Over the years, the WWE, and wrestling in general, have gone through some massive changes. In fact, the industry is almost constantly going through one change or another. Whether it be the audience they target, the stars they push or a wide variety of other options, change is inevitable.
However, one vital part of wrestling that has remained largely unchanged over the decades is the presence of gimmicks. In the business, talent and being a good talker can only take you so far, as you need a gimmick. How you are presented on TV during matches and interviews is how you connect with fans and become a superstar.
Guys like Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold Steve Austin and more had solid gimmicks that not only worked, it turned them into mega stars that will never be forgotten. While, they were solid in the ring (except Hogan), it was what they did out of it that made them legends.
But unfortunately, not every gimmick that wrestling promotions come up with strikes golf like the aforementioned ones did. In fact, some are just downright horrendous. Whether they were offensive, boring or just plain stupid, dozens of gimmicks in wrestling have been off the charts bad.
Well lucky for you, we have compiled a list of 15 of the absolute worst WCW and WWE gimmicks in history for you to check out. So take a trip down memory lane with us and relive 15 of the most terrible gimmicks the wrestling industry has ever seen.
Before his debut, Brodus Clay was supposed to be a powerhouse and a real threat in the WWE. After all, he was the runner-up on the fourth season of NXT and was destined for the WWE main roster. His first role was that of Alberto Del Rio’s manager, which wasn’t actually that bad. But after that gimmick died out, he became The Funkasaurus. He was a face that would dance his way down to the ring with two beautiful ladies by his side. Even after adopting the gimmick, he continued to win, but the gimmick soon grew stale and cringe-worthy. While it may have been okay for a little, it lasted too long and he was soon gone from the WWE. It is a real shame because Clay is actually a pretty talented in-ring performer, but just got cursed with an awful gimmick.
14 The Spirit Squad
This was most definitely not a good example of squad goals. The Spirit Squad was a group of five male cheerleaders that the WWE brought in as heels. The Spirit Squad made their debut in 2006 and were pretty bad right from the beginning. However, they somehow won the Tag Titles and even had a PPV match against Shawn Michaels and Triple H (even if it was just so DX could make fun of them). Either way, you would think things like that would make this gimmick work, but it didn’t, and The Spirit Squad soon faded into obscurity. But perhaps the worst part of this entire thing was that the five members of The Spirit Squad were actually talented developmental wrestlers, who just got put in a terribly awful gimmick. Of the five of them, only Dolph ZIggler went on to have any real success in the big leagues.
13 The Goon
The WWE sometimes likes to pay homage to other sports in different ways. Whether it is having athletes come host the shows or even make appearances in the ring. However, perhaps their worst foray trying to tap into sports culture was the awful gimmick they provided for Bill Irwin. He was named The Goon, a hockey player who was kicked out of every league he tried to play in for being too violent, so he came to the WWE. However, the gimmick just stunk in every sense of the word. He is often cited among the most hilariously bad gimmicks in wrestling history and it is quite shocking that this character ever found its way out of the meeting room. He was so bad that the character was actually abandoned after only a few months in action.
12 Mr. America
There is no doubting that the Hulk Hogan character was among the most brilliant gimmicks in wrestling history, as it propelled him into becoming the most famous and popular wrestler of all time. But for some reason, the WWE decided to put a red white and blue mask over his famous facial hair and call him Mr. America during his last run with the company as an active wrestler. While everyone knew he guy was Hulk Hogan, and some of his segments were fairly comical, the idea was just stupid. Part of the joke was that he would deny and deny that he was Hogan, even though everyone in the arena knew it. To take away the recognition of a legend and put them into a new and foolish gimmick for no reason was not a good move, and it would be hard to see the WWE do something like this in the modern day.
Out of all the awful gimmicks included in this list, few (if any) can say they had worse attire and costume than Mantaur. Mantaur was a gimmick that was based off of the Minotaur, a creature from Greek mythology. The Minotaur has the body of a man and the face of a bull. Yeah, doesn’t really sound like it could work as a gimmick. But the WWE went with it anyways and included in his move set was charging his opponent like a bull and even mooing. In fact, this character has been credited by many as actually giving the WCW more viewers, as fans looked for a more realistic wrestling option. I don’t know who thought this gimmick could be a success. The WWE actually gave him a big push out of the gate, but even that couldn’t help him catch on and he soon fizzled out of the spotlight.
This was a strange one, that’s for sure. Hornswoggle first made his debut as a leprechaun, initially being called Little Bastard, that would appear with Finlay and help him out in matches and be an overall pest to his opponents. He was well received initially as fans got a kick out of his antics. However, eventually, he was separated from Finlay and most thought his gimmick and character would end. Most though he would be given a few more months and then slowly fade away. However, he remained in the WWE for years after the separation and would be involved in a large number of storylines. Despite being around for so long, his gimmick was just as ridiculous throughout his tenure. Good for him for turning such an awful gimmick into a fairly decent career, but there is no arguing that this is one of the worst gimmicks in history, which lasted quite a while longer than it probably should have.
It seems that when anything becomes popular, the wrestling industry feels the need to either mention it, or create a gimmick that relates to it. Well, in the 1990s, Mortal Kombat was on top of the video gaming world. And of course, the WCW decided to create a character named “Glacier” (eerily similar to the popular Sub-Zero character in Mortal Kombat). But just because something works in a video game, doesn’t mean that it will work in the wrestling business and WCW found that out the hard way. They developed a huge back story for this guy and paid thousands and thousands of dollars for his entrance, but the character straight up didn’t work and never took off. This was without a doubt one of the biggest wastes of money in the history of wrestling. At least Ray Lloyd, the wrestler who portrayed Glacier, still uses the gimmick to make appearances at wrestling conventions.
