15 Forgotten Superstars from the Ruthless Aggression Era

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Hey everyone! It's The Wrestling Classic here with another list for ONE37PM.

Considering the recent popularity of the Ruthless Aggression series on Peacock and the WWE Network, I thought I would write an article relating to that. In my opinion, the Ruthless Aggression Era was from 2002-2008. The easy assignment would have been to create a list of the biggest names that defined the Ruthless Aggression Era. Meaning, I could have written about Randy Orton, Brock Lesnar, John Cena, Batista, Triple H, Trish Stratus, Lita, Eddie Guerrero, Kurt Angle, Eugene, Shawn Michaels, and many others.

However, I thought it would be more fun to write about the names that many of us might have forgotten when it comes to this era. There were many mid-card superstars that are easily forgettable, but also many superstars who had a cup of coffee in the main event scene that I think wrestling fans have forgotten. How many of these names do you remember?

Be sure to share this article and debate with your friends. Also, be sure to let me know how you feel about this list on Instagram or Twitter.

Honorable Mentions:


Paul Burchill

Katie Lee

Joy Giovanni

Nathan Jones

Kerwin White


Kevin Thorne/Mordicai

15. Heart Throbs

The Heart Throbs hit the WWE scene in April of 2005 on Monday Night Raw when they made their debut against William Regal and Tajiri. They stayed part of the division feuding with the likes of Eugene and William Regal, Hurricane and Rosey and Val Venis and Viscera. They started to get more over with the fans when they started bringing attractive chicks from the crowd into the ring and getting them to dance. The dancing didn't last long, as they were released by the beginning of 2006.

14. Kenzo Suzuki

Kenzo Suzuki was a Japanese wrestler who made his debut on the June 10th, 2004 episode of Smackdown along with his real-life wife Hirohito as his valet. Suzuki briefly formed a partnership with Renee Dupree, which would result in them capturing the Smackdown Tag Team Titles from Brian Kendrick and Paul London. They would hold the titles for two months before dropping them to RVD and Rey Mysterio. Suzuki would unsuccessfully challenge John Cena for the United States Championship before suffering an injury. Although he was drafted to Raw in 2005, he was released before appearing on the brand.

13. KC James & Idol Stevens

In 2006, WWE Diva Search contestant Michelle McCool—who was now repackaged as a "sexy" school teacher—introduced us to a new tag team of KC James and Idol Stevens. They were dubbed the "School Pets," although this was never their official name. The trio would feud against Paul London, Brian Kendrick, and their friend Ashley Massaro. The team would never successfully capture the tag team titles although they stayed in the picture for the majority of their run. McCool would get injured, which led to the end of the tag team as a whole. KC James would disappear and return in 2007 working on the ECW brand until he was released in 2008. Idol would be released in the Summer of 2007 but returned in 2010 under an entirely new gimmick. He became the "Savior of the Masses," Damien Sandow.

12. Rico

Our initial introduction to Rico was when he debuted as the stylist to Billy Gunn and Chuck Palumbo. He had such a distinctive look that it was believable. Rico won the tag team titles with Rikishi when being forced to team with him against his clients, Billy and Chuck. Rico was also behind helping Eric Bischoff with the infamous wedding angle between Billy and Chuck, causing them to turn on him and Rico appearing on Raw as the manager of 3-Minute Warning. He would later return to Smackdown where he would be managed by Jackie Gayda and even win the tag titles with Charlie Haas before being released unexpectedly.

11. Jackie Gayda

Imagine being remembered for having one of the worst matches in WWE history? Let me introduce you to Jackie Gayda. Jackie was one of the winners of the second season of Tough Enough. Gayda would make her debut in 2002 on Raw and Smackdown almost immediately after winning the contest. The infamous match where she teamed with Christoper Nowinski to face off against Bradshaw and Trish Stratus is remembered for the high number of botches in the match due to Jackie's lack of experience.

They would have her return in 2003 as the manager for Rico and eventually for both Rico and Charlie Haas. Gayda would also team with Stacy Keibler feuding with Sable and Torrie Wilson which lead to a match at Wrestlemania 20. Gayda would get involved in a lengthy feud with Dawn Marie which involved her now real-life fiancé Charlie Haas before being released. Looking back though, I think if anyone does remember Jackie Gayda, it's for that infamous tag match.

