It’s no secret that to be a professional wrestler with a lot of success, you have to have the perfect combination. This means that you need to have good promo skills, strong in-ring ability and the right look. When you think of people that had the total package, names like John Cena, The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Macho Man Randy Savage come to mind.
Sometimes, a wrestler will get pushed based solely on how he looks, ignoring all of the other aspects it takes to become one of the legends. This is not the fault of the wrestlers who got the push, but by the creative team that tried to make them a bigger sensation than they had any business being.
Some of the stars that were pushed on their look alone had long runs at the top, while others flamed out pretty quickly when even the most casual fan couldn’t get behind them. But which wrestler was the worst and pushed only because of their massive size? We won’t say just yet, but have 14 more that lead up to the most terrible wrestler. Here is our list, starting with an inclusion that might lead to some arguments.
15 Scott Steiner
A lot of people still like Scott Steiner today, but that’s mostly for the same reasons that we look back and like zany shows such as Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. They weren’t good, but they were entertaining enough to bring a lot of nostalgic feelings. Scott Steiner’s verbal diarrhea is still something of legend, but that contributed to him being a bad wrestler. He wasn’t the worst to go in the ring by a long shot, but being 275 pounds of bulging muscle got Steiner a huge push in WCW, WWE and TNA. While Steiner's skills were far sharper earlier in his career, as it wore on his skills diminished, but his look got him to the top.
As a former NFL player that was listed at 6-foot-4 and 285 pounds of steel, Goldberg was a pretty intimidating guy, and that’s why WCW brought him in. Still, it’s hard to match the type of push that Goldberg received, as he started out his career with a record of 173-0. Goldberg was lost in the ring and could only pull off a few moves, and could barely cut a promo. The fact that he had the right look for a wrestler and a certain "it" factor was pretty much the only reason Goldberg became a main event talent.
13 Ultimate Warrior
In the steroid era of pro wrestling in the 1980s, the Ultimate Warrior got a huge push because of his massive size, standing at 6-foot-2 and 275 pounds. Warrior and Goldberg had the same issue of a very limited move set (except Warrior’s finisher was much lamer) but got over with the crowd due to his high energy. His promos didn’t make much sense, but he had the right size and ring attire to go along with his energetic personality, which is how he got to the point of pinning Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania VI.
12 Bobby Lashley
There is no doubt that Bobby Lashley is extremely intimidating (although some fans think he looks like a Battletoad). Lashley got pushed to the moon early into his WWE career, going head to head with some of the biggest names in the company. Lashley lacked a lot of the charisma and promo ability it took to become one of the top guys in the WWE, so he was eventually dropped down the card before moving to TNA and then MMA. The 6-foot-3, 245 pound Lashley even got a run as the ECW Champion before calling it quits.
11 Lex Luger
“The Total Package” earned his nickname in terms of his size, as Lex Luger was 6-foot-4 and 275 pounds. He certainly had the look, but Lex Luger didn’t have the charisma or ability to work a match that franchise guys should. Still, Vince McMahon tried to push Luger as their next franchise player before moving onto WCW. Luger’s lack of drawing power was evident during his career, showing that you can’t completely depend on your look to get you to the top.
10 Vladimir Kozlov
Vince McMahon and the WWE have a weird thing for people from the old Soviet Bloc coming in to the organization to play a villainous character, and Kozlov certainly looked the part at 6-foot-6 and 300 pounds of Ukrainian steel. Kozlov was in the WWE for nearly five years, winning the tag team championship with Santino Marella, but was involved in an angle where he pursued the WWE title during his run. While some fans thought he deserved more of a chance, he did not have drawing power and even got to pin The Undertaker at one point.
There is little doubt that Vince McMahon prefers larger than life characters to carry the WWE, and Mabel might have been the ‘biggest’ example of that. Mabel (who went by about a dozen other names during his wrestling days) was 6-foot-9 and nearly 500 pounds, and won a Tag Team Championship, Hardcore Championship and most importantly, the 1995 King of the Ring. Although he had a long career, Mabel was slow in the ring, making him pretty boring to watch and didn’t bring a lot of microphone skills to the table.
