To most anyone who laces up a set of wrestling boots – whether or not he or she wants to admit it – WWE represents the pinnacle of achievement. Many talented individuals have made big names for themselves in the proverbial "smaller ponds" of the wrestling business, with the not-so-secret hopes that they could someday have the opportunity to ply their trade inside a WWE ring.
In WWE's fifty-plus year history, many have risen above the pack to have memorable runs for the world's biggest promotion. Some of these runs are more memorable (read: longer) than others. This list examines some of those who fall into the latter, more transient category. Whether it was a single title run, a colorful, albeit brief set of appearances, or some other kind of short-lived notoriety, these performers are all nonetheless memorable for one particular thing in their respective WWE runs.
But hey, don't feel sorry for these "one hit wonders." After all, for every wrestler who had a cup of coffee in WWE, there were a few hundred others lining up, yearning for that same opportunity. And, as history shows us, many of these WWE alumni were able to land on their feet – achieving success with another wrestling promotion or, oftentimes, in other fields altogether.
Though she got her start with WWE by competing in (and winning) the second season of Tough Enough in 2002, Linda Miles is perhaps best remembered by WWE fans as Shaniqua, the dominatrix-like manager of The Basham Brothers.
As a competitor on Tough Enough, Miles seemed to be a good fit for WWE, due to her impressive look and legitimate athletic background (she played college basketball at Rutgers University). But it can take some time to learn the ropes of the wrestling business, and she wrestled only a few matches on television before relocating to Ohio Valley Wrestling for more training.
After being repackaged as Shaniqua the following June, Miles found some success in the Divas division, though she is likely better remembered for interfering on behalf of The Bashams in many of their matches. She was released by WWE in early 2004.
Linda Miles' wrestling career was over almost as quickly as it started, but she had other options. She quickly found employment as a substitute teacher in her native Cincinnati. More recently, she was spotted refereeing women's basketball games at her alma mater, Rutgers.
Despite a gimmick straight out of the 1980s, by way of the 1950s, Deuce and Domino had the tools to make a big impact in WWE's late '00s tag division. They had size, strength, and a good look. Also, it didn't hurt that Deuce was the son of WWE Hall of Famer, Jimmy Snuka.
The team fared well for a time. In fact, they were the ones who ended the nearly one year tag title run of Paul London and Brian Kendrick in the spring of 2007. They even managed to hold on to the title for an impressive four months, themselves, before dropping the belts to Matt Hardy and MVP. The group split up the following May and, within a year, both men had been released from their WWE contracts.
Deuce, who also competed briefly as Sim Snuka, wrestled on the independent circuit until 2014. As of 2016, he was employed at a health supplement company. Meanwhile, Domino has continued to wrestle, mostly notably for Ring of Honor and the now independent Ohio Valley Wrestling.
Standing in at 6'2", former bodybuilder Nicole Bass transitioned to the wrestling ring in 1998. She started in ECW, where she feuded with both men and women. Then, the following spring, at WrestleMania XV, she made her WWE debut as Sable's bodyguard. Bass cut an impressive figure, outsizing even the "Ninth Wonder of the World," Chyna.
Ultimately, though, Bass' initial appearance would go down as her most impressive. She feuded with Ivory and briefly teamed up with Val Venis. But Bass left the company before she was able to do much else, alleging sexual harassment by wrestler Steve Lombardi (a charge that was eventually dismissed after a 2003 hearing). She competed for the next couple years on the American indie circuit, most notably in XPW.
Nicole Bass' wrestling days are long behind her, but she's in the public eye. She's active on Twitter, and noted member of Howard Stern's "Wack Pack."
It might seen as unusual to consider Kid Kash a "one hit wonder," considering the longevity of his career. After all, he competed for nearly 20 years in promotions including WCW, ECW, and TNA. Still, in the grand scheme of his career, his time on the WWE roster feels comparatively short.
Not long after appearing at the June 2005 ECW One Night Stand pay-per-view, Kash was offered a WWE contract. After making his weekly TV debut as part of the SmackDown brand, he quickly established himself as a force within WWE's cruiserweight division. Kash defeated Super Crazy to earn a shot at then-champion, Juventud Guerrera. In his first pay-per-view match with the company, at December's Armageddon, Kash defeated Guerrera to win the Cruiserweight title.
