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The 15 Most Lovable Losers
Most Superstars find something to make themselves stick out from the pack. It might be hard-rocking entrance music, flashy attire or a particularly devastating move. A certain group of Superstars, however, are best remembered for their lack of flair. Their squared circle shortcomings made them stand out in an unintended manner. Though they gave every effort to win, they found themselves counting the lights more often than not. These are the not-so-Superstars who, despite their lack of victories, earned a special place in the hearts of the WWE Universe.
Who's your favorite lovable loser? Let us know at Facebook.com/WWEClassics.
This scruffy Superstar slam danced into WWE in 1995. From the center of the grunge music scene, Seattle, Radford adopted a “come as you are” attitude in the squared circle, wearing plenty of flannel and boots resembling Doc Martens. But beneath his messy hair, Radford was a technically proficient grappler, using a picture-perfect Northern Lights Suplex to put away opposition when he could.
However, Radford seemed to have plans other than reaching the top of WWE. The pudgy rocker was desperate to join up with Skip and Sunny, The Bodydonnas. The fitness fanatics were nowhere close to impressed with the chubby Radford, telling him he’d need to shape up if he wanted to run with them. They made him do push-up after push-up, crunch after crunch and sprint after sprint. Despite Rad’s persistence in the gym, he still couldn’t get the job done in the ring. Radford’s lack of focus cost him his Bodydonna membership and a defeat at the hands of Skip was his last in WWE.
After four years of doing "The Million Dollar Man’s" bidding, Virgil finally had enough. The millionaire’s trusted bodyguard grew tired of driving Ted DiBiase around, carrying bags, giving foot massages and being on the receiving end of constant verbal abuse. So Virgil branched out on his own, handing in his resignation in January 1991 by decking DiBiase with his Million Dollar Championship. Virgil’s singles career started off with a bang, as he defeated his former boss in Madison Square Garden for the Million Dollar Title.
Things went downhill after that for the former bodyguard. The Million Dollar Man replaced Virgil with Sensational Sherri, who helped DiBiase get his golden title back by any means. After he dropped the championship, Virgil never got his in-ring career back on track. He found himself at the mercy of many WWE Superstars, who seemed to get bigger by the year. At Survivor Series 1992, he was crushed under the weight of the massive Yokozuna. Virgil couldn’t regroup from the constant beatings and was gone from WWE by 1994.
Who? Exactly. Hailing from Who Knows Where, weighing in at Who Knows What, the mysterious Who made his way into the squared circle during summer 1996. The barrel-chested masked man left the WWE Universe wondering who could be under the hood.
Commentary for Who’s matches turned into bad Abbot and Costello routines faster than you could ask “Who’s on first?” That’s pretty much everything notable about Who. During his brief WWE run, he never won a match, falling to the likes of The Undertaker and Jake “The Snake” Roberts. He was on the first bus back to Who Knows Where before summer was out. Who was Who? Who cares?
The Young Stallions
Jim Powers and Paul Roma were two of WWE’s more unsuccessful Superstars. They were in fantastic shape, good-looking and were exciting to watch, which made their shortcomings in the win column all the more surprising. Perhaps, they thought, if they joined forces, their fortunes might change.
It didn’t exactly pan out that way for Roma and Powers. Dubbed "The Young Stallions," they hit the ring with youthful exuberance, a combination of speed and strength. However, The Stallions’ offense did little to faze opponents. Aside from a victory over The Hart Foundation and surviving a 10-Team Elimination Match at Survivor Series 1987, The Stallions didn’t rack up wins and were put out to pasture as the 1990s approached.
Much like Crocodile Dundee, Outback Jack made his way from his home in Humpty Doo, Australia, to America in the late 1980s. Instead of exploring the big cities like his fictional counterpart, Jack opted to explore the wild action in WWE rings.
Having tangled with the nastiest creatures in the Outback, Jack was well prepared for his early in-ring career, dispatching competitors with a uniquely Australian maneuver. He would hit them with a clothesline, then, much like a boomerang, Outback Jack would swing back around for another clothesline from behind.
