Wrestlers Who Are Popular Regardless of Their Wrestling Talent
What a story this man is having. He's done the odd job for WWE over the past couple of years. He accomplished this by sending his CV in via the WWE website. He'd been a "Rosebud" for Adam Rose a couple of times, however that wouldn't help him up his price in the Indies and make a better living from his passion. But an unlikely break came for him when WWE decided to split their roster in half.
New opportunities came for people such as Braun Strowman. He got to have squash matches, his massive frame with menacing muscle wasn't enough to make him a credible beast, WWE wanted him to demolish his opponents, making a name as a legitimate singles star in the process. This has definitely worked, but he had to face a lot of characters, including James Ellsworth. Ellsworth was told that he would get to hit Braun twice, so thinking on the spot, he asked if he could say, "Any man with two hands has a fighting chance", and WWE allowed him. This humanised Ellsworth way more than say, Johnny Knockout who said, "I like big sweaty men". Another factor that endeared Ellsworth to the masses was his perculiar, almost puppy-dog look, he has a small chin and basically tucks it (unlike when he took that Styles Clash) so it looks like he hasn't got one, which Smackdown Live's commentary team handle in a classy and tactful manner (wink).
Ellsworth was getting so much attention online Vince asked Ellsworth to come back, and when the fans seen him he got a huge pop, and he started getting even more attention online. This has now led to him having his own entrance music and titantron graphics (two fists, obviously), beating AJ Styles twice (including in a title match by DQ) with the help of Dean Ambrose, and he's being used as one of the focal points in the title storyline between the WWE Champion AJ Styles and Dean Ambrose. There is even talk that he will receive a full time contract. All of this from a 2 second promo and a match where he was demolished by braun Strowman, and he even topped WWE's merchandise sales.
As you will have noticed, not once have I mentioned how good this guy can wrestle, because he's not in the WWE for that. The lad can wrestle, he's done it since 2002 and he runs his own promotion, but even as "Pretty" Jimmy Dream in the Indies he was the guy who got beat up, and he's happy that he's the new WWE Jobber guy, it's basically what he's practised for his whole career.
People love James Ellsworth right now becuase he's relatable, he sent is CV(Resumé) in to WWE, like we all do, he didn't get there by being an ex-Linebacker in the NFL, he's living beyond his dreams at the moment and we all want to route for the man who wasn't supposed to make it this far, and we should, it gives hope to not only all the great Wrestlers, but also the OK or even terrible ones that have that bit of magic called charisma.
Goldberg isn't relatable, when I was a kid, he was awe-inspiring. His entrance was the epitome of cool, watching him intensely walk from his dressing room in to the arena, flanked by 6 or 7 Security Guards, breathing in the smoke of the fireworks and then snorting it out like a Bull on a freezing cold day. There'd be a million Goldberg signs in the crowd, so many you could barely see people.
Goldberg isn't even one of my favourite wrestlers but he was great to watch as a kid. What's more is that he felt real, watching a Goldberg match didn't make you feel like you were watching wrestling. He squashed pretty much everyone (except for William Regal), and that felt exciting.
That's the thing. You don't need much wrestling in some wrestling matches or for some wrestlers(that sentence had a lot of 'wrestle' in it). If you want someone to be an untouchable beast in your promotion, as long as you don't make them wrestle lengthy matches so they get exposed, you can have them just bulldoze through everyone in quick fashion, and that's what everyone loved about Goldberg. Obviously, every match can't be like a Goldberg match but he pulled it off so well. He just oozed charisma and confidence without even having to say anything, except "YOU'RE NEXT?".
Enzo Amore is a relatively new star in WWE, only being promoted to the main roster the RAW after Wrestlemania 32. I hadn't watched NXT, and I hadn't went on YouTube to look at these guys called Enzo & Cass. I'd heard that they were "ready" for call-up from all the people who had watched & enjoyed them though. Even though I'd heard good things I was actually blown away while watching RAW when Enzo came out with his partner Big Cass.
Amore has got to be, already, considered as one of the best talkers the WWE has seen. He is unlike any other Wrestler or even manager, which, due to him not been the best in the ring, and the obvious main-event push Vince will want to give Big Cass, I beleive Amore will transition in to at some point.
I may have been a little harsh on his wrestling ability, but the truth is, I and the rest of the WWE fans love Enzo for the two best gifts he has. The first is his promo abilities, it's a shame that Roman Reigns hasn't got the charisma and natural gravitas whilst speaking, if he did, he'd be the Mega-Star that WWE want him to be. The second gift Amore has is his fantastic brain. Sometimes the promos, which he writes himself are too complex to follow at the rate of knots he speaks for some fans, but they are incredibly thought out.
