A lot of big names wrestled in WCW, some we know of, some we don’t remember. WWE.com revealed the some big names that performed in WCW but we hardly remember their WCW career;
Sabu is remembered as an ECW icon today, but the Arabian madman’s relationship with ECW visionary Paul Heyman was contentious at best. That was made clear in 1995 when Sabu neglected a series of ECW engagements to compete in Japan and was publically fired by his ECW boss, leading the hardcore competitor to accept an offer from WCW.
Unsurprisingly, Sabu’s barely-suitable-for-TV style made him both an entertaining and dangerous presence in WCW. Fans gasped when the daredevil put Alex Wright through a table on WCW’s Nitro — an uncommon practice for the time. But WCW executives threw a fit when Sabu’s uncle, WWE Hall of Famer The Original Sheik, threw a fireball in the face of Mr. JL at Halloween Havoc. ECW’s Evel Knievel was released by the company shortly thereafter and quickly returned to the renegade Philadelphia promotion. Simply put, Sabu was too hardcore for WCW.
There is no denying that hard work and determination are what made WWE Hall of Famer Edge a decorated veteran of the squared circle. The Rated-R Superstar is a four-time WWE Champion, seven-time World Heavyweight Champion, five-time Intercontinental Champion, a former King of the Ring winner, two-time Money in the Bank winner and the winner of the 2010 Royal Rumble Match. The accolades are astounding and Edge certainly earned every one of them, after all, he started from the bottom and worked his way up.
Don’t believe us? Check out the Jan. 13, 1996, episode of WCW Pro. You’ll see a young competitor named Damon Striker get torn to shreds by the vicious Taskmaster Kevin Sullivan. One month later, he appeared on WCW Pro again, unsuccessfully going toe-to-toe with the monster Meng. These two bouts were not only the national debut of the man who would become Edge, but also the only matches he wrestled in WCW. The Rated-R Superstar later made his WWE debut in 1997 and his brief tenure in WCW was all but forgotten.
WWE COO Triple H is one of the most accomplished ring warriors in the history of sports-entertainment. There is no denying the impressive resume he has built in a career that has spanned two decades. He has earned each of his monikers: The Game. The King of Kings. Terra Ryzing?!
Before Triple H made his WWE debut as the Connecticut blue blood in 1995, Triple H competed in WCW as Terra Ryzing — complete with big blond hair and a nefarious personality that foreshadowed the more sinister Cerebral Assassin fans would eventually encounter. Shortly after his WCW debut, Terra Ryzing changed his name to Jean-Paul Levesque and displayed an attitude much closer to his Greenwich, Conn., roots. After battling Alex Wright and teaming with Lord Steve Regal, Triple H set his sights higher and left WCW for WWE, never once looking back.
Rob Van Dam
Before he broke out in Extreme Championship Wrestling as the laidback, effortlessly athletic Rob Van Dam, this Superstar from Battle Creek, Mich., received his first national exposure with WCW in 1992. Only a few years out of training with WWE Hall of Famer The Original Sheik, the 22-year-old was signed by the Atlanta-based organization and appeared barefooted in karate gear as Robbie V.
It may be for the best that WCW executives changed Mr. Monday Night’s moniker. During his time with the company, RVD got battered by less-than-notable competitors like Shanghai Pierce and Pat Rose. All told, Van Dam barely lasted a year in WCW, but he did have one notable encounter when he took on Kevin Nash — then known as Vinnie Vegas — in a bout during WCW’s TV Title tournament. Few could have predicted it at the time, but both men would go on to become WWE Champions within the next fifteen years.
WWE fans remember Rikishi as the dancing big man of WWE’s Attitude Era, but the powerfully charismatic Samoan had a long career in sports-entertainment before his late ’90s WWE breakout.
As a member of the celebrated Anoa’i wrestling family, Rikishi made his ring debut in 1985 alongside his cousin, Samu, as The Samoan Swat Team. Carrying on the savage tradition of their forbearers — the legendary Wild Samoans — Rikishi and Samu hit the ring like untamed animals and stomped their way through World Class Championship Wrestling and Puerto Rico’s World Wrestling Council before arriving in WCW in 1989.
Entering under the guidance of Paul Heyman — then known as Paul E. Dangerously — the duo competed in a WarGames Match at the 1989 Great American Bash and fared well in Starrcade 1989’s “Iron Team Tournament.” But the pair disappeared from WCW soon after that event and eventually made their way to WWE, where they won the World Tag Team Titles as The Headshrinkers.
