The 1990s are still considered to be wrestling’s most interesting period, as the Attitude Era changed the course of wrestling forever and there are many superstars who have been credited with being a part of this.
The Monday Night Wars defined wrestling in the 1990s as fans were forced to decide between watching WWE Monday Night Raw or WCW Monday Nitro. Wrestling was watched by more fans than ever before during this time and it is still widely considered wrestling’s most successful era.
WWE vs WCW is still thought to have been the best wrestling rivalry of all time, but it meant that a lot of wrestlers were lost during the shuffle between promotions and many were given opportunities that they may not have received if WWE and WCW were not at war.
Many of these wrestlers left wrestling after WCW finally folded since jobs dried up and these failed superstars have since either gone on to have success on the Independent scene or have moved on different career paths all together.
WWF didn’t have the set up they have right now, as there was no performance centre or NXT training facility so that WWE could create their own talent and bring it through onto their brand. This meant that many superstars that appeared on WWE had very little wrestling experience or experience wrestling the WWE style.
The following looks at 14 of the worst wrestlers from that era and what has become of them over the years.
Also known as Tugboat during his WWE career, Fred Ottoman was one half of The Natural Disasters along with Earthquake and had an interesting career with some terrible gimmicks.
After a stint in WWE, where he successfully tagged with the aforementioned Earthquake and failed as Tugboat, he moved over to WCW. His debut as The Shockmaster in WCW is one of the most famous debuts in wrestling for all the wrong reasons and is perhaps one of the most memorable characters that Ottoman played. That one moment alone earns him a ranking as one of the worst wrestlers of the decade, though the rest of his work wasn’t stellar anyway.
He retired from wrestling in 2001 and now works as a safety manager for Gaffin Industrial Services which is a building cleaning service.
13. Bastion Booger
Mike Shaw portrayed many different characters during his short wrestling career, but Bastian Booger would have to be his most famous, where he played an over-eating, unclean gimmick that he portrayed with this character. Shaw never had star potential, he was just a big guy who liked to fight and who wouldn’t mind having a ridiculous gimmick, so he was never going to be pushed to the main event and his career sadly faded away.
Shaw sadly passed away as a result of a heart attack in September 2010 at the age of 53. His last WWE appearance was in 2007 for the Raw 15th Anniversary show.
12. Brian Lee
Back in 1994, Brian Lee was brought into WWE so that there could be a terrible Undertaker vs. Undertaker match, but The Undertaker was one of a kind. Also, Brain was a little shorter than the real thing and he wasn’t as gifted in the ring. Actually, he was much, much worse in the ring and it showed, making his match with The Undertaker one of the worst of all time. He moved onto to ECW after the failed gimmick, before coming back to the WWE as Chainz, which also wasn’t great. All in all, Brian Lee was far from spectacular in the WWE,
Lee had a short run in TNA in 2002 for around a year until he decided to try his luck on the Independent Circuit instead. It’s proved impossible to figure out where Brian Lee is today, but Ring The Damn Bell figured out that he’s semi-retired and doing drugs. Interesting.
Nailz had a fantastic gimmick as he was introduced to WWE as Big Boss Man’s ex cellmate who was abused by him while he was in prison. Pretty interesting and fitting of the ’90s.
The rivalry seemed to end at the 1992 Survivor Series when he defeated The Big Boss Man in a nightstick match. Nailz then threatened Vince McMahon and their confrontation became physical and he was fired as a result. Both McMahon and Nailz then filed lawsuits which were eventually dropped by both parties. Here’s the good news for McMahon: Nailz wasn’t a very good wrestler and wasn’t a huge loss for them.
Kevin Wacholz officially retired from wrestling in 2000 and currently resides in Minnesota, where he and his family run a garage.
It’s not easy to make a gimmick of looking like Sub Zero from Mortal Kombat work in wrestling. Actually, it’s likely impossible and Raymond Lloyd went down with the ship.
He was brought into WCW in 1996, but after failing as Glacier, he then became Coach Buzz Stern, a high school coach. It’s clear that Lloyd wasn’t destined for greatness thanks to his gimmicks, but the sad thing is that Lloyd was a talented performer and could have been so much better. Unfortunately for him, his involvement in one of the worst gimmicks of all time lands him on this list.
Raymond has since thrown himself into charity work and now spends his spare time volunteering to raise awareness to certain charitable projects. He also tried his hand an acting and even guest-starred on USA Networks’ Burn Notice, albeit in a small role. He also is involved with Maus Media group, which is a marketing agency.
9. The Yeti
Ron Reis had many gimmicks during his tenure with WCW, but all of them absolutely failed. The worst of the bunch? When he packaged as The Yeti, a bandaged mummy-like character that obviously wasn’t created by a person who knew anything about wrestling. One look at him and you wanted to change the channel.
The second part of the problem was the fact that Reis wasn’t a very good wrestler. He lacked mobility in the ring and struggled to put on a compelling match.
