Pro Wrestling

14 Extremely Short-Lived WWE Careers;jsessionid=28616BFFCEBD95F05E19AD5149E920EE?r30_r1_r1:page=78 Source:

Some wrestlers, if they’re popular enough and don’t get injured, go on to long and fruitful wrestling careers. Some even become legends, or WWE Hall of Famers. And then there’s the other guys, whose time in WWE could barely be referred to as a “cup of coffee”. Sometimes, whether it be due to injury, or bad timing, or Vince McMahon walking by them in the dressing room and asking “Who hired you?” (which, allegedly, actually happened to ECW mainstay Raven), things just don’t work out for some wrestlers. But even though history may have forgotten them, we haven’t, and we’ve even prepared a list of some of the most “blink and you missed ’em” wrestlers in WWE history.

14. Buff Bagwell

Buff Bagwell only ever wrestled a single match on WWE TV, but that match was so important, and he was so bad, that he literally changed the entire direction of the company as a result. Bagwell’s WWE debut was the very first match for the new incarnation of World Championship Wrestling under the WWE banner, a WCW World Title match against Booker T in the main event of Raw. And it was the absolute worst match anyone could imagine, especially for such a high-profile spot, and most of the blame fell on the notoriously difficult Bagwell. Plans for the WCW Invasion were instantly re-written, and Bagwell found himself without a job only days later. As an additional bit of humiliation, in between the disastrous Raw match and his release, Bagwell allegedly had his mother call then-Head of Talent Relations Jim Ross to tell him that her son wouldn’t be able to wrestle, due to an injury. JR’s response was reportedly along the lines of “What grown adult has their mother call in sick for them?” Source:

13. Eric Escobar

Vickie Guerrero had more than a few paramours during her reign of terror over Smackdown, but without a doubt, the one that everyone forgets is Escobar (he had a first name, but it was basically forgotten six seconds after he was introduced), who managed to debut, become Vickie’s arm candy, win a few matches, then lose enough to have her break up with him, lose a handful more matches as punishment for no being good enough to date her, and then get released from his WWE contract inside of four months. That’s a fairly impressive run of incompetence, by any measure, but it was actually even worse than that. During Escobar’s incredibly brief WWE career, he earned a spot on Smackdown’s team for the Bragging Rights Pay Per View, in what looked like the start of a push for the young Superstar. However, he (and the rest of the squad) was removed from the team a week before the PPV, and replaced by an entirely new group of Superstars, after team captains Kane and Chris Jericho determined their team was full of losers. Source:

12. Gunner Scott

In the WWE developmental organization known as OVW (years before NXT became a thing), Brent Albright was a hot prospect, making his name as an incredible technical wrestler and winning pretty much every title OVW had to offer. His debut in WWE as Gunner Scott was even treated as a big deal, as he upset Booker T in consecutive matches to establish himself as someone to watch. Sadly, things went downhill incredibly quickly for Scott, who followed up his shocking wins with a string of losses, including getting stuffed into a body bag by The Great Khali. After being demoted to the syndicated shows for a short period, Scott was quietly released during a round of WWE roster cuts. It wasn’t all bad news for Scott, however, who became a popular independent wrestler in the years that followed his short WWE career, including winning the NWA World Title while working for Ring of Honor. Source:

11. WWE Juniors Division

During a ridiculous “Network Initiative” (headed by the equally short-lived Network representative Palmer Cannon), several new talents were introduced to the Smackdown brand. Almost every single wrestler who debuted during this period was either a terrible wrestler, a horrible gimmick, or both, and almost none of them had an impact on WWE over the long-term. Included among this insanity was the creation of the “WWE Juniors Division”, which came about thanks to WWE hiring basically every midget wrestler they could get their hands on, including relatively well-known acts like Mascarita Sagrada and Super Porky. The whole thing was seen as a weird joke that wasn’t particularly funny, only a handful of Juniors matches ever made it onto TV (and most of them were on the syndicated Velocity show), and the entire division was quickly ignored, with all the wrestlers involved getting released after only a few months. On the bright side, one of the hires ended up with a long-term WWE job: the midget leprechaun eventually known as Hornswoggle! Source:

