3 times WWE has done the Lars Sullivan character before
The concept of a "monster heel" is nothing new to professional wrestling. After all, without a great heel, it is truly difficult to create a great babyface, given the adversity involved with telling these sorts of stories.
Right now a lot of eyes are on WWE Superstar Lars Sullivan. Not just because of controversy or backstage rumors, but because Sullivan was the subject of vignettes before making his post-NXT main roster debut. And if the rumors were true, Sullivan had been slated to debut in a big way on the main roster, battling John Cena at this year's WrestleMania.
While we have not yet seen Lars Sullivan in a proper feud, his character is clearly one-dimensional and easy to define. For starters, he is portrayed to be both large and strong. WWE officials have also been playing up his mean streak and overall psychological instability, which is supposed to inform why he is to be feared and hated.
But ultimately these days it is difficult to be purely original within the world of professional wrestling. Below and on the following slides are three examples of when WWE previously featured talent comparable to Lars Sullivan, and as you will read, these talents have reached varying levels of long-term success.
Jon Heidenreich―Heidenreich, for short―was signed to the teams in the NFL, CDL and AFL before becoming a professional wrestler. He was trained within the infamous UPW organization―which would later give birth to John Cena, Samoa Joe and The Miz―and he was quickly signed by WWE in 2001. He would quickly part ways with the company and then re-sign with them, following a stint in Japan alongside Nathan Jones, in 2003.
Heidenreich was first seen on WWE television in late 2003. After close to a year of lower-card appearances, he made an impact in August 2004 as a protege of Paul Heyman. Heidenreich would go on to feud with The Undertaker, challenge for the WWE Championship and join the Legion Of Doom for a short stint. He last within the WWE ranks until early 2006, later resurfacing in Puerto Rico's WWC promotion.
As seen in the YouTube video embed above, not only is Heidenreich oh-so-tempermental and volatile―Heyman refers to him as an "animal," while the announcers play up his lack of friends―but the big man's immense size is played up. Oh, and he is wearing red trunks like Lars Sullivan is known to do.