In wrestling now, more often than not we are getting guys and gals with rather normal-sounding names – Charlotte, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose. Some even use their real names, like Brock Lesnar. For these, we can tease them a little, but by and large, it’s a more natural sounding name, so it works out. But that was not always the case. Any major wrestling fan can remember some of the worst names ever. Names like “That 70s Guy”, Scotty 2 Hotty and more. Look at Steve Austin’s options before he got to be Stone Cold -those would have made this list, hands down.
Back then, wrestling was different. There was far less concern about owning a name and marketing a name. They just wanted a name people would know and remember, and could perhaps fit a gimmick, however goofy it might seem to be. Or, the name fit a target, but no one cared about how bad it was (like, the ECW Zombie, WCW’s Yeti or that damn Kiss Demon). It’s just further proof of how bad things were at times, especially when names like Nailz and Irwin R. Schyster start sounding like strokes of genius.
Now, some of the names on this list you might agree with, but I think for the most part, the only debate should be where they landed on the list… as I think every name on this list (really, the guys associated with the names) wishes that theirs was a name that was never thought of or pitched to the boss. And, like I said before, apologies to the epic names that aren’t on this list, because honestly, there were a lot more terrible names than slots on this list. Lastly, it makes you be thankful that, for fans now, wrestling has moved away from these goofy caricatures and gotten more serious.
With that said, let’s get into who has the worst names, and why!
25 The Shockmaster
I don’t think there is a single aspect to this gimmick that was not... well... shockingly bad. I mean, who in their right mind would say “hey, let’s go grab a Star Wars Stormtrooper helmet and use it for a wrestling character”. That alone is bad enough. But then someone, I suppose to avoid issues with George Lucas, decided that by dunking the thing in glue and bedazzling it (OK, it was just coated with glitter, but still), in hopes that it would look better. Poor Tugboat practically never had a chance. I heard a rumor (and I’d believe it) that based on the mask makeup, he had low visibility. And the set was not made the way it had been planned out. All of that led to a disastrous, but eternally remembered entrance, from a man whose name has become synonymous with suck.
24 Alundra Blayze
This all goes back (or, at least, in large part goes back) to Vince McMahon wanting to own the names of all of his wrestlers, so that whatever he made them into, they couldn’t run off and cash in off of his marketing skills. I don’t necessarily blame him for that. But sometimes, that whole effort gave us some really terrible names. Actually, in the '80s and '90s, it generated a lot of terrible names and gimmicks. Alundra Blayze was just one of them. It would have been so much better had they just gone with Madusa. Eventually, for the most part, Vince and his Creative people learned (mostly). But when Alundra was around, it was still WWF, and it was a whole different world at times.
23 The Gobbledy Gooker
OK, fine, sue me. (But really, please don’t). I know this one was not a wrestler, but a character hatched just for a long-lost Survivor Series from my youth. But the gimmick was terrible. An egg, hatching at a PPV? Like, who even came up with that idea? And if it was Vince, where was someone in the room with the testicular fortitude to have told him he was batpoop crazy? Because that’s what it was. And the name? Oh my God, that name was as bad or maybe even worse than the gimmick itself. It was hysterically bad, so bad it almost became a cult favorite. But no, it’s really just that bad. But, bad enough I figured, so why not stick him/her/it on the list.
22 Lash Leroux
Honestly, without looking up a picture of Lash Leroux, I’d have to call the man or character largely terrible. I mean, there was nothing distinguishing him to the world, other than he had a catchy Cajun sounding name. And the play on the double L sound and all that. But really, he was just the product of someone, perhaps a Creative Team intern, sitting around one day and writing out a bunch of names beginning with the same letters. They probably figured, hey, it worked for Arn Anderson or Terry Taylor. So why not Lash Leroux? He is the first to fall into this trap, but I assure you, he is not the last on this list that does. He's not the worst (hence why he’s “only” 22nd).
Why do I have this one on the list? I love Taz, the ECW Legend. I’ve spoken with him on the phone. I was actually going to pay to train under him at the House of Hardcore back when ECW had a wrestling school in New York City. How could I not love a shorter, stocky badass like Taz? So, when he jumped to WWE, of course, they had to actually worry about copyright infringement and the like, so rather than risk it with the name he’d been using for so long, they added a Z instead of completely rebranding him. I mean, I totally get the decision made by the corporate cronies. Doesn’t mean I have to like it, and this was my chance to vent. It’s been bothering me for quite some time.
