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Luckiest/Unluckiest Wrestlers Ever


Liam O'Rourke

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So, for this week's podcast, we're looking to discuss various wrestlers that you think may have been the luckiest or unluckiest in wrestling history, and would like your nominations for these distinctions and why you feel they're good candidates. Obviously it's a career focused discussion (so not wanting to incorporate deaths into this), so whether it's people who you think got a bum deal by bad circumstances repeatedly, or somebody in the right place and time and had a far better career than their skills deserved, we'd like to hear your suggestions on both.

 

As always, the best suggestions will be read on the show and you'll be credited accordingly, so what do you think?

 

EDIT - The show discussing your nominations for Luckiest and Unluckiest Wrestlers Ever is now online and available to listen to at the following link: http://squaredcirclegazette.podbean.com/mf/play/peru2y/SCGRadio53-TheLuckiestandUnluckiestWrestlersEver.mp3

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I was reading about Sean O'Haire the other day as I couldn't really remember anything about him. Apparently he was considered a huge prospect (dunno whether you guys would back that up) and that the direction his career ending up taking could have been based on an isolated incident of corpsing during a promo at a house show. Apparently his new gimmick they were pushing and vignettes were really capturing some attention, seems like a lot to basically give up on a guy for doing that, if that is indeed how it went down.

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Also every extremely talented guy that worked trial matches to no avail during the Big-Man-Mania era have got to be considered unlucky. Lots of guys who are now at the wrong end of 40 and such, could've made it huge in WWE, but can now only expect a jobber to the stars role on NXT like Rhyno and in all likelihood, Joe

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Daniel Bryan's been pretty lucky AND unlucky the last couple of years. He main events Summerslam and wins the title, only to have it taken off him immediately, put into a months-long angle of him getting screwed repeatedly and is then bumped back down the card. He recovers from that, manages to get into the main event of WrestleMania and wins the title, only to have it taken off him when he gets injured. He recovers after months of recuperation, gets a featured match and IC title win at the following WrestleMania, only to have that taken off him too when he gets injured again!

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Randy Orton may be a good shout for lucky. I adore a bit of '04 Orton, now people will point to HHH hindering his process and I'll concur that the Mania main event that year shouldn't have been anything but HHH v freshly-face Orton, but considering since then that's been more than written off - he's been on most of the video game covers, remained constantly in and around the limelight and can generally jump back into a main event at any point.

 

When I look back at 04 Orton, what I see is a shit load of character value and the potential there seemed at least as prominent as Cena's, which I don't think has really been tapped into like it could've been in the years that have come since

 

It might be that the company wanted to make a star and they only half-made one or something (or they got greedy and tried to make Batista at the exact same time), but there just appears to be a very visible difference in enthusiasm levels between Orton now and 11 years ago., he's come off as a bit of a coaster, like Kane. Those two both constantly seem to look like they think they have the world's shittiest job or something

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This could apply to a number of guys, but the one that comes to mind is EZ Money, of all people... he was starting to take off in ECW, but then ECW was on its way down the plughole, so he pops over to WCW, receives a couple of well-received wins on TV and PPV... and then they're kaput within about a fortnight. Bit of an ironic name in hindsight. I don't know much about the rest of his career, but it seems very unlucky for not one but two big breaks to fall apart so quickly.

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Buddy Landel. Signed with the WWF in 1995 then the same night, slipped on ice outside a hotel and never wrestled for them again.

 

Al Snow was a major name in 1995 with SMW that seemed on the verge of breaking out as a big star, then signed with the WWF and was given shitty gimmick after shitty gimmick and never really made it. In retrospect he should have gone to WCW, although it really is a case of hindsight being 20/20 as WWF seemed to offer far more upward mobility at the time with Hogan and pals having all the top spots locked up in WCW.

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'Dr. Death' Steve Williams has to be up there for unluckiest, in that they brought him in ostensibly to be this big hardman opponent for the mega-drawing babyface champion of the biggest company ever's hottest era... only to opt to build him up for it with a legitimate fighting tournament involving a particularly handy member of the Smoking Gunns. A decision no booker had made before or since, for obvious reasons. That knockout punch stapled countless 'Dr. Death' figures to the Toys R Us shelves and killed his main event hopes off dead. I'd have been up for a battle of the Steveses.

