In a time after the Attitude Era and began a new era with a young John Cena getting in Kurt Angle’s face on his WWE debut for an impressive showing, the Ruthless Aggression era featured the first time the WWE roster was split between Raw and SmackDown. It was an interesting concept that started in 2002 and ran until 2012 as there was a slow integration of SmackDown stars coming to Raw and challengers for championship belts crossing over back and forth.
Injuries and lack of depth was a big part of the end of the first brand split in the WWE. However, the NXT development brand has helped bring us new stars like Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn and the tag team of Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady. There’s even more excitement with rumored main roster call-ups of names like Finn Balor, Samoa Joe and Shinsuke Nakamura. The upcoming brand split is likely going to help establish new main event stars and bring much needed change in the WWE.
However, that didn’t mean that the roster during these years were far from imperfections. In fact, the roster featured a number of terrible performers that wouldn’t even have a chance in today’s WWE.
15 Big Show
When wrestling as The Giant in WCW, The Big Show was a big signing for the WWE during the 1990s and he was a great athlete during his initial run with the company. He had everything you wanted from a big man who could be great on the microphone and was able to put on a great match with a number of various wrestlers. But as time wore on, it was noticeable how his age was starting to become a factor.
14 The Miz
Before becoming the WWE Champion and multi-time winner of the Intercontinental Championship, he had a lot of heat because he was a reality television star who was wanting to be a WWE superstar. Miz was brought onto the main roster as the “host of SmackDown” in 2006, but wasn’t very good on the microphone and there was no consistency in his appearances. He also had a very memorable flub on the live microphone while hosting the Diva Search competition in 2006.
13 Scott Steiner
The man who would ask the fans to “Holla if ya hear me,” many WWE fans would have preferred being deaf when Scott Steiner came to WWE in late 2002. While he was a star from his time spent in WCW in the late 1990s until the company was bought out in 2001 and got a big reaction when he beat up on Matt Hardy and Christopher Nowinski at Survivor Series and was immediately put into a feud with Triple H for Raw’s World Heavyweight Championship.
The former Hip Hop Hippo had a number of different gimmicks and was constantly a fixture in the WWE’s mid-card roster. But Matt Bloom was certainly a large man at six-foot-seven and 360 pounds that started with the WWE during the Attitude Era in 1999 and went until 2004. He wrestled as Albert, Prince Albert and A-Train before he finally was gone from the company in 2004 to wrestle in Japan.
11 Jackie Gayda
The WWE’s Ruthless Aggression era included some of the best women’s wrestling that fans had seen for several years that featured talents like Trish Stratus and Lita. However, there were also some mediocre and lackluster divas like Jackie Gayda who looked like she still needed some work on in-ring presence, coordination and pretty much everything it takes to being a wrestler. Her career began after winning in the second season of Tough Enough in 2002 and would be signed brought to the main roster right away.
10 Muhammed Hassan
It wasn’t that Muhammed Hassan was a terrible wrestler back in 2005. He was had a decent build and a character that was uncontroversial at the time, wrestling as a villainous Arab American who was wanting to go against the prejudice that was developed after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Similar heels who were against America like Iron Shiek and Nikolai Volkoff had worked in the past. However, Hassan came at a difficult time in American history.
9 Kenzo Suzuki
The WWE has not had much success in being able to establish a main event talent from the land of the Rising Sun. While there is hope for current superstars in Shinsuke Nakamura, the WWE didn’t do well with talents like Kenzo Suzuki who had built plenty of credibility from wrestling in Japan. With his wife Hiroko as his valet manager, he had dominant wins in early 2004 against veterans like Scotty 2 Hotty and Billy Gunn.
8 Luther Reigns
During the original brand split in the WWE, it felt like the company would continue to bring in athletes or guys who look like athletes and had a specific look were given a contract and a push to the main television roster. Luther Reigns was one of those guys who started in 2004 to be an assistant for the then-SmackDown general manager Kurt Angle. His run in the WWE only lasted about a year and he wasn’t necessarily an impressive wrestler in the ring or on the microphone.
