Professional wrestling is often considered a live action version of a comic book with heroes and villains battling it out. Wrestling fans can often recall memorable moments of their favorite superstars getting big victories and showing impressive feats of strength, agility and speed. At the same time, not all wrestling memories are positive ones.
While we see heroes and do-gooders in the world of professional wrestling, there’s often the side of the coin that shows some disturbing characters and gimmicks. There are wrestling superstars who are meant to scare us. Kids are often intimidated when seeing someone like Andre the Giant walking down the aisle towards the ring.
But then there are characters who come across as more creepy than scary. Sometimes, it’s an intentional feeling the WWE creative staff is trying to get out of fans watching their programming. Other times, the characters were unintentionally creepy when they tried to make a serious character.
There are also some wrestlers who just look plain creepy without having to do or say anything. They just have that look, kind of like how some wrestlers have the look of a main event superstar.
The following are the top 15 creepiest wrestling characters of all time.
15 Waylon Mercy
Before Bray Wyatt was known for coming out in colorful T-shirts while his promos showed how evil he was, Waylon Mercy was the true personification of the old saying, “don’t judge a book by its cover.” Dan Spivey debuted on WWE television as Waylon Mercy back in 1995 with a huge smile on his face as he shook hands with the fans, the referee and his opponent.
And then the bell rang. He then snapped and attacked his opponent like a maniac. His vignettes were spoken with a calm demeanor despite his sinister plans. There are not a lot of things creepier than a southern gentleman who then looks like a psycho as he places a sleeper hold on his opponent. It was an interesting character that only got about six months before it was axed from WWE television.
14 Gene Snitsky
Snitsky was the perfect example of a wrestler that was probably supposed to be scary, but he only came off as creepy. First of all, that ridiculous smile he had, along with the endless goat patch to go with his goatee was just hideous. Snitsky's storylines also ventured into creepy when he caused a miscarriage of Lita and Kane's baby, adopting the catchphrase, "it wasn't my fault!". Snitsky soon became more of a comedy character on WWE television, even going so far as to reveal he had a foot fetish. Picture a 300-pound guy lusting after the feet of any woman he could find, including Mae Young, and you have one creepy wrestler.
Snitsky was eventually repackaged without facial hair, or any hair at all for that matter, but the creepiness remained.
The legacy of Nailz in the WWE was short-lived during 1992. Kevin Wacholz was brought into the company to portray an ex-convict who claims he was abused by the Big Boss Man during his incarceration. It looks like his time in prison affected him as he had a crazed look during his matches in the WWE against a number of jobbers before a loss to Big Boss Man at Survivor Series that year.
The character could have had a longer run that included a feud with The Undertaker. He was certainly a disturbed looking gentleman who could scare younger viewers in the live audience. Who wouldn’t be intimidated by a 6-foot-5, near 300-pound man in an orange jumpsuit? However, he was fired after allegedly getting into a physical altercation with Vince McMahon behind the scenes.
While maybe Nelson Frazier, Jr., didn’t have the most successful run in the WWE, he is certainly remembered for a couple of different personas – from Mabel to Big Daddy V. However, there were some moments that Viscera came across a bit creepy on WWE television. During the Attitude Era in 1999, he was transformed into the Viscera character. As the enforcer for The Undertaker’s Ministry, he had a different kind of creepy look that was gothic in nature. Here was a large man in a bodysuit with eyes whited-out.
However, when he returned to the WWE for a stint between 2004 and 2008, he was creepy in another sense of the word. Rather than giving us nightmares as a member of The Ministry, Viscera began wearing pajamas and hitting on many female members of the WWE roster. Viscera went from scary creepy to the kind of creepy you see from a guy hitting on women at the bar.
11 The Boogeyman
The concept of The Boogeyman was certainly a bizarre one. However, the act of having someone sing nursery rhymes while holding a fake heart on his necklace before smashing a clock over his head is a different level of creepy. Everything about the look of The Boogeyman exuded creepy. The convulsions he looked like he was having as he walked to the ring before matches and the fact that he was missing all of his front teeth only lent to his creepiness.