The whole schtick with Test was that he was like, an ex-bodyguard or bouncer for Motley Crue, and he wanted to see who was going to test him, hence “Test”. At least, I think that was the backstory, and if it was, it’s flimsy at best. Not the worst, but someone sitting in that room should have immediately muttered “it’s such a weak backstory, that will NEVER amount to anything”. Honestly, running him out there with his actual real name (Andrew Martin) would have been better than Test. If think I would have rather just admitted I had writers’ block that day, as opposed to saddling some big and imposing guy with a sad moniker of Test. How do you explain it to someone? Hey, we have given out a bunch of great names, but we were due for a stinker?
19 Max Moon
Remember how I told you, back at Lash Leroux, that WWE must have had a summer intern who just put out a bunch of first names and last names that shared the same first letter? I told you there would be more, and here I give you Max Moon. Bad name, worse gimmick, and an absolutely atrocious set of ring gear. I don’t know how anyone in WWE ever expected Moon to be taken seriously. And, by and large, he wasn’t. Looking back on things, guys like Max Moon (that is, bad names and bad gimmicks) were practically a dime a dozen. It was very nearly a miracle that actual and credible wrestling talent came along and succeeded during that time in WWE. Go figure.
18 The Boogeyman
Here’s an all-around baffling guy. I will say this: as big and strong as he appeared to be, unless he was that woefully deficient in his in ring skills, they should have found something for him to do. He should have been able to handle a decent program or two, right? I mean, he did have a decent enough look, if you could look past the worms and the makeup and all that. So, instead of looking at talent (again, if he actually had any), they must have had that gimmick sitting there for eternity and were just bound and determined to make use of it, by hook or by crook. So, we got… Boogeyman. And everyone pretty much wished we had not. Oddly enough, he’s almost at cult status now.
Yes, I actually remember this train wreck. I wish I didn’t, but I did. It’s damn near seared onto a portion of my brain. I mean, how could you forget him? His gimmick and his name was straight out of pre-Attitude Era Creative meetings… except his was a character from the mid-2000s. As in, we really thought WWE had learned, for the most part. But, even the smart ones fall down again from time to time, and this one was no different. A guy who was like a circus freak (I think?) speaking in all sorts of weird carny speak, and with a goofy twist on the carny moniker for his ring name? Who on earth though he’d ever be much more than a glorified jobber?
Here is another name from way too recent history. All I can do is ask: does anyone in Creative have access to a computer with Google? Even just a smartphone with internet access? Because there is no real reason, unless the movie service of the same name (oddly enough, owned by frequent WWE partner Universal) was actually going to come out as his corporate sponsor, to have named a Superstar the same name as a movie service. None. It would be like they have a new Superstar coming in, and they decided to name him Johnny Pepsi. Like, don’t you check those kinds of things and avoid all possible conflicts? It is not such a sweet or cool name that it’s worth doing. That Fandango has stuck around this long, and has managed some measure of success, with his Fashion Police run giving him a new lease on life? It’s a testament to him as a wrestler that he overcame such a crappy name.
15 Red Rooster
You have a guy, a lifelong wrestling man, named Terry Taylor. He is known the world over. He’s a solid, if unspectacular talent. I would even argue he was under-appreciated. Where am I going with this? Well, he’s the kind of guy… a good soldier, if you will, that you take care of more often than not. What you most certainly do not do? You do not give that guy a terrible name and accompanying gimmick… like calling him the Red Rooster. He instantly, and for all time, became the subject of merciless ribbings. He can’t distance himself from such an abomination of a ring name. What was wrong with Terry Taylor, that they had to shackle him with the Rooster? Cock a doodle don’t.
14 Sparky Plugg (Bob “Sparkplug” Holly)
This guy got not one, but two terrible names. There was a happy ending (sort of), because all these names evolved into Hardcore Holly. But before we got to the happy ending, WWE trotted out this guy…clearly someone in Stamford was seeing the exploding NASCAR Winston Cup popularity, as it was merely growing into the phenomenon that it is today. So, let’s have a race car themed wrestler. Bob “Sparkplug” Holly is, at least, better than where they started (Thurman “Sparky” Plugg), but wow, that was a couple of really bad deals. I don’t fault the Creative people for wanting to piggyback on another popular sport and get some boost from it, but this one was not how to do it. It’s actually somewhat amazing that, from Bob “Sparkplug” Holly, we got Hardcore Holly. But by then, the poor guy had so much pent-up frustration from those bad names, who could blame him?