Kid Kash continued to compete for WWE through the following summer, notably teaming up with Jamie Noble in pursuit of the tag titles. After being released in September 2006, he returned to the independent circuit and, in 2010, found himself back in TNA for a brief run. He competed in the indies until last December, when he lost a retirement match to Chase Owens.
Kash also has previous experience in MMA and, in October 2016, announced his return to the sport with VALOR FIGHTS.
Unlike the other names on this, Colin Delaney may be more memorable for the many beatings he took, rather than those that he dished out. Debuting for WWE's ECW brand in January of 2008, Delaney was savagely beaten by the likes of Shelton Benjamin and Big Daddy V (Viscera) – both of whom handily defeated him in singles matches.
There was something honorable in the way Delaney weathered these maulings, though, that put fans squarely in his corner. He was given multiple attempts to "earn" an ECW brand contract by winning matches. Usually, the odds were stacked heavily against him. He finally did earn a contract, though, with the help and encouragement of Tommy Dreamer. Their alliance ended over the summer, when Delaney turned on Dreamer. Shortly thereafter, Delaney was let go by WWE, who cited budgetary reasons for his release.
Colin immediately returned to the independent circuit, where he's competed regularly ever since. As of October 2016, he's the reigning NWA Southern Junior Heavyweight champ.
While he had previously established himself as a wrestler in OVW (under the name Osama), Armando Estrada is best known for his non-wrestling roles. For one thing, he was the GM of the ECW brand who Colin Delaney had to defeat to earn a contract. Prior to that, though, he had established himself as the manager and mouthpiece of Umaga as he ascended the card. Estrada added a bit of sizzle to Umaga's presentation, while also occasionally finding himself on the wrong end of a physical standoff with one of his charge's rivals. In other words, he fulfilled a classic managerial role.
Estrada was released from his WWE contract in November 2008. He returned briefly to the company in 2010, but didn't see much action beyond managing Tyson Kidd on an episode of Superstars. He returned to the independent scene afterwards and, per his Twitter account, is still accepting bookings.
The son of legendary hardcore wrestler, Tiger Jeet Singh, trained in New Japan, where his father had feuded with Antonio Inoki in the 1970s. Unlike his father, whose success came mostly in Japan, Singh is most famous for his time with World Wrestling Entertainment. His biggest "hit" with the company actually came in a non-televised event. In the spring of 1997, Singh won WWE's second "Kuwait Cup" tournament, after beating Billy Gunn, Mankind, and Owen Hart.
Singh appeared sporadically on WWE television over the next several years, though he didn't make much of a splash. He aligned briefly with D-Lo Brown and Chaz in 2001, before reporting to Puerto Rico's IWA promotion (a WWE affiliate at the time) and finding some success in tag wrestling. He was injured there and didn't return to WWE. Shortly thereafter, he filed a lawsuit against WWE, alleging that the injury was the company's responsibility and that he had been the subject of verbal harassment.
Singh made his in-ring return for the Japanese HUSTLE promotion in 2008, teaming with his father, but he hasn't wrestled a match since 2014. Singh currently works with his dad's Tiger Jeet Singh Foundation, a Canadian non-profit that helps raise money for schools and hospitals.
Stacy Carter made her WWE debut as "Miss Kitty" in August 1999, first portraying an assistant to Debra and then serving briefly as Chyna's manager. That December, at Armageddon, she challenged for the WWE Women's championship in a four-way evening gown match, which she won. After capturing the title, "Miss Kitty" flashed the crowd in attendance (as well as the pay-per-view audience watching from home), which was a first in WWE history.
Carter then started referring to herself as "The Kat" and managed to hold on to the title for the better part of two months before losing it to "Hervina" (longtime manager Harvey Wippleman in drag). She continued to make appearances with the company for the next year, before she was released from her contract.
The Kat left wrestling soon after to pursue a career in real estate, though she's made occasional appearances as a manager over the years. Since 2010, she's been married to independent wrestler Sinn Bodhi, who competed in WWE as Kizarny.