There was also the moment he would bring out a handful of worms and put them in his mouth, which is extremely disturbing to watch at times. The tipping point came when he bit off the “growth” on Jillian Hall’s face during a 2005 episode of SmackDown. The Boogeyman might have had a short run on television, but he certainly left a memorable mark on the WWE Universe, one that still gives us nightmares.
Jon Hugger is a candidate for one of the most drastic gimmick changes after being released from the WWE in 2004. After competing as Johnny “The Bull” Stomboli, Hugger went to wrestle for various promotions in Japan and Mexico, where he formed the REDRUM character. It was renamed “Rellik” when he went to wrestle for TNA from 2007 to 2008. The character was definitely one of the creepiest on television.
Rellik’s mask looked as if it came from a horror movie. He is even more so when seeing pictures online of him covered in what appears to be blood. In a lot of ways, TNA had something unique that could have succeeded, even when Rellik formed a tag team with Black Reign – Dustin Rhodes’ character after another departure from WWE.
9 Doink the Clown
No gimmick has ever been used by multiple people more than Doink the Clown. The gimmick was first used by Matt Osborne in the WWE during the early 1990s. He was someone who portrayed both a face and a heel in the WWE, but would make a slight change to the character when he was let go from the company in 1993. During a stint in ECW as “Borne Again,” he wore small amounts of clown paint and dressed opponents in clown outfits.
The Doink character was seen sporadically in WWE through the 1990s and 2000s. The reason that this character makes the list is because clowns often come across as creepy.
While none of the Doinks have ever taken on a personality as far as Stephen King’s “It,” Doink the Clown sometimes gave fans the heebie jeebies. Osborne was undoubtedly the creepiest when he portrayed Doink as a heel and he earned a spot for the character on this list.
Vampiro is a legend within Mexico and even had some memorable moments during his time in WCW from 1997 to 2001. He certainly looked a bit creepy in the years after feuding with Sting. Vampiro fit well as he eventually developed an allegiance with the Insane Clown Posse as The Dark Carnival. Considering all of the hardcore matches he was involved in throughout his career, he almost seemed like a zombie in professional wrestling.
Some of his best moments in WCW included a Human Torch match and a graveyard match with The Demon. His later matches included exploding casket matches in the short-lived Wrestling Society X and his Ultima Lucha match with Pentagon, Jr. in the first season of Lucha Underground. Dressing up similarly to the Pope with an inverted cross also added to some of his overall creepiness.
7 Bray Wyatt
While the character of Bray Wyatt can be traced to a number of different personalities like the previously mentioned Waylon Mercy, he’s certainly developed a bit of his own creepiness. The former Husky Harris was able to debut in Florida Championship Wrestling in 2012 as someone who found inspiration from “the Good Book.” Even his earliest promos from WWE’s developmental programs had a lot of what made Waylon Mercy creepy.
Wyatt had that eloquent speech that spoke of evil intentions. The music that plays is unique, but matches the personality of Wyatt’s character. One of the creepiest things about his character is how there’s the quick montage video with different disturbing images that is played before he comes out to the arena. If it wasn’t for the losses he’s suffered, he would truly be the new face of fear in the WWE.
6 Papa Shango
Charles Wright might be best known for his short run as The Godfather during the height of wrestling’s popularity in the Attitude Era. But one of his earliest gimmicks in the WWE was that of Papa Shango. Shango debuted on WWE television in 1992 as he came to the ring with a skull that blew smoke around. His character was very creepy in that he was known for placing curses on his opponents.
One of the more infamous moments on television was placing a hex on The Ultimate Warrior, who would be seen bleeding unexpectedly or vomiting almost on Shango’s command. The character was nixed about 18 months later and many fans felt the gimmick was a disaster. However, the evil voodoo doctor did scare younger fans in the process.
