WWE Royal Rumble 2014: Most Underwhelming Superstars in History of Battle Royal
Some of the greatest Superstars in wrestling history have competed in the Royal Rumble match. Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Steve Austin, The Rock, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, the Undertaker, Triple H and John Cena are legendary figures in the sport and have won the Battle Royal.
They have bled, sweated, scratched and clawed their way past 29 other Superstars to achieve immortality and bolstered their Hall of Fame-worthy resumes with wins in the annual January bout.
But not every Superstar in the Rumble is legendary or iconic.
For every Randy Orton there is an Aldo Montoya. For every Diesel there is a Mantaur.
The Royal Rumble has captured the hearts of fans across the globe because it infuses top-level, main event talent with the undercard stars who otherwise would never be featured in a marquee pay-per-view match.
And rightfully so.
That does not mean every one of those lesser stars deserves to be in the Rumble.
With the 2014 match rapidly approaching, here is a look back at some of the most underwhelming stars in Royal Rumble history.
Take future Hall of Famer Tony Atlas and dress him in Ugandan tribal gear, name him "Saba Simba" and proceed to insult and offend a large portion of your audience with one of the most racist gimmicks in WWE history.
That's what the company did in 1991.
While Atlas has repeatedly credited the Simba character with saving his life and getting him off of the streets, it does not change the fact that it was a terrible gimmick and really only made the strongman look like a joke.
He entered the 1991 Royal Rumble but made little impact, lasting just over two minutes and becoming the second man eliminated from the bout.
The Simba character would not last long in WWE, and it was probably for the best. It was clear that Atlas was a shell of his former self and never really showed any glimpse that he could keep up with some of the younger, more exciting and talented Superstars of the era, such as Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Mr. Perfect and even bigger men such as Big Boss Man.
A bad gimmick for a guy who, at the time, was simply a bad wrestler.
Max Moon and Damien Demento
By the end of 1992, Vince McMahon's company was taking a radical new direction. Gone were the huge musclemen of years past, including main event stars Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior, and Ric Flair was on his way back to Ted Turner's WCW.
This left a few voids to be filled, and McMahon threw everything he could at the wall in an attempt to do just that.
He turned to gimmicks, and two of the worst from that time period were Max Moon (seen in the video above) and Damien Demento.
At a time when Bret Hart, Randy Savage, Yokozuna, Mr. Perfect and, to a lesser extent, Razor Ramon were more realistic personas and connected with an audience because of it, the over-the-top costumes and mind-numbing names came across as too much.
Neither man made much of an impact in the Rumble match, and the following night on Raw, both were effectively run out of the company. Moon lost an Intercontinental title match to Shawn Michaels, while Demento was soundly defeated by The Undertaker.
And no one really noticed because no one really cared that they were gone, regardless of whether or not it was fair to the performers themselves.
The Great Kabuki
The Great Kabuki had been a journeyman wrestler who had appeared in promotions both in his home country of Japan as well as across the United States. Arguably his most known stint in the States came in World Class Championship Wrestling, where he was managed by the devious Gary Hart.
He had made a name for himself by becoming one of, if not the first wrestler to blow green mist in the face of his opponents.
With that said, he was 45 years old when he entered the 1994 Royal Rumble and really had no history with any other Superstar in WWE. More importantly, he had no reason for being there, other than to help bolster a roster that was seriously lacking stars.
He first became involved in the Undertaker-Yokozuna Casket match for the WWE title, helping the champion trap Undertaker in the casket for the victory before entering the big Battle Royal later in the evening.
He made very little impression in the Rumble, and it would not be out of the realm of possibility for fans to not even know he was in there until now. He would be eliminated by Lex Luger before disappearing from WWE television and never coming back.
Yep, that happened.
Mantaur was another God-awful gimmick presented to fans by Vince McMahon's WWE at a time where the boss was looking for one spark to help ignite a wrestling industry that had fallen on hard times in the middle of the decade.
