Back in the early days of professional wrestling, outfits were fairly standard (solid color boots and trunks), but wrestlers started to become more theatrical and really branched out in the 1970s by creating more and more elaborate attires that really displayed their true personalities — you only need to look at Ric Flair’s extensive collection of robes or Macho Man Randy Savage’s vast array of custom cowboy hats to fully understand.
However, Vince McMahon and his company started to get a little out of control in the late ’80s and early ’90s with their over-the-top creations and certain wrestlers were given some truly horrific outfits that they were forced to wear to go along with their gimmicks. In order to compete with Vince McMahon and the WWE, Ted Turner’s WCW also started to go off the rails in his company as well and the wrestling world was treated to some ring attires/gimmicks that really made your head shake in disbelief.
This list will highlight the worst of the worst that the geniuses in the creative department concocted. The gimmicks might have had promise at one point (not likely), but it’s their terrible attires that is our focus that essentially threw all credibility that they may have once had completely out of the window. We hope you enjoy!
15. The Goon
Bill Irwin, a.k.a. “The Goon,” was a hockey player turned professional wrestler after he had been “kicked out of every league that he’d ever been in.” While the gimmick itself frequently makes lists of these nature on a fairly regular basis, he specifically makes this list for his absolutely ridiculous ring attire that required him to wear wrestling boots that resembled glorified hockey skates.
If you ever look back at any Goon matches (we’re not advocating that you’d ever want to do so), you’ll notice that he had to run in a very specific and awkward way because the bottom of his boots weren’t completely flat like regular, traditional wrestling boots, but rather sported about two or three inches of thick foam to make them look more unstable (as if he’s actually wearing hockey skates in a wrestling ring), which is just asinine and didn’t serve any purpose whatsoever.
14. The Shockmaster
Another staple on many lists describe terrible things in wrestling, The Shockmaster truly did shock the world when he made his triumphant debut in the fall of 1993. We should all know the story of his hilarious debut by now, so I’ll spare the details, but not too many have ever really mentioned the attire that Fred Ottman chose to wear on that fateful night.
Let’s start with the obvious: the glitter covered Star Wars Stormtrooper helmet. It’s probably the most recognizable aspect of his entire wardrobe, but it also makes the least amount of sense. How would he have ever been able to wrestle a match in that helmet? It easily fell off when he crashed through the wall, so how in the world could he finish a match with it staying on the whole time?
Let’s also talk about his GIANT puffy vest/trench coat. I don’t even know where to start with that thing because it looks like someone went to a thrift store and picked out the largest thing on the rack, not necessarily caring if it looked any good. Spoiler alert: it didn’t.
Dustin Runnels himself described his failed character Seven as being “dressed up like Uncle Fester to play trick-or-treat all year long,” but we have a slightly different opinion on how ridiculous he looked. There’s no denying the Uncle Fester part — he certainly was bald and his entire head was painted white — but the rest his outfit was more reminiscent of Edward Scissorhands… minus the scissors for hands part, of course.
There’s also a hint of The Undertaker mixed in with the trench coat and hat aspect, which makes sense because WCW was notorious for lifting ideas from WWE all the time. But what’s funny about this entire situation is that his outfit was so bad and his gimmick was so creepy that Dustin never actually wrestled a match as Seven and the angle was dropped immediately on live television when he cut a “worked shoot” promo, spelling out all of the problems he had with the character.
12. The Yeti
Talk about another completely ridiculous and over-the-top gimmick. Let’s point out one major flaw before we go any further: the name “Yeti” is commonly used to describe The Abominable Snowman, a mythical creature that supposedly inhabits the Himalayan mountains in Asia. It certainly doesn’t refer to a mummy in any context whatsoever, but here’s the real reason they had to make him into one.
A shoot interview with Ron Reis revealed that the role was initially created for the 8-foot Giant Gonzales after he was released from WWE (Gonzalez was supposed to be the one to break through the block of ice and debut as The Yeti), but he got sick and went back to his home country of Argentina, leaving WCW to scramble and come up with a backup plan. The result was The Mummy… I mean, The Yeti, a bandaged Ron Reis who was temporarily filling in for the ailing Gonzalez. WCW still held out hopes for Gonzales to return from his illness and reveal himself on television as The Yeti (which is why the bandages sort of made sense), but he never came to WCW and the angle was dropped entirely.