Ah, Kharma. I suppose I could see where they were going on this one (Kharma Is A "B"), but the reality is, we never really got to where they might have intended. She had medical issues (pregnancy, if you will), and almost as quickly as she came in, she was gone, It was really a blink-and-you-miss-it stint. As for why I consider it a bad name? Well, for one, she was Awesome Kong away from WWE, so whether it was a trademark thing, or a rights thing, it’s hard to think (or say with a straight face) that Kharma was a decent ring name. What they should have done was recognize how good the Kong name was, and figure out something more like that, then Kharma.
12 Abe “Knuckleball” Schwartz
The '90s was the classic era for WWE producing absolutely terrifyingly bad names and gimmicks. I think, per capita, more bad names came out of like, this one chunk of about 5-10 years, as opposed to most all the other eras on this list. I mean, a seriously disproportionate number of bad names. Makes you wonder if someone in Stamford was just being a smartass with them, which is entirely possible, even if they did actually think some of these asinine names and gimmicks would work. What truly amazes me is both that a guy like Abe (actually Steve "Brooklyn Brawler" Lombardi in one of his many guises) ever existed, and that people in WWE thought a baseball-themed wrestler was both a good idea, and an idea folks had been waiting for. I guess on the bright side, this gimmick lasted shorter than the 1994 baseball strike he was supposed to be trolling.
11 Duke "The Dumpster" Droese
Look, I have nothing wrong with working-class, blue collar guys. I have nothing wrong with a working-class, blue collar wrestler, geared toward appealing to that segment of fans. I do, however, have an issue with a guy that WWE clearly invested time and money into, who is a wrestling trash collector. Like, was that really the best they could come up with? OK, I guess Duke “The Dumpster” wasn’t as bad as it could have been (they could have just called him The Trash Man), but it was still bad. There are some things, some areas, wrestling characters need not delve into. And, oh yeah, by the way….notice once again, that same first and last initial? They just can’t escape that! Just because Hogan was legendary…
10 Terra Ryzing
You didn’t really think I’d gloss over this gem, did you? And, before I really pick on this one, notice how we have another, similarly named Ryzin popping up in NXT? I wonder if Terra has anything to do with it. Because Terra, in case you didn’t know, was what Hunter Hearst Helmsley was known as in his old World Championship Wrestling days. And I mean, holy cow, that was a bad moniker, wasn’t it? It was a case of WCW trying to be just too cute, if you ask me… but Hunter managed to escape, and we all know how that worked out. I could even say that the blueblood Hunter Hearst Helmsley was too cumbersome, but they figured it out, changed his gimmick, and now we know him as Triple H. That one rolls off the tongue so much better.
9 Hardcore Hak
Remember when Tazz made my list to kick things off, because I really was bugged by the new name because he jumped federations? Same thing applies here, but this change is so much worse. Come to think of it, there were a lot of guys that WCW and WWE picked up from ECW (mostly WCW did this) where they were given terrible names and/or gimmicks upon coming up. The Sandman, the beer-swilling, chain smoking hardcore legend? That guy was awesome. Hardcore Hak? That guy was just a caricature. Can’t be too surprised WCW did that… I mean, look what they did with Mike Awesome - That '70s Guy? Clearly, there was someone in WCW who had come up with a stockpile of awful wrestling names, and they were determined to make use of them.
8 Isaac Yankem
Someone in WWE clearly had an infatuation with making real life occupations into wrestling gimmicks - we had a teacher, a garbage collector, a tax man and on and on. So now, we have to have healthcare represented, right? Give us Doctor Isaac Yankem, DDS. Yankem came into play during the Jerry Lawler/Bret Hart program, and while his teeth were alarmingly disgusting, the best was yet to come. See, sometimes you have to start with a really bad or pointless wrestling name, in order to work yourself into your role of a lifetime. Because, biding his time, Yankem, real name Glenn Jacobs, would evolve into The Undertaker’s half-brother, Kane. I’d say things worked out really well for him. Being known as Kane got him into some excellent programs, both against and alongside his storyline sibling. Plus, a few title belts along the way.
