Top 20 Wrestlers in WWF history to have never won the belt: #20-16
by, 11-29-2011 at 01:26 PM (4062 Views)
Mike Mizanin, Jack Swagger and Sheamus - what do these names have in common? Aside from being charismatic, dynamic and talented superstars who have bright futures ahead of them, they're all premature "former" WWE world champions. It's staggering to look at how many names are now billed as "former world champs" in the WWE today. Consequently it had me looking back at a number of former WWF superstars who never once got a chance to hold the title.
20. JESSE "THE BODY" VENTURA
Closest he ever came: The Met Center, Minneapolis, Min., Mar. '85
Perhaps he was never the best pure worker in the ring, his personality made up for what he lacked technically and then some. It's unfortunate that his ailment cut his career short. The only good thing to come out of that, as far as wrestling fans go, was it allowed those of us who remember to be treated to one of the great wrestling color commentators who has ever lived. The closest "The Body" would ever come to attaining the title was in his home state of Minnesota just a few weeks prior to Wrestlemania 1 when in the main event he defeated Hogan in a match for the belt via count-out.
19. TERRY FUNK
Closest he ever came: McNichols Arena, Denver, Co., Nov. '85
Terry Funk had two runs with the WWF, one in the late 90s as the wily tag team partner of Mick "Cactus Jack" Foley and another in the mid-80s where towards the end of 85 he was a serious and legit contender for the world title. Being the most famous wrestler in one of the US's great wrestling families it wouldn't have been a stretch to see a top talent such as Funk have a run with the title. During a main event match against Hogan in Denver that run almost happened. Funk defeated Hogan via count-out. After the match Funk, with help from manager Jimmy Hart, branded Hogan in front of a mortified audience. This turn of events culminated in a rematch early the following January on "Saturday Night's Main Event" which Hogan won, ending the Funk threat once and for all.
18. SUPERFLY JIMMY SNUKA
Closest he ever came: Never a sniff
Jimmy Snuka was a phenomenon unto himself. Wherever he wrestled, people bought a ticket to watch. One thing Snuka suffered from was being ahead of his time. He did things nobody else would even dare to do - hence the name Superfly - therefore, he was relegated as a sideshow attraction of the sideshow that is professional wrestling. Had Snuka's career began in the 90s rather than having ended in them, you can be sure he'd have had one or two runs as champ. Nevertheless, Snuka is responsible for one of the WWF's most iconic moments, the leap off the cage at the Garden.
17. MAGNIFICENT DON MURACO
Closest he ever came: "Saturday Night's Main Event," March '86
Speaking of Snuka's iconic moment at the Garden... Muraco was at the receiving end of that leap off the cage. Don Muraco was a huge part of Vince's blossoming juggernaut that became the WWF in the early to mid 80s. He lent all sorts of legitimacy, prestige and interest to the company's newly minted Intercontinental Title - working with the legendary Pedro Morales in one of the WWF's most underrated and bloodier feuds in company history. In 1985 Muraco was also crowned the first ever "King of the Ring" winner. And who will ever forget his performances in "Fuji Vice" and "Fuji General"? Muraco was a huge star with all kinds of heat as a top heel. He had a number of memorable matches against champions Bob Backlund and Hulk Hogan for the championship, including a very bloody main event cage match against Hogan also at the Garden. But it was on "Saturday Night's Main Event" against the Hulkster where Muraco probably came the closest he'd ever come to being crowned champ. It didn't happen and as the 80s closed out Muraco faded into obscurity. An unceremonious end to one of the era's most memorable characters.
16. KING KONG BUNDY
Closest he ever came: Wrestlemania 2, March '86
Talk about heels - prior to Andre's heal turn in early 1987, Was there a bigger heel in the 80s in the WWF than Bundy? Maybe Piper, maybe. As far as heels go Bundy had it all. He wasn't pretty to look at, he was big, he was mean, he was cocky, he could handle a mic, he had Heenan for a manager, he dressed in black and he had refs count to 5 instead of 3 when he went for a pin fall. Therefore it was no coincidence that Vince had Bundy face Hogan in the first ever one-on-one main event of his burgeoning annual super card super show at the second Wrestlemania. It was also the first and last time a steel cage was employed in the main event of a Wrestlemania. It was as entertaining a match as Hogan ever had during his Hulkamania run (it certainly was more entertaining to watch than say Hogan-Andre the following year). If there is one thing you could always say about Bundy it was that he knew how to put on a show. Unfortunately, like many others before him, and still to come on this list, Bundy was overshadowed by Hulkamania and he too would wind up as having never held the WWF world title.