There was a time in wrestling history where the creative team tried to keep real life separate from the business. There were cartoonish style gimmicks running around like crazy animals such as the Gobbledy Gooker, pirates, space invaders, superheroes, and heels that were able to cast spells over their oppositions in the case of Papa Shango and others. Another era consisted of putting a little attitude on our every day jobs and sporting out the IRS, Duke the Dumpster Droese as our every day trash man, the Repo Man, and the Big Boss Man among others. Some of the greatest wrestlers we have come to known had to fight through a bad gimmick with terrible ring attire before finally being placed in situation to succeed.
One of the reasons mentioned that the WWE almost lost the Monday Night Wars in part because the WCW was the first promotion to just let the wrestlers be real. Real backstage conversations, no costumed gimmicks, just the wrestlers able to show their attitude and get themselves on the microphone and ending the era of the gimmick wrestler simply developing character through their in ring performance and attire. And man was some of that ring attire that was experimented bad. In this article we will take a look at some of the worst ring attire that was pitched to the WWE/WCW/ECW talent. And if that wrestler’s career ever made it back on course.
15. Johnny B. Badd
Johnny B. Badd is the first persona given to who most wrestling fans know as Marc Mero. Mero pursued a boxing career growing but due to injuries decided to go with a career in wrestling. In 1990 he began to train under the Malenkos and in 1991 he joined the Floridian Sun Coast Professional Wrestling promotion. Not soon after he was given a chance in the WCW and when eventually signed to a contract he was given the persona Johnny B. Badd, a flamboyant Little Richard lookalike. He sported out pink scarfs, bright trunks and what seems like a lot of makeup to bring the character to life. Upon leaving WCW Mero was eventually repackaged into something more his personality. A boxer that was accompanied to the ring by one of the greatest WWE Divas in history, Sable. Mero even managed a Intercontinental Championship.
14. Friar Ferguson
Friar Ferguson was a character pitched to Mike Shaw, who could have possibly made this list for the attire that his character Bastion Booger wore to the ring. But we will stick with the pissed off Monk wearing a robe that was pitched to Shaw in 1993. Ferguson would arrive with a smile on his face to dreary music and left fans wondering which role he was playing heel or face. In case the robe and appearing as a mute monk was not enough, they added in some sacramental wine and dancing the Charleston to really spice up his look. After receiving negative feedback from the Catholic Church the WWF dropped the gimmick and attire from Shaw, which is when Bastion Booger was born.
13. Isaac Yankem D.D.S
This one makes every worst gimmick and worst ring attire list. Before he finally found success as who we know Kane, Glenn Jacobs was asked to portray an evil dentist in the ring. He was Jerry Lawler’s private dentist, and made his TV debut as such in 1995. He was brought in to feud with Lawler’s rival Bret Hart. After the feud the character died out and eventually he was repacked the right away.
Yankem came to the ring to this theme music which involved the sound of dentist drills, in his dentistry scrubs and head gear including the magnifying glass that dentists use to wear back in the day. He even sported bad teeth. How could a dentist with bad teeth not appeal to fans more?
12. Giant Gonzalez
This awful ring attire not only was pitched but stuck with Giant Gonzalez throughout his run. Well it stuck for the one year he was in the WWE. Gonzalez sported a beard and full body suit with pained on muscles and hair. For the new age wrestling fan just imagine The Great Khali wearing a full blown jump suit and growing a grizzly beard. Pretty sure the company was trying to portray him as some kind of sasquatch figure.
He feuded with the Undertaker upon his arrival and at WrestleMania was disqualified for the use of chloroform. A 7 foot 7 inch 460 pound giant hairy beast that had to use chloroform to gain an edge. He faced off with Taker again at Summer Slam and began a feud with former manager Harvey Wippleman and his new wrestler Adam Bomb, but he was out of the company before it ever got going.
11. Mystery Man
In 1991, the Mystery Man would run into the ring and attack the big superstars, such as Earthquake, Rick Martel and Dino Bravo. It never really made sense and the ring attire was even more confusing. He sported a multi colored starred mask with some kind of chest shield. The angle went nowhere and the fans were never let known who the man actually was as part of any kind of story line. It turns out that the man best known as Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake was the one blessed with this pitch following his return back to the company after a parasailing accident.
10. Battle Kat
Battle Kat has actually been portrayed by numerous wrestlers. I am not sure if the wrestlers liked the idea or the WWE saw something in the character that they needed to see work. The attire consisted of, you guessed it, a cat mask and the wrestlers would dance around and perform gymnastic maneuvers in effort to show their cat like agility. The gimmick was performed in 1990 by Dean R. Peters better known as Brady Boone, and following his departure from the company , picked up by Bob Bradley. The gimmick came to an end after Bradley’s portrayal of Battle Kat was defeated by the Barbarian in the same year the character debuted.
9. Aldo Montoya
Before he became Justin Credible in ECW, Peter Polaco was Aldo Montoya, “Portuguese Man O’ War”, during his time in the WWE. He actually had a decent run with the company lasting from 1994-1997, but I wonder if he wasn’t donning a mask that many wrestlers told him looked like a jock strap as part of his attire, if he could have put together the run he eventually had in ECW. In ECW he was able to switch over to jean shorts and no mask, becoming a cocky egotistical character. The character worked. This is the perfect example on how just keeping someone’s character “real” can work out for the better. Not always a reason for a mask, especially one with a design we aren’t quite fond of.
