WCW had a reputation for never pushing new stars to break into the main event picture, but there were a few talents that just didn’t pan out the way they expected. Names like Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair and Sting dominated the main event scene with few new names like Goldberg joining. WCW did have their eye on a few young or new talents that they expected to achieve huge success at some point.
The talents that disappointed would lose their standing as a future top name and fall lower down the card. We will look at just which wrestlers had a great chance to succeed based on WCW’s perception of them before falling towards the C-List tier. Find out what caused the wrestlers to never hit their potential and just how much the company believed in them at one point. These are ten disappointing wrestlers WCW expected to become A-Listers.
10 Tank Abbott
WCW signed Tank Abbott with huge plans of an eventual feud with Goldberg. Abbott was a former UFC star and the hope was that he would adapt to wrestling like Ken Shamrock did for WWE. The intimidating look and fighting style of Abbott made him a promising signing.
Abbott unfortunately didn’t pick up the wrestling industry right away as he struggled in the ring. WCW eventually gave up on pushing him in the main event picture and moved him towards a comedic lower card role. Abbott was the backup dancer for the parody 3 Count faction.
9 Davey Boy Smith
WCW signed Davey Boy Smith away from WWE when adding him to the roster in the early 90s. Smith was coming off his legendary match against Bret Hart in the main event of Summerslam which inspired WCW to have main event hopes for the talented wrestler.
The early push would see Smith positioned as the second top face on the roster behind Sting. They even teamed together for fans of Sting to like Smith as well. A main event feud with Vader would see WCW lose faith in Smith. He was eventually released within his first year in the company.
8 Alex Wright
Ric Flair was one of the multiple people with important positions backstage that saw future main event potential in Alex Wright. WCW booked the young wrestler from Germany with a solid push early in his career. The hope for Wright’s instant success ended quickly as he came off as a generic face character.
Wright would primarily work as a comedic wrestler with his dancing moves getting heel heat from the audience. WCW tried one more character change with the new look and new name of Berlyn. It was an even bigger disaster and he was forced to return to the dancing gimmick within a few months.
7 Mike Awesome
WCW tried to build around new names in 2000 when the company was struggling. The prior years featured the same people in the main event scene, and they were hoping to change that for the better. Mike Awesome was a huge signing for WCW as they signed him during his run as ECW Champion.
The debut of Awesome was an impressive one attacking established top name Kevin Nash. WCW however failed to use him well after that with mediocre feuds and poor gimmick changes. Awesome both struggled to adapt to the new surroundings and given weak material leading to the disappointment.
6 KISS Demon
One of the strangest decisions from Eric Bischoff in WCW came out of desperation. Bischoff struck a deal to pay KISS a huge price tag to perform on Nitro. The peculiar element of the deal was KISS wanting a wrestling character based on them to get pushed hard.
Veteran Brian Adams appeared as The Demon twice before turning down the gimmick moving forward. Dave Torborg received the gig and sadly could not do much with it. WCW hoped it would connect enough to warrant a bigger push, but it was instead a punchline joke in the industry.
5 Dustin Rhodes
WCW tried to push Dustin Rhodes on multiple occasions in hopes of having him thrive due to his association with his father Dusty Rhodes. The first gimmick of The Natural would see Dustin playing a generic character trying to win over the fans of his dad.
Many of the top matches from Dustin came during this chapter of his career, but he lacked the personality and presence at the time. WCW would bring him back years later after he found success as Goldust in WWE. It was another disappointing run with the generic face character once again dooming him.
4 The Shockmaster
The infamous moment of The Shockmaster debuting and falling on his face in embarrassing fashion is still a clip often watched today. Fred Ottman made the move to WCW after having success in WWE with the characters of Tugboat and Typhoon.
WCW planned to push him harder as The Shockmaster aligning with Sting and Davey Boy Smith to feud with Sid Vicious and Harlem Heat. Unfortunately, he tripped and fell on live television in the Flair for Gold talk show segment. WCW gave him up on him and he did little of note during his run there.
Eric Bischoff’s fascination with martial arts along with the success of the video game series Mortal Kombat led to the Glacier character coming to fruition. Glacier was meant to be like the Mortal Kombat fighters with a tag line declaring his blood runs cold.
The artificial snow would fall during Glacier’s entrance in the ring as he showed off his martial arts skills. Bischoff’s hopes for Glacier to dominate the wrestling scene ended relatively quickly as fans never treated him like a relevant star. Glacier had a solid run as a lower card act but never could become the A-Lister WCW wanted.
2 David Flair
WCW often struggled with pushing the sons of legendary wrestlers too soon which led to fans disliking them. David Flair was the next in line after the disappointments of Dustin Rhodes and Erik Watts. WCW introduced David as a character in a storyline that culminated with him turning on Ric to join the New World Order.
The heel work of David left a lot to be desired and he could not move up the pecking order. A few character changes would see him play a new version of Ric Flair and later an unhinged character with girlfriend Daffney. Nothing worked as David could never become a relevant player in the wrestling world.
1 Buff Bagwell
Buff Bagwell was viewed as the future of WCW for almost a decade. The company signed him in the late-80s with a tag team run alongside 2 Cold Scorpio. Buff would have his biggest chance years later when joining the New World Order as one of their top rising stars.
The work of Bagwell unfortunately never could reach the level WCW expected from him. Even when the company was struggling to build new stars at the end of the run, Bagwell could not make it work as his ceiling was as a mid-carder. WWE even had high hopes for Buff when purchasing WCW and gave up on him within a few weeks.