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Silly Brit: Underated and Underused

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Hi everyone!

I really enjoyed writing the earlier blogs that I thought I might expand on the whole 'list' format blogs. They seem to generate debate and discussion and I love stirring the pot a little with some controversial picks. So, in the spirit of what now looks like an incredibly narcissistic blog post, the next topic

I was looking over a couple of wrestlers that I used to really like watching and was so surprised to see their careers phase out so quickly after seemingly peaking in the company. Their talents were, unfortunately, bigger than their market pulling power and therefore couldn't make it bigger than they already got. But what needs to be said was these athletes were, in their prime, so watchable. So lovable. So accessible to watch and be a part of. With that in mind, I give you...

Underated and Underused Superstars

Billy Kidman - Billy wins the smaller one! - Shooting Star Press Demonstration

Known as a solid match getter (whenever he got them), Billy Kidman was a staple within the cruiserweight division when SmackDown exclusively held the cruiserweight Title. His matches were only exceeded by arguably the greatest visual finisher that has graced the WWE: The Shooting Star Press. During his successful transition from WCW/ECW, he found a new niche for slower wrestling than his WCW days, in return for a greater mat presence, which gifted him the unique ability to be both a strong cruiserweight and one that could exude strength at any given moment: the BK Bomb being a great example of this. His crowning glory in WWE came at Survivor Series against Jamie Noble (with Nidia, anyone know what happened to her?) as he leaped his way to championship gold. After losing the title, Billy went back to being a strong Cruiserweight hopeful who never quite got the buzz back. His pairing, and then subsequent feud, with Paul London was strong in parts, but his popularity was fading. Nevertheless, Billy Kidman was a talent that was underused in main event status and underused as to not give him longer with any belt he held.
SIDE NOTE - I used to play with Billy on Smackdown: Shut Your Mouth on PS2, very underated on there too. Beat Brock Lesnar in a tables match.

Tajiri - Tajiri vs Rey Mysterio - Green Mist Demonstration

Diminuative in stature and lacking in the Engrish, I mean English, language, Tajiri was not a typical cruiserweight. At least, it almost felt like WWE had to adhere to an inclusion policy with his henchmen. However, the WWE wasn't fooled by such un-wrestler-like qualities (leers at Nash) and made Tajiri a feared Japanese Buzzsaw with an insatiable appetite for Trish's undies and green mist. Tajiri was a huge talent back in his homeland and he was brought in during the Attitude Era with a view from officials to bring some wrestling culture into the WWE. Once the Cruiserweight division on SmackDown was fully sorted, Tajiri became a mainstay within but being sparcely used otherwise. A couple of intergender tag matches were graced with his presence but otherwise, once again, his crowning glory (IMHO) was his Cruiserweight championship reign. Ironically, he took the title off of... Billy Kidman no less! His green mist was just one of the highlights of his armoury, his buzzsaw kick finisher was as deadly as Daniel Bryan's, ADR's or Punk's kicks today. The backflip flying elbow using the ropes was a true atheltic skill, which Sin Cara does poorly today, coupled with the tarantula lock was the basis for a skill set that looked to bewilder and captivate the in-ring prey. Tajiri's trade to RAW was maybe the start of his downfall, added to the fact that his last ever match was on the now-defunct HEAT is an insult to a really underused talent who was never really taken seriously to be a top level heel.

Tyson Kidd - Tyson Kidd vs Justin Gabriel (don't mind the botched ending) - Tyson's finishers (Code Blue is my favourite)

Still young in the business, despite his pedigree and ability, Tyson Kidd is the embodiment of underdog status with his small figure and atheltic prowess. Whilst success has partially eluded him thus far, he has managed to have a solid outing in many of his matches. I was so glad to see him get a push into the MITB match and come very close to actually winning it, but general feeling was his push wasn't big enough to warrant a World Heavyweight Championship run. One of my favourite moments with Tyson was his partnership with DH Smith. Their run as a tag team was some of the mote enjoyable tag team wrestling I've seen since the TLC days of 2000-2001. Tyson wasn't so much a character that used his personality to get him over and, thus far, it hasn't helped in terms of career development. There is only so far your legacy can go and training in the infamous 'Hart Dungeon' can open doors but not necessarily guide you down the right corridors. Randy Orton had to emulate his family's success to be known in his own right and when Tyson finally gets the chance to make a name for himself, I hope he takes it. His springboards from the ropes are perfection, his mat wrestling is splendid and the amount of bumps he took in the MITB/Tensai matches sure as hell made him look like he could take a damn good beating. I have Tyson down as someone who could give Antonio Cesaro a good run as United States Champion (if Cesaro wins) and restore some real prestige to a deluded title.

