A wrestler's gimmick is incredibly important as to how successful someone's career can play out with a bad gimmick possibly having catastrophic effects on a wrestlers future, despite how much talent they might have, whilst a brilliant gimmick can take someone far.
A poor gimmick that is too hard for wrestling fans to get behind can put the brakes on a wrestler from the start which has seen many talented wrestlers fail to get over in the way that they should have done, proving just how important it can be.
While on the other hand, wrestlers who don't have as much talent in the ring or on the microphone can excel and push themselves much further than anyone expected with a strong gimmick.
Whether it is a gimmick of something supernatural or a cocky heel a lot of it often does come down to the wrestlers themselves and how they are able to portray it but if the starting material is so bad, sometimes it doesn't matter what they do. Some wrestlers show a lot of promise in WWE, but if the creative team gives them a gimmick that is just too difficult to pull off, or is a bad fit for the wrestler, the talent's career just can't take off. Many have said the best gimmicks are simply when it's an extension of the wrestler's real-life personality.
In this list, we will take a look at 15 great gimmicks that went to waste by being given to bad wrestlers, whilst also looking at 10 poor gimmicks that were given to great talents.
25 Great Gimmick - Sin Cara
For this entry, we are talking about the original Sin Cara, not the current incarnation of the character, which is played by the former Hunico, who is a talented wrestler but never got the same opportunities due to the damage that had already been done to the character.
When Sin Cara first arrived on the scene he was given a major push and treated as a huge deal.
He was heavily promoted and even got his own lighting during matches as WWE wanted to make him the next Rey Mysterio.
Sadly inside the ring while he certainly had brilliant talent, he couldn't work a WWE style match which meant he often had very noticeable botches that instantly halted any momentum the company built for him.
24 Great Gimmick - Matt Striker
Many people probably just think of Matt Striker as a commentator when they hear his name now, mainly due to how forgettable his in-ring career was with WWE, but Striker was actually a wrestler during his time.
Striker worked a teacher gimmick that was brilliant in terms of getting heat from a crowd as fans simply became irritated in the entire thing, which could have gone on to be a good fit as a mid-card gimmick.
Sadly, while Striker was confident and compelling on the microphone, inside the ring he didn't boast the same level of quality and in the end that proved costly as he struggled to make an impact.
23 Bad Gimmick - Blue Pants
For those who have been watching NXT for several years, you will likely remember Blue Pants who was one of the most popular wrestlers during her short run with the developmental brand.
As one of the most talented female wrestlers in the sport right now, Leva Bates is someone that WWE really should have brought in on a full-time basis but the company gave her a gimmick solely based on the color of her ring gear.
Once she was known as "Blue Pants" she was always going to be fighting an uphill battle and even though in the ring, Bates has plenty to offer, the bad gimmick she was given meant she couldn't really develop.
22 Great Gimmick - Great Khali
The Great Khali is a controversial figure in the world of wrestling, with some fans loving him as a guilty pleasure while others simply hated him because of how immobile he was, with Khali being unable to put together an entertaining match.
His in-ring ability was seriously lacking, with Khali having no mobility which meant that no matter how hard the company pushed him as a total silent monster, fans simply did not want to see him.
Had this gimmick been given to a different big man who had more ability inside the ring and perhaps been able to talk a little then this character could have gone a very different way.
21 Great Gimmick - James Ellsworth
On paper, the gimmick of a wrestler not being very talented and simply stumbling his way to a job doesn't seem to be that interesting, but when you see it played out there is no doubt the gimmick is superb.
The only issue here is, this gimmick likely wouldn't have worked anywhere near as well with a wrestler who is highly talented as that would have taken away from what the purpose of it was.
However, a truly talented wrestler would be able to portray anything and if there was some real talent hidden there could have been another excellent story told about that coming to the front.
20 Bad Gimmick - Lord Tensai
When WWE decided to bring back Matt Bloom to the company after he had impressed in Japan it seemed like he was finally going to get a solid main event run that would be fitting of his solid talent inside the ring.
Bloom had worked as several different characters during his initial run with WWE such as A-Train and Albert, or Prince Albert but was never given the big main event push that his talent warranted.
However, his return saw his worst gimmick of all as he became Lord Tensai, something that nobody understood with fans not being able to take him seriously in the new mist spraying role with people still thinking about his past.
19 Great Gimmick - Papa Shango
Gimmicks such as Papa Shango fall into the same category with the likes of The Undertaker, Mankind, and Bray Wyatt, all of which are a little over the top and crazy, but if they are done right are unforgettable.
While people still remember Papa Shango, sadly the gimmick of the Voodo Doctor certainly didn't reach the heights it could have and a lot of that was down to the fact it wasn't given to a top wrestler.
Charles Wright was a solid hand who had a good run with several different gimmicks throughout his time, but this particular gimmick could have done much better under more talented hands.
18 Great Gimmick - Gangrel
Often, over the top gimmicks such as the vampire style idea that WWE created with Gangrel tend to do well in the wild world of professional wrestling where fans tend to be open to just about anything.
