The gimmicks of professional wrestlers are extremely important for them becoming popular in the wrestling industry, and with a company like WWE being full of entertaining characters, a wrestler really needs a captivating gimmick which can differentiate them with the others. We have seen the WWE come up with some terrific gimmick over the years, especially during the Attitude and Ruthless Aggression Eras, where a variety of characters became popular with the fans.
While there have been some brilliant gimmicks of WWE stars which made them the larger-than-life characters they were at the time, there have also been some really bad gimmicks given to some wrestlers who definitely didn’t deserve it. While some bad gimmicks have been seen in the WWE over the years, there were even worse gimmicks which were pitched to these stars in the past. These gimmicks were only discussed in between the WWE creative but turned out to be so bad that the WWE decided to cancel their plans on giving the gimmicks to these WWE stars.
A bad gimmick can definitely ruin the career of a budding wrestler, so these WWE wrestlers will be glad that their initial gimmicks were canceled before they were made to portray them in WWE. So let’s have a look at 15 Cancelled Gimmicks You Didn’t Know These Wrestlers Almost Had.
15. Neville The Superhero
Neville has really grown as a wrestler ever since getting promoted to the main roster in the WWE, where he made quite the impact recently with his amazing work as Cruiserweight Champion in 205 Live! “The Man That Gravity Forgot” was quite the suitable gimmick for the high-flying wrestler, but he there was a completely different gimmick being discussed for him before he debuted. Apparently, the WWE wanted Neville to portray the gimmick which took inspiration from The Mighty Mouse, who is an animated character. Vince McMahon apparently wanted a short wrestler to portray a “Crash Holly” type of character who wouldn’t dress up as a mouse, but be heavily inspired by it. In the end, the WWE decided to scrap the gimmick and gave Neville a much more suitable gimmick instead, because him as “The Mighty Mouse” would’ve diminished Neville’s credibility in WWE.
14. Rusev As A Genie
Rusev has actually been quite the dominant character in the WWE over the past few years, with the Bulgarian Brute being particularly impressive during his initial years in the company. The former United States Champion has now had a slight change in gimmick with his “Rusev Day” angle with partner Aiden English. But to think of it, Rusev was actually pitched for an absolutely ridiculous gimmick back when he was in FCW. He spoke about how Dusty Rhodes had given him some amazing and equally bad ideas, with one of them being Rusev to play the gimmick of a genie. According to Rusev, he was to be accompanied by an FCW diva Anya who would “rub a lamp” and Rusev would appear after that. He even did promos preparing for the character for three weeks, before they realized how ridiculous it is and transitioned him into a powerful foreign heel.
13. Bray Wyatt As Axel Mulligan
Bray Wyatt is definitely one of the best gimmicks to be developed by the WWE over the past few years, with the “Eater of Worlds” bringing a sense of mystique with his character. While Wyatt’s gimmick was brought on nicely by the WWE, they didn’t really know what to do with him after his stint with the Nexus ended. He was sent back to FCW(Florida Championship Wrestling) and for some-time was given the gimmick of Axel Mulligan, a hockey-mask-wearing character. He even wrestled in FCW as that character, but it never made it to FCW TV. The officials weren’t sold on the gimmick and canceled it, making him portray Husky Harris before they developed the Bray Wyatt character for him. Wyatt looked really weird as Mulligan, and thankfully he debuted as Wyatt and not Mulligan on WWE TV, as the latter could’ve made a complete joke out of him.
12. Becky Lynch The Irish Dancer
Becky Lynch has been a refreshing addition to WWE’s Women’s Division in the past few years, with the “Straight Fire” Lass-Kicker proving herself to be quite the hard-hitting wrestler and likable woman as well. Lynch has been a great wrestler and part of WWE’s “Women’s Revolution” as well, but that all could’ve changed had she stayed with her initial WWE gimmick. Lynch wasn’t really that well known initially on NXT, and WWE tried to utilize her Irish background by giving her the gimmick of an Irish dancer. Lynch would dress in green and do Irish-dance moves as this happy-go-lucky character which didn’t suit her at all. Thankfully, WWE realized this and discarded the awful gimmick, and later gave her the steampunk character which she has portrayed so well over the years to make management regret even giving her the Irish Dancer gimmick in the first place.