10. Key

Former football player Darren Drozdov, or Droz, debuted in WWE as a prospective new member of the legendary Legion of Doom, in a story line that involved original member Hawk succumbing to addiction and possibly attempting suicide by jumping off the Titantron. So, when that angle was hastily buried after massive backlash from fans and special interest groups, Droz adopted a sleazier character, also introducing the world to Prince Albert, his personal piercing and tattoo specialist (and, coincidentally, the future head trainer of NXT). The pair worked as a tag team for a bit, then added a third member, who was known only as Key, and was implied to be a drug dealer. Key’s time in WWE lasted only a few weeks, however, as an intended feud with the Godfather was derailed due to injury, and Key was taken off TV. Shortly thereafter, he found some success in ECW working under his original name, Vic Grimes, feuding with New Jack, but he would never set foot in WWE again. Source:

9. Brakus

Or Brakkus, if you prefer. It doesn’t really matter, though, because by the time anyone figured out how his name was spelled, he was already gone. Brakus was a successful German bodybuilder with a physique that must have given Vince McMahon flashbacks to the WBF. He was actually in WWE, doing house shows and dark matches for the better part of two years, before he finally made it onto TV. Where he lost his debut match, and several more afterwards. It would appear that he was not really intended to be a big star right out of the gate. Fortunately, since he possessed a lot of muscles and something resembling a legitimate pre-wrestling athletic career, he was one of several wrestlers chosen to appear in the infamous Brawl-For-All. This was a tournament set up to feature WWE’s “toughest” wrestlers in legitimate shoot fights, and because it was (at least initially) completely unscripted, it all went horribly wrong. Brakus was one of several wrestlers who went down with a serious injury in the first round of Brawl-For-All (subsequent rounds were turned into scripted fights, which didn’t improve them, but at least nobody else got hurt). The injuries to his shoulder and knee would lead to his quick retirement, as he appeared in only one more match in WWE. At least he won that one. Source:

8. Hade Vansen

Vansen was actually a British wrestler of some merit when he signed with WWE and was assigned to their developmental system in 2007, although a knee injury would sideline him temporarily shortly after he arrived. In late 2008, during an episode of Smackdown, a mysterious promo aired in the middle of another segment, featuring Vansen in an alley talking about studying the darkness. Vansen implied he had followers, and all he required now was somebody’s immortal power. The obvious conclusion was that he was being set to face The Undertaker, and indeed, that was apparently WWE’s plan, giving Vansen a stable of wrestlers he would send against the Dead Man, culminating in WrestleMania match. However, a few weeks later, with nothing further having been heard from Vansen, WWE suddenly announced that they had released him from his contract. Vansen, completely disillusioned with the business, actually left pro wrestling immediately afterwards and does minor acting jobs in Los Angeles.

7. Jackson Andrews

Because WWE never met a tag team they didn’t want to break up eventually, it was inevitable that The Hart Dynasty, a team made up of Tyson Kidd (the last graduate of the Hart Dungeon), David Hart Smith (the son of the British Bulldog), and Natalya (daughter of Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart) would go their separate ways. When they did, Tyson attempted to offset his smaller size in the grand tradition of undersized heels everywhere, by bringing in a massive bodyguard to watch his back. In this case, that man was Jackson Andrews. Andrews debuted in December 2010 and lasted three whole weeks, never actually wrestling a match but interfering in two of Kidd’s, before being sent back to developmental and getting released several months later. He re-surfaced in the news a year later, however, when he was accused of physically abusing his then-fiancee, current WWE Diva Rosa Mendes. Source:

6. Rochelle Loewen

A great many women were brought into WWE in the mid-2000’s all as a result of the WWE Diva Search, a glorified beauty pageant that provided lots of eye candy but, unsurprisingly, very few actual wrestlers. After each Diva Search, WWE would hire many of the women who didn’t actually win and shoehorn them into roles on television almost immediately. Rochelle Loewen was not actually a Diva Search contestant, but this was the environment that she entered WWE under in late 2003, after a fairly successful career as a model. Due to the ridiculous number of non-wrestling women running around WWE at that point (Loewen also had no wrestling experience but was still put right on TV), Loewen never really established a character, and left WWE in early 2004. Loewen is most known for being the Diva who had an infamous confrontation with Randy Orton that resulted in Orton, who had a reputation for immaturity at the time, vandalizing her gym bag (the original rumor was that he defecated in it, it was later revealed that he filled it with baby oil and vaseline), which likely contributed to her quick departure. SourceL

