. From the "people in your neighborhood" gimmicks to the lack of compelling feuds, 1995 and 1996 were especially bad, and it wasn't helping that Vince McMahon was determined to push certain wrestlers just because of how massive they were.
That brings us to Mabel, the Men on a Mission member who won King of the Ring in 1995 and got his requisite title shot against Diesel later that year at SummerSlam. The 500-pound Mabel was raw and clumsy, and since you'll never mistake Kevin Nash for an in-ring technician, their title match was easily one of the worst of the '90s, and a sign of the declining times for a then-struggling WWE.
23 1996: Yokozuna
The Yokozuna who debuted in the WWE in 1992 and emerged as one of the company's top monster heels may have been massive, but he was deceptively quick for his size, and was capable of good matches if paired with the right opponents. In 1996, however, Yoko had ballooned from 580 pounds to close to 700, and could barely carry himself in the ring.
Aside from having some pretty awful matches in 1996, another thing working against Yoko was the fact that he was turned babyface. It was a role that was poorly suited to the real-life Rodney Anoa'i, as fans failed to get behind him as a good guy. By the time he was turned heel toward the end of the year, it was too little, too late.
22 1997: The Godwinns
Well, we might as well include a tag team in this list, one that was in "tweener" status at the dawn of the Attitude Era. Not in the true wrestling sense of the word, but rather because they were too edgy for the New Generation Era, but still too cartoonish for the Attitude Era because Henry and Phineas Godwinn were still, at the end of the day, evil wrestling pig farmers.
Meanwhile, the Godwinns were just as sloppy as they had mostly been in the years prior, as fans also struggled to accept their surly heel gimmick. They weren't missed too much after they were taken off TV toward the end of 1997, ahead of a repackaging in 1998 as Jeff Jarrett's lackeys, Southern Justice.
21 1998: Sable
Originally debuted as one of the pre-Triple H Hunter Hearst Helmsley's valets, Sable was ultimately paired with then-husband Marc Mero, but as WWE booked Mero to be insanely jealous of how his wife was overshadowing him, that led to the company booking her as a wrestler.
Oh, and not just as any wrestler, but as one of WWE's first Women's Champions after the title was revived late in 1998. She was, more often than not, out of her element, as she needed experienced workers like Jacqueline Moore and Luna Vachon to make her clunky wrestling skills at least look passable.
20 1999: David Flair
Wrestling skill can run in the family and we've definitely seen that with Ric Flair and his daughter, Charlotte, who is now closing in on Trish Stratus' record for most women's titles in the WWE. Charlotte's older half-brother, on the other hand, is a completely different story.
Despite initially not having any plans of following in his dad's footsteps, David Flair started wrestling in WCW in 1999 at the age of 19, and his lack of experience took very little time to show. He remained largely unskilled one year later as he formed a stable with Daffney and Crowbar, but at that point, he wasn't the least talented David in WCW. That's because...
19 2000: David Arquette
...Dewey from the Scream franchise made his WCW debut and even became the company's World Heavyweight Champion. Yes, we could have named Vince Russo as the least talented wrestler of 2000, but Hollywood actor David Arquette set the precedent for non-wrestlers holding WCW's top belt in 2000, and how.
Arquette's brief title run was part of WCW's plans to promote its awful movie, Ready to Rumble, and to give the man credit, he was a genuine wrestling fan who wanted no part in Russo's mad booking scheme to give him the title. But to go back to our earlier point, Arquette was NOT a wrestler by trade, and his more than one-off in-ring role more than qualifies him for this list.
18 2001: Buff Bagwell
With WWE purchasing WCW in March 2001, a plethora of talents who were once under Ted Turner's payroll joined the WWE roster that year. Thing is, they were mostly lower- and mid-card wrestlers, though there were some names that appeared to have a future in their new homes. Guys like Booker T and, due to his Vince McMahon-friendly look, Buff Bagwell.
While Booker soldiered on to enjoy success in the WWE, his opponent on the July 2nd, 2001 Raw didn't. Yes, that opponent was none other than Bagwell, who performed so poorly (among other factors) that he was gone right after that match. Though it's not like his work in the dying months of WCW was anything to write home about...
17 2002: Jackie Gayda
With the exception of John Hennigan (aka Morrison) and the late Matt Cappotelli before his illness, Tough Enough winners have traditionally had little upside to speak of. Another exception could have been made with inaugural male winner Maven, but 2002's two female winners, Jackie Gayda and Linda Miles, easily prove our earlier point.
While Miles, aka Shaniqua, barely escaped this list, we can't say the same about Gayda, who went down in infamy for, well, a match that's informally been named after her. Even Jim Ross couldn't help but break character and say "mercifully, that's over" after the botch-filled travesty that was Gayda and Chris Nowinski vs. Trish Stratus and Bradshaw.