There wasn’t anything special about Reigns because he was another large, muscular talent that the WWE brought in. At least he wasn’t continuing the Horshu character from his very brief run in WCW back in 1997. But his finisher in WWE looked like the generic spinning neckbreaker they gave a lot of low-card to mediocre wrestlers – which didn’t highlight the fact he was a big, strong wrestler.
After having won a contract with the WWE during the first season of Tough Enough, Nidia spent time working at Ohio Valley Wrestling before coming to WWE television as a valet manager for Jaime Noble. The two looked like a couple that lived at a nearby trailer park, where she annoyingly chewed gum at ringside. It was an okay gimmick that included the two inheriting a fortune, which brought some extra comedy.
6 Spirit Squad
There only two actual talents out of the five-man cheerleading faction that is known as the Spirit Squad – the current Dolph Ziggler and the former Kenny Dykstra. The concept was meant as an annoying and obnoxious group of men who felt secure enough to be cheerleaders that carried horns and pom poms in the ring. Their debut on WWE television was distracting for the wrong reasons.
Where do we begin? First, the former professional football player was just another name in a long list of WWE superstars who had the look of being a big and dominant force in the wrestling ring. And in a list just as long, Heidenreich wasn’t able to have the in-ring skills and abilities to capitalize on the opportunities he was given. That includes being teamed with Road Warrior Animal to form the second version of the Legion of Doom and winning the WWE Tag Team Championship.
4 Sylvester Terkay
When the WWE decided to give ECW its own brand on television, it seemed like a good idea based on the success of the One Night Stand pay-per-views in 2005 and 2006. But the ECW brand would become the first stop for new WWE superstars who were considered not ready for Raw or SmackDown. This led to talents who didn’t bring much outside of being one-dimensional.
Sylvester Terkay is one of those ECW newcomers who physically imposing athletes who stood at six-foot-six and weighed more than 300 pounds. He was considered a good fit for being the muscle behind Elijah Burke, who had a lot more talents and was better-rounded. Terkay was not that great in the ring overall and would incite “TNA” chants when he did an awkward version of the muscle buster.
3 Nathan Jones
The WWE recruited Nathan Jones who definitely looked like a giant as he made his debut on SmackDown back in April 2003 in a match against Bill DeMott. The Australian born strongman had a history of spending seven years in prison after being part of eight armed robberies before he got into powerlifting, mixed martial arts and then the WWE. While he was an impressive looking seven feet and 350 pounds, he didn’t have a lot of in-ring ability.
2 Kerwin White
The entire Guerrero family has always been one of the most respected families in professional wrestling history and earned their place among other great families like the Harts and the Von Erich family. But in the WWE, Chavo Guerrero had some highs as the WWE Cruiserweight Champion and a number of lows that included losing the ECW Championship to Kane in eight seconds at WrestleMania XXIV.
But in June 2005, he made a character switch to leaving his Hispanic heritage and decided to become part of the white, middle-class community – complete with a golf cart, blonde hair and the type of attire you would see at an expensive country club. It only got worse when White made comments about other wrestlers of different ethnicities. It was quickly dropped with the untimely passing of Eddie Guerrero in November 2005.
1 Great Khali
Up until this point, there have been several giants in the WWE who were given such a huge push right off the bat – which seemingly only because they are big people. Great Khali is someone who the WWE obviously were hoping would attract a large fan base in India, which was unfortunate for fans everywhere else who did not enjoy seeing him in action.
His debut on SmackDown in April 2006 involved him coming down to the ring and attack the Undertaker – giving the Deadman the chop to the head before tearing up a turnbuckle headbutting him several times. Khali was certainly large, but he wasn’t great in the ring. His movements were slow and taking a bump after being hit looked like live television was shown in slow motion. Khali would go from winning the World Heavyweight Championship to becoming a Punjabi Playboy before being (finally) released in 2014.
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