This dedication he has to detail, even down to the clothes he wears each week, that often have some customisation that nods to where the show is broadcasting from, is why fans so impassionately get behind him, and why arenas full of all different ages scream at the top of their voices that they are, "Certified G's and Bonified Stud's". Enzo Amore is a fun character, which is why he has become so popular without even having to wrestle, like I said at the start of this entry, I was blown away by his talking on the RAW after Wrestlemania 32, that moment cemented him in to many fans hearts, whether he can go in the ring or not.
THE GREAT KHALI
The Great Khali isn't necessarily a beloved Wrestler, he'll never get talked about in legend terms, he may get in the Hall of Fame because Vince likes him, but for the fans, he just a Wrestler who was Champion for 61 days. Why's he here then you're asking?!? Well, because he was Champion for 61 days, that's a big push whether you like it or not, regardless of his not being able to do the simplest of things (like look in to the hard camera).
No matter how much the WWE pushed him into it, often embarrassing him, Khali wasn't born to be an entertainer, he was born to be big. When you're Khali's size I guess it's hard to get a normal 9-5 job, so you're kind of thrust in to, "well, are you going to be a Basketball player or a Wrestler?", and Khali went for Wrestler.
The language barrier was a big problem for Khali, and maybe that's why he was so slow in doing things. Wrestling is a fast-paced discipline, and I don't mean like Lucha Libre, I just mean when your opponent says "chop", you need to chop, pretty much straight away or the whole performance breaks down in a sense.
So there you go, Khali succeeded without, sadly, been able to do much at all in-ring if it wasn't at a snails pace. He'll always have his 61-day Championship reign, that he definitely would have won anyway even if Edge hadn't of injured his pectoral.
I remember absolutely nothing about Scotty2Hotty's in-ring skills, do you? Well yes, of course the W-O-R-M! That's the one thing I remember about him, ooh and the kind of cool, flying double handed back push to get them in position for it, but that's it!
Scotty2Hotty is one of the most beloved members of the Attitude Era. The three big tag teams where Edge & Christian, The Dudley Boyz and The Hardy Boyz, and I & everyone else loved them, but Too Cool, and especially Scotty2Hotty and his W-O-R-M were the act I looked forward to seeing on 'Friday Night RAW' here in the UK every week(imaging if these days we had to wait 4 whole days to see RAW, we'd know absolutely everything that happened just from social media!). They were fun, they had Rikishi for muscle, and all 3 of them danced post match, to massive pops, and once during the Royal Rumble which was a great moment.
I did consider putting Too Cool on this list but it was Scotty2Hotty that had the W-O-R-M, and the amazing spiky hair that came out the top of his hat, and to be honest, Rikishi is remembered for his in-ring work and the best thing about Grand Master Sexay(Brian Christopher - Jerry Lawler's son) was his in-ring work, and this list is about people who got big pushes or were/are popular regardless of their wrestling skills. The W-O-R-M does not count as wrestling skill, it's a fun dance move that gives the illusion that a chop can finish somebody off. It's a very charasmatic man that can pull that off!
I love Mick Foley, and I'm almost positive that you love Mick Foley too. To me, he seems like your Uncle's friend who's a bit unhinged and he won't think twice about driving a quad bike around the estate with your neighbours 3 and 5 year olds hitching a ride and giving you the finger. Then he crashes, and it doesn't matter if he has a bit of fence sticking out've his head, he needs to check if those kids are OK.
That's why Mick Foley is so loved, he's so down to earth, and quite crazy, he might have been a skilled Wrestler, but if he was, I certainly don't remember. To be fair though, I remember moments more than I remember actual full matches, and Foley has given us some AMAZING moments. Not amazing in a spectacular way, but in the, "I shouldn't be looking but I am" way.
He got so over with the fans because he lost an ear, a tooth got stuck in his nose, he 'asked' Undertaker to throw him from the top of Hell in a Cell, he accidentally went through the Cell roof where his body contorted in ways it shouldn't, he was the Commissioner who scheduled the first ever "Tables, and Ladders, and Chairs"(TLC) Match, and his finisher was an anthropomorphic hand puppet stuffed down the opponents throat, and it had a cool name, Mandible Claw(that's the finisher, the sock was called Mr. Socko).
His characters were all realy good too, Dude Love, Cactus Jack and Mankind, although Mankind was probably the best, and definitely my favourite. It's a character that still looks like it could be relevant now, and not just in a wrestling show, but a horror movie, the aesthetics are that good, it's timeless. Speaking of all 3 of his characters, in 1998 he entered the Royal Rumble as all 3, and he got a huge pop each time.
