As a fan of professional wrestling, chances are you have seen tons of great matches, fantastic wrestlers, and amazing storylines that have kept you on the edge of your seat, as well as moments that have shocked you and took your breath away. We have also seen current and former superstars like Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, CM Punk, Samoa Joe, Daniel Bryan and even John Cena who have risen to stardom, left a lasting impression, and elevated not only themselves and their gimmick, but their wrestling organizations like WWE, WCW, TNA, and ROH to new levels.
Whether you're a die-hard fan, or even just a casual one, you have also likely seen a number of gimmicks that have been flat out ridiculous over the years. Wrestlers like the Bezerker, The Goon, Max Moon, Mantaur, Avatar, and Phantasio are just some examples of those. Not only was it bad for you, but the poor wrestlers who actually had to portray these gimmicks probably didn't have any fun either. A terrible gimmick can ruin an otherwise promising career. Who knows where Bret Hart would have ended up had he adopted the Cowboy gimmick he was pitched? How about if Austin didn't proactively suggest a gimmick change from The Ringmaster? Thankfully the WWE pulled the plug on the cheesy Rocky Maivia gimmick. In any event, when coming up with a gimmick, one must be very careful in what they choose, because a gimmick can make or break a career.
With that said, we here at TheSportster have created a Top 15 list of the horrible gimmicks that ruined a wrestler's career.
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On a personal level, I loved this gimmick. The former One Man Gang making the transformation from a biker to The African Dream Akeem who wore a blue and yellow dashiki and was referred to as a jive soul bro was as ridiculous as it was hilarious. What added even more comedy and ridiculousness to the gimmick wasn't just the fact that he was Caucasian, it was also the constant dancing (if you can call it that) that Akeem did.
Whether it was during a match, walking to and from the ring, or even while doing a vignette, the heel was always ready to bust a move. Partnered with the legendary manager and hype man Slick, the character became extremely popular. The popularity and the amount of years that have passed by still doesn't take away from how silly and ridiculous the gimmick really was. Oh and in terms of career prospects, there was no way to recover from this one.
14 Repo Man
As one half of the Legendary tag-team Demolition Barry Darsow who preformed as Smash, won the World Wrestling Federation Tag-Team Championship with his partner Ax three times. The duo who would later grow into a trio after they added Crush (the late Brian Adams), would have many memorable battles with other legendary teams like The Hart Foundation, The Rockers, Strike Force, and the Colossal Connection to name a few.
After Demolition disbanded due to the the other two members leaving Vince McMahon's wrestling empire, Darsow was repackaged as the Repo Man. With this gimmick, Darsow came to the ring in a Zorro style mask and a long grey coat, and a tow rope that he would use to tie his defeated opponents up with. Just like a real repossession man, the man formerly known as Smash would repossess items from wrestlers and employees that couldn't afford to make their payments. While he did mange to generate a lot of heat in this role, this is just another ridiculous gimmick from the WWE's history that would get laughed out of an arena in this day and age. Darsow was doomed with this gimmick as there was no way he'd ever have a chance to be a top star.
Vito Lo Grasso is actually suing WWE in a concussion related lawsuit. While we can't discuss that, one injustice the WWE definitely did do to him was giving him a cross-dressing gimmick, in which Vito would wear a dress to the ring. He may not have had the potential of a main event star, but he had a good look and probably could have been a serviceable midcarder. Although he won many matches with the gimmick, there was no way he was ever going to grow out of it. He was released less than a year after debuting with the gimmick.
12 Perry Saturn - Moppy
Probably the only gimmick on this list that was a direct punishment to the wrestler, Perry Saturn was 'given' this gimmick after legitimately attacking jobber Mike Bell during a match. The character went nuts as a result of concussions sustained during matches and became infatuated with a mop, which he dubbed "Moppy". He eventually chose that mop over Terri Runnels. While one has to admit that some of it was funny, Perry Saturn's career took a bad turn to say the least. Saturn would be released from the company in 2002.
