Everyone’s heard the saying “You never get a second chance to make a first impression,” which is especially true in the wrestling business. Sure, some wrestlers have been able to overcome making a bad first impression by reinventing themselves later. Someone like Kane, who debuted as Dr. Isaac Yankem, is the perfect example of a guy who reinvented himself and was able to have a successful career after a bad debut.
When thinking about someone who couldn’t recover after an awful debut, you immediately think of The Shockmaster, whose debut in WCW in 1993 is one of the most famous wrestling bloopers of all-time. Originally, The Shockmaster was supposed to be a new, top babyface in WCW. But, after he literally fell on his face in his debut, he became a buffoon who just lost all of the time.
Before WCW went out of business in the spring of 2001, making WWE the only place to make a real full-time living as a professional wrestler, someone who had an awful debut in WCW could jump to WWE, and hope that the WWE fans never saw their work in WCW, so they could be taken seriously in WWE.
To be fair to some of the wrestlers on this list, sometimes the fact that their debut sucked wasn’t their fault. Take a character like the Gobbledy Gooker for example, which was a character that was destined to fail from the time it was created. There’s plenty of other characters in the history of wrestling that were never going to get over, even if the most talented wrestler in the world was portraying it. So, a bad debut can be blamed on the creative team just as much as it cam be blamed on the performer.
15. Lord Tensai
After nearly eight years, Matt Bloom, the man formerly known as Albert, returned to WWE as his new character Lord Tensai. WWE intended to make Tesnai a new, top heel after he’d had some success working in Japan during his time away. However, even the night of his debut, he wasn’t taken seriously. The fans chanted “ALBERT!” at him during his debut match with Alex Riley and, during the finish, they were completely uninterested, and chanted for Daniel Bryan.
After not being taken seriously for several months, Tensai was paired up with Brodus Clay, and formed the tag-team Tons of Funk, and he’s now one the head trainer at the WWE Performance Center, while doing commentary for the NXT brand.
14. The Ringmaster
This is definitely the best example of someone who was able to reinvent themselves and, well, become the biggest star in the history of professional wrestling. For those of you who don’t know, The Ringmaster later became “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.
Austin debuted as The Ringmaster on the January 8th, 1996 edition of RAW. He defeated a young Matt Hardy in his debut match and was awarded the Million Dollar Championship by his manager Ted DiBiase. He then put his hand up to the camera and asked everyone at home to touch their TV screens and “Feel what it’s like to be destined for success.” At that time, Austin certainly wasn’t destined for success as the man who claimed to be the master of the ring.
After, get this, five months of vignettes, the man with the Mortal Kombat-inspired outfit, Glacier, debuted in WCW. His catchphrase, which may be one of the worst in wrestling history, was “Blood runs cold,” which, believe it or not, didn’t happen to catch on.
Glacier made his debut on the forgotten WCW show called WCW Pro, which was WCW’s D-show that was a one-hour program that aired on Sunday. He had a total of four matches after his debut and then he disappeared for four months. So, it’s safe to say that his debut didn’t make much of an impact.
12. Kerwin White
In June of 2005, Chavo Guerrero was traded from the SmackDown brand to the RAW brand, denounced his Mexican heritage and attempted to play the part of a stereotypical, middle-class, white, conservative man.
During his debut, the crowd chanted “CHAVO!” at him and Kerwin responed by saying that Chavo was “probably trying to get a job at some taco stand like all of the rest of the unemployed Hispanics.” Five months later, Chavo was forced to drop the Kerwin White gimmick due to the untimely death Eddie Guerrero.
11. Fake Diesel / Fake Razor Ramon
In September of 1996, WWE Hall of Fame announcer Jim Ross teased the return of both Diesel and Razor Ramon to WWE, both of whom had just left for WCW three months earlier. WWE owned the names Diesel and Razor Ramon, so, they did in fact return, but they weren’t played by Scott Hall and Kevin Nash.
Glenn Jacobs, who is now known as Kane played Diesel, and Rick Bognar played Razor Ramon. The idea to create and debut a fake Diesel and a fake Razor Ramon was seen as one of the worst ideas in WWE history, and it was dropped shortly thereafter.
10. The Ultimate Warrior
You may be confused as to why you’re seeing The Ultimate Warrior’s name on this list. Well, him being on this list isn’t based on his WWE debut in 1987, nor his returns to WWE in 1992 and 1996.