Remember Akeem, the African Dream? Sure you do, but probably as the 400 pound One Man Gang and not the borderline racist character that Vince McMahon thought was a great way to mock The American Dream, Dusty Rhodes.
Akeem danced around like an idiot inside the squared circle along with his manager Slick and his ring attire became significantly more Africanized compared to his original persona as One Man Gang.
Let’s see if we can detail all the ways they tried to make him really appear as an African: he adopted the colors blue and yellow, started talking like his manager, came out to rap music, wore a dashiki to the ring, and an African hat that had no business being on his head. There wasn’t a single thing about that gimmick that wasn’t downright embarrassing and I’m not even the guy who had to be in that position.
Surely this attire/gimmick wasn’t destined for failure from the very start, right? Mantaur’s gimmick was, you guessed it, a half-man/half-beast of a creature (not unlike a Minotaur), and his attire was one of the worst attires in the history of professional wrestling.
Seriously, of all the things you could possibly wear down to the ring, why would anyone think that a giant boar’s head was the best possible scenario? He obviously never wrestled with that ridiculous thing mounted on his shoulders, but he did, however, shave the hair on the top of his head to look like ram’s horns and also added black paint to his face to connect the horns to his eyes and nose rather seamlessly. The result was this goofball who mooed, kicked dirt like a bull and dressed like he was trying to somewhat contain his inner teen wolf from appearing. Terrible, terrible attire…
9. Aldo Montoya
Okay, so every wrestling fan probably knows The Portuguese Man O War, Aldo Montoya, as Justin Credible of ECW fame (“fame” despite the classic jean shorts attire), but we’re not talking about the plethora of ’90s wrestlers who gave up on tights for a more contemporary look.
Aldo Montoya’s major attire flaw was his horrendous mask that looked completely thrown together at the last second or more like a yellow jock strap with holes cut in it so he could see. It truly is one of the worst masks that professional wrestling has ever seen and that’s counting all the generic Invader-esque masks from Mexico. Couple the hideous mask with tights that look more like a jester than a wrestler and you have a combination of awful straight from the creative minds at the WWE.
8. Rocky Maivia
The Great One himself was subjected to one of the worst ring outfits that anyone could have ever worn when he debuted as the blue chipper in 1996. It’s hard to even try to explain what he wore to the ring, but I’ll try to give it a shot anyway: imagine a dark and light brown leather checkerboard pattern that went all the way around his shoulders, pieces of leaves that hung off the bottom of said checkerboard shoulder piece, and several long streamers hanging down from every direction.
Piece that all together and you have Rocky Maivia’s entrance attire that was so bad that it makes Chris Jericho’s gaudy light up LED jacket look unbelievable. Luckily Rocky dropped the garb and went onto become The Rock, which is a direction that he absolutely needed to take.
7. Jeff Jarrett
Cowboy hat? Check. White leather jacket with two giant letter “J”s painted across the front? Check. Long, curly blonde hair? Check. Double “J” flashing lights on that aforementioned cowboy hat? You betcha. Jeff Jarrett entered the WWE as a heel and he played the role to perfection, easily getting boos from the crowd due to his extremely gaudy entrance attire. His in-ring attire, however, is the really embarrassing part…
For whatever reason the mid-nineties were a point in time where costume designers were obsessed with having wrestlers wear suspenders that often times connected to a collar around their necks (Tommy Dreamer, The American Males, Bastion Booger – we’ll get to him later), and Jeff Jarrett was no exception. It didn’t do him any favors trying to break past the mid-card that he was perpetually stuck in during his initial run with WWE, despite how great of a personality he always thought he was.
6. Bastion Booger
What do you get when you concoct a costume out of yellow boots, grey trunks, and lots of duct tape? You get Bastion Booger, the overtly obese and unabashedly disgusting wrestler whose outfit looked like a cross between Repo Man and Earthquake, the latter more resembling his overall body type in general. Seriously, whose idea was it to have grey straps that essentially lifted and accentuated his already large breasts?
