Wrestling is filled with talented men and women. It is also filled with men and women that have strengths in one area and glaring weaknesses in another. Whether it is their ability to deliver compelling promos or take bumps and sell the offense of their opponents, a number of wrestlers are truly exceptional in some areas. In comparison, there are wrestlers who aren't as effective in the ring either trying to tell a story with their moves, or perhaps lack stamina throughout. What about the wrestlers who seem so good that it's hard to believe they won't succeed? Wrestling history is filled with talented wrestlers who seemed like they were good, but could have been great. We believe that there was effort there, but something seemed to get in the way of making them superstars. It is impossible to expect everyone to be a main event wrestler, but a number of them could have been.
They all appeared to have some intangible that made them stand out. However, some who appear destined for greatness don't achieve it for whatever reason. It would be fair to say that some are victims of circumstance, whether a company decides to go in a different direction, personal demons consume them, workplace politics, or personal attitude, these particular wrestlers didn't achieve what many believed they should have. So while some may have had the look, perhaps when it came to speaking they couldn't convey their character well, and others who were exceptional at speaking couldn't tell a story in the ring. Often times it's the ability to put everything together that would have made them successful. Here are 15 wrestlers who never lived up to their potential.
15 Ahmed Johnson
If ever there was a guy that had an intimidating look and feel, it was Ahmed Johnson. He was an Intercontinental champion, and was used as part of the United States against Canada storyline against the Hart family. In all likelihood more had to be planned for him. However, the argument that was made against him was that he wasn't necessarily the safest in the ring, and that may have played a part in why his push didn't end up as originally planned.
14 Billy Gunn
While actively competing in the WWE and TNA, Gunn had so much potential. He had the look, the athletic ability and a general appeal about him. We aren't exactly sure why he didn't achieve more. Despite being a multi-time Intercontinental champion and tag team champion, the belief was that he was in line for a main event run. That didn't happen, and Gunn was used primarily in tag teams throughout his career. He underwent many character changes as he did, in attempting to get him over, but it didn't end up as many had hoped.
13 Mike Sanders
One performer that flew under the radar in WCW was “Above Average” Mike Sanders. He had the gift of gab, and in the ring he was good as anyone at selling offense. His rather overconfident nature really translated as part of the New Blood that WCW was promoting. However, eventually WCW's ratings sank, and rather than continuing to elevate the younger talent they continued to ride what worked in the past. Although he competed for a few years after, his career didn't achieve the potential it had. Sanders has now moved on from professional wrestling and is a motivational speaker.
12 Barry Windham
This second generation wrestler was put alongside the greatest in the world when he was part of the Four Horseman. The son of the late Blackjack Mulligan was a United States Champion, but he was in line to become the NWA World Heavyweight champion. He had size, agility and skill, so what went wrong? It's hard to tell, but it has to be considered a disappointment to not meet consensus expectations. His knowledge and experience alone say a lot about what he was capable of, but one has to wonder if he may have been a victim of politics.
11 Sean O'Haire
One of WCW's brightest talents, alongside Mark Jindrak, was Sean O'Haire. He was fairly successful in that promotion, but when the company was bought out it was unknown where his character was going in WWE. As the Devil's Advocate, O'Haire had some of the most menacing promos, which suggested that big things were headed his way. However, he was more than likely a victim of circumstance, as the push didn't work out. Sadly, O'Haire passed away a few years ago; his career could have been something more than what it turned out to be.
As quickly as he was in, Blitzkrieg was out. His time in WCW was short-lived, and the man that hailed from The Cosmos didn't last very long. Although we couldn't see who was under the mask, it was later revealed to be former football player Jeremiah Ross. Armed with moves such as a 450 corkscrew splash, corkscrew moonsault, and cartwheel handspring back elbow, Blitzkrieg had an impressive arsenal. However, despite facing the likes of Rey Mysterio, Dean Malenko and Billy Kidman, he decided to retire and pursue other interests. Six years after last competing for WCW, Ross handed over the Blitzkrieg character to Jack Evans.
