If there is one thing Vince McMahon understands it is that wrestling is hugely visual and what you see most prominently or first will have a huge impact on what you think about the accompanying superstar, matchup, and scene put forward. Knowing that he is so acutely aware of this little bit of psychology is what makes some of the outfits his wrestlers have had to wear so insane and downright laughable.
Whether Vince thought that he was aiming it at kids, or that he was being ‘edgy’, or if he was actively trying to undermine a superstar’s potential right out of the gate it is all down to him and his oddball tastes and tendencies. Sometimes you can just tell that the idea came to him when he was out of his mind and some poor superstar subsequently got stuck in a getup that not only held them back but forever made the idea of them as a serious competitor absurd and impossible.
These outfits come from the entire WWE timeline with some WCW classics thrown in for good measure, because the history of bad taste isn’t isolated to just Vince McMahon. It’s amazing to think how some of these ever saw the light of day but in the crazy world of wrestling with the type of minds behind the scenes sometimes you have to believe that it’s inevitable for another atrocity to make it onto Raw sooner or later.
20. Viscera/Big Daddy V
For the years that the former Viscera wrestled under Vince’s employ completely covered up to hide his grotesque torso, you’ve got to believe that Vince one day just saw him and thought “I bet it’s a freak show under there. Hey, that gives me an idea!”.
So because absolutely nobody wanted it, Viscera changed his name and began coming out to wrestle with his glorious jiggling ripples of jelly on full display, causing nightmares and dry-heaving from fans everywhere. He could still move impressively for a man of such proportions but all that did was increase aforementioned jiggling, which are two words that shouldn’t ever live next door to each other.
19. Albert/Lord Tensai
The former Prince/Albert/A-Train returned to WWE with a lot of fanfare and compelling vignettes touting his accomplishments across the ocean in Japan, but when he finally emerged in his bathrobe with his face mask covering up one of his eyes and Katakana symbols etched all over his face it was over before it really began.
Albert was always the subject of judgment for his looks, with his hairy torso, multiple piercings and at times shiny leather gimp outfits, but this reinvention took the cake. The silky red robe and metal-bowl hat/ceremonial headdress didn’t inspire intimidation as much as they were obviously a hassle to remove before the action could get underway. Vince clearly wanted this entrance and disrobing to become epic but the actions were nothing like the ‘on paper’ idea.
18. Ron Simmons/Faarooq
When you’re the first ever official African-American Heavyweight Champion Of The World you would hope that that comes along with a level of dignity that cannot be curtailed. That assumption would prove wrong when Vince McMahon puts you in a foamy blue spartan Halloween outfit that fills you with regret the moment you look in the mirror.
The former Ron Simmons joined WWE with the promise of being a big deal and this terrible getup was his reward. ‘Silly Blue Gladiator’ is not something you put on your resume with a smile on your face. It didn’t last long, no doubt because of anyone with eyes being able to see it was a terrible look.
17. Cody Rhodes/Stardust
Some people may have loved this alternate universe Cody Rhodes, but the man beneath the paint and pageantry absolutely did not. You couldn’t tell due to his professionalism compelling him to give all his effort and so many actually got on board with the ridiculous ripoff of his brother Goldust, but ultimately it was a burden for the man rather than a help. Where Goldust used this outlandish type of gimmick to supplement his normalness Cody felt restrained by the goofy, kid-friendly look and some of the variants were just outright ugly to boot.
It was during this run as Stardust that Cody questioned WWE management about his prospects of ever-rising higher up the card again, and when he received word that plans were for him to remain as Stardust for the conceivable future he abruptly took his talents elsewhere.
16. Booker T/King Booker/Kings In General
This is really a catch-all for every superstar who ever won the King Of The Ring tournament and felt compelled to cosplay as royalty. From King Mabel to King Sheamus to King Barrett, almost all of them suffered the cape and crown combo which almost always ended up with them on the losing side of things.
King Booker gets the nod here because unlike the rest he actually became World Champion under this ridiculous gimmick, putting on a hilariously pompous accent and raising his pinky out of pure ‘fanciness’. Say what you want about the man from Houston, Texas but he throws himself into the thing and almost makes it work. That doesn’t save the look though, as it’s a stupid thing for anyone to do and more should take Stone Cold’s attitude towards the tournament victory.
15. Tugboat/The Shockmaster
Some of these gimmicks and outfits benched superstars from being taken seriously for a time. Others tried to work through it. Some, like this entry, absolutely destroyed any credibility the person in them could have ever had. Such was the fate of Fred Ottman as he stumbled through the wall and collapsed on the set of ‘A Flair For The Gold’, losing his glittery helmet and trying to salvage some dignity when he had none to save.