11. Dean Ambrose & AJ Lee As Asylum Inmates
Dean Ambrose and AJ Lee have both been quite “crazy” characters in the WWE, and one can only wonder how well they could’ve mixed together had the two been aligned in the WWE. There was actually one pitched idea about the AJ Lee being sent to a mental asylum by Daniel Bryan a few years ago, only to her to make a dramatic return with Dean Ambrose as her boyfriend. The two had apparently mingled in the asylum and would go on to wreak havoc in the WWE, with both getting the gimmicks of “lunatics”. This could’ve actually worked really well knowing how well the two portray these kinds of characters, but the WWE apparently scratched the idea as they didn’t seem to find it fitting enough for TV, robbing us of a potential wacky and amazing angle.
10. Christian As “The Lock”
Christian may not have been the “big star” many hoped he would be in WWE, but he definitely created a lot of fond memories during his time with Edge and later as a singles star. But even a star like Christian was pitched a ridiculous gimmick by WWE in 2003, of which he spoke on his podcast. Christian spoke about how he was pitched a character by the WWE, where he’d mimic The Rock who was then slowly going out of the WWE. He’d have to raise his eye-brow, wear white and steal all The Rock’s catchphrases and act exactly like him, but be named differently. He’d apparently be named as “The Lock”, because every time he stepped into the ring, it was a lock that he’d win. Thankfully this gimmick was canceled before implementation, as it would’ve definitely ruined his career then and there.
9. Carmella As A Mime
Carmella has been on a roll as of late in the WWE, where she had a terrific 2017 by winning the Money in the Bank briefcase and becoming the first ever Miss Money in the Bank. The Princess of Staten Island may be doing some great work as the cocky heel character right now, but she was struggling to find a suitable character for herself in her initial years on NXT. Before she was aligned with Enzo & Cass, Carmella was trying to portray the gimmick of a mime on NXT and did some segments doing so as well. She would act like a mime and do mimicry stunts to try and impress the officials, who canceled this gimmick because of how terrible it was. Thankfully Carmella wasn’t allowed to portray this character on WWE TV, as her WWE career could’ve ended even before properly kicking-off in that case.
8. G.I. Scott Hall
Scott Hall was definitely one of the coolest characters in the WWE when he portrayed Razor Ramon in the 90s and came off as a really sleek “Bad Guy” in the company. But before he could portray his iconic character, Hall has spoken about how he almost portrayed something VERY different in the WWE. He has stated that Vince McMahon initially pitched a G.I. Joe type gimmick for him which would see him playing a soldier in WWE. It was apparently because Vince knew about Hall having served in the military and wanting to use his experience in portraying the character. But Hall countered this with the gimmick which would resemble Tony Montana from Scarface, and this was eventually turned into his Razor Ramon gimmick, freeing him from having to portray this awful soldier gimmick which was then discarded.
7. The “Very Close” Paul And Katie Lea Burchill
Paul Burchill didn’t really have the best starts to his WWE career when he first portrayed a character of a “pirate” which was a complete bust. To make his character seem more “interesting”, the WWE decided to pair him up with diva Katie Lea Burchill, with the two being kayfabe siblings. But things started to get really weird with them, when the two seemed to be too “close” to comfort and actually be in love with each other. This was evident when Paul would say “What Katie wants, Katie gets” in some promos and this incestuous angle was just plain creepy. Thankfully it got canceled before it moved into overdrive and the two can thank the kick-start of the PG era for that, as this disastrous gimmick could’ve not only ruined Paul and Katie’s reputation but WWE’s as well for actually encouraging this taboo into their product.
