The Rattlesnake. The American Dream. The People’s Champion. The Nature Boy. The Showstopper. The Rated-R Superstar. The Phenom. Throughout wrestling, there have been slews of nicknames thrown at guys that help elevate them nicely. A lot of guys carry some cool names that help push them up more and elevate them nicely and sound pretty cool. It also helps with merchandising, guys able to sell tons of T-shirts and such with their nicknames and you can see fans holding up signs with those names to boost a guy up more. A great nickname can often be the key to a wrestler getting truly over and make them a bigger star.
However, not everyone can get such a good nickname. Too many times, the marketing department at a company comes up with something that’s just a big loser and yet they keep trying to promote it as something cool. But the more they try to shove it down fans’ throats, the more they turn on it, especially when it’s not that great to begin with. Here are 15 attempts to give wrestlers good nicknames but only served to make them sound more lame than usual. Names that made you want to say to creative, 'try harder guys.'
14 The Altered Beast
When you start off as “Deacon Dave,” you can really only go up from there. Despite a late start, Batista was a good worker and the name of “The Animal” fit him perfectly. Strong and surprisingly skilled when needed, Batista was a huge star with effective ring work and dominating as champion several times. His return in 2014 was bad from the start, as fans were hating seeing him pushed to the main event of WrestleMania right off the bat. Not helping was how he was now being referred to as “The Altered Beast,” supposedly referring to him being different after his hiatus.
But naming a guy after a Sega Genesis game doesn’t exactly go over well and Batista’s attitude didn’t help with stories growing over his ego backstage leading to his fast exit in his second WWE stint. It was a bad run overall and all it altered was Batista’s standing among fans.
13 CeNation Commander in Chief
Since his arrival in 2002, John Cena has had plenty of wild nicknames like “The Doctor of Thuganomics” and “The Chain Gang Leader.” Most of them have worked out pretty well and Cena is notable for able to take the “Mr. Fruity Pebbles” insult by The Rock and wear it as a badge of honor, as his amazing charisma and ability to hold crowds has helped him become the face of WWE for nearly 15 years. However, the bit of him as the “CeNation Commander in Chief” was not one of his best. It’s way too much to put on a shirt and doesn’t roll off the tongue and given how at least half a crowd is hostile to him whenever he wrestles, they're not exactly yelling “Commander” that much. It’s not used as much as others but still a rather odd name that doesn’t rank among the best for an otherwise major star.
12 The Ultra Male
Jeff Jarrett has always had the issue of thinking he’s a much bigger star than he actually is. He’s a good upper mid-card guy but thinks he’s on the level of Hogan or Flair, a standing that’s weakened TNA with his constant need to be in the main event. He’s added to it with various moves and turns to push it up more but one of the craziest had to be taking on the nickname of “The Ultra Male.” Jarrett was already mocked by fans for pushing himself so much, now claiming to be the “ultimate guy” in a company with plenty of real stars and athletes. All it did was push his desire to be the top dog when everyone saw him as one of the weaker spots on the roster. Yet it shows how Jarrett’s ego has been his worst enemy and done more harm to his company than good.
11 The Man Dinosaur
Brodus Clay was a guy really messed up by WWE as in FCW, he was pushed as a monster guy, complete with the wild name of “The Mastodon of Mayhem.” He seemed ready to continue that in WWE but instead was transformed into the goofy dancer, used more for comic relief rather than an actual threat in the ring. His antics were annoying and he was soon pushed out of the company. When he came to TNA, he seemed a bit better off, more of an enforcer as a bodyguard first for ECIII and then Matt Hardy and ready to be a monster heel.
So what nickname is he given? The “Man Dinosaur.” It makes no sense at all, something a seven-year old would come up with and one is half-surprised TNA didn’t have him come out with a raptor costume of some sort. While he’s pushed more, the nickname still makes Clay come off as foolish and hard to take seriously.
