It's a little baffling as to why we keep getting dancing gimmicks in wrestling. Despite the WWE proclaiming we're out of the cartoonish era of the 90s and the wacky Attitude Era, one thing that has kept popping up through all the eras are dancing gimmicks. Sometimes a wrestler can make it work, but other times, they're completely miscast and they just look silly.
Once a wrestler is given a gimmick that revolves so heavily around dancing, you know they're not going to be taken seriously. It's basically a sentence to the midcard. Sure, you may have some guys and gals competing for the midcard titles and get the occasional short reign with them, but you know that if they ever want to elevate themselves, they'll have to grow out of that gimmick.
Some wrestlers were able to shed the dancing gimmick, while others saw it follow them forever. Even big guys who were at first seen as possible monster heels had to go through the ordeal of dancing, the idea being "oh, it's funny to see big guys dance". While it may be funny the first time, the act can wear thin very quick. Also for the crowd to really get behind a gimmick like that, the wrestler has to actually be good at dancing or at least find a way for the crowd to interact with them.
Overall, the whole thing is a little played out today and whenever someone else comes along with a dancing gimmick, you find yourself shaking your head.
This list will sort of be a good, bad and the ugly type for dancing gimmicks. It will range from wrestlers who were absolutely miscast and wrestlers whom the gimmick actually benefited. Here are the 15 most memorable (in one way or another) dancing gimmicks in wrestling history.
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17 Brodus Clay
I remember watching RAW with wonder of how Brodus Clay would be making his debut on the roster after being billed as another monster heel. When he came out with Flash Funk's old music alongside two sidekicks, The Funkadactyls, I sat there in stunned silence for a few seconds, then burst out laughing. How was there any way WWE thought this would turn Brodus into a star? While it was funny at first, the act wore itself out and Brodus just became another big guy saddled with a dancing gimmick.
16 The Great Khali - Punjabi Playboy
To think, this was once a guy who was billed as The Undertaker's biggest threat ever. The Great Khali soon proved that he belonged nowhere near the main event scene, yet he managed to stick around in WWE longer than he should have. In his later years in WWE, Khali turned face and began a "Punjabi Playboy" gimmick which would involve him dancing in the ring... which was apparently supposed to be funny. Soon, Khali would be joined by Hornswoggle and Natalya to form a dancing trio. Poor Nattie.
14 Xavier Woods
Xavier Woods eventually took over the Funkadactyls after Brodus Clay decided he was no longer going to dance. Woods even took over Clay's, umm I mean, Flash Funk's theme and had his own version of dancing, needless to say, far more athletic than Brodus. Looking back, it was a waste of Woods' talents, as his work with The New Day shows he can also cut a promo and find multiple ways to be entertaining. In mid-2014, Woods offered Big E and Kofi Kingston to join him and the rest is history.
13 3 Count
3 Count consisted of Shane Helms, Shannon Moore and Evan Karagias, who were given the personas of a boy band. It hit an especially low point when the group got Tank Abbott as an enforcer. The group debuted with music video vignettes and when they got to action, they began dancing in green circles around the ring. Sure, boy bands were in at the time, but I doubt the crowd that was watching wrestling in 1999 was the same kind of crowd following boy bands.
12 Men on a Mission
Men on a Mission were supposed to come in as heels, but were quickly changed to faces and came out in bright colors, showing the positive babyface attitude that so many faces in the 90s possessed. They had fun-loving raps and would dance around the ring. They were sold as guys who would make positive changes in tough neighborhoods. While it's an inspiring message, it was hard to get behind them as they weren't exactly thrilling people once the matches started. They would eventually turn heel again in 1995.
11 DJ Gabriel
DJ Gabriel was a character who came into the ECW brand well after the WWE had already ruined the brand. DJ Gabriel came in with a dancing persona managed by Alicia Fox (wow, she's been with the company a while, hasn't she?) Gabriel would start by defeating several jobbers to build himself up, but as ECW fizzled out, so did Gabriel. He was eventually sent back to developmental in an attempt to find a new persona, but would be released in 2010.
