The WWE has been a major force in the sports industry since it was founded 66 years ago. During that span, The Rock, Andre the Giant, Triple H, Hulk Hogan, and Ric Flair, among others, have dazzled children and adults alike. However, for every great wrestler, there are more who made little or no impact, whose careers lasted a year at most and were nothing more than one trick ponies in a stable full of mustangs. That’s what this list is! Here are the greatest one-hit wonders the WWE has ever seen.
Duke The Dumpster Droese Takes Out The Trash
The 1980s were a very glamorous time for professional wrestling. Performers wore bejeweled skin-tight spandex and were basically the definition of cartoon characters. Tired of looking like a joke, Vince McMahon decided to toughen the sport back up in the ’90s and began creating characters based off of blue collar professions. One such wrestler was Duke “the Dumpster” Droese, a character who was just your average everyday garbage man…with an anger problem! The gimmicky character was an absolute flop and was trashed by the league swiftly. Turns out fans don’t want to root for a character who was the literal definition of trash. Wrestling fans are far too sophisticated for that!
Koko B. Ware Gets Piledriven Out Of The Ring
For a brief time in late ’80s and early ’90s, our next one-hit wonder really brought a whole new perspective to the sport. Best known for a quirky dance on his way to the ring. Flapping his arms like a bird with his macaw Frankie on his shoulder, fans were not impressed by Koko B. Ware. During his brief stint as a WWE star, Koko was able to get into a few big fights, including one with WWE legend the Undertaker. In fact, Koko B. Ware was the first wrestler the Undertaker ever gave his signature piledriver to. Mr. B Ware never recovered and, sadly, never found anything more than middling fan interest until he was unceremoniously retired.
Disco Inferno Does The Hustle Straight Outta The Ring
Few things in this world are remembered less fondly than the disco era. The glitz and glamor were fun for a time, but WCW one-hit wonder Disco Inferno never was. We’re still not sure what the league was trying to accomplish by basing a character off of John Travolta’s character from Saturday Night Fever. You may have also noted that Disco never actually made it to the WWE, although the former mistake did garner enough titles with WCW and NWO to be considered relevant for this list. He probably deserved a shot anyway. Plus, with WCW and NWO no longer existing, it really wouldn’t be fair to limit you just WWE’s failed attempts at glory!
The Mountie Confirmed Canadian Stereotypes For America
In Canada, police officers who ride horses are lovingly known as Mounties. In the United States, Mounties are seen as a joke, wearing red uinforms and speaking in the worst Canadian accents in movies. Why the WWE thought creating a character named “the Mountie” would become a fan favorite is anyone’s guess. But hey, at least they tried. Much like “the Dumpster,” the Mountie was an attempt by WWE to toughen its image back up after the heavy glam period known as the 1980s. The Mountie did his best to strike fear in his opponents, using a caddle prod as his signature weapon. He even won an Intercontinental Championship, beating Brett Hart. Two days later, however, he lost the title to Rowdy Roddy Piper, and after a quick up and down run in the WWE, he was cut from the sport in 1992.
Adam Bomb Blows Up The Competition
Adam Bomb looked the part of a WWE superstar. He was fast and strong and hulked over his opponents at an intimidating 6’7″ height. His name was pretty clever too. Unfortunately for Adam, his persona killed his big chance to kill his competition. During his brief run with WWE, Adam Bomb got into feuds with a long list of competitors including Earthquake, Giant Gonzalez, and Bam Bam Bigelow. Fed up with his antics, the WWE rarely gave Adam Bomb a chance on a featured ticket, usually relegating him to their lowly rated Saturday morning televised fights. Feeling he deserved more, Adam Bomb blew up (but not literally), abandoning the league in 1992 to join the rival WCW. We’re guessing it didn’t go so well as no one seems to remember his name in 2018.
The Sandman Soaks The Crowd
The Sandman was a special breed of wrestler. Starting his career in the ECW, he became incredibly popular. Fans loved everything about the Sandman. Until he got into the ring that is. During his three-minute long entrance, the crowd would go crazy as the Sandman would soak them in beer. The joke was on the wrestler though, as his matches often wouldn’t even last a minute. Sometimes he would win, evidenced by his five ECW Heavyweight titles. Oftentimes he would lose, evidenced by the fact that very few fans remember the Sandman, because he just couldn’t put enough opponents to sleep.