7 Johnny Polo
The name? It makes me think of a stuffy country club, or worse, a cheap bottle of cologne. Maybe that was the intent that WWE Creative had for him. He dressed the stuffy part. He acted like a spoiled rich kid. And generally, the gimmick and name bombed. Like, really bombed. No one was interested, and I don’t blame them. But it is kind of funny how things have a way of working out. Give the wrestler, in this case Scott Levy, to the right person or federation, and watch a good name and gimmick rise from the ashes. Too hyperbolic? My apologies. But if you don’t know, Polo (Levy) went down to ECW and was reborn as Raven, and Raven was pretty much Polo’s polar opposite, in terms of look, style and career success. So many people were happy to bury Johnny Polo.
6 Justin Credible
Folks, stay tuned for these next two, because they are really good. And, really related. As in, it’s the same guy, who kind of ended up with two crappy wrestling names, not just one. I know there are guys who will say “wait a second, Justin Credible” wasn’t all that bad. And, maybe it wasn’t, but after a couple times, it got old. Sure, they mapped it all out and gave Justin Credible a well-named finisher (“That’s Incredible”), but that can’t say this one from being just an odd one. And it’s proof that Paul Heyman and the ECW staff are only so gifted and talented when it comes to characters. Don’t get me wrong, Credible had a big role in ECW while he was there, and the name was a million times better than what WWE saddled him with.
5 Aldo Montoya
And what did WWE saddle him with? Oh, how about Aldo Montoya, the Portuguese Man-O-War. The name is pretty horrible, there’s no question about that. But what about that attire? The poor guy basically had to work matches with a very colorful jock strap on his face…they called it a mask, but fans and wrestlers alike gave him grief for the supporter on his face. So, looking back at the number six choice, considering what Heyman had to work with, and how Heyman made him look, to take a guy working as Aldo Montoya and make him into Justin Credible was, in reality, pretty impressive. Because Montoya was one terrible name, matched with garish ring attire and a boat anchor of a gimmick. It had no chance.
4 TL Hopper
I don’t know if someone in Creative was trying for a play on popular television show TJ Hooker? Even though if they were, the timing was off. But that’s a major stretch, considering what TL Hopper did when he wasn’t wrestling. That’s right boys and girls…along with our waste management technician (Droese) and our dentist (Yankem), we have a plumber. Who in their right mind actually thought having a wrestler gimmick it up as a plumber would be a good idea? Look, I have nothing wrong with that line of work. I mean no disrespect. But the way to work a plumber into a gimmick? It was done already, when we got ourselves the “Son of a son of a plumber,” the American Dream, Dusty Rhodes. Plumbers could get no better representation in wrestling than the Dream. Hopper was an abomination that should have just been flushed.
3 The Goon
From the same timeframe that gave us TL Hopper and Duke “The Dumpster” Droese and Abe “Knuckleball” Schwartz, we get The Goon. A hockey player serving as a wrestler. Complete with the hockey shorts (or whatever they call them), a lame “jersey”, and wrestling boots with soles so thick, to emulate or otherwise make it appear to be that he was wrestling in skates. I kid you not. That’s something you just don’t joke about, boys and girls. The only thing that could have worked, I suppose, was that The Goon, as a wrestler, was a guy who just beat people up. Seems fine for a wrestler, doesn’t it? Except that, for the case of The Goon, this guy as he was written, couldn’t beat the common cold.
Show of hands, how many people don’t remember Mantaur? Surely most of you have heard of him, seen pictures of him, or have been told at least one story about him. But, just in case you have not, here goes. Mantaur, I suppose, is a WWE take on the fabled minotaur. Half man, half beast, all joke! They got themselves a thick, stocky wrestler, saddled a terrible name on him and actually had him march down to the ring with, I guess, a buffalo head over his own. Much more than a mask. Not quite a ceremonial head dress. But regardless of how you defined it, it was a frighteningly bad idea that had no chance. As much as WWE has blurred fantasy and reality, this one was too much.
1 Dolph Ziggler
Yes, that is absolutely right, I went there. The Showoff might have a few good nicknames, but his actual ring name? It’s not one of them. I don’t know if WWE wanted their own spin on Dirk Diggler from Boogie Nights, or what the inspiration was for this name, but thankfully Ziggler the performer is much more palatable than Ziggler the name. Seriously, it’s to the point where I would argue that Dolph Ziggler has achieved what success he’s enjoyed in spite of his ring name, not because of it or thanks to it. Some names scream Superstar. Others scream “WTF.” I don’t think it’s too hard to figure out which one this name makes me do. Am I saying that, with a better name, this guy could have had more success? Perhaps. He did reach impressive heights as is, but he hasn’t been able to do much lately.