We all know these days that Kane is Glenn Jacobs, who was Isaac Yankem, who was Fake Diesel. However when Kane made his debut, ripping of the door to Hell in a Cell and confronting his brother, The Undertaker, we didn't know that. We didn't know who Kane really was for years. WWE got so many things right with Kane early on. His back story is probably the best ever backstory created for a Wrestler. It added so much depth to someone who was otherwise a mystery.
Kane got over with the fans by getting them invested in his backstory. He can go in the ring but that's not what made Kane the legend he is today, Kane is a legend because of his character work. It helped that his brother in kayfabe is The Undertaker, because he was already an odd character. If WWE are ever able to pull something like The Brothers of Destruction off for another couple of Wrestlers I'd be highly surprised, they are arguably the best storyline to ever come out've the company.
Kane may have only won a couple of titles, but the longevity he has had, the astronomical number of highly placed storylines he has had, the amount of people he has put out of the Royal Rumble over the years all certainly tell the same story. The man is simply a legend, and that legendary status has mainly came due to the fact he is an amazing character, because let's face it, when Kane was Corporate Kane, he was basically Glenn Jacobs, he had a couple of funny moments, but compared to Kane, he was boring.
Too many Wrestlers die young, and it's really sad, Chyna is now part of this group too, and it's heart-wrenching to think of all the problems she was going through, when not so long ago, at the turn of the century, she was one of the hottest Wrestlers in the World. She did great in-ring work, just like many of the other included in this article, but her wrestling skills, again, are not what got her loved by the fans.
From the second Chyna made her debut she cut a dominating figure, she was truly unlike any woman many of us had seen at the time. She was so buff that when she ended up being basically the bodyguard for Triple H and the rest of DX, it wasn't surprising and it wasn't thought of as not legitimate.
When sitting down to write this list I had 2 rules, the Wrestler had to have been pushed, or the Wrestler had to be loved by the fans, Chyna had both of these in abundance. The pop she got when she beat Jeff Jarrett was amazing, and the outpouring of mourning when she passed away, including from people who hadnt been wrestling fans for over 10 years shows the love people still have for her. She held the Intercontinental Championship twice (once as Co-Champions with Chris Jericho), the only woman ever to hold that belt, and she was No.1 Contender for the World Championship. She claimed that at one point she was going to win the belt, however it never transpired. These accolades that Chyna accomplished, in an era where women were being exploited left, right and centre, show that she truly succeeded due to her domineering presence.
Hulk Hogan had been the real American hero for decades, Hulkamania had run wild, and run it's course, the mid to late 1990s crowds didn't want unbeatable heroes, although that's what they got, just presented in a slightly different way.
Hulk Hogan joined together with The Outsiders, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, at Bash at the Beach 1996 to create the NWO (New World Order). He then became known as 'Hollywood Hogan'. This heel turn revitalised Hogan's career, which is why I have included him in this list. This revitalisation, did not come because of a brand new style of wrestling, it came because suddenly, Hogan was cool, and it was the type of character that would make the mid to late 1990s crowd tick.
The angle started off great and helped WCW win in the TV ratings for 84 straight weeks, but it soon ballooned out of control and eventually, with the Attitude Era dawning over in WWF, WCW imploded, along with Hogan, who left the company and sued Vince Russo for defamation of character, after what Russo suggested was a planned angle and promo by himself running down Hogan for his backstage politicking.
However, because of the revitalisation of his career, Hogan was able to get work with the WWE over the years to come, as both his red & yellow Hulkster and another go a the NWO, but in WWE this time, before having a fairly quiet post in-ring career...
STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN
Stone Cold Steve Austin will be on 90% of people's Top10 Wrestler's list, this despite his popularity coming from mainly things he did out of the ring. Yes, I know he originally turned face in-ring by bleeding to death via sharpshooter, but if you ask people why they have Stone Cold in their Top10, they aren't going to say because he had a wonderful moveset, or that he has a wonderful bridge on his German Suplex.
People love Stone Cold because he's sticking his two middle fingers up at his boss, kicking him in the gut, and the yanking his neck down to the ground as fast and as powerful as he can before getting some random to perfectly throw tiny little beers at him until he looks like he's at the supermarket refusing to pay 5p for a bag he has loads of at home. That is why people love Stone Cold!
The antics he would get up to are now legendary, never again will we see the likes. Cement into a car, classic, riding a zamboni to the ring, classic, getting held up at gunpoint by Brian Pillman, classic, Kum ba Yah, classic, I could go on and on and on, which is why Stone Cold Steve Austin, although being a good Wrestler, did not need particularly great wrestling skills to succeed. I didn't even need to mention all the titles.