Vince McMahon has always been praised by his co-workers (mainly the butt-kissers) as well as some fans for his ability to create and build up new stars. When many of those said people bring up some of the talents that Vince McMahon has created and built up well, they are usually guys like The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, Kane, The Undertaker among others. Do you happen to see any similarities between these specific guys? Well I sure do. These were Vince's creations during the Attitude Era which was during a do-or-die time for the WWE due to the Monday Night Wars between WCW.
WCW was signing off many of Vince's established main eventers over to their promotion by dangling lucrative contracts in front of their faces. As a result, Vince McMahon needed to build up a new group of stars to keep their ship afloat. Vince and Creative had no wiggle room for error in their new creations, because if they did, it could have resulted in the WWE dying out with the dinosaurs.
However, since WCW's death, Vince McMahon has been in no dire or serious need of building new talents. Sure, Vince wants to give us fans someone new in the main event scene every once in a while, but he's not trying nearly as hard as he used to. Now a days, Vince will give a wrestler he sees a shred of potential in and will give them a "sink or swim" push. This means if they succeed, then great, but if not, it really makes no difference. Sometimes Vince bury's some of the guys he decides to push because he either grew tired of them, he changed his mind, or he simply didn't like them anymore.
Some of Vince's "new creations" have been a success, where as others were complete and utter flops, whether it was due to the wrestlers own fault or Vince and the Creative Teams fault. Stay tuned, as this list divulges the top 15 recent WWE wrestlers that have flopped (often miserably) despite their pushes.
15 15. Matt Morgan
"The Blueprint" Matt Morgan made his WWE debut back in October of 2003 by joining "Team Lesnar" to fight "Team Angle" at Survivor Series in '03. Matt Morgan was a convincing and believable monster standing at 7ft tall and weighing over 300 pounds. He was Vince's prototypical "blueprint" (no pun intended) of a future WWE World Champion, and in other words " was a big sweaty man". When I saw Matt, I saw a guy who had many of the same attributes as Brock Lesnar, albeit not nearly as strong. Regardless, Matt Morgan wasn't the greatest in the ring or on the mic back in those days, and that certainly didn't help matters.
Also, back in April 2005, Matt Morgan was assigned a "stuttering" gimmick which as you would probably expect, failed to get over to any extent. Unfortunately, the WWE decided Matt Morgan was disposable because the company released him in July 2005. Matt was given a solid push at the start of his WWE run, but questionable booking (and a crappy gimmick) shortly after, cost him greatly. Had he been booked better, there's no reason why Matt couldn't have at least been utilized as an upper midcarder. This was definitely the WWE's fault for Morgan floundering and flopping.
14 Lord Tensai
I seriously fail to understand how and why the WWE could possibly think that the "Tensai" gimmick was going to get over with the WWE Universe. Tensai (mainly remembered as A-Train) returned to the WWE in 2012, following a fairly successful run in NJPW to try his luck again, with a new gimmick as Lord Tensai (cringe). Regardless, the WWE gave Tensai, real name Matt Bloom, a significant push as he steam rolled lower midcarders and then went on to defeat the likes of main eventers such as John Cena and CM Punk. Talk about a big push considering Tensai wasn't over in the slightest!
Obviously the WWE realized their mistake of continuing to push Tensai after he failed to get over, and after a few losses against the likes of Cena and Sheamus, he went on a losing streak that pretty much lasted until Tensai was relegated to the comedy dance gimmick with Brodus Clay. It was pretty obvious that this horrendous gimmick of Tensai was going to flop right from the start. He couldn't have fallen any harder from grace, and is long since as Matt Hardy would say, DELETED! from the show. I would say the hideous gimmick, as well as Tensai not being the greatest in the ring contributed to him becoming nothing more than a huge flop.
13 Jack Swagger
"The All American American" Jack Swagger has since been released from the WWE as of two months ago. Despite floundering as a jabroni jobber for his last couple of years with the company, Swagger was not always presented this way. Back in his early WWE days, Jack Swagger was pushed significantly as he captured both the ECW Championship as well as the World Heavyweight Championship (even though the WWE would like to forget he ever did). Swagger's main event push was a complete and utter flop. Jack wasn't over, his gimmick sucked, and his title reigns were as boring and bland as they could possibly be.