Rikishi - Return vs Heath Slater - Stinkface Demonstration

Onto one of the more... er... sizeable gentleman, shall we say? Weighing anywhere between a skyscraper and 'yo mama', Rikishi had a look of pure dominance... all wrapped nicely into the tightest damn thong you did ever see in this here world. Rikishi's emergence early on (even before the Attitude Era) as a big threat to whoever he faced ensured that he would have a career that had both longevity and consistency. The issue was though, how do you use a man of that size to your advantage the best? They toyed around with him way too much for my liking. My theory is, if you give a guy a gimmick, at least make it last and stand by your decisions. Rikishi was a face, then a heel for running over Austin and then a face again in rather rushed circumstances (Mick Foley asked for his old music to be played and, what would you know, he punches Regal and dances) for it to be a natural transition. He has main-evented PPv's before but never in any serious contention to affect an outcome. For me, his greatest match came against Kurt Angle in King of the Ring 2001, where he showed that he had the ability to make Angle look borderline bionic whilst retaining his bigger-than-you personality within the ring. Whatever match he was put in, Rikishi delivered a surprisingly athletic and energetic performance (his spinning selling of powerful clotheslines are always a joy to watch, although you could photoshop a still of him in mid-air and draw a straight line through him with flames underneath and call it a rotisserie). His release after not losing enough weight was an absolute travesty to me. His selling point was his size, why would you try and get rid of the asset that made the 'stinkface' so hilariously gross? I admit that health concerns must play a part but even still, Khali was allowed to perform for several years with a problem and Big Show can still be 450+lbs. One of the moments for the ages for me will be seeing the Usos join their Dad in the ring for one final dance; growing up with Rikishi was a pleasure and, despite it being cheesy, meant a lot to see WWE give them the time to do that. Indulge in family history!

Honourable Mentions

- Eugene. Fantastic character portrayal but poorly used. Bullying of him was especially wrong in my opinion. Actually a solid wrestler when he wasn't stealing every famous move under the sun but could genuinely move and take bumps well.

- Molly Holly. A great wrestling diva: quick and decisive within the ring and great mat ability. It was a shame to hear she had been released but, after going bald, men weren't going to sweat profusely at her segments any more (innuendo eh?)

- Brian Kendrick. Scrawny little beast with a great aerial presence and a charisma that should have carried him to greater things. Having big Zeke there with him made him a great heel, I wish WWE weren't so trigger happy.

- John Morrison. Never given a chance to hold a huge title when he was, arguably, the best showman after Shawn Michaels. Chiselled abs and fur coats, he was PETA's worst enemy and female fan's fantasy. Should have been given the same chance as The Miz.

- Maven. Actually had a fair shout to be World Heavyweight Champion after coming so close against Triple H on HEAT (but, of course, cheated out of it) but his standing drop kick was a marvel to behold. Could have been a decent tag champ with RVD had they decided to keep him longer. His time in the Royal Rumble 2001 was a highly memorable bit.

So that's my list! Hopefully there will be a follow up soon and I hope this blog finds you all well and happy to debate, rate and comment!

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  1. sonoftheLINK's Avatar
    Tajiri might be my favorite wrestler in the business today. He is currently running the Wrestling New Classic promotion
    His days in ECW were epic....very slithery, stalking, creepy style, not unlike Jake Roberts.

    this match from 2006 with The Great Muta is one of the best matches I have ever seen......ever!!

    part 1

    part 2
    part 3
  2. LostOmega's Avatar
    I miss Molly Holly...
  3. alcrissam's Avatar
    this is a REAL list of people who were underused and underrated. Billy kidman was my favorite for a long long time.

    good stuff man
  4. rhyno535's Avatar
    A women who got overshadowed by Lita and Trish was Ivory. A underrated wrestler even though she won the womens title she didnt get that much attention like the other divas. Ivory did look good but not as sexy as the other divas on the roster. So ad Ivory to that list
  5. TheGreatOne's Avatar
    Jo-Mo has been used well given some big matches during his career facing Sheamus in the Finals of the KOTR, WWE title match vs Miz on Raw, and so forth.

    Kidman injured almost every wrestler in his path with the shooting star press. Chavo, Kendrick, and we could all go on.
  6. DavidCharlie's Avatar
    Wow, featured blogs do get the cream of the crop! Thank you all for your comments!

    Rhyno - Funnily enough, he just missed the cut! Ivory was, for a while, a fantastic personality. Actually one of the few good heel divas (during her Right to Censor phase) but she had such a platform being in that stable. But she was definitely underated, a very talented female athlete. Would put most divas to shame.
    TheGreatOne - For me, Jo-Mo (nice one!) was really only given that push because the break up of that tag team was, at best, a marketable feud. Besides his couple of attempts, they couldn't book him properly. One of my favourite matches with him was vs. Edge on SmackDown, possibly the only time in about 2-3 years where he was booked right. And Kidman was a little unreliable but with his finisher, the injury rate was going to be a little higher on the give and take that it was performed?
  7. RoadWarrior's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by TheGreatOne
    Jo-Mo has been used well given some big matches during his career facing Sheamus in the Finals of the KOTR, WWE title match vs Miz on Raw, and so forth.

    Kidman injured almost every wrestler in his path with the shooting star press. Chavo, Kendrick, and we could all go on.
    But who won KOTR? Not Morrison. Who won the WWE Title? Nope not Morrison. He should have had a long run as IC Champion and should be in the Main Event scene today. Not good on the mic? Don't give him one.. He's amazing in the ring. Charisma, unique move set, and its not like he was HORRIBLE on the mic. They should have pushed him to the moon.

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