The idea that high flying wrestlers would even exist is one of the more absurd parts of the “if it was real” discussions that occur regarding the industry. Why on earth, during an actual fight, would one of the participants choose to climb up to a higher structure just to crash down on an opponent who is either already downed or dazed? There are, of course, many logic holes that fans need to ignore while watching pro wrestling shows, and the biggest out there may be that smaller athletes would have some advantage in fights all because they are able to leave their feet.
We would be lying, though, if we did not admit that we love watching such wrestlers perform during matches. It is easy to understand why fans leap to their feet whenever a talented athlete makes his way up to the top rope. Those people know that they are about to see either the end of a match, an incredible aerial maneuver or something resembling a human car crash. Athletes who are able to pull off these moves without injuring themselves and/or others are like superheroes to wrestling fanatics who spend money to attend shows and to purchase merchandise such as shirts.
It goes without saying that not every wrestler should attempt to fly through the air during any match. Even some of the better workers of their time, performers who have produced memorable and entertaining matches, would have to be considered to be bad high flying wrestlers. Included in the list is the man who made a surprise return to World Wrestling Entertainment in February 2016. We get why fans who watched that individual risk his body when he was an active wrestler were so hyped when he returned, but it should not be forgotten that he was not all that great of a worker.
15 CM Punk
Who doesn't love CM Punk, right? Punk is great in the ring and he is arguably even better on the microphone. The “Straight Edge Superstar” makes the list, however, because he may be responsible for the worst top rope elbow drop in the history of the WWE and of pro wrestling, in general. Wrestling fans hope that Punk's mixed martial arts career does not take off and that he returns to the ring because they want to enjoy watching him work matches. If that does occur, we hope that Punk leaves the elbow drop dead and buried forever where it belongs.
14 Jack Evans
What better way to introduce the term “spot monkey” to this piece than to give a shout-out to Jack Evans. Nobody can realistically claim that Evans is not an incredible athlete who is capable of doing moves that we mere mortals could only dream of pulling off with the help of a trampoline or wires. Diehard wrestling fans will tell you that a classic match is made up of far more than just guys being able to complete multiple flips in the air before crashing to the mat. A great high flyer is not necessarily a great wrestler, and Evans is not the only example.
13 John Morrison
John Morrison had the look of a WWE Superstar who would be able to sell merchandise and get over with pockets of fans. Morrison is also an incredible athlete who can make you take notice when he takes off to the top rope. The only problem with Morrison is that he is not all that great of a wrestler when on the mat and when on the microphone. The world of Lucha Underground, one that is more so out of a comic book than it is a pro wrestling universe, is perfect for a performer such as Morrison. There are many reasons, however, that Morrison is not with the WWE as of March 2016.
Not every pro wrestler is an elite athlete who is meant to take off into flight during matches. Christian was never as good of a worker as was Daniel Bryan or Shawn Michaels, but he was a solid wrestler who could get over because of his skills on the microphone. It is his ugly frog splash, though, that gets Christian a mention in this piece. Christian looked like a dad attempting to dive into the shallow end of a pool whenever he tried to execute the frog splash. It was a horrible idea, in part because Christian was physically not meant to be a high flying wrestler.
11 Teddy Hart
There are some wrestling fans out there who are always going to be stunned that Teddy Hart did not get a shot in the WWE. The truth of the matter is that Hart's last name (which actually isn't his last name, but that's not the point) and his athleticism are about all that he had going for him when he was first approached by the WWE. Hart has not only been one of the ultimate “spot monkeys” of his time. He has also allegedly been difficult to work with, so much so that these supposed “attitude problems” sunk his WWE career before it ever really launched.
We don't intend to pick on Sean Waltman here. In fact, Waltman could even be considered to be an underrated wrestler in some circles. He will, however, mostly be remembered years down the road not because he was in D-Generation-X and the New World Order. He will be remembered because of the term “X-Pac Heat” that will forever be associated with the name of that character. A heel is supposed to generate a negative response among fans. X-Pac had heat with fans because those customers didn't want to see the character or the wrestler on TV or in the ring.
