WWE has been around for a long time. So long, in fact, some of the most famous wrestlers of all time have passed through their ring. Names like Hulk Hogan, John Cena, and Stone Cold Steve Austin have been front and center as the faces of the company, but megastars like AJ Styles and even Sting have too. With such a long, rich history, however, it's easy to forget one or two wrestlers were actually there.
That's not because they are bad, though. Instead, they were only there for a short time, despite being big names. Whether it was because they didn't do much or left the company too soon, they never made a lasting impact with Vince McMahon, despite being massive stars in their own right. We want to highlight those wrestlers today.
10 Dan Severn
Dan Severn was the man. As a UFC and NWA champion, there was a lot of potential for the crossover star to make an impact in WWE during the Attitude Era. Unfortunately, in a time where larger than life personas like Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, and Undertaker ruled the federation, a more grounded "beat you up" kind of star just wasn't going to cut it.
His run in the company lasted around a year, debuting during the NWA invasion angle. In that time, he revived his UFC feud with fellow MMA star Ken Shamrock, and even challenged for the European Championship. Despite all this, he is better known for his work outside of WWE.
9 Awesome Kong
In many ways, Awesome Kong is a modern-day Chyna. Now, we aren't going to compare their mainstream appeal, because the eras in which they worked are too different, but we can compare their style. As powerhouses, both Chyna and Kong dominated their divisions and even took on male competitors.
While Chyna was a WWE-made star, however, Kong wrestled around the world — but became a big-time star in TNA. The latter ended up coming to WWE in 2010, under the name Karma, but her run came to an end thanks to an unfortunate injury mixed with personal issues. Now, Kong is making a comeback in AEW.
8 Ultimo Dragon
Before signing in WWE, Ultimo Dragon was one of the most famous masked wrestlers around. After making a name for himself in Japan and WCW, however, he came to WWE in 2003, shortly after Rey Mysterio made his debut. The logic was simple — the crowd loved Mysterio, so bring on more renowned masked high-fliers and they'll print money.
Unfortunately, his run in the company lasted only about a year, and in that time, the mega-star looked like a shell of his former self. Working mostly on Velocity and Heat, the Ultimo Dragon wasn't really put in a situation to succeed and was really only remembered for teaming with Tajiri and tripping backstage at WrestleMania XX.
7 Juventud Guerrera
Much like Rey Mysterio, Eddie Guerrero, and Ultimo Dragon, Juventud Guerrera was a high-octane aerial assassin as part of WCW's Cruiserweight Division. Much like many of those previously mentioned names, he also competed in ECW and Mexico, becoming a sensation. So, it was exciting when he debuted alongside other Mexican legends Psicosis and Super Crazy.
While that stable sounds amazing, there was a catch. The group's gimmick was that of Mexican Lawn Maintenance Staff and they drove riding mowers to the ring. Unsurprisingly, Guerrera left the company left around a year later, with the other two following shortly after.
6 Dave Taylor
Dave Taylor was a hard-hitting wrestler who really became prominent in the United States thanks to a five-year run in WCW starting in 1995. Mostly known as William Regal's tag partner, the two put on some technically sound matches as the Blue Bloods, right up until Regal left the Atlanta-Based company in 2000. That's when Taylor left TV as well.
That was the last time we saw Taylor on mainstream TV until 2006, when he debuted on SmackDown. Much like his time in WCW, he was paired with William Regal, and the two competed for and won the tag-team championships against Paul London and Brian Kendrick. His most memorable moment came during Armageddon 2006, in one of the most underrated ladder matches in recent memory.
5 Colt Cabana
Colt Cabana may be one of the best comedy wrestlers of all time. Even if you disagree with that comment, fans around the world need to attribute the rise in wrestling podcasts to him and Art of Wrestling. Before he broke audio ground, however, he was a famous independent star who signed with the WWE, and fans of less mainstream wrestling were excited to see what would happen.
He was given the name Scotty Goldman, and debuted on SmackDown in 2008, losing to Brian Kendrick. For the next year, that sort of became his thing, and by February 2009, he lost his last match in the company to Umaga. His release was probably the best thing that could happen to his career, however, as he went back to the independent scene, becoming a bigger star than anyone could have imagined.
4 James Storm
"The Cowboy" James Storm was a pillar of TNA for more than a decade, from 2002 until his departure in 2015. Best known for his work alongside now-WWE Superstar Bobby Roode in the tag-team Beer Money, Storm did it all, winning 16 championships while in the company. Yet, when he left TNA/Impact, he was free to pursue whatever interests he wanted — and he chose WWE.
Well, not exactly main-roster WWE. Instead, he wrestled two matches in NXT, one against Danny Burch and another against Adam Rose. Those two lone matches were all he had under Vince McMahon's employ, though we think it could have been more. Instead, he decided to go back to Impact for another run.
3 Jushin Liger
Jushin Liger is one of the greatest wrestlers of all time. With a decades-long career, Liger has wrestled for almost every major promotion imaginable, from NJPW to ROH and even TNA. Many forget he wrestled in WWE as well. We don't blame you if this slipped your mind: he only did so twice, with over twenty years separating each appearance.
His first appearance came in 1990 during an event co-produced by All Japan Pro Wrestling and NJPW, while his second took place more recently in 2015. Obviously, the second time around was more memorable, as he actually faced another WWE star in Tyler Breeze at NXT: TakeOver: Brooklyn.
2 Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard
For one year, WWE employed the best tag team ever. No, we're not talking about the Revival — though the two teams share a lot of similarities. We're talking about Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard, two of the most decorated tag-team wrestlers of all time, and one half of the Four Horsemen stable.
Debuting in 1988, the two only lasted about a year in the company, but did a lot with Bobby "The Brain" Heenan managing them. They took part in Survivor Series and WrestleMania, and even defeated Demolition to become the tag-team champions!
1 The Rock 'n' Roll Express
Managed by Jim Cornette, The Rock 'n' Roll Express was one of the biggest tag teams of the era. Predominantly working in the NWA, Robert Gibson and Ricky Morton worked a hard-hitting style that fans loved. They did branch out to bigger programming, however, in WCW, and for many fans, that's where they did their most prominent work.
Yet, for a brief time in 1998, as part of the NWA-Invasion angle, Gibson and Morton made their way to WWE. Feuding with the likes of L.O.D 2000, the two impressed, but years removed from their heyday and in the middle of the Attitude Era, they just didn't fit. They only lasted a few months in the company. Still, their work outside WWE was enough to warrant a Hall of Fame induction, so we guess it ended up working out well for the legendary team.