In the long list of problems that this outfit already had, that factor alone has to be at the very top. Totally unnecessary…
His finishing move also played off of his disgusting attire: he would stand over an opponent who was lying face up and he would dance around like a fool before slamming his backside into their face. Gross.
The initial Faarooq Asad character design (before he was the leader of The Nation of Domination) was a bit of a head-scratcher. He looked like he was straight out of The Roman Empire, but his helmet looked like he was training to become the next Magneto of X-Men fame. Here we had Ron Simmons — one of WCW’s premier talents and an eventual WWE Hall of Famer — actually wearing a helmet and also what can be considered a skirt inside of a WWE ring.
Now, I know, he did have Sunny in his corner, but not even someone as beautiful as her could distract people away from his truly awful ring garb which is easily the biggest blemish on an otherwise illustrious career. Thankfully he dropped the outfit and went with something a little more practical, and went on to have a very successful run with the WWE.
Ah yes, who could forget Kevin Nash’s less than stellar first run with WCW? Prior to his success in WWE as Diesel, Nash was given the whimsical and enchanting role of “Oz” — a gimmick clearly lifted from the popular movie The Wizard of Oz — complete with him being billed from the Emerald City. But enough about the crappy character, let’s talk about his crappy attire…
Obviously we’ll start with his entrance gear. I suppose there’s nothing wrong with a giant green robe; we’ll go ahead and say that’s probably the “best” part of his attire. But everything else, however, was simply awful. Spray painted silver hair and goatee, a fake old man wizard mask with a giant cone sticking out of a wig… everything about his attire was just brutal, and it doesn’t come as a surprise that Nash was pretty vocal about the failing concept and they scrapped it pretty early on, in favor of the slightly less embarrassing character named Vinnie Vegas.
3. Max Moon
Stone Cold Steve Austin has said that there’s this common misconception out there that once you make it into the WWE, they just slap you with a gimmick and you instantly become a star. He went on to say that it takes a personality to really get over with the crowd and maybe that was indeed a factor with Max Moon, a wrestler that many of the WWE Universe collectively asks, “Who?”
A gimmick initially designed for and given to Konnan (although he would abruptly leave WWE in 1992 over a dispute with Vince McMahon after only three matches), Paul Diamond was then handed the expensive outfit, which was a poor man’s cross between Mega Man and Tron. The gimmick was extremely short-lived, probably because the outfit was so appallingly loud that it was considered too gaudy even for early ’90s standards and that’s nearly impossible.
2. Repo Man
Barry Darsow saw major success with his role as Smash in the tag-team group Demolition, and there is definitely good reason to argue that Demolition’s wardrobe could have easily made this list, but it’s the gimmick that he was given after his stint with the group was over that we’re concerned about: Repo Man.
Yeah, among the long list of occupations that dominated characters on the WWE roster during the early and mid-’90s you’ll find Repo Man, a gimmick based on Darsow’s real-life occupation before he became a professional wrestler. That’s right, Repo Man was really a legitimate Repo Man!
Anyway, everything about his attire was laughable: he wore all grey with giant tire marks on his tights, with actual pieces of rubber tires for knee pads along with strips of rubber on his entrance trench coat. Oh, he also carried around a tow rope and wore a Hamburglar-esque Zorro mask to complete the garb. Just awful…
1. Giant Gonzales
You really can’t have a list of terrible wrestling attires and not mention Giant Gonzales, right? I don’t know exactly what they were going for when they sketched out the initial design, but I’d like to think that the conversation had to go a little something like this:
(Vince McMahon) – “Okay, so he’s this massive 8-foot monster from Argentina.”
(Head designer) – “Say no more. I’ll airbrush muscle tone onto a full body suit and randomly glue on patches of brown hair to give him the look of a cross between Bigfoot and a regular naked guy.”
(Vince) – “You read my mind.”
Giant Gonzales easily tops the list of attires that did absolutely no favors in helping a wrestler get over with the crowd and his run with WWE was short-lived (mainly due to his lingering health concerns as a legitimately giant human being). His big feud with The Undertaker in the early ’90s is barely memorable at best.
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