WWE has always come across as a petty company when it comes to things they did not have a hand in creating. That means when wrestlers showed up from major competitors like WCW or ECW, WWE would do little with them, and in some cases, they would bury them and humiliate them in storylines for no apparent reason.
This reaction continued when wrestlers showed up in recent years from TNA Impact Wrestling, and history indicates it might happen in the future with AEW superstars as well. When WWE purchased WCW, they had a chance to win over WCW fans and build an even bigger and more popular company, but they instead buried most of the WCW stars -- with rare exceptions. Here is a look at five former WCW stars wasted in WWE and five that became bigger stars.
10 VADER - WASTED
After breaking out in the AWA as Leon White, Big Van Vader moved to New Japan Pro Wrestling, changed his name and became a massive star. He quickly rose up the ranks and developed a reputation as a legitimate tough guy, working with guys like Stan Hansen, Riki Choshu, and Bam Bam Bigelow before making his way to WCW.
WCW treated him like the star he was, and Vader won the world title from Sting at the Great American Bash in 1992. He was a dominant star, had impressive feuds with Sting, Nikita Koloff and Cactus Jack and finally signed with WWE in 1996. He started strong, but then WWE jobbed him out to Shawn Michaels and Vader finished his WWE career with a storyline where he called himself fat and worthless.
9 STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN - BIGGER STAR
Stever Austin started his career in World Class Championship Wrestling with one of his earliest feuds being against Chris Adams. By the time he made it to WCW, he was a star on the rise. Known as Stunning Steve Austin, he and Brian Pillman created the Hollywood Blondes tag team and won over fans. WCW wasn't interested in pushing him, though, so they squashed that team and Austin was no more than a mid-card star.
WCW fired Austin after an injury, and he ended up signing with WWE. Before that, he made an appearance in ECW and bashed WCW in a promo that showed how great he was on the mic. WWE almost ruined him by making him the boring Ringmaster, but he pushed his way to the top, renamed himself Stone Cold and became the biggest star in WWE history.
8 SCOTT STEINER - WASTED
The first time Scott Steiner was in WWE, it was before he was a star. Steiner was an exciting young wrestler in WCW at the time and then went to WWE and won their tag team titles with his brother Rick before eventually leaving and returning to WCW. The Steiner Brothers became the backbone of the WCW tag division for years.
Soon, Scott changed everything about his character, cutting his long hair and bleaching it blonde, cutting bizarre promos and becoming the Big Bad Bootie Daddy. He ended up as one of WCW's top heels during their final days. However, when Steiner came to WWE after WCW shut down, they booked him into an angle losing to Triple H and did nothing to help him succeed, hanging him out to dry in less than two years.
7 BOOKER T - BIGGER STAR
Booker T was a star in WCW. As a member of Harlem Heat, Booker T won 10 tag team titles. He was a six-time WCW tag team champion. He was a four-time WCW world champion. He was one of the top stars when WWE purchased the company and was in the first WCW match on WWE programming.
WWE almost destroyed him. They booked him in a feud with Triple H that he lost, a feud that had strong racial undertones. However, Booker T did not give up. He rebounded and reinvented himself with his King Booker gimmick and won two more world titles. By the end of his WWE career, Booker T was a bigger star and is now a two-time WWE Hall of Famer.
6 STING - WASTED
Sting was the one man who chose never to sign with WWE through almost his entire illustrious career. He was a superstar in WCW before it was a global phenomenon. He was always the biggest babyface in the company, and even when he went dark and took on the Crow persona, he was still the face of the company.
He was a seven-time world champion for WCW. When WWE purchased the company, Sting sat out and then joined TNA Impact Wrestling instead. He then was a four-time world champion there. By the time that he signed with WWE, Sting was 55. However, instead of the money feud with Undertaker, WWE wasted Sting in a feud with Triple H that he lost and then his career ended following a botched move by Seth Rollins.
5 UNDERTAKER - BIGGER STAR
If there is one wrestler to prove that WWE can knock out a home run when reinventing a wrestler, it is The Undertaker. He started in World Class Championship Wrestling, and then he moved on to WCW. Under the name Mean Mark Callous, he teamed with Dan Spivey as the Skyscrapers.
However, WCW had no real plans for him, and he left for USWA and then WWE. In an era where WWE preferred characters over wrestlers, Callous became The Undertaker with manager Paul Bearer and was a mortician at first before taking on his Dead Man persona. He succeeded beyond expectations and has held 17 different titles in WWE, Vince McMahon's greatest creation.
4 DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE - WASTED
Diamond Dallas Page was the best homegrown talent in WCW history. While Goldberg was the name that many fans will mention when it comes to homegrown stars, what Dallas Page did was impressive. He went from a manager who got the job because he was friends with Eric Bischoff to the biggest babyface underdog in the company.
Despite his later age when debuting in WCW, Page was able to become a great wrestler and even carried Goldberg to the best match of his career. He was a perfect superstar for WWE to push when they bought WCW, and they screwed everything up. They took one of WCW's most popular wrestlers and gave him a gimmick where he stalked Undertaker's wife. After saddling him with the motivational speaker gimmick, Page's career soon ended.
3 MICK FOLEY - BIGGER STAR
Mick Foley started his career as a hardcore wrestler in the territories, including the UWF, CWA and World Class Championship Wrestling. He then moved to WCW as Cactus Jack and turned in a ton of great wild matches, including his groundbreaking feud with Vader. In WCW, he never rose above the mid-card.
With his hardcore style, Foley moving to ECW was a no-brainer, and he became a legend there. When Foley went to WWE, they rebranded him as the deranged Mankind. Thanks to hard work, the refusal to give up and the fan's support, Foley ended up as a major star in WWE, becoming a three-time world champion and a Hall of Famer.
2 LEX LUGER - WASTED
Les Luger got his start in Florida in the territory days, training under Hiro Matsuda. In the days where the regional territories only gained a following through magazines like Pro Wrestling Illustrated, Luger arrived in WCW with a reputation as an up-and-coming talent. He made his debut as a member of the Four Horsemen and was an immediate star.
WWE brought him to the company in 1993 as The Narcissist and then rebranded him as The All-American, hoping they could make him the next Hulk Hogan after Hogan left for WCW. However, fans weren't interested, and WWE gave up at the time he was supposed to win the world title. Luger left and debuted on the first Monday Nitro and regained his role as a major star in WCW.
1 TRIPLE H - BIGGER STAR
In 1994, a wrestler showed up in WCW known as Terra Ryzing. He was a heel, and when he changed his name to Jean-Paul Levesque, he took on an aristocratic gimmick and started to talk down to the fans using a French accent. When he asked for the role of a more prominent singles star in WCW, they rejected the idea, so he left for WWE.
He debuted as Hunter Hearst Helmsley, keeping the arrogant aristocratic personality he developed in WCW. The Ultimate Warrior even squashed him at WrestleMania one year. However, things changed when he took on the role of Triple H, started Degeneration X, and soon married Stephanie McMahon in real life. He went from someone WCW didn't want to push to the Executive Vice President of Talent, Live Events and Creative of WWE.