Standing at 7 feet tall and weighing more than 350 pounds, it seemed certain that Nathan Jones was going to be put into a prominent position in WWE. And, at first, that certainly was the case. Not long after his spring 2003 debut, he was paired up with The Undertaker. In fact, the two men were even booked to be a team at WrestleMania XIX, set to square off against The Big Show and A-Train. And, while Jones appeared on the show (and helped Taker through the match), a pre-match beatdown from his opponents assured he wasn't technically in the match.
Jones, as it turned out, was said to be not be quite ready for matches of that caliber. Though he did get a proper pay-per-view match at that year's Survivor Series (as part of Brock Lesnar's team), Jones and WWE's relationship wouldn't last much longer. In early December, he quit the company.
Since his brief WWE dalliance, the Australian giant has kept busy with other projects. Most notably, he's appeared in a number of films, including the 2015 action blockbuster, Mad Max: Fury Road.
While he had a fairly lengthy stay with the company – and tried his hand at several different personas – Bull Buchanan's is probably best remembered for his time with Right to Censor (or RTC). The group, meant to lampoon WWE detractors the Parents Television Council (PTC), sought to eradicate Raw and SmackDown of "offensive" content by converting said offenders into its ranks. Teaming with "The Goodfather" (The Godfather), Buchanan defeated The Hardy Boys for the WWE Tag Team championship in November 2000.
Buchanan remained under WWE contract until January 2003. Most memorably, he was briefly aligned with John Cena, under the name "B2." After his WWE release, Bull competed in Japan, as well as a number of American independent promotions. In 2014, he announced his retirement from wrestling. He returned to his home state of Georgia, where he worked as a sheriff's deputy.
Originally trained at the WCW Power Plant in 1997, Luther Reigns was signed by WWE in 2003. He competed in Ohio Valley Wrestling, before being called up to the main roster the following spring. Reigns debuted as a personal enforcer for SmackDown's then-GM Kurt Angle, and, indeed, he's best known as Angle's right-hand man.
Pairing up with Mark Jindrak as "Team Angle," Reigns became a tag title contender. The two men even feuded with The Undertaker. And, even though they were unsuccessful against "The Deadman," it raised Reigns' and Jindrak's profiles significantly.
Eventually, the team split. Reigns tried to establish himself as a singles competitor, feuding with The Big Show and others. In May 2005, he asked for (and was granted) his WWE release – reportedly due to creative differences with SmackDown's head writer, Paul Heyman. He competed in a couple of matches on the independent circuit, but was finished as an in-ring performer by the year's end.
In December 2009, Reigns suffered a stroke, which he later said was a result of past steroid use and painkiller addiction. Today, he's doing much better. The former wrestler appeared in the 2015 prescription drug exposé, Prescription Thugs, and has also acted in several films, including the 2014 comedy, Let's Be Cops.
Half-sister of Hall of Famer Jake "The Snake" Roberts, Rockin' Robin was the focal point of WWE's women's division during a time when it was, unfortunately, about to become an afterthought. In October of 1988, she defeated WWE Women's champ, "Sensational" Sherri Martel, ending Martel's 15 month title run. Though she was reigning women's champion at WrestleMania V, there was no women's match on the show and Robin wound up singing "America the Beautiful" in lieu of competing.
Robin defended the title through June 1989 on the house show circuit, in a long running feud with Judy Martin. But while she was officially champion until she left the company in 1990, Rockin' Robin's last few months with the company were marked by a decided shift away from women's wrestling.
After her WWE departure, Robin continued to make occasional appearances for independent promotions throughout the U.S. for the next two years. Today, she's the head of a real estate appraisal company in Hammond, Louisiana.
Prior to signing with WWE, Kevin Wacholz (better known to early '90s wrestling fans as "Nailz") showed a great deal of promise in the AWA. So, too, did he make an impact when he made his WWE debut by attacking The Big Boss Man – in a storyline that suggested Nailz was a recently released inmate who was enacting his revenge against the man he'd accused of abusing him while he was in prison.
