Oh, WWE wrestling in the 90s. What a time to be a fan! From the kid-friendly, cartoony New Generation to the teenage angst-filled Attitude Era, there was plenty to love - and quite a bit to hate. The gimmicks were ridiculous, colorful and over the top, while the actual wrestling left a little to be desired. But that's ok, because the entertainment value more than made up for lacking talent - somewhat.
With all these different personalities trying to make a name for themselves, some were bound to be left in the dust. After all, there are only so many spots on a big time PPV. These wrestlers weren't bad, per se, but they didn't have that memorable quality that would keep fans talking about them til today. So, you may have forgotten these not-so-eccentric 90s characters. Maybe not. Maybe you're a huge Mideon fan and you're proud of it. Good for you!
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15 Aldo Montoya
Before joining up with Albert and X-Pac (of "X-Pac heat" fame) as part of the X-Factor in the early 2000s, Justin Credible portrayed Aldo Montoya, a masked jobber of Portuguese descent. While he wasn't a particularly bad wrestler, chances are you won't remember him as he never stood out of the pack - his patriotic tights and jockstrap-like mask left a lot to be desired.
He did, however, have an awesome entrance with twirling fireworks going off in the ring. Alright, so it wasn't that awesome, but 90s kids with ADD (like myself) definitely enjoyed the pretty flashes. All this to say that he didn't have much going for him, with a win over Jerry "The King" Lawler being the highlight of his 90s stint in the WWE.
14 Waylon Mercy
Dan Spivey never achieved much during his long tenure in wrestling. After stints in NWA, WCW and Japan, he made his way to the WWE in 1995 as the character of Bray Wyatt. Wait... or was that Waylon Mercy? Southern charm, Hawaiian shirt, sinister vignettes and creepy catchphrases to spook the audience?
Yes, the Bray Wyatt we know today definitely borrows a lot of his gimmick from Waylon Mercy, who himself is based off Max Cady, the antagonist in 1991's Cape Fear. He was interesting to watch, as he'd be a calm, cool and collected gentleman outside of the ring but a vicious brawler who would stomp and choke his opponents inside it. Like everyone else on this list, he didn't really accomplish much, although he did have a few matches with upper level talent in Razor Ramon, Bret Hart and Diesel.
A man who made a name for himself in Japan but couldn't quite translate that success to the WWE is Jinsei Shinzaki, better known as Hakushi to you 90s WWE fans who remember him.
The character was based off a Buddhist pilgrim, sporting white attire with writings all over his body, accompanied by Shinja, his white makeup-wearing advisor. He was a decent wrestler who bulldozered through jobbers (including Matt hardy - DELETE!) before starting a feud with Bret Hart that saw some creepy mind games being played. He had a freakin' severed Hart head for God's sake!
After that, he would essentially become a jobber himself, losing to the king of losers, Barry Horowitz. His time in the WWE would eventually come to an end after being branded by Justin "Hawk" Bradshaw - yes indeed, that would be JBL.
12 Adam Bomb
Adam Bomb - get it? Atom... bomb. You know you're a wrestler in the 90s when...
In all seriousness, this wasn't the worst 90s gimmick (just go a little further down our list), but it was so cheesy and cartoony that poor Bryan Clark couldn't possibly be taken seriously. The goggles (that did nothing), the "radiated" green eyes, the hazard sign... it was all part of the "nuclear meltdown survivor" gimmick that fans went mild for.
He had some matches in high profile PPVs, being pinned by Marty Jannetty in a Survivor Series match and being eliminated by Lex Luger during the 1994 Royal Rumble, in which he entered last. He soon turned face and started shooting rubber nuclear missiles into the crowd - now that's how you get over! Or not, as he was soon demoted to Superstars before leaving the company in 1995.
11 Bull Nakano
Now here's a wrestler that could have fit into today's Women's division in WWE. None of this "diva" crud - Bull Nakano was a badass wrestler, plain and simple. After mastering her craft in All Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling, she made her debut in WWE as Luna Vachon's associate, where she would go after the squeaky clean WWE Women's Champion Alundra Blayze.
The two would feud throughout the year, reigniting the Women's division that had long been stagnant, making the title relevant again. They fought at SummerSlam '94 with Blayze coming out victorious. Nakano would get her win though, as she defeated Alundra for the title in Japan later that year. Blayze would recover her title a few months later on an April episode of Raw. Nakano's WWE run would end soon after that, as she was found in possession of drugs, which led to her release.
10 The Bodydonnas
Skip and Zip were two fitness fanatics that would make fun of the fans and their opponents, claiming they were out of shape. The only -I emphasize the word only- reason these two ever achieved anything was because of their manager (and Skip's AKA Chris Candido's real life girlfriend at the time), Sunny.
No one liked these two, plain and simple. Performing jumping jacks and pushups during matches to show off how fit they were, the annoying twosome would go on to win the WWE Tag Team Titles during the pre-show at WrestleMania XII. Sunny would leave them when they lost the tag titles to Godwinns, joining the new champions because she didn't want to manage losers. The Bodydonnas would start a search for a new manager, which ended up going to a man in drag named "Cloudy"... Alright, I'm done with this entry. Next!
9 Duke Droese
When your nickname is "The Dumpster", you're going to have a bad time. Duke Droese was a garbage man - nothing more, nothing less. He would carry a trash can to the ring and... that was it. We can't stress enough how absolutely average and forgettable Droese was. I guess we can thank him and his garbage can (but mostly his garbage can) for offering one of the first "hardcore" moments on WWE TV when Jerry Lawler hit him with his own waste collector.