Many considered Swagger to have lowered the prestige of the World Heavyweight Championship after his uneventful and boring reign. The WWE tried to push Swagger again on a couple of occasions, mainly with his "We the People" gimmick with Zeb Colter, but after a drug bust, any plans of another push for Swagger were all but scrapped. He never again returned to a prominent position, and he was utilized as a jobber mainly seen on Superstars and Main Event. It's not entirely Jack Swagger's fault, considering he was booked like total crap, but the fact that Swagger was a charisma vacuum pretty much killed any potential. Definitely a humongous flop to say the least.
12 Bobby Lashley
Bobby Lashley was just about as generic and bland as a wrestler could possibly be, back in his WWE days that is. Nowadays, Lashley is succeeding in TNA as basically the face of their promotion. However, in the WWE, Lashley was nothing more than a big flop. Right from his debut in 2005, Bobby Lashley was being presented as the company's "next big thing". He went through an absolute tear through the SmackDown roster. Was Bobby Lashley bad? No he certainly wasn't, but it was very clear that he lacked the character, the mic skills or the charisma to be a serious main event guy.
Regardless, the WWE (Vince McMahon) pushed Lashley all throughout his run, but none of his pushes ever paid off. Did he win the United States and ECW Championships? Yes he did, but it was clear from his initial push in '05 and '06 that Vinnie Mac had much bigger plans for Bobby to be a main event level act, competing for the WWE World Championship (which he did occasionally, but unsuccessfully). After suffering from an injury for 6 months in 2008, Lashley was released from WWE. Bobby Lashley was a massive flop considering how hard he was pushed off the hop as the next main event talent.
11 Mark Henry
Without question, Mark Henry was only a flop and in turn floundered, because of poor booking decisions on WWE's part. For years leading up to his "Hall of Pain" World Heavyweight Championship push in 2011, Mark Henry was utilized as basically a glorified jobber. He was a total jobber for the first half of his WWE run, but then after maybe 2005 or so, he became a "glorified" jobber as he was booked a bit better, despite losing most of the time. When Mark Henry was finally given his main event push, the SmackDown ratings were at their peak with the Worlds Strongest Man at the forefront of the brand.
However, once Henry lost the gold, he was never booked the same way despite having "Hall of Pain" written on his ring gear. If anything, Henry was constantly inducting himself into the Hall Of Pain after suffering loss after loss against countless guys like Ryback, Reigns, Big E, Rusev and the list goes on and on. Mark Henry is a victim of terrible booking, because he should of been booked as a much larger threat after his great World Championship run, and not to have become a jobber floundering so miserably. Definitely a waste of talent, I must say.
10 Vladimir Kozlov
"The Moscow Mauler" Vladimir Kozlov is one of the biggest flops in WWE history. When Kozlov made his main roster debut back in April of 2008, Creative booked Vladamir as a threat to anyone, as he steam rolled his way through a number of jabroni jobbers. He quickly rose the ranks and within very short order, he defeated the likes of The Undertaker and was vying for the WWE Championship against Jeff Hardy and Triple H. However, right from Kozlov's debut, a couple of things became very apparent very quickly. Vladimir Kozlov was barely passable in the ring, he couldn't talk to save his life, and he was very generic and lacking any charisma.
Although Kozlov was pushed like a mad man for his first year or so, Vince McMahon wisely decided against continuing to push this charisma vacuum, and Creative buried Vladimir Kozlov by having Triple H and 'Taker defeat him. Within a short amount of time, Kozlov was relegated to a comedic tag team with Santino Marella which was in my opinion, the most interesting he ever was. After a short tag team run with Santino, Kozlov was released from the WWE in August of 2012, and he was quickly forgotten. Vladimir Kozlov will go down in the history books as a huge flop because once he was de-pushed, Kozlov floundered miserably for the remainder of his WWE tenure.
9 Gene Snitsky
Gene Snitsky is by far one of the worst and least talented guys Vince McMahon has ever decided to push. I will say this very blatantly, for Stitsky's entire WWE run whether as the "It wasn't my fault" maniac or the disgusting yellow teeth ridden freak, Snitsky sucked in every possible way including his in-ring ability, his mic skills, his charisma et cetera. He basically lacked every possible trait a wrestler needs to be a success in this business. Regardless, Vince tried and tried with Snitsky, but each and every time, he floundered and flopped miserably.
