The Seattle sound which became known as “grunge” helped take popular music to places it had never been before. The gloomy and melancholic sounds which were produced from bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden had become the new “it” sound. The soundtrack of Generation X.
Comedy sitcoms ruled the television airwaves with shows like Seinfeld, Friends, and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Dramatic programming featured teenage issues with shows like Beverly Hills, 90210, Dawson's Creek, and Felicity. Meanwhile, animated sitcoms were pushing new boundaries with The Simpsons, Beavis and Butt-Head, and South Park.
Bill Clinton, O.J. Simpson, and Rodney King were making headlines for infidelity, suspected murder, and police brutality. Harry Potter books. Britney Spears and boy bands. Tupac and Biggie. Limp Bizkit. Blink-182. Flannel shirts and torn jeans. “The Rachel” haircut. What does it all mean? … The 1990s.
The decade which saw the most entertaining, exciting, unpredictable, and controversial era of professional wrestling thanks of course to the Monday Night War. This was a time when wrestling was being watched by more people than ever before as fans tried to decided between WWE and WCW.
The 1990s provided wrestling fans with what became known as the “Attitude Era.” The days of gimmick-laced, WWE programming were gone; replaced with an edgier, more contemporary, sexualized product.
With competition at an all-time high, professional wrestlers were stepping up their games and pushing themselves to new heights. However, not everybody was adapting properly to the ever-changing landscape of the business. In fact, some wrestlers flat out fell flat each time they stepped into the ring – from the early part of the decade and through the wrestling war.
This article will take a look back at the most groundbreaking decade in the history of professional wrestling while placing those who stunk it up at the forefront. In fact, this article calls for a quote from a '90s icon that will suit the theme of our story:
“I'm worst at what I do best and for this gift I feel blessed.” - Kurt Cobain
These are the 15 worst wrestlers of the '90s:
15 The Brooklyn Brawler/Knuckleball
Steve Lombardi is known best by WWE fans as The Brooklyn Brawler – perhaps the most famous jobber in wrestling history. However, the '90s were a time of change for Lombardi as he began to take on new and unflattering gimmicks.
One of which saw Lombardi replace Matt Borne as Doink the Clown for a brief period of time. The original “MVP” of the company, Lombardi would later portray a ridiculous baseball-themed gimmick which saw his face painted to resemble an actual baseball.
Lombardi would eventually revert back to The Brooklyn Brawler but would still fall short of any major success. The gimmicks of Steve Lombardi were often terrible and the in-ring work was nothing spectacular.
Raymond Lloyd is a skilled martial artist whose wrestling career fell flat once he was brought into World Championship Wrestling. Lloyd had been working the independent scene when he was signed by WCW back in 1996.
In WCW, Lloyd made his debut as Glacier – a poor man's version of Sub-Zero from Mortal Kombat. Well, the video game rip-off character never really amounted to much in WCW and by the end of the decade Lloyd was working a new persona: Coach Buzz Stern, which of course was nothing more than a cheesy version of a high school coach.
Lloyd and his new gimmick did not last very long in the dwindling WCW and by the end of 1999, Lloyd was released from the company.
13 Sick Boy
Robert Vick made his professional wrestling debut in 1997 on an episode of Monday Nitro, wrestling under the ring name, Lance Ringo – which didn't work out well for Vick as the character was quickly disposed and Vick was set to be repackaged.
Several months down the road and Vick was back with a new name and gimmick: Sick Boy; who was introduced as the newest member of Raven's Flock. However, Vick never gained rose to great heights in WCW, having a few unsuccessful United States and Television Championship matches before leaving the company.
In 1999, Vick signed a booking contract with WWE. During the now infamous “Katie Vick” storyline, Robert Vick was proposed to play a role in the angle but the idea was soon dropped and Vick was on his way out of WWE.
12 Norman Smiley
Norman Smiley is currently employed by the WWE as a trainer down in NXT; for what reasons? Who knows. Smiley was rather bland in the ring and his list of wrestling accomplishments can fit on a post-it note.
In WCW, Smiley was a two-time Hardcore Champion, a title that really held no significance within the promotion. Smiley became known as the guy who did the “big wiggle” which was a dance of sorts that the fans seemed to enjoy.
However, the comedy schtick wrestler always grows old and Smiley never really moved past the gimmick.
11 Disco Inferno
Glen Gilberti once portrayed what is probably the worst dancing gimmick in professional wrestling; and that's saying a lot considering the number of outlandish and unnecessary “dancers” that have come and gone over the years.
The character played by Gilberti was of course, Disco Inferno; and it was all there; from the flashy costumes to the entrance music to the disco ball, which he actually used as a weapon. Such a terrible gimmick.
The '90s were an odd decade, a decadent mixture of hard rock and new-age pop music. Certainly disco was dead and gone but Gilberti was still dancing.
10 Lex Luger
Lawrence Prohl, better known in the wrestling world as Lex Luger, was supposed to be one of the biggest stars of the '90s. While some may argue that he was, wrestling realists know that he was nothing more than a jacked-up dude who was boring to watch in the ring.
In WWE, he was set to be the new Hulk Hogan – following his departure to WCW – but there was not enough steam behind him to take him to the places where Hulkamania had been before. There just wasn't enough push to make this Lex Luger character work.
When he jumped ship to WCW, the most memorable part of his tenure with the promotion was his surprise appearance on the first episode of Monday Nitro; the rest is forgettable.
