Some wrestling fans take themselves way too seriously. The reasons for this are up for speculation and probably vary on a person-to-person basis. Personally, I tend to think overly-dour wrestling geeks are overcompensating. Otherwise, they might feel silly spending so much time watching spandex-clad adults pretending to fight each other. And no one wants to feel silly, right?
But y’know something, brother? Wrestling is silly, we are silly for watching it and maybe being silly is actually awesome. Without its absurdity, what would wrestling be? Take away the occasional Gobbledy Gooker, voodoo shaman, or Triple H necrophilia storyline, and all we’d be left with is mixed martial arts with far, far lower stakes.
Case and point: Nowadays, people talk about the Attitude Era as the glory days of WWE. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin frequently committed crimes like grand theft auto (beer truck), along with innumerable instances of malicious destruction of property. And yet, he never went to jail. Mick Foley regularly won matches by stuffing a sock in his opponent’s mouth. What kind of licensed sport would allow such an unhygienic tactic? From the Ministry of Darkness to D-Generation X to the Right to Censor, implausible kidnappings and brain washings abounded throughout a time in the business that now sits at the zenith of the nostalgia mountain.
Nobody complained about the dearth of logic at the time and they shouldn’t have. Some of the most memorable characters in the storied history of pretend fighting don’t adhere to reason or common sense in the slightest bit. Granted, some are generally looked back upon more fondly than others, but “smart” wrestling nerds have been unfair to a handful of the most oft-reviled gimmicks. Behold: The top 15 stupidest gimmicks in history that were actually awesome.
15 Val Venis
History as presented by the Monday Night Wars docs on WWE Network implies that occupation-based gimmicks vanished during the Attitude Era, but that’s only half true. Imaginary jobs didn’t stop defining gimmicks – the jobs just got sleazier.
14 The Godfather
Racist? At least a little bit. Misogynistic? Unquestionably. But because everyone cheered for jerks in the late ‘90s/early ’00 and “The Godfather” stands as the most successful of the several characters Charles Wright portrayed during his near decade-and-a-half career.
13 Max Moon
For whatever reason, fans regard Gregory Helms’ tenure as The Hurricane and Mike Bucci’s Super Nova phase as wrestling comedy classics. Yet, the prototype for wrestlers who think they’re superheroes - Max Moon’s brief journey in the early ‘90s - gets talked about like Konnan’s most unfortunate professional black eye.
12 12: Dr. Stevie
Here’s an occupation-based gimmick that, astoundingly, WWE never tried, despite the proven success record of evil psychiatrists like Hannibal Lecter and Hugo Strange.
11 The Spirit Squad
10 Muhammad Hassan
Remember – when Hassan, a.k.a Mark Copani, first debuted in 2004, he was an Arab-American who resented the constant discrimination America was shoveling on those who shared his heritage.
Considering hate crimes against Muslims skyrocketed seventeen-fold once everyone in the US at that time, Hassan had a perfectly legitimate reason to be pissed off.
9 3 Count
Males between the ages of 13 and 25 harbored a seething, irrational hated for the Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC and their boy band ilk in the late ‘90s. So when WCW combined Gregory Helms, Shannon Moore, and Evan Karagias into a sexy yet non-threatening pop trio, they assured instant and massive heel heat.
8 The Insane Clown Posse
7 Papa Shango
While playing what he likely, and incorrectly, assumed would be the most racist character WWE would ever thrust upon him, Charles Wright blew a run-in during an already terrible Hulk Hogan vs. Sid match, then got fed to The Ultimate Warrior. Papa Shango never got a fair shot.
6 "The Angry Amish Warrior" Roadkill
He spoke one word: “chickens.” He was a member of an esoteric, insular Luddite religious sect. Evidently, he got his jollies by strangling small animals. How is it possible Roadkill got booked essentially as Danny Doring’s comedy sidekick, instead of the bone-chilling monster he was clearly meant to be?
5 Los Ice Creams
While practicality mandates that we spend most of this list focusing on past and present personalities from WWE, WCW, and ECW, an real indie wrestling aficionado could put together a list of ridiculously wondrous gimmicks most of us haven’t even heard of, and pretending otherwise would be dishonest. So in the interest of giving the indies their due, let’s put Chikara’s El Hijo del Ice Cream and Ice Cream Junior at #5, to represent every gimmick that hasn’t wound up on national television yet.
4 Blue Meanie
3 Mr Backlund For President
After his 1994 World Title reign came to a quick and humiliating end, Mr. Backlund decided to spread his message or morality and the virtue of a robust vocabulary beyond professional wrestling – to the forum of national politics.
2 Doink the Clown
1 The Undertaker
As explained by screenwriter Max Landis in his parody film, Wrestling Isn’t Wrestling, The Undertaker is a wizard, a satanic magician, and no, I don’t know why he’s a wrestler…..It’s all pretty f@#$ing insane.”
Appropriately, one of the most over-the-top, completely implausible, nonsensical characters in WWE history almost happened to evolve into its most enduring. Had a performer lesser than Mark Calaway been assigned The Undertaker routine in 1990, odds are excellent that it would’ve amounted to a forgettable Hulk Hogan feud and appeared further down this list as a “should’ve been.” That said, maybe our collective fascination with fear of the unknowable keeps The Undertaker consistently relevant while most of his contemporaries feel tied to a specific era. After all, if wrestling is fake and Death is wrestler, then maybe Death isn’t so scary after all. Right?
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