In the music business, a one-hit wonder is defined as a musician who is best known for a single hit song. While some one-hit wonders are more underground musicians who just so happened to produce a mainstream hit, others were artists trying to reach a larger demographic who just never were able to do so again. One-hit wonders exist in WWE history too, but they’re a little more difficult to identify. Since there are very few wrestlers of notoriety who worked just one match in WWE, that phrase is typically reserved for performers who briefly enjoyed a popular run in WWE before they disappeared into obscurity.
Generally speaking, nobody wants to be a one-hit wonder in wrestling, but many will tell you that it’s better than never having your name known at all. While some fans might be able to tell you what a wrestler did in WWE after their time at the top was done, there are considerably fewer people who know what happened to these performers after they were out of the business entirely. Just because these wrestlers were out of the spotlight, however, doesn’t mean their stories didn’t go on. These are the top 15 WWE one hit wonders are now.
15. Scotty 2 Hotty – Professional Firefighter/WWE Trainer
Only in the Attitude Era could a guy like Scotty 2 Hotty become a semi-beloved act. Scotty – real name Scott Garland – was working for an insurance company when he received his first tryout for a place on WWE’s roster. It wasn’t until Scotty teamed up with Brian Christoper and former the tag-team Too Cool that he got his first real taste of fame. Scotty’s “worm” finisher caught on with fans who appreciated it as a lighthearted mid-card act. Scotty actually wrestled in WWE up until 2007 (even though he didn’t have much to do during that time) before he was finally released that same year.
He’s made sporadic appearances for WWE since then, but mostly wrestles on the independent circuit. He recently became a firefighter in Florida and is studying for a possible career as a medical technician. He’s also taken up a job as a trainer at the WWE Performance Center, so he’s wearing quite a few hats today.
14. Maven – NYC Bouncer
Hey everyone, it’s Maven! You know, the first male Tough Enough winner and future superstar Maven? No? Don’t remember him? We’re not surprised. After winning Tough Enough, WWE briefly flirted with the idea of having Maven become an actual star. They even let him eliminate The Undertaker from the 2002 Royal Rumble. However, Maven’s time at the top wouldn’t last longer than that. WWE kept him around for a few years and let him play a role in various feuds, but it was clear that they didn’t really have any plans for the young man in the long-term. Maven left WWE in 2005 and started working the indie circuit. He tried his hand at an acting career as well, but that didn’t pan out. Maven then entered WWE’s former talent rehab system in order to overcome his addiction to pills. He was last seen working as a bouncer in NYC.
13. Spike Dudley – Financial Planner
The original ECW version of the Dudley family was much larger than the WWE version. In fact, the only Dudley to survive the transition beyond Bubba Ray and D-Von was little Spike Dudley. Spike was created as kind of a running joke in ECW (Little Spike Dudley = LSD), but fans came to love him as an ultimate underdog. Someone in WWE was apparently also a fan of the act, as Spike was brought in to assist the Dudleys. WWE fans came to love Spike as much as ECW fans, but ultimately forgot about him soon after his debut. Spike was released in 2005 and quickly snatched up by TNA. He didn’t do much during his time there besides relive the glory days. He continued to make sporadic indie appearances, but eventually became a financial planner and started focusing on his home life.
12. Evan Bourne – Impact Wrestling/Japanese Prison Convict
Is it too harsh to consider Evan Bourne to be a one hit wonder? Maybe, but then you have to really ask yourself just what it is that made Evan Bourne a relatively known wrestler in the first place. Honestly, it seems to have something to do with the fact he could do an above average shooting star press. WWE gave Bourne a brief push, but it didn’t lead to much more than a couple of semi-high profile PPV matches. Bourne left WWE in 2013 following a wellness policy violation and car crash that put him out of action for awhile. Bourne then returned to the indie circuit where he immediately picked up where he left off as a big indie star who works all the major promotions. He was arrested in Japan in 2016 over charges of marijuana smuggling. He spent some time in prison while waiting his sentence, which ended up being three years of probation.
