WCW is remembered with various emotions for their long history of ups and downs. The company delivered a great product for many years that gave us true competition against the WWE. We all know the stars that delivered the important moments such as Ric Flair, Sting, Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash and Goldberg. There was also the underrated section of stars that were underrated at the time but eventually became huge names in the business like Eddie Guerrero, Chris Jericho, Rey Mysterio and Booker T. Basically, WCW had great talent from top to bottom and gave us great memories and moments.
The company was also known for employing more wrestlers than WWE or any other wrestling company would. Despite having a three hour Nitro, not everyone could get television time so the other shows such as Thunder and Saturday Night featured some talents you’d never see on the PPVs or Nitro. The amount of talent employed was staggering but fans didn’t get to properly appreciate everyone. There were quite a few wrestlers that delivered outstanding work but just didn’t get the spotlight to get the fans talking. That comes with the territory as not everyone can be remembered but things have changed a little
The WWE Network gives fans most of the WCW library to watch at any given time. Between new fans watching the product for the first time or old fans offering new perspective at this stage in their fandom, it gives reason to keep an eye on wrestlers that were “just there” in the 90s but delivered successful results. The cruiserweights, mid-carders and general wrestlers that were relegated to secondary shows provided great depth to the company and now is the time we give them their respect. This list is intended to give you reason to give these guys another chance as we break down the top fifteen best forgotten WCW stars.
The American Males were one of the sillier tag team names but they worked well enough together. WCW decided to give Buff Bagwell the push by having him join the New World Order and Scotty Riggs was a forgotten man after the split. With a run in The Flock, Riggs was one of the more memorable members of the faction due to his eyepatch. Riggs was a talented performer but not able to showcase it during the successful days of WCW. ECW hired Riggs and gave him a good program with top company star Rob Van Dam. While you wouldn’t know it unless you were an avid American Males fan, Riggs was one of WCW’s best forgotten stars.
The last year of WCW is fascinating to look back on today. The company spent so much time relying on older stars and established names but it bit them when they had no new stars ready to main event. Most of the better young talent left the company after they were treated like lesser wrestlers in favor of the bigger names. Kid Romeo was one of the new names in WCW’s last ditch effort to start a youth movement. The Cruiserweight was ridiculously talented and wrestled a style that has become more prominent today with the acrobatic moves. Romeo also had one of the best theme songs and could have been something special if the company was in better shape when he debuted.
WCW’s Cruiserweight division delivered one of the richest legacies of anything the company ever produced. With new talent from all over the world being showcased in a position to have great matches, it influenced many of today’s wrestling stars to fall in love with the business. There were a few stars that don’t get the recognition today that guys like Rey Mysterio, Dean Malenko and Chris Jericho do for their WCW work. Super Calo is among those that don’t get the love they deserve and he also had one of the cooler outfits in wrestling. For those of us that utilize the WCW library on the WWE Network, Calo is one of the hidden gems that should be appreciated today.
“Beautiful” Bobby Eaton is among the most underrated wrestlers from any time in any wrestling promotion. Eaton was a utility player in WCW serving many different roles in different time periods. Most would remember him for being a glorified enhancement talent during the most popular days in WCW. Plenty of star talents from the time put over Eaton as being one of the best wrestlers to work with because he would find a perfect middle ground of making a match like that compelling while assuring the other talent looks like a million bucks. Eaton had quite a few great matches on WCW Saturday Night and is definitely a great talent that gets forgotten in the history of WCW.
The signing of Shinsuke Nakamura by WWE is adding to the list of Japanese wrestling legends to try their luck wrestling in America. WCW was good at showcasing Japanese stars at different points in time. Masahiro Chono was one of the better talents from Japan to have a few appearances in WCW as a member of the New World Order. Everyone remembers The Great Muta but Chono wasn’t too far behind and delivered in the ring when called upon. The opening match between Chono and Chris Jericho on the original nWo Souled Out PPV was a perfect way to set the tone for an important show. Chono is not remembered for his WCW time but it was damn impressive.
The point of wrestling is to entertain the viewer. Norman Smiley did his job during the latter years of WCW with a combination of various skills. The veteran got his big break in the company by delivering comedy in hardcore matches. Despite the role being very difficult for most wrestlers, Smiley excelled and used his experience to win over the crowd. You can say what you want about the hardcore style and repetitive comedy act but the fans were always cheering loudly for Smiley’s success. The art of getting the audience to care about you is tough and Smiley did it in a less than desirable gimmick. Smiley currently has an important training job in the WWE Performance Center and it’s with good reason.
