WWE doesn’t tend to dish out as many ridiculous gimmicks for their female performers as they do for their male counterparts. For the most part, the gimmicks women wrestlers work with tend to be toned-down in comparison to the men. While there is still a fair share of outrageous and bizarre storylines for the female performers, they don’t tend to be given gimmicks like the Boogeyman or the Christmas Creature the same way male wrestlers do.
The female performers listed in this article, on the other hand, have all had to overcome terrible gimmicks. In almost all cases, the gimmick had to be abandoned entirely for their careers to recover. Whether it be an overly stereotypical play on their nationality or having to go along with a bizarre idea that only Vince McMahon could think of, these women overcame massive odds just to be able to continue on with their wrestling career.
While the current women’s revolution in WWE has changed this for the most part, many female performers originally had to get passed WWE’s traditional way of presenting female performers. Here are 15 women who had horrible gimmicks you have most likely forgotten about.
15. Bayley – Masked Lucha Wrestler
The first idea WWE had for Pamela Martinez, aka Bayley, when they signed her in 2012 was for her to be a masked wrestler. The San Jose native was to wear a mask and adopt a Lucha Libre gimmick. According to statements she would make on the Sam Roberts Podcast later, Bayley thought the gimmick was working for her as well. Bayley was working on designing a new mask when the office told her they wanted to go a different direction with her. She was then given her loveable, hugger Bayley gimmick before her NXT television debut in March of 2013.
There is some debate as to where the Bayley character goes from here. While it at first seemed as though the company would go all the way with her, it now looks as though she has slipped down the women’s storyline rankings in recent months.
14. Becky Lynch – Irish Jig Dancer
Becky Lynch didn’t seem too comfortable in her NXT debut match back on June 26, 2014. That may have been because she was worried about the gimmick she had been saddled with. In keeping with WWE’s proud tradition of playing up stereotypes, the Irish “Lass Kicker” was dressed up in green and told to do an Irish jig in the middle of the ring during her entrance. It was a far cry from the orange hair and straight fire she dishes out today.
Lynch’s current look is actually based on a character from the popular card game, “Magic The Gathering”. Her goggles and wild orange hair are also supposedly a nod to something called Steam Punk, a genre of science-fiction which takes place during an age powered by steam. Definitely a little bit more advanced than a simple Irish jig dancing wrestler.
13. Natalya – Flatulence Gimmick
Natalya is a trooper. She has been given some unfortunate gimmicks and storylines through the years but she always does everything to the best of her ability.
None of her previous gimmicks, however, can hold a candle to her flatulence gimmick from 2012. In March of that year, several backstage segments featured Natalya passing gas in front of other wrestlers. She would pass gas near Eve Torres and even in front of her future husband, Tyson Kidd.
In interviews she would give later, Natalya talked about how her job is to take whatever she is given and do her best with it. So in regards to her flatulence gimmick, she would say to herself that her character had too many protein bars that morning. After all, athletes eat protein bars and protein can give you flatulence. So in Natalya’s head, the gimmick made perfect sense.
12. Lita – Miss Congeniality
Before she was a trailblazer for WWE women’s divisions, Lita was the unkempt, unwashed, and undesirable Miss Congeniality in Extreme Championship Wrestling. She was paired up with “Dastardly” Danny Doring, who was equally as unhygienic. Lita wasn’t with ECW for long, she spent five months with the promotion in 1999. WWE quickly picked her up in early 2000 and sent her to Memphis Championship Wrestling. The territory was used as a developmental program for WWE at the time.
Lita would make her debut on the WWE main roster alongside Essa Rios, who would win the company’s Light Heavyweight Championship. Lita would eventually become the part of the act to get over after fans responded to her delivering moonsaults to Rios’ opponents after and during the matches. She was quickly reassigned to Team Xtreme with the Hardyz and the rest is history.