After an extensive rivalry with Boss Man, Nailz feuded with both The Undertaker and then-champion Bret Hart on the house show circuit. Things seemed to be going well for the big man, until a supposed financial dispute with Vince McMahon turned physical, and Wacholz was fired.
The former Nailz continued to wrestle for various promotions, including New Japan and WCW. But, if his previous quarrels with the head of the company hadn't been enough, Wacholz' subsequent lawsuits against WWE and testimony against McMahon in his 1994 steroid trial ensured he'd never work for the company again.
Nailz officially retired from the wrestling business in 2000. He and his children opened up a family car garage in 2007.
Though he was later part of the New Breed in WWE's 2006 relaunch of the ECW Brand, Kevin Thorn is perhaps better known for the character he never really got a chance to establish.
Having previously proven his mettle with Memphis Championship Wrestling, Kevin Thorn signed a WWE deal in 2002, then spent two years in Ohio Valley Wrestling. His character, Seven – which he'd developed in Memphis – was a classically evil persona in the tradition of Kevin Sullivan and others. As he was called up to the main roster, the character morphed into something slightly different.
Cloaked in all white, yet clearly not a heroic type, Mordecai was clearly meant to pose a threat to The Undertaker. After a series of decidedly creepy vignettes, the darkly messianic character debuted at Judgement Day 2004, handily defeating Scotty 2 Hotty. But just as quickly as he'd appeared, Mordecai was gone. Thorn returned to developmental and, the following summer, he was released.
Thorn continues to compete on the independent scene today, with a persona similar to his Seven character. And, a decade after the plug was pulled on the character, Mordecai became a popular meme in the internet wrestling community – with some fans clamoring for his WWE return.
Salvatore Sincere didn't spend much time with the company, but he remains memorable nearly a decade after the fact.
After cutting his teeth in the American independent scene, as well as in WCW and ECW, Sincere made his WWE debut in the summer of 1996. After losing matches to some of the company's biggest names, including The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels, Sincere briefly became entangled in a feud with Marc Mero. In a move that was not very typical of the time, Mero exposed Sincere's real name (Tom Brandi), which led to Sincere himself later dropping his gimmick and performing as, for lack of a better word, himself.
But the new sense of direction didn't take the veteran wrestler anywhere in particular and he soon departed the company in the spring of 1998. Brandi continues to wrestle today, not under his own name, nor as Salvatore Sincere, but as The Patriot – a gimmick originally created by another man who had a brief fling in WWE during the mid-'90s, Del Wilkes.
No doubt, some puroresu fans will see this entry and immediately set to work on the barrage of nasty comments. But the inclusion of any wrestler on this list is not be to be a slight to his or her ability, so much as how they were presented during their time with WWE. When The Jumping Bomb Angels (Noriyo Tateno and Itsuki Yamazaki) first competed in front of American audiences, fans were treated to an exciting brand of women's wrestling that most hadn't seen before.
After establishing themselves as a team to be reckoned with in Japan, The Bomb Angels made their WWE debut at the inaugural Survivor Series event in 1987, emerging as the sole survivors in a 10-women elimination tag match. They would go on to defeat The Glamour Girls for the now-defunct WWE Women's Tag Team championship at the 1988 Royal Rumble and hold on to the belts until June.
Though their time in WWE was relatively short, the Jumping Bomb Angels were far from through. Noriyo Tateno would remain an active competitor in Japan well into her 40s, before finally retiring in 2010. Meanwhile, Itsuki Yamazaki continued to compete until 1991, when she retired. She has made a couple selected appearances since then, but has equally established herself as a restauranteur. At one time, Yamazaki was the owner of a popular sushi restaurant in New York City.
Dam it was good seeing all the boys pic.twitter.com/i0heqVK1nL— The Real Gillberg (@Duanegill3) July 6, 2016
Though Duane Gill is primarily thought of as what's known as "enhancement talent," he managed to have a memorable pair of runs with WWE through the 1990s. Earlier in the decade, as one half of The Executioners, he helped to make the rest of WWE's tag division look pretty impressive. But it was his second run with the company that truly established him as a name to remember.