16 2003: Scott Steiner
Much ado about nothing indeed. Many fans were genuinely excited at the prospect of Scott Steiner returning to the WWE after he reinvented himself in WCW as the bulked-up, irreverent Big Poppa Pump who steamrolled his way through opponents and cut some bizarrely entertaining promos. Instead, they got one abomination of a match against Triple H at the 2003 Royal Rumble.
That essentially ended any conversation of Steiner getting a solid main event push in his WWE return, as he pretty much mailed it in for the rest of his tenure with the company.
15 2004: The Diva Search Class Of 2004
Yeah, we might as well lump 'em all together into one entry. With Tough Enough switching to an all-male format for its "Million Dollar" season, the ladies had a contest of their own in 2004, and it was the first televised Diva Search. The contest had very little to do with actual wrestling, as it was clear WWE was looking to stock its roster with fanservice.
Granted, Michelle McCool did become competent in the ring, and Maria Kanellis wasn't that bad in non-wrestling roles. But try watching a 2004 match or segment featuring Christy Hemme, Carmella DeCesare, Joy Giovanni, or Amy Weber and appreciate how far WWE has progressed when it comes to women's wrestling, despite the many flaws that remain.
14 2005: Heidenreich
Of all the marginally talented muscle-heads whom WWE hired in the Ruthless Aggression Era, few are as infamous as Heidenreich. He was a sloppy worker, he took part in tasteless segments, his promo skills mostly consisted of incomprehensible screaming, er...poetry reading, and he sullied the legacy of one of pro wrestling's greatest tag teams of all-time.
No, we don't need to go into depth about how Road Warrior Animal and Heidenreich revived the Legion of Doom in 2005, but to give you the Cliff's Notes version, they won one tag title and failed to gel in and out of the ring. Few fans were sad to see Heidenreich go when WWE released him in January 2006.
13 2006: Kelly Kelly
Kelly Kelly was only 19-years-old when WWE first signed her in 2006 and, just as you might have guessed, John Laurinaitis was behind that signing. The name of the segment she first appeared in, which we won't even repeat here, should tell you all about what her gimmick was upon joining WWE's half-baked ECW revival.
Despite barely having any experience in the ring, Kelly wrestled a few matches in 2006, and boy, were they painful to watch. It didn't get much better as the years went by, though at the time of her release in 2012, there were times when one could have called her matches barely decent.
12 2007: Black Reign
In recent years, Impact Wrestling has become known as a place where young WWE rejects could establish or reestablish themselves ahead of a return to the company – just ask Drew McIntyre and EC3. But in the mid-to-late 2000s, the then-TNA was known as a place where several old, past-their-prime WWE rejects tried to stay relevant, but couldn't.
Take the example of Dustin Rhodes, who signed with TNA in 2007 as Black Reign. He wasn't just older, less skillful and heavier than usual, but also slower, evidently out of shape, and boasting a gimmick that was a second-rate copy of his WWE persona. Fortunately, he enjoyed a career revival of sorts in the 2010s after returning full-time to the WWE as Goldust.
11 2008: Deuce/Sim Snuka
Despite being the first of Jimmy Snuka's children to follow in the Superfly's footsteps, James Snuka Jr. wasn't debuted under some variant of his real name, but rather as Deuce, a time-traveling '50s greaser. Had he debuted in the '80s, he and Domino could have formed a stable with the Honky Tonk Man, but their gimmick was too dated for Ruthless Aggression fans to enjoy.
Late in 2008, after Deuce N' Domino broke up, Deuce returned as Legacy wannabe Sim Snuka, but likewise failed to make an impression in the ring or with the fans. Oh, and there's also his WrestleMania XXV blooper when, as an unnamed ringside "cameraman," he failed to catch The Undertaker, but that actually took place in 2009.
10 2009: Hornswoggle
If you thought WWE was going to start treating little people as more than just a sideshow act when Hornswoggle debuted for the company in 2007, you thought wrong. For most of his nine (!) years with WWE, 'Swoggle was little more than a comedy act who got some cheap pops. But in 2009, he was the bane of much of the WWE Universe's existence.
For those who forgot, that was the year he dominated Chavo Guerrero in a series of comedy matches decided on by Raw's weekly guest hosts, en route to Worst Gimmick and Worst Feud of the Year dishonors from the Wrestling Observer. Add that to his subpar in-ring skills and you've got the worst possible way to book a David vs. (relative) Goliath feud.
9 2010: Rosa Mendes
At least she knew how to dance. Yes, it pains us to say that was the best quality Rosa Mendes had to offer in almost one decade with the WWE. As one of the many products of the company's Diva Searches in the mid-2000s, Mendes was mainly booked as eye candy. And while there were certainly some Diva Search "graduates" who actually became competent performers, Mendes was not one of them.
After getting several chances to prove her worth in the ring from mid-2009 to 2010, Mendes mostly focused on a managerial role, though she never seemed to stick with one client longer than she did with Primo and Epico. Indeed, it was surprising she remained on WWE's payroll until her brief retirement in 2017.
