Mark Henry is the World Heavyweight Champion. Sure, he’s gotten a lot better and is turning out the best matches of his career. That said, I throw up in my mouth every time I think about all of the talented wrestlers that never held either the World Heavyweight title or the WWE Championship.
Who were the best uncrowned wrestlers that never made it to the top of the WWE/WCW?
10.) Terry Gordy – Started his professional career at 14 and had all the skill of a man who could lead the industry. Gordy had top runs in the UWF, in Japan and of course, with the Fabulous Freebirds but that “Freebird” spirit kept the best known championships away from him. Best big man ever?
9.) Arn Anderson – To me, Arn was like a redneck Mike Ditka. Tough as nails, blue collar and was an incredible promo man. His job was to make sure that Ric Flair kept the World title in the Horseman family and the Enforcer did just that. If given the chance, Arn would have made a great World Champion. He had all the tools but “World Champ” wasn’t in his job description.
8.) Billy Gunn – I catch hell all the time for my constant praise of Billy Gunn but to me, he was top four in the WWE for many years. From 1995 to 1997, Bret, Shawn and Mr. Perfect were his equal in the ring and those guys were deservedly labeled as the best throughout the industry. I compare him to Christian, as a top guy who makes everyone he’s in the ring with better.
7.) Rick Rude – Starting humbly as a one-dimensional “strongman”, Rude evolved into one of the best in his time. Part of the crew of “hugely deserving” top guys that included Jake Roberts and Arn Anderson who created magic on the mic and then delivered in the ring. By the time Rude held the NWA title, the prestige of that championship was forever lost. Not Rude’s fault… just fact.
6.) Owen Hart – I fought with where to put Owen on this list and my best assertion is that Owen was as good as anyone ever but sometimes appeared disinterested in being a top guy. There was no denying that Shawn Michaels was bound and determined to be on top but Owen never seemed to me to have that same desire. However, he had World Champion talent and carved out his own path.
5.) Ted DiBiase – Many call him the greatest to never be World Champion. I always thought that being saddled with Virgil knocked him down a peg for me. Much like wrestlers with stupid names like Val Venis or Dolph Ziggler, those who have female valets or lackeys at ringside always fall short when it comes to being number one. What helps get them heat ultimately limits their legacy.
4.) Jimmy Snuka – Superfly had everything to be the best but shortchanged himself with lifestyle choices outside the ring. Despite being too unreliable to show up, Snuka’s talent earned him multiple chances but after Hogan came in, Jimmy’s time on top was done. That said, his monster popularity was staggering in 82-84.
3.) Barry Windham – When I first saw Barry Windham, I knew he had World Champion ability. Over time, his independent spirit led him away from the NWA and into the WWF as a tag team and then eventually for another run as a sideshow. With Flair and Dusty on top and Sting on the rise, Windham was the perpetual bridesmaid but never the bride. Like Rude, his NWA title reign never meant the same as during the glory days of that title.
2.) Roddy Piper – Where does Roddy Piper fit on this list? “So good at what he did that it’s easy to forget how good he was” is the best way for me to describe Piper. I also always respected the way Piper referred to himself as a fighter and like many other on this list, Piper never needed the title to be recognized as truly great.
1.) Scott Hall – The only time I ever reconsidered my ban on “stupid names never become World Champ” was with Razor Ramon. Hall and Gordy were at the top of the Best Big Man list with Dr. Death and Stan Hansen. Scott Hall’s decline in recent years shouldn’t taint his true skill in the ring and hopefully he can rebuild his legacy one day. Everyone that has had the opportunity to work with and learn from Scott Hall marvels at how, like Piper, he was great with the small details.
***Curt Hennig should be on this list but he did hold the AWA Championship, beating Nick Bockwinkel. Never as prestigious, the AWA title still qualifies as a World title.
The WWE Hired Who to Do What?
I read this on Wrestlezone.com earlier today from Justin LaBar…
“Sports Business Daily is reporting that WWE has a new VP of Talent Relations. Jane Geddes was hired for the position and was formerly the Senior VP/Tournament Operations & Player Services at the LPGA golf organization.”
Geddes is the first member of the Talent Relations Department who is a product of Florida State University since yours truly. In addition to being an 11-time winner on the LPGA Tour, Jane holds a criminology degree, a law degree and started an internet e-commerce business as well. Quite a resume…
Despite her impressive background and resume, the one reason Geddes was hired? It’s all about the Senatorial campaign of Linda McMahon.
Let’s be honest… there isn’t a damn thing being done by anyone in Talent Relations not named McMahon or Levesque. John Laurinaitis is not taken seriously as a man of his word. Ty Bailey is universally despised by everyone who has spoken to him or dealt with him. Jane Geddes is there to look good for the media if they ever come calling on Linda’s former place of work.
As a former LPGA Champion, Geddes is infinitely qualified to work with the athletes on the women’s tour. As a former LPGA Champion, Geddes is qualified to make copies of booking sheets in the WWE. She’s there for a quota… to soften the image…
The WWE was distracted during the XFL and now again will be preoccupied with Linda for Senate.
Whatever makes them happy…
I am sure there will be angst and venom toward me for my Top 10 “Never-Were’s”… share with me on Twitter @RealKevinKelly or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also comment to me on my Facebook fan page here.
Kevin Kelly is the “Voice of Ring of Honor” and can be seen across the country on Sinclair Broadcast Group stations across the US and on ROHWrestling.com.