The "monster heel" is a familiar character in wrestling. You know the type; big, mean, seemingly unstoppable and built-up to feud with a popular babyface."Usually, with vignettes signaling their arrival and/or a debut that has them destroying the first men who get in their way.
There have been some fantastic examples of monster heels over the years who have gone on to win the big titles - Yokozuna, Kane, Vader, Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker, for example - but many others start out looking unstoppable, before fading into mid-card obscurity, ending up in smaller wrestling promotions or disappearing from the wrestling industry entirely.
The best current example of a monster heel is Braun Strowman and, while he hasn't threatened to win any championships thus far, it remains to be seen exactly where his career will take him, so he certainly won't be included in this list. Rusev is another and, while he's not the unbeaten monster he was to begin with, he's already won two United States Titles and the sky is still the limit for him.
All of the wrestlers on this list - at least while they had their monster heel gimmick - started out as nigh-invincible beasts, but didn't end up living up to the initial hype they created. Some ended up as fairly credible mid-card wrestlers, others ended up disappearing from wrestling completely very quickly. While others fall somewhere in between those two extremes - but what they all have in common is that none of them ended up consistently winning the kind of titles that the babyfaces they were initially destroying were capable of winning. Here are 15 monster heels who were totally over-hyped...
15 The Executioner
The Executioner was the late Terry Gordy - a man who had wrestled for more than 20 years prior to being given the Executioner gimmick. His previous wrestling experience included a prior brief spell in the WWF - and he was most famous for being part of the iconic tag team known as the Fabulous Freebirds.
John Tenta was a fantastic and highly-respected wrestler with some decent runs in several companies around the world, but his most famous gimmick was undoubtedly that of Earthquake. Though the run was memorable, Tenta really never lived up to his initial billing while playing the character.
13 The Ultimate Solution
The Ultimate Solution was the late Robert "Jeep" Swenson - the man who portrayed Bane in the 1997 movie Batman & Robin - and he was introduced as that character in WCW at 1996's Uncensored pay-per-view. He performed as a member of the "Alliance to End Hulkamania" and was essentially presented as the man to finally put the nail in the coffin of the Hulk Hogan phenomenon. Originally he was actually called the Final Solution - the same name given to the Nazi plan to exterminate Jews - but following complaints from Jewish organizations to the Turner corporate offices, his character was renamed.
12 King Kong Bundy
Now, there's no doubting that King Kong Bundy - real name Chris Pallies - is a legend in the wrestling industry, but there's also no doubting the fact that the gimmick didn't reach the heights that his early promise suggested it would.
He was introduced to the WWE as a monster heel character on a 1985 airing of 'WWF Championship Wrestling' - and he proceeded to squash most of his opponents in a matter of minutes (seconds in some cases). He competed in close matches with the likes of Andre the Giant and Hulk Hogan at his peak - but he never won a single title in the WWE. Additionally, Bundy only lasted a total of four years in the company over two spells.
The late Eddie Fatu made his debut using the Umaga gimmick on a 2006 episode of RAW. The gimmick was that of a destructive and savage monster heel who could only be controlled by his manager Armando Alejandro Estrada. He waded through a bunch of jobbers like nobody's business and destroyed Ric Flair at the 2006 Backlash pay-per-view, before quickly establishing himself in the WWE Championship picture.
10 Fake Undertaker
In 1994, The Undertaker disappeared after losing a casket match against Yokozuna at the Royal Rumble. Soon after that, "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase claimed to have found him and convinced him to return using money. DiBiase was also claiming that the Undertaker's power was now derived from his millions, rather than the urn everyone was so familiar with. For several weeks this fake version of Undertaker wrestled using the name of the original.
Back in 2004, a series of vignettes began airing on WWE's SmackDown show that signaled the imminent arrival of a religious Zealot-type character - that being Mordecai. Mordecai was a gimmick portrayed by Kevin Fertig - but it really didn't last very long at all.
