There is a recurring theme in the world of pro wrestling, that being the theme of workers who just didn't seem to get a fair shake of things during their career. For one reason or another some workers just don't seem to connect, yes this comment caused some controversy when one Vince McMahon used it on the Steve Austin Show, but it's actually a true statement. It's not always a matter of the worker not being good enough or incapable of getting a true bond with the fans, it could be something as simple as getting injured at an inopportune time. I've seen people come and go in this business and sometimes you see a worker and immediately know they'll be a massive star, then they get a serious injury, miss a lot of time, then suddenly that spot they were being primed for disappears and their character seems somewhat “meh” whenever they finally make it back to television. Another could just be a matter of wrong place, wrong time, and as a result they aren't able to break out of spot they've just somewhat been lumped into via circumstance of whatever nature. It's a story as old as the business itself, and it's really unfortunate for so many who've come through the doors of the WWE over the years.
One of the biggest examples of missed opportunity is one that Steve Austin himself has pointed out quite a few times over the years. Raven was one of the biggest stars in the world for a time, quite the feat when you take into account he made it happen while working for a little heard of company out of Philadelphia named Extreme Championship Wrestling. Raven had a look that was incredibly marketable, his in ring ability was absolutely outstanding, and his character was one of the most psychologically fulfilling characters in the history of the business. Even once Raven made it to WCW he got attention but for whatever reason, like maybe that whole New World Order deal that was going on back then, he never seemed to get out of the midcard on their roster. I think the only real reason that Raven didn't quite get over in WWE wasn't because of lack of marketability or anything along those lines, it was actually probably because he came aboard during the heyday of the Hardcore division in the WWE. Raven was so well known for his ECW run that coming into the WWE during their Hardcore days he was pretty much pigeonholed into the position of being “one of those hardcore guys,” and as a result WWE missed out on having one of the most interesting characters since Jake Roberts as the main focal point of their company, even if it were just for a short time.
As much as I think WWE missed the boat on Raven, there's a more recent guy who I think should have had a massive run in WWE as a top heel character, showing himself to be incredibly dedicated to the role, yet he just couldn't seem to break out. There are only so many people to come through the business who can play a “monster heel” role and actually make you believe them in that spot. Right now Brock Lesnar is the absolute perfect example of this type of character. Being larger than life, powerful, looking like the baddest man on the planet, and exuding confidence to the point that just seeing the man makes you believe he really could rip your head off and feel zero remorse for his actions. Maybe it's because we've seen Brock in UFC fights and have seen him legitimately beat down some pretty scary dudes, but he just seems like as real of a deal as you've ever seen in this business. While that's not a requirement, it doesn't hurt his case. Meanwhile of all these big, powerful, monstrous men to wander in and out of the WWE's doors in the past couple years, nobody seemed to be more dedicated to getting over than Snitsky, it's just a damn shame he didn't quite hit with the audience, at least not with the majority of said audience.
Snitsky was a massive man, he looked the part of a monster like very few men before him, and even fewer after his run with WWE. When he was given his “monster” gimmick in the new age ECW he shaved his head and eyebrows, while also taking the extra step to color his teeth in order help with the fear factor of his character. I always liked Snitsky, even in his first run on the roster as the “it wasn't my fault” guy who caused Lita's “miscarriage” back in the day. There was something inherently bad ass about the man, maybe it was that he was massive, maybe it was that he just looked like he could kick the hell out of anyone who crossed him, or maybe it was just that he was one of the more believable men to have set foot in a WWE ring. Through all of his incarnations Snitsky portrayed a bonafide ass kicker, someone you really could see ripping someones head off. I keep hoping he'll make another appearance in the Royal Rumble as a “surprise entrant” sometime, especially when I see that Paul London clothesline over and over again. Even if it were just a one off thing, I truly feel that Snitsky was just somewhat of a “wrong place, wrong time” guy who could have been one of the biggest stars in the business if he had hit maybe a year or two earlier.
There are plenty of times where workers just missed a spot, but Snitsky is one that I truly miss seeing in the ring. There are times when I think of how outstanding it would have been to see a team of Knox and Snitsky for a bit just running through the entire tag division, it could have been amazing. I can't possibly be the only one out here who misses Snitsky, right? He was such a larger than life character that you just had to stop and see what he was going to do whenever he came on the screen. I still remember the first time I saw his big boot on the WWECW brand, it was different, it looked incredibly dangerous, and was something you could truly believe would rattle his opponents teeth if not knock them clear out of said opponents head. Maybe one day we'll get another glimpse here and there of the brutality and brilliance that was Gene Snitsky, I can only hope that someone finds a way to work this out, even if it were to work a few shows with the NXT crew in order to help build a younger worker for the main roster. Whatever it was that kept Snitsky from becoming the top talent that he should have been capable of being, the one thing I can assure you above all else is that it wasn't my fault.