9 Richie Steamboat
After competing in college and overseas, Richie was signed to a developmental deal by the WWE. He participated in feuds as part of NXT, and FCW before that, but was never called to the main roster. Whether it was bad luck or unfortunate circumstances, Steamboat didn't achieve the success his father did, and at this point it appears unlikely he will. Unfortunately, he was forced to retire as he hasn't been able to recover from back injuries.
8 Nathan Jones
He was big, competed as a powerlifter and strongman, and even aligned himself with The Undertaker, but when it came to stepping in the ring, there wasn't very much there to hold his own. Despite training with Ohio Valley Wrestling, Jones had several opportunities to show others how ‘the colossus of boggo road' was a force to be reckoned with. In December 2003, he left the WWE due to the heavy travel schedule. He was slated to compete a year later for another promotion, but didn't appear as advertised.
7 Kerry Von Erich
Armed with an incredible physique and a family deep in wrestling history, Kerry Von Erich, known also as The Texas Tornado, seemed destined for greatness. He had looks, strength, size, agility and in fact captured the Intercontinental championship in the WWE in the early 1990s. The Von Erichs' feud with The Fabulous Freebirds in World Class Championship Wrestling in the 1980s was huge. Unfortunately, due to injuries, including an amputated foot, and addiction issues, he didn't achieve the success that many thought. Sadly, his life ended when he committed suicide.
One of the most interesting characters that WCW developed was Glacier. Performed by wrestler Ray Lloyd, the character was reminiscent of something out of the Mortal Kombat video game. Lloyd has since found success outside the ring, but one has to wonder if his talent were squandered while saddled with a gimmick that didn't truly highlight what he could do. His talent is often underrated; he received extensive training in the ring by the likes of Bullet Bob Armstrong and Mr. Wrestling, but it didn't come together while he had the Glacier gimmick.
5 The Kiss Demon
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band Kiss have always been known as consummate performers. They have managed to market their brand in all different areas of merchandise. One such marketing idea was a collaboration with WCW, coming together to unveil the Kiss Demon. The character was played by Dale Torborg, who has since left wrestling. Unfortunately, any potential that the Kiss Demon had gone by the wayside, along with WCW. One has to wonder what Torborg could have achieved had he not have been left with having to make such a grand character successful.
4 Bam Bam Bigelow
Many consider him one of the greatest big men in professional wrestling. However, despite those accolades and recognition, Bigelow is a wrestling talent that didn't achieve the success many had believed he was destined for. Despite competing for WCW, TNA and the WWF, Bigelow didn't hold championships and was not part of major feuds in the WWF (except Lawrence Taylor, a non-wresler.) It was in ECW that the surface of Bigelow's talents was scratched. It is surprising that he wasn't champion more often. Bigelow competed on the independent scene for a few years after WCW was purchased. Sadly, he passed away in 2007 at the age of 45.
3 Shawn Stasiak
While using your surname in wrestling can be a hindrance, so can a completely different alias altogether. Shawn Stipich, who competed for the WWE in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the was known simply as “Meat.” His character's role was to be the sexual servant of Jacqueline, Terri Runnels and Ryan Shamrock. He had a character, but when it came to actual wins and losses and notable accomplishments, Shawn's father the late Stan ‘The Man' Stasiak stood far above his son. Shawn's career spanned less than a decade, and he has since retired from wrestling. What could have been had he remained in the business?
2 Paul Roma
During the mid-1980s, one of the most impressive young talents to appear in the WWF was Paul Roma. Initially used as enhancement talent, as time went on he was put in tag teams and worked programs. After he joined WCW, he had the distinction of being a member of the Four Horseman. He later teamed with “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff to form the team Pretty Wonderful. While he did capture the WCW tag team championships with Arn Anderson, it appeared as though he hit a glass ceiling in both promotions. One has to think with his look, size, athleticism, and charm that he could have been more successful.
1 Teddy Hart
If ever there has been a wrestler on the cusp of greatness only to squander opportunity after opportunity, following a number of incidents, it is Teddy Hart. The nephew of Bret ‘Hitman' Hart and the cousin of Natayla and David Hart Smith achieved some success. He competed in promotions such as Ring of Honor and TNA in the early part of the 2000s when both promotions were just beginning. He was theyoungest person ever signed by WWE, and worked in their developmental system under Dory Funk Jr. He still competes today, but never achieved the success that many pegged him for.