No one ever said being a star in professional wrestling would be easy. It takes a certain level of in-ring skill, overall athleticism, charisma and maybe some luck to become one of the greatest legends in the squared circle. While the past decade has seen an evolution of the sport that has finally reached the wrestling giant we know as WWE, there have been plenty of duds who haven’t worked in a way that either fans or promoters may have hoped.
The following 15 wrestlers are among the worst performers on television in the past decade (2006 to 2016), whether for WWE or another wrestling promotion. Within this list is a mixture of wrestlers who couldn’t do well from the start and veterans who once were considered quality superstars, but started to see a decline within the last 10 years.
Before getting started, there are some “dishonorable” mentions to include for wrestlers who could have easily found themselves on this list. While having had some recent success with his outlandish feud with “Brother Nero” on Impact Wrestling, Matt Hardy had issues with his weight during his time jumping between TNA and the independent circuit. Other noteworthy wrestlers include the Bella Twins, Mike Knox and Orlando Jordan.
15 Mark Henry
For someone who entered professional wrestling after competing as an Olympic powerlifter, Mark Henry has made some great strides in his overall improvement. During the 1990s, he was known for being a member of the Nation of Domination and was also part of one of the Attitude Era’s infamous moments with fathering Mae Young’s hand-baby. At one point, he was a decent powerhouse wrestler who finally had a chance to win the World Heavyweight Championship in 2011.
However, Henry has not been given a consistent creative direction over recent years and has started to slowly decline in terms of his overall performance in the WWE. The “World’s Strongest Man” lasted less than a minute at this year’s Royal Rumble and came up empty-handed at WrestleMania during the annual Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Henry is an example of a superstar who may have wrestled longer than he should have.
14 Shark Boy
When Total Nonstop Action Wrestling was in the early years, Shark Boy debuted in 2002 as someone with a lot of promise. However, he would spend most of his years with TNA as someone who would lose to other wrestlers on the card. But in 2008, Shark Boy made a switch to essentially act as a parody of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin where he put a fishy twist on many of Austin’s infamous catchphrases.
While not having the most impressive win-loss record in TNA, Shark Boy had a loyal cult following. It was during his sporadic appearances with TNA since 2013 that it became clear he was a wrestler who had gained some weight and wasn’t able to perform at the same level to which fans were accustomed. When combining all of the above factors, one could consider Shark Boy one of the most disappointing wrestlers in the last decade – and that’s saying something for what TNA has produced during that time.
13 Sin Cara
For the sake of argument, we will focus on the original wrestler to portray the Sin Cara character in the WWE who was signed by the company in 2011. The former Mistico from Mexico was brought to television a few months after being signed and had some early mistakes that started with his entrance as he made the save of Daniel Bryan against Sheamus. The problems continued despite the WWE trying to force him to embrace the WWE style and break away from what he grew accustomed to during his time in Mexico.
While one can understand needing some time to adjust to coming to WWE, the original Sin Cara was with the company for three years and continued to struggle to avoid injuries and making mistakes. This led to the character being given to another wrestler, who has since competed in a somewhat successful tag team with Kalisto called the Lucha Dragons. Since his termination from WWE in 2014, the former Sin Cara has since returned to Mexico to wrestle in his native country.
12 Big Show
Similar to the reasons Mark Henry made the list, the in-ring abilities of the Big Show have diminished over the course of the last decade. One of the final giants left in professional wrestling, especially in the WWE, Big Show hasn’t really made too many changes to his moves and hasn’t really had a memorable match for a good majority of the past 10 years.
Furthermore, his finishing move that was once the chokeslam was replaced with the less interesting knockout punch. While it is realistic to be knocked out with a fist the size of a frozen turkey, it’s hardly entertaining.
But the worst thing is how inconsistent the booking has been with someone who has had more jumps between a face and a heel than anyone in recent history – going from lovable giant to terrifying beast on multiple occasions.
It is a shame because it’s unclear how much longer the Big Show might last over the next few years in the WWE. One would have to think that being more than 500 pounds for most of his 20-year career in the ring would have taken a toll on his health and physical abilities – granted, he has trimmed down to about 450 pounds.
