Wrestlers are more often than not referred to by their in ring persona more so than their actual birth name considering their fame usually comes from their wrestling character. Now, there are those such as Kurt Angle, John Cena, Bill Goldberg and Randy Orton who are fortunate enough to have been able to have used their given names as their wrestling names. On the other hand, other wrestlers aren't always as lucky.
But, in the same breath, there are those that are fortunate to have the ring name they have as opposed to their given name. It's safe to say that Mark William Calaway doesn't have the same ring to it as the Undertaker does. The same can be said of Steve Borden and Sting.
Recently, fans saw Ryback legally change his first name to Ryback so he could legally use his in ring name on the independent circuit. After all, the majority of folks are more likely to pony up to see Ryback as opposed to Ryan Reeves.
We've taken a look at wrestlers who have benefitted from their wrestling name. Now, let's take a look at fifteen wrestlers who had terrible former ring names.
15 "The Ringmaster" - Steve Austin
"Stone Cold" Steve Austin was one of the most integral players, if not the most integral player in WWE's Attitude Era. But, that was "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and not the original WWE persona of Austin, The Ringmaster. Merriam-Webster's Dictionary defines a ringmaster as "a person whose job it is to introduce the performers in a circus and to talk to the audience before performances". In fairness to The Ringmaster, the name wasn't Austin's biggest gaffe; his long, luscious blonde locks during his time as "Stunning" Steve were. Nonetheless, to say that one named The Ringmaster would have ever been able to be a prime-time player (not like Titus O'Neil and Darren Young, but an actual prime-time player), during the Attitude Era or any era for that matter is nothing short of comical.
14 "Texas Red" - The Undertaker
Paying homage to where one's from is usually a hit or miss type of situation with there being no middle ground. Steven James Anderson best known in the wrestling world ditched the Anderson surname for Austin. For those who are unaware, Austin was actually born in Austin, Texas. Now, this isn't saying that Austin adapted the name to pay homage to the place of his birth, but it is cause for speculation. The Undertaker also incorporated his Texas roots into his name except his name was far from iconic as Austin's was. Instead, the man we know today as the Undertaker began his wrestling career as "Texas Red". Why Undertaker selected the color red is beyond me and if anyone happens to know, I'd be very interested in knowing why! The failure that was "Texas Red" is undeniable proof as to how important a wrestler's name and persona are. Just ask the Undertaker!
13 "Beaver Cleavage" - Mosh
Mosh won't be making any top fifteen lists anytime soon for best in ring names; but, Beaver Cleavage is amongst the worst of the worst. Mosh enjoyed success as a one-time Tag Team Champion along with partner Thrasher as the Headbangers duo. On the other hand, Beaver Cleavage was a colossal failure from the minute he appeared on screen. The inspiration of Beaver Cleavage came from the television show Leave it to Beaver. The gimmick caused for one to cringe as Beaver Cleavage and his mother would throw sexual innuendo back at each other. Fortunately, the character wasn't a mainstay on television and was crapped shortly after he was introduced. Now, forty-five, Mosh recently appeared in WWE for a one-off match along with Thrasher to face Rhyno and Heath Slater.
12 "The Red Rooster" - Terry Taylor
Today, Terry Taylor works as a trainer down in Full Sail University at NXT. The role is one that's tailor-made for Taylor considering the Wrestling Observer Newsletter named Taylor as the most underrated wrestler in back-to-back years in 1991 to 1992. Despite Taylor being heralded for his wrestling acumen, he was given one of the worst ring names of all-time of the Red Rooster. To WWE's credit (or discredit), let's go with discredit, they were all in with the rooster gimmick for Taylor as he even sported a mohawk to represent the hairstyle of the bird he was representing. After all, why would a chicken of all animals be one met with a positive reaction in the wrestling world? The Red Rooster was a foolish name; the Red Rooster was an even worse visual interpretation to lay eyes on.