He would make his way to the ring sporting what was meant to be an imposing look, with a bull's head over his own. But instead, it was comical and almost completely killed the gimmick before it ever had a chance to get off the ground.
Which it never would have because it was stupid and ridiculous and an example of everything wrong with pro wrestling at the time.
Mantaur was part of the 1995 Royal Rumble, an underwhelming match that also saw far too many jobbers involved and failed to do much of note.
He would survive until July of that year, thanks in part to a depleted roster, but would be on his way out as Superstars like Goldust and Hunter Hearst Helmsley made their debuts.
The question should not be, "How did Aldo Montoya get into a Royal Rumble?" It should be, "How did Aldo Montoya get into two Royal Rumbles?"
The "Portuguese Man O'War" was a glorified jobber who made it to television more times than others in his position because of backstage friendships and a lack of legitimate stars. Sporting what can best be described as a yellow jockstrap on his face, he became WrestleCrap material almost immediately.
Which is a shame because, for all of the criticism he would take later as Justin Credible in ECW, he was a fairly solid wrestler who showed fundamental skill. He also bumped well for bigger stars.
But he was nowhere near the level of Superstars fans expect in the Rumble match. Sure, jobbers have been included in the match in the past, but Montoya was so far down the ladder that he should have been watching from backstage.
With such a lackluster roster in both 1995 and '96, he benefited and got a nice pay-per-view payoff as a result.
The Squat Team
If you are asking yourself who the Squat Team is, odds are you are not the only one.
Known internationally as The Headhunters, the mammoth brothers made a name for themselves in Mexico and Japan, and in 1996, they arrived in the United States for a stint in the Royal Rumble match.
They were massive men, each well over 300 pounds, who added size to the Rumble match and made for suitable opposition to the likes of Yokozuna and Vader.
But the company never utilized them after the match. In fact, it would be a year before they would show up on Monday Night Raw again and even then, they would compete under a different name (The Arabian Butchers).
The fact that the brothers did little of note other than brawl with the other two behemoths in the match does not help their case for not being included in this list.
A questionable inclusion at a time when WWE was also trotting out great, over-the-hill competitors like Dory Funk, Jr. and Dick Murdoch and unfamiliar faces like Doug Gilbert as "surprises" to cover up the lack of talent on the roster.
Tiger Ali Singh
Tiger Ali Singh may have had the look of a star and may have had pro wrestling in his blood thanks to father Tiger Jeet Singh, but he was abrasive and obnoxious on the microphone and downright awful between the ropes.
A bit harsh, perhaps, but honest.
He never developed into the competitor that management had hoped he would be. By 2001, he would be relegated to the role of manager, leading D'Lo Brown and Chaz into action as they competed as Lo Down.
His appearance in the 1999 Royal Rumble came on the heels of the first attempt by creative to push him. Singh had been portrayed as a spoiled brat who belittled and humiliated everyday citizens for his own amusement. He offered them money to disgrace them and verbally assaulted manservant Abu.
He was a ripoff of the Million Dollar Man gimmick that Ted DiBiase perfected in the '80s and '90s but nowhere near talented enough to pull it off.
Singh did little of note in the Rumble and in many ways was simply a body to get the total number of Superstars to 30.
The 2012 Royal Rumble featured a great deal of comedy. Ricardo Rodriguez driving Alberto Del Rio's car to the ring and Booker T and Jerry Lawler rising from the announce table to compete in the match was fun.
Which means it should have been perfectly acceptable for Michael Cole, who had been one of the most over heels in 2011, to do the same and enter the Rumble as well.
But it was not.
Cole's character had become so grating on the nerves of WWE fans that the heat he was receiving by that point was the "shut up and go away" kind of heat as opposed to "this guy is fun to boo because we don't like him" heat.
It also added too much comedic factor to a Rumble that was overflowing with it already, killing a bit of the seriousness and importance of the annual Battle Royal.
Worse yet is the fact that Cole lasted longer than both Booker and Lawler, two Hall of Fame competitors.
Cole's heel character ended when Lawler had a very real heart attack on live television, and that change in character was best for everyone.