Isaac Yankem DDS Hates His Enemies… And Cavities
Another failed wrestler based on a blue-collar profession, Isaac Yankem DDS has one of the best names of any wrestler on this list. And by best we mean dumb. He was billed as the seven-foot-tall former dentist of WWE legend Jerry Lawler. Of course, because Lawler had a fued with Bret Hart, Yankem also had a feud with Bret Hart. Fans didn’t care much for the dentist turned wrestler, unsurprisingly, and Isaac Yankem DDS saw his television time dwindle, sometimes not being featured for months at a time. The actor behind Yankem would eventually have a much larger role with WWE, just not as a former dentist who views his enemies as just another cavity.
Nailz Hammers The Head Of His Own Coffin
Nailz was set up to be one of the all-time great WWE wrestlers. He had charisma, charm, a great name, and an exceptional ability to intimidate his opponent and his audience. At the height of his fame, Nailz was supposed to feud with the Undertaker. However, that plotline was derailed when he got into a verbal and physical altercation with league President Vince McMahon over money. Upset over his payout for SummerSlam 1992, Nailz stormed in McMahon’s office and the two had to be separated by security. He was fired almost instantly. His feud with McMahon didn’t quit though, as he testified against his former boss during a steroid trial in 1994.
Doink The Clown Is Just Plain Stupid
The public might be terrified of clowns, but Doink the Clown lacked the natural ability to strike fear into the crowd. Or his opponents. Or a baby, for that matter. During his brief run in the 1990s, Doink was never given much to do by the league except being an annoyance. He spent the majority of his time playing pranks on opponents and commentators but never found any mainstream success of his own. Oh, did we forget to mention that Doink the Clown had a four-foot tall sidekick named Dink? Maybe it’s better than Doink the Clown slipped into the forgotten past. In fact, we apologize for bringing back the memory of Doink to all those who had to suffer through his short and sad career the first time.
The Goon Went From Enforcer To Nothing
One of the odder one-hit wonders of the WWE, the Goon, was billed as a former hockey enforcer that was kicked out of every league at every level of the profession. Full of anger and the urge to fight, the Goon settled for a career as a wrestler for the WWE. His signature move inside the ring was to “check” his opponents into the “boards” aka the ropes. The gimmicky character didn’t survive one season in the WWE, leaving the league almost as quickly as he entered it in 1996. Before getting ousted, he did fight the Undertaker, the legend who seems to have ended a number of entertainer’s careers on this list. More fun with the Undertaker to come!
Jerry Lynn Should Have Been A Big Deal
Jerry Lynn had a brief stint in the WWE, but it should have lasted much longer than it did. Lynn made his name with perfect choreography. Yes, wrestling is choreographed, get over it. He was technically perfect, never missing his spot. He even had a long career wrestling, just not in the WWE. For over 20 years Jerry Lynn was a star for the ECW and WCW and had a notable rivalry with Rob Van Dam. He peaked from 1997 to 2002, but never made an impact in the WWE, despite getting a shot. It’s a shame, too, he was everything wrestling wanted and needed, but found it shockingly impossible to breakthrough.
Papa Shango Is Voodoo Master
Papa Shango was a great idea and could have been a perfect fit in the WWE. The first fighter based on Voodoo, Shango ended up playing second fiddle to the Undertaker. Both wrestlers had scary personas and tons of personality, but only one got a heavy push from the league to be successful. After all, in a league designed to appeal to young children, you don’t want too many scary fighters. At least that’s the logical reason. It didn’t end up being all bad for Papa Shango though. Charles Wright, the man behind the makeup, ended up becoming the Godfather and having a very successful career in the sport, including winning an Intercontinental Championship.
Ahmed Johnson Just Can’t Stay Out Of The Hospital
An instant sensation upon his arrival in the WWE, Ahmed Johnson didn’t have a real gimmick, he was just a great wrestler and had a huge push by the league to become the next big thing. Seven months into his first year he won the Intercontinental Championship against Goldust at King of the Ring 1996. He followed that with a huge feud against the Nation of Domination. Sadly, after his historic start in WWE, a rash of injuries sidelined Ahmed Johnson and he was released from the league in 1998. It really is unfortunate that Johnson was never able to make good on his potential. He still stands as the benchmark for what WWE stars should strive to be.
Chyna Broke All Barriers… Briefly
Chyna is perhaps the greatest female WWE star of all time. In fact, the only reason she qualifies for this list is because of how short her career actually was. Chyna’s career was a rocket of success starting in 1997 that petered out far too quickly in 2001. In that span, she became the first female wrestler to fight male wrestlers. She had no fear and turned her success into an Intercontinental Championship where she beat down her male counterparts. Her unfair downfall ended up being her relationship with Triple H, a far bigger star. When the power couple split in 2000, Chyna was phased out by the company, ultimately going to Japan. In 2011 her career officially ended after a brief stint with TNA on Spike TV.