5. Phantasio

The Phantasio character was that of a magician wearing white clown makeup and a black bodysuit. In the lead-up to his wrestling debut, he was shown doing all the classical magic tricks, making doves appear, doing card tricks, even the magical linking rings. What segment of the wrestling audience this was supposed to appeal to was unclear, although it did remind some of the carnival origins of the sport. Whether that was a good thing is another matter entirely. At any rate, Phantasio made his WWE debut on their weekend syndicated show in 1995. He wrestled a single match, which he won by pulling his opponent’s boxers out from their tights. Then he disappeared from the company. He wrestled a handful of matches years later on the independent circuit, but he never resurfaced in WWE, and nobody has yet figured out why he came and went so quickly.;jsessionid=28616BFFCEBD95F05E19AD5149E920EE?r30_r1_r1:page=78 Source:

4. Kizarny

You would think WWE would have learned to stay away from carnival gimmicks after Phantasio, but in late 2008, they began running introductory vignettes for Kizarny. The gimmick was that of a carnival freak show performer who would randomly add the letter “z” into every word he spoke, meant to represent the “carny” language. And after weeks of promos, Kizarny debuted in early January 2009 and defeated reasonably established star Montel Vontavious Porter, theoretically signifying big plans for the wrestler. That would be his first and last singles match in WWE, as he was removed from TV shortly afterwards and released in March of that year. At the time, the common belief was that his release came after that match was fairly bad, especially given that MVP was considered a decent worker, and the blame for its poor quality fell on Kizarny. Source:

3. Jesus

No, not him. Although Shawn Michaels did team with God that one time to face Vince and Shane McMahon. Anyway, this Jesus was brought in to be the bodyguard of the recently-debuted Carlito Caribbean Cool, who was embroiled in a feud with future biggest star in wrestling John Cena. Carlito had defeated Cena for the US Title on his first night in WWE, but a shoulder injury forced him to the sidelines, and Jesus was brought in to wrestle Cena at the Armageddon 2004 Pay Per View. As part of the story line leading to their match, Jesus was actually implied to have stabbed Cena at a nightclub under Carlito’s orders, in order to give Cena time off to film The Marine. Cena defeated Jesus at Armageddon, and that was the last time he was seen on WWE programming. In reality, Jesus needed to surgery to repair both a torn groin and two herniated discs in his back, and before he could attempt a return, he was released in a cost-cutting move in mid-2005. Source:

2. Braden Walker

Braden Walker got his start in TNA, an upstart promotion that attempted to challenge WWE for North American wrestling supremacy following WCW’s death, under the name of “Wildcat” Chris Harris. As one half of the tag team America’s Most Wanted, Harris and his partner, “Cowboy” James Storm, formed one of the most dominant and popular tag teams of the 2000’s, winning several championships and even getting themselves on WWE’s radar in the process. But after the team split up in 2007, Harris floundered as a singles competitor, and was released from TNA. WWE, having just revived ECW as a third brand for the company, brought him in to help shore up the roster depth. However, by the time Walker made his ECW debut, he was in much worse physical shape than he’d been only months earlier in TNA, having clearly added some excess weight. He would wrestle only two televised singles matches in ECW, both of which were fairly bad, before being abruptly released. Source:

1. Ludvig Borga

Borga actually lasted longer than anyone else on this list (possibly combined), but not as long as he was intended to. In his character as a disillusioned environmentalist from Finland who hated America (no, really), Ludvig Borga was brought in to be another evil foreign bad guy for prospective American hero, “Made in the USA” Lex Luger, to defeat and win the hearts of millions of wrestling fans, just like the recently departed (to WCW) Hulk Hogan. Borga was set up to be a strong competitor from the beginning, defeated popular wrestler Tatanka to end his year-long undefeated streak, and teaming with another major foe of Luger in the WWF Champion Yokozuna. The entire plan was for Luger to beat Yokozuna, become WWF Champion, and feud with Borga afterwards. However, a serious ankle injury to Borga ended both the feud and his tenure in WWF, as he was released shortly afterwards. And as a side effect to all of this, Bret Hart, not Luger, ended up being the one to beat Yokozuna at WrestleMania. Source:
Stephen Randle

Stephen Randle

Stephen Randle is an avid wrestling and film fan. He's been writing about WWE, movies, and video games for Goliath since 2015.