Eventually, though, the competition picked up on Jack’s tendencies, and the Aussie found himself counting the lights more often than not. Outback Jack tried to keep things positive, assuring the WWE Universe that he had “no worries, mate” while flashing his toothless grin. Jack later formed a short-lived tag team with Hillbilly Jim. Though the two bonded over their similar lifestyles, Jack soon departed WWE to head back to the “Land Down Under.”
Everybody knows about Randy Orton’s sports-entertainment bloodline. His grandfather, Bob Orton Sr., was a talented competitor in the southeastern United States and his father, "Cowboy" Bob Orton, rose to fame in WWE as “Rowdy” Roddy Piper’s sidekick, standing in the Scotsman’s corner during the main event of WrestleMania I. But do you remember Randy’s uncle, Barry O?
Despite being from a line of hardened grapplers, Barry O looked more like he belonged in a Van Halen tribute band than a WWE ring. With long, flowing blond hair and neon tights, the second-generation competitor tried to gain victory by any means necessary. It didn’t work out too often for Barry O, as competitors from Koko B. Ware to Bret “Hit Man” Hart always put him down for the count.
This white-hat cowboy from Waco, Texas, two-stepped into WWE in 1987, trying his best to use his quick-draw speed and agility to outduel his opponents. Unfortunately, Sam Houston’s shots rarely hit the mark.
Although he was nimble, Houston’s skinny frame often put him at a disadvantage against the monstrous Superstars he combated, like the Big Boss Man and Akeem. The cowpoke may have thrilled the WWE Universe with his Wild West ways, but he was simply unable to overcome the size differential to string together many wins.
"Iron" Mike Sharpe
Dubbing himself “Canada’s Greatest Athlete,” the burly "Iron" Mike Sharpe joined up with WWE in the early 1980s. A formidable competitor in the ring, Sharpe established himself as a top contender to Bob Backlund’s WWE Title. After Backlund defeated him, though, "Iron" Mike was never the same.
Sharpe grunted along as Superstar after Superstar pinned his shoulders to the mat for the three count. The rugged Canadian did everything he could to try and reverse his fortunes, even donning a leather arm brace that may or may not have been loaded with a foreign object. Despite his best intentions, "Iron" Mike Sharpe never reclaimed his prior success. Though he was still a talented grappler, he became a gatekeeper of sorts, one of the first challenges a new Superstar faced in WWE.
"Playboy" Buddy Rose
"Playboy" Buddy Rose had a very positive self-image. The hefty Superstar fashioned himself a ladies’ man and lived the lifestyle of one, jet-setting around the world. In the ring, he was deceptively quick. That made Rose the perfect foil for WWE Champion Bob Backlund in 1982. When Backlund vanquished Rose, things changed for the "Playboy."
Rose bounced around the territories before returning to WWE in 1990. The "Playboy" had gained a noticeable amount of weight, standing in around 300 pounds. Rose insisted that was a farce and that he truly weighed a “slim, trim 217 lbs.,” thanks to his special “Blow Away” diet. Rose’s second tenure in WWE wasn’t as successful as his first. No diet could have helped the "Playboy" keep up with the younger, stronger, faster group of Superstars, who left Rose flat on his back.
Leaping Lanny Poffo
The “Poet Laureate of WWE,” Leaping Lanny was always ready with a witty rhyme, scribbled out on a frisbee. It seemed that at a moment’s notice, he could craft a poem to call out Superstars for their evil acts or celebrate huge events like WrestleMania. Villainous Superstars could muster little verbal recourse against Poffo’s intellectual verses. However, once Leaping Lanny tossed out his frisbees, it was a different story.
Poffo was more than capable when the bell rang. In an era of extra-muscular competitors, Leaping Lanny lived up to his moniker, moving around the squared circle with speed and grace. He was one of the few competitors of his era to utilize aerial maneuvers, including the moonsault. Unfortunately, Lanny’s leaping ability couldn’t outmatch the size and strength of his opponents, who more often than not defeated him. Still, Poffo’s way with words made him one of the more beloved Superstars of the 1980s.