11. Alabama Slamma
Bob Holly is a fascinating case of a guy who transformed himself from an incredibly lame gimmick of Sparkplug Holly to a seriously respected worker over the course of his long-tenured WWE career. He spent time as a tag worker and later the turn to a real Hardcore style, exemplified by the ECW match where he had a horrendous gash on his back but kept on working, earning huge props from fans across the WWE Universe. You would think the company would give him a tough nickname to match that, as he was clearly wicked and strong in the ring.
Instead, they gave him “The Alabama Slamma,” a name more inclined to some guy in the 1980s territories than the good worker Holly was. The guy was always held back by injuries but deserved more than what he got during his time in the wrestling world, especially with his nickname.
10 The Charismatic Enigma
TNA deserves the credit for this one, still one of the more baffling nicknames around. To be fair, it does fit Jeff Hardy, a guy who has always played by his own rules and behavior and was thrown on him when he joined the company in 2004. They wanted to push him as something special and unique, a fan favorite with a bizarre style but the name itself just sounded awkward and while it’s intended to be a contrast, it still doesn’t sound good. Of course, Hardy didn’t help with his wild behavior in TNA from drug use to no-shows and showing up stoned as hell at times.
It was meant to sell Hardy as a top guy with the fans but it just sounded a weird name, even for him. Clearly, TNA had issues with his strange attitude that’s led the company to some pretty weird times.
9 World’s Largest Love Machine
Nelson Frazier wasn’t a bad guy behind the scenes but jeez, did he get some bad stuff. With his hulking size, he could have been sold well as a monster but WWE’s first idea was to have him as Mabel, the rapper of Men on a Mission. That led to his turn as King Mabel that helped ruin business for WWE in 1995. Then Viscera, the hulking monster figure. But the worst was when he became Big Daddy V, his outfit just pants and suspenders over that horribly obese chest, a sight that disgusted fans.
But worse than that was how they promoted him as “The World’s Largest Love Machine,” trying to woo ladies, particularly Lillian Garcia, a move that did him no favors at all. The man’s weight issues would lead to an early death but his various turns and names didn’t help either, a good guy who put up with a ton of bad stuff.
8 The All-American American
Jack Swagger is a classic case of a guy who’s been pushed way beyond his ability to be a well-rounded WWE susperstar. He’s a good worker and a decent mid card guy but not a main event champion by any means. Yet WWE keeps pushing him that way despite how he can’t really carry it despite numerous title runs. The nickname doesn’t help as the marketing department no doubt thinks it sounds cool but in reality, it’s clunky, unwieldy and a mouthful to say.
It doesn’t help by how Swagger is sold as a heel so much, not quite helping the “All-American” name being presented that way and his efforts as a face don’t really work either. It really shows once more how Swagger isn’t the major star WWE hoped he would be and his nickname showcases how some guys are better suited away from the main event.
7 The Big Game Hunter
Eric Young is an interesting case for TNA. He was a dependable worker for the company for over a decade, a good guy who was often best as this goofball moron to make folks laugh. He bounced from Team Canada to Super Eric to other bits that often had him as the comic relief. Starting in 2014, TNA tried to make him serious with a sudden World title run that was just to cash in on the Daniel Bryan craze.
As part of this, Young was given the nickname of “The Big Game Hunter” thanks to how he took a trip with none other than Donald Trump in 2012. He was never an intense guy or one with the mind-set to “hunt” anyone and his long-time run as a comedy figure didn’t help that in any way. Young would leave TNA and is now in NXT. Thankfully he won't be given a name like 'Hunter' in WWE.
6 The Devil’s Favorite Demon
Kane always had a fantastic look with his tall body, mask and costume and coming out with pyro exploding. From the start, the label of “The Big Red Machine” fit him as he would march out and destroy anyone in his path, as even unmasking did nothing to hurt that but just made him even more intimidating along the way. He’s made turns over the years such as the “Corporate” stooge and other transformations but still holding to his status as a beast in the ring.