6. Hardcore Holly “The Spaceman”
Hardcore Holly was quite the stiff wrestler in the WWE and suffered some really nasty injuries because of his wrestling style in the company as well. He was doing pretty well in WWE ECW brand when he got injured, and after recovering from it, creative had “big” ideas for his return. Apparently, WWE decided on giving him the gimmick of a Spaceman who had time-traveled and return from space with his “sidekick”, a monkey. They were planning on having him crash in the ring on his Spaceship and come out with his monkey, stating that he wasn’t injured but actually lost in time. This ridiculous gimmick absolutely made no sense, as it was canceled at the last minute due to creative realizing that it wouldn’t work at all. While the gimmick sounds fascinating, it was too “crazy” to implement and Holly would continue portraying his “hardcore” character in WWE.
5. Kalisto As A Gay Hair Dresser
Kalisto has proved to be quite the exciting addition to the WWE roster in the past few years, as he’s capable of stunning high-flying moves which not many can replicate in the company. The former Cruiserweight Champion is during pretty well in the division which suits him, but the luchador was almost given a completely different gimmick a few years ago. When the Lucha Dragons lost their NXT Tag Team titles, Kalisto was expected to join the main roster and WWE had the idea of giving him the gimmick of a homosexual hair-dresser. He apparently impressed them so much in his audition for the gimmick that WWE was ready to unmask him and make him this character. But they probably figured out how bizarre it would be, and kept Kalisto as a luchador and he’s much better off as this high-flying star rather than a wacky homosexual character.
4. The Undertaker As The Gobbledy Gooker
The Undertaker is a character everyone instantly relates with the WWE, because of how much of an impact the Deadman has made in his 25+ years at the company. While it looks unlikely of him competing in a WWE ring again, Taker has earned everyone’s respect for his amazing work as this terrifying character over the years. But to think of it, there was a time when Mark Calaway portrayed a completely different gimmick. Apparently, Taker was in contention for playing The Gobbledy Gooker in the WWE before he portrayed the Deadman. WWE liked his size and thought it would help to portray a chicken, and it was almost fixed until they backed out and canceled the gimmick for him. The Undertaker was born after that, and Calaway’s career was saved from humiliation, even though poor Hector Guerrero(who played the gimmick) wasn’t that fortunate.
3. The Female Shield
Ever since the Shield broke through as an amazing three-man stable in the WWE, the company has looked to utilize that idea more and more into creating more three-person stables in the company. While none of the recent stables have been as popular or dominant as The Shield, the WWE really likes the idea of forming some more teams like that. So after the Shield became popular in WWE, they tried to make a female-version of it in 2013, with Paige, Summer Rae and NXT Developmental wrestler Anya being brought together for it. They even went ahead on cutting a promo together, and things looked pretty serious for a Female Shield to come through the NXT ranks. But Anya got released by the WWE, who had to cancel this team-up and Paige and Summer Rae went their own ways after that.
2. Edge – The Deaf/Mute Wrestler
Edge was definitely one of the coolest characters in the WWE during his time, with the “Rated R Superstar” attaining a lot of fan-following after he became the charismatic singles star in the mid-2000s. He would go to win many championships during his singles run and was a top WWE star for many years, before having to take an early retirement from wrestling. But there was a time when none of this was even possible, as Edge has spoken about how creative were interested in giving him the gimmick of a Deaf/Mute wrestler. Apparently, because he wasn’t that good at delivering promos, creative wanted him to be a wrestler who couldn’t speak at all! Thankfully that gimmick was canceled because it could’ve been disastrous for his career and would have never let the charismatic “Rated R Superstar” being born in WWE.
1. Justin Gabriel’s Darewolf Gimmick
Justin Gabriel’s WWE career started brightly, as he was the high-flyer of the Nexus and did pretty well in his first few months in the company. He even won the Tag Team Titles as part of the Nexus, but after the stable disbanded, Gabriel lost momentum in WWE. He failed to make it as a singles competitor and spent his remaining year as a jobber to the stars. It was during his last years that Gabriel pitched an idea to creative for his new gimmick, where he’d be a mix of a Werewolf and a Daredevil and be called “Darewolf”. Gabriel states that Vince McMahon actually liked the idea and they even shot vignettes of him doing stunts. They were even ready to trademark the name, but it got canceled last minute when Triple H shot down the idea, and we couldn’t witness this fascinating gimmick.
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