There have been a handful of extremely talented wrestlers who didn't get the run in their careers that they should have. While many top guys who were pushed to the frontier of wrestling fame may have not been as talented as the guys they were getting over, this article is meant to give recognition to the most underrated wrestlers in the history of professional wrestling. While promotions looked for star traits that maybe some of these guys may not have had, all of these guys were excellent wrestlers who with the right push, could have went down as one of the best wrestlers of all time. These guys usually weren't the ones with the biggest and best belts on at the end of the day, however they always caught the attention of fans watching, as their skill and charisma in the ring was always top-tier. In this article, we will be looking at the top 15 most underrated wrestlers of all-time, and where they are today.
As always, feel free to leave any comments you have on this matter, as we would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.
Here are the top 15 most underrated wrestlers of all-time, and where they are now.
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15 Shane Douglas
Shane Douglas was a key part of ECW and put on some great matches during the early part of his career. He really sold his moves to the crowd nicely, and you could just tell Douglas was a natural wrestler who loved what he did. While he could have grown into one of the biggest wrestlers in the country, his move to the WWE got him a terrible gimmick, which landed him in the mid card where his career pretty much just fizzled out. It's a shame, as Douglas really had what it took to be a world champion.
In July 2016, Martin was named part of a class action lawsuit filed against WWE which alleged that wrestlers incurred traumatic brain injuries during their tenure and that the company concealed the risks of injury. Douglas, now at age 52, currently resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as he still works on the independent circuit.
14 Shelton Benjamin
Shelton Benjamin is one of the greatest pure athletes to ever set foot in a wrestling ring. He had a decorated collegiate background in athletics and fun fact, he was actually college roommates before Brock Lesnar. Benjamin broke into WWE in a tag team alongside Charlie Haas and they formed The World's Greatest Tag Team under the tutelage of Kurt Angle. Benjamin eventually split from Haas and recorded a couple of singles victories over Triple H, but nothing came out of it. In a singles run, he was saddled with bad gimmicks and was eventually released by WWE in 2010. Benjamin has since wrestled in ROH and other indie promotions.
He was set to return to WWE in 2016, but a torn rotator cuff has put him on the sidelines. He hopes to make his WWE return at some point in 2017.
13 Lance Storm
Lance Storm was great from bell to bell, but in terms of everything in between, he just couldn't quite put it all together and that's why he ultimately never got to the top of the business. His work as a heel was decent, but too often, he didn't generate great heat with the crowd. When the WWE had Stone Cold come out and shout "Boring!" during a Lance Storm segment, that effectively killed any chance he had of becoming a main eventer in WWE. Still, it's important not to forget Storm's work as a technician.
Since retiring from a full-time schedule, Storm has wrestled sporadically on the independent circuit. His most notable appearance was when he challenged Jay Lethal for the ROH World Championship, only to come up short. He has also made appearances on the Edge & Christian Show on the WWE Network.
Despite working with one of the most stereotypical gimmicks we have seen in the world of wrestling, Tatanka was great in the ring, and was a fan favorite during his career. He had all the tools to be a top tier guy, and with a different gimmick maybe he would have been taken more seriously by promotions. He was a big body in the ring, however he didn't let that stop him from working smoothly with his opponent in the ring. He never held a belt during his career, which is surprising considering how talented Tatanka was in the ring.
Tatanka has made sporadic appearances in the WWE over the last few years, however he spends most of his time with his wife and kids in his home in Spring Hill, Florida.
11 Ultimo Dragon
One of WWE's worst uses of a talent was disposing of Ultimo Dragon so quickly after his WWE debut. With Rey Mysterio as the face of the company's cruiserweight division, they somehow never pulled the trigger on a feud that would have involved Ultimo Dragon against the Ultimate Underdog. Despite his lack of success in WWE, Dragon won titles everywhere he went, something many tend to forget.
The Ultimo Dragon is still putting on shows around the world, his latest match being on March 22, 2015. Not one to rest on his laurels, Dragón returned to All-Japan to capture another championship. Along with Yoshinobu Kanemaru, the team defeated Mitsuya Nagai and Takeshi Minamino for the All Asia Tag Team Championship. They sadly vacated the title on October 14 of that year.
