WWE is responsible for the most popular Superstars in all of pro wrestling and allowing them the chance to show off their talent and charisma on the biggest stage. The majority of the talent signed by the WWE are wrestlers on the free agent market with some sort of name value behind them. Steve Austin and Hulk Hogan were respected performers in the industry but WWE signed them and took them to the next level. The company also keeps their eyes on talents with minimal wrestling experience, especially if they have backgrounds in other forms of athletics. John Cena and The Rock were each signed by the WWE early in their wrestling careers and made the absolute most of the opportunity.
Basically, WWE usually knows what they're doing in terms of scouting. Through the years, there have been some issues with poor scouting or talents failing to deliver the goods after getting a contract. WWE is like any other business with a fair share of bad decisions coming along with the positive ones. We’ll look at some of the most regretful choices the company has made when it came to free agent market. Their history of poor decisions making will be discussed here with fifteen former Superstars the WWE should have never even signed.
15 The Sandman
WWE bringing back ECW as a third brand caused a sense of excitement in the wrestling community. Various ECW related projects brought in big money and that led to Vince McMahon trying to resurrect the old promotion. Many of the ECW originals were signed but the show clearly was about showcasing younger talents on a smaller stage before they moved to Raw or SmackDown. That made the signing of The Sandman a complete waste of time.
14 Chris Harris
The current WWE product is full of stars that originally made their name in TNA. A.J. Styles, Samoa Joe and Bobby Roode have all succeeded in the WWE this year. WWE’s current open-minded approach to free agency wasn’t always this great for former TNA performers. It was rare for a previous TNA star to get a chance in the WWE world. One person to receive this opportunity before it became a trend was Chris Harris and he dropped the ball big time.
13 Sara Lee
WWE Tough Enough is meant to find potential wrestlers through a reality series, but it hasn't given the WWE many legitimate main roster stars. The most recent season has yet to see if anyone has progressed enough to be main roster worthy, but there’s one big failure. Sara Lee won the women’s side of the Tough Enough competition earning a contract worth $250,000. The problem is that she showed less athletic ability and charisma than everyone else on the show.
12 Ultimo Dragon
The death of WCW led to many former impressive talents from the promotion getting a chance in WWE. Rey Mysterio was among the best signings following the Monday Night Wars ending. Fans instantly connected with him and Mysterio became one of the top merchandise sellers in the company. WWE hoped to go back to this formula with the signing of another masked cruiserweight from WCW's past.
11 Mason Ryan
WWE has always shown favoritism towards the muscle heads of the industry with larger physiques. This has led to many untalented performers getting an opportunity in the WWE despite not having the goods to back it up. Mason Ryan is the perfect example of this. The company signed him and tried to mature him into a capable performer during his time in developmental.
10 Mike Adamle
Michael Cole coming to the WWE as a broadcaster with experience in other fields and becoming such a successful commentator made them look for new talent everywhere. One broadcaster from the sports world to get an opportunity in the company was Mike Adamle. His prior experience saw him play in the NFL and later commentate NFL games and host American Gladiators.
Vader dominated WCW on the heel side of the roster for a couple of years. The monster villain worked outstanding programs against Ric Flair and Sting. Between his success in Japan and WCW, his eventual signing in the WWE seemed like a perfect fit for him. Vince McMahon typically loved behemoth wrestlers, but he never gravitated towards Vader.
8 “Dr. Death” Steve Williams
Steve Williams' background in college football and college wrestling added credibility to him. With the nickname Dr. Death, he destroyed his opponents for many years in various wrestling promotions and Williams achieved his best success in Japan. A friendship with fellow Oklahoma fanatic Jim Ross caused WWE to sign Dr. Death with the intentions of pushing him to the moon.
7 Original Sin Cara (Mistico)
WWE has looked to the international free agent market in recent years when signing new talents. Shinsuke Nakamura, Finn Bálor and Asuka are three of the better wrestlers to benefit and prove foreign wrestlers can provide huge success if booked well. One wrestler that added a negative strike towards the international side of things was the original Sin Cara. WWE signed the legendary Mexican wrestling star Mistico to play the character.
Brakkus' bodybuilding is the sole reason Vince McMahon showed any interest in signing him. McMahon loved his physique and locked him into a contract with the WWE during the mid-90s. Brakkus lacked experience and was sent to various promotions in hopes of learning the skills needed before becoming a fixture on the main roster. His stints in ECW and USWA both showed minimal potential from Brakkus.
5 Buff Bagwell
WWE purchased WCW in 2001 and it gave us the first ever storyline putting the two promotions against each other. Vince McMahon owned both properties, but struggled to sign talents from the WCW brand. Many of the top names kept their prior contracts with AOL Time Warner and collected the huge checks until they ended. Buff Bagwell was one of the talents to accept and sign a new contract with the WWE for the WCW brand.
4 Nathan Jones
Nathan Jones’ resume of time in powerlifting, strongman competitions and mixed martial arts made him a noteworthy signing for the big company. They believed his background and potential could land them another future main event star. Jones debuted on the SmackDown brand with little experience. The Australian star clearly wasn’t ready for the WWE world and failed to make an impact.
3 Marc Mero
WWE and WCW aggressively pursued the talents hitting the free agent market, which allowed wrestlers to go back and forth between both companies. One of the big signings at the time saw WWE acquire former WCW star Johnny B. Badd and have him work under his real name, Marc Mero. They presented Mero completely differently, with a more well-rounded character and a chance to move up the card rather than the comedic gimmick he used in WCW.
2 The Great Khali
The Great Khali utilized his seven-foot height to his advantage by entering the wrestling world. History was made in 2006 when Khali became the first wrestler from India to ever receive a WWE contract. It was clearly for his size rather than his wrestling skills or charisma. Khali struggled to move around the ring and it caused his matches to be a disaster every single time.
1 Lex Luger
The signing of Lex Luger by the WWE is one that everyone wishes never happened. Luger wasn’t bad in WCW before or after his WWE run, but it's clear looking back at his career that he was just better off in WCW. Vince McMahon actually signed him away from WCW for his World Bodybuilding Federation. The WBF tanking is what led to Luger instead being used as a major player in the WWE.
Following Hulk Hogan’s departure, WWE desperately needed a new star to be the face of the company. McMahon put a lot on Luger and marked him as a young American hero basically ready to follow in the footsteps of Hogan. Luger could not connect with fans and his push flopped. WWE had to go with Bret Hart winning the WWE Championship at WrestleMania X instead of Luger. At the end of his WWE contract, Luger jumped ship back to WCW. McMahon signing Luger was among the worst decisions in WWE history which also bit them in the rear-end when Lex made his shocking debut for WCW without anybody knowing.
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