11. Bart Gunn – Electrician and Former MMA Fighter
Oh Bart Gunn. If it wouldn’t have been for the Brawl for All tournament, Bart Gunn might have forever flown under the radar as a forgettable mid-card act. However, because Gunn so happened to win that shootfighting tournament even though he wasn’t supposed to, WWE decided to put him in a high-profile WrestleMania match against actual knockout artist Butterbean. Butterbean hit him so hard that he basically knocked him out of WWE. Gunn was let go almost immediately after that match and went to wrestle in Japan. He did pretty well for himself there and even won a tag team championship. Gunn eventually retired from professional wrestling and decided to try to become a mixed martial artist. He went 1-1 as a professional fighter before leaving that business. He’s currently working as an electrician.
10. Steve Blackman – Bail Bondsman
Steve Blackman’s WWE career was an interesting one. He made his first appearances for the company in the ‘80s but had to leave following a bout with Malaria that knocked him out of commission. Blackman returned to WWE in 1997 as the so-called “Lethal Weapon,” but WWE soon decided to push Ken Shamrock as their ultimate shoot fighter. Oddly enough, Blackman’s greatest success came as a result of his brief run in a comedy tag team with Al Snow. Eventually, WWE simply ran out of uses for Blackman, and they decided to release him in 2002. From there, Blackman used his very legitimate fighting skills to open a self-defense martial arts academy. He ran that academy for a while and tried to push an MMA clothing line, but Blackman eventually decided to settle into a career as a bail bondsman.
9. Simon Dean – Mortgage Broker
Sometimes, WWE decides to push the strangest wrestlers. While genuinely talented wrestlers waited on the sidelines waiting for a push, guys like Mike Bucci get to enjoy a brief time in the spotlight. Bucci joined Ohio Valley Wrestling in 2002 following an ECW run and actually beat John Cena for the OVW Championship while he was there. Once he joined the Raw roster, he was pushed as fitness expert Simon Dean who criticized other wrestlers for their physiques. It was amusing for a time, but WWE clearly ran out of ideas for the character after a couple of weeks. Bucci was released in WWE in 2007 following a brief stint as a talent development manager. He began working as a mortgage broker, but still works occasional indie wrestling gigs on the side.
8. Rico – Indie Wrestler/Law Enforcement Officer
One of the most controversial things WWE ever did involved their push of the tag team Billy and Chuck. Billy Gunn and Chuck Palumbo were paired together and promoted as a possibly homosexual tag team. For reasons unknown, this automatically made them heels. WWE drew some flack for this angle, but that didn’t stop them from bringing in Rico as the team’s effeminate hairdresser manager. Following the Billy and Chuck angle, Rico went on to manage a couple of other wrestlers before WWE released him in 2004.
Rico – real name Americo Constantino – became a law enforcement officer after that and ended up becoming an inspector for the Nevada Taxi Cab authority. However, in 2012 Rico made his return to wrestling for the future stars of wrestling promotion. Unfortunately, news surfaced in 2016 that Rico was suffering from declining health, due to previous concussions and some heart issues.
7. Alex Riley – Semi-Retired Wrestler Who Thinks John Cena Ruined His Push
Generally speaking, being booked as the friend of more popular wrestlers isn’t really a great sign. After a stint in Florida Championship Wrestling, Riley participated in season 2 of NXT as The Miz’s protege. Eventually, Riley and The Miz formed an alliance which mostly consisted of Miz berating Riley and Riley helping him win. Some thought Riley might eventually distinguish himself, but most really didn’t see anything that special in the kid. Riley never really did much outside of his alliance with The Miz – despite a couple of pushes – and was eventually released from NXT not long after starting a social media campaign designed to get him more television time.
Riley was quietly released from WWE in 2016. In an appearance on The Ross Report, Riley told Jim Ross that he believes an incident he was involved in with John Cena is responsible for the downfall of his career.
6. Barbara Bush – Retired Wrestler Living in Florida
Never forget just how far WWE has come in terms of promoting women’s wrestling. In 1999, WWE decided to add Cathy Dingman to their women’s wrestling roster. Dingman didn’t have much in the way of wrestling experience, but she did have certain physical attributes which WWE felt would certainly make her popular with male fans. WWE tried to push Dingman – now named Barbara Bush for some odd reason – but even Attitude Era fans weren’t buying it. After Dingman joined WCW in 2000 following her WWE release, she only appeared on a couple of shows. After that, she enjoyed a brief run in TNA as Taylor Vaughn. She achieved some notoriety there, but ultimately didn’t stick around for long.
