This week in our "Underrated and Under Appreciated" series, we take a look at an all too common occurrence in the professional wrestling business. Quite often a smaller promotion recognizes the talent of a wrestler and utilizes him to the best of his abilities. However, the transition of that same wrestler up to a big promotion, more often than not, doesn't go well, as they are misused and underutilized. A prime example of this: Perry Saturn.
Perry Saturn got his start in the wrestling business through training school of the great Killer Kowalski. Following his training with Kowalski, Saturn would start wrestling for the United States Wrestling Association (USWA). While working for USWA, Saturn would start teaming with John Kronus as The Eliminators. After wrestling in USWA for two years and winning their tag titles once, The Eliminators caught the eye of one Paul Heyman.
Heyman brought The Eliminators into ECW and they became a crown jewel of the hardcore promotion's tag team division.
During his run in ECW, Saturn was well respected for his ability as a technical wrestler and put on many great matches. Saturn's technical brilliance would earn him a spot as one of ECW's trainers. The combination of Saturn's technical wrestling and Kronus' high flying would earn them three reigns as ECW World Tag Team Champions. Saturn's capabilities and matches were given the proper spotlight, including being included in ECW's first match for a national audience on Barely Legal.
Eventually, Saturn's run in ECW would come to an end due to a serious knee injury and his unwillingness to continue working with Kronus. Heyman desired to have The Eliminators continue working after Saturn's return from injury. Due to Saturn's refusal, Heyman offered to release him from his contract and Saturn headed to WCW.
In late 1997, Saturn would make his debut for WCW working a new brawling style -- due to the long term affects of his knee injury.
Saturn would join up with Raven's Flock and engage in a long story involving him trying to break himself and others free from the control of Raven. At it's conclusion, he would move on to feud with Jericho and was straddled with a gimmick that required him to wear goth dresses and makeup.
Luckily for Saturn's sake, the gimmick was quickly dropped and he would participate in various tag teams with Raven and Chris Benoit before WCW told him they didn't see him going anywhere with the promotion. Saturn would leave WCW in 2000 for the WWF as a part of the Radicalz.
Saturn's time in WWF didn't go much better for him than it did with WCW. Despite his abilities, Saturn was the Radical that got left behind. He was unable to break into the mid card and any time spent up the card was as assistance to one of the Radicalz who did receive a push.
Saturn's situation was only going to get worse. In a match with jobber Mike Bell, Saturn was almost injured by a botched maneuver from Bell. In frustration, Saturn would legitimately attack Bell and as a result would be straddled with a gimmick involving him being in love with a mop named Moppy.
Yes, you read that correctly. Saturn's time with the company was running out and in a rehash of his issues with Raven -- Moppy was "murdered" with a woodchipper. Saturn would re-injure his knee and be released by the company in 2002.
After a few short stints with various independent promotions and TNA, Saturn would become one of wrestling's great mysteries. After not showing up at some of his friends' funerals and not having been heard from in years, many presumed that Saturn himself was dead.
Saturn was discovered alive a few years ago and the truth of the matter was that he had become a drug addict due to injuries received while saving a woman from rape. Saturn came upon two men raping a woman and when he intervened was shot in the neck and shoulder. Since then, he has gotten clean and started a family.
Let me be clear, I am not saying that Perry Saturn should have been main eventing for WCW or WWF. I am saying that the position he was placed in, and the way he was used by both promotions was the definition of under utilization. Saturn should have been a consistent mid-card performer with some forays into the upper mid-card. He was a tag team expert that never got a truly good run in either of the top promotions as such.
Perry Saturn's career was one in a long line of mismanagement.