So often we hear about individuals “Mount Rushmore” of Wrestling. It’s such a subjective thing, but no matter what whenever any article is posted there will always be criticism. For example, I believe the are two types of Mount Rushmore when it pertains to wrestling. First and foremost, would be those who have contributed the most to the business. The second would be personal favorites.
From a contribution standpoint, I feel you have to go with who led each individual boom period. Bruno Sammartino, Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin and John Cena. It’s as simple as that. Sure you could put The Rock in there with Austin, and you could even justify Vince McMahon But a combination of those six from a contribution standpoint make the most sense from a “drawing” standpoint.
Personally speaking, my list is comprised of Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin, Vince McMahon and John Cena. I’m sure I’m about to get some flack for mentioning Cena, but quite frankly the reason I started liking the guy is because he got entirely too much hate than he deserved and at some point I felt the guy needed to be defended. He’s largely in part the reason the WWE flourished from 2004-2017. He was the main draw and was the Hulk Hogan of that area. He also took every single punch from the fans on the chin and did so smiling. You can’t help but not like a guy who goes and performs his heart out every night and happily eats up grossly negative criticism.
But enough about industry leaders and fan favorites. Today’s article is about the Mount Rushmore of Overrated Main Event Wrestlers. I will be blunt with you. This is simply a matter of personal opinion. It is a subjective topic. I will probably ruffle some feathers with this, and I am OK with that. But also, what I say is right and what you think is wrong.
1. Bret Hart
Bret Hart in my opinion was grossly overrated. People claim that Bret was an exceptional technical wrestler, and while that may be true, to me he just came across very boring in the ring. You always knew the match was close to being over when he delivered a back breaker, because that meant an elbow/forearm off the top was coming, and then inevitable the sharpshooter. To me, Bret just had little to no charisma about him. His promos came across as very monotone and uninspired. When he was a heel with the Hart Foundation in 1997, at least there was a bit more hate and ire in his speech. But the majority of Bret’s run was as a babyface and he just didn’t come across that passionate when he was on the microphone. To me, most Bret Hart matches were the same with the exception of some standouts like with Dave Boy Smith and Wembley Stadium and his matches with Steve Austin. Otherwise, Bret Hart is just as bland as they come and deserves a spot on Mount Rushmore for being overhyped and overrated.
2. Drew McIntyre
This is probably unfair as Drew is in his prime and is actually a great worker. It’s also unfair because he carried the baton in an unprecedented time in history where the wrestling industry had no fans in attendance, and as we all know a lack of fans makes it harder to watch the product at home. With that said, Drew McIntyre just hasn’t done it for me as WWE Champion. I was actually excited for him to win the Royal Rumble in 2020 and then head on to defeat Brock Lesnar in the main event at WrestleMania. But since then, very few of the matches he has had have been of interest to me. He feuded shortly with Bobby Lashley right after WrestleMania. He had a boring exchange with Randy Orton for what seemed like a good six months. His match with Roman Reign was fun and quite frankly, I can see that being a big match down the road. But, Drew just does not have much of a character to get behind and his promos are just not that great. He’s got a great look and can be marketed as a badass, but it just hasn’t happened. Maybe a big part of it is Creative’s fault for coming up with anything for fans to really sink their teeth into. I have a feeling later this year we are going to see a heel turn for McIntyre with him eventually regaining the gold but with a different attitude. I’m hopefully that a year from now I can remove Drew from this list as he has all the talent in the world, he just needs to hone his promos to what his character is and hopefully have good creative direction in the years to come.
3. Kofi Kingston
Kofi Kingston is a phenomenal in ring performer. The guy is near flawless with his move set (Randy Orton might not agree) and can certainly put on fun matches. But to me, when you become WWE Champion and are the flag bearer of the company, you have to step up your game from a character perspective. You can be the greatest performer in the world from an athletic standpoint, but fans tune into wrestling primarily to be entertained. Watching a fake choregraphed fight is only 25% of the entertainment. We need you to be able to be great on the microphone, but also display some sort of discernable character trait that we can relate to or develop interest in.
Dear readers. Please explain to me what Kofi Kingston’s character is. Go.
That’s what I thought. He has no character. He cracks inside jokes with his buddies and throws pancakes to the audience. The New Day when they started were a fresh heel group and their characters made sense. A group of guys who were overlooked that scoffed at the fact that they were placed on the undercard when clearly they had an ability to connect with the audience and put on good matches. But that was in 2014 and it is now 2021. Kofi’s main event WWE title run that lasted nearly six months was in 2019 and it was absolutely horrendous. Uneventful may be the word to best describe it. There was so much hype and hope that Kofi would take things to the next level once he grabbed the gold, but he simply floundered in mediocrity with his stable companions, continuing to toss pancakes into the crowd and dancing egregiously to his theme music. Kofi only makes this list because of the build up before WrestleMania and the fact that there was so much promise there. He simply just did not deliver.
There are a few honorable mentions here that I’ll list but will also give a good reason why they did not make the cut.
1HM- Jinder Mahal- I am only adding him to this list because main event run was so terrible. But it’s hard to consider him overrated when nobody really gave him a chance in the first place. I did give him a chance, so I can put him on my own personal honorable mention. But most people expected a flop and hated it from the beginning, so he will still on the honorable mention list for now.
2HM- If Daniel Bryan did not have his second run as the “Planet’s Champion” he would without question be on this list. Similar to Kofi, Daniel had a major build up before winning the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 30. While it was not his fault, Daniel quickly had to relinquish the title due to injury. Daniel may not have had the most memorable of matches during his run as the “Planet’s Champion” his character work was some of the best we’ve seen from him. I think a few years down the road, he won’t even be on my honorable mention list.
3HM- CM Punk. Why? Because he just isn’t that memorable. His matches while WWE champion were nothing special. The biggest mistake he made was taking all those years off which would have been the prime of his career. Now he is in the twilight given how poorly he has performed in AEW.
And last but not least, the final member of the Mount Rushmore of Most Overrated Wrestlers in the Modern Era….
4. Christian Cage
I made it very clear last year that Christian would not “move the needle” in AEW. As I said before, Christian is a good hand. But it ends there. Just like Kofi Kingston, Christian has had little to no character development during his 25+ years in the wrestling business. The most of his personality got to shine through when was tag teaming with Edge and goofing off every week. From that point forward, he was bland. Christian was as vanilla as it gets. He seemed to be onto something with his Captain Charisma gimmick before he left for TNA. I recall him specifically calling out John Cena, and then it seemed like a week or two later he was gone and in TNA. I feel like if he had the opportunity to wrestle Cena he could have made a name for himself as a pretty decent heel, but alas, it never came to be. Christian finally got his opportunity at the main event when he won the World Championship shortly after Edge retired. But, the only reason that story even took place and he was given the title is because Edge retired. I like the idea of the story itself, but unfortunately Christian did not do much with it. What would have made that run more memorable is for him to turn on Edge the moment he won the title and beat him down in front of a live audience. But instead, WWE went the sappy way and let them hug and embrace. Christian had primarily unforgettable matches with the exception of a few decent ones with Randy Orton. But unfortunately, Christian just never lived up to the potential of having even a halfway decent main event run.