Between the ludicrous glitter-covered Storm Trooper helmet and the black velvet looking vest/coat thingy, he was dead on arrival. He should have come out in his WWE Tugboat outfit since that sailor suit had more going for it than this garbage. It’s one of the funniest moments in wrestling history and one of the dumbest outfits ever conceived.
14. Chavo Guerrero/Kerwin White
When Chavo Guerrero was convinced to alter his name, look and personality to try out a somewhat racist golfing enthusiast you’d be forgiven for thinking he’d gone out of his mind. But this was before Eddy’s tragic passing so even that excuse is off the table. Wrestling in slacks, dying his hair blond, driving a golf cart to the ring while Dolph Ziggler of all people acted as his caddy and manager outside the ring was a collection of bad ideas thrust onto the perpetually wasted younger Guerrero.
Chavo soldiered on with the ugly look, playing it up as best he could for a few weeks but ultimately it’s a short-lived and hopefully forgotten chapter in his life that no one is thinking of reviving anytime soon.
The man who probably thinks he looks like the most rad dude in the locker room is also the one who got a chant of ‘You Look Stupid’ invented just for him. Any form of ‘stupid’ chant is basically the audience telling you that what you’re doing is beyond their ability to take seriously, as with Hornswoggle later in this list, and yet Sheamus has persisted with the look and recently tried to make it even sillier.
The ‘Hawk has become a spiked variant with silver or white frosted tips to go along with his bushy beard and aviator sunglasses. Overall it’s a cry for help of someone trying to get attention and at this point, it would be a novelty to see Sheamus with a regular haircut just for kicks.
12. Kevin Nash/Oz
What is there to say about Kevin Nash’s Oz phase? WCW had a seven-footer with a badass and cool normal look and decided that the way to go was as a jolly green magician, complete with dusted white hair, a sultan or genie’s style headwrap and a phoney mask that he took off as soon as the match started.
This is the kind of thing wrestling fans have to hide from non-fans because trying to ever explain it and not seem insane is an exercise in futility. The gimmick thankfully didn’t last very long, Nash hardly enthused by the makeover himself giving little effort into keeping it relevant, but it’s a wonder how WCW wasted Nash so thoroughly this time only to use him so well only a few years later in the nWo.
One has to wonder what it takes to get a tough guy like Vito to not only get into a dress, but to wrestle in it, and to flaunt it. Well, Vince McMahon must’ve had a silver tongue in this case because he accomplished exactly that and the resulting look was as silly as advertised.
To WWE’s credit and Vito’s they explicitly made it clear that Vito wasn’t homophobic or anything and simply liked dressing that way, which was oddly progressive for WWE. The commentator’s on Smackdown undid some of that positivity but Vito was on board with that message and so he wrestled like that to positive responses for a good year. Vito fondly recalls the gimmick, stating that Vince wanted him to emphasize that there was nothing wrong with the lifestyle choice, so there was a small bit of good in the strangeness.
10. Dolph Ziggler
This was only for one night but the trouble it stirred up despite its small scale deserves a mention. Dolph Ziggler was getting a revamp during his time as Vickie Guerrero’s “business partner”, and this was supposed to be a fresh start and more intense version of him. The problem immediately rose when he walked out for his match with Evan Bourne looking like his slightly bigger identical twin, all identifiable traits lost in one fell swoop leaving us with the blandest possible version of Dolph as you could see by his scowl that he knew this was all a terrible idea.
9. Brodus Clay
Not unlike Big Daddy V, Brodus Clay has some less than pleasant physical features that we’d all appreciate being contained in some form of clothing. Once again WWE saw these jiggling ripples as an aesthetic advantage and sent Brodus Clay out into the world dancing in the exact specific way that forced us to watch his thighs ripple like a hypnotic lava lamp.
This came on the back of months of intense and cool vignettes advertising his return as a bruiser so when he returned as a dancing dinosaur there was a moment of enjoyment, but it soon passed and we were left with the abysmal taste of his new look to deal with. Combine all these problems with his tendency to jive and grind on everyone and everything and it was another tough one to explain when your significant other walked in on you watching wrestling.
8. Goldust/The Artist Formerly Known As Goldust
The second Rhodes family member on this list (and not the last), Dustin Rhodes, or Goldust went through a phase during the Attitude Era where somehow his bizarre mind games version of Goldust simply wasn’t getting the job done. The WWE had become weirder and caught up to his oddness and so he chose to double down and swing for the fences. What we got was an assortment of utterly baffling variations on his ‘Artist Formerly Known As Goldust’ persona, which included being a neon gimp, a living Christmas tree, and a man-baby, to name only a few.
He was clearly going for shock value so if we took each separate incident as an entry here he’d take up half the list, so instead, we’ll just say that he looked, acted and was exceedingly bizarre by design, which is a cool tagline they never used come to think of it.
