The idea of someone being underrated in today's world of the internet's rapid coverage and streaming video services is hard to believe. If someone is excellent, trust me, the world will find you. Some wrestlers are almost famous for being underrated, to the point that they are overrated for being underrated, if that makes sense. We all know that Arn Anderson might have been the most talented member of the horsemen, that Eddie Guerrero never got his just due until he tragically died, and that Rick Rude might have been the most gifted performer of his generation.
This column isn't about those guys, it is about guys that I personally feel were very good at what they did, but are rarely talked about now a days as being excellent. Take it as a collection of guys that were underrated amongst guys that were underrated.
If the Undertaker had never came along, how would we remember Kane? He certainly would never have been placed in as high-profile of a gimmick, but he also would never constantly be in the shadow of one of the all-time greats. Kane's combination of size, quickness and technical ability are really only comparable to the Undertaker, and if the Undertaker never made his way to the WWE, wouldn't we all value Kane's abilities just a little bit more?
Kane's versatility as a performer over the past 10 years are what really stick out to me about him. He is capable of working as a heel or a face, as a legitimate title contender or as a fearsome opponent to put another guy over, Kane has really done it all for the WWE.
Kane is 46 years old, and from what we have seen, he is as good as he ever as. Name another big guy that was as good at 46 as he was at 30. Not even the Undertaker can say that, which truly makes Kane one of a kind.
Windham tends to be looked upon as the 4th Four Horsemen. He certainly wasn't Ric Flair, and he wasn't a part of the dominant tag team of Anderson and Blanchard. Maybe Windham wasn't quite on the other guys level, but that shouldn't prevent someone as talented as Windham from being properly appreciated.
Obviously he has great genetics, being the son of the legendary Black Jack Mulligan. Because of his pedigree and technical savvy, Windham started off in the NWA as a face. His heel turn, when he turned on babyface Lex Luger and joined the Horsemen was a tremendous moment at the time, and really helped set the table for Luger's feud with the Horsemen. Windham went on to hold the US Title for an impressive nine months before dropping it to Luger.
After an awkward run in the WWF, Windham returned to WCW and rejoined the Horsemen. After Flair departed from the company, Windham became the number one contender for the World Heavyweight Championship. Windham lost, but was apart of a famed double turn, where Luger turned heel and Windham face. He then went on to have one of the most underappreciated tag teams with a young Dustin Rhodes, culminating in some memorable feuds with the Enforcers and the Dangerous Alliance.
Windham would continue to be a factor in both the WWF and WCW until the end of the decade. Despite not achieving the acclaim of his Horsemen cohorts, Windham certainly deserves to be recognized for his considerable accomplishments.
When Shamrock first came to the WWF, he was much like the way Brock Lesnar is now. Someone that legitimately was a dominant force in mixed martial arts. Shamrock already was an accomplished wrester before his debut in the 1997, with considerable experience on the indy circuit and in Japan. Shamrocks legitimate background, intensity, and ankle lock submission hold really make him a predecessor to Kurt Angle's success a few years later.
Shamrock was as over as anybody in the attitude-era and received some of the biggest pops out of anyone on the roster during that time period. He had some of the best into music of all-time and always came out looking like he was ready to snap someone's neck. His tremendous feud with The Rock over the IC title in 1998 really helped set up the Rock for his main event push later that year. Unfortunately for Shamrock, he suffered a terrible injury in 1999 at the hands of Chris Jericho's bodyguard, Mr. Hughes, which led to his departure from the WWF. If Shamrock came along in 2007 instead of 1997, I have no doubt he would be a multiple time world champion. His charisma, intensity and background would certainly make him stick out further in a significantly less loaded era in the WWE.
2 Cold Scorpio
I'm going to be honest here, I love 2 Cold more than possibly anybody in the world. I couldn't write a column about underrated performers without mentioning Scorpio, so I will try and keep this short. Scorpio was one of the first American wrestlers to use high-flying, lucha libre style moves. He is what many fans call the innovator of the 450 splash and his travels in Mexico, Europe and Japan made him one of the most versatile and well-rounded wrestlers to ever get in the ring. When he entered WCW his style immediately made him stick out from the traditional mat-based wrestlers of the old-NWA. His success in WCW was quick, as he soon jumped ship to ECW, where he would win the TV Title 4 times and continuously bring the house down. His 30 minute draw with Sabu is one of my all-time favorite matches and one of the reasons ECW could stake a claim as having the best wrestling product in the world during that time period.
While Kane, Windham and Shamrock all attained some significant championship success on the biggest stages of wrestling, Scorpio never really did. He was saddled as Flash Funk in the WWF and never picked up any meaningful wins over anybody but jobbers. Scorpio possessed great charisma, his jiving and attitude in the ring made him look like a black, in-shape Dusty Rhodes. I know this is going to sound ridiculous, and you can slam me in the comments if you want too, but I honestly think that Scorpio was better than Eddie Guerrero. He was just as good in the ring, and he had more charisma. The only difference is that WCW and the WWE gave Eddie the opportunities to succeed on a huge level, while Scorpio could only do so in ECW and in Japan. Scorpio is still active on the indy circuit, and he can still do the 450 splash, but it sucks to think about how much potential was wasted by bookers who couldn't see the real talent of Scorpio.