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Mike Awesome. Was great in ECW, went to WCW and got lumbered with that stupid 'Fat Chick Thriller' Russo gimmick and when WCW folded, he went to WWE and kind of got lost in the shuffle (Undertaker was said to have not liked him either which probably didn't help).

 

I remember his match at ECW One Night Stand ten years ago against Masato Tanaka and it was quality. So sad that he passed away not too long afterwards.

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Luckiest has to be Jake Roberts, I'm really happy that he seems to have gotten (mostly) clean now  but in an era when many of his contemporaries have died due to the 80's party hard life style I am shocked that he has survived.

 

Another guy who was lucky Hast to be Taker, now don't get me wrong he's great but if you think about that gimmick, a wrestling zombie there is a good chance that it could have been shit on by the fans for being too silly even in the cartoon world of WWF

and in the beginning Taker was ALL gimmick 

 

As for unlucky I've always felt bad for Rick Bognar, now don't get me wrong he was never going to be a gigantic star but being hired by the WWF with his build during that time period and thin roster must have seemed like a dream come true but when he gets there he portrays the second Razor in a terrible angle. Also unlike the fake Diesel he never got another shot and returned to Japan. 

 

And as dumb as this sounds because he was a massive star Ted Dibiase, he came close to not only the NWA world title and WWF title but politics stopped him cold both times   

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My first thought for "luckiest" was instantly SCG favourite, good old Sid Vicious. I can't think of another wrestler that received more cracks at stardom with the Big Two, and even runs with both their World titles, despite leaving either company on bad terms previously and having a CV that reads like the A-Z of unprofessionalism and unreliability.

 

After an unspectacular run in WCW and big money move to the WWF, the guy failed a drug test on the eve of his contractually guaranteed Hogan-at-Mania payday then fucked off two matches into his run with that other bastion of reliability, the Ultimate Warrior, purely in protest at having to serve his suspension for that failure. WCW took the punt on bringing him back in despite this and when Sid was on the cusp of winning their World title, he got himself fired for one of the most well-documented cases of unprofessional conduct in mainstream wrestling history. In spite of THAT and the manner of his previous departure, the WWF brought him back in as Shawn's bodyguard, as anachronistic as he might have seemed in the New Generation era. Sid would then piss off when he couldn't be bothered doing the tag title run with Kid, and yet the company turned to him AGAIN when our mate Warrior left them in the lurch. Quite how Sid's record of going for a walk when things went against him made him seem like deserving a run with the WWF title, I know not, but he somehow grabbed himself two of them, at a time when the title story should have been 100% about Bret Hart vs Shawn Michaels.

 

As discussed recently on your Monday Night Wars series, good old Sid then repeatedly exaggerated injuries to avoid jobs to Bret or Mankind.... and then fucked off again. Incredibly after working for a few nostalgia pops in ECW, Vicious earned himself a THIRD run in WCW in spite of the manner of his previous departure AND his misdemeanours up north. If it sounds like I'm getting exasperated typing this, I am. Sid looked even more stupidly past his day than when he'd gone back to the WWF and yet somehow was soon their champion. Seriously, have I missed something? Why the hell did people keep giving the man second chances when he burned them over and over again?

 

Unluckiest, I'd actually go with Ted DiBiase. The guy had a good run but early on in the WWF he lost out on a singles title run twice due to unfortunate external circumstances. He was supposed to get an Intercontinental title reign winning it from Jake The Snake but didn't because Roberts' neck injury precluded him from winning it in the first place from the Honky Tonk Man. Secondly and much-discussed, he would have had a big WrestleMania payday losing the WWF title to Hogan, had they not needed to put the belt onto Randy Savage instead, due to Honky refusing to drop the Intercontinental belt to Macho Man and the company feeling they needed to placate Savage with the big belt as a consequence. The Million Dollar "Nearly Man."

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