by Brian Phelps
When Hulkamania exploded onto the wrestling world in 1984, no one knew that it would go on to revolutionize the sport of professional wrestling and bring it into the mainstream. It ushered in an era of unprecedented financial revenue for Vince McMahon and the WWE (then known as WWF), and gave a face from which to brand Wrestlemania during its early years. What many people don't know though or realize is that as a result of the boom of Hulkamania, there were several legendary wrestlers that would never reach their potential. They were never able to break through the glass ceiling because Hulkamania and its spotlight eclipsed any hopes or dreams they had of making it to the highest levels of the wrestling world. Wrestler's Way has comprised a list of legendary wrestlers who Hulk Hogan and Hulkamania kept from reaching their full potential.
#5 - The British Bulldog
The British Bulldog had the attitude, the fans, and the physique. He was a peak physical specimen through the '80s and '90s. He was also a phenomenal power wrestler whose delayed suplex was an awesome sight whenever he got a bigger guy up in it and just held him in the air. Had Hulkamania never took place, the British Bulldog may very well have went on to become WWF Champion. By the time Hogan left the WWF in 1993, the WWF had already looked ahead to Bret "Hitman" Hart to carry the torch and The British Bulldog went from a big power wrestler with a great look and physique to an afterthought.
#4 - Rick Rude
"Ravishing" Rick Rude throughout the '80s had a great gimmick, and fans loved to hate this guy. His abs were second to none in professional wrestling... and his look epitomized the classic '80s big brown curly hair and thick mustache that reflected hunks of the time like Tom Selleck and David Hasselhoff. His attitude was so bad, but in a way that made you want to jump the guard rail and punch him yourself. He never could make it to the next level in WWF at that time due to Vince McMahon's always have the strap on Hogan. Without Hogan there, Piper might have been turned face (which did happen in the '90s but by then it was too late), leaving a spot for a main event heel which could've been filled by Rick Rude. We'll never know though. Once he did leave the WWF and got out of Hogan's shadow he went to WCW and became Heavyweight Champion and main eventer there... feuding with Sting.
#3 - Jake "The Snake" Roberts
The Snake Man was always an upper mid-card heel in the WWF. Jake had an intense feud with the number two guy in the WWF Randy Savage. Without Hulkamania, Savage may have been the face of the WWF and his feud with Jake Roberts might have been over the WWF Title. By the time Hulk Hogan finally left the WWF, Jake Roberts was already too old to be the face of the company. He tried WCW, but like I said his time had already come and gone waiting for Hogan to leave. He should've been WWF Champion.
#2 - Rowdy Roddy Piper
Rowdy Roddy Piper spent the entire '80s being the villainous foil to Hulkamania. Had Hogan not have blown up the way he did, Piper would have had no one in his way of becoming the number one guy in the WWF. Piper was untouchable on the mic, and his brawling style was fairly standard for the time. When he went to WCW in the '90s, he was in Hogan's shadow yet again. He spent the majority of his career being in Hogan's shadows whether it be wrestling or movies. Rowdy Roddy Piper is beyond the shadow of a doubt the greatest wrestler to never become a World Champion.
#1 - Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka
Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka was held back by Hulkamania more than any other wrestler at the time and here is why. Snuka came to the WWF in 1982, and lost several title matches to Bob Backlund including a cage match that became match of the year by pro wrestling illustrated. In 1983, the defining moment of Jimmy Snuka's career came during a cage match where he did his famed Superfly Splash off the top of a 15 foot high steel cage. He was a top face in the WWF at the time, and spent 1984 in a feud with Rowdy Roddy Piper. Around the same time Hulkamania was born that same year in 1984, and so when the very first Wrestlemania took place in 1985... instead of Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka vs Rowdy Roddy Piper in the main event... Snuka was just a corner man for Hulk Hogan as Hulkamania replaced what should've been Snuka's spot and faced Rowdy Roddy Piper in the one Wrestlemania that started it all. Had it not been for Hogan, Snuka would've faced Piper at Wrestlemania I... but instead Hulkamania blew up out of nowhere and eclipsed him within months. Jimmy Snuka lost all his buzz, because Hulkamania stole his thunder as top face and Snuka fizzled out of the WWF for a few years. When he finally came back, he would never again regain his momentum or role as a top face eventually being "fed" to the Undertaker at Wrestlemania 7. Superfly missed out the most of any wrestler in the Hulkamania era.