Whenever you rank wrestlers as “overrated,” feelings are bound to get hurt. That’s because you have to be “rated” to be overrated. So, spoiler alert: You’re not going to find The Brooklyn Brawler or Koko B. Ware on this list. What you may find are a few favorites that make you seethe with rage. But take this small piece of comfort: If they weren’t hugely popular, they wouldn’t have made the list...
Lex Luger: Sometimes a guy has it all, but it just doesn’t gel. So while Lex Luger was indeed “The Total Package”—he had a great look, delivered a solid promo and could work at least as well as Hogan or Sting— it just never came together. He never had a world title run because he never really earned one. Constantly flipping between face and heel didn’t help and his time in WWE as “The Narcissist” and “The All-American” didn’t light box offices or pay-per-view numbers on fire.
Brock Lesnar: Let’s be clear—Brock Lesnar’s early years featured some of the best sports entertainment on record. His initial run after his return was likewise solid, but at some point Brock became really, really lazy. He’s now known mostly for spamming German suplexes, followed by his finisher. And while his match with Goldberg at WrestleMania 33 was possibly the best short match in WWE history, it’s pretty clear that he’s phoning it in.
Edge and Christian: It’s impossible to talk about these two separately. If you’re a WWE fan around the age of 25 or less, you likely view these Canadians as the Hogan and Savage of your time. The age of their fanbase isn’t unimportant here. The duo relied upon a particularly tired form of sophomoric humor that apparently got results, but it’s unlikely they’ll be remembered on that level as time goes by. We blame it on being Canadian.
Shawn Michaels: We’re just going to say it—Shawn Michaels is why indie wrestling sucks. The man brought spot monkeying and overselling to new levels, while refusing to do business like a man and put over bigger draws. We can thank “The Showstopper” for Vader’s uninspiring run because he was too much of a wuss to grapple with someone who worked stiff. His 2000s run was better, but at the end of the day, Michaels was all flash without any substance.
Mr. Kennedy: Mr. Kennedy is a favorite of the Internet in the “guy who should have been bigger” category. But really, what did he offer other than the ability to say his own name in a dramatic fashion? His physique was nothing to write home about, especially considering that by all accounts he was ’roided up at the time. The WWE did everything they could to build him up, but ten years later, he’s mostly an afterthought.
Ultimate Warrior: The Ultimate Warrior was poised to become the next Hulk Hogan. There’s just one problem: Few people over the age of 13 liked him very much. He excelled at squash matches and his WrestleMania VI match with Hogan stands as a highlight, but at the end of the day, Warrior did one thing and didn’t even do that remarkably well.
The Shield: The Shield together were a lot of fun. Once they got broken apart, though, it was quickly revealed that the faction was more than the sum of its parts… which wasn’t actually a heck of a lot. Roman Reigns is the proverbial dog food that the dog won’t eat, Seth Rollins is a botch factory who ends careers and Dean Ambrose is simply incapable of delivering on his own promise. Whether or not The Shield can be made great again, only time will tell.
Triple H: The very definition of “always the bridesmaid, never the bride.” He was the Marty Jannetty of the Kliq (yes, we’re including XPac, who belongs on the most underrated list). During the Attitude Era, he played third fiddle to The Rock and Steve Austin, then did the same in the 2000s with Randy Orton and Batista. A known mark for himself, Triple H currently keeps a sledgehammer in his office, a reminder of everything that was awful about mid-2000s wrestling. In fairness, his run as a grizzled vet was solid.
Cody Rhodes: The ability to cut a solid promo apparently isn’t genetic. Cody Rhodes might be the highest paid guy on the American indies, but that’s a bit like being the nicest guy in prison. A favorite of the Internet wrestling community, he’s a caricature of everything phony looking about how the WWE does wrestling. If his father weren’t one of the all-time greats, no one would give this guy a second look. It’s difficult to tell which is more degraded by his Ring of Honor championship run—him or the belt.