10 Norman Smiley
Norman Smiley wasn't strictly a dancing gimmick, but dancing was a big part of his persona. While in the ring, Smiley was known for the "Big Wiggle". Smiley would then add another dance move, the "Smiley Spank" which involved him standing over his opponent straddle him and perform a slapping motion with his hands. Smiley wasn't a bad talent at all, but there was only so far his gimmick could go in WCW. His only title win involved WCW's lame version of the "Hardcore Title."
9 La Parka
La Parka was one of the more recognizable faces of WCW's cruiserweight division - seriously, how do you forget a guy dressed in a full skeleton costume? La Parka's gimmick involved a lot of dancing, Usually his move would be stretching his hands, wiggling his knees and giving a little spin. One time, he and a group of dancers actually tried to reenact Michael Jackson's "Thriller" music video, but to less successful results.
This one actually had some potential to work, as Fandango had some crowd support, but I think it was mostly due to his catchy music. He had garnered some momentum by defeating Chris Jericho at WrestleMania XXIX in his debut match. The problem was beside the music and the crowd 'Fandango-ing' the gimmick never really evolved into much more than that. Fandango would soon start switching sidekicks even got away from the music that got over with the crowd for a while. He's been MIA for a while now in terms of meaningful storylines.
6 Extreme Expose
Well, I don't think anybody would complain about Kelly Kelly, Brooke Adams and Layla dancing together. While ECW was still producing edgy television, the trio would basically come down to the ring and perform sensual dances together. Kelly Kelly started out on her own but following a split from Mike Knox, she recruited Brooke and Layla. The group never really wrestled any matches, mostly taking a few minutes out of every show to do their thing. The group would split when Brooke was released by the WWE.
5 Alex Wright
Alex Wright was one half of the Dancing Fools along with our next entrant on the countdown. Alex Wright came out to techno music, which was very popular in his native Germany at the time. Wright was actually pretty talented in the ring, and won the Cruiserweight Championship as well as the World Television Champion. Like many, following WCW's demise, Wright explained that he was often frustrated with the backstage politics of WCW.
4 Disco Inferno
Disco Inferno was very much the opposite of Alex Wright, as he had very little talent in the ring, but was a much better promo than Wright. He was never known as a guy to take himself too seriously. Eventually he was teamed with Wright to become the Dancing Fools. The team enjoyed some short-term success as a tag team, but Inferno was soon back to being a jobber. He would eventually go to TNA after WCW folded, but it was pretty impressive that he got a lot of mileage with a 70s disco gimmick.
3 Flash Funk
2 Cold Scorpio got himself over in ECW in the mid 90s, but WWE just had to give him their own gimmick. They stuck him with the Flash Funk gimmick. His gimmick involved funky dancing, in a zoot suit and was accompanied by the Funkettes. So basically, he was a more believable version of Brodus Clay, as Funk actually looked like he could dance. After the gimmick ran its course, he was reverted to his 2 Cold Scorpio name, but was never given a significant role and was eventually released in 1999.
2 The Honky Tonk Man
Was this a musical gimmick or a dancing gimmick? Well, being that the gimmick was basically an Elvis rip-off, Elvis was known almost as much for his dancing as he was for his singing and Honky Tonk Man did a lot of dancing when he came down to the ring. The Honky Tonk Man would move his hips and play some air guitar in the ring. While he wasn't the best dancer, he was one of the few guys who got a gimmick like this and actually found success with it, becoming the longest reigning IC Champion of all time.
1 Too Cool
There still hasn't been a group that has gotten as much reaction from the crowd based on dancing like Too Cool did. It was good enough when it was just Scotty 2 Hotty and Grand Master Sexay, but adding Rikishi to the mix proved to add an amazing dynamic. While the group didn't achieve a ton of success with titles, they pulled something off that very few could in wrestling; get the crowd amped up over three dudes dancing. They never found success as singles wrestlers, but together, this trio was insanely over. It probably wouldn't work today, but thankfully they were around at just the right time.
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