11. Mickie James – Alexis Laree
In 2003, Mickie James got a big break in TNA Wrestling as a member of Raven’s new faction. The stable went by the name The Gathering and was pretty similar to Raven’s Nest (ECW) and Raven’s Flock (WCW).
At the time, James was wrestling under the name Alexis Laree and she wasn’t the only one in the group who would go on to have a successful career. CM Punk was another member of The Gathering, even though he and Raven were feuding in Ring of Honor at the same time this storyline was happening.
James wasn’t in the faction long, however, as WWE would sign her in the summer of 2003. They sent her to Ohio Valley wrestling until 2005 to train. When she did debut on the main roster in 2005 she was immediately placed in a rivalry with Trish Stratus.
10. Asuka – Kana
Asuka is a frightening woman. When she wrestled under the name Kana, she was even more terrifying. Kana was the name Asuka went by in her pre-WWE career which was primarily spent in Japan. Her facepaint and ring gear had a darker tone, along with her character.
The former graphic designer got into wrestling in the mid-2000s citing names like the Great Muta, Yoshiaki Fujiwara, Antonio Inoki, and Minoru Suzuki has some of her influences. It’s clear she has a tendency to lean towards the darker more mysterious wrestlers, even some who would use the poison mist.
Nowadays, Asuka is one of the top talents in WWE’s women divisions and one of the Superstars that are being centered around. With Charlotte Flair, Asuka, Sasha Banks, and now a rumored Ronda Rousey in WWE, the women’s divisions is in for an exciting next few years.
9. Paige – Disowned Daughter
Before Paige won the Divas Championship on her first night on the main roster, Saraya-Jade Bevis was involved in a rather controversial storyline in Shimmer.
Paige has been wrestling since she was 13 years old, which may explain why her body is so broken down at just 25 years of age. When she was 19 years old, Paige got her first big break wrestling for Shimmer. She began teaming with her mother, Saraya Knight, and wrestling under the name Britani Knight. When Paige and her mother failed to win the promotion’s Tag Team Championships, Saraya scolded her daughter and eventually turned on her. Saraya disowned Paige (in storyline) which eventually lead to a mother-daughter No-DQ match.
Paige’s final match before beginning her WWE career was a victory over her mother at Shimmer Volume 44.
8. Lana – Dolph Ziggler’s Girlfriend
Lana became a huge hit with fans not long after debuting with Rusev on the main roster in 2014. The WWE looked for a way to make her a babyface but they may have missed the mark a bit.
WWE developed a storyline where Lana and Ziggler were supposed to fall madly in love with each other. Summer Rae would also seduce Rusev leading to the two of them becoming an item while Lana and Ziggler did the same. Lana would begin wearing clothing similar to the 1980s denim-jacket rocker look that Ziggler seems to like to go with. Then, the announcement of their real-life engagement dropped all the plans.
Nowadays, Lana is in the women’s division on SmackDown Live but has recently been paired with Rusev in the Mixed Match Challenge.
7. Torrie Wilson – David Flair’s Girlfriend
This might be a little hard to follow but try your best. Torrie Wilson’s first role in professional wrestling was as the woman the nWo sent to seduce David Flair. She would spend her early career accompanying Ric’s rather less impressive son to the ring before real-life got interwoven into WCW storyline. Wilson was then portrayed as cheating on David with Billy Kidman from the Filthy Animals. Kidman and Wilson really had started seeing each other in real life, however.
Also in real-life, David Flair had started to date Torrie’s real-life roommate, Stacy Keibler. In storyline, he began dating Daffney but behind the scenes, David and the beautiful Stacy were in fact a real-life item. He might not be the best in the ring, but having time with Torrie on-screen and Stacy off of it is quite impressive.
6. Luna Vachon – Mild Mannered Reporter
When people think of Luna Vachon’s wrestling career, they think of the snarling gremlin-like woman who terrorized Sable and other popular babyface women. The backstory which started her gimmick, however, is one of the more interesting in the history of women’s wrestling.
