We’re all familiar with the larger than life personalities that exist within the world of pro-wrestling. Just as much, we’re familiar with the larger than reality physiques that we’ve seen since the golden days of 1980s wrestling. It seemed that every wrestler you saw on television was cut from stone. You didn’t see the slight, delicate guys scoring a three count over their herculean counterparts. It was quite the opposite. You knew the guys with the muscles were the ones you’d be seeing on TV each week. The nameless, flabby “jobbers” who took the fall, were likely to never be seen again.
We’ve seen a transition since the days of David versus Goliath in the ring, with the result always favoring Goliath. As wrestling fans have grown more knowledgeable and critical about the technical aspects and art of in-ring performance, fortune has shown upward trends of favoring thinner, athletic looking performers. This isn’t to say that the new age darlings are out of shape, because the great majority of them are ripped, shredded even. You can gather that being a muscle bound behemoth got you into a good spot in previous decades. However, in recent years, you’ve seen the prevalence of guys like Randy Orton, Seth Rollins, Dolph Ziggler, and countless others. These guys are no slouches in the gym as you can tell by their athleticism and definition. It’s the freedom from a muscle bound frame that allows these natural looking the competitors the ability to move with more agility and bear more endurance in the ring. Am I implying that big muscles equal lackluster wrestling? Well, there are certainly many examples that support answers leading to the answer being yes. The following 15 wrestlers are great examples of how a hulking frame doesn’t always equal fame.
15. Lex Luger
Let’s make one thing clear, Lex Luger is considered a success in wrestling. He received countless pushes and championship reigns in WCW. In WWE, he was billed as an American hero, fighting off the dastardly Yokozuna. However, Luger wasn’t much of a talker when it came to microphones. He spoke monotonously and didn’t really exude any charisma. Luger had some good matches, usually against guys like Sting or Ric Flair who could pull entertaining matches from anyone. Luger was very limited and inflexible which led to many of his matches being dull and forgettable. What is it that Lex Luger had going for him? The guy had one of the most impressive bodies we’ve seen in wrestling. If he had spent more time honing his wrestling skills as he did lifting weights, he may have missed this list.
14. Scott Steiner
Scott Steiner, more so than Lex Luger, can still be considered a success in the wrestling world. He held multiple world championships and tag-team championships with his less endowed brother Rick. Early in Scott’s career, he had several great tag matches because he wasn’t obligated to be in the center of the action. It’s when Scott donned the Big Poppa Pump persona and took on his first singles run that many of his weaknesses were exposed. It seemed Scott enhanced his already impressive body, but his matches didn’t improve. Scott was very clumsy and considered dangerous in the ring. In fact, he and HHH had what is considered one of the worst matches of all time. Please don’t tell him I said any of this...
13. Hercules Hernandez
Here’s a prime example of a guy who was given many opportunities because of his impressive stature and imposing aura. We wanted to leave any deceased wrestler off of the list, so we mean no disrespect by adding Hercules. It’s just that he fits the narrative of this topic so very well. He had matches with Hulk Hogan, Mr. Perfect, The Ultimate Warrior, and a number of other legends. He’s probably the most frightening looking jobber I’ve ever seen, as he didn’t win any of the aforementioned matches. I will say, Hercules did a good job of playing the impossible to beat strong man, based on looks alone.
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11 Sid Vicious
Frankly, Sid was the man, he was the master, he was even the ruler of the world. At least that’s what he always told us. I always believed him. Sid is one of the most intimidating looking wrestlers of all-time. He wasn’t just seven feet tall, he had the musculature of a six foot tall amateur bodybuilder. His neck was bigger than my waist. Sid’s greatest asset was also his greatest liability. His height and muscle mass made it seemingly difficult for him to put on a convincing, well-executed match with anyone. Not even the great Shawn Michaels was able to pull a convincing performance out of Sid.
10 Bobby Lashley
Bobby Lashley had a great mix of physique and raw athleticism, but his wrestling skills left a lot to be desired. While he is still somewhat active in Impact Wrestling and has had an impressive amateur MMA career, he never seemed to live up to his potential inside of the ring. He dished out a few power slams and spinebusters, but never looked very natural when it came to any kind of technical wrestling and he was very plain in his ring mannerisms. Maybe a little more charisma and rhythm would have made his matches more enjoyable, but the problem is, he didn’t have either of those things.
9 Buff Bagwell
Buff wanted all of us to know he was the stuff. Well, he was definitely buff, and I’m sure by some definition he was the stuff, but he never seemed to take his craft very seriously and it showed. With some refinement of his wrestling, we could have seen him as a title contender, instead, he will be remembered as being the stuff (whatever that means). Buff was paired with Scott Steiner for a period during his WCW run where he eventually looked more impressive than Steiner. I’ll admit, the Buff Blockbuster was a pretty cool finisher. So, that’s good on ‘ya, Buff.
Goldberg has one of the most impressive, natural looking bodies in the history of the business. His look and intensity put him on a rocket ship to the top of the wrestling world. He won the United States Championship as well as the World Championship in less than a year in WCW. His ultimate claim to fame was being chosen to achieve the largest undefeated streak in modern wrestling, which will likely never be rivaled. His biggest shortcoming was his actual wrestling. It’s a good thing the spear and the jackhammer were such crowd pleasers, because he really couldn’t do much else, aside from a few power moves. He did some impressive things involving feats of strength and had some cool ground wrestling maneuvers. It wasn’t necessarily his move set that was lackluster, it was his inability to perform these moves with fluidity on a regular basis.