10. Amy Weber

If you blinked you might have missed Amy Weber. There was a period of time when WWE was hiring a lot of non-wrestling female personalities to developmental contracts. They came from modeling or other channels of entertainment, but had no background in wrestling outside of maybe being a fan. That was the case with Amy Weber, as she was a television and film actress. Weber was originally a contestant in the WWE Diva Search but did not win the contest.

However, she made her debut on Smackdown anyway in 2004 as JBL's image consultant and member of his cabinet during his long reign as WWE Champion. During this time she even feuded with Joy Giovanni (another woman who could have made this list) which never concluded with a match although Weber has one forfeit victory in the books. Weber would leave the company in early 2005 due to various reasons, including backstage harassment from some of the boys.

9. Rodney Mack

Rodney Mack made his debut in January of 2002. He originally replaced Bull Buchanan as John Cena's enforcer under the name Redd Dogg. This was quickly changed and he was moved to Raw under the name Rodney Mack. He was immediately paired with Teddy Long, who became his manager. Long started the "Thuggin' and Buggin' Enterprises" group, which consisted of African American superstars who felt like they were being held down by "the man."

Rodney's real-life wife Jazz would soon join the group as well. Mack is remembered for hosting his "White Boy Challenges" where he would go undefeated for weeks until Goldberg answered the challenge and beat him in 30 seconds. Following that angle, he would team with Christopher Nowinski who also claimed he was being held down by "the man" due to his intelligence. When Nowinski was forced into retirement due to an injury, Rodney began to successfully team with Mark Henry. Rodney then got hurt and was unfortunately released by the end of 2004.

8. Zach Gowen

Zach Gowen was a one-legged wrestler who would compete with a prosthetic leg. Gowen played a major role in the main event scene from the moment he appeared on Smackdown in May of 2003. Gowen immediately was involved in an angle between Hulk Hogan—who was posing as Mr. America—and "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. Gowen would then get into a feud with Mr. McMahon, which led to him teaming with Stephanie McMahon to face off against the Big Show and even wrestle Vince McMahon at the 2003 Vengeance PPV. Gowen also played a role in Brock Lesnar's heel turn in the Summer of 2003, getting brutally beaten up by Brock a handful of times. Although he hung around for a bit following that, he was released in early 2004.

7. Nidia

Nidia is one of those names that rarely comes up when wrestling fans talk about women's wrestlers from this era. Nidia was one of the two winners of the inaugural Tough Enough competition in 2001. This guaranteed her a contract with the company for a year. However, we didn't see Nidia make her debut till June of 2002 when she appeared on Smackdown alongside Jamie Noble as his girlfriend and manager. They portrayed a "trailer trash" couple and she helped lead Noble in winning many matches as well as the Cruiserweight Championship. Nidia also was part of an angle where she was blinded by Tajiri's mist and exploited this "injury" to cheat in matches. Nidia would eventually turn and feud with Noble before being drafted to Raw in 2004. Although her character went through some changes, she was released later that year.

6. Luther Reigns

Similar to a lot of the names on this list, Luther Reigns is someone you would remember if you were watching at the time. I also would bet that you thought he had a ton of potential considering his look and size. The WWE fans were first introduced to Luther Reigns in 2004 when he became the assistant/bodyguard for then Smackdown General Manager, Kurt Angle. Soon thereafter, Mark Jindrak was also included in Angle's new alliance which led to Reigns and Jindrak teaming up quite a bit. Reigns would go on to feud with the likes of the Big Show, Undertaker, and eventually even Mark Jindrak himself. Reigns was soon released by his own request in 2005 due to creative differences, but I can't help to think he could have been more successful if he stuck around.

5. Deuce N' Domino

The tag team of Deuce Shade and Dice Domino along with Cherry Pie in their corner was a throwback to the 50s. It almost felt like you went through a time machine every time they appeared. They would enter in a 1950s era car and Cherry would be on roller skates. Cherry was Domino's sister, but also the girlfriend of Deuce. The team first appeared on the Smackdown roster in 2007.