In 2012, vignettes began airing on WWE's RAW show that featured a character by the name of Lord Tensai. The monster heel character made his debut soon after - always being accompanied to the ring by his follower Sakamoto. Tensai went on an early unbeaten run, squashing various jobbers, mid-carders. His early push even earned him wins against the likes of John Cena and CM Punk, which put him in the World Heavyweight Championship picture. His peak saw him losing a World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank ladder match at Money in the Bank to Dolph Ziggler - and he never really recovered from that.
We now come to the only female wrestler on this list - the woman formerly known as Awesome Kong, Kia Stevens, in the form of her Kharma gimmick. In 2012, creepy vignettes began airing on WWE television featuring a cackling woman dismembering dolls - it was Kharma. She made her debut at Extreme Rules, attacking Michelle McCool - something she continued to do on RAW and SmackDown in the subsequent weeks.
6 Papa Shango
In 1992, Charles Wright - the man who would also be known as Kama Mustafa and The Godfather, amongst other names - made his debut on the WWE show Superstars. He debuted as a monster heel voodoo practitioner by the name of Papa Shango. He defeated enhancement talent Dale Wolfe in short order and was soon thrust into the main event spotlight, interrupting the Hulk Hogan versus Sid Justice main event at WrestleMania VIII. The Ultimate Warrior rushed to help Hogan against Shango and Sid, which resulted in a feud between Shango and Warrior.
5 Vladimir Kozlov
Vladimir Kozlov made his WWE debut on a 2008 episode of SmackDown. He had the unique and ominous quirk of having no entrance music and no Titantron video. All his walk to the ring consisted of was complete darkness, except for a solitary spotlight following him to the ring. He beat Matt Bentley in his first match before going on a monster of an unbeaten run against a series of local competitors and the likes of Colin Delaney, Funaki, Nunzio and Jimmy Wang Yang.
Having previously appeared on RAW in 2003, before being sent back to OVW for further training, Jon Heidenreich made his debut as the psychopathic Heidenreich on SmackDown as a monster heel under the management of Paul Heyman. He would run in during random matches, attack fans and recite hateful poetry, which he referred to as "Disasterpieces." Heidenreich was built up as nigh-unstoppable and first feuded with The Undertaker, costing The Deadman the WWE Championship and further shots at it by interfering in his matches. He kept losing to The Undertaker - including in a match at Survivor Series - and ended up as more of a mid-carder in the process.
3 Giant Gonzales
The Giant Gonzales was the late Jorge Gonzales - the man who was recognized as the largest professional wrestler in history back in 2014 - and he made a huge impact on the WWE back in 1993 when he made his debut. His first appearance was at the Royal Rumble and he eliminated The Undertaker from the match, in spite of the fact that he wasn't actually a participant in the rumble.
2 The Great Khali
The Great Khali is unique on this list in the sense that he did win a World Title while working under this gimmick - but it was a last-minute decision to have him win it, due to circumstances. At the time Edge had been forced to relinquish the title due to injury, and an impromptu 20-man battle royal was scheduled; Khali won. Khali only held the World Title for two months before losing it to Batista at 2007's Unforgiven. It would be the only title Khali won.
Without a doubt, the most monstrous of all the monster heels to debut with a bang, but then go on to be extremely anticlimactic, was Zeus. The character portrayed by Tom Lister Jr. came to the WWF to continue his feud from the big screen with Hulk Hogan, after starring opposite the superstar wrestler in 1989 movie No Holds Barred.
Zeus made his debut on WWE television on a 1989 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event, assaulting a Hogan who was in his prime before his steel cage match against the Big Boss Man. This resulted in a feud between Zeus and Hogan, which also ultimately involved the likes of Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake, Jake "The Snake" Roberts, Demolition, Randy Savage, Ted DiBiase and The Powers of Pain. The team of Hogan and Beefcake defeated Zeus and Savage at 1989's SummerSlam. Then the team of Hulk Hogan, Jake "The Snake" Roberts and Demolition defeated Zeus, Ted DiBiase and The Powers of Pain at Survivor Series. The feud ended when Hogan and Beefcake again defeated Zeus and Savage at No Holds Barred in a steel cage match.
Essentially, Tom Lister Jr. didn't have the talent to carry a match as a singles wrestler, so he had a series of tag matches - all of which he lost. So much for his "Human Wrecking Machine" nickname!
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