8 2011: Mason Ryan
Imagine Batista if he were Welsh. Now imagine him without the charisma that made him a main event star. Next, imagine him if he were sloppy and uninteresting in the ring and on the mic. All good with that? Good. You've pretty much got an idea of how Mason Ryan was like in his brief tenure in the WWE.
Despite not appearing on any of the game show editions of NXT, Ryan was rushed from FCW to beef up The Nexus faction, or should we say the New Nexus. It didn't take long for him to flame out, lose his push, and get sent back to developmental, where he remained until WWE released him without any fanfare in 2014.
7 2012: Garett Bischoff
Sometimes you've got to be thankful that companies repackage skilled wrestlers as the kayfabe children of established figures, even if the role doesn't always fit (Oh hi, Jason Jordan). Let's face it – you'd rather have those guys in the ring rather than actual second-generation performers who can't wrestle a lick. Which is what brings us to our final next-generation flop in this list – Garett Bischoff.
Eric Bischoff's kid started wrestling for the company late in 2011 and was often teamed with more skilled wrestlers such as Devon (Dudley) and Kurt Angle to hide his deficiencies. Suffice to say, it hardly ever worked, as Garett was barely more talented in the ring than his authority figure dad.
6 2013: Brodus Clay
It didn't take too long for the shine to come off Brodus Clay's "Funkasaurus" gimmick. Originally debuted as Alberto Del Rio's NXT rookie and advertised as a butt-kicking monster heel, Clay went an inexplicable transformation ahead of his main roster debut, and instead was introduced as a big, fun-loving dancing "dinosaur." Oh, and he had precious little to offer in the ring.
It almost seemed as if getting taken off the WrestleMania XXIX card at the last minute took a lot out of Clay's morale, as he dropped down the card and failed to capitalize on a heel turn that was supposed to transform him into an angry, ticked-off "Main Event Player." As such, no one was shocked when WWE made him a part of their 2014 batch of mass releases.
5 2014: The Great Khali
Out of all the years The Great Khali could have qualified in, we're choosing his last year in the WWE. While Khali's size gave him a monster push early on in his career, his lack of in-ring ability was painfully obvious from day one of his WWE run to the last. But just to reiterate, Khali was a main eventer early on. At least he had storylines in the early 2010s, silly as they were.
In 2014, Khali had virtually no push, no storyline and was essentially there to do the job to newer guys such as Rusev. He was mostly unmotivated as he went through the motions and waited for his contract to expire. When it finally did in November, he quietly left the WWE and returned to India to continue his wrestling career.
4 2015: Eva Marie
Eva Marie may have been primed for a main roster push in 2016, but the true nadir in terms of in-ring performance came in 2014 and 2015 when she spent most of her time in NXT in an attempt to develop her skills.
With NXT fans arguably more critical of wrestlers' workrates than main roster fans are, Marie was almost immediately showered with boos, jeers, and chants of "You can't wrestle!", among other unflattering comments. Not even Brian Kendrick's return to WWE as a trainer was able to make Marie more competent in the ring, and she was technically still with the WWE when she wisely switched her focus to acting and modeling.
3 2016: Enzo Amore
We could have included Enzo Amore as the 2017 entry in this list, but since we're mostly dealing with talent here and not attitude, we also have good reason to list him as the worst of 2016. While the Certified G was always capable on the mic, his lack of in-ring skills and experience was especially evident in his main roster debut year.
Prior to his exit from the WWE earlier this year, Amore appeared to be a breath of fresh air, what with his promos almost throwing back to the Attitude Era, save for the more contemporary references. However, he was never going to be confused with an in-ring virtuoso, which is what made him a poor fit when WWE sent him to the Cruiserweight Division in 2017.
2 2017: Lana
Although WWE's Women's Evolution has mostly focused on the rise of female wrestlers based on their talent as opposed to their looks, we all know that Vince McMahon is as stubborn in his old ways as the likes of Triple H are forward-thinking with their plans for the company. That's why the Ravishing Russian, Lana, has gotten multiple chances to succeed in SmackDown Live's women's division.
As she was hired by WWE as a valet, Lana still struggles when it comes to her in-ring skills, and while she can cut a solid promo, her on-and-off Russian accent has been an issue for many fans in recent years. She's arguably a throwback to the old "Divas" era, and sadly, that's not always a good thing.
1 2018: Brock Lesnar
The year may not yet be over, but with Brock Lesnar out of the WWE and apparently headed back to the UFC, we can safely say that no one else deserves the "least talented" dishonor more than he does. Though we should also add Big Cass came close with his uninspiring, short-lived return from injury.
In previous years, we wouldn't have considered naming Lesnar as the worst in any measure of wrestling ability, with the obvious exception of promo skills. But the Lesnar of 2018 wasn't just barely present on WWE television or pay-per-view. He was also mailing it in from his very first appearance of the year, truly wrestling like someone with one foot out of WWE's door.