By its nature, professional wrestling is a spectacle, with a cast of characters in its ranks that are different from any other form of sport or entertainment. As a result of this, some people who try their hand at the in-ring aspect of the business, often aren't a great example of technical skill. Some through the years have just been downright awful, and painful to watch.
We've it all over the years, in many different promotions; wrestlers who just don't belong inside the squared circle. It could be the matter of poor training, a bad gimmick, awkward look, but it almost always falls in conjunction with the lack of ability. Putting on a quality match is not as simple as it may sound, and there have been many of wrestlers who simply are not able to do it. Sure, not everyone can be the second coming of Ric Flair, but there is a standard that should have to be met for match quality.
This is a list that compiles these flops in the ring, all of whom would have been better off keeping their day job. As a rule, only real "wrestlers" qualified for this, meaning that Dennis Rodman and Lawrence Taylor's one-off matches don't fit the bill. Everyone on here spent relatively consistent time with at least one promotion. Overall, they all never served much of a purpose in the business, and can be chalked up as failed experiments. These wrestlers may have been cringeworthy to watch at the time, but hopefully they serve as a benchmark for failure in the squared circle, and promotions learn from these horrific mistakes.
Ranked below are the top 15 wrestlers who never should have stepped foot in a ring.
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15 Bastion Booger
One of the most notably cringeworthy characters in early 1990s WWE, the Bastion Booger character was played by Mike Shaw, who was not one of the better wrestlers of his era. Wearing the most hideous and dirty gray singlet you'll ever see, he was basically a gross glutton who lost his first match against Virgil. Yes, that Virgil. He was quite obviously a jobber with a single PPV appearance at the 1993 Survivor Series as part of a team with Bam Bam Bigelow and The Headshrinkers.
This was just one of the gimmicks that was given to Shaw (others include Friar Ferguson and Norman The Lunatic) to mask his in-ring deficiencies. None of them really worked with any promotion, and are mainly the subject of sources that poke fun at bad 90s wrestling gimmicks. The fact that Shaw had so many demonstrated his limited ability, and really he probably just should have stayed out of the ring altogether.
This gimmick was portrayed by Robert Maillet, who is probably more recognized as an actor than he was as a professional wrestler. He was in WWE during the late 90s as a member of The Truth Commission and The Oddities. As part of The Truth Commission, he would apply his Iron Claw and squeeze his opponent's head until the group's cult-like leader, The Jackyl, would slap him to break it. Neither stable never found their way out of the lower mid-card ranks. His in-ring ability certainly didn't do anything to help that. He was clumsy and technically inept, with his size being the only real notable thing about him - he stood at being at 6 ft. 10. Maillet left the WWE in short order, and went on to appear in movies such as 300 and Pacific Rim, proving he was more suited to the stage, rather than the ring.
13 Insane Clown Posse
The cult of ICP is something I've never understood, and never really desired to take the predictably short amount of time it would require to understand it. So naturally I'm not a fan of their in-ring work, which incredibly has spanned major promotions - WWE, WCW and ECW included.
They started off in ECW, showing up during the company's second ever PPV, Hardcore Heaven, in 1997. They would then appear in the WWE as part of The Oddities, where they would sing the group's theme song. They even had a longer-than-necessary stint in WCW, forming two stables during their time there: The Dead Pool and The Dark Carnival.
Their matches aren't good, their gimmick is lame, and there's just no reason for them to be anywhere near the squared circle. They've only held one set of tag titles, and it's from their own promotion, JCW, which says it all, really. Personally, I'd rather them continue to make their horrible music than continue to be horrible wrestlers.
12 Vince McMahon
Some may not agree with this, but I never thought it was a good idea to let McMahon actually wrestle matches against main event talent. Yes, it was unique, and his feud with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin was entertaining, no questions there, but it always seemed hokey and contrived when he would put himself on the card. Sure, stars like Austin and Shawn Michaels could carry him to a watchable match, but poor old Bret Hart should not have been in a ring, let alone against someone like Vince.
It always seemed like creative was running out of ideas, the lack of which would become much more pronounced several years after the Attitude Era. McMahon was great on the mic, and certainly his character was great, but putting the WWE Title on him, and having him win the Royal Rumble was just silly.
Another ex-football player who deemed it a good idea to make a living as a professional wrestler, Heidenreich was possibly the most generic WWE character in the first half of the 2000s. He was boring, bad in the ring, with the same shtick everyone's seen countless times before from the WWE creative team. It almost seemed like a parody of what a professional wrestler should be, in the most banal, uninformed way possible. His theme song was absolutely horrible, and the less said about his incident with Michael Cole, the better - we still shudder thinking about that one.
Thankfully, he didn't stick around too long, and retired from wrestling altogether in 2009. He did win a tag team title in WWE with Road Warrior Animal (why did the WWE think this was a good idea?) but could never hold a candle to Hawk as a tag partner.
10 Kevin Sullivan
When someone thinks of "bad 1990s wrestling", Kevin Sullivan and his array of stupid characters has to be one of the first things that comes to mind. He gained most of his notoriety in WCW, where viewers were unfortunately subject to the idiocy of the Dungeon of Doom, Taskmaster and other nonsense that was all over WCW prior to the formation of the nWo. He wasn't very well liked as a booker either when placed in that role, and generally never had a run of quality work where anyone would fondly remember his time in the ring. Luckily for Sullivan, there was a lot of bad wrestling and storylines in the early 199os, so he didn't stand out nearly as much as he should have. If anything, he'll mostly be remembered for his real life feud with Chris Benoit, whose wife Nancy left Sullivan for.