As the yellow teeth creep in '07 and '08, Snitsky was booked like an unstoppable force for a few months before suffering a loss against the shovel-bearing John Cena. Now, usually I would be mad that John Cena ended a streak or basically just completely buried a wrestler but in Snitsky's case, I was happy to see this lumbering giant taken down. Just over a year later, Snitsky was granted his release from the company. Gene Snitsky will go down in WWE history as a huge flop because he certainly did NOT have the talent to back up his pushes and to proser from them. I'm actually surprised Vince McMahon gave Snitsky so many chances considering how bad he was.
8 8. Chris Masters
"The Masterpiece" Chris Masters had the look and physique that would have drove Vince McMahon insane, no doubt. When I saw Chris, I saw a guy with the "it" factor as he looked the part, he could talk (okay maybe not the best, but passable) and he could definitely go in the ring. He had every trait required to be a future World Champion and right from his debut, Chris Master was presented as such, and he went on a tear through the roster with his signature hold, The Master Lock. After decimating some of the lower-tier stars on the WWE roster at the time, within short order, Chris Masters was challenging for John Cena's WWE Championship.
However, in late 2007, following two WWE Wellness Policy violations, Chris Masters was released from the WWE. Chris would again return to the company in 2009, but he was utilized as a lower midcarder, because the WWE simply couldn't trust him. Chris Masters is a flop because his booking was a little iffy after his Championship pursuits failed, and because of his own questionable personal decisions. Masters floundered for the remainder of his run with the WWE because of those facts and he was soon forgotten after his release from the company in August of 2011.
7 Mason Ryan
The lumbering Batista-look alike known as Mason Ryan was a complete and utter flop. When Ryan made his main roster debut back in January of 2011, I will admit, I almost marked out when he jumped the barricade on that episode of RAW, because I had thought Batista was returning. However, this wasn't at all the case and the guy we got instead, was the green and untalented Mason Ryan. That night, Mason aligned with the Nexus under CM Punk's guidance. Sure, Mason Ryan looked like a genetic freak and one who would have made Vince McMahon lose his mind, but aside from that, he sucked in every other possible way.
He was green, very stiff in the ring, he couldn't talk to save himself and he had zero charisma. He was basically a bootleg worse version of Batista. Vince McMahon tried pushing this awful monster for a while, as he gave Mason matches against the likes of Kane and Randy Orton, but after a short period of time, Mason Ryan's push was aborted, and rightfully so. Ryan floundered for the last little bit of time he spent with the company as a generic babyface and once released, he was quickly forgotten about. Mason Ryan was a flop because he had no measurable talent to back up any sort of a push.
"The Bulgarian Brute" Rusev is only a flop up until this point because of how seriously misused and mistreated he is on the WWE's part. Rusev is a huge guy who can work, draw legitimate heat as a heel and has the presence of a superstar, especially with "The Ravishing Russian" Lana by his side. For over a year following his impact-full debut at the 2014 Royal Rumble, Rusev dominated his competition and he remained undefeated. It seemed as if it was only a matter of time before Rusev was going to be pushed up the card. This proved to be untrue after he suffered his first pin fall loss at the hands of none other than John Cena at WrestleMania 31.
After his loss to Cena at 'Mania, Rusev has been given a series of mini-pushes, but none of them have ever materialized past putting someone else over. Rusev is undoubtedly one of the most talented big guys to walk into the WWE in a long time, and it's a shame how badly he's floundered since his initial big push. One can only hope that The Bulgarian Brute now residing on the Blue Brand could potentially signal a career rebirth or reboot. Only time will tell though. Until then, Rusev will go down in wrestling history as a flop because of the WWE's negligence of booking him with any common sense.
"The Big Guy" Ryback is one of the WWE's most infamous flops of all time. For the first half of 2012, Ryback was presented as the second coming of Goldberg, or the WWE's version of Goldberg as Vince had put it. Ryback squashed jabroni after jabroni week in and week out, all while getting over with the WWE Universe at the same time. Within a short amount of time (far too short), Ryback was thrust into the main event spotlight (basically out of nowhere) and he was exposed, badly. Ryback was super green, stiff, and he just couldn't put together anything resembling a half decent match, not to mention his love for botching.
Regardless, he was heavily pushed throughout the rest of 2012 up until the end of 2013, even though he lost most of his main event matches. Crazily, despite sucking in nearly every department, Ryback was super over with the WWE Universe all throughout his main event push. However, an ill-planned heel turn in '13 killed most of his momentum, and once Vince realized Ryback lacked that main event caliber talent, he was de-pushed big time. Ryback never again returned to the main event, and he floundered up until his release last year in his fairly limited midcard role. Definitely a flop to say the least, considering he could have become a much bigger star had he been booked right.