10 Scott Hall
Even though Scott Hall is considered one of the greatest wrestlers of all-time, he never won the world championship despite having the talent to be the best in the world. He had great mic skills and never really lacked inside of the wrestling ring either. He was excellent in nWo, however he seemed to always play second fiddle to great wrestlers such as Kevin Nash or Shawn Michaels. While Hall did wrestle during one of the best times in wrestling history, he definitely deserved to reach the top of the wrestling summit, however it never happened for Hall.
Now with his second return to the WWE on a Legends Contract, young fans are getting to witness at least some of what made Hall great. On January 30, 2016, Hall took part of World Association Of Wrestling television tapings, which took place in the Epic Studios at Norwich, England. It was aired on Mustard TV on September 10, 2016.
9 Arn Anderson
Even though Arn Anderson was more known for playing Ric Flair's henchman and being an enforcer to the Four Horseman, Anderson is easily one of the most talented wrestlers in the history of it all. He combined strength with precision and grace, as he could pull off some amazing moves and make it look great as well. Anderson could have been a superstar in his own right, however he perfected the art at making his opponent look better as it seems as though every match he was in ran smoothly.
On an episode of SmackDown Live in August 2016, Anderson made an appearance as one of the people asked by Heath Slater to be his tag team partner for the tournament to determine the inaugural winners of the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship. Anderson refused to help Slater upon learning that he was not Slater's first choice as a tag team partner. Anderson currently resides in Charlotte, N.C., at the age of 58.
8 Perry Saturn
Perry Saturn always seems to be forgotten when talking about the four Radicalz who went to the WWE in 2000 (Guerrero, Benoit, Malenko and Saturn). Saturn had established himself as a solid mid-card wrestler in WCW, but jumped with his friends to WWE when he realized he wasn't going to ever break the glass ceiling in WCW. In WWE, Saturn wrestled good matches, but was often left in the dust.
The death knell in his career was being saddled with the Moppy gimmick as punishment for intentionally hurting jobber Mike Bell in a match.
Saturn disappeared for years after wrestling. After a 2004 altercation where he was shot after saving a woman from being raped, he got addicted to methamphetamine and was homeless for nearly three years.
Today, Saturn is married and has joined a class-action lawsuit against WWE regarding traumatic brain injuries he allegedly sustained while in WWE.
Raven was one of the best wrestlers to come from the ECW. Many have drawn some comparisons to current wrestler Bray Wyatt. Both are excellent examples of dark characters that captivated the audience. Raven was very successful in ECW; he won six titles during his time there as a singles and tag-team wrestler. He also made some small splashes in other promotions, winning the TNA World Championship and another title in WCW. Raven was so talented as a wrestler inside and outside the ring. He was the leader of two factions; The Raven’s Nest and The Raven’s Flock, between ECW and and WCW. Not just any personality can pull off being the leader of a faction, let alone two. Raven was so multi-dimensional as a wrestler that very few could have done it better. Raven is very underrated because he was talented enough to be one of the biggest names in professional wrestling.
In August of 2016, Levy returned to WWE on the WWE Network to talk about the legacy of the Hardcore Championship alongside Rob Van Dam and Mick Foley. He is 52 and currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia.
6 Dean Malenko
Dean Malenko was incredibly talented in the ring. Dean knew the sport of wrestling inside and out even earning the nickname “The Man of 1,000 Holds.” He put on some great demonstrations of athleticism in WCW’s cruiserweight division, but never really advanced farther than that. What seems to have held Malenko back most of all was his inability to entertain outside of the ring. A professional wrestler not only needs to keep people interested in the ring but out of the ring as well. A wrestler’s out of ring performances are extremely important in gaining fans. Dean Malenko could have been one of the biggest names in wrestling if only he had a little more charisma. Sadly, Malenko never gained the respect and accolades that he deserved and was totally underrated by the wrestling world.