5. Kharma – Actress
To some wrestling fans, Kharma was more than just a one-hit wonder. As Awesome Kong/Amazing Kong, Kia Stevens became one of the most respected power wrestlers that the world of women’s wrestling has ever known. She basically wrote the book on how a larger female wrestler should handle themselves in the ring. To this day, her matches with Gail Kim in TNA rank among the greatest women’s wrestling matches in history. Fans were excited to see WWE snatch her up in 2010, but Stevens’ run as Kharma didn’t last long. Stevens was released from WWE in 2012 after failing to return from her pregnancy leave in an agreed upon timeframe.
She soon returned to TNA and put in a few more good years before retiring. Stevens ended up losing quite a bit of weight and will reportedly be featured in Netflix’s upcoming series about the GLOW promotion.
4. The Patriot – Motivational Speaker and Ex-Convict
Here’s a strange one for you. Once upon a time, Del Wilkes was one of the best offensive linemen in the history of South Carolina college football. However, Wilkes failed to stay on an NFL team for long and instead became a masked professional wrestler known as The Patriot. Wilkes worked everywhere from Japan to WCW during his early career, but wasn’t called up to WWE until 1997. WWE brought him in for the sole purpose of challenging Canadian heel Bret Hart to a PPV match for the WWE Championship and the pride of America. Wilkes lost that match and was released shortly thereafter. He eventually spent nine years in prison for forging a painkiller prescription and went on to become an advocate for safety and health among young wrestlers.
3. The Hurricane – Podcaster
When Gregory Helms was brought into WWE some expected him to achieve great things. After all, Hems was a great wrestler with a pretty good look and worlds of potential. WWE looked at this potential young star and apparently saw a superhero. Yes, shortly after joining WWE, Helms became The Hurricane; a wrestler who thought he was a superhero. Helms actually did a great job playing the role, but never really got more out of it than a brief feud with The Rock. Helms eventually became a more traditional cruiserweight character and ended up holding the Cruiserweight Championship for 13 months. However, Helms never connected with fans the same way he did when he was The Hurricane.
Helms worked the indies and TNA after he left WWE in 2010. He was injured severely injured during a car crash he got into while driving drunk and hasn’t done much wrestling since. These days, he regularly appears on the Keepin it 100 podcast.
2. The Boogeyman – Still Wrestles as The Boogeyman
He’s the Boogeyman and he’s coming to get you. Well, at least that seemed to be the motivation for one of WWE’s strangest characters everywhere. Martin Wright’s Boogeyman was like something out of a really bad horror movie that Vince McMahon watched one night and decided to turn into a wrestler. Unlike Papa Shango and The Undertaker who were designed to be kind of spooky, The Boogeyman was just plain weird. He would eat moles off people’s faces, eat worms, and generally speaking, would do anything to gross people out. Wright was released from WWE in 2009 and continued to use the Boogeyman gimmick on the indie circuit. He still works the occasional match and has even appeared a couple of times on the WWE Network show, Swerved.
1. Zach Gowen – American Ninja Warrior Competitor
Zach Gowen is certainly one of the most bizarrely fascinating wrestlers WWE ever brought in. As a child, Gowen was diagnosed with cancer and had to have his leg amputated at the age of eight. Despite this, he still managed to successfully make it through professional wrestling training and join the TNA roster in 2003. WWE snatched him up soon after and used him as part of a storyline involving Mr. America (aka Hulk Hogan in a mask). Soon, he was put into a feud with Mr. McMahon who got Brock Lesnar to destroy Gowen in one of the most memorable segments in SmackDown history.
WWE released Gowen shortly after the end of this storyline in 2004, and Gowen began to work the indies as well as make a couple of appearances in TNA. He still appears as a wrestler from time to time, but is more involved with his Warriors for Wrestling organization; a non-profit designed to help potential young wrestlers with medical problems. Gowen also participated in American Ninja Warrior in 2016.
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