The world of wrestling has seen storylines and characters that have stretched from the mighty and heroic to the strange, charismatic and sometimes, highly offensive. The company has an intense connection to its audience, however can often lose vision of the line between hilarity and going too far.
More recently, WWE’s era of PG ratings have decreased offensive and over the top gimmicks considerably, but not entirely. In the world of wrestling, there have been characters to portray everything; death, mental insanity, religious disputes, political incorrectness and the simply unnecessary. It may not be the company’s intention to stir up controversy over sensitive issues; however nothing is impossible for the WWE to keep the audience compelled.
Even so, there are many characters that have somehow made it to the company’s audiences, despite their insulting persona, that have created more than negative responses from the public. Certainly, WWE has glorified the ignorant displays of unnecessary insults, which has led to decades of being subjected to some quite controversial displays of more than just wrestling. However, there cannot be a lack of entertainment in the World Wrestling Entertainment business and McMahon has made it clear that the company will go to any extent to get a reaction out of the audience. Although in effect, the world of wrestling can sometimes go from blatant stupidity to transparent, inconsiderate offensiveness. In consideration, the embarrassment and negative response that these characters have had on wrestler’s careers have damaged most into leaving wrestling entirely.
Nevertheless, here are the 15 most offensive characters that have ever been broadcast on WWE television in the history of wrestling entertainment.
There had been many wrestlers like Hornswoggle before the character made his debut in 2006, such as Dink the Clown, Max Mini, Mini Mankind and Mini Vader. However, the issue that surrounds the inappropriate nature of this character is not because of his size. Hornswoggles character faced criticism because of the stereotypes the WWE had him portray. Although Hornswoggle has been a regular character since he came to the WWE, though not as much lately, he has been little more than a joke at his own expense. His character is a supposed leprechaun, unable to speak, living under the wrestling ring and is Vince’s McMahon's son, which McMahon saw as a clear embarrassment.
14 Norman the Lunatic
Before we knew him as Bastion Booger in WWE, a ridiculous role in its own right, Michael Shawhad a previous character that was not only strange, but kind of offensive while with WCW. Norman the Lunatic took on the notion of a “crazy wrestler” to the extreme, being characterized as a mental patient who was let out of his insane asylum and carried around a giant teddy-bear. His manager, Teddy Long would carry around the supposed asylum key, indicating to Norman that he would be sent back if he didn't follow Long’s orders. The character was decently popular, however stirred debate over how appropriate it was to have him on such a physical show.
13 Richard And Rodd Johnson
With the introduction to TNA which first aired in 2002, the show held a tag team championship tournament, which was won by Mike and Todd, The Shane Twins. It wasn’t long after that the twins were re-introduced to TNA as Richard and Rodd Johnsons, where they dressed in full-body, skin coloured, tight costumes and masks. If the names weren’t obvious enough, their costumes were supposed to resemble two human-sized penises. As the strange gimmick escalated, the twins and their latex bodysuits became less popular and more inappropriate, despite the hilarity in their appearance. As the act wore off, the twins left TNA only weeks later
12 Amish Roadkill
Amish Roadkill was created in an attempt to exemplify the strength of the simple folk. Initially, the characters name was “Roadkill, the Angry Amish Warrior,” however that was quickly changed to Amish Roadkill for simplicity. However, with the mere appearance of a man with fat cells and back hair, the character didn't hold much sense to it, especially in the wrestling world. However, the offensiveness of his character revolved around the minimalism of his vocabulary, which consisted of one word: chickens. Despite the odd, slight hint of insult to the real Amish folk, the gimmick lasted a few years.
11 Kurt Angle
After an obvious dislike from the audiences, the WWE decided to make Kurt Angle a sexual predator, particularly interested in Booker T’s wife, Sharmell. In a blunt promo, Angle explained that he wanted to have ‘perverted sex’ with Booker’s wife, which was further established in his own words as ‘bestiality sex’. In the same night, Angle had left a main-event battle against Booker-T and locked himself inside of Sharmell’s dressing room, where he falsely claimed that she had “fondled (his) privates.” Unfortunately, the storyline escalated with Angle sending Sharmell a box of lingerie and handcuffs, mounting Sharmell, covering her mouth and eventually, attempting to sexually abuse her in the ring, which was broadcasted globally.
10 Billy and Chuck
The Billy and Chuck duo was not offensive because they were , but inappropriate considering that WWE has been in partnership with GLAAD until the tag team staged their fake wedding. This gimmick may have been one of the most politically incorrect story lines in WWE history, as just before the duo were about to wed on Smackdown, Billy and Chuck admitted that their entire relationship was nothing less than a mere publicity stunt. GLAAD claimed that WWE had fooled them into thinking that the homosexual duo was created to positively portray homosexuality, instead turning into an inception of ultimately insensitive publicity stunts.