Reis headed over to Turnbuckle Championship Wrestling following his departure from WCW before joining Vince Russo’s Christian wrestling promotion in 2005. In case it wasn’t obvious, that promotion failed.
The Million Dollar ManTed DiBiase’s abused personal assistant, Virgil grew tired of being humiliated by his boss and finally turned on him at the 1991 Royal Rumble.
He then held the Million Dollar belt for a few months after defeating his former boss for his title. This sadly was the highlight of his WWE career, as he was released from WWE in 1994 before he became Vincent, Head of Security for the NWO in WCW two years later. The bad news for Virgil is that he’s likely the worst member in nWo history and was never all that great in the ring, which is why he was relegated to bodyguard duties.
In 2015 Virgil released a documentary entitled The Legend of Virgil & his Travelling Merchandise Table which discussed Virgil’s wrestling career and his recent Social Media dominance. We can’t confirm if it sold well, but we’d doubt it.
7. Brutus Beefcake
Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake was a flamboyant hairdresser who cut the hair off his rivals in the WWE and became known under various names when he made the switch over to WCW later in his career. However, it’s common knowledge that Beefcake was a terrible wrestler who received preferential treatment for being friends with Hulk Hogan. There’s no other reason he got as many opportunities as he did.
He is currently semi-retired from wrestling but often makes appearances at wrestling shows.
Back in 2015, it was discovered that Brutus had been selling fake signed pictures of Hulk Hogan, the news travelled back to Hogan after Brutus sold them at a autograph signing, and Hogan then shamed his former friend on Twitter.:
I'm sorry,I'm embarrassed but I have never signed pictures for Brutus to sell, I'm sorry. HH
— Hulk Hogan (@HulkHogan) May 3, 2015
So, I guess he isn’t doing too well.
6. Disco Inferno
— FutureStarsWrestling (@fswvegas) October 13, 2015
Disco Inferno was a former Cruiserweight Champion during his six year tenure with WCW but he was another superstar who a decent gimmick but didn’t back it up in the ring.
He is also a former road agent for TNA who he joined in 2002, before he then headed over to the independent circuit, where he still makes sporadic appearances. In 2008, he began working as a trainer for the Future Stars of Wrestling in Las Vegas, where he’s still working today.
Also known as The Shark during his short WWE career, John Tenta probably had the most success when he joined forces with Typhoon (who we already mentionned) and the duo became known as The Natural Disasters.
Like many stars before him, Tenta jumped ship to WCW in 1994 where he became known as both Avalanche and later as The Shark, two of the worst gimmicks of all time and the reason he ends up on this list.
He retired from the major companies in 1999 before making his final appearance in 2001. Sadly, he passed away in 2006 a WWE paid tribute to Tenta on both Raw and SmackDown the following week.
4. Sycho Sid
Who can forget Sid’s famous fluff of his lines during a live promo? Well, his in-ring skills weren’t much better than his promos. The one thing that worked for him was the fact that he looked like a prototypical wrestler.
Also known as Sid Vicious during his career, he is a former World Champion in both WWE and WCW but he retired from the company in 2001. He made a return to WWE in 2012 when he faced Heath Slater in an on-going rivalry between the superstar and WWE’s legends. He also made his acting debut in 2011 when he starred in Death from Above alongside Kurt Angle and James Storm. As I’m sure you can tell from the picture above, Sid is still in terrific shape and could likely go in the ring for some kind of a legends match.
Tatanka was given an undefeated streak for a while as a way to announce his arrival in the WWE, but Tatanka never seemed to connect with the audience and he quickly fell into obscurity.
Tatanka was never going to be a main eventer and so his career fizzled out as quickly as it began. Since leaving WWE, he made sporadic appearances for indie companies along with the WWE.
In 2015, he signed a legends contract with the WWE, making him available for potential future apperances for the company.
2. Lex Luger
Lex Luger was one of the biggest wrestling stars of the 90s, but he was also one of the biggest letdowns.
Luger had the potential to be one of the biggest stars in WWE and follow in the footsteps of Hulk Hogan, but Lex never connected with the crowd and never had the wrestling ability or charisma to take the next step.
He’s had a tricky life since leaving the major wrestling companies, as he’s had legal issues and suffered a serious spinal injury. He’s since turned his life around and now works behind the scene with WWE on their Wellness Policy.
1. Hulk Hogan
It may not be a popular opinion, but many of Hulk Hogan’s matches in the 90s could easily be compared to a John Cena match, but five times worse.
They were predictable and over time they became boring to watch, Hogan’s character reached incredible heights in the ’80s and his Hulkamania character grew stale before his switch to a heel with the nWo. While that was the greatest heel turn in wrestling history, Hulk Hogan was responsible for some of the worst wrestling matches of the ’90s, including his stinkfest against The Ultimate Warrior in WCW.
2016 has been an interesting year for The Hulkster. He’s no longer with the WWE after racist comments of his were leaked, but he recently won his lawsuit against Gawker over that leaked ‘adult’ tape. There are rumors that he’ll inevitably be welcomed back to the WWE in time.
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