Marc Mero Tears His ACL
Marc Mero was yet another superstar in the making undone by his own bad luck. After transitioning from the WCE to the WWE, Mero won his first title, defeating Farooq. His next big move was to start a feud. The move worked and Hearst Helmsley quickly became his nemesis. Unfortunately, Mero tore his ACL shortly after the feud started. It took six months to rehab his knee. In the wrestling world, six months can be a lifetime. Mero was able to come back, but the league never viewed him the same and he ended up in dead-end storylines with mid-level fighters like Goldust.
“Texas Tornado” Comes In With A Whimper
Kerry Von Erich, better known to wrestling diehards as the “Texas Tornado” had a whirlwind of a career in WWE. Stardom was instantaneous as the Tornado won an Intercontinental Championship right away after having to fill in for Brutus Beefcake. He was then featured in a number of high-profile competitions including Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, and the Survivor Series. Just as quickly as his wind rose, however, it dissipated. For no known reason the “Texas Tornado” spent the back end of his career playing the loser, forced to take no-win fights against the league’s up and coming stars. Von Erich left WWE in 1992, frustrated and desperate for a fresh start.
Mr. Hughes Almost Does The Impossible
Mr. Hughes had an incredibly brief career in the WWE. Coming to the league after stints with the AWA and WCW, he found himself in his first feud right away. Unluckily enough, that feud was with career wrecker the Undertaker. Unlike a number of wrestlers on this list, Mr. Hughes actually defeated the great villain. Once. Full of ego and confidence, Mr. Hughes decided his next best move was to steal the Undertaker’s urn, a major part of his act. After losing his next fight to the Undertaker, and returning his urn, Mr. Hughes disappeared, leaving the WWE and its millions of fans wondering what could have been.
Ludvig Borga Just Wants A Better Education
Ludvig Borga was one of the WWE’s worst attempts at creating a villain. Designed to be the next great anti-American bad guy, the first misstep by WWE was having Borga originate from Finland. Does anyone really hate Finland? Does Finland really hate the United States? Ludvig Borga did! He couldn’t stand the countries poor education system and lax environmental laws. Basically, at the end of the day, he wanted to create a “better country.” It was supposed to infuriate American audiences that this “better than thou” character would come in and tell them how to act. The WWE was wrong with the assumption, and Ludvig Borga quickly went the way of the dinosaurs.
The Spirit Squad Is Here To Pep Up The Fight
An incredibly odd attempt to create the next great tag team, the WWE introduced the Spirit Squad to the world in 2006. For 216 days the male wrestlers pretending to be cheerleaders held the title of tag team champions. That fateful year was the only good times the Spirit Squad would experience. Desiring to be looked at more seriously, the squad fractured. Its leader, Kenny, failed in his solo career and was cut from the league shortly after. The other member, Nicky, became Dolph Ziggler and has maintained a successful WWE career.
Yokozuna Lets His Weight Be His Downfall
Correctly billed as the largest wrestler the WWE has ever seen, Yokozuna weighed in at a 500 pounds when he debuted with the WWE in 1992. He was surprisingly athletic and agile for a man of his size and quickly became a league and fan favorite. Overpowering his competition, Yokozuna won fight after fight. Sadly, the one fight he could not win was with his weight, after gaining 160 extra pounds in a just a few years, the WWE could not justify having the giant be a featured player anymore. His health was just too much of a concern. The gave him the ultimatum to lose weight or retire. He forced the company to release him in 1998 and died two years later in 2000. Still, he will always be remembered by the public for the life he shared in the ring.
Linda Miles Was Tough Enough
Linda Miles competed in and won the second season of Tough Enough in 2002. That is how she got her foot in the WWE. But by the time she came into the WWE, she had become Shaniqua, the manager of The Basham Brothers. After competing on Tough Enough, it seemed she was a perfect fit for the WWE. She had an athletic background (played basketball at Rutgers University) but you still have to learn more about the wrestling business. Finally, she was delivered to the fans as Shaniqua and she found some success in the Divas division. She is probably more so remembered for cutting in on The Bashams fights. The WWE released her in 2004.
Dynamic Duo Deuce ‘n Domino
Deuce and Domino had all the potential to make an outlasting impact on the WWE’s late ’00s tag division. Strength and good looks paired with size gave them all the tools they needed to move forward. And did we mention that Deuce is the son of WWE Hall of Famer, Jimmy Snuka? The team did well and were the ones who ended the year-long tag title run of Brian Kendrick and Paul London in 2007. As if that isn’t enough, they also held the title for an impressive four months. The men had decided to break up that following May. Within one year, they had been released from the WWE contracts.
