Missed Wrestling Opportunities returns today with the focus on Michael Shawn Hettinga, better known from his time with WWE as Mike Knox or at TNA under the moniker Knux.
Regular readers of this blog will know that I am not on that often waxes lyrical about big men in wrestling. In fact, the opposite is more often than not true.
That’s not to say I don’t recognise the role they play today, and throughout wrestling history. It’s just, for me, their matches tend to be very samey and as a result I struggle to remain interested.
Like every rule, there are exceptions. For every plodding performer like The Big Show there’s someone like Brock Lesnar who has the sort of high impact style that first of all gets bums in seats then gets them out of it as he throws opponents around the ring.
It’s one of the most well versed joke in wrestling about Vince McMahon having a thing for big men wrestlers. It’s certainly a well he has went to on several occasions.
Hulk Hogan was a man with a superhero physique that helped take McMahon’s company to the masses during the 80s. On various occasions since, the WWE have tried to replicate that formula but never reaching those same dizzy heights.
That hasn’t stopped big men being prominent on WWE television throughout the years. The longest lasting has undoubtedly been The Undertaker while superstars such as Mark Henry, Kane and The Big Show have stood the test of time and continue to perform well into their 40s.
One big man that certainly didn’t appear to get the rub from the WWE was Mike Knox.
When he emerged from FCW, he looked different from the other stars that had been promoted from the WWE’s development league. Instead the the well muscled and clean cut look that most carried, Knox was barrel chested with a crazy beard and even crazier eyes.
You would think that with sporting the sort of look that would turn heads, a pre-requisite of a push from McMahon in the eyes of many WWE fans, that Knox would be booked in a manner that would force himself up the card. You would think so, anyway.
Instead, it wasn’t to be. Despite a promising, albeit short, push to start with it all fizzled out as Knox began to job out more and more to other wrestlers.
And he certainly wasn’t lacking in skills. It’s uncommon for a man over 6″6 and weighing over 300 pounds to carry off a moonsault but Knox has that move and flying cross-bodies in his mix as well as an arsenal of power moves.
Yet, for whatever reason, Knox wasn’t able to make it in the WWE despite several short pushes that quickly followed relegation back to the development territories.
He eventually left the WWE in April 2010 and spent several years in the independent wilderness before signing with TNA and appearing as part of Aces & Eights.
Many fans are still left wondering what could have been for the big man from California. Aged 36, there’s still time for him but there’s no denying that the WWE certainly dropped the ball. I’m sure most of us would have preferred a character like him on our screens, if properly booked – a big if – rather than the likes of Big Show and Kane.
You can read all previous ‘Missed Wrestling Opportunities’ here.