Yet, the nickname of “The Devil’s Favorite Demon” doesn’t sound anywhere near as intimidating as the marketing department thinks it does. It sounds dumb and childish, not really making much sense and just too unwieldy to make a regular nickname, yet it's still used. The Big Red Machine is perfectly fine without adding the demonic overtone to it as much and Kane is better with actions than words anyway.
5 The Blue Chipper
It’s become legendary how WWE tried to present Rocky Maivia as a classic babyface, all smiles and bright attitude and the fans hated it from the get-go. As part of the presentation, WWE pushed how he was carrying on the legacy of grandfather Peter Maivia and father Rocky Johnson and so took to naming him “The Blue Chipper” as a great young talent. It was pushed over and over despite how Rocky just had a bland presentation with his so-so promos and the fans loathing this kid pushed on them so hard.
Of course, we know how it all led to the “Die Rocky Die” chants that would lead to his epic transformation into The Rock and becoming one of the biggest stars in both wrestling and Hollywood. In that regard, the nickname played an important part in things but it's still notable how selling a guy as a great talent before he’s ready can be damaging.
4 The Great White
Sheamus has been pushed a lot by WWE with the “Celtic Warrior” label, which is not too bad of a name for him. Some might accuse him of being pushed to the main event that he doesn’t deserve but he still has proven himself as a good worker when he has to be and not as bad on the mic as some people may think. Many an opponent has turned his incredibly light skin into something to make fun of but it’s still bizarre that WWE themselves tried to use it by calling Sheamus “The Great White.”
It just sounds as if there was another word for the name but it was dropped and it sounds awkward for the announcers to just say the name over and over again on television. It wouldn’t last too long but it was still an annoying name that just made Sheamus more of a joke.
3 The Silverback Gorilla
A fan theory is that Vince McMahon has saddled Mark Henry with tons of bad stuff to try to get him to quit and avoid paying his massive contract but Henry just sucks up whatever he’s given to continue. He’s had rough stuff as “Sexual Chocolate” for some infamous bad times in the late 1990s and for the most part, WWE agrees to stick with the “World’s Strongest Man” label. However, for a brief time, Henry was saddled with the nickname of “The Silverback Gorilla” which didn’t sound right.
The obvious racial implications are hard to ignore as calling a big beefy black man a gorilla doesn’t come off well. Plus, the “silverback” is a weird addition, plenty of other types to use and one’s half-amazed WWE didn’t insist on Henry having a silver stripe on his back. Henry just keeps up with it all to his credit but this was a pretty bad name for his run.
2 The Big Dog
Much has been written about WWE’s obsession (apparently pushed by Vince McMahon) on showing Roman Reigns as the main guy in WWE. That ignores how fans hate this mega-push as Roman just doesn’t click as a true main event hero or the guy to carry an entire company. It hasn’t been helped by WWE’s terrible booking and presentation that often makes Roman look weak and even downright foolish. A key example is WWE’s attempt to boost him as “The Big Dog,” making him sound like the top guy around and pushing other down. However, Roman’s lack of real charisma weakens that, the label just adding to his numerous other problems and it just makes him sound even lamer as the announcers keep pushing “The Big Dog” as some intense figure. As with so much about Roman, WWE’s nickname just makes him look weaker and shows this dog has no real bite.
1 The Bionic Redneck
From the moment he latched onto the “Stone Cold” moniker, Steve Austin was a made man in wrestling. A fantastic worker and killer on the mic, Austin added to it with his sensational attitude to win the fans over and become one of the biggest stars in the business. He added to it with “The Texas Rattlesnake,” showcasing himself as a deadly figure ready to attack at any moment. In 2000, Austin was coming back after surgery for neck and knee problems and Jim Ross decided to add to things by calling Austin “The Bionic Redneck.”
It was a truly goofy name, just making Austin sound more childish than usual and a bizarre mix on its own, using the old “Six Million Dollar Man” motif but not to good effect. It didn’t roll off the tongue and did no favors selling t-shirts at all. It was dropped fast as it just seemed a goofy name to throw in as Austin is much better as a Rattlesnake than any sci-fi themed bit.