Fans of WWE’s Saturday afternoon programming from the 1980s and 1990s probably remember Duane Gill. The skinny, bleach-blond competitor showed up week after week in his bland singlet and caught hell from Superstars like The Undertaker, Mr. Perfect, Razor Ramon and countless others.
Gill eventually grew tired of losing, so he set out to find a way to come off more intimidating, in hopes of getting inside his opponents’ heads. He shaved off his mullet, traded in his singlets for a pair of black trunks and spent several dollars on a dazzling pyrotechnic display for his entrance. OK, they were sparklers, but they still signaled Duane Gill’s transformation into Gillberg, a low-rent version of WCW’s Goldberg. The transformation brought Gill a modicum of success, as he surprisingly captured the WWE Light Heavyweight Title from Christian. After losing the title to Dean Malenko, Gill was seen sparingly in WWE, most memorably returning when The Rock wanted to take a dig at Goldberg in 2003.
Perhaps the most prolific loser in WWE history, Barry Horowitz went years without winning. The WWE Universe saw it as a foregone conclusion whenever he stepped in the ring. Still, Horowitz plodded on, trying to remain positive by patting himself on the back before every bout. More often than not, Horowitz ended up on his back, being pinned by countless Superstars.
Eventually, Horowitz’s upbeat outlook paid off. He found himself across the ring from Bodydonna Skip in summer 1995. Skip thought he was in for an easy night and began to show off. He hit the mat to do a few pushups when Horowitz snuck up next to him. The perennial loser trapped Skip in a three-quarter nelson and rolled him up for a three count. The WWE Universe exploded in approval as Horowitz jumped for joy. Announcer Jim Ross excitedly, but succinctly, summed up the moment on the microphone by exclaiming, “Horowitz wins! Horowitz wins! Horowitz wins!”
Colin Delaney had heart. But that’s about all he had. The diminutive competitor joined WWE in late 2007, showing up on the ECW brand every week to get destroyed by monstrous Superstars. Kane, The Great Khali and Big Daddy V all hurled Delaney around the squared circle with ease as he scrambled to survive.
Still, Colin kept coming back, a new body part bandaged each week, taking beating after beating. His refusal to give up, as stubborn as some may have seen it, earned him the respect of the WWE Universe and, eventually, a WWE contract.
The title of Superstar went to Delaney’s head almost immediately. The plucky competitor turned his back on mentor Tommy Dreamer and joined up with ECW Champion Mark Henry, who demolished Delaney just a few weeks into their association. Dreamer eventually got his retribution, defeating Colin in an Extreme Rules Match. Afterward, Delaney would never be seen in a WWE ring again.
Longtime WWE fans will remember S.D. Jones. The man from Philadelphia by way of Antigua was a mainstay in the squared circle during the 1980s. With a perpetual smile, “Special Delivery” faced the biggest names of the era, and though he was often on the losing end of things, his tenacity in the squared circle earned him the respect of his fellow Superstars and the WWE Universe. Still, he’s probably best remembered as being on the wrong end of King Kong Bundy’s Avalanche at the first WrestleMania, falling to the monster in just nine seconds.
Despite his record, Jones came back for more each and every week. A reliable hand in the ring, he became the go-to tag team partner for Superstars in need of help. One of the highlights of S.D. Jones’ career came when he teamed up with "The Eighth Wonder of the World" Andre the Giant to take on Big John Studd and Ken Patera.
He dressed like a bum and had the win-loss record to match. Clad in dirty jeans and a torn New York Yankees shirt, The Brooklyn Brawler was one of the longest-tenured Superstars in WWE history. Unfortunately, he didn’t pick up too many wins along the way. He took on nearly every major name to step through the ropes, but couldn’t seem to find the winning combination. Even Bobby “The Brain” Heenan couldn’t help the Brawler get his hand raised, dumping the New Yorker after a few months.
However, every dog has his day eventually. The Brawler’s came in 2001 on SmackDown when he found himself standing across the ring from Triple H. The Game looked to have things wrapped up until Chris Jericho interfered, giving Brawler the opening to pin Triple H in one of WWE’s most shocking upsets.