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Tuesday, April 24, 2001

SLAM! Wrestling Guest Column

Ahh, what could have been...

By GAIL GERALD -- For SLAM! Wrestling

  I have been a wrestling fan ever since I could remember and I have seen countless wrestlers who could have made it big if it weren't for either the politics, ego, or even gimmicks. Here are some wrestlers who could have made it big, or were just ahead of their time.

1. Hakushi (WWF) - Remember the young Japanese wrestler with the traditional Japanese hat and pants and the Japanese writing all over him. I don't know about you, but he would have been perfect for today's WWF, or even WCW. Yet Hakushi was ahead of his time. He debuted in the mid '90s, which was a time not for high-flyers (except for Shawn Michaels), but for cartoonish characters. He was unique, and like many, underrated. What hurt his career? His turning face and partnering up with the Brooklyn Brawler or some other jobber. I could see him, as a heel with Taka and Funaki, or in the Hardcore Division today.

2. Duke "The Dumpster" Droese (WWF) - Another guy who was ahead of his time? But this guy's gimmick is now in Yes, but with a little repackaging, he would have been a viable candidate for the Hardcore Division, since all they use are trash cans and other weapons anyway. [Jan. 1999: The Dumpster dealing with indy trash]

3. Terry Taylor (WWF, now WCW) - All I could write is the Red Rooster gimmick killed his wrestling career (in the ring). He could have been the next Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, or even Curt Henning.

The Headbangers do a live chat at CANOE in 1997.
4. Headbangers (WWF) - The Headbangers at the beginnings of WWF Attitude turned babyface, which all but killed their careers in the WWF. Then Chaz (now of Lo Down), was of all gimmicks Beaver Cleavage, one of the worst gimmicks in modern WWF history. They probably would have been contenders for the tag belts (they were tag team champs) in today's WWF, but as viable heels.

5. Bart Gunn (WWF) - After getting beatdown by boxer Butterbean at Wrestlemania, his career in the WWF was pretty much done for. He was half of a promising tag team the Smoking Gunns. Personally, I thought Bart was the more talented of the two, but he was misused. He ended up as half of the New Midnight Express, which went nowhere.

6. X-Pac (WWF) - Why do people hate this guy? People seem to have forgotten that he was once a Tag Team Champion and a member of one of the most popular stables in WWF History, DX. He had a promising feud with Chris Jericho last year, but at least he has a promising new start with Justin Credible and Albert.

7. Ahmed Johnson (WWF) - He was a promising wrestler who teamed with British Bulldog and then became part of the NOD in 1997. By many accounts, it was his ego and complaints about his injuring opponents that ended his career in the WWF. He was part of the now infamous Harlem Heat 2000.

Amhed Johnson: Currently residing in the Where Are They Now? file...
8. Bad News Allen (WWF) - In the era of Hulkamania, one heel did stand out with the exception of Andre the Giant, and anyone Bobby Heenan could manage. It was BNA, or Bad News Brown, who could have gotten over big in the WWF.

9. Alex Wright (WCW) - His wrestling is not as good as it once was. In fact, what would have been a promising gimmick in Berlyn (and some cheesy dance moves) hurt his career.

10. Rey Misterio, Jr. (WCW) - Politics? Maybe. But the little devil gimmick just doesn't cut it.

11. Essa Rios (WWF) - He should have never Lita go.

12. Steve Blackman (WWF) - He could actually get over if he would just improve on his mic ability, and stop being so stiff.

13. Scotty Riggs (WCW) - Maybe it was the "American Males" theme song. After Buff Bagwell dropped him, his career in WCW was just over.

14. Marc Mero (WWF, WCW) - Having a silly gimmick in WCW, being chewed out by Eric Bischoff, his wife's lawsuit...No wonder he never made it big. But at least he was a talented wrestler. [Jan. 1999: Mero enjoys carrying Sable's bags]

15. Tom Zenk (WCW, WWF) - Politics, or bitterness. Whatever the reason, this guy could have made it big.

16. Brad Armstrong(WCW) - Having been in WCW for over 10 years and he mostly jobbed. He could have been a champion. Life is so unfair.

17. Chris Chavis (WWF) - Better known as Tatanka. His gimmick was considered offensive, plus turning him heel didn't exactly endear him to fans either. [Apr. 1999: Tatanka set for battle]

Those are just a small of wrestlers who could have made it big. I wonder what would have happened if they actually did.
Gail Gerald is from Mullins, SC and can be emailed at

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