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10 Intimidating Heels WWE Turned Into Jokes – TheSportster

These men were some of the most intimidating heels in the business, but then WWE turned them into jokes.
WWE has long been a place where intimidating wrestlers can rule. Vince McMahon has an affinity for big and tough guys and pushing monsters to main-event programs. Some could be rough as it was impossible to take Giant Gonzalez seriously with his ridiculous outfit. Others could still show tough stuff like Umaga all the way until they were cut. A few others didn't seem intimidating at first but turned it around in the end.
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However, there are times when a worker who looks incredibly intimidating ends up faltering by the end of their WWE run. It's worse when they had actual success as a monster heel crushing all in their path, and before long, they're jobbing in joke matches. The list is long, but here are cases of ten acts that started amazingly intimidating and before anyone knew it, WWE turned them into jokes to show anyone could be ruined in this company.
When Rusev was cut from WWE, a common discussion was how they blew it with him. He looked to be the full package: powerful, impressive with his barefoot wrestling, a savage style, good on the mic, the picture of a main eventer. He might have been a better pick for WWE champion in 2017 than Jinder Mahal and still had plenty going for him.
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Not only was he put in bad losing streaks, but the absolutely horrible "triangle" with Lashley and Lana was at least interesting when WWE cut him loose. In AEW, Miro is better handled as the intimidating figure WWE should have used better.
Bam Bam Bigelow was ill-suited to be a face in WWE in 1987. When he returned in 1993, he was better booked as a heel, looking sensational thanks to that bald tattooed head and fierce demeanor. Having the wild Luna Vachon at his side was also a great touch that built him toward the main event.
Then he was set into a ridiculous feud with Doink that robbed his intimidation factor. That led to an awful face turn and sinking down the card to be out of WWE by 1996. It took ECW for Bigelow to finally be "The Beast From the East," as it's hard to be taken seriously when a clown is your top enemy.
Long a popular face in the territories, Kamala had a few stints in WWE, with his 1986 run showing off well. He was a sight with his makeup, a savage demeanor, belly-slapping, and was prone to some wild matches. The "Ugandan Giant" could spark a match into a brawl and be sold as a beast ready to cut loose.
His 1992 run began with a feud with the Undertaker that led to him turning face with Slick attempting to "civilize" him. That totally marred Kamala, making him into a joke rather than the fearsome figure he'd once been, a common problem for WWE.
It's still amazing to remember when the Ascension looked like the future of tag teams in WWE. They were like a modern-early Road Warriors, two beasts destroying everyone and still the longest-reigning NXT tag team champions.
Konner and Viktor had the look, the drive and the skills to take off…and were beaten by the long-past-prime New Age Outlaws. In no time flat, they went from champions to jobbers in forgettable matches. In the end, the Ascension's big claim to fame is setting the sad trend of NXT success stories turning into main roster failures, yet few were as bad as this.
Yokozuna may have been the best big man in WWE history. While over 500 pounds, he moved like someone half the size with amazing speed and skill. He was an impressive sight with his Banzai Drop finisher and a good reason he dominated as WWE champion.
But his later work was poorer, lacking the same skill and drive. Worse was a face turn that had him talking, robbing him of the aura of indestructibility that got him over. His early turn was fabulous, but it was sad to see the once-powerful champion dropping down the card quickly.
Matt Bloom hadn't been bad in the late-90s/early-2000s WWE as Albert before spending a few years in Japan. He returned as Lord Tensai, adding unique new tattoos to his body and adjusting his style.
He could have been sold as a top monster heel and have the same respect he won in Japan with the right booking. Of course, WWE couldn't do that as Tensai was soon stuck in a tag team with Brodus Clay with awful dancing. Bloom retired and is now a trainer, but he might have gone further as a harsh heel.
Before Rusev, Vladimir Kozlov was WWE's last major attempt at a classic "Russian heel." He looked the role with his big build, short haircut, never smiling and being not bad in the ring. He had shots at the title and held his own with the likes of Cena so a bit better booking and he might have been a good midcard performer.
Instead, he was lowered to a tag team with Santino Marella. In fairness, they were a fun duo (especially the priceless "Tea Party" segment), but it also robbed Kozlov of intimidation so few were sorry he ended up released.
King Kong Bundy was one of the best monsters of the 1980s golden era of WWE. With his huge build, bald head and insistence on a "five-count" for pins, Bundy had top feuds with Hulk Hogan and still some presence in WWE when he left.
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When he returned, Bundy still looked impressive but was subjected to bad booking against the Undertaker, lasted only three minutes at the Royal Rumble and lowered to wrestling the likes of Henry O. Godwin. Bundy left in late 1995, no longer as "royal" among top heels.
Granted, the Great Khali was never that good in the ring, but there's no denying how impressive he looked coming out. That massive height helped, but there were also his craggy features and he was sold as impervious to pain.
They did their best selling him with a World Title run and feuds with the Undertaker. Khali wasn't as awful in the ring as, say, Giant Gonzalez and still had some potential but then WWE turned him into a comedic guy as the "Punjabi Playboy" and stuff like being eliminated by Beth Phoenix at the Royal Rumble with a kiss. Khali wasn't that "great" by the end of his run.
In the early 1990s, Vader was one of the most terrifying men in wrestling. A huge man able to take off the ropes with ease, he legit broke a guy's back with his powerbomb and famously ripped off Mick Foley's ear. He suffered a bit in WCW but still was known for his rough side so his joining WWE in 1996 should have continued that.
Instead, Vader was watered down, hampered by injuries and bad booking, a worse heel turn and never allowed to cut loose as he should have. Going to WWE was a mistake that harmed Vader's power as a monster heel.
These WWE stars seemed on the precipice of greatness. But, for one reason or another, the company never got behind them.
A long-time pro wrestling fan with experience writing about it. Love lists with a passion and enjoy the history of the business as well as football and baseball. Also an avid comic book and action movie fan so more than looking forward to sharing my fun knowledge with others.

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