11 Duke "The Dumpster" Droese
Imagine hearing making his way to the ring from "the garbage heaps of Mount Trashmore, Florida", Duke "The Dumpster" Droese. From the minute the ring announcer announces the wrestler with this this name and this residence he has instantaneously lost any and all credibility. After all, who would take a garbage man as a credible threat in the wrestling world? Moreover, who would take a garbage man as anything other than a jobber? Droese was a garbage man throughout his wrestling career and to his credit lasted much longer then most presumably would have lasted in the role. Today, Droese has given up the sanitation life for a life in the classroom. The California born Droese currently works as a special education teacher in Tennessee.
10 "G.I. Bro" - Booker T
With the exception of emphatically and regrettably exclaiming the "N word" during a promo in his WCW days, there's a good chance that the ring name of G.I. Bro is Booker T's number two regret in his wrestling career. Ripping off the G.I. Joe action figures which pay homage to the United States armed forces, G.I. Bro came to the ring complete with a camo hat along with a camo vest looking like he had just done a bid overseas or was ready to. G.I. Bro wasn't the only terrible in ring name Booker T once had; you can add Black Snow and Kole to that list. So, Booker T, if you were to ask "can you dig that sucka" (in reference to any of your in ring names not incorporating booker), the answer is a vehement no.
9 "Leakee" - Roman Reigns
Today, fans know him as Roman "I'm not a good guy, I'm not a bad guy, I'm THE guy" Reigns. In NXT, fans also knew him as Roman Reigns. Prior to NXT, Reigns ring name was Leakee Reigns in Florida Championship Wrestling. However, the surname was often ditched (think the opposite of the treatment Antonio Cesaro and Alexander Rusev received) and Reigns was simply known as Leakee before FCW was rebranded as the developmental powerhouse we know today as NXT. Reigns may be shoved down the throats of fans week in and week out, but could you imagine how much worse it would be if fans would have to hear Michael Cole's already abysmal commentary favoring and endlessly praising "Leakee" as opposed to Roman Reigns?
8 "Meat" - Shawn Stasiak
When your father is an all-time great in the wrestling business, it only makes sense for you to carry on the family lineage, no? Randy Orton carried forth the Orton last name and has eclipsed his father's legacy tenfold. Michael McGillicutty (a.k.a. today's Curtis Axel) wasn't given his father's last name of Hennig and was ridiculed for the surname of McGillicutty. Similar to McGillicutty, WWE decided that the son of former WWF Champion Shawn Stasiak would be better served as being given the ring name of "Meat". Now, if being named after a piece of poultry isn't setting one up to fail, I don't know what is. Stasiak did receive an opportunity as Shawn Stasiak in WWE; but, there's simply no coming back from Meat.
7 "Angus King" - Kane
Kane was once involved in a storyline where he impregnated Lita despite the fact that she had been dating Matt Hardy at the time. Kane kayfabe lit his (and The Undertaker's) parents graves on fire. Kane was a part of the Katie Vick storyline and for those unfamiliar with this storyline, trust me when I say I am doing you a favor by not delving into this angle. Needless to say, Kane has been involved in some sick storylines. Moreover, the least of his problems should be a ring name. Unfortunately, Kane has had a number of them such as Bruiser Mastino Christmas Creature, Dr. Isaac Yankem and Unabomb. But, the worst of the bunch has to be Angus King. Angus King sounds like the name of one who has quite the affinity for a good burger and has no business in a wrestling ring. Fortunately, this name isn't known to the masses as Kane used it in his early indy days.
6 "Oz" - Kevin Nash
The man best known as Kevin Nash (or Diesel, take your pick), may be a tad bit offended if he comes across this list as he could lay acclaim to occupying a number of spots on it. With names such as Chet Lemon, Master Blaster Steel and Vinnie Vegas, Nash has as many bad ring names as he has had torn quads. However, the most infamous of his terrible ring names is none other than Oz. After all, how often do movie characters excel? Yet, while the name of Oz was bad, it was nowhere near as awful as the attire Oz donned. Sporting a fictitious, long, grey beard along with vibrant robe complete with stars, Nash looked foolish in all facets and fearsome in a grand total of zero facets.