9 The New Day
Controversy was sparked over the characteristics of The New Day, not because it is overtly racist, but because the trio display various African-American stereotypes that have been seen as offensive or unnecessary. Their theme consists of soulful gospel singing and promotional-type speeches. Nonetheless, ROH star Cedric Alexander believes that The New Day gimmick is inconsiderate, unaware and blatantly racist and admits that he would not become a part of WWE because of “guys like The New Day,” according to Wrestle Zone.
During the peak of WWE’s Attitude era, both Ed Ferrera and Vince Russo were the show’s writers. In 1999, they left for WCW, before Ferrera made his debut appearance as the unforgivably insensitive, Oklahoma. Many characters before Oklahoma were designed for mocking purposes; however Oklahoma may have been the most infamous, because of the seriousness and inconsideration of the character. Oklahoma was created to make light of JR’s recent suffering of strokes and facial paralysis due to bell's palsy. Oklahoma’s character and dialogue was admittedly there for the sole reason to mock Jim Ross publicly.
7 ‘The Fat Chick Thriller’ Mike Awesome
Mike Awesome, was known as ‘the fat chick thriller’ for a short period in WCW, a gimmick for a wrestler who only sought to please plus size women. It began with Awesome trying to gain the likes of plus-sized wrestler Rhonda Singh’s unfortunately named character: “Nitro Girl Beef”. However, they had only appeared together once backstage. Awesome’s gimmick furthered as ‘bigger fans’ began throwing their large underwear at him and bringing signs that explained their need to be the wrestler’s next thrill. Further offense was escalated when scenes were broadcasted of Awesome ‘thrilling’ his ‘fat chick’s’ by feeding them. Fortunately, the gimmick ended after Awesome’s primary ‘fat chick’ turned on him for Lance Storm.
6 Muhammad Hassan
Following 9/11, came the creation of the evil Middle Eastern character Muhammad Hassan. The characters debut involved him stating his dislikes for negative Middle Eastern stereotypes, which naturally followed with the WWE portraying the character as a terrorist. However, the controversy did not reach its climax until WWE filmed Hassan summoning men in masks to beat The Undertaker and carrying Daivari from the ring with a Middle Eastern ritual. In fact, the tape aired on international television on the same day as the 7/7 bombings in London, which in effect led to the wrestler being released from WWE.
5 “The Lawnmower Men”
The Mexicools, also known as The Lawnmower Men, became unpopular for more than their insensitive nickname in 2005.Their offensive name followed their debut entrance to the ring on SmackDown, where they drive down on lawnmowers and wore stereotypical grounds keeping uniforms with Mexican flags, referring to the American audience as “gringos” with broken accents. Following the already insulting entrance, the trio then began attacking their opponents with rakes. The WWE attempted to portray the trio as strong, non-white Americans, however instead created an extremely offensive gimmick that only lasted three months before McMahon grew tired of the joke.
4 Cryme Tyme
With the conventional and highly offensive suggestion that the wrestlers were thieving Brooklyn hustlers, Cryme Tyme wore flashy clothes, heavy jewelry and had various vignettes that displayed racial stereotypes when they were introduced in 2006. During their run, the characters managed to appeal to their loyal fans, however a theme of two scheming, thieving black youths that mugged elderly women was ultimately seen as distasteful and insulting, and for good reason.
The controversy over Eugene, played by Nick Dinsmore, was that he was portrayed with certain learning difficulties or a disability of some sort. Eugene’s introduction to the WWE was as a secret relative of Eric Bischoff, who was openly ashamed of him. The WWE created the character to become an underdog that would eventually triumph, however they still received harsh criticism for the lack of consideration to those with real learning disabilities. The gimmick lasted several years before coming to an end, but not before Vince McMahon spent more time bullying the character rather than having him wrestle.
Goldust may have been Dustin Rhodes' most famous character, but he was once sadly reintroduced in WCW as the unusual character, Seven, it wasn’t long before the new gimmick was recognized as extremely creepy and highly inappropriate. Seven’s first vignette involved him appearing at a small boy’s bedroom window at night, blissfully asking the boy to ‘join’ him. Dustin only made one live appearance as Seven, before giving up on the character and slamming creative for creating it. Since, the character's first impression was interpreted as an act of supposed kidnapping or pedophilia, Dustin probably made the right decision.
In 1987, WWE introduced The Million Dollar Man’s new man-servant, Virgil, whose offensive storyline was instantly clear. In blunt words, Virgil was the black slave to his rich, white master. Virgil held his ‘Masters’ robes, carried his things and was continuously humiliated by him. To further the inappropriateness, the character was a supposed mock of wrestler, Dusty Rhodes, born as Virgil Runnels, who was famous for speaking and acting ‘black’. This follows the fact that Rhodes was raised in Texan poverty, where his accent was pegged. Overall, it takes Virgil's gimmick a bit too far.