8 Chris Masters
Chris Masters, or simply, “The Masterpiece” was pushed mainly because of his physique at 6-foot-4 and 265 pounds. Masters got his initial push by offering up the ‘Master Lock Challenge’ and got a WWE Championship shot in his first year with the organization. People remember his time in the WWE fondly these days, but they were singing a different tune when he was getting a big push. Masters was boring on the microphone and his psychology in the ring wasn’t close to being the stuff of legends.
7 Ahmed Johnson
Another former football player, Ahmed Johnson got his shot at the WWE in 1995, becoming the first African American to win a singles title with the company. The fact that he was able to pull off the historic feat and had the look of a main event talent is pretty much all that fans remember about him. Looking back on his days now, Johnson didn’t not have much talent in the ring, known as one of the stiffest workers of his time. Johnson also didn’t have the ability to cut great promos, but was still an Intercontinental Champion.
If we have learned anything from the reality show “Tough Enough”, it’s the fact that getting by on your look to become a professional wrestler is definitely not frowned upon. Maven was the co-winner on the first season of the show and had a brief feud with Tazz on Smackdown before starting another feud, this time with the legendary Undertaker and getting an Undisputed Championship match against Chris Jericho in the process. Maven was eventually dropped back down to the mid-card before being released by the WWE in 2005.
After the Attitude Era ended, it seemed like the WWE was scrambling furiously to find themselves some new heels to push, and one of the many in the pack was Heidenreich, a former NFL player that stood at 6-foot-8 and 305 pounds. In his first feud with the company, Heidenreich got to go against The Undertaker despite not having anywhere near the in-ring ability to carry a match and was ultimately ‘buried’ in a Casket Match. Heidenreich was out of the WWE in 2007 when they realized what a mistake they had made in pushing him.
The mid 1990s was a strange time for the WWE, with terrible wrestlers and even worse gimmicks. Perhaps nobody combined the two into one entity quite as poorly as Mantaur, a 6-foot-1 and 400 pound character that was half man, half minotaur (or something along those lines). Mantaur started off squashing jobbers left and right, even landing Jim Cornette as his manager. Mantaur also had a match against Razor Ramon and lasted 10 minutes in the 1995 Royal Rumble before quickly fading into obscurity and leaving the WWE.
Although he’s more known to fans as an actor, Tom Lister, Jr. spent time as a professional wrestler known as Zeus, the role he played in the Hulk Hogan movie, “No Holds Barred”. Zeus was a monster heel that no-sold his opponents, but that was likely because he couldn’t sell worth a lick, anyway. Zeus was also terrible on the microphone, mispronouncing names left and right, but still stuck around for a little while. The 6’5” and 310 pound menace was a big part of some major pay per views before having a short run in the WCW and then retiring back to the acting scene.
2 The Great Khali
Hailing from India and standing 7-foot-1 and 350 pounds was a good way for the WWE to introduce a new monster heel while bringing in some international appeal. The only thing that was missing was the fact that The Great Khali was an awful wrestler. Khali got a major push early in his career, winning the World Heavyweight Championship. Not only was Khali completely limited in the ring (especially toward the end of his career), but he needed a mouthpiece to carry him in promos since his English was very limited. Some consider Khali to be the worst WHC of all time despite the fact that David Arquette is also in that category.
1 Giant Gonzales
Billed at 8 feet (although he was actually around 7’7”), Jorge Gonzales was a former basketball player that was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in 1988. The team’s owner happened to be Ted Turner, who offered him a job with the WCW and was renamed El Gigante. After having multiple feuds in his three years, Gonzales signed with the WWE and changed his name once again to Giant Gonzales and was given perhaps the weirdest ring attire of all time. Gonzales got a big push, including a match with The Undertaker at WrestleMania IX. The gimmick was bad, his in-ring work was too slow and he couldn’t speak, launching him to the top of our list.
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