You’ve gotta have that something special to make it to WWE. But to last, you’ve gotta be extraspecial.
Hulk Hogan, Triple H and Chris Jericho all had that something special to create long and memorable WWE careers. Even Superstars like Hardcore Holly and Billy Gunn carved out lengthy tenures by reinventing themselves through the years.
But not all WWE Superstars have what it takes to stick around. Blink and you missed ’em, but we dug deep into the archives to find 15 competitors you’ve all but forgotten about. Do you remember Droz and Prince Albert’s third ally in their group of thugs? How about Vickie Guerrero’s most short-lived squeeze? How about Just Joe? Exactly. Here are some more.
1.) Just Joe
Rumors in the WWE locker room spread faster than you can say “purple monkey dishwasher.” Just Joe didn’t help matters.
Popping up in WWE in summer 2000, this mysterious man instigated beefs with his backstage babble while introducing himself as “Joe, Just Joe.”
Unfortunately, Just Joe’s proclivity for spreading rumors often got him on the bad side of his fellow Superstars, whether it was an armbar from Saturn or getting stretched by submission expert Dean Malenko.
Though he was quick to proclaim, “Don’t shoot the messenger,” most WWE Superstars simply didn’t have time to hear Just Joe out. Perhaps for his own safety, Joe disappeared from WWE by the end of 2000.
Footage of Key in WWE is harder to find than the rare white elephant, which is unfortunate when considering the obvious talents of this extremely mobile 6-foot-4, 315-pounder. First emerging from the crowd during a heated brawl between Droz & Prince Albert and The Godfather & Val Venis on the July 26, 1999, episode of Raw, Key immediately aligned himself with the so-called “Pierced Pals.” The alternative trio made for a wild bunch — as witnessed in their dominant Six-Man Tag Team Match on Aug. 14, 1999’s Shotgun Saturday Night — but fell apart before the summer was through. Key was never seen again, which seems odd considering he was a bug ugly monster who dressed in all white from head to toe.
3.) Hade Vansen
Hade Vansen never actually identified himself when he took over the Dec. 12, 2008, broadcast of SmackDown. But, somehow, a dedicate minority of the internet was able to identify the mysterious, vaguely British man who hijacked a WWE broadcast and spoke in cryptic sound bites before falling off the face of the earth. They must’ve been madly curious about Vansen’s one-shot appearance and his vague references to “the darkness” and “immortal power.” Was this guy going after The Undertaker right out of the gate? It’s hard to call, but he did sign off by saying, “Now the prophecy shall be realized.” Well, we’re still waiting.
Poor Babu. The personal manservant of an obnoxious Indian heir named Tiger Ali Singh (who also could’ve been on this list), the scrawny sidekick suffered a series of public humiliations at the hands of his benefactor that even Virgil would’ve balked at. When he wasn’t throwing rose petals at his master’s feet, Babu was getting pounded in matches that Singh should’ve been competing in, including a Nov. 7, 1998, savaging at the hands of Goldust. Worst of all, he was completely forgotten about after Singh disappeared from WWE. He didn’t even make it into the WWE Encyclopedia! Poor Babu.
5.) Super Porky
For some, the wrestling business is a chance to let out their anger or test their athleticism. For others, it’s the perfect opportunity to hang out and eat some ham.
You wouldn’t guess it by looking at him, but Super Porky is from a legendary family in lucha libre. Breaking into the business as Brazo de Plata, he and his brothers earned numerous championships south of the border.
The luchador gained a copious amount of weight over the years, leading people to dub him “Super Porky,” a nickname he embraced. Fans were surprised when the hefty grappler showed up in WWE as part of the short-lived Juniors Division in 2006. While his fellow Junior seemed extra hyper upon their introduction, Super Porky preferred to sit back and chow down on the ham he carried around.
Unfortunately, the Juniors Division didn’t last long, which gave Super Porky plenty of time to explore WWE’s prolific catering area before he headed back to Mexico.
Simon Dean wasn’t the only fitness guru to try and whip the WWE Universe into shape. Muffy, the personal trainer of Stephanie McMahon, briefly jogged into our lives for a few weeks in spring 2000.
The blonde bombshell’s favorite pastime wasn’t exercising, but berating fans for being obese and lazy. Muffy’s grating voice served as a deterrent from working out for anyone within screaming distance.
Stephanie McMahon must have been quickly fed up with Muffy’s annoying methods, as after a couple weeks, the trainer quietly disappeared, never to be seen (or heard from, thankfully) again.
When Sunny shockingly betrayed The Bodydonnas to side with new tag champs The Godwinns, it left a vacancy in the fitness freaks’ managerial slot. And when the sun isn’t shining, there are clouds overhead — and that’s exactly what the WWE Universe got in the mid-1990s: an overcast, gloomy Sunny imposter named Cloudy. Or was it Kloudy? Or even Kloudi? No matter how you spelled it, this was a major downgrade for Skip and Zip from the beautiful WWE Hall of Famer.
Here’s the thing with Cloudy: She was a he. Clearly a dude with bulging biceps and tattoos, he wore a horrendous blonde wig and Sunny’s skimpy athletic attire, though she looked a whole lot better in it. Thankfully, the dark days weren’t around for long. After a debut leading The Bodydonnas to victory over The New Rockers on the Free For All pre-show that aired prior to King of the Ring 1996, he/she appeared on more edition each of Raw and Superstars before being dismissed live on air by Skip and Zip during In Your House 9: International Incident.
8.) Palmer Cannon
Arriving on the scene in summer 2005, Palmer Cannon was a representative of “The Network.” He came to SmackDown to lay down the law from his superiors, but, to many, Canon overstepped his bounds by usurping the authority of then-SmackDown General Manager Theodore Long.
