It must suck to have been born at the wrong time, to execute a kickass guitar solo to deafening silence while remaining convinced that their kids are gonna love it.
Wrestling’s no different, the WWE style has changed so often over the years, from the baby oil-drenched juice-assisted super Adonises of the 80s, to the cartoonish and colorful characters of the New Generation, the grungy foul-mouthed lunatics of the Attitude Era, the amateur leaning unhinged hosses of Ruthless Aggression to the workrate-lauded indie darlings of the Modern Era.
Some stars found great success being in exactly the right place at exactly the right time, whilst others saw their shine dimmed by being either a throwback to a bygone era, or lightyears ahead of their time.
Here are 10 WWE Stars Who Wrestled In The Wrong Era
10. The Revival – The Golden Era
I mean, The Revival’s whole schtick was that they were a throwback to a bygone era.
That’s why they were called The Revival, and hey FTR are going to have a great legacy of matches in AEW, but oh man with their intense dedication to tag psychology, roughneck southern brawler and most of all, a keen awareness of the rules and how and when to break them, The Revival would have killed in the 80s, back when tag team wrestling really mattered.
In the first-ever Survivor Series in 1987, ten tag teams competed in a single match all with names, gear and gimmicks, WWE could only dream of having ten tag teams today, that how far tag team wrestling has fallen, at least on the main roster.
The Revival could have mixed it up with the Hart Foundation, the Rockers, Demolition, The British Bulldogs, and of course, the Brain Busters, if the universe doesn’t Spider-Man meme itself into oblivion.
9. Ken Shamrock – Ruthless Aggression Era
Ken Shamrock missed out on Brock Lesnar by a few years, Ken Shamrock missed out on Kurt Angle by a few months. I want to see both of those matches so so bad.
Ken Shamrock found a fair bit of success during his run in the early half of the Attitude Era, but man when WWE gradually slid into a high level of workrate with the main event promotion of Angle, Benoit, Eddie, Mysterio and Brock, having Ken Shamrock as part of the smackdown ruthless aggression landscape would have been fan-f**king-tastic.
He would have eaten John Cena and sent him back to West Newbury with his jorts pretzeled up in his goddamn colon.
The world’s most dangerous man was never the best promo, and always felt a little out of his depth in the Attitude Era’s gross-out, characterful excess, but as the Olympic wrestling machine ushered in a new era of what main eventers could and should deliver, WWE Champion Ken Shamrock. Yeah. I could see it.
8. Dean Malenko – Current Era
Roses are red, violets are blue, Malenko is great, these things we know to be true. Dean Malenko was one of the great unsung heroes of WCW, a top cruiserweight in a land where the big boys played.
Hopes were high that he would make a splash in WWE, but much like Shamrock, his stiff upper lip and iceman demeanor rendered him boring in the eyes of WWE creative who basically gave up on him after the whole ‘creeping up on Lita like a dad at a Carly Rae Jepsen concert’ thing failed to get him over like rover.
His insane technical ability, speed and fluidity of movement would have made him a superstar in NXT, and an asset to Smackdown’s current landscape of superworkers like Cesaro, Seth Rollins and Daniel Bryan.
I mean Dean Malenko makes a running powerslam look like a world ender. He’s the best. He is the best.