9 Fake Razor Ramon
Rick Bogner wrestled for a number of different promotions throughout his career; never attaining much star power or fame. Bogner had a brief stint in Extreme Championship Wrestling where he was known as Big Titan, which didn't work.
Bogner will be remembered best for his time in WWE as the fake Razor Ramon. Following the departure of Scott Hall to WCW, Bogner was brought in to take over the Razor Ramon persona. The fans hated it and Bogner couldn't tie Scott Hall's boots.
When the WWE stint fizzled, Bogner was off to Japan where an injury would eventually lead t his retirement.
Christopher Chavis made his way to the WWE back in the '90s to portray a stereotypical Native-American character known as Tatanka. Chavis was pushed as Tatanka and would be given a long-term undefeated streak.
However, this was nothing compared to the undefeated streak set by Goldberg a few years later in WCW. Nobody wanted to see the Tatanka character at the top of the card because he didn't look or sound or work like a main event superstar.
Chavis had his run of mid-card popularity before it eventually faded and the man known as Tatanka was an afterthought.
Mike Halac was once managed by Jim Cornette in WWE. Surely, Cornette – who has always been outspoken – must have loved his time managing Halac, not because of the man himself but because of the character in which he was portraying.
Halac was known as Mantaur, a Minotaur of sorts who would actually moo at his opponents. The gimmick ranks right up there with some of the worst in the history of professional wrestling. Obviously, the character did not work out.
From there, Halac was off to ECW where he worked as Bruiser Mastino. However, the wild ECW faithful blasted Halac with chants of “Mantaur,” not allowing him to move past his WWE persona.
6 The Yeti
Ron Reis is a big-man professional wrestler who turned out to be one of the biggest flops in WCW. Of course, Reis' seemed doomed form the start when he made his debut on Monday Nitro as The Yeti, a bandaged mummy-like character.
The Yeti failed as it should have; who though that was a good idea? That is when Reis became The Super Giant Ninja. Yeah, that also failed. Next came Big Ron Studd which of course failed as well. Reis couldn't buy a break in WCW.
Reis' best character came when he was inserted into Raven's Flock and renamed Reese. The idea of Reis joining the Flock due to his size and status as an outcast was good. The only problem: Reis wasn't good in the ring and Reese would soon falter.
5 Ahmed Johnson
Anthony Norris, better known as Ahmed Johnson in the WWE, made WWE history when he captured the Intercontinental Championship; becoming the first African-American to win a singles championship within the promotion … but that doesn't mean he didn't suck.
Johnson was your typical brute wrestler who used powerhouse moves and inserted force into his matches; nothing that the fans hadn't seen a million times over. Norris' stock would soon plummet and his WWE days were over.
In 1999, he showed up in WCW; fat and worse off in the ring than he was before. Norris worked under the ring name, Big T; which seemed fitting.
4 Bastion Booger
Mike Shaw would take on a number of monikers during his time as a professional wrestler: Klondike Mike, Makhan Singh, Norman the Lunatic, Aaron Grundy, and Friar Ferguson. However, these characters were nothing compared to Bastion Booger.
The Bastion Booger gimmick had Shaw portraying an unkempt man whose insatiable appetite would lead to grossed-out scenes of a bulging beast eating his way through his WWE career; another one of those fantastic WWE ideas that came prior to the Attitude Era.
Shaw did his best with the gimmicks he was given but never had that superstar quality. There was really nowhere to go after Bastion Booger.
3 The Shockmaster
Fred Ottman worked in WWE as Tugboat, wearing a red striped shirt, white pants, and a sailor hat; it was yet another ridiculous gimmick. Ottman would even air-foghorn – pulling on an invisible chord and making a “toot, toot” sound.
When Ottman turned heel, he was renamed Typhoon but this was just another gimmick that wasn't going to work. Ottman was not the most agile man in the ring which really made some of his matches a pure yawn fest.
Ottman will be remembered most for his time in WCW and the infamous “Shockmaster Incident,” where Ottman – wearing a storm trooper helmet – came crashing through the wall in one of wrestling's all time biggest blunders.
2 Earthquake/The Shark
John Tenta was a former sumo wrestler turned professional wrestler. When he joined the WWE, Tenta would take on the persona of Earthquake; acting as though he had the capacity to shake the Earth while stomping around the ring.
When he left WWE for WCW, Tenta was first known as Avalanche before transitioning into The Shark; once again falling prey to the bad gimmicks of professional wrestling. Tenta was a big guy whose main goal was to squash an opponent but there certainly nothing spectacular about his style.
When he returned to the WWE, he joined The Oddities as a masked character who was obsessed with Eric Cartman from South Park.
1 Sycho Sid
Sidney Eudy is a former two-time WWE Champion as well as a former two-time WCW Champion. You may know Eudy by his ring names which all concern his actual first name: Sid Vicious, Sid Justice, Sycho Sid, and simply, Sid.
Sure, Eudy was intense but his promo work was horrid; often times seeming as though he had forgotten his lines or was trying to mad-lib his way through the segment. Although it was bad, it was actually pretty finny … still bad, though.
Inside the ring, Eudy was very uncoordinated and possessed little technical wrestling ability. Perhaps his four major championship victories are a case of right place, right time. Whatever it was, Eudy was the breakout blunderbuss of the '90s.