11 Gene Snitsky
One might say his failures between WWE and TNA weren't completely his fault, but Gene Snitsky struggled to be relevant on television to remain employed. The man who once had a feud with Kane regarding the kayfabe death of Lita’s unborn child (can’t make this up) had a complete overhaul on his look in 2007 when he made the jump to the WWE’s ECW brand – which included shaving all of his hair and beard and then had his teeth colored yellow.
He lost a number of matches before leaving WWE and spent about six years on the independent scene before joining TNA for a few months, which included being on Dixie Carter’s team during an eight-man hardcore match. Snitsky had the size, but just seemed like another talent who didn’t really have the skill of being a wrestler worthy of being on television. In fact, his original passion was football and it was only after his football career failed to take off that he even turned to wrestling. Where have you heard that kind of story before?
10 Vladimir Kozlov
There was once a time when the WWE had a ruthless Russian in Vladimir Kozlov, who would claim that he would destroy everyone he faced in “Double Double E.” It looked that way considering the WWE had him go through a roster of local jobbers and other low-tier WWE superstars. While it led him to have an impressive undefeated streak, Kozlov showed no personality other than a few things here and there. He had a face of stone that didn’t really make him very interesting to fans.
It took a partnership with Santino Marella for fans to see a different side of the Russian, which had some moments. However, he wasn’t all that talented in the wrestling ring. He would eventually be released in 2011 and have a brief stop in Japan before retiring. That might have been a smart move as he found some success in acting. Under his real name Oleg Prudius, he’s appeared on the TV show Burn Notice and is going to play a role in the upcoming John Wick film next year.
9 Ezekiel Jackson
Once known as Big Zeke when he debuted as a bodyguard for Brian Kendrick in 2008, Ezekiel Jackson was noticeable for being a very large man who looked like someone who would have no trouble throwing people around. In fact, he looked like he may have had basketballs implanted into his shoulders. But the personality wasn’t there and his in-ring skills were equally boring, which caused plenty of controversy when he would be considered the last ECW Champion before the brand was closed by WWE in 2010.
Since then, he was an equally depressing Intercontinental Champion and would be released after having a number of injuries in his final two years. His run in TNA was short as he teamed with Snitsky. He also appeared on the first season of Lucha Underground before being written off of television. It’s likely he will not be appearing on television for any company anytime soon.
8 Tyson Tomko
It certainly feels like the WWE had gone through several large athletes who weren’t necessarily great in-ring performers. After a failed first run in the WWE, Tomko went to TNA to be a bodyguard for Christian and also had allegiance with talents like Kurt Angle and AJ Styles. However, he was never good enough to stand out as a singles superstar without any partners. Essentially, he was a tall man who was of decent size, but didn’t have a great personality other than being an enforcer.
After a failed second run in the WWE in late 2008 due to a back injury, he would make another return to TNA and despite having a world championship match with Styles, he would become a jobber to guys like Rob Terry and Orlando Jordan before supposedly being released in 2010. If that wasn’t bad enough, Tomko would end up being arrested after going into a pharmacy and stealing multiple bottles of oxycodone – only to consume nearly 200 pills at a restaurant not far from the pharmacy.
7 Mason Ryan
One might jokingly consider Mason Ryan to be the curse that ended the Nexus when he knelt in front of CM Punk in 2011 to become a member of the Punk-led faction. Only a few months later, Punk would quietly dissolve the group to begin the “Summer of Punk” in the WWE. Ryan was in and out of WWE’s development for his five-year run with the company. The only likely reason he was staying in WWE for that long was because it’s on good understanding that Vince McMahon has always favored athletes with large physiques.
Ryan had no charisma, didn’t look like a legitimate wrestler and would have been suited for another career. No one grieved when he was among those released in 2014 since it made room for the influx of independent superstars to join WWE. Still, it wasn’t a bad ending for Ryan who has since found a successful career working for Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas.
6 David Otunga
Did you know that David Otunga was still employed with WWE? Then you must be a regular viewer of the WWE Network’s Raw pre-show every week because that’s all he has really done with the company. Similar to other wrestlers like Ryan, Otunga was someone who had a decent physique, but had a personality about as exciting as wet fireworks. While he was part of the original Nexus faction, he was never an impact player on the WWE roster.
