By Garrett Martin
THQ's WWE All-Stars pits the pro wrestling greats of today against the WWE and WWF legends of the past. With only fifteen roster slots available for classic superstars, a number of wrestlers who made a big impact on WWF/WWE history aren't in the game.
Some of these might appear as future downloadable content, and in fact the Honky Tonk Man was on this list before he was announced as DLC earlier this week. But until that happens here are some of the most notable omissions from WWE All-Stars.
Ric Flair built his legacy as the greatest wrestler of all time in the NWA and WCW, but he had a successful World Championship run in the WWF in the early 1990s and was a WWE fixture throughout the 2000s. The Dirtiest Player in the Game is one of the most beloved and iconic figures in wrestling and would easily be on the roster if he wasn't under contract with the wrestling group TNA.
Santana wrestled in the first match at the first WrestleMania, held both the Intercontinental and World Tag Team titles on multiple occasions, and was even a regular character on the Hulk Hogan's Rock 'n' Wrestling cartoon. He was never the biggest star, but he was a talented wrestler and prominent face in the WWF for over a decade.
More a plodding brawler than a wrestler, the Junkyard Dog possessed a natural charisma that made him one of the most beloved wrestlers of the 1980s. He never won a major championship in the WWF, but for a period in the mid 1980s he was second only to Hulk Hogan in the hearts of WWF fans.
GREG "THE HAMMER" VALENTINE
Valentine always seemed out of place in the late 1980s WWF. His no-nonsense demeanor and technical excellence was more fit for the NWA, where he had legendary feuds with Ric Flair and Roddy Piper. That unflashy attitude made Valentine a natural heel (or bad guy) during the cartoony Rock 'n' Wrestling Connection era. He held both the Intercontinental and World Tag Team titles during his long WWF stint, and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004.
"MR. WONDERFUL" PAUL ORNDORRF
Despite persistent rumors, "Mr. Wonderful" did not die in the early 1990s. He did wrestle in the main event at the first WrestleMania, though, and challenged Hulk Hogan throughout 1986 and 1987 in one of the hottest feuds in WWF history.
THE BRITISH BULLDOGS
The British Bulldogs thrilled WWF fans in the mid 1980s with a potent combo of high-flying attacks and crisply executed power maneuvers. Their lengthy feud with the Hart Foundation introduced many American wrestling fans to a more athletic style similar to that found in Japan, where the Bulldogs were top stars. The WWF rewarded the popular Bulldogs with an eight-month tag title reign in 1986. Davey Boy Smith went on to be a top singles and tag team performer in the WWF and WCW throughout the 1990s.
Demolition started off in 1987 as low-rent rip-offs of the Road Warriors, who at that time had never worked for the WWF. Ax and Smash quickly established themselves as the WWF's premier power tag team of the late 1980s. Their World Tag Team title reign in 1988 and 1989 is still the longest in company history. Despite their popularity, WWF/WWE owner Vince McMahon had little use for them once the genuine article were available, and Demolition disappeared not long after the Road Warriors entered the WWF.
ARN ANDERSON AND TULLY BLANCHARD
Anderson and Blanchard are NWA legends, where they were half of the Four Horsemen and won two World Tag Team titles. Their WWF stint was short but memorable, as they ended Demolition's year-and-a-half long title reign in 1989. They eventually lost the belts back to Demolition and left the WWF later that year.
The monster heel Yokozuna dominated the WWF in the mid 1990s, and remains one of the few bad guys to get a lengthy run with the WWF World Championship. He notably won the belt from Hulk Hogan in what wound up being the Hulkster's last WWF/WWE match for almost a decade. Sadly Yokozuna passed away in 2000.
Razor Ramon, aka Scott Hall, was one of the most popular stars in the WWF throughout the early 1990s, when he won the Intercontinental title several times and was a perennial World title contender. In 1996 he jumpstarted the hottest angle of the decade when he signed with WCW and formed the nWo with Kevin "Diesel" Nash.
Speaking of Nash, the WWF tried to recapture the magic of Hulkamania in 1994 and 1995 with Nash's popular character Diesel. Turning the rebellious "Big Daddy Cool" into a bland good guy didn't work as well as Vince McMahon hoped, and by 1996 Diesel reverted to his villainous ways. Later that year Nash left for WCW, creating the nWo along with good friend Scott Hall.
After years of grueling hardcore matches Mick Foley (aka Cactus Jack, Mankind, and Dude Love) cracked the WWF main event scene in the late 1990s, eventually winning two World Championships and delivering some of the greatest interviews in wrestling history. He ended his association with the WWE in 2008 and began working for TNA later that year, preventing him from appearing in WWE All-Stars.
Angle, who won wrestling gold in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, firmly established himself as one of the greatest all-around performers in WWF/WWE history between 1999 and 2006. As talented on the microphone as he was in the ring, Angle quickly shot to the top of the card, winning multiple World Championships. He left the company acrimoniously in 2006 and is now a headliner for TNA. He's a sure-fire WWE Hall of Famer once he and McMahon settle their differences.
Jeff Hardy might have been the most popular wrestler in the WWE when he left the company after losing the World Championship to CM Punk in 2009. Days later he was arrested in a drug bust by North Carolina police. That didn't stop TNA from signing Hardy in early 2010 and making him their top champion. If it wasn't for his personal issues Hardy would probably still be a WWE main eventer and WWE All-Stars playable character.
Christian is the most perplexing omission of all. Christian held numerous World Tag Team Championships with his storyline brother Edge in the early 2000s as well as the Intercontinental Championship and other secondary titles. After a sojourn as a TNA main eventer Christian returned to the WWE as the top star on their ECW brand. He's currently an upper carder in the Smackdown brand and is rumored to be added to one of the World Championship matches at next week's WrestleMania. He's not in WWE All-Stars at the moment, but don't be surprised to see Christian eventually available as DLC.
ROB VAN DAM
RVD will always be primarily associated with ECW, the hardcore independent promotion he headlined in the late 1990s. He was also one of the most popular wrestles in the WWE over the last decade, and won several titles, including a brief reign as the WWE Champion. He left the WWE in 2007, appearing occasionally at both WWE events and independent shows throughout the country. He signed a contract with TNA in 2010, making him unavailable for WWE All-Stars.
With his imposing physique and phenomenal athletic ability, Brock Lesnar could have been the biggest superstar in the history of the WWE. Instead he struggled with the non-stop touring schedule and bolted for an NFL try-out in 2004. Now he's a mainstream superstar after his successes in the legitimate sport of mixed martial arts. Not a bad career move.
ANY WORLD CHAMPION BEFORE HULK HOGAN
Sorry to break your hearts, old-timers, but none of the WWF World Champions of the 1960s or 1970s are in WWE All-Stars. So no Bob Backlund, no Pedro Morales, no Superstar Billy Graham, and definitely no Bruno Sammartino, whose frequent criticism of Vince McMahon has made him persona non grata in the WWE despite holding the World Championship for over eleven years in the 1960s and 1970s.