8. Faarooq Asad
After his WCW stint and before he became the leader of the Nation of Domination, Ron Simmons entered the WWE under the persona Faarooq Asad. He wore an ugly blue and black gladiator mask with pretty terrible helmet. The attire didn’t last long and the name was shortened to just Faarooq. Faarooq went on to lead the Nation of Domination stable, and later teamed with Bradshaw to form the Acolytes while also being members of the Ministry of Darkness stable.
Simmons endured much success during his wrestling career. He was the first recognized African-American WCW Heavyweight Champion, a tag team champion and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2012. His attire as Faarooq Asad is probably not on his highlight reel.
This gimmick and attire pitch tried to ruin the future of one of the greatest wrestlers in history. A man by the name of Jim Herd was trying to convince Ric Flair to drop his “Nature Boy” gimmick and take on the gimmick of a Roman Gladiator by the name of Spartacus. He thought it would help Flair adapt to the times. Well thank goodness he was wrong and thank goodness Flair didn’t approve. Flair would have been entering the ring in Roman Gladiator gear rather than his signature robes. Well Jim Herd, I think Flair did just fine without the terrible attire and gimmick. Flair, as the Nature Boy persona, went on to have an extremely lengthy career across WCW and WWE, and goes down as one of the greatest personalities to ever grace the ring.
In 1991, the wrestler best known by the name Brad Armstrong was given the gimmick Arachnaman. It is exactly what you think it is. A knockoff of Marvel Comics Spider Man. In fact Marvel threatened to force legal action. Of course the name says it was knocking it off but the ring attire is nothing that Marvel should have wanted to be associated with or compared to. WCW’s version was bright purple and yellow, and the “webbing” was wrapped through the yellow parts of the outfit. As mentioned the gimmick didn’t last long and luckily for Armstrong. He went on to win the WCW Light Heavyweight Championship in 1992, which is now known as the Cruiserweight Championship.
5. Max Moon
Another one that somehow managed to be worn by more than one wrestler. The Max Moon character was originally meant for Konann during his stop in the WWE. Konann developed the character as a cyborg from outer space. After a backstage disagreement Konann left WWE and the gimmick was given to Paul Diamond, who wore and played the role from 1992-1993. Diamond as Max Moon actually wrestled Shawn Michaels for the Intercontinental title on the very first Monday Night Raw. After that Max Moon began losing to the mid carders, and only appeared in one pay per view as part of a 30 man elimination match in which he lasted less than two minutes. In 1992, his contract was not renewed and Max Moon was gone.
4. The Johnsons
There is no way men dressed to resemble large members was not going to make this list. This was actually more recent than most of our other inclusions. The Shane Twins took on the gimmick and attire in 2002, by the names of Richard “Dick” Johnson and Rod Johnson. The twins appeared in their latex body suits at the first TNA PPV.
The twins signed with WWE in 2005, and made an appearance on Smackdown. But after a handfull of dark shows before the Smackdown airing, they were released by WWE in 2007. The twins appeared in many promotions, but I’m sure they are never going to forget the days they got to walk to the ring as giant phalluses.
Before the days of being Diesel and eventually being able to wrestle under his real name Kevin Nash, there was Oz. The character was pitched in WCW during 1991. He was managed by The Wizard and the character was based off the Wizard of Oz. The gimmick was pushed hard for about a month squashing some wrestlers along the way. But by the end of the year he was losing every time out, even to our previous mention Arachnaman, and was eventually relieved of the Oz persona.
Jim Herd really had some interesting pitches. But the Hunchbacks has to take the cake. Besides almost ruining Ric Flair for all of us fans, Herd developed the Hunchbacks as a tag team that would involve wearing humps on their backs to credit the name. The hunches would prevent the duo from being able to ever be pinned. Sounds like whoever would have taken the gimmick was set up for success at least. Like Flair’s spartan pitch, the idea was rejected and luckily no wrestlers ever had to wear a hunch in their backs as part of their ring attire.
Herd is a rather interesting character and was hired as Executive Vice President of WCW in 1988. He was responsible for firing Flair, which resulted in Flair appearing on WWE programming with the WCW Heavyweight Championship.
1. The Shockmaster
This one is by far the most odd, and add in the fact that it was given to Fred Ottman who wrestled rather successfully under the ring names of Tugboat and Typhoon in WWE. The Shockmaster was pitched to Ottman in 1993 as part of WCW. The Shockmaster was set to make his debut as part of a eight man tag match at War Games. Sting introduced him on a segment of “A Flair of Gold”, and the rest is history. He appeared with a Star Wars Storm Trooper helmet that was covered in silver glitter, and a large black vest. He attempted to burst through a wall, only to trip over a piece of wood and his helmet to fall off and go rolling away. You would think WCW would just give up after such a disaster and which was a terrible character to begin with. But they tried to continue the angle and even reintroduced the character as Super Shockmaster later that year. And poor Ottman even had to portray that one as well.
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