Colin Takes A Beating
Many of the others on this list are remembered for much less embarrassing reasons. For Colin Delaney, he is known rather for the beat downs he took and not the ones he gave to competitors. When he debuted in the WWE’s ECW in January 2008, he was pummelled by Shelton Benjamin and Big Daddy V. But he wouldn’t lose without pride. The way he was losing would gain him fans. He would be given chances to earn a WCW contract by winning fights. And most of the time, the odds were always against him. It wasn’t long before he was let go by the WWE due to “budgetary reasons”.
From Bodybuilding To Wrestling
Nicole Bass was a 6’2″ beast. Bass was so big that she outsized the great Ninth Wonder of the World Chyna. Her start came in the ECW back in 1998. Soon after, she made her debut with the WWE as Sable’s bodyguard. Even with all the size and tools, what she will be remembered most by is her first appearance. She had tension with Ivory and for a moment teamed up with Val Venis. After she said she was allegedly harassed by wrestler Steve Lombardi, she left the WWE after not doing much else. Bass was pronounced dead February 17, 2018.
The Legendary Tiger
The hardcore legendary wrestler Tiger Jeet Singh had a son. His name is Tiger Ali Singh. He trained in New Japan and unlike his father, his biggest success came in the WWE and not in Japan. His biggest moment happened during a non-televised event. It was when he won WWE’s second Kuwait Cup tournament. He ha defeated Billy Gunn, Mankind and Owen Hart. Those are some pretty impressive names. Singh would make some appearances on TV but he didn’t make much noise when he did. He would eventually wrestle for IWA promotions and he was not that bad at tag wrestling. He ended up getting injured and would sue the WWE.
Armando The Manager
Armando Estrada had first made his name known by wrestling in OVW under the name of Osama. He made his name known there but he more acknowledged for his non-wrestling roles. For example, Estrada was the GM of the ECW brand associated with Colin Delaney. But before that, he was the manager of Umaga while he was rising the charts. He brought a bit of flair to Umaga’s presentation. He also got caught on the wrong end of his rivals’ attacks occasionally. The WWE released him from his contract in November 2008.
Play Nice With The Kat
The Kat burst into the WWE scene back in August of 1999 appearing as Miss Kitty. She was initially an assistant to Debra before switching to Chyna’s manager. That following December, she grew courage and challenged for the WWE Women’s championship at Armageddon. It was a four-way evening gown match and The Kat ended up winning. She ended up flashing the audience and the pay-per-view audience at home which was a first for WWE. She would keep the title for two more months before losing it to Hervina. She would continue to make appearances for the following year before the WWE let her go.
The Big Man Nathan Jones
Nathan Jones was seven feet tall and weighed more than 350 pounds. The perfect mold to be a WWE superstar. In the beginning, it seemed like he was, in fact, going to be the next big thing. Soon after his 2003 debut, he was matched up with The Undertaker. The two were even set to face off against The Big Show and A-Train at WrestleMania XIX. It was said that Jones was not quite ready for matches of that caliber. He did end up getting a pay-per-view match during that same year. But his relationship with the WWE would not last much longer. He quit December of that year.
Call Her Rockin’ Robin
As the sister of Hall of FamerJake The Snake Roberts, you can bet Rockin’ Robin had some extra zest to her. She was more like the focal presence of the WWE’s women division when that division was about to become nothing more but an afterthought. When 1988 came rolling in, this Robin would end up defeating Sherri Martel and became the new Women’s champion. She ended the 15-month title run Martel was having in the process. Rockin’ Robin ended up defending her title through 1989. She ended up leaving the WWE in 1990.
The Former Enforcer
Luther Reigns began his training at the WCW Power Plant back in 1997. Six years later he would end up signing with the WWE. His debut was as a personal enforcer for Kurt Angle. He is best known for being Angle’s right-hand man. After he teamed up with Mark Jindrak and they became Team Angle, Reigns was a heavy favorite as a tag title contender. Soon the team split and Reigns tried to become an established solo act. He had a feud with The Big Show and many others. He would ask for his WWE release in 2005 and was granted it.
The Evil Kevin Thorn
Kevin Thorn signed a deal with the WWE in 2002 then proceeded to spend two years in Ohio Valley Wrestling. He is best known for a character he never really got to establish. The character we are referring to was called Seven and he developed him in Memphis during his time with Memphis Championship Wrestling. He had an evil persona. But once Thorn was called up for the main roster, he changed into something different. He was transformed into someone meant to be a rival for The Undertaker. He ended up facing Scotty 2 Hotty at Judgement Day 2004 and winning. But as quickly as this persona was created he quickly vanished. The original Thorn was pushed back on the fans but only for so long. The next summer, he was released.