9 Original Sin Cara
WWE fans were pysched to learn that the wrestler known as Mistico was joining the company in 2011 as the performer Sin Cara. The experiment was a disaster from its early days up through its merciful end. Sin Cara was seemingly good for a botch per contest and he was even suspended for 30 days because of a violation of the company's Wellness Policy. The original Sin Cara has since thankfully been replaced by somebody who can perform aerial moves in a WWE ring without putting himself and others in danger. Let us never again speak of the original Sin Cara.
8 Jimmy Snuka
“But don't you remember that one time that Jimmy Snuka took that great leap from off of the cage and changed pro wrestling forever?” We remember seeing it, yes, and we have all heard that story about how that one jump helped inspire a young Mick Foley to become the hardcore icon that he is today. The WWE has done well to embellish that impact of that one moment in time, although it is possible that you will never see that move in highlights that air on shows such as Raw because of the legal matter that is hovering over Snuka as of March 2016.
7 New Jack
There are probably some wrestling fans scoffing that New Jack would be considered to be an actual wrestler let alone as a high flying performer. Just because New Jack did not do flips while in the air does not erase that his finishing moves included him taking leaps off of top ropes or off of high structures. Perhaps you have been entertained by the New Jack character, particularly during his time in Extreme Championship Wrestling. It is great for him that he managed to get over as he did, but his personality and charisma did not cover up that he was not even an average pro wrestler.
Sabu was a perfect character for the 1990s version of ECW that became a sensation among wrestling fans who were not impressed by what they were seeing from the top national promotions at the time. With that said, Sabu was not only not all that great of a wrestler. He was, at times, a dangerous performer who took silly and ridiculous risks and who has suffered multiple serious injuries that have occurred, in part, because of his style. Go back and watch those old ECW shows and see if they still hold up if you are not convinced that Sabu belongs on the list.
5 The Sandman
Sandman would probably top multiple lists regarding the worst types of wrestlers except for one thing: That he wasn't a good worker and a horrible high flying wrestler was kind of the gimmick. Fans didn't go to those old ECW shows to see The Sandman execute moves perfectly and put on five-star classic matches. They loved Sandman's entrance, they loved seeing him hit dudes with weapons, and they cheered as Sandman chugged beer after beer before, during and after contests. Sandman was a terrible wrestler, sure, but he was our terrible wrestler and a guy who received chances to work in WCW and the WWE.
4 Chavo Guerrero
Being related to a man who was beloved by millions of fans and who was seen as one of the best wrestlers of his time cannot be easy. That does not erase the fact that Chavo Guerrero has, since he first emerged on WCW television, been one of the blandest characters and high flying wrestlers to make it in national promotions. While Eddie Guerrero had a beautiful Frog Splash as his finisher, Chavo looked like a fish out of water whenever he made the trek up to the top rope. Los Guerreros were fun to watch and they produced many great matches, but there is no question that Eddie was the star of that duo.
3 Brock Lesnar
There is a good reason why you haven't seen Brock Lesnar attempt many high flying moves over the past decade. Lesnar nearly killed himself while trying to pull off a Shooting Star Press at the end of his WrestleMania XIX encounter with Kurt Angle. The former Ultimate Fighting Championship World Champion is one of the top draws in the WWE today, a performer unlike any other on the roster and one of the more entertaining individuals working in the company. Lesnar is a great wrestler, but we are all better off that he put an end to his days of flying off of top ropes long ago.
The Hornswoggle character is one that was good for a laugh and that was mostly inoffensive even for the fan who does not love a ton of comedy to be mixed in with wrestling. Hornswoggle getting involved with matches and hitting an occasional opponent with his “Tadpole Splash” was even acceptable. The gimmick became too much, though, when Hornswoggle was put into a position where he was able to win the WWE Cruiserweight Championship. It has been some time since Hornswoggle has been a mainstay on WWE television. No disrespect meant to the man, but the character has not been all that missed.
1 Shane McMahon
Nostalgia and also an appreciation that Shane McMahon was willing to put himself in harm's way during matches has made some forget that McMahon was, at absolute best, an average wrestler. McMahon may, in fact, be responsible for some of the worst worked punches to ever be seen on WWE television. It's nice that fans are excited to see McMahon back in the WWE in 2016, but those same people should not forget that McMahon is closer to 50-years-old than he is to being in his prime. Here is hoping, for his sake, that McMahon does not try to recreate some of the stunts that he pulled off over a decade ago.
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