Right now, the WWE is having trouble figuring out what to do with some of it's most talented performers. Wrestlers like Cesaro and Dolph Ziggler seem to be middling in the mid card when their potential screams This is not a new phenomenon. Throughout the history of sports entertainment, wrestlers have arrived on the scene who appeared to have everything that it took to become the next great WWE superstar, yet for various reasons never lived up to their potential.
If I was a betting man, I would have lost my house betting on the futures of what ultimately turned out to be mid-card talent.Here are 5 former WWE stars who should have been HUGE!
Imagine Bray Wyatt if he was the leader of a mid-90s grunge band. That was basically Raven's gimmick. By the time Raven made it to the WWE in 2000, the former ECW World Champion and WCW US Champion was mainly only used for Hardcore matches. His most notable feud was with Perry Saturn's mop/girlfriend.
If the WWE had managed to get a hold of Raven in the mid 90s when he was lighting ECW on fire as the demented outcast, he could and would have been huge!
In 2007 if you had asked any wrestling fan which member of the Miz and Morrison tag team tandem would end up being the Shawn Michaels and which would be the Marty Janetty, 9 out of 10 would have told you Miz was the Janetty.
10 years later, and The Miz is one of the top heels in the business, enjoying one of the best runs of his career, and John Morrison is nowhere to be seen on WWE TV.
Morrison was an ECW World champion (The WWE version of ECW), tag team and Intercontiental champion and even sniffed a few WWE World championshp feuds with CM Punk, Jeff Hardy and John Cena.
Morrison left the company in 2011 and told the Talk Is Jericho podcast why he stayed gone.
"They wanted me to sign for 5-years," Morrison said. "I might not be able to move the way I did in my prime, and I figured if I wanted to do an action movie the way I wanted to, the time is now."
Morrison has stayed busy on the independant circuit and is now a staple on Lucha Underground as Johnny Mundo.
Don't get me wrong, Billy Gunn is a WWE legend. His career is larger than many who step through the ropes. However, his singles career never took off. Usually when a tag team gains as much success as the New Age Outlaws did, one of the members goes on to have major success on the singles trail.
Billy had the look, the athleticism and the charisma, yet after he split from the DX faction, he never quite caught on as a serious threat to move up the ranks as a solo act. Billy was a one time WWF Intercontinental Champion, a two time WWF Hardcore Champion, and the 1999 King of the Ring winner.
Could it be his Mr. Ass gimmick just seemed ridiculous to be taken seriously? Or that "The One" seemed too generic?
The WWE pulled the plug on his singles career after a short while and threw him back in the tag team ranks, most notably with Chuck Palumbo where they formed the ambiguously gay duo of Chuck and Billy. And we all know how well that went.
Largely considered one of the most athletic wrestlers in WWE history, Shelton Benjamin also suffered from never catching fire when he split from The Worlds Greatest Tag Team with Charlie Haas.
During his tenure with the company, he won the Intercontinental Championship three times, the United States Championship once, and the WWE Tag Team Championship twice with Haas. While these numbers are good, Benjamin seemed like he SHOULD have been a World Champion. His single match with Shawn Michaels on RAW is still one of the most memorable bouts of the early 2000s.
The WWE cut bait on marketing him as a purely athletic wrestler, died his hair blonde and literally turned him into a momma's boy. The gimmick never got off the ground and Benjamin was soon gone from the WWE.
Luckily, Shelton was resigned after the brand split, but an injury kept him from debuting this past fall. It appears that Benjamin will be back with the WWE early next year, but will he live up to his potential?
This list could simply be called The Owen Hart list and most people would know what I was talking about. Owen should have been a world champion. Hart did have two IC title runs with WWE, and four additional Tag Team title victories, so to say he received no push with the company is incorrect. However, the WWE never let Owen get out of the shadow of being “Bret Hart’s brother”.
Owen was every bit as good in the ring as his brother and most agree he was even better on the mic. There were times when Owen didn't have to carry his prother's name around, yet he was saddled with horrible “Rocket” and “Blue Blazer” gimmicks in the late 1980s and early 1990s, which were just mid-card fodder at best. He also got branded as the "nugget" of the Hart family. Believe it or not, that didn't help his credibility at all.
Many WWE legends still discuss just how funny and pleasant Owen was backstage. Sadly, we'll never know just how big of plans the WWE could have had for Owen, as he tragically died on May 23, 1999, when an equipment malfunction occurred during his entrance from the rafters of Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Missouri, U.S., at the WWF's Over the Edge pay-per-view event.