5 "Gixx" - Seth Rollins
Where Seth Rollins received the inspiration to run with the name of "Gixx" is a mystery to me; however, perhaps the answer is in the Suzuki Gixxer bike. Something about Rollins just doesn't strike me as him being a motorcycle aficionado. Regardless of whether Rollins is passionate about the "bike life"(CC: Meek Mill), their is no argument that this is an absolutely terrible ring name. First and foremost, upon looking at "Gixx" in written form, its mere pronunciation is hard to pinpoint in reference to the correct form and the incorrect form(s). Thankfully, Rollins didn't hold on to this ring name for long and to his credit he had one of the most badass names on the independent scene when he was billed as Tyler Black.
4 "Terra Ryzing" - Triple H
Today, Triple H has ditched (for the most part) his wrestling trunks and his occasional sledgehammer that would accompany him to the ring for a suit, tie and loafers. Prior to competing in the ring for WWE/WWF, Triple H was a wrestling talent for WCW. In WCW, Triple H was known as "Terror Risin'" which was later modified to include more grammatical errors as Terror Risin' became "Terra Ryzing". Someone, whether that was Triple H or someone else was very fond of the "terror rising" theme as in addition to Terra Ryzing and Terror Risin', Triple H also went by Terra Risin' as well. Jean-Paul Levesque may not have been the best former name of Triple H; but, unlike his Connecticut blue-blood gimmick, the terror names were simply terrible time in and time out.
3 "General Hugh G. Rection" - Bill DeMott
Simply pronouncing General Hugh G. Rection leaves little to the imagination as it's not so subtle actual meaning is instantaneously discoverable once sounded out. Yet, despite as dismal as the ring name of General Hugh G. Rection was, it pales in comparison to the despicable actions DeMott was accused of during his tenure in NXT as its head trainer. Not only did DeMott allegedly bully recruits, but he also allegedly physically assaulted them as well. It doesn't end there. DeMott was accused of using derogatory language particularly targeting homosexuals. He also was known for having quite the potty mouth in reference to racial slurs. He also reportedly condoned sexual harassment. Needless to say, the least of DeMott's problems is his former in ring name of general Hugh G. Rection.
2 "Who" - Jim Neidhart
In today's WWE landscape, when the word "who" is uttered fans are usually chanting along as the word is associated with one of WWE's most over acts, the New Day. But, imagine if JoJo or Greg Hamilton announced you as "who" when you were making your way to the ring. Better yet, imagine if Lilian Garcia was still around to infamously botch another wrestler's name (hello, "Long Island Iced Z Jack Swagger"), Neidhart would've probably been called "Where". This was the fate for Jim Neidhart for a short period of time in 1996. Fortunately, the name was short-lived and Neidhart reemerged in WWE the following year not as Who, but as Jim Neidhart. Hearing that there was a superstar named Who can be summed up in one word- who?
1 "Sexton Hardcastle" - Edge
With a name like Sexton Hardcastle, the last thing you'd think is that the person with this ring name was a former four-time WWE Champion and a former seven-time World Heavyweight Champion. Not to mention, the man once billed as Sexton Hardcastle is also recognized as one of the greatest tag team wrestlers to ever step foot in the squared circle as evidenced by his twelve runs with the World Tag Team Championship and two runs with the WWE Tag Team Championship. However, none of these accolades are accredited to the man known as Sexton Hardcastle; on the contrary, these accomplishments are just some notable highlights on the resume of the man once known as Edge. If Edge had chosen the Sexton Hardcastle moniker for a career in adult entertainment he'd have chosen a fitting and totally appropriate name; however, this name had no business in the wrestling world.