The brash executive made matches for the show without Long’s knowledge, which led to major friction between the two. Canon’s other ideas — including establishing a Juniors Division and approving Paul Burchill’s request to become a pirate — fell flat on their faces. And so did Canon’s brief tenure in WWE.
9.) Ryan Braddock
After training atthe Steel Domain wrestling school in Chicago, Ryan Braddock worked for several independent promotions before signing a WWE contract in 2005. The big brawler debuted in WWE's former developmental territory, Deep South Wrestling, and won their Heavyweight Title three times.
When WWE severed ties with Deep South, Braddock was transferred to Louisville, Ky.,-based Ohio Valley Wrestling where he continued to excel and won the OVW Heavyweight Championship. The bruising youngster finally made his WWE debut on SmackDown in 2008 and was KO’d by Big Show. After a year of sporadic SmackDown and ECW appearances, Braddock was released by WWE. Still, to his credit, the big man didn’t let his less than memorable time as a WWE Superstar end his career and he continues to compete in rings around the world.
10.) Gunner Scott
A talented 6-foot-3, 230-pound bruiser named Gunner Scott debuted on SmackDown in 2006 where he pulled off a stunning upset over Booker T in his very first match. He had shown great promise in WWE’s developmental territory, Ohio Valley Wrestling, where he held OVW’s Heavyweight Championship, Television Championship and Tag Team Championships with Chris Masters. He tangled with the likes of Matt Morgan, Kenny Dykstra and CM Punk and seemed destined for great things.
Although he defeated Booker T once more in a rematch, Scott never again soared to the heights of his debut. He was defeated by Mr. Kennedy and brutalized by The Great Khali, who threw the youngster in a body bag never to be seen on WWE TV again. Scott has continued to compete around the world, even briefly capturing the once revered NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
11.) Eric Escobar
The sky was the limit for Eric Escobar. With a toned physique, a great smile and a girlfriend in Vickie Guerrero, he was introduced on the Oct. 16, 2009, edition of SmackDown, where he defeated Matt Hardy, thanks in part to a distraction by his squeeze. The victory earned him a slot on the blue brand’s team for the Bragging Rights pay-per-view, but the rookie was removed from the squad before the event took place..
It was just the beginning of the end for Escobar. Like in any relationship, a rocky road loomed ahead and his romance with WWE’s resident cougar quickly crashed. And so did the Latin lover’s rising star. He endured a series of “punishment” Handicap Matches against the likes of The Hart Dynasty and JeriShow. Perhaps the final indignity per Vickie came when he was systematically decimated in his final WWE match against Kane. Simply put for Eric Escobar: Cross the boss and you get tossed.
12.) Dan Rodman
At 6-foot-7 and a rock-solid 300 pounds, Dan Rodman looked like he would have a bump-free road to becoming a WWE Superstar. After competing in — but not winning — season two of WWE Tough Enough, the former Arena Football League standout was assigned to WWE’s developmental territory, Deep South Wrestling, and defeated Heath Slater in his first match in July 2006.
Rodman’s impressive physique fast-tracked him (perhaps too fast) into matches on Heat against established Superstars like Val Venis, Eugene and Mark Henry. The monster of a man even had WWE Championship Match against John Cena. Unfortunately, Rodman was released in August 2007. Fortunately, Rodman spent as much time developing his brain as he did his brawn and graduated from law school in May 2013.
13.) Gavin Spears
Only four years after beginning his career in Canada, Gavin Spears received a WWE tryout in Buffalo, N.Y., in January 2006 and was subsequently signed to a WWE developmental contract. Assigned to Ohio Valley Wrestling, Spears formed a tag team with Cody Rhodes, with whom he won the OVW Tag Team Championships. When WWE severed ties with OVW, Spears was re-assigned to Florida Championship Wrestling where he again excelled as a tag team competitor, teaming with Dolph Ziggler to win the FCW Tag Team Titles.
In August 2007, Spears made his WWE television debut on ECW as part of General Manager Teddy Long’s "New Superstar Initiative." Unfortunately, Spears failed to separate himself from the pack of young and hungry competitors being called up from Florida. After months of competing, Spears was released by WWE in January 2009. But this story has a happy ending. Spears continued to hone his craft across North America and, in September 2013, he was re-signed by WWE and now competes in WWE NXT as Tye Dillinger.
14.) The Heart Throbs
In 2005, two overly energetic individuals who thought they were nothing short of God’s gift to women entered WWE. Despite their overflowing self-confidence, The Heart Throbs never ascended the heights of success, although they certainly had their shot. In their WWE debut Romeo & Antonio faced off with World Tag Team Champions William Regal & Tajiri,but came up short.
The Heart Throbs seemed destined for the bizarre from there as they engaged in rivalries with other unique tandems, including William Regal & Eugene and Val Venis & Viscera. But despite bringing “hot chicks” in the ring to dance, the duo never quite caught on. Romeo & Antonio were entertaining, but it takes more than a little song and dance to last in WWE.
15.) Braden Walker
Every now and then, a competitor arrives in WWE with such a heralded reputation that it’s hard to imagine anything short of massive success. Superstars like Chris Jericho, Big Show and Kurt Angle all arrived with those expectations and lived up to their hype. Unfortunately, Braden Walker did not.
A star in the world of sports-entertainment before ever stepping foot in a WWE ring, Walker debuted on ECW in summer 2008. But with a tubby physique that was more George Costanza than George Foreman, Walker didn’t excite many. Still, he managed to defeat cigar-chomping Cubano Armanda Estrada in his first match, so maybe there was hope.
There was not. Walker was gone after one more matchup, leaving all to wonder what the hype was about.