They quickly rose to the top of the ranks and became the tag team champions from Brian Kendrick and Paul London just three months into their run on Smackdown. They would get to have feuds with the likes of Sgt Slaughter and "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka (Deuce's real-life father), Batista and Ric Flair, MVP and Matt Hardy, and many others. In May, the team would dump Cherry as their manager for Maryse. At the beginning of 2008, they would eventually split and find very minor success on separate brands. Domino and Cherry would be released in the Summer of 2008 and Deuce aka Sim Snuka would be released the following year.

4. Orlando Jordan

Orlando Jordan is one of those guys who really played a prominent role in the main event scene during his stint in the WWE. Orlando made multiple appearances in 2003 after making his debut on Velocity against Jamie Noble. Early on, he worked against the likes of a young John Cena and Brock Lesnar. Orlando is mostly remembered for being appointed as the "Chief of Staff" to JBL's cabinet during Layfield's reign as the WWE Champion in 2004. During this time, Orlando Jordan would even become the United States Champion. He would have memorable feuds with the likes of Chris Benoit and Booker T. He stuck around a bit after this angle, but never reached the same level of success that he did while with the Cabinet.

3. Tyson Tomko

The "Problem Solver" Tyson Tomko may best be remembered as the big tattooed man that used to protect Christian. Tomko made his debut in 2004 by helping Christian defeat Chris Jericho in Calgary. Tomko was Christian's hired protection and the one to help Captain Charisma solve his problems. Tyson was even the bodyguard for Christian's on-screen girlfriend at the time, Trish Stratus. Tomko would be separated from Christian in the 2005 Draft and began to receive a minor singles push as a monster heel.

This was derailed when his undefeated streak was broken by John Cena. Tomko would be paired up with Snitsky (another name I almost put on this list, but I think most people remember him for the angle with Kane and Lita) before quitting on the WWE on good terms with the company. Although this wouldn't be the last we saw of Tyson Tomko with Christian in the world of professional wrestling, it was the last time we would have seen him in the WWE.

2. Simon Dean

Vignettes for a new fitness program called the "Simon System '' began airing on Smackdown in 2004 with a fitness guru named Simon Dean promoting it. These vignettes parodied popular fitness infomercials at the time, which would go viral due to the over-the-top fitness gurus who would appear in them. When Simon first appeared on Raw, he would insult the "users" of the program while also making fun of the lack of fitness of the fans in the audience.

He teamed with Maven briefly, who claimed to be a satisfied customer. Dean would eventually be drafted to Smackdown where he would start forcing enhancement talent to eat the Simon System products after he defeated them. Dean had some notable moments with Batista and Bobby Lashley on the blue brand. Simon even faced Lashley at the Great American Bash. He lost and was forced to eat 20 double cheeseburgers. Lastly, he would manage the new team called Gymini before fading away forever.

1. Jimmy Wang Yang

This is a tale of two separate runs in the company. Akio made his debut in 2003 alongside Sakoda as one half of the tag team Kyo Dai and as henchmen for the villainous Tajiri. During this period, Jimmy went under the name Akio. They ran together as a team until Sakoda was released and Tajiri was drafted to Raw in 2005. Akio would be released himself in the Summer of 2005 but would return in 2006 but under a completely new character. They began airing vignettes of Akio dressed as Cowboy, now going under the name of Jimmy Wang Yang.

This was a character made to break away from the Asian stereotypes, but stating that he was able to be a redneck even though he was Asian. Yang would have multiple shots at the Cruiserweight Championship and wrestled for it on numerous PPVs, but never won the title. During the rest of his tenure, he would briefly be managed by Torrie Wilson, form a somewhat successful tag team with Shannon Moore, and a less successful tag team with Slam Master J before being released in 2010. Although he didn't really achieve a crazy amount of success, the ridiculousness of the Jimmy Wang Yang character stays with me forever.

I hope you all enjoyed this list of forgotten superstars of the Ruthless Aggression Era. Tell me if you disagree and let me know what you think over social media. Ya dig? Oooh Yeah!

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