Malenko is retired from in ring action, however he has made multiple appearances around the wrestling business, as he is respected for his excellent talent wherever he goes. After suffering a heart attack in 2010, he was forced him to leave a WWE European tour in 2013, as chest pains raised to many alarms for another heart attack for the wrestling legend.
5 Val Venis
Val Venis gained his popularity from his controversial gimmick, however even though it gained him some early popularity, it ultimately capped his potential. Val had awesome charisma and was incredible in the ring due to his athletic abilities. It's obviously pretty hard to get over a pseudo porn star as a world champion, as Venis never achieved any major titles throughout his wrestling career. With another gimmick however, Venis could have been a world champion and household name.
Using the online pseudonym "The Kaptain", Morley is an advocate for the legalization of cannabis, and runs his own medicinal marijuana business Purple Haze Lounge which is now "Health for Life" marijuana dispensary in Mesa, Arizona.
4 Ricky Steamboat
Ricky Steamboat had everything needed to be a wrestling superstar, as he is widely considered as one of the most underrated wrestlers in the history of wrestling. Ricky definitely had the talent in the ring, as he had excellent agility and power, which enabled him to perform some seriously awesome moves in the ring. Steamboat has had some incredible matches throughout his career whether it was his classic bout against Randy Savage at WrestleMania III or his matches against Rick Flair in the NWA as well. He was very adept at selling pain and playing to the crowd, as he enthralled everyone lucky enough to see him wrestle.
Steamboat worked as an NXT trainer and in the talent relations department with Triple H until the developmental release of his son, Richie Steamboat, in 2013. He later moved on to being an Ambassador. At the age of 63, Steamboat is enjoying retirement as he currently resides in Mooresville, North Carolina.
3 Dynamite Kid
The Dynamite Kid is often credited by many wrestlers to be one of the greatest of all time, but he was never pushed as a top guy outside of Stampede Wrestling. His run in WWE consisted of him teaming with Davey Boy Smith to form The British Bulldogs. Kid suffered a severe back injury in WWE and from there, his career began to go downhill. Bret Hart, despite having personal issues with Kid, has said he was possibly the best wrestler he ever saw.
Today, Dynamite Kid is suffering the after-effects of a life in wrestling. He has lost the use of his left leg and has been confined to a wheelchair. He's also part of a class-action lawsuit against WWE for concussions he suffered while wrestling.
2 William Regal
William Regal was a great technician and when given the right kind of gimmick he was able to entertain crowds. It's truly a mystery as to why Regal never was pushed to the main event scene. Granted, Regal has admitted that substance abuse problems derailed some portions of his career, but still. In WCW he was relegated to the mid card and while he won many titles in his career, the big one always eluded him. His last accomplishment was winning WWE's King of the Ring tournament in 2008.
Regal still keeps his hand in the wrestling business, as he is the NXT general manager and trainer. Triple H has since commented on Regal's employment, saying he is key to recruiting excellent wrestlers to NXT and WWE.
1 Jake "The Snake" Roberts
Jake “The Snake” Roberts was one of the most enthralling and popular wrestlers we have ever seen. While he never was one of the most athletic or talented wrestlers in the ring, Jake "The Snake" Roberts is easily one of the most underrated wrestlers of all-time, due to his excellent charisma and realism he displayed during every match. Jake was one of the few wrestlers Vince told to slim down a bit, as he really wanted him to run with the whole snake gimmick, and he did. "The Snake" looked totally evil as he slithered around the ring, however fans couldn't help but cheer as they realized how talented Roberts was. Despite his inner demons derailing his career, Roberts had one of the most talented runs we have ever seen in the WWE.
His downward spiral after wrestling was very disheartening to many fans over the world, who have always been big supporters of Roberts. In the wrestling documentary, Beyond The Mat, there is a clip of Roberts smoking crack and talking about his inner demons. He explained how he turned to drugs and alcohol due to his problems outside of wrestling. Roberts is now apparently sober, and even exercises regularly as he tries to heal his mind and body. Hopefully The Snake can stay on the right path down the road.
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