When the guy we once knew as Albert was set to return to WWE, wrestling fans had heard he had honed his craft in Japan and had found greater success. However, all WWE did with Tensai was have him silently come down to the ring, with him not explaining this sudden drastic character change. Fans still remembered him as Albert, but WWE chose to ignore what fans already knew. The gimmick just didn't suit Matt Bloom and they should have just let him embrace what had made him successful in Japan. Bloom's wrestling career fizzled not long after adopting this gimmick, but he's done well for himself, as he's now the head trainer at NXT.
10 Mike Awesome: Fat Chick Thriller
After establishing himself as an ECW legend, Mike Awesome made the jump to WCW and from there, you can take your pick as to which gimmick derailed his career. Probably nothing was more ridiculous though, than the Fat Chick Thriller gimmick he was given, in which he'd parade around with heavyset women. He'd then become "That '70s Guy" which was a reference to the TV show. He'd eventually go to WWE after they acquired WCW but whereas a guy like Awesome should have been a solid acquirement, the terrible gimmicks faded his star power by the time he got to WWE and he only lasted a year with the company.
9 P.N News
Before John Cena, Men on a Mission, R-Truth, and even the Funkasaurus, we had P.N News. The fan-favorite rapping wrestler was WCW's very lame attempt to try to connect with urban fans. Unlike the aforementioned first two wrestlers, P.N News couldn't rap to save his life. His skills in the squared circle however were much better as the extremely overweight grappler who was billed at 400 pounds, was surprisingly very agile in the ring.
While in WCW he had feuds with big names like Ron Simmons, Diamond Dallas Page, Terry Taylor (none on him later), and Steve Austin while he was " Stunning" before his Stone Cold days. P.N News was eventually released by the wrestling organization in 1992. With him being a big man that could actually move, he likely would have had a far more decorated career had he been given a gimmick that suited him. Due to the success of future rapping superstars, it's possible P.N News was ahead of his time. Then again, probably not.
8 The Boogeyman
This is one of the weirdest and most ridiculous gimmicks in WWE history. The Boogeyman who was played by former Tough Enough competitor Marty Wright, was supposed to play on our fears of the mythical childhood monster. Wearing all black dregs, with black and red makeup, Wright would crawl, gyrate, and walk eerily to the ring to add effect. He would keep repeating the phrase "I am the Boogeyman, and I'm coming to get ya!" Once in the ring is things got really weird. To make this bizarre gimmick more believable, Wright would grab a fist-full of real worms out of his pocket and eat them. Needless to say, more than a few people got grossed out by that including yours truly.
Most 1990's WWE fans will remember the late John Tenta from his memorable gimmick as Earthquake who not only won the Tag-Team Championship with his partner Tugboat (more on him in a second), but also had many high profile matches against Hall of Famers like Macho Man Randy Savage, Ted DiBiase, Ultimate Warrior, Hulk Hogan, and Jake Roberts. Tenta left Vince McMahon's empire in 1994. He eventually resurfaced in WCW as The Avalanche which was basically rip off of his Earthquake character. After scrapping that idea, Tenta became The Shark.
Under this gimmick, Tenta came down to the ring dressed in a singlet that was similar to his Earthquake costume, a headband that had shark teeth on it, and armband with his new name on it. What this gimmick even more comical and ridiculous was the fact that his move set that he used in the WWE was identical to what he used in WCW. As Earthquake his finisher was called the Earthquake Splash (a running seated senton). Using the same exact move, he called it the Shark Bomb. Thankfully this riculous gimmick lasted only just about a year. Tenta never quite was able to recapture his momentum from years past. He would eventually return to the WWE, with a mask and re-branded Golga, a member of The Oddities. Take your pick of which gimmick did more damage.
6 Shelton Benjamin - Momma's Boy
After splitting from Charlie Haas as The World's Greatest Tag Team, Shelton Benjamin floated around the midcard, sometimes without much direction. While he is an incredible athlete, his shortcomings in WWE were always in his promos, so WWE decided to give him a mouthpiece. Good idea. What was bad was having a ripoff character of Big Momma's House to do it. After seeing Benjamin as a momma's boy, it was hard for anybody to take him seriously and his WWE career soon fizzled out. Any chance he had of reaching the next level was gone.