5 Maurice Tillet
As mentioned previously, certain wrestlers have that kind of look that is perfect for certain roles. Maurice Tillet was certainly a big draw in the earlier years of professional wrestling. Known as “The French Angel,” Tillet first trained in wrestling in France and England before coming to the United States in time to wrestler in 1940.
His misshaped head and hairy upper body gave him a look that likely creeped many wrestling fans out. He was still a big draw through the 1940s and 1950s, boasting a career that including being recognized as a two-time world heavyweight champion by the American Wrestling Association. Tillet’s impact goes beyond his passing in 1954, as he is considered an inspiration for the design of the Shrek animated movie character.
4 Paul Bearer
While he was a wrestler under the name Percy Pringle in the past, he is better known for the manager that carried the iconic urn for The Undertaker. Paul Bearer was certainly a sight to look at while he was at ringside, particularly the way he spoke in a high-pitched voice that shuddered at times, especially when he was getting excited about what The Undertaker was going to do.
The way he would warn future opponents of the fate that awaited them was eerie. Let’s not forget how Bearer sounded when he would exclaim, “Oh yes!” It sounded especially creepy during his return to the WWE at WrestleMania XX. Bearer is arguably one of the best managers in professional wrestling history and a lot of it had to do with the perfect pairing with The Undertaker.
There are specific moments in professional wrestling where even adult viewers feel they need an adult. Michael Cole certainly needed one during a 2004 episode of SmackDown. Jon Heidenreich had one of the most creepy and awkward moments in WWE history when he abducted the SmackDown commentator Michael Cole and brought him backstage. The vignette showed Cole pinned up against a door and Heidenreich behind him breathing heavy and locking the door.
It continued with Heidenreich then holding him by the neck while reading him poetry. The segment concluded with Cole being let go. It was uncomfortable to watch as Heidenreich was uncomfortably close to Cole. While the WWE has been known to push the envelope during the TV-14 era, this segment wasn’t even suitable for some adult viewers.
First of all, let’s take a moment to point out how great Dustin Rhodes was with character acting. He was also able to pull off the creepy characters perfectly.
After a failed stint with WCW in the early 1990s, Dustin Rhodes made his return to the WWE in 1995 with a drastic gimmick change. Goldust was a very weird character that was properly nicknamed “the bizarre one.” What made him come across as creepy was the type of suggestive mannerisms he made in the ring against his opponents. His attire highlighted the persona even more, especially the golden robe and wig.
However, the actions outside of the ring added to the overall creepiness of Goldust. One of the more awkward moments was when Goldust gave Ahmed Johnson mouth-to-mouth resuscitation as part of the buildup for their Intercontinental Championship match in 1996. Goldust had a major role in how edgy wrestling fans would view the Attitude Era of the late 1990s and into the new millennium.
When he went back to WCW, he adopted the gimmick of Seven. There was a lot of potential with Seven, but the vignettes hyping his eventual WCW debut in 1999 were a little more awkward to watch. WCW officials were worried that he would be viewed as a child abductor as one vignette showed Seven standing outside a child’s bedroom window.
There’s no telling what the long-term plans for the Seven character. Some fans were curious to see what the character was going to do in terms of feuds and storyline. However, the vignette was still uncomfortably creepy, even for someone who portrayed Goldust. However, the gimmick being nixed did lead to Rhodes showing what he can do with a microphone in a worked shoot.
1 The Undertaker
The Undertaker has taken on a number of different forms throughout his professional wrestling career. In the WWE, he was a very quiet man who said very little. What he did say in the deep voice could give chills down anyone’s spine. Wrestling fans who saw him live often recall the goosebumps they had when he came out to the arena accompanied by church organs and the sound of thunder.
The earliest incarnation of The Undertaker’s character was creepy because of the unknown factor. However, that creepiness evolved over time as he started to become the leader of The Ministry. It has tempered down a bit in recent years, but there are still plenty of chills that come from his existence in the WWE Universe.