7. Konnan/Max Moon
When a former and future Mexican star is brought to WWE you don’t expect them to be saddled with a gimmick that is literally ‘out of this world’, but that’s what happened to Konnan.
With a costume that reportedly cost in excess of 13,000 back then, and other superstars jealous that Konnan was getting so much of Vince’s personal investment due to the gimmick it’s no wonder the wrestler and the character didn’t last long in WWE. Konnan reportedly left because lagging the suit around in boxes everywhere wasn’t worth the hassle, so he eventually returned to Mexico.
6. The Undertaker
This is from the phase of his career known as ‘Schlubby Undertaker’.
Far from the great shape he’d eventually get to when his Streak was in the teens and well beyond his early, youthful fitness, Undertaker had a few years in the middle where he didn’t seem to mind looking terrible.
With a form-hugging body suit that highlighted instead of hid his widened midsection and quads, Undertaker was closer to hobo than Hell when wearing outfits like this. It stood out, especially when he stood next to his brother who was still in his better looking early outfits and clearly living at the gym. Thankfully returning to The Deadman persona convinced Undertaker that a demon with a gut wasn’t going to work, so we didn’t have to sit through this too often.
5. Kane/Corporate Kane
Not to be outdone by his Brother In Destruction forever in the bad attire department, Kane may have never let himself get badly out of shape but he certainly did decide that looking supremely awkward in a suit was a career move worth investigating. Going from the stylistic excellence that was the demonic forms of The Big Red Machine to Corporate Kane will forever be a bad idea and going on to wrestle in that outfit just furthered the terrible choice.
Perhaps it was all to get us used to him like this so when he ran for mayor it was only slightly less bizarre and surreal image, but whatever the reason for taking one of the coolest characters in WWE and robbing him of everything that worked isn’t recommended.
4. Hornswoggle/Mini Gator
The match that birthed the infamous ‘This Is Stupid’ chant had a former leprechaun and current band member don a furry alligator suit to combat a team of matadores mini-bull companion. Go ahead, slap your forehead out of confusion or for the terrible memory of that night resurfacing.
Hornswoggle may have long outlived his usefulness to WWE before this but he stayed around long enough to receive the chant that actually got Vince’s attention enough to stop this stupidity from happening again. Every minute that Hornswoggle wore this idiocy was somehow exponentially worse than him trotting around with his belly out in a leather vest in 3MB, so it’s that level of bad we’re dealing with at this stage.
3. Justin Gabriel/The Bunny
When WWE simply can’t decide what to do with a high-flyer with a great look and a decidedly badass streak of daredevil bravado you know they’re going to try something extra-level stupid, and so it was when Justin Gabriel was put into the bunny suit alongside Adam Rose.
Confirming it was indeed him inside the suit only after he quit WWE, Gabriel should’ve been a Jeff Hardy level of success in WWE for his athletic prowess alone. Qualifying as a heavyweight despite being able to fly like a cruiserweight Gabriel was somehow overlooked until the bunny suit saga made his hopping antics a weekly lodestone for Adam Rose and the entire WWE audience. Thankfully Gabriel knew this was the last straw and the moment he could he got out of it, but the damage was certainly done.
2. Dusty Rhodes
The final entry for the Rhodes Clan starring the patriarch himself, this was an infamous case of Vince McMahon’s vindictive nature coming to the fore. Confirmed by Cody Rhodes as an almost certainty, Dusty was put in ‘The Polkadots’ as a form of punishment for previously opposing WWE and Vince personally when Dusty was the booker at Vince’s rivals before coming to WWE.
Credit to Dusty though, his charisma shone through nonetheless and he somehow began making headway despite the absurd outfit and ‘common man’ gimmick, not to mention his ‘common woman’ manager Saphire. Instead, he gyrated and danced as he ever had and it worked as well as ever too, Dusty getting a decent few last wrestling years in before exiting WWE in 1991.
1. The Dungeon Of Doom
This final entry is a collection of castoffs given the silliest gimmicks anyone could come up with in 8 minutes all to feud with Hulk Hogan. When you need stupid outfits, why settle for one at a time? The formerly devastating Earthquake was rebranded the generic ‘Shark’. Brutus Beefcake became the zebra-painted Zodiac. Kamala became…. well he stayed Kamala but that’s still absurd. With Kevin Sullivan at the helm, the group was tasked by The Taskmaster (duh) with destroying Hulkamania and no amount of silly makeup or outfits was going to stop them!
In short, the team was an abject failure at everything except making Hogan cool by comparison alone, but it was such a joke in the industry Mick Foley in ECW was wearing Dungeon Of Doom tribute shirts just to get heel heat. Among all the terrible looks and outfits worn by superstars over the years, this collection buried the competition.
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