Sheamus has been given so many opportunities from Vince McMahon over the span of his career to become a main eventer, but he has flopped each and every time he was given the chance. Throughout Sheamus' WWE career, he has won a total of four WWE World Heavyweight Championships and if we're going to be honest here, each of those said reigns were forgettable and very boring. When Sheamus was amidst his initial push, he looked like a fresh young talent that could potentially become a new top star (as he defeated John Cena for the WWE Championship within a very short amount of time).
However, over time, Sheamus proved that he was far too bland and boring to be consistently featured in the main event scene. He was (is) a solid talent in the ring and has a fairly intimidating look, but he lacks all the other necessary traits to be a top guy. Since Sheamus' last WWE Championship reign of terror back in 2015, he has been entirely irreverent up until his pairing with Cesaro, which is the only thing saving The Celtic Warriors dying career. Sheamus will be remembered as a huge main event flop because he was given so many chances to catch fire, but he failed every single time, hence why he's stuck in midcard purgatory now.
3 Wade Barrett
Wade Barrett is without a doubt, one of the biggest missed opportunities in WWE history. Barrett had the look, the size, the in-ring talent, the mic skills and everything else needed to be World Champion. However, once Barrett's initial main event push as the leader of The Nexus ended after losing to the likes of John Cena and Randy Orton, he lost nearly all of his momentum. After losing his WWE Championship matches, Barrett proceeded to go onto lose multiple feuds against the likes of Sheamus. From that Sheamus feud up until Barrett's departure from the WWE last year, Wade Barrett was eternally stuck in midcard purgatory.
Sure, Wade has had multiple runs with the Intercontinental Championship but right from his debut, Wade Barrett had "main eventer" written all over him, which makes many fans consider his WWE run to have been a flop since he never amounted to anything more than an entertaining midcarder. The WWE had multiple opportunities to promote Barrett (remember when he won that King of the Ring Tournament?) but they failed to do so on all of those said occasions. It was the WWE's fault for Barrett becoming a main event flop, not Wade's, because he definitely had all the tools to be utilized as a top guy that's for sure.
2 Alberto Del Rio
Alberto Del Rio has to be one of the biggest flops in WWE history without question. When Rey Mysterio was starting to slow down as far as his schedule was concerned in 2010, the WWE turned their attention to Alberto Del Rio to replace Mysterio as the next Mexican superstar. Del Rio rapidly rose to main event status despite being barely over with the fans whatsoever. That rocket was strapped to Del Rio, and he was shot up into the WWE World Championship scene. Del Rio very quickly won the WWE Championship in the summer of 2011, after cashing in his MITB briefcase against then champ, CM Punk.
Throughout his career, Del Rio went on to win three more World Championships in the WWE. In all honesty, each title reign was as boring as the next, and no one really looked at Del Rio as a main eventer, hence why he was failing to get over despite being given so many huge opportunities. He's basically the Mexican version of Sheamus, as they both were given massive main event pushes, and they both failed miserably in these roles. Before departing from the WWE last year, Del Rio was floundering as nothing more than a midcarder, and rightfully so. Del Rio had no business being anywhere near the WWE Championship scene, despite being a solid in-ring talent. Just a complete and utter flop if you ask me!
1 The Great Khali
When a wrestling fan thinks of the words "flop" The Great Khali has to be the first guy that comes to mind. The Great Khali sucked in every department as he couldn't wrestle, actually he couldn't even bend his legs, he couldn't speak English, and he had no remarkable qualities aside from being an absolute gargantuan of a human being. He was massive and ripped, and that was obviously enough to convince the lover of "big sweaty men," Vince McMahon. Khali was pushed heavily throughout '06, '07 and '08 and he defeated the likes of The Undertaker CLEAN, and he became the World Heavyweight Champion after eliminating both Kane and Batista at the same time, in an Over The Top Battle Royal for the vacated World Title.
Thankfully, Khali's push of terror came to an end after being buried by Triple H in '08 and from that point onwards, Khali was used as a comedic jobber in a very limited role (thankfully!) Can you possibly think of a bigger flop in recent WWE history? The Great Khali sucked to unimaginable levels and it's crazy how far he fell down the ranks. Khali went from being an unstoppable beast defeating 'Taker, to being jobbed out to Fandango. Definitely the biggest flop in WWE history, and it's not even arguable.