After a brief flirtation with "success" as a member of the J.O.B. Squad, Duane Gill finally struck gold when he defeated Christian on a November 1998 episode of Raw to capture the WWE Light Heavyweight championship. Even more impressive was the fact that he held the title for a record 15 months. At the same time, Gill was rarely actually defending the belt. Instead, he was usually competing in non-title matches, while being announced as Gillberg – a spoof of WCW's Goldberg, mocking everything from his appearance and ring entrance to his crowd reaction (or supposed lack thereof).
After leaving WWE, Gill continued to appear as Gillberg on the indie circuit. He made a brief return to the company in 2003, only to be decimated by the actual Goldberg (who, Gill claims, was very unhappy about the gimmick). Gill continued to make independent appearances throughout the years and briefly operated his own wrestling school. He is currently active on Twitter and makes occasional convention appearances.
Another man who was more famous for how much he lost than for any major accomplishments, Barry Horowitz is nonetheless fondly remembered for his many WWE appearances throughout the years. He was, like Duane Gill, primarily used as an enhancement talent for most of his run with the company, until he finally managed to have his moment in the sun.
After years of suffering defeats on WWE television, Horowitz finally managed to pull off a major upset against Chris Candido on a July 1995 episode of the short-lived program, The Action Zone. In the wake of that victory, Horowitz enjoyed something of a push, winning more singles matches and even competing at a couple of pay-per-views (Survivor Series 1995 and Royal Rumble 1996).
After departing WWE in 1997, Barry Horowitz had a brief run with WCW. Though his days as an active wrestler appear to be over, he still pops up from time to time. He found work as a nutritionist and, most recently, spoke out against rapper Action Bronson, who named a song after Horowitz without his permission.
In 1989, the fictional worlds of cinema and pro wrestling overlapped in a very peculiar way. After portraying the character of Zeus in the cult classic wrestling film No Holds Barred, actor Tom "Tiny" Lister reprised his role in the squared circle, by way of trying to eliminate Hulk Hogan from WWE.
Zeus made his first major appearance at SummerSlam 1989, teaming with Randy Savage to take on the team of Hulk Hogan and Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake. Despite a loss in that match, the seemingly indestructible Zeus persisted. At Survivor Series, he joined up with Ted DiBiase, The Warlord, and Zeus in a traditional 8-on-8 elimination match, though he was disqualified after refusing to release Hogan from a chokehold. The Zeus-Hogan feud finally came to a close at the December 12 No Holds Barred pay-per-view, where Hogan and Beefcake triumphed over Zeus and Savage in a steel cage tag team match.
Seeing as "Tiny" Lister's WWE appearances were meant to promote a movie and not representative of a career change, it's unsurprising that he returned to acting afterward. Lister is known best for his role in the Friday movies, as well as dozens of other films, numerous TV shows, and several music videos. But he did dip his toe into the wrestling ring again a few times – most notably in 1996, as part of a gang of heels set to destroy Hulk Hogan.
One of the most controversial characters in WWE history, Muhammad Hassan's rise to the top of WWE was seemingly over as quickly as it had begun. Hassan proudly proclaimed, from the time of his December 2004 TV debut, that he was an Arab American, despite the fact that the man portraying the character (Mark Copani) had absolutely no Arab lineage. Nonetheless, in the early days of the Iraq War, WWE fans were largely incensed by Hassan's openness about discrimination against the Arab American community.
Hassan quickly ascended the card in WWE, amassing an impressive undefeated streak. He was involved in a major segment with Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania 21. In fact, word later emerged that he was ultimately expected to become world champion. The sky seemed to be the limit for Hassan, despite the controversial nature of his character.
Of course, it was not meant to be. After a violent, group attack on The Undertaker on a July 2005 episode of SmackDown – which coincidentally was taped just before a major terrorist attack in London – WWE became the immediate subject of scrutiny. The Muhammad Hassan - Undertaker storyline was discontinued, and Mark Copani was released from his WWE contract in September.
Once he was done with WWE, Copani was also done with wrestling. For a time, he was said to be pursuing a career in acting. But, ultimately, Copani wound up pursuing a career in education, citing a passion for working with children. After beginning as a social studies teacher, he was promoted to Vice Principal – a far cry from his brief, though unforgettable WWE run.