WCW's roster has given us some of the biggest stars in wrestling history. Everyone joining WCW had dreams of making it into the main event scene, where the talent made the most money in the industry. WCW paid their roster well, but the main eventers were cashing some of the biggest paychecks you’ll ever find in the wrestling world. Not every main eventer was planned that way, however, and not every planned main eventer would find such success.
The wrestlers expected to become main eventers didn’t always find a consistent spot at the top, if they lacked a certain something. By the same token, some talents WCW never saw being elevated to that level reached the pinnacle and proved everybody wrong.
10 Expected: David Flair
WCW signed David Flair, the son of Ric Flair, with the hope of making him a top star. David was introduced in a top storyline turning on his father to become part of the New World Order faction. The youngster was out of his depth, and WCW tried to take it slowly with him.
A character change with both Ric and Arn Anderson in his corner saw another push end in disappointing fashion. David could not pick up wrestling fast enough to make an impact and was viewed as a WCW failure.
9 Surprised them: Ron Simmons
WCW didn’t expect Ron Simmons to have such momentum in the early 90s when he moved up the card. Simmons was mostly known for his tag team run as one member of Doom. However, the push as a singles face made him the top face after Sting.
Simmons made history as WCW Champion, in a truly special moment. Fans reacting with such joy to Simmons' victory is still a great visual to watch back today. Simmons had a solid main event run until the end of his time in WCW.
8 Expected: Alex Wright
The early years of Alex Wright's career in the 90s saw WCW having high hopes for him. Wright was a favorite of Ric Flair and a few others in power, who thought he had the look to become a top star. The push didn’t last long, though, as bigger stars like Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage joining WCW changed their approach.
Wright would eventually get another push, as the new character of Berlyn. The heel run didn’t work out and fans never reacted strongly to it. WCW eventually gave up on Wright and had him finish out his run in a comedic tag team with jobber Disco Inferno.
7 Surprised them: Scott Steiner
The role of Scott Steiner in the tag team division, teaming with his brother Rick Steiner, made him a valued member of the WCW roster. Tag team wrestling was important to WCW, which left the Steiner Brothers in the tag division for most of their run.
Scott eventually turned heel on his brother and had his own run in singles action. WCW didn’t expect him to move into the main event picture, but Steiner thrived in the role. The final year of WCW featured Steiner becoming the rare bright spot to end the company, as their top overall heel.
6 Expected: Konnan
The run of Konnan in AAA made him a massive draw in Mexico. Konnan was the first AAA talent signed by WCW and didn’t get slotted in the cruiserweight division.
WCW had high hopes for Konnan and placed him in a feud with Ric Flair to gain credibility. Konnan never appeared to be on the same level as the main eventers and eventually was slotted in the mid-card. A run in the nWo Wolfpac gave Konnan his best chance at moving back up the card, but it never happened.
5 Surprised them: Vader
Vader was not established as a top star until his WCW run in the early 90s. There were some great moments in Japan, but the North American audience knew very little about Vader. WCW gave him a push and it worked out instantly.
Harley Race becoming Vader’s manager made him a top act. WCW would see Vader thrive as the top heel, with memorable feuds against Ric Flair, Sting and Ron Simmons. Vader had a tremendous WCW Championship reign, with this being the peak run of his career.
4 Expected: The Giant
Big Show (aka The Giant) was given a huge push against Hulk Hogan to start his career, despite his lack of experience. WCW didn’t waste any time pushing him and The Giant would win the WCW Championship, gaining enormous credibility right away.
The overall run didn’t go as planned, though, and he fell back down into the upper mid-card for most of his run. WCW would slot Giant back into the occasional main event angle, but he was never portrayed as an equal to the likes of Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Sting and the others at the top.
3 Surprised them: Booker T
Booker T and his brother Stevie Ray had a tremendous run together as Harlem Heat. WCW trusted them enough to have ten reigns as the WCW Tag Team Champions, all leading to success. Booker started working a few singles matches in 1997 and found popularity on his own.
1998 would see Booker start to have classics against Chris Benoit, Bret Hart and a few others. WCW finally pushed him to the top after seeing him thrive in every role. Booker won the WCW Championship in 2000 and would hold the title on five different occasions, developing a legacy as a great champ.
2 Expected: Buff Bagwell
WCW viewed Buff Bagwell as a future main eventer for a full decade. Bagwell joined the company in the early 90s and always had the potential of a top star. WCW never felt confident enough in pushing him all the way to the top, however, due to his flaws as a worker.
Bagwell’s time in the New World Order did add some credibility to his name. Unfortunately, it meant nothing when he flopped with a bigger push in the final few years, when WCW desperately needed new talent. Bagwell’s failure to thrive in the main event scene played a role in WWE cutting bait with him shortly into the invasion angle.
1 Surprised them: Diamond Dallas Page
The career of Diamond Dallas Page was never supposed to happen. He started his career much later than his peers, in his late thirties. Page started gaining momentum in the mid-card around 1996. Fans started to cheer for him despite his heel character, thanks to the popularity of the Diamond Cutter.
Eric Bischoff was a close friend of DDP, but he did not push him until Scott Hall and Kevin Nash fought for it. This created a storyline where Page became one of the proud WCW wrestlers to oppose the nWo. Incredible matches against Randy Savage elevated DDP to the status of a main eventer and WCW legend.