He would participate in some marquee PPVs in 1995, such as the Royal Rumble and King of the Ring, but would obviously come out the losing end. His most memorable feud was with Triple H during his Connecticut Blueblood days, which ended up culminating at an In Your House PPV that saw Hunter come out victorious. Duke was released soon after that.
He's been a farmer. He's been a minister of darkness. He's been a nudist. He's... done it all? Not exactly, considering Mideon isn't all that memorable despite all of his gimmicks.
He would sign with the WWE in the 90s and form a tag team as Phineas I. Godwinn with his storyline cousin Henry O. (a little more on this forgotten wrestler later on). They would capture the tag titles twice before disbanding due to an injury to Henry.
This is when Mideon would join The Undertaker's Ministry of Darkness, a cult-like Satanic faction in which he would do the Deadman's bidding, even managing to "win" (ie find) the European championship.
After the Ministry disbanded, he would put on a fanny pack and a thong and be known as Naked Mideon. I think we can end this entry on that note.
No, it's not the orange soda drink (although it may have been what the WWE was going for with all the orange in his attire). Crush would debut in the WWE as the third member of Demolition. The team would disband and Crush would leave the company, only to return a couple of years later as a laid back Hawaiian surfer. Sting, he was not.
6 Essa Rios
It's another case of a wrestler being outshined by his accompanying manager. Essa Rios is a former WWE Light Heavyweight champion who will mostly be remembered for being the wrestler who introduced us to Lita.
The two would feud with Eddie Guerrero and Chyna, and he would even challenge Latino Heat for the European Title in a match he would ultimately lose. He helped create Team Xtreme as he tried to beat up Lita after he lost a match, which led to the Hardys coming in for the save. He would have another feud with a certain Olympic Hero (oh it's true) before fading into obscurity on Sunday Night Heat - or where careers go to die.
5 The Patriot
The WWE is very patriotic - we get it. It doesn't mean we have to go through a boring gimmick from a boring wrestler with a boring move set to boringly bore us through his boring matches. In case you missed the point that was trying to be made, The Patriot was an exciting wrestler who thrilled crowds all over the world - except he was the opposite of that.
The Patriot aka Del Wilkes feuded with Bret Hart during his anti-American Hart Foundation days. Although The Patriot would beat him on Raw, Hart would take the feud, making Wilkes submit to the Sharpshooter at Ground Zero: In Your House. The Patriot would end up getting injured, putting an end to his boring stint in WWE.
4 Repo Man
We need more Repo Men in today's WWE - said no one ever. Barry Darsow (aka Smash of Demolition fame) would be repackaged in 1991 as sneaky, shifty heel wearing a racoon-like mask who would delightfully repossess people's cars - perfect for a wrestling character, apparently.
In a funny bit of logic (a rarity in wrestling), he was hired by rich man Ted Dibiase to take care of his Virgil problem. He would make appearances in various PPVs, including the 1992 Royal Rumble and WrestleMania VIII, with the 1993 Royal Rumble being his last. A face turn was supposed to eventually happen, but that never transpired, leaving us all craving for the next dastardly thief gimmick. Or not.
3 Nicole Bass
Because we needed another Chyna and because Vince loves him some muscles, we got Nicole Bass, a former bodybuilder who debuted as Sable's bodyguard at WrestleMania XV. She wasn't really a wrestler, competing in only a handful of matches, but she was certainly an intimidating presence, in and out of the ring.
Bass is mostly remembered for her feud with Debra that involved a bikini contest and a mixed tag team match with Val Venis in Bass' corner and Jeff Jarett in Debra's. She would then form a friendship with Ivory, who Bass helped win the Women's title, but that relationship wouldn't last much longer because Nicole would take the WWE to court, filing a lawsuit that would ultimately be dismissed. Too bad we never got that confrontation with Chyna...
2 Henry O. Godwinn
You know what wrestling needs? More farmer gimmicks. They put food in our mouths and butts in seats, selling out arenas worldwide. No? THEN WHY THE HELL WOULD YOU CREATE A GIMMICK LIKE THIS?!
No offense meant to Henry O. Godwinn, but just because Hillbilly Jim was a somewhat entertaining big man in the 80s DOES NOT mean that a bunch of farmers are going to be successful in wrestling during the cartoony, pre Attitude 90s era. Sure, he would win the tag titles twice with cousin Phineas, and is probably mostly remembered for that hog pen match with some guy named Hunter Hearst Helmsley, but besides those accolades, what else did he really bring to the table that was memorable? That's right, pig slop in a bucket! Yum!
So I'm guessing the WWE pitch meeting for a new character went something like this:
Vince: "Give me something intimidating! Something that will shake me to my core, damn it!"
Writer: "How about... a half-man, half-beast wrestler that would charge and trample his opponents, and occasionally even moo at them? You know, to really sell how much of an animal he is."
Vince: "I love it! What would we call him?"
Writer: "Well, he's sort of like a minotaur, considering he's half-man, half-beast... let's call him... "
Vince: "Mantaur! And he should come out with a realistic-looking bull head as his entrance attire! And make that Jim Cornette guy walk him to the ring, I'm sure he would love to be managing such an intimidating wrestler! Vincent Kennedy McMahon, you've done it again!"
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