5 Max Moon
This is yet another ridiculous gimmick that feels like it was ripped straight out of a Saturday morning cartoon lineup. Coming to the ring in a blue and multi-colored bodysuit and mask, with a jet pack, and arm bands that would shoot out fireworks. He was said to come have come from the future. Although Max Moon had matches against future legends like Owen Hart, Shawn Michaels, and Rick Martel, the gimmick quickly flamed out and was done less than a year after its debut.
An interesting side note behind this gimmick is that it was originally planned for future nWo Wolfpac member Konan, but after getting into a disagreement with WWE management, he left the company. Rumor has it, that the elaborate Max Moon suit fit Thomas Boric, so the character was given to him. Despite the interesting background story however, the gimmick didn't work in 1992, and it still doesn't work today nearly 25 years later.
It's hard to imagine Steve Keirn, who was forced to play the alligator hunter of the Florida Everglades, Skinner, once held many titles in the Florida and Georgia territories. He was also one half of the memorable tag team, the Fabulous Ones along with Stan Lane. His gimmick consisted of him always chewing on tobacco and using alligator claws as a weapon. You can just chalk it up to yet more bad gimmicks of the early '90s WWE, but there was just no way Keirn was going anywhere with this gimmick. Skinner was eventually defeated by Owen Hart at WrestleMania VIII in 71 seconds and the gimmick was soon scrapped.
3 Bastion Booger
I think the main reason why most people forget about this character is that the gimmick was nasty as the name sounds, and putting it out of one's memort might ber a good idea. Bastion Booger which was portrayed by the late Mike Shaw was made to look fat, dim-witted, lazy, and smelly. On occasion, he would come down to the ring eating food before his matches. His finishing move the Trip to the Batcave did him no favors. Once placing his opponent on the mat face up, he would stand above their head and sway side to side before jumping and sitting on his opponent's chest and face. Thankfully, the gimmick only lasted just over a year. Despite being predominantly a jobber, Bastion Booger recorded victories over superstars like Virgil and the late great Owen Hart with this gimmick. Just think though, Shaw had once wrestled the likes of Ric Flair as Norman the Lunatic. Shaw never recovered from this gimmick.
2 The Shockmaster
I told you we weren't done with Ottman. His hilarious WCW debut will forever live in infamy. Hyped as the mystery partner for the icon Sting and his partners the late great Davey Boy Smith, and Dustin Rhodes, at the 1993 Fall Brawl pay-per-view, The Shockmaster was introduced to the wrestling world on Ric Flair's classic interview segment called "A Flair for the Gold". Ottman who wore a black cape/vest, a pair of jeans and a helmet that all full of glitter was supposed to burst through a wall on the set, but he somehow tripped over a piece of the wall that didn't explode and fell flat on his face. The fall caused his helmet to fall off.
The look alone should have been enough for anyone with common sense to realize that this gimmick was beyond ridiculous. The stupidity didn't end there. Instead of having The Shockmaster speak in his regular voice, he was given a voice over to sound more menacing. Whenever he went to talk, Ole Anderson's voice would be heard via audio equipment instead. The gimmick which was ridiculous than, would probably get laughed out of the arena today.
1 The Red Rooster
Despite the fact that Terry Taylor is a legend within the wrestling community, it's his time as the Red Rooster that earns him the number one spot on this list. Dressed in a red and white jacket with a fake red mo-hawk, he would would strut and caw like a rooster in interviews and in the ring during, before, during, and after matches. The former National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) World Heavyweight Champion would wrestle under the gimmick for nearly two years.
How the idea even made it out of creative meetings and/or Vince McMahon's office is anyone's guess. Taylor, who has been working for the WWE as a trainer in their developmental brand NXT since 2012, has done some quality work with the WWE's current and future talent. This horrible and ridiculous man-rooster gimmick was comical when it debuted in 1988. If it saw the light of day today, I think Twitter would explode.
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