7 Vince McMahon
Yes, Vince McMahon has had wrestling matches so he’s eligible for this list. Vince has a great body and has even made the cover of a famous fitness magazine. Maybe if he had started wrestling 20 years earlier, he might have been good. In reality, Vince looked like a lost old man who spent a lot of the time gym, during the few matches he had. He was very inflexible and didn’t have an ounce of athleticism in his way. I mean, the guy once tore a tendon in his knee getting into the ring. Vince may be the king of the wrestling business, but I assure you the crown wasn’t awarded to him because of his technical prowess.
7. Maxx Muscle
Bodyguard turned wrestler, Maxx Muscle never amounted to anything in wrestling other than looking like he had to be inflated with air to achieve such bulging muscles. He was just plain bad at wrestling. Remember that one great match he had? Don’t worry, no one does. It didn’t happen. When your name is Maxx Muscle, I think it’s abundantly clear why a wrestling company has invested in you. They didn’t even bother giving him a named based on character. I can picture the creative meeting now. “This guy, he doesn’t know how to wrestle, but I think he has attained a level of maximum muscle.” The rest is history.
Renegade was WCW’s clone of The Ultimate Warrior. He almost fit the part of looking like The Warrior, but he was no more mobile than my grandmother and he always seemed out of breath. Let’s just say that the majority of his matches were pre-taped. When I say he was their clone of The Ultimate Warrior, I mean that’s exactly what I mean. He was actually debuted under the name The Ultimate Renegade and came out to a bad knock off of Warrior’s theme. Granted, The Ultimate Warrior wasn’t a great wrestler, but his insane promos, intensity, and out of this world electricity puts him heads and shoulders above Renegade and excludes him from the list. Renegade had none of those tangibles, or intangibles. His lack of “it factor” left him to rely on his wrestling and his look. One out of two ain’t bad. Wait, in the case of The Renegade, one out of two is bad. Very bad.
5 Rob Terry
This guy was the true definition of a juice head. He had muscles on muscles. However, he didn’t belong anywhere near a wrestling ring. The most memorable thing he did was a pose down with Scott Steiner, where he hit Steiner in the head with a dumbbell. Why would a bodybuilder bring weights to a contest? Regardless, Terry should stick to bodybuilding. The guy looked like he spent his spare time bending steel girders. I was somewhat of a Rob Terry fan and I wish him the best, but in the wrestling world we can just consider him the opposite of Kurt Angle. That’s putting it nicely.
4 Hulk Hogan
The Immortal Hulk Hogan is nothing short of iconic, not only in the wrestling world but pup culture in general. Hulk has drawn crowds throughout his career and it can be argued he put wrestling on the map and made WrestleMania the spectacle that it is. Hulk’s body was equal to his staggering draw power. We all know the man had 24 inch pythons and could body slam giants, but Hulk’s wrestling skills were outshined by his theatrics. Most of his matches consisted of him throwing punches and a few clothes lines before taking some offense from his opponent. He then “Hulked Up” and continued punching and throwing out body slams before ultimately ending with his dreaded big boot and leg drop combination. His matches were fun to watch, but Hulk was never mentioned in the same breath of anyone discussing great in-ring performers.
3 Ezekiel Jackson
Big Zeke is another example of a guy who was given far more than he was worth as far as wrestling ability. He was indeed a monster, weighing over 300 pounds with an obvious low body percentage of body fat. He is considered the last ECW champion and is a former Intercontinental champion. His lack of charisma and maneuverability ultimately led to his light fading, as he quietly exited the WWE scene after a series of losses to other mid card talent. Zeke was a product of WWE developmental territories which makes it safe to say, his development wasn’t related ability to put on good matches.
2 Tyler Reks
Tyler Reks earns good guy points as a guy who retired from WWE to spend more time with his family. I wish I could say that his contributions to the wrestling world were as great as his contributions to being a great guy, but I’m afraid I cannot. He debuted on ECW before eventually being called up to SmackDown, before being sent to NXT. Reks had the look, and a unique one at that. His chiseled frame and dread locks set him apart, but he never amounted to much in the ring. Even his finisher, The Burning Hammer, a modified Death Valley Driver, often looked sloppy and awkward. I can recall him being outshined in a match by Chris Masters, a guy who, I’m not quite sure how, was spared from this list.
1 Ahmed Johnson
Here’s a guy I was a huge fan of growing up. He cared about the kids and all of that good stuff. He was likeable enough and had the appearance of a bull moose. I’d like to credit some of his in-ring ineptitude to the fact that he suffered several serious injuries, yet managed to continue his career in the WWE. Ahmed had a huge fan base and usually received a loud reaction. He captured the Intercontinental Championship during his tenure in the WWE before being sidelined with injuries. However, he is the poster child for the idea that muscles don’t make a good wrestler. Ahmed was sloppy; he botched moves often, and didn’t exactly do a great job of selling, unless he was really injured. He will never be considered a great or even good wrestler by any of today's standards that wrestling fans have grown accustomed to. Sure, it may seem a bit harsh to give him the number one spot, but he was just plain bad. To top it off, his trunks always seemed to be riding up in the back, giving us a full shot of Ahmed’s posterior, a wardrobe malfunction he never bothered to correct. I’ll give him one thing, the Pearl River Plunge always looked impressive and he always executed it well, even with a massive wedgie. God bless, Ahmed, God bless.
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