That was the case with Gangrel who certainly got over with fans, especially when The Brood was created alongside Edge and Christian with their bloodbaths being a real spectacle during the Attitude Era.
The only issue was that inside the squared circle, Gangrel wasn't good enough to make a big impact, with Edge and Christian clearly being far superior and in the end, the Gangrel gimmick fizzled out quicker than it should have.
17 Bad Gimmick - Isaac Yankem
A crazy dentist was an actual gimmick idea that WWE thought would be a good idea for Glenn Jacobs in a way to put the monster over in the company and Vince McMahon and his creative team couldn't have been more wrong.
Jacobs, who went on to portray the legendary Kane gimmick is an excellent in-ring worker with terrific microphone abilities who has gone on to have a Hall Of Fame worthy career, proving he has all the ability in the world.
Sadly, he was saddled with an incredibly poor gimmick before he could finally hit his groove, but the fact he was able to overcome the Isaac Yankem situation shows just how talented he is.
16 Great Gimmick - Alex Riley
During his run in WWE Alex Riley had several great gimmicks, yet for one reason or another, they never worked. While backstage politics brought an end to his babyface run against The Miz, it was his NXT gimmick that really had potential.
After falling to NXT commentator, Riley would eventually snap and want to break from the chains he had been placed in, getting himself into incredible shape with a superb storyline.
However, much like his main roster run, the gimmick didn't work out for him which was a huge shame because it had so much potential to be a major babyface run at Full Sail yet Riley failed to turn it into anything worthwhile, eventually being released.
15 Great Gimmick - Alicia Fox
Alicia Fox has been employed by WWE for such a long time which makes it even more baffling that she has failed to create many memorable moments that fans can talk about, despite being given a good gimmick throughout her run.
WWE has had Foxy work as someone who has serious anger issues and loses her cool incredibly easily and is portrayed as a little bit crazy, a gimmick that at its core, is a very good one.
However, despite being part of the company for so long Alicia Fox hasn't managed to take the gimmick very far, often being left behind no matter which era of women's wrestling she is part of.
14 Bad Gimmick - Muhammad Hassan
This could be a controversial statement as many people would consider the gimmick that Muhammad Hassan had as a good one that simply came at the wrong time, but considering today's culture, his gimmick was one that would not work right now either.
Working as a very stereotypical Arab wrestler, Hassan had men dressed up helping him to attack other wrestlers. While this gimmick certainly got him heat, it was one that ended up costing him his job.
It was a shame that Hassan was burdened with such a controversial gimmick as he actually had plenty to offer inside of the ring and considering he was only young when he walked away from the industry, this bad gimmick destroyed a career.
13 Great Gimmick - Michael Cole
During his run as a wrestler, Michael Cole was one of the biggest heels in the entire company, managing to create a brilliant response from the WWE Universe every single time, all down to his fantastic gimmick.
Cole's gimmick developed from being the one who read out the anonymous GM's messages, to working as a heel on commentary every match, trashing the babyfaces and putting over every heel possible.
The only issue with this was even though he had huge heel heat when he got into the ring, Cole simply had no talent. Now, he can't be blamed as Cole is a commentator, not a wrestler, but had this gimmick been given to someone who could compete, this would have been a major run.
12 Great Gimmick - Test
Being partnered alongside Stephanie McMahon, positioned as her boyfriend should be a golden ticket to the main event success, just look at how things worked out for Triple H on screen, with his character always being shown in the main events.
Test was given that chance, being placed in a great gimmick as her on-screen boyfriend that should have allowed him to become a major star in the company, yet for some reason, he failed to break out of the mid-card.
Test wasn't terrible inside the ring, but he failed to capture people's attention with an engaging personality which was his biggest downfall and instead this gimmick went to waste, although Triple H certainly picked it up later on.
11 Bad Gimmick - Reverend D-Von
When you think about D-Von Dudley you instantly think about the legendary tag team that destroyed everyone in their paths in ECW, WWE, and TNA, putting everyone in sight through tables without caring in the slightest.
However, when WWE made the decision to split the Dudleys apart in order to try something different and give both men a chance to succeed on their own, D-Von was given a major change.
Instead of being hardcore, he fell into a religious gimmick, which often doesn't do well in wrestling, with D-Von becoming a reverend, something that didn't get over with the fans who couldn't take him seriously in the new role.
10 Great Gimmick - Brooklyn Brawler
The idea of someone who is able to fight his way from the streets of New York all the way to being a top WWE Superstar who simply works as a tough thug in the ring is a gimmick that could really work well.
WWE attempted this with Brooklyn Brawler and while they managed to create a wrestler who fans still remember today, they do not remember him as a top superstar like he could have been.
Instead, the Brawler is often seen as a jobber and ended up being used in comedic spots rather than as a top star who fans should have been taking seriously, but that all comes down to a good gimmick being wasted.
