"Be not afraid of greatness," the Bard tells us. "Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em." It's a maxim as true in professional wrestling as it was on Shakespeare's stage. Not everyone gets to be the main attraction, though.
Sung or unsung, the wrestlers on this list had just as much charisma and in-ring ability as their more well-known counterparts, and often put many main eventers to shame. Some were held back by the tastes of fans and promoters. Others caved to their own excesses. All played a critical role in making wrestling the modern spectacle it is today.
15. Marty Jannetty
As the Midnight Rockers, Marty Jannetty and Shawn Michaels were a two-man wrestling machine. By the time they hit the WWF in 1988, the team, their name now shortened to the Rockers, were touted by commentator Gorilla Monsoon as "tag team specialists." Quick tags, double-teaming, and a high-energy style would become their trademark, and their rock star looks gave them tremendous youth appeal. (Only heavy metal fans noticed, but Jannetty was a dead ringer for Iron Maiden's Dave Murray.) In the performing arts, real life can sometimes get in the way. Such was the case with the Rockers. Like a great rock band broken up before its time, they were simply too good to last. Tempers were so heated at one point that the pair got into a legitimate fistfight. If not for Randy Savage telling the police that it was all part of a storyline, Jannetty may have gone to jail. Backstage politics and real-life animosity ruined a good thing, and the WWF soon realized that Michaels and Jannetty couldn't co-exist. You know the rest. Michaels put Jannetty through the Barber Shop window. Then he started dressing like a Hallmark card and became a huge star. Jannetty faded from the limelight soon after. He made the occasional return, but he would never make the same splash as his ex-partner. Michaels has always been quick to point out how much he learned from Jannetty. If there's any justice in the WWE Universe, we'll see Jannetty in the Hall of Fame soon.
Check out "The Champ" by my alter ego, Greg Forrest, in Heater #12, at http://fictionmagazines.com.
I used to do a mean Glenn Danzig impression. Now I just hang around and co-host The Workprint podcast at http://southboundcinema.com/.