In 1985, Vachon first appeared in Florida Championship Wrestling. She was not featured as a wrestler, however, but rather a mild-mannered reporter. Her name was Trudy Herd. During a segment where she was to give Kendall Windham an award, she was attacked by Kevin Sullivan who ended up striking her in the face twice. This story would continue that Sullivan’s attack drove her mad. She would begin demonstrating the characteristics of the Luna Vachon character she’s famous for over the coming weeks and months. Eventually, Vachon became a member of Sullivan’s Army of Darkness stable by even shaving off her hair.
5. Alicia Fox – Homewrecking Wedding Planner
Alicia Fox has been on the WWE main roster for almost a decade. That makes her one of the longest-tenured female performers at the moment.
A forgotten fact, her first gimmick was as Edge and Vickie Guerrero’s wedding planner. Naturally, it was revealed that Edge and Fox had been having an affair. Triple H was the one who revealed what Edge had done in the lackluster story.
Fox would eventually be moved to the ECW brand and then bounced around various storylines for the last decade. She is a former Divas Champion but has not spent much time in the title picture in recent years. In 2017, she received a bit of a push as a love interest for a couple of Cruiserweights on 205 Live. She also served as the captain for team Raw.
4. Naomi – Funkadactyl
Before she was winning championships at WrestleMania and “Feeling the Glow”, Naomi was one half of the Funkadactyls. Her partner in the group was Cameron, who would have a less successful career after the dance pair broke up. The company was perhaps more impressed with Naomi than they were Brodus Clay, who was also released from the company.
Naomi was an easy pick for someone to dance with Brodus Clay on his way to the ring. After all, Naomi was a former Orlando Magic cheerleader and background dancer for Flo Rida before WWE signed her in 2010. She played the part beautifully and then transitioned nicely into a single’s career. Perhaps her biggest career highlight came last year when she won the SmackDown Women’s Championship at WrestleMania in front of her hometown Orlando fans.
3. Stacy Keibler – Super Stacy
Stacy Keibler was also once known as “Super Stacy” and she was paired up with Hurricane and Rosey. The trio was something of a comedy Super Hero act from 2003 to 2005. They would feud with the other tag teams of the day, such as La Resistance or Jericho and Christian, all with their sidekick Stacy at ringside. Stacy never did much wrestling herself. She played her role perfectly though. Rosey and Hurricane would even win the WWE Tag Team Championships once while working the gimmick.
Not long after this gimmick ended, Keibler requested time off from WWE so she could film Dancing with the Stars. Her appearance on the popular show launched her into mainstream popularity and away from WWE.
2. Sunny – Tamara Murphy & Fitness Instructor
When Tammy Lynn Sytch first debuted for WWE in 1995, it was not as the popular Superstar we would grow to love but rather as a “Live Event News” correspondent named Tamara Murphy.
Only a month later, however, Sytch would be paired with the BoddyDonnas along with her real-life boyfriend, Chris Candido, and become Sunny. While Sunny was supposed to portray a fitness fanatic, she knew what was really driving fan reaction to her and so she added a compelling raunchy persona to her character. Eventually, her entire character was based around the fact that she was attractive. Sunny’s tenure in WWE only lasted three years but her legacy has stood the test of time – a factor of her career she rarely gets credited for.
1. Trish Stratus – Vince’s Assistant
42-year-old Trish Stratus is one of the most widely respected female performers in the history of women’s wrestling. That is not to say she didn’t endure many of the more Vince Russo-esque storylines during the company’s Attitude Era, however.
When Trish first debuted for WWE she was the manager of Test and Albert, a team collectively known as “T&A”. Not long after, Vince McMahon decided Trish Stratus was the perfect performer to play the role of his assistant. This was all part of a long-running McMahon family storyline. Stephanie grew jealous of Trish’s relationship with her father while Linda McMahon had been institutionalized. It was all so bizarre but fitting for the era.
WWE fans quickly took to Trish, however, and after the storyline with the McMahon family she was turned babyface and the rest is history.
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