9 Bad Gimmick - Eugene
You have to give credit to Nick Dinsmore for the way he was able to make Eugene as big of a success as it was because the gimmick itself was shockingly bad and also incredibly offensive, which is why it never gets mentioned today.
Playing up mental health in the most stereotypical way imaginable, Eugene managed to capture the hearts of the WWE Universe with his feuds against Eric Bischoff and his great matches with the likes of Triple H.
It is something that we will never see again due to how the world has changed in relation to mental health, and it was a shame that the talented Dinsmore was given such a poor gimmick, but at least he managed to make it as big as possible.
8 Great Gimmick - Eva Marie
People often think back to Eva Marie's run with WWE and instantly think she was a terrible wrestler and was only hired for her looks and what she brought to the Total Divas series.
While there might be an element of truth to that, there is no doubt that Marie made some incredible improvements over time and one of the reasons for that was because WWE gave her a fantastic gimmick to work with.
With her wild entrances that saw her gain her own ring announcer who would talk as she entered, she found excuses to not compete each week. Sadly, we never got to see this live out its full potential due to her being released, proving it was wasted.
7 Bad Gimmick - DDP
When Vince McMahon brought an end to the Monday Night War by purchasing WCW fans were excited to see their favorite WCW talents working on Raw and SmackDown and one of those was DDP.
Diamond Dallas Page had worked his way to the top of WCW and was one of the biggest babyfaces that the company had, yet for some reason, he failed to make his mark in WWE for the most part.
One of the reasons for that is because of the awful gimmick that the company gave to him, having him be a creepy stalker who followed The Undertaker's wife around, a very odd gimmick that simply did not work.
6 Great Gimmick - The Ultimate Warrior
Everybody knows The Ultimate Warrior, one of the biggest names in wrestling history and without a doubt a tremendous gimmick that took the wrestling world by storm and eventually became a Hall Of Famer.
The Warrior was an over the top character that was the ultimate babyface, from the face paint and all the colorful tassels and ring gear that went along with that, he used his passion to get over with the audiences.
While the Ultimate Warrior wasn't one of the greatest in-ring workers, his fantastic gimmick managed to secure him as a fan favorite which helped make him become one of the greatest of all time.
5 Bad Gimmick - The Blue Blazer
When you think about the very best wrestlers in the history of the industry, Owen Hart is a name that often comes to the top of peoples minds. A master in the ring with his incredible technical ability few could keep up with him.
Hart was ahead of his time in a sense of his in-ring qualities, but there is no doubt he is well remembered. However the same cannot be said for The Blue Blazer which was a subpar gimmick that Owen was given during his run.
Putting him in a mask and attempting to get him over as a major corny babyface was a real risk by WWE and one that didn't pay off with few fans looking back at the gimmick with much fondness.
4 Great Gimmick - Lex Luger
You can't blame Vince for trying to go to something that worked so well for him before. While Lex Luger proved in WCW he could have some good matches with superior in-ring talents, he was never a worker that could carry a match.
The WWE first made him a heel with The Narcissist gimmick, then did a 180 and immediately tried to have Luger play the patriotic hero.
Both gimmicks flopped because fans were ready for better wrestling. Had the gimmick been given to a great wrestler donning the red, white and blue, it could have worked. Fans just didn't want Hulk Hogan 2.0.
3 Bad Gimmick - Stardust
For anyone who saw the incredible ALL IN event, it is clear to see that Cody Rhodes is one of the biggest names in wrestling right now, proving that he is more than capable of living up to his family name.
Since leaving WWE, Cody has ridden an incredible independent run alongside the Bullet Club, but he had to get away from the lazy Stardust gimmick that the company gave him in order to show his real talent.
Simply having him work as a rip-off of his brother Goldust's gimmick nothing about the situation worked. Despite the best efforts of Cody who gave everything to the role, fans simply saw him as a knock-off Goldust.
2 Great Gimmick - Jinder Mahal
The Modern Day Maharaja was an excellent heel gimmick that WWE provided Jinder Mahal out of nowhere, taking him from SmackDown Live jobber to being the WWE Champion.
His gimmick saw him play off of his own heritage with an over the top and modern twist on a religious gimmick that certainly did work, getting under the skin of the WWE Universe and making Mahal one of the top heels in the company.
WWE put everything into making this gimmick a success, yet it was Mahal's own lack of in-ring talent that pulled him back, with his match quality not being good enough to main event shows.
1 Bad Gimmick - Deacon Batista
When you think about Batista, fans automatically think of the Animal who was one of WWE's biggest ever superstars who main evented countless PPV's and held multiple World Championships.
However, that wasn't always the case, with Batista initially debuting as Deacon Batista who worked alongside the WWE Hall Of Famer, D-Von Dudley who was working a religious gimmick at the time, which was equally bad in its own rights.
Batista walked around silently with a huge chain around his neck and helped the Dudley brother to get the victories, without showing much personality or any signs of becoming the superstar he ended up being.