Like many ex-WWE stars, Warrior got a big money offer to join WCW in 1998 and his debut for the company is memorable for all of the wrong reasons. Warrior did get a huge ovation from the crowd when he made his entrance, but his long, nonsensical, rambling promo killed the moment, which led to an awful match between Warrior and Hollywood Hogan.
Staying on the Ultimate Warrior theme here. In the mid-90s, Hulk Hogan and “Macho Man” Randy Savage teased the debut of something ultimate, which many assumed would end up being Ultimate Warrior. Furthermore, the vignettes that were running showed a silhouette of a man with long hair and tassels on his arms, so, why wouldn’t the fans expect the ultimate surprise to end up being Ultimate Warrior?
Instead, the fans got Renegade, who was a parody of Ultimate Warrior. Needless to say, the crowd at Uncensored 1995 wasn’t pleased.
8. The KISS Demon
The KISS Demon was one of Eric Bischoff’s attempts to get WCW some mainstream press, and, well, it didn’t get them any mainstream press.
Some may remember that KISS played a live concert on an episode of Monday Nitro, which is where The KISS Demon debuted. However, not many people have seen it since it was the lowest rated segment in the history of the show.
The Demon ended up being a job guy, as he was defeated by Terry Funk in his debut match and was crushed by Sting in under a minute.
In 1989, a movie called No Holds Barred starring Hulk Hogan was released, where Hogan went face-to-face with an unstoppable monster named Zeus.
Shortly after the movie was released, Zeus debuted in WWE to get revenge on Hogan, which sounds, and was, ridiculous. Hogan and Zeus never had a one-on-one match, but Hogan did defeat Zeus three different times in tag matches.
Fun fact: believe it or not, Vince McMahon considered having Hulk Hogan vs. Zeus headline a WrestleMania.
6. The Master Blasters
The early 90s tag-team of The Master Blasters featured Steel, who was played by Kevin Nash, and his tag-team partner Iron. This was the first of the many bad gimmicks that WCW had for Kevin Nash.
The Master Blasters debuted at the Clash of the Champions show on September 5th, 1990. They wrestled and defeated Brad Armstrong and Tim Horner. So, what about their debut was so bad? Well, at one point during the match, Nash’s partner Iron tried to perform a diving headbutt and missed by about three feet. However, the man who was on the “receiving end” of the headbutt sold the move, which received thunderous boos from the crowd.
In 1999, WCW debuted a character named Seven, who was played by Dustin Rhodes, better known as Goldust. Before his debut, WCW began running vignettes that made Seven look like he was a child abductor, which forced Turner Standards and Practices to pull the gimmick.
Seven still debuted however, but he ripped apart the gimmick upon doing so. He said that he wanted to return to WCW to be himself, but the WCW creative team told him that “Dustin is boring.” He then poked fun at his outfit and said that he was being forced to dress like Uncle Fester.
4. The Yeti
The Yeti is one of those characters where you stop and think to yourself, “Whoever thought of this should not only be fired, but they should never be allowed to have a job in the wrestling business ever again.”
The character was played by Ron Reis, who later was a part of Raven’s Flock as Reese. But, his debut as The Yeti will never be forgotten, as he was seen humping Hulk Hogan in the middle of a battle royal.
Phantasio was brought in to WWE during a time where most of the wrestlers couldn’t just be wrestlers, they had to be a guy with an occupation that just happened to wrestle. Phantasio was a magician, who really didn’t last that long in WWE.
WWE’s wrestling magician only made one television appearance, where he defeated Tony Devito. Phantasio made just one other appearance for WWE, winning a house show match over Rad Radford.
2. The Gobbledy Gooker
This is, without question, the worst debut in the history of WWE. For a good portion of 1990, a giant egg was seen at WWE events and the hatching was supposed to take place at Survivor Series. When it finally did hatch, a man dressed in a turkey suit came out of it.
The Gobbledy Gooker, who was played by Hector Guerrero, danced around for about five minutes while Gorilla Monsoon and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper attempted to sell the people on how awesome this moment was. Needless to say, it clearly wasn’t, and the crowd was dead for the entire segment.
1. The Shockmaster
There really couldn’t be anyone else at the top of this list. Sure, there may have been worse characters than The Shockmaster, but no one has ever had a worse or more embarrassing debut.
The Shockmaster debuted by blasting through a wall and falling on his face. It was something he was unable to recover from, but, hey, at least every single wrestling fan is aware of his existence. That’s more than you can say for about half of the current WWE roster.
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