WWE Hall of Famer Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka is one of the most recognizable WWE personalities of all time and his legendary leap from the top of a steel cage inside Madison Square Garden is regaled as one of WWE’s defining moments. Snuka may have become a legend in WWE, but the daring competitor did compete in both ECW and WCW. His career in ECW was documented by WWE Classics, (FULL STORY) but his WCW career is a tale often forgotten.
Snuka made his first WCW appearance in 1993 at Slamboree. At the event, “Superfly” teamed up with former rival Don Muraco and Dick Murdoch in a Six-Man Tag Team Match against Wahoo McDaniel, Blackjack Mulligan and Jim Brunzell that ended in No Contest. Seven years later, the WWE Hall of Famer made his second — and final — WCW appearance in 2000, battling Jeff Jarrett inside a steel cage. Although he lost the match, “Superfly” did recreate his famous 1984 leap by jumping from the top of the cage onto Jarrett.
Mil Mascaras was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2012, but the legendary masked competitor appeared in WWE rings only a small handful of times. Instead, the lucha libre star preferred to move from territory to territory, building a fan following from Mexico to Japan that made him one of the most successful global competitors of the 1970s and ’80s.
It should come as no surprise then that Mil Mascaras made a brief stop in WCW. It was at Clash of the Champions X: Texas Shootout on Feb. 6, 1990, that the “Man of 1,000 Masks” made his sole WCW appearance, battling Cactus Jack in what could only be described as a conflict of styles. Mascaras was able to defeat the three-time WWE Champion in a little more than five minutes, but he never appeared in WCW again. Or did he?
Some lucha libre fans may have thought Mil Mascaras returned to WCW on the Mar. 22, 1999, edition of Nitro when a competitor wearing one of the WWE Hall of Famer’s distinctive masks took part in an Eight-Man Tag Team Match. But it was quickly revealed the wannabe luchador was actually Disco Inferno, going incognito as La Cucaracha. ¡Ay, qué làstima!
Greg “The Hammer” Valentine
Before he became a dangerous Intercontinental Champion in WWE, Greg “The Hammer” Valentine was one of the most hated men in the National Wrestling Alliance. Sports-entertainment fans will never forget Valentine’s heated rivalry with Wahoo McDaniel or his gory Dog Collar Match against Roddy Piper at Starrcade 1983, but The Hammer’s brief stints in WCW in 1992 and ’96 are far less memorable.
Following losses to Irwin R. Schyster and Earthquake in WWE in 1991, Valentine jumped to WCW and formed a duo with Terry Taylor — known to WWE fans as The Red Rooster. The pair won the WCW United States Tag Team Titles from the bizarre pairing of Big Josh & Ron Simmons, but The Hammer left the company barely a year into his debut. Four years later, the WWE Hall of Famer returned to WCW for a few brief appearances during the Monday Night War, including a WCW World Championship Match against The Giant on the July 29, 1996, Nitro.
The Iron Sheik
WWE Hall of Famer The Iron Sheik is well-known for being the man Hulk Hogan defeated at Madison Square Garden in 1984 to become the WWE Champion and give rise to the movement known as Hulkamania. Since then, the Iranian-born Superstar’s irreverent personality and penchant to say whatever he feels has made him one of sports-entertainment’s most recognizable figures.
Although he is a part of pop culture thanks to his WWE career, The Iron Sheik also competed in various organizations like WCCW, Mid-South and many NWA-affiliated promotions, including WCW. In 1989, the former WWE Champion joined the Atlanta-based organization and challenged one of their brightest new stars — Sting — for the NWA/WCW Television Title. His bid for the championship was unsuccessful and shortly after his arrival, the Persian powerhouse left WCW and returned to WWE.
Rhyno may have seemed like an overnight sensation when he began barreling through the ECW roster in 1999. But the truth is The Man Beast from Detroit, Mich., had been struggling in sports-entertainment obscurity for years before his ECW breakout.
A longtime friend of WWE Hall of Famer Edge and Christian, Rhyno competed on the same Canadian independent shows as the future World Tag Team Champions during the mid-90s. Striving to make it to the big leagues, the belligerent powerhouse received one of his first big breaks in August 1995 when he battled “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan in a losing effort on WCW Saturday Night. Competing under the name Terry Richards with his baby fat still noticeable, Rhyno barely looked like the mauler he would become, but his future as an ECW Champion was not too far ahead.