The man known as Wrath had one of the most underrated and underappreciated runs in WCW. After a dismal stint in WWE as Adam Bomb, Bryan Clark signed with WCW and was given the new name Wrath. He played a character that was similar to a Mortal Kombat villain and was paired with Mortis. The duo never set the world on fire with title wins or huge pushes but they were effective. Wrath had pretty good matches on a consistent level and actually went a while without a loss. After building up momentum, Wrath was squashed in a throwaway Nitro match against Kevin Nash and forgotten.
Another Japanese star to put out good work for WCW was Kaz Hayashi. While he was employed for four years, Hayashi wasn’t put into a position on television until 2000. The Cruiserweight division was getting revamped with the company in a desperate situation of trying to make new stars. One of the new acts was The Jung Dragons and Hayashi was arguably the best member of the trio. Along with Jamie Noble and Jimmy Yang, Hayashi delivered outstanding matches on a weekly basis and had classic PPV ladder matches against 3 Count. The body of work put out by Hayashi is rarely talked about when discussing WCW’s best moments but he delivered great memories in a short time.
The midcard division of WCW created greatness that lives on today through the library of the WWE Network. Many of the wrestlers to hold the United States Championship, Television Championship or Cruiserweight Champion went on to become stars in the business such as Chris Benoit, Booker T, Eddie Guerrero and Chris Jericho. There were a few talented stars that never got the break going forward and one of them was Prince Iaukea. With stints as the Cruiserweight champ and Television champ, Iaukea had great matches against Rey Mysterio, William Regal and quite a few other WCW talents. The variety of styles he worked against showed how good he was at adapting and putting out a good match.
Blitzkrieg was only in WCW for a short time period but he left an impact on the viewer as one of the most underrated Cruiserweight stars in the company. In a division where speed and originality were focused on, Blitzkrieg took it to another level with some of the most spectacular moves ever seen in wrestling. His match against Juventud Guerrera at Spring Stampede 1999 is among the most underappreciated yet must-see WCW matches of all time. If he was given the opportunity some of the other top Cruiserweights received or debuted when the division was at its peak, Blitzkrieg could have been a far bigger star.
The role of Chris Kanyon in WCW was basically a jack of all trades. Kanyon entered the company playing the masked Mortis, which was inspired by Mortal Kombat during one of Eric Bischoff’s weird phases of creating new characters. The matches and overall work under a mask was impressive for someone trying it for the first time. Kanyon eventually unmasked and became more popular wrestling as himself. Whether working as a face in a personal feud against Raven or teaming with Diamond Dallas Page in a heel tag team, Kanyon always played his role well. Kanyon deserves a lot more respect for being reliable enough to succeed in any spot.
The influx of new talent in the latter years of WCW gave us the gift of Elix Skipper. The young star was athletically gifted and delivered very good matches in the Cruiserweight division. Skipper also showed his character work by being in Lance Storm’s Team Canada heel faction, one of the more underrated gimmicks at the time. The tag team of Skipper and Kid Romeo later provided great matches together in the short lived WCW Cruiserweight tag team division. Skipper and Romeo facing Rey Mysterio and Billy Kidman on WCW’s last ever PPV “Greed” is one of the best matches in company history that no one remembers.
The legend of Meng as one of the toughest men outside of the ring is not forgotten but the wrestling ability sadly is. Meng is typically referred to as Haku for his WWE days and discussed more in the conversation of the last wrestlers you’d want to face in a real life fight but the guy could go in the ring. The tag team of Meng and The Barbarian was severely underrated and they played a great role in the deep WCW tag team division for a few years. Meng also served as a credible singles star and once opposed Goldberg for the WCW title on an episode of Nitro that saw him destroy about a dozen wrestlers throughout the night to prepare. Don’t sleep on Meng unless he forces you to with his Tongan Death Grip.
Alex Wright is unfortunately most remembered for being a goof that danced because of the placement of his character. At the time, WCW was loaded with talent and not everyone could get a main event push or be spotlighted with a credible character. Wright still found a way to entertain and while he lost most of his matches, they almost always delivered. Das Wunderkind had the perfect formula to give great matches while still getting his dancing fool gimmick across. Wright had great matches against William Regal and Triple H. His work in a tag team with Disco Inferno also managed to deliver the humor while still bringing it in the ring.
The Cruiserweight division in WCW is remembered for a slate of spectacular names. When you think of the WCW Cruiserweight division, you immediately think of Rey Mysterio, Eddie Guerrero, Chris Jericho and Dean Malenko. All men deserve this for the outstanding work they delivered and their success after WCW but Psychosis belongs on that list as well. Psychosis was one of the first luchadors to come into WCW with Mysterio and they delivered classic matches together. The company featured him less prominently and he became an afterthought in the pecking order but he still delivered great matches and looked like he belonged when put into matches on television. Psychosis will never be remembered as a WCW great but the content he provided sure says otherwise.