8 Kerwin White
Chavo Guerrero was a solid hand in the WCW and WWE for the better part of the 1990s and 2000s. He was part of numerous big storylines, came from a legendary wrestling family and won numerous championships such as the Cruiserweight title and the Tag Team titles. But when he was in need of a new character a decade or so ago, the WWE gave him this stinker. Chavo became Kerwin White, as a Hispanic man who wanted nothing more than to be a typical white man. He would come to the ring in a golf cart (which was actually driven by future superstar Dolph Ziggler) and dress in a preppy fashion. Even just by reading it, you can tell how bad this gimmick was. Thankfully, it didn’t last very long. Because if it would’ve, it could have really tarnished his career legacy.
Now, when I mentioned in the intro that some of these gimmicks were offensive, this is the one I had in mind. While in the OVW development promotion, Nick Dinsmore carried a reputation as being one of the better wrestlers and workers there. But when he finally got a shot in the WWE, his gimmick all but killed any shot he had of becoming a legitimate wrestler. Once in the WWE, he was introduced as Eugene, Eric Bischoff’s mentally challenged nephew. He tried to make it work, but this gimmick was simply insensitive and even hard to watch at times. Fans got behind him at points, but it really couldn't be salvaged. He was basically made fun of throughout his career and despite being on TV often and being part of some big storylines with the likes of Triple H, this is probably a gimmick that the WWE as a whole would love to forget about.
Now, this one wasn’t mean to be a serious gimmick or gesture by the WWE, but that doesn’t make it any less of an awful gimmick. The character and gimmick was mostly created and brought in as the WWE’s way of saying that Goldberg wasn’t as scary or dominating as he was made out to be by their rivals, WCW. The gimmick was played by Duane Gill, hence the name Gillberg. The gimmick was that Gillberg played a hilarious and comedically awful version of Goldberg and copied all of his mannerisms and characteristics. And while the character was fun and comedic while it lasted, it eventually flamed out and was no longer entertaining to the fans. When you have a gimmick that is basically meant to be a worse version of a current wrestling gimmick, it is usually a sign that it won’t be great.
5 The Shockmaster
Not only was The Shockmaster a horrendous gimmick, but he was also at the center of one of the most infamous moments in WCW history. Before debuting in WCW, the promotion was hyping the character heavily and he was even set to be a part of a huge angle involving Sting and others. But during his debut segment on live television, the character tripped on a piece of wood and fell to the floor, losing his mask and revealing his face in the process. This basically ruined the gimmick as everyone saw his face. The WCW tried to save face by branding him as a klutz, but that also didn’t work. And the character was thrown right out the window almost as soon as he came. The Shockmaster definitely had one of the shortest tenures of any gimmick and who knows what would have happened if he would never have fallen during that segment. However, if we had to bet, a guy with a sparkly Stormtrooper mask was never going to make it.
4 The Mexicools
The sad thing is that the three men involved in this horrendous gimmick were actually extremely talented and successful wrestlers. Juventud Guerrera, Super Crazy and Psychosis had successful careers in both the WCW and ECW before finally getting the call to the WWE in 2005. But instead of getting a good gimmick that they could be successful with, they became The Mexicools. This racially insensitive gimmick portrayed them as a stereotypical group of Latin labor workers, who even drove to the ring on a lawnmower. This awful gimmick restricted what the guys could do and despite their huge talent in the ring, they were rarely able to show it off when it mattered. This gimmick all but killed their promising careers as individual wrestlers. I wish they would have gotten solid gimmicks as it would have added longevity to their careers and given us some amazing matches as well.
3 The Gobbledy Gooker
This was probably the most disappointing moment in the history of wrestling. For months, the WWE was hyping a giant egg and had made a promise that it would hatch at Survivor Series in 1990. So, naturally, most WWE fans felt this was going to be the massive debut of a huge star and were getting very excited for what the possibilities could be. Sadly, when the big moment came, and the egg finally hatched, everyone let out a giant sigh of disapproval. As it turned out, all that came out of the egg was The Gobbledy Gooker, who was just Hector Guerrero dancing around in a chicken costume. A reign of boos came down from the crowd and everyone was disappointed in the reveal. The gimmick died extremely quickly, but no one will forget the awful reveal of this goofy character.
2 The Boogeyman
This gimmick actually did pretty well with the fans for a little bit. It was refreshing and different, but this was the rare case where a gimmick that could have had legs, was ruined by a pretty bad wrestler. As a character, The Boogeyman did his job by scaring and grossing out audiences across the country. However, perhaps the only thing grosser than an image of The Boogeyman eating a mouthful of worms was his in-ring performance. He was simply not a good wrestler and would have been better off perhaps being a manager or sidekick to someone who could actually wrestle. But of all the things The Boogeyman did, few are more disgusting and memorable than him eating that horrific growth off the side of Jillian Hall’s face. He had a fairly long tenure in the WWE, but eventually, his segments became more comedic than scary and gross, which they were originally supposed to be.
1 Bastian Booger
And here we have it, probably the worst gimmick in wrestling history, let alone WWE and WCW history. While it wasn’t over the top, it was just pure laziness on the part of the WWE. When they were looking for a gimmick for the heavy and large Mike Shaw, they just decided to make him a gross, disgusting fat guy who would eat food in a putrid way and gross out his opponents. Not only this, but the audience was also disgusted by this character and you would be hard pressed to find anyone who has any good memories of the character. Also, his in ring attire was awful as it was crafted in a way to reveal all the work wrinkles and folds in his body. While he wasn’t pushed as a real threat and was mainly a jobber, this was still among the laziest moves in WWE history as they offered no creativity in this gimmick.