Was It Too Much To Handle?
Although he didn’t spend a lot of time with WWE, Salvatore Sincere did enough to become remembered years after it was all done. After spending grueling time in the WCW and ECW, he would make his first appearance in the WWE back in the summer of 1996. Sincere lost matches to some big headliners like Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker before he became caught up in a feud with Marc Mero. Mero ended up exposing Sincere’s real name which led to him dropping the gimmick and competing as himself. That ended up being his first move towards downfall as it really didn’t pan out.
The Jumping Bomb Angels
When these two women, Itsuki and Yamazaki first fought in front of American audiences, the fans witnessed a style of women’s wrestling that many had not seen before. The Jumping nBomb Angels started out as a dangerous team over in Japan. They made WWE debut back in 1987 at the Survivor Series event. They ended up as the last women standing in a 10-women elimination style tag match. They didn’t last long in the WWE but they were far from finished after they left.
There are still other wrestlers who we have not mentioned. These upcoming names may ring a bell or two.
Wait, Is That Goldberg?
Gillberg was basically the comic relief for an already entertaining company. He made a few runs through the ’90s but he was ultimately making other tag team duos look that much more impressive. He was a part of The Executioners before actually making an impact with the J.O.B. Squad. His stint with The Executioners was laughable but when he was with the Squad Gillberg made his name memorable. He won the WWE Light Heavyweight Championship on Raw in 1998. He ended up holding the title for an impressive 15 months. His final run came when he matched up against the real Goldberg and was destroyed.
It’s A Loser Thing
Much like an earlier wrestler, Barry Horowitz was much more known for his style of losing. It must be something that sits well with the people who don’t win that often either. You have to be honorable when losing, it just makes you more likable. Barry is happily remembered for his many appearances on the WWE. He started off like Gillberg and was just an enhancement talent before he finally found his way and have his moment. He lost countless times before pulling off a huge upset when he beat Chris Candido. He went on a run and won several matches after that. He would then depart from the WWE in 1997 only two years after pulling off the upset.
Call Him Zeus Before Anything Else
Tom “Tiny” Lister or Zeus as wrestling fans know him as didn’t get his first recognition from the popular movie Friday but from wrestling. He got his start by attempting to beat the wrestling legend, Hulk Hogan. His first major event was during SummerSlam 1989 when he teamed up with Randy Savage in an effort to eliminate Hogan and Brutus Beefcake. He would later enter into an 8-on-8 elimination match where Hogan was entered as well. He ended up being disqualified after not letting Hogan go from a chokehold upon being asked. His wrestling role was meant to be for promotion so it makes sense that he returned to acting.
The Controversy Of Muhammad
Muhammad Hassan was one bold wrestler. Who else do you know would proclaim on their first appearance on WWE that there a proud Arab American back in 2004? Many WWE fans were angry with Hassan but the funny thing is, he wasn’t really Arab. Thanks to an impressive undefeated streak, Hassan quickly climbed the WWE card. He was even at one point in consideration to become world champion. Even with all the backlash, the sky seemed to be the limit for him. Thanks to bad timing, (a major terrorist attack in London), the WWE was highly scrutinized and Hassan was released from his contract.
Right To Censor
Bull Buchanan had somewhat of a lengthy run in the WWE but he had many personas so you can count each different one as a separate stint. He is best remembered for his run with the Right to Censor or RTC. The group aimed to strip the WWE’s Raw and Smackdown of their offensive material by converting offenders into its ranks. When he teamed up with The Goodfather, the two beat The Hardy Boys for the WWE tag championship in 2000. He stayed under contract for three more years after that.
Say Hello To Maven
Maven was the first male Tough Enough winner. That projected him to be a superstar only naturally. But do you remember this fabled man? Maybe not and that is no surprise. After he won Tough Enough, the WWE flirted with the thought of making him a real star. They even went as far as to let him eliminate The Undertaker in the 2002 Royal Rumble. The WWE would keep him around for a few years and even threw him a couple more bones but it wouldn’t amount to much. He ended up leaving the WWE in 2005.
The Sidekick Alex Riley
When you don’t have it, you just don’t. That was the case for Alex Riley. Riley was more of the help who assisted The Miz. The two formed an alliance and all Riley did was get berated by him and help The Miz win his fights. Many thought Riley might try and make a path for himself but most didn’t see anything special brewing in the wrestler. Even starting a social media campaign to boost his stock didn’t help his case. The WWE quietly released Riley from his contract in 2016. He believes John Cena is responsible for his downfall thanks to an incident that happened between the two.