Essentially, his career highlights in the WWE include him in backstage segments with John Laurinaitis – the master of People Power – as a legal advisor. We’re not sure on what the over/under is on Otunga’s future as a WWE superstar, but at least he has earned opportunities in acting, which includes him posting a picture of himself on set of a Tyler Perry project. He may not be a future star in the ring, but maybe the WWE hopes to capitalize on his potentially increasing on-screen presence.
5 Eva Marie
“Have you seen the five-star match Eva Marie had on Raw last night?” said no wrestling fan ever. Nor will that likely ever be uttered by any type of wrestling fan. The WWE likes to point out on her roster profile page that she was a model who traded in the runway for the squared circle. Essentially, her main contributions have been to look pretty in front of the camera for WWE’s “reality show” Total Divas. Her contributions in the ring, however, have not been so noteworthy.
There may have been hope when there were reports that Eva Marie was learning from Brian Kendrick, but a November 2015 match in NXT where she faced a jobber who was getting more of a pop from the live crowd. She didn’t show anything special and showed that she still needed to learn. The WWE isn’t likely to let her go any time soon, but with the incoming talents like Asuka and Bayley, she’ll have to train harder to keep a spot on the main roster.
4 The Miz
Sure, The Miz is a lot more confident in the ring and on the microphone than when he first debuted on WWE television in 2006. But it took some time for the former MTV reality television star to really be taken seriously. One of the biggest flaws in his character is that he hasn’t really evolved much in the past six years and likely isn’t going to have a chance to improve at this point.
Many wrestling fans believe he’s been the wrong superstar to have so much gold with winning the WWE, U.S., and Intercontinental championships (as well as winning tag team gold with four different partners), while also having the nonsensical story line where he inherited the Figure Four Lock from Ric Flair in 2013. The problem is that The Miz feels like he was pushed despite never having won any awards for match of the night. The lack of true evolution and a sense of complacency is what hinders him from returning to the main event.
3 Rob Terry
The WWE isn’t the only wrestling promotion that tried to push impressive bodybuilders that have the charisma of a block of wood with moss growing on it. Rob Terry had a similar background as WWE’s Mason Ryan, but at least Terry had won a few championships during his run in TNA. Initially acting as the muscle for the British Invasion faction, he was mostly delegated to tag team matches with Doug Williams and Brutus Magnus before eventually breaking out as a singles competitor and winning the TNA Global Championship, renamed the Television Championship.
Some of the most awkward moments in his TNA run were his reactions to the mind games being played by the debuting Orlando Jordan. The rest of his career involved teaming with multiple factions before finally wearing a mask and gloves for an incomplete Dr. Doom costume and being billed as “The Freak” in the Menagerie in 2014. The lack of charisma is what essentially doomed his tenure on television.
2 Braun Strowman
With talents like Kane, Big Show and Mark Henry likely on the final leg of their respective WWE careers, it was understandable for the WWE to begin searching for potential giants to be brought into the company. Strowman fit that mold with a six-foot-eight, near 400-pound body who had won a number of strongman competitions. He would become the WWE’s version of the Mountain (Game of Thrones reference) by being a physically imposing figure who stood behind Bray Wyatt as the “black sheep” of the family. However, his in-ring abilities have not been up to par and his greenness to wrestling has shown on episodes of Raw.
It might take some time before someone like Strowman becomes a true competitor in the WWE ring with a limited move set that hasn’t really helped him look like a legitimate threat in the ring. While it’s good to have giants behind Bray Wyatt, they may need a little work if he’s going to make a big run to the main event spotlight.
1 Great Khali
Remember the comment earlier about how WWE seemed to be so convinced that they needed to push giants and impressive physical specimens to the main event picture? The Great Khali is the best example of the WWE having pushed someone despite the lack of talent they had performing in the ring. Khali looked as if he would have a delayed reaction to taking a strike and would even move slow on his way to taking a fall.
He looked bad in his debut where he attacked the Undertaker in 2006, and was not able to improve over the eight years he spent as a member of the WWE roster. In addition to having lackluster abilities in the ring, he was worse on the microphone with no one being able to understand the words that were coming out of his mouth – which was why he was usually silent in the big movie roles he did get outside of the WWE.
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