It's always been surprising just how many runs Kamala had in the WWE over the years. The character has seen so many different stints with the company at various times, for what really should have been a much shorter shelf life. The character would never be portrayed today, as it's the definition of a stereotype that could potentially be considered offensive to native Africans. Jim Harris who portrayed the character wasn't a great wrestler, and the entertainment value definitely wasn't high enough to warrant years of use. Was it the worst we've ever seen in the ring? No, but it also wouldn't have been attempted today in any form.
8 Steve McMichael
McMichael was unique in the fact that he was actually an established NFL player over a long period of time, that also was in the ranks of professional wrestling for an extended period of time. Usually, for wrestlers who were also football players (or other athletes), one occupation dominates the other. Not so for McMichael, but that doesn't mean he was good in the ring. He spent over four years in WCW from 1995 to 1999, debuting as a broadcaster, but eventually was actually wrestling in matches. He inexplicably won a United States Title, in WCW, all but invalidating it in the process. Chalk this one up as a failed experiment.
7 David Flair
This one is an example of an apple that fell about as far from the tree as possible. David Flair could never hope to achieve the success that his father did, but in the end he achieved little, if anything at all in the wrestling world. He basically got an "in" with WCW during the late 1990's because Ric Flair was on the roster, and was obviously a huge star. When the promotion folded in 2001, the younger Flair was dropped from a WWE developmental contract, and spent the following years touring nondescript Indy promotions, winning the occasional tag title because of his namesake and little else.
6 Luther Biggs
Biggs may be all but forgotten now, but anyone who was watching the atrocity that WCW had become by late 1999 may remember his sub-par matches and drab gimmick. By that point, WCW was just throwing everything at the wall to see what stuck, and Biggs certainly didn't. He was just so painfully unathletic for a wrestler in a major promotion. Needless to say, the quality of his matches were beyond horrible, and he was mainly used as fodder for the mid-carders of the time. That was probably the best use for him, although ideally you generally wouldn't want somebody of his inept ability near any promotion at all. Shows just how much WCW was in dire straits at the time.
There was really never any need for this, and although the Yokozuna gimmick had some big buildup when it debuted, leading up to the Wrestlemania match against Bret Hart, it's safe to say that this was a character best left forgotten. The sumo thing really lost traction quite quickly, as Yokozuna was relegated to the mid-card roughly a year and a half after the debut. He did stick around for a few more years in WWE, but later on in his tenure he gained even more weight, making him a borderline health hazard in the ring. That's actually what led to his removal from the roster. Looking back on it, there were other options that could have been better utilized.
4 John Zandig
Hardcore wrestling can be entertaining when it's done right, and there are certainly many examples of it. John Zandig, is not one of them however. Zandig founded the CZW promotion, under the banner of death matches and "ultraviolent" style that had been really only seen in Japan up to that point in the late 1990's. It never made much sense to me, and only seemed to elevated lesser talents that were one-trick ponies serving a niche audience. Zandig wasn't good in the ring, and hid it behind the action of slamming light tubes in people's faces and calling it a match, over and over again. Hardcore wrestling is good when it's juxtaposed with actual "wrestling", but by itself it just doesn't hold up. Zandig is the main practitioner of that philosophy.
3 "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan
Duggan's probably the least talented wrestler who was on WWE's roster consistently in the late 1980's and early 1990's. Yes, the gimmick was not intended for main even purposes, and he hardly ever found himself in any high-profile matches, but that doesn't change the fact that he was simply not good in the ring. It was just a bore to watch. He was sluggish, derivative and just plain uninteresting. It's understandable why he stuck around for so long, but really, anyone could have fulfilled his role. Luckily, WWE didn't really care about mid and lower card match quality, so he didn't get the axe until 1993.
2 Giant Gonzalez
Gonzalez may have been the most awkward presence to ever enter a wrestling ring. His height was his main draw, but beyond that he was probably one of the most limited talents of his era, and possibly of all-time. He was basically billed as a total oddity, and only wrestled for six years combined professionally. He began his career in WCW, before moving to WWE in 1993, making one Wrestlemania appearance wrestling the Undertaker in what is commonly considered one of the worst matches in the history of the event. Gonzalez really shouldn't have been put in this position in the first place, as it was just the result of promoter's wanting to get a quick draw and further the ridiculousness that was all over wrestling in the early 1990s. Sadly, Gonzalez passed away in 2010.
1 David Arquette
It is commonly considered among the wrestling populace, that the day WCW officially died was when well-known, established actor, David Arquette won the promotion's Heavyweight Title in 2000, thereby invalidating any credibility it still held. In fairness, Arquette objected to the idea, but Vince Russo insisted that it was for the good of the company. Arquette was actually on the roster for months during the year 2000, and it has to go down as one of the biggest punchlines in wrestling history. He had just appeared in the movie, Ready To Rumble at the time, which is why the angle was ever thought